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A Guide to NYC Restaurants and Distilleries Selling Rare or Uncommon Liquors

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Where to buy booze from the city’s top bars and restaurants, including bottles that are typically only available wholesale

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bartender with cocktail and orange peel preparing cocktail at bar Maksym Fesenko/Shutterstock

New York’s distilleries, along with restaurants boasting impressive collections of spirits and liqueurs, have arrived just in time with rare and special bottles of whiskey, gin, amari, and specialty liqueurs — many of which were previously only available via wholesale.

Offering a la carte bottles, cocktail kit, and virtual whiskey tastings via Zoom, spirits-centered businesses have started to get creative. Places like Attaboy cocktail bar and Kings County Distillery are now packaging bar and tasting room experiences to suit New Yorkers’ new lives in quarantine, providing a good excuse to expand home bars and learn a cocktail trick or two.

Here’s a guide on local restaurants, bars, and distilleries that are now offering pickup and home delivery — with notes on some bottles that are hard to find in retail shops. And if you know of anything worth adding, send us a tip at tips@eater.com.

Restaurants and bars

Brandy Library: In 2018, The New Yorker described the massive, leather-bound menu at Tribeca’s Brandy Library as “a volume that is rivalled in thickness only by the tome at the Cheesecake Factory.” The impressive list of primarily brown spirits comprises large selections of cognacs, armagnacs, calvados, and whiskeys, among which there are several $500 plus offerings, including an $1,800 pour of 1974 Glenmorangie “Pride,” the rarest, oldest, and deepest single malt to ever emerge from the Scottish distillery.

The Brandy Library is now accepting takeout orders by phone at 212-226-5545. According to its website, an online shop is under way. Owner Flavien Desoblin is also hosting Whiskey Wednesday virtual tastings via Facebook Live.

Amor y Amargo: Self-coined as a “bitters tasting room,” this East Village destination bar opened in 2013 with much trend-induced fanfare. In 2019, restaurateur Ravi DeRossi and renowned bartender and cocktail writer Sother Teague opened a second location in Williamsburg. Along with a selection of amaro-heavy bottled cocktails for $30 apiece, Amor y Amargo is selling off much of its home bar-friendly amari, whiskeys, gins, and bitters, including Angel’s Envy Caribbean Cask rye whiskey and Campari Cask Tales, a 150th birthday version of the classic bitter finished in bourbon barrels. The pricing starts around $20 to $30 for the spirits, and the rarer bottles range from $80 to $100.

Pickup is available at Amargo’s sister restaurant, Mother of Pearl, Friday through Sunday from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Delivery is available Monday and Tuesday with a $100 minimum. Direct message @amoryamargo on Instagram to place your order. For a bonus, visit Teague’s Instagram @creativedrunk for advice on how to combine the newly acquired spirits with everyday pantry ingredients for a delicious drink.

Attaboy: There’s a magic to this Lower East Side cocktail bar, which has garnered and maintained a loyal following for the better part of two decades. Since closing its door more than five weeks ago, Attaboy has begun offering rare bottles of Japanese whiskey and Scotch along with its to-go cocktails. Owner Sam Ross says some of the bar’s regulars have translated to delivery regulars. In addition to selling bottles, staff are providing socially distanced instructions for creating favorite cocktails at home. “We’ve got a few mains we see once if not twice a week. We’re seeing special requests in addition to classics,” says Ross.

One of those special requests came from actress and Attaboy regular Rose Byrne, who, with the help of Ross, produced a Penicillin (coincidentally, Ross’ invention, which he pioneered while bartending at Milk & Honey in 2005) on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. Some of the bottles offered include Laphroaig 10 yr, a selection of Four Roses Limited Edition Small Batch Barrel Strength Bourbons, Compass Box Scotch Lost Blend and Spaniard, and Yamazaki 12 yr. The rest can be found on Instagram.

Pick up windows are Tuesday and Friday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. and delivery is available to most areas. Email attaboy134@gmail.com to inquire.

Sauvage: Among some of the first to offload its wine and spirits inventories were Greenpoint restaurant Sauvage and James Beard Award-winning cocktail bar Maison Premiere. While the new online shop primarily offers wine, the spirits selection includes a little of everything — from bartender favorite Del Maguey “Vida” Mezcal to Hayman’s Old Tom and London Dry gins to Maison Surrenne Cognac along with a small selection of amari. Bottles range from $24 to $60 each, depending on the spirit.

Onsite pickup is available at Sauvage from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. daily. No-minimum deliveries are offered throughout Greenpoint and Williamsburg.

Treadwell Park: In the before times, Midtown beer bar Treadwell Park offered free popcorn, ping pong, and bottle service at its three locations. Now, the popular beer hall-style after work hangout, is offering liter-sized bottles of rum, whiskey, gin, and tequila and 750 ml sizes of mezcal and aperol, along with burgers, fish and chips, bratwurst, and other bar fare on Grubhub and Seamless. Delivery and takeout is available from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. daily Don’t miss the bags of popcorn for $0.50.

