Bars

Craft Spirits Made in Brooklyn: New York Distilling Company and The Shanty Bar

The New York Distilling Company specializes in craft gin and rye whiskey.
New York Distilling Company specializes in craft gin and rye whiskey.

On a recent bitterly cold Sunday afternoon, I forced myself out of my toasty apartment, dressed my hound in his finest sweater and headed to New York Distilling Company in Williamsburg (79 Richardson St.), where they open their doors not only to people but to the dogs of North Brooklyn for an afternoon of spirits and fun. Fittingly enough, the distillery opened in 2011 on the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. We sure are grateful that we don’t have to hide our booze anymore and can openly imbibe in the comfort of their intimate attached bar, The Shanty.

The Shanty offers a cozy place to enjoy the spirits produced in-house as well as a full service bar.
The Shanty offers a cozy place to enjoy the spirits produced in-house as well as a full-service bar.

Coziness is the ideal against which I tend to judge all establishments, and this bar definitely met my expectations. The dark wood is complimented by the glow of soft lighting, a wall of liquor bottles reflecting back the warmth. Although I didn’t receive a particularly warm greeting from the bartender, he did treat each cocktail with care. With hands still half-frozen from the early arrival of winter in New York, I was delighted to see a hot toddy on the menu. It was subtly satisfying, if lacking a bit in the honey department, and presented with star anise, just like I make it for guests. The Shanty boasts a full bar with reasonably priced cocktails, and are kind enough to include several craft beer options for the beer enthusiasts among us. There are plenty of comfortable seating options, all complete with a view into the distillery where the magic happens.

Dogs are welcome at the New York Distilling Company on Dog Day Sundays from 2-6pm
Dogs are welcome at New York Distilling Company on Dog Day Sundays from 2-6pm

After enjoying the warmth of the toddies and taking in the pleasant background music—from a genre I would label Southern Speakeasy—we headed into the back room where the distilling takes place. Although not heated, there were plenty of people bundled up, warming themselves with cocktails and laughter while a spunky dog ran around the open space with glee. An employee quickly greeted us and invited us to sample the spirits made in that very room. We started with their Dorothy Parker American Gin, fittingly named after the beloved, quick-witted satirist who once said, “I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem.” This is a uniquely sippable gin, citrusy and herbaceous on the palate, and thankfully devoid of any liquor burn. It’s easy to see why Dorothy Parker is the top-selling gin distilled in New York. Their next gin, Perry’s Tot, was described to us as “navy-strength.” I balked a bit at that description on a Sunday afternoon but was pleased to discover that although the burn was there from the 57% ABV, it also is quite flavorful with warm notes of baking spices layered atop the juniper.

The NY Distilling company offers tours on weekends.
The NY Distilling company offers tours on weekends.

We then moved on to an interesting concoction, the Chief Gowanus, which is an up-and-coming spirit (attention, hipsters!): aged gin. The Chief Gowanus is made from a rye distillate with juniper and cluster hops before being aged in oak barrels for 3-6 months. The recipe dates back to 1809 and has been brilliantly adapted by the ­­­­team behind New York Distilling Co. It should work equally well in cocktails that are traditionally made with either gin or rye. After a breather to play with the pups running around, we finished off our tasting with a sample of Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye, a 4-year-old rye whiskey. Our guide was very excited to introduce this to us—just think, they’ve been waiting four years to share this with their public! This fairly young rye is finished with rock candy sugar and bing cherries. While I personally can’t handle the slightest hint of cherry in my liquor, the taste of cough syrup haunting my childhood, everyone else loved this spirit and I ended up buying one as a gift. It certainly has a unique, sweet flavor and is exceptionally approachable. Best of all, it was made right here in our beloved backyard.

The whole process, from distilliation to bottling takes place in-house.
The whole process, from distillation to bottling takes place in-house.

The back room at the distillery is a fantastic place to hang out with picnic tables and a festive vibe, right by the action. The entire distilling process takes place right here, from distillation to barrel-aging to bottling. They offer tours on Saturdays at 2:30, 3:30, and 5pm. Bring your dog and enjoy an indoor picnic surrounded by oak barrels and expectation. They’ve created a friendly community in which you can hang out with old friends, make some new friends, and play Jenga. What more could you ask for? If it gets too cold, The Shanty provides a warm respite, complete with knowledgeable bartenders who are ready to whip up something tasty for you and pour a water for your dog. We think this is a pretty spectacular addition to the neighborhood, don’t you?

The Shanty is located at 79 Richardson Street (between Leonard & Lorimer) They are open Monday 6pm-12am, Tuesday to Thursday 6pm-2am, Friday 5pm-2am, and Saturday and Sunday 2pm-12am.

New York Distilling Company tours are Saturdays 2:30, 3:30, and 5:00pm, with Dog Day being on Sundays 2-6pm.

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Greenpoint Cocktail Becomes As Famous As The Neighborhood Itself

screen-shot-2016-10-23-at-5-51-27-pmI was reading an article on eleven of the hottest cocktails from around the globe in the New York Times when the article mentioned a new drink that is all the rage: the Greenpoint.

Though it pains me as a proud Brooklynite, the Greenpoint is a variation on the famous cocktail the Manhattan. The drink, created by Michael McIlory at NYC’s legendary Milk and Honey, gets it name because the Chartreuse that is its main ingredient creates a green hue.

