With just two pairs of hands and three 30-barrel fermenters, Matt Monahan and Sam Richardson of Other Half Brewing can only brew so much beer. But they have their eyes on the prize. Take a peek behind the scenes at the new Gowanus brewery.
'Brooklyn' on Serious Eats
Switchel, also known as switzel, swizzle, or Haymaker's Punch, refers to the apple cider vinegar, water, and ginger-based drink found throughout America and the Caribbean during the 17th century and beyond. Both Laura Ingalls-Wilder and Herman Melville were fans, the latter mentioning it in the story "I and My Chimney." Unlike a shrub, switchel is mostly been consumed as a stand-alone drink, not a cocktail or bubbly-water addition. And while the switchel dates back several hundred years, it's on the rise again in Brooklyn thanks to Ely Key and Garrett Riffle's Up Mountain Switchel.
It's hard to tease out what takes a bar from middling watering hole to travel-worthy destination. After all, there are date bars and dive bars, beer bars and cocktail bars, hotel bars and dance bars; there are bars for music and celebrations, and there are quiet, empty bars for drinking yourself into a wallowing puddle of self-pity. But if there's one thing I've learned over my ever-so-extensive six years as an of-age drinker, it's that every bar can be improved by one simple addition: a sh*t-ton of games.
At Saul's new home at the Brooklyn Museum, they've introduced a brunch and lunch service with a new list of cocktails to match.
Here are 9 Brooklyn restaurants with superior cocktails—go for a drink, or go for a meal, or the best option: both.
"All of our food items are intended to be paired directly with our cocktails, wine, and beer," explains Sother Teague, the creative force behind the cocktails at the new Cobble Hill spot Bergen Hill. The fish-focused restaurant and cocktail bar is owned by Ravi DeRossi, who's known for Death & Co., Mayahuel, Amor y Amargo, Gin Palace, and others.
To pair with fish sauce wings, five-spice pig ear strips, and sour pork riblets, you'll find fruit-forward drinks—developed primarily by Andy Ricker and Dave Kaufman.
In drinks at Atrium Dumbo, designed by PDT alum Payman Bahmani and Alexander LaPratt, a veteran of Jean-Georges and db Bistro Moderne, you'll find everything from exotic citrus and spices (kalamansi, ras el hanout) to everyday kitchen staples (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, bread.)
Here are our very favorite coffee establishments in Brooklyn and Queens.
"I like to make drinks that read on the menu like they shouldn't work, and then when you try them you're totally blown away by how it comes together," says says Saul Ranella, head bartender of the newly opened craft cocktail and beer bar Battery Harris in Williamsburg.
"One of the great things about seasonal cocktails," Belanger says, "is the opportunity to incorporate fresh ingredients." But at Donna, you won't find bartenders slowly muddling fruit or other produce for each drink. Instead, the flavors of the season are incorporated into freshly made syrups and vinegar-based shrubs, such as a sweet-savory-spicy shrub made from strawberry, cilantro, and serrano peppers, which provides an unexpected mix of flavors in the Strawberry Sky.
"The whole idea behind the program was to create drinks that would complement the food but also drink well on their own," explains Phil Ward, the brains behind the revamped cocktails at the recently reopened Fatty 'Cue in Williamsburg. Which is to say that all those things one looks for in good barbecue—smoke, spice, acidity, and yes, even meat—have made their way on to the new cocktail menu here.
"I've had the idea to do a beer bar for ten years," Jeppe Jarnit-Bjergsø said. "I travel a lot with my brewery (Evil Twin) and I go to a lot of good beer bars, but I never go to places where I feel like it's perfect. I knew that if I were ever going to be involved in a beer bar, I would have to give it 100%." Jarnit-Bjergsø, a Denmark native, is what people have come to call a gypsy brewer. He doesn't have his own facility for brewing. Instead, he travels the world and collaborates with different breweries, putting his recipes in their tanks and creating limited-edition brews, many of which are featured at Tørst. There are currently over 120 bottled beers available as well as 21 tap lines.
The cocktails at Red Gravy bear in mind the Italian practice of consuming apertivi to stimulate the appetite, and digestivi to aid in digestion. You'll recognize bottles of amari and herb-laced bitters behind the bar and in the cocktails. There's also a seasonal selection of housemade Italian sodas.
No one could ever accuse Eamon Rockey, general manager and partner in Williamsburg's Aska, of not being a patient man. Of the eight signature cocktails he's created for the just-opened modern Scandinavian concept, not one is without an ingredient that requires some sort of time-consuming infusion, fermentation, or extraction process.
Chicago's Dil Pickle Club ("the primordial swamp of counter culture in America") serves as a major point of inspiration for a new Prospect Heights bar from Del Pedro, formerly of Pegu Club in Manhattan.
At Julie Reiner's revered Brooklyn cocktail den, Clover Club, the newly released fall cocktail menu is replete with drinks that exemplify both nostalgia and novelty. "The menu changes pretty extensively about every four months, but certainly the biggest changes occur between summer and fall, winter and spring," she explains. "This menu has all the quintessential flavors that we think of in the fall—cranberry, apple, pear, ginger—but also every year there are new inspirations, new spirits and products you want to work with."
The Eastern Europeans know how to do hangover food right. Here's a Polish-ish contribution from Cinamoon in Greenpoint: fried potato pancakes with chicken goulash, where hash browns meets biscuits and gravy.
At Beloved in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, Rene Hidalgo swaps in St. Germain and Yellow Chartreuse in this refined riff on the classic Last Word cocktail. Here's how to make this easy (and delicious) drink at home.
"This has to be the most lowbrow, stoner-amazing, guilty pleasure thing we've ever put on this menu," said owner Dave Massoni when he brought a bowl of Dale Talde's Sausage, Egg, and Cheese Fried Rice ($9) to our table. And there's nothing wrong with that.