Modern Lambrusco is working hard to shed the decades-old scars of consumer contempt, and we owe it a clean slate to win the skeptics over.
Our tips for finding wines that'll make the best summer dishes—burgers, lobster rolls, tomato salads, and more—taste even better.
The weather's warming up and you need rosé. But not all pink wines are created equal: some are dark and juicy, others are pale, fresh, and lean. Some go with salads, others suggest you throw some burgers on the grill. Here are our current favorite bottles.
As you start planning spring's first picnic, these are the wines you want.
"The concept for the digestifs at Piora first came about because our head bartender, Shinya Yamao, had this idea to create a dessert cocktail featuring banana and rum but wanted to do it without any added sugar or fruit juice," explains Simon Kim, owner and general manager of Piora in New York's West Village. The logistics didn't seem clear until Yamao came across the Oji Water Dripper, a Japanese cold drip coffee machine that allows the consumer to control the level of extraction.
At Saul's new home at the Brooklyn Museum, they've introduced a brunch and lunch service with a new list of cocktails to match.
A sherry-based daiquiri, four different gin and tonics, and more at the new Toro spinoff in Chelsea, with Spanish-inspired food from the chefs behind Boston's Clio, Uni, and Coppa.
"All of our food items are intended to be paired directly with our cocktails, wine, and beer," explains Sother Teague, the creative force behind the cocktails at the new Cobble Hill spot Bergen Hill. The fish-focused restaurant and cocktail bar is owned by Ravi DeRossi, who's known for Death & Co., Mayahuel, Amor y Amargo, Gin Palace, and others.
"The story of Grace O'Malley is one I've been wanting to tell for a long time," says co-owner Danny McDonald of the inspiration behind the just-opened Murray Hill spot, Grace Gaelic Hospitality. "This is our tribute to the Pirate Queen of Ireland, her life's story, and to the history of Gaelic hospitality."
To pair with fish sauce wings, five-spice pig ear strips, and sour pork riblets, you'll find fruit-forward drinks—developed primarily by Andy Ricker and Dave Kaufman.
A peek at the new cocktails from Thor Bergquist at the Lower East Side hotspot Experimental Cocktail Club.
"My inspiration comes from my roots—the south of France—the great mentors I have, and my family," explains Laurent Kalkotour, chef of the recently opened Brooklyn spot, Atrium in the old Governor space.
In drinks at Atrium Dumbo, designed by PDT alum Payman Bahmani and Alexander LaPratt, a veteran of Jean-Georges and db Bistro Moderne, you'll find everything from exotic citrus and spices (kalamansi, ras el hanout) to everyday kitchen staples (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, bread.)
The Breslin's new cocktail menu includes everything from the adventurous Over the Edge, which features a pineapple-rosemary shrub made with lacto-fermented kimchi juice, to an easy-drinking variation on the French 75.
"We're trying to tell a story of distillation in our drinks and on our menu," says Benjamin Wood, bartender at the newly opened TriBeCa spot, Distilled NY. The story, Wood says, is about "that process of starting out with one thing and transforming it into something new."
"I like to make drinks that read on the menu like they shouldn't work, and then when you try them you're totally blown away by how it comes together," says says Saul Ranella, head bartender of the newly opened craft cocktail and beer bar Battery Harris in Williamsburg.
Drinks at the recently opened West Village restaurant are grouped not by style or ingredient but by texture, falling under one of four categories: Linen, Silk, Velvet, and Leather. Raphael Reyes, formerly of 1534 and the Experimental Cocktail Club, is head bartender, though he is quick to note that the list is very much a collaborative effort with his team, which includes veterans from Pegu Club and Pouring Ribbons.
Having spent the last few years of his professional career in downtown Manhattan and Brooklyn—his resume includes Eleven Madison Park, Atera, and most recently, Aska—Midtown is more or less uncharted waters for Eamon