Karina’s latest hobby is mixolgy. She has begun experimenting with different cocktails at home and is pouring over literature to make herself the most accomplished amateur mixologist in Queens. It makes sense that the best way to learn which drinks you fancy and how to make them is by getting out there and trying them. We made a date last Tuesday to do a little research and hit up two bars that specialize in bespoke cocktails to see if they would inspire Karina.
The second bar was Death and Co., but I’ve already written about that one so check out the previous post via it’s hyperlinked name. The first bar we went to was Amor y Amargo, which is actually owned by the Death and Co. crew. While Death and Co. has a little of everything, all of their subsequent ventures have a distinct specialty: Cienfuegos = Cuban and rum, Mayahuel = Mexican and tequila/mezcal, and Amor y Amargo = bitters. Bitters are technically digestifs but are usually used to flavor drinks vs. being the drink itself. Apparently, there all sorts of artisinal bitters out there, most of which are made in Brooklyn (go fig). At Amor y Amargo there are about 30 different types of bitters on hand ranging in flavor from rhubarb to burlesque bitters. When I told the bartender I was a whiskey drinker and in the mood for something seasonal (since last night was the first night the cold weather really made its presence known), he directed me to the smut peddler which was a whiskey based cocktail featuring cinnamon, among other flavors. Forget a blanket on cold nights – this drink will warm you right up.
The bar is small. Real small. There’s only room for about 15 people total. The benefit to this is that it allows the bartender to really concentrate on making your personal drink absolutely perfect. There was much precision that went into the drinks and that takes time. The only way he was able to devote such time was because he wasn’t backed up with orders since the bar can’t accommodate a crowd. The downside to the small bar was that it became that much more evident that the staff was not super friendly. They were by no means rude and I’m not asking for a banner when I walk in the door, but it when there are only 8 people inside the whole place, it’s pretty evident that they’re not making conversation or checking if you’re ready to order.
In addition to finding a new under-the-radar bar, I was happy to support downtown businesses that are recovering post Sandy. All in the foodie industry are urging New Yorkers to “eat down, tip up” and I was happy to oblige.