It may be hard to remember those sweet hot nights of summer but, when they finally roll round, al fresco drinking spots will be high in demand. The small rooftop at Night of Joy is usually my favorite, but the view of the BQE often leaves something to be desired. Berry Park’s roof has a better view and a far larger capacity, but now the team behind the popular drinking mecca is in danger of stealing their own thunder.
Last week the owners of Berry Park opened up Northern Territory (12 Franklin St) a great new bar and restaurant with a huge rooftop over-looking the East River. They are still adding the finishing touches upstairs but assure us the rooftop will be open at the beginning of April, just in time for the appearance of some warmer weather. Continue reading →
I drank a lot of whiskey last week on my quest to find Greenpoint’s best hot toddy. The booze guzzling was well worth the effort. I’m proud to announce Greenpoint bars are no stranger to the tasty winter treat. I found a few bangin’ toddies in this ‘hood and got a little tipsy along the way.
Before I feign food critic and rate the toddies, how about some history, in case you’ve somehow survived without toddies all winter long? Traditionally, the drink combines whiskey, boiling water and sugar or honey. Cloves, lemon and/or cinnamon may also be added. According to good ol’ Wikipedia, hot toddies were once recommended as a cure for the common cold, but the American Lung Association denounced this because alcoholic beverages cause dehydration. Yeah, whatever.
Though a seemingly simple recipe, concocting the best hot toddy is an art. You’d be surprised how disappointing a toddy can be – especially when you’re paying $8 for what tastes like hot water with lemon. Luckily, the bartenders in this neighborhood know what they’re doing and tend to be plenty generous when it comes to pouring whiskey.
Runner Up:Greenpoint Heights, 278 Nassau Avenue
Props to the hidden dive bar on the corner for having hot water ready to go upon my arrival. Also, I’m sending a virtual fist pump to the bartender for pouring half a mug-full of Evan Williams before adding the water, cinnamon stick and lemon with cloves. THIS toddy would cure a common cold. And knock you on your ass. Heights’ hot toddy isn’t trying to be anything special. It needs honey. I did like the holiday teddy bear mug, though. And I hear this place has great tacos.
Runner Up: Black Rabbit, 91 Greenpoint Avenue
First, let me point out that Black Rabbit wins for coziest, most perfect toddy ambience. Fireplace? Check. Twinkly lights? Check. This is an ideal place to escape a cold winter night. My biggest problem with their recipe is the use of scotch instead of whiskey. Huh? It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t my favorite. Rabbit’s excessive use of lemon made the toddy too bitter for my liking. Additional ingredients include honey syrup (equal parts honey and water, boiled and cooled), Tetley’s black tea bag, cinnamon stick and a clove-studded lemon slice.
Third Place: Berry Park, 4 Berry Street
“Jameson. Fresh lemon. Honey.” That’s what the menu reads. There’s not much else to say about it. Berry Park’s toddy fits the traditional definition best. It’s simple and delicious and not trying to be fancy. It had just the right amount of each ingredient.
Second Place: Spritzenhaus, 33 Nassau Avenue
For the record, Spritzenhaus almost came in first. I lucked out with a bartender who is extremely passionate about his hot toddy making. His trick: Coat the bottom of the glass (not a mug) with lots of honey. He used Barton’s whiskey, which sounds worse than it tastes, I promise. The honey disguised it well. You can certainly request better whiskey if you prefer. Spritz’s toddy also included a lemon wedge with cloves in it and a cinnamon stick. Fireplaces and Jenga definitely added to this Greenpoint beer garden’s hot toddy perfection. Bravo, Spritzenhaus. Bravo!
WINNER: Enid’s, 560 Manhattan Avenue
Enid’s serves a perfectly whiskeyed and perfectly sweetened toddy that’s easy on the lemon (despite the use of lemon juice and a lemon wedge) and sans both cinnamon and honey. The secret ingredient that makes this toddy so goddamn delightful is…wait for it…maple syrup! In addition to its deliciousness, the hundreds of handmade snowflakes hanging from the ceiling and the still-standing-in-January Christmas tree provided the ultimate winter atmosphere. Enid’s toddy isn’t on the menu, but ask and you shall receive. Congrats, Enid’s!
The Enid’s Magic Recipe:
1 Part Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1 Part Fresh Squeezed Meyer Lemon Juice
1 Part Grade B Maple Syrup
2 Parts Boiling Water
Update 8/27/11: Due to the impending Hurricane (!) this event has been reschedule to Saturday September 17, 2011.
Florencia emailed about a North Brooklyn scavenger hunt taking place this Saturday and it promises to be a fun experiment in exploration. Plus the starting line is at a bar, so it’s off to a good beginning in my opinion!
RAIDERS OF THE LOST mccarren PARK
You are invited to the first North Brooklyn-wide Scavenger Hunt! This event is open to the public and free! Bring your friends and get ready to collect/photograph/perform your way down the list! There will be prizes!
What: Scavenger Hunt in North Brooklyn!
When: The Hunt begins on Saturday, August 27thSeptember 17th at 3pm
Where: Meet at Berry Park (4 Berry Street at N 14th St) for the list and instructions
How: In teams of up to 4 people! (Make sure to bring a digital camera/smart phone!)
Why: Because it’s time you got to know your neighborhood even more!
For any questions, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Berry Park is hosting Musical Bingo next Thursday 3/31 – I gotta admit I am a fan of Bingo. But maybe dungeon church basements with old ladies ain’t your thing…
Musical Bingo is like normal bingo except instead of calling out numbers we play songs! Join American presenter Jess Indeedy and the ever-eclectic British gent DJ Helix as they take you on a musical tour. Cross the songs off your bingo card when you hear them, and compete to win some amazing (and kitsch) prizes! Game themes include Motown, Drinking Songs, 80s, Dance Anthems, Yacht Rock, 70s, and many more.
This addictive competition is incredibly popular in London and at the major UK music festivals, and finally we’re coming to Brooklyn! Grab your friends and come down to Berry Park on Thursday, March 30th at 8pm for a night of big tunes, huge prizes and unabashed fun. To find out more about us please visit http://www.musical-bingo.com/.