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
• Collaborative Means@ Flux Factory (39-31 29th St, LIC) 7pm, FREE, A series of artists working collaboratively and collectively, relying on cooperative strategies for the realization of ambitious projects. Talks, screenings, and live performances. More info
• Smiths Karaoke@ Black Rabbit (91 Greenpoint) 8pm, 2 mics & some Cure songs available, too.
• Public Hearing: Open Space Alliance@ Swinging Sixties Senior Center (211 Ainslie) 6:30-8pm, discuss relocation East River State Park Concerts
• Pretty Things Babayaga Launch Party @ Brouwerij Lane (78 Greenpoint) 7-10pm, Jim Garnes spins you favorite soviet hits
• The L Mag & Northside Festival’s A Very Unofficial CMJ Party @ Cameo Gallery (93 N 6th St) 1:30pm-4:30pm, FREE, performances by Hunters, PUJOL, Widowspeak, Forest Fire & Heavenly Eat
• Supper Club @ Greenpoint Reformed Church (106 Milton) 6:30pm, $20, 4 Course Vegetarian Meal with Cocktails, plus performance by Holler, Benefits Soup Kitchen, RVSP annefay (at) gmail.com. More info
• Open Call Show @ Greenpoint Gallery (390 McGuinness) 8pm, Open Call for Artists in all Mediums, win $200 & solo exhibition, More info
• Ugly Art Room Presents All That Remains @ Picture Farm (338 Wythe) Opening Reception 7-9pm, An International Collage Exhibition of Epic Proportions, Sponsored by Narragansett beer, Music by DJ Ning Nong RSVP
• BK Diggers 150th Anniversary Celebration @ McGolrick Park, 1-4pm, a collective of activists, artists and historians whose aim is to reclaim the psycho geography of our neighborhoods and expose ignored perspectives in history
• Vibes to Touch Open Mic & Art Show @ TBD (224 Franklin) 9pm, FREE, Performance by Aisling Peartree, Artwork by Rico Tomas, Poetry By: Fiya, Ada Reyes, Bert Tejeda, D.Limones, Jendog LoneWolf RSVP
• 48 HRS @ Camel Art Space (722 Metropolitan) 12pm-12am, artists meet for a marathon art-making session, sleep over in the space and exhibit their work the next day. The entire event will take place over a 48-Hrs, RSVP
• Newtown Creek Boat Tours @ Pier 17 South Street Seaport, 10-12/1-3, $10. Charter tours the length of the Newtown Creek. Buy Tickets
• Brokelyn.com’s Brokedown Throwdown @ Public Assembly (70 N6) 3-7pm, $5, Sixpoint Open Bar 3-4pm, “Yo Momma So Broke” Contest, Costume Contest, Mushroom Ride
• Carve for Farms Benefit @ Warsaw (261 Driggs) 4-8pm, $10 Kids/$12 Adults, a Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA pumkin carving and food fest benefit for farms devastated by Hurricane Irene. Pumpkin Pierogis!
• The Mac Off @ Huckleberry Bar (588 Grand) 5-8pm, $10 to judge & eat, Free to compete: email info (at) theclaque.org, proceeds benefit The ClaqueRSVP
• County Fair Opening Party @ Orange Marmalade (421 Graham) 6-9pm, Vintage Men’s & Women’s, Kitchenware, Oddities, Whisky! More info
• Momofuku Milk Bar Book Event with Christina Tosi @ The Brooklyn Kitchen (100 Frost) Christina will show you some of her sweet and savory recipes and you can get a signed copy of the book at a discount, RSVP
• EPA Newtown Creek Superfund Public Meetings @ St. Nick’s Alliance (2 Kingsland, Garden Level) 20m, 4pm, 7pm, 9pm, An informal public info session hosted by the EPA to discuss upcoming field work at the Newtown Creek Superfund site as part of the first phase of the remedial investigation. EPA representatives will be available to answer questions.
It’s way too hot out there to do anything other than enjoy the air conditioning, have a few beers and enjoy Bingo with Bobby Tisdale at Black Rabbit.
BOBBY BINGO TONIGHT – 8pm!
Excellent prizes – including VIP passes to Eugene Mirman’s show at the Williamsburg Waterfront. Golden Dobber winner will be named tonight as well. Don’t miss it. What else can you do in this heat. Drink beer and play bingo!
Thursday July 21, 2011 at 8pm Black Rabbit
91 Greenpoint Avenue
I want to give a shout out congratulations to Kent, Anne and Kathy of Black Rabbit Bar for being featured in Time Out New York under Cozy Party Bars – I love those guys! I’m also definitely going to be checking out their Bingo Night one Sunday very, very soon!
Sandwiched between Polish discotheques and Spartan tenements, this brand-new old-world bar is nirvana for the brainiacs. Ale-buzzed groups of six or eight twentysomethings rhapsodize about literature, philosophy (no, really, they actually were) and whatever downer is moping its way over the stereo (Joy Division, Arcade Fire), huddled around the fireplace and piled into deep booths cordoned off with saloon-style doors. Couples fuel this intimate party with their quiet chatter at the mammoth cherrywood bar, while a fully restored vintage TV flickers silently in the corner.
TIP: Quiet intellectualism not your thing? Pursue hilarity instead at the bar’s comedian-hosted bingo night, Sundays from 7 to 10pm. Average drink: $7. 91 Greenpoint Ave between Franklin St and Manhattan Ave, Greenpoint, Brooklyn (718-349-1595).
We caught Erasure at McCarren Park on Friday night and being my first time at the venue, I gotta say I liked it. I’m not a huge Erasure fan, basically I can get down with Oh L’Amor and Chains Of Love – after that I’m pretty clueless.
It was fun enough – big thumbs up for Brooklyn Summer Ale being served. But I was really pleased with the size of the venue. Not anywhere near crowded or claustrophobic and there was a great view from everywhere. Note to self: Must bring something to lay on next time as the concrete can be pretty fucking scratchy. I haven’t had this many cuts and scrapes since I was ten.
Afterwards we headed to Black Rabbit where we were ‘recognized’ for the first time. Cathy from Black Rabbit knew me and GG were the Greenpointers bloggers. Ah, our first taste of fame.