Ugly Duckling

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Uglyduckling. 166 Smith St. between Wyckoff and Warren streets in Cobble Hill. F/G trains to Bergen St. (718) 451–3825, www.uglyd‌uckli‌ng-bk.com‎. Open Mon–Sat, 11:30 am–2 am; Sun, noon–1 am.

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Montana’s Trail House

barscrawl-montanas

Montana’s Trail House. 445 Troutman St. at Saint Nicholas Avenue in Bushwick. L train to Jefferson. (917) 966–1666. www.montanastrailhouse.com‎.Open Mon–Fri, 3 pm–4 am; Sat, 11 am–4 am; Sun, 11 am–midnight.

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The Gorbals at Urban Outfitters

barscrawl-gorbals

The Gorbals. 98 N. Sixth St. between Berry Street and Wythe Avenue in Williamsburg. L train to Bedford. (718) 387–0195. www.thegorbalsbk.com‎. Restaurant open daily, 5:30 pm–midnight. Third floor bar open daily, 3 pm–2 am. Roof bar open Mon–Thu, 3 pm–11 pm; Fri, Sat, noon–midnight; Sun, noon–6 pm.

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Art Show at Supercollider!

I’ve got a Bar Scrawl art show up at Supercollider bar this month!

There’s an opening party on Friday, Sept. 5th from 7pm-11pm. Come by and check out the art!

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I’ll be sketching people, and there will be some drink specials! And if you can’t make it, the art will be up all month!

Supercollider is at 609 Fourth Ave., between 17th and 18th streets in Park Slope – just a half-block from the Prospect Avenue R train stop.

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And I made a special print for the show:

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It’s called: Pre-Manhattan Still Life.

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Sugarburg

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Sugarburg. 519 Metropolitan Ave. at Union Avenue in Williamsburg. L or G train to Metropolitan/Lorimer. (718) 599–1219‎]. Open Sun–Thu, 5 pm–2 am; Fri, Sat, 5 pm–4 am.

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MCC: Whistling Through History

My next event was Whistling Through History – a talk about the history of rye whiskey sponsored by Toasting the Town, a weekly email list about NYC history and cool events happening around the town (free to sign up at that link!). That covers the History.

As for Whistling:

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Yep, Whistle Pig was also a sponsor. The first time I ordered this whiskey, I did it just because of the name – but then I discovered that it’s really good!

The event was on the lower level of the Park Avenue Tavern, where I also found:
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These private taps seem like they’d be a threat to my liver and my wallet, but I’d still like to get some friends together and take over a booth.

Anyway, Sonoma County Distilling had some really nice whiskey, and it should be available in NYC now. And we got to try straight samples of their 3 whiskeys (rye, wheat, and corn), and mixed drinks made with their rye from the bar (more on that later).

Unfortunately for the history portion of the evening, the space was not set up for a lecture. I heard a few interesting tidbits (George Washington made rye whiskey! They used to filter whiskey with blankets!), but I could barely hear through the post-work Midtown crowd, and I could see even less. The speaker cut it off after less than 10 minutes. :(

Then it just became an open bar with Sonoma rye, which was a great concept… but the drinks were terrible. This is NOT, I must emphasize, the fault of the whiskey. The bartenders just didn’t know what they were doing – I got an Old-Fashioned with a dumptruck of sugar, muddled with cherries, and topped with club soda(!). It was undrinkable. So I went back to the bar:

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(I don’t actually care that much about stirred v. shaken – it was just one more thing wrong.) The ingredients ratio was the real problem:

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Glady’s

barscrawl-gladys

Glady’s. 788 Franklin Ave. at Lincoln Place in Crown Heights. 2/3 or 4/5 train to Franklin Ave. (718) 622–0249‎. www.gladysnyc.com. Open for lunch Fri–Tue, noon–3 pm. Open for dinner Mon–Thu, 5:30 pm–11 pm; Fri, Sat 5:30 pm–midnight; Sun, 5:30 pm–10:30 pm.

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Other Half Brewing tap room

barscrawl-otherhalf

Other Half Brewing Company. 195 Centre St. between Smith Street and Hamilton Avenue in Carroll Gardens. F/G train to Smith/9th St. (347) 987–3527‎, www.otherhalfbrewing.com. Open Fri, 5 pm–9 pm; Sat, noon–8 pm; Sun, noon–6 pm.

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A bit more on bitters

barscrawl-bitters

Brooklyn Bitters is in the process of locating a new production spot (And, said Mark “It’s a pretty boring process behind the scenes – the excitement starts when you start drinking it!”

Hella Bitters started in Williamsburg, but it recently made the jump to Long Island City. I wandered through an industrial stretch of the neighborhood to meet the founders and check out their spot, which was filled floor to ceiling with spices and other aromatics.

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Hella Bitters is currently running a Kickstarter for its “Craft Your Own Bitters” kit. It ends in 21 hours (I really should have finished this earlier), so move quick if you want one!

In other news, the bar “Extra Fancy” in Williamsburg also has drinks made with both kinds of bitters!

Hella Bitters: hellabitters.com.

Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters: www.brooklynbitters.com.

Noormans Kil. 609 Grand St., between Lorimer Street and Leonard Street in Williamsburg.  (347) 384-2526, noormanskil.com/.

Biblio. 149 N. 6th St., between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street in Williamsburg, (718) 384-8200, bibliobrooklyn.com

Extra Fancy. 302 Metropolitan Ave., at Roebling Street. (347) 524-0939. http://www.extrafancybklyn.com/

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MCC2014: Vermouth!

I don’t like vermouth. I like some drinks that contain vermouth, but… it’s kind of like salt. It can be an ingredient, but you’d never consume it on its own.

But there are some people who disagree with me (I know! I was shocked too!), and so I went to the panel “Great American Vermouth Revival: Elevating Classic and Modern Cocktails”, in hopes that learning more about it would increase my appreciation.

The first tid-bit, from vermouth maker Adam Ford of Atsby Vermouth, is that the FDA definition of vermouth is:

“an aromatized, fortified wine with the characteristic flavor of vermouth.”

In other words:

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Obviously, that leaves a lot of leeway when it comes to flavor. Generally vermouth is divided into “sweet” (Italian) or “dry” (French), but American vermouth makers have been developing a unique take on it. Franky Marshall, bartender at the Dead Rabbit, said:

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Also, the name comes from the German word for “wormwood.” Neat.

The panel also spent some time discussion the martini. Some of the oldest recipes call for 2-to-1 vermouth-to-gin, but today it’s usually 1-to-3 – and mid-20th Century drinkers changed that to 1-to-7, 1-to-15, or even less. Let’s face it, every story you’ve ever heard about the martini is about how little vermouth people can put in it.

But the ultra-dry martini is a mistake that’s become a bit of folklore. Amy Zavatto, from Edible Manhtattan, said:

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Another reason for the public’s aversion to vermouth: It goes bad. Vermouth is a wine, so once the bottle opens, it’s going to turn sour and bad in a few weeks. Most people’s first experience with vermouth is a dusty bottle from the back of the liquor cabinet that’s half-turned to vinegar.

Bianca Miraglia, founder of Uncouth Vermouth, gets frustrated when people ask exactly how long a bottle of vermouth will last if kept in the fridge:

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Several repeats of this experiment established that vermouth is just not the drink for me.

But at least I learned enough to toss out my parents’ ancient, opened bottles of vermouth when I went to visit last week. And I’ll get some fresh stuff for my next Manhattan!

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