The Wayland: This cabin-y East Village cocktail bar opened in 2012, gaining serious cocktail street cred and has done well over the past eight years to maintain its reputation. Now, the home of the notorious kale-juice margarita is offering at-home cocktail kits through its cocktail catering company, Cocktails in Motion.

Its most recent package, available for doorstep delivery, includes a 750ml bottle of Tanteo Blanco Tequila and one liter of house made cocktail mix, made of lime and grapefruit juices, hibiscus tea, and agave nectar, as well as freeze dried garnishes. The batched cocktails typically cost $99 apiece and include the fixings for 15 drinks. Deliveries are made on Fridays and Saturdays only, and orders must be in by 5 p.m. the day before delivery.

Wheated Pizza: As critic Robert Sietsema reported for Eater in early April, this Ditmas Park craft cocktail and pizza spot has been rolling out a plan to sell through some of its whiskey stock. Owners Davi Sheridan and Kim McAdam have said that prices will be “based on NYC retail prices” and that most bottles are “unique to Wheated.” So far, Wheated plans to sell 23 of its prized bottles, at a range of $28 to $100. To find out how to purchase, send a request to wheatedbrooklyn@gmail.com.

Analogue: Live music, a hi-fi playing setup, and super crafty cocktails generally define the mood of this Greenwich Village cocktail bar. Along with a new list of 12 special quarantine cocktails, the neighborhood favorite is now offering pours of its full whiskey list for takeout or delivery. All prices are 25 percent off the regular menu price. Pours come in one and two ounce sizes and are delivered in adorable mason jars,which can be returned for 25 percent off your next order. Stop in, or call 212-432-0200 for delivery.

67 Orange Street: Named for the address where one of the first black-owned and operated bars in New York City last stood in the 1840s, this Five Points-inspired bar is one of the most beloved cocktail destinations in Harlem. In mid-April, 67 Orange Street launched its new pickup/delivery model for individual cocktails, pre-made punches, and cocktail kits, which cost $65 to $105 and include a full bottle of booze with accompanying house-juiced and infused mixers. Delivery is available through Grubhub and Caviar.

For some at-home help with assembling the drinks, tune into 67 Orange’s Instagram, where owner Karl Franz Williams has been demonstrating how to make a few of the cocktail kit drinks, like “The Scottish Cartwheel:”
.5 oz egg white
.5 oz agave syrup
.75 oz lime juice
2 oz Hayman’s London Dry Gin
A sprig of cilantro
Add ice, shake well, and pour into a coup glass.

Rolls of barrels
Kings County Distillery’s barrels
Gary He/Eater

Distilleries

St. Agrestis: Since 2014, this bespoke Greenpoint spirits company has offered a locally made counterpoint to bitter Italian classics like Campari, Fernet Branca, and Cynar. A favorite behind the bar at restaurants like Kindred, Grand Army, and Sunday in Brooklyn, St. Agrestis is now offering all its products — previously only available to wholesale customers— online. All orders of $50 are guaranteed free doorstep delivery in Brooklyn, Manhattan, or Queens on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and include a free 50ml bottle of hand sanitizer made in house.

Wine and spirits shops like Duke’s Liquor Box and Brooklyn Wine Exchange are also offering Agrestis’ “Inferno Bitter aperitif” as a Campari alternative in client consultations and cocktail kits, like BWE’s “Cool Kid Negroni Three-Pack.

For an at-home after dinner fix, the company’s co-founder and producer Louis Catizone recommends an “Amarocano,” which he says tastes a little like “the final lick of ice cream on a popsicle stick, slightly bitter wood balanced with sweet vanilla.”
1.5 oz St. Agrestis Amaro (in place of vermouth)
1.5 oz inferno Bitter
Combine in a tall glass over ice and top with soda water. Garnish with an orange slice.

Port Morris Distillery: A family recipe is the catalyzing force behind this South Bronx distillery, which specializes in Pitorro, a Puerto Rican moonshine made from distilling sugar with seasonal fruits. At Port Morris, co-owners Rafael Barbosa and William Valentin use brown sugar with honey and local New York apples to distill their rum-adjacent spirit. Port Morris’ Pitorros come aged and unaged, with infusions like ginger, coconut, passion fruit, and Coquito, a non-dairy Puerto Rican eggnog.

The distillers recommend home infusing Pitorro Shine, a 92 proof pure Pitorro and the base of all Port Morris’ infusions with peeled and chopped cucumbers. Bottles run anywhere from $19 to $35 and can be shipped throughout New York State. Pickup — with advanced notice — is also available at the distillery.

New York Distilling Company: Rye whiskey and gin are aplenty at this Williamsburg distillery founded by one of establishing partners of Brooklyn Brewery. Available direct-to-consumer spirits include Chief Gowanus Gin, Ragtime Rye, and an online exclusive darker and spicier single barrel selection of Ragtime, with other offerings available at local bottle shops. Bottles range from $30 to $60 apiece.