So, what goes into a Greenpoint? The drink consists of two ounces of rye whiskey and a half ounce of yellow Chartreuse. Then add another half ounce of sweet vermouth. The last two ingredients are pinches of angostura bitters and orange bitters. Take all the ingredients and put them in a mixing glass with ice. Next, stir and strain it into a cocktail glass. Finally, top it off with a lemon twist garnish. Continue reading

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Six Great Spots to Cheer on the Mets in the NL Wild Card Game Tonight

After making it all the way to the World Series last year, the New York Mets have a shot at playoff baseball for the second season in a row. They face off against the San Francisco Giants in the National League wild card game at Citi Field at 8:09pm tonight. This is do-or-die time for the Mets, as the loser of this game will hang up their cleats until next season and the winner will advance to the NLDS vs. the Chicago Cubs. It’s a home game, Mets ace Noah Syndergaard is on the mound, and the forecast calls for perfect baseball weather this evening. Now, all we can do is raise a cold glass of beer to the Amazins and hope for the best tonight. In order to help you do that, we thought we’d put together a little list of some of the best Mets/baseball hot spots around (or close to) Greenpoint!

pj-leahys Continue reading

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Introducing Bullet Mouth: Greenpointers’ New Advice Column

Bullet Mouth is Greenpointers’ new advice column, here to answer your questions on life’s many vexing issues.

greenpointers_bullet-mouth-advice_going-out
Raise a glass to living within your means.

Dear Bullet Mouth:
I have a group of friends who love to go out to dinner and out to bars all the time, which is great, as I love to socialize and be out on the town too.
The problem is, lately I’ve been a little on the broke side and can’t afford the same lifestyle. I want to see people and be involved, but how do I avoid forking over serious cash every night?
—Cash-Strapped on Calyer

Dear Cash-Strapped on Calyer: Everyone I know has this problem. Like you, they either can’t afford night-after-night out or, if they can, feel guilty about it because they should be saving more or engaging in healthier activities. You are absolutely not a special snowflake in this regard.

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Where To Watch The Debate In North Brooklyn Tonight!

2016-debates-illustration-by-m-penmann
Whichever candidate you’re voting for or voting against, or even if you’re one of those jerks abstaining in protest, the presidential debates this year should make for some damn good trainwreck TV. ::gets popcorn::

The debate will start at 9pm and is slated to last 90 minutes, commercial-free. Next week there will be a vice presidential debate on October 4, and then two more presidential debates on October 9 and October 19.

Here’s a roundup of where you can watch the debates tonight in North Brooklyn.

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Endless Summer: The Search for the Perfect Frozen Cocktail

Does the end of summer have you feeling blue? Unfeel all your feels and keep that summer vibe going with these tasty frozen cocktails served long after your tan fades.

Frozen White Sangria - Northern Territory
Frozen White Sangria – Northern Territory

Northern Territory
12 Franklin St., Greenpoint

Frozen White Sangria $12
Enjoy this frozen White Sangria with a killer view of Manhattan from this north Brooklyn rooftop. Additional frozen cocktails on rotation.

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The Brooklyn Barge is Officially Open For Summer!

photo via @thebrooklynbarge Instagram
photo via @thebrooklynbarge/Instagram

Late last summer, Greenpoint got its own waterfront boozy destination when The Brooklyn Barge opened right off of Transmitter Park, and it quickly became the perfect spot for chill evenings on the water. Despite being closed for few weeks after Memorial Day weekend, they’re open and ready for business once again with local beers on tap and a revamped food menu. And it just was announced that they’ll be throwing a Fourth of July party for the Macy’s fireworks show!!
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Where to Drink Outdoors During This Two Day Heat Wave

Lobster Joint Backyard
Lobster Joint’s beer garden (courtesy their Facebook page)

Greenpoint (and pretty much all of NYC) will be experiencing record breaking temps of almost 70 degrees over the next two days. It’s March, people. Are you ready to strip off those coats? Here are some of our favorite outdoor spots in Greenpoint where you can soak up some of that good ol’ Vitamin E.

Lobster Joint – 1073 Manhattan Ave.
Open from noon every day, they’ve got a lovely New Englandy open air beer garden in the back of their seafood restaurant. Grub on a lobster roll and chill out with a beer.

More hotspots after the jump… Continue reading

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Five Winter Workouts You Might Actually Do

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Check out Greenpoint’s weirdest (and coolest) winter workouts. Photo credit, clockwise from the top left: © Greenpoint Grappling Club, Rebecca Stevens, Williamsburg Touch Rugby, Streb, BrooklynPaper, and HollywoodStunts.

If you’re like me, your New Year’s resolution (if you made one at all) is already abandoned, and training for a half-marathon has been replaced with a snowy sprint to the bodega.

Never fear, my fellow hibernating, chubby, and cocooned Greenpointers! Below is a list of 5 fitness programs bizarre enough to get you out of the apartment and maybe even in shape before winter’s over, without even having to get on the subway: Continue reading

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Local Boozehound Vows Daily Drinking Blog; Wife Reportedly Just Thrilled

IMG_91659 (1)As the new year approached, it dawned on Greenpoint resident J.P. Grace that he needed a challenge–specifically, a challenge firmly grounded in the consumption of adult beverages. Bravely acknowledging the dangerous deficiency of brown liquor in his diet, Grace took upon himself a solemn vow: to drink an Old Fashioned every single day of this Year of Our Lord 2015, and to blog daily about the experience.

Like many of us, Grace finds the 19th century cocktail strangely alluring, and worthy of an extended study. “The interesting contradiction is that there are so few ingredients, yet so many variations on ways to make it,” he observes while stirring two glasses of his favorite take on the concoction.* “No two bars make them exactly the same, and every bartender seems to have an opinion about how it should be made.” Continue reading

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