Kevin Buckley, bar manager at Rucola Northern Italian restaurant in Boerum Hill, recommends the distillery’s Dorothy Parker Gin as a wet martini (meaning two-thirds gin, one-third vermouth) with Harlem-born Little City Dry Vermouth. “Dorothy Parker’s floral, hibiscus-like flavor pairs well with the grassiness of Little City,” says Buckley, adding that a lemon peel garnish is “a must.”

Kings County Distillery: Like many local distilleries, Kings County has converted its production to focus on making hand sanitizer. While it’s operating on a limited basis, the Navy Yard distillery is still offering a full range of whiskeys in 200ml and 375ml sizes. Cocktail writer Kara Newman recommends using its chocolate “flavored” whiskey in place of a more traditional rye or bourbon for a nightcap Negroni.

But since Kings County’s whiskeys are really meant to be sipped more than mixed, they’re offering four varieties of Virtual Tasting Kits, which include guided tastings via Zoom with one of the distillery’s certified whiskey experts. Kits run from $123 to $196 and include three to five 200ml “classic” and “aged” whiskeys. They can be picked up at Kings County’s tasting room or delivered throughout New York State. Free delivery is available for orders of $50 or more.

Greenhook Ginsmiths: It’s been nearly a decade since Greenhook Gin was launched as a visionary seed of an idea by brothers Phillip and Steven DeAngelo, the latter of whom is also one of the co-owners of St. Agrestis. Vacuum-distilled for an extra aromatic taste, Greenhook’s American Dry Gin, Beach Plum Gin Liqueur, and Old Tom Gin are favorites at restaurants like Colonie, Temple Court, and Boulud Sud.

The distillery’s website also includes a list of downloadable cocktail recipes, ranging from three-ingredient classics to umbrella-garnished tiki drinks. Available products include all three distilled gins and gin liqueurs ranging from $31.99 to $49.99, as well as four-packs of canned Greenhook Gin and Tonic for $21.99. Due to a delivery partnership with St. Agrestis, Greenhook Gin is offering the same shipping deal: All orders of $50 are guaranteed free doorstep delivery in Brooklyn, Manhattan or Queens on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and include a free 50ml bottle of hand sanitizer made in house.

Standard Wormwood Distillery: This Sunset Park distillery was founded on a principle of experimentation with a long misunderstood plant. Traditionally used for its herbaceous bitterness in Absinthe, Vermouth, and Amaro, Wormwood endured a hundred-year ban due to being misconceived as a hallucinogen.

Standard Wormwood’s spirits and liqueurs, which include a rye whiskey, a gin, an amaro, three types of vermouth, and an agave liqueur — one of the few made locally — are cocktail menu staples at places like Bar LunÀtico in Bed Stuy, Dirty Precious cocktail bar in Gowanus, and Bushwick’s the Narrows, which recently featured Wormwood’s Rye in a drink which happens to be pretty easy to make at home:
1.5 oz Wormwood Rye
1.5 oz Jamaican Rum
1 oz Vermouth
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Delivery is available locally throughout New York City. Bottles range from $38 to $43.

Van Brunt Stillhouse: Simplicity and tradition reign supreme at this Red Hook distillery, founded by husband and wife duo Sarah Ludington and Daric Schlesselman. Sourcing local wheat, rye, and corn from upstate New York farmers, Van Brunt reimagines classic-style whiskeys through a modern lens, offering standard American Rye and Bourbon alongside Smoked Corn Whiskey and homemade bitters.

Since COVID-19, Van Brunt has turned its website into a retail shop for batched cocktails, spirits priced from $35 to $65, hand sanitizer for $10 to $15, and more, plus a small selection of snacks. On April 25, the distillery held its first virtual whiskey tasting class with Schlesselman via Zoom, for which participants received three 375ml bottles, two tasting glasses, and a 2oz bottle of hand sanitizer. Plans for future classes are in the works. Delivery to Brooklyn is only available on Tuesdays and Thursdays with a $50 minimum. Each bottle of whiskey comes with a complimentary 2oz bottle of hand sanitizer Orders must be placed by 11:00 am on Tuesday and Thursday for same day delivery.

Our Vodka/New York: The idea behind Our Vodka is simple: global vodka with local productions in different cities all over the world. Bottles from this hip Chelsea distillery can be purchased in small and large format sizes, as well as packs of two for $42 and six for $126. Free shipping is available for orders of $150 or more. For mixing at home, the Our Vodka/New York bartenders recommend the “Carnival Circuit:”
1.5 oz Our/New York Vodka
1.5 oz Chamomile Syrup
.75 oz Lemon Juice
.5 oz Pineapple Juice
Combine in a cocktail shaker, shake and double strain into glass. Top with sparkling wine.

Leah Rosenzweig writes about wine, cultural history, and books in Brooklyn, New York.

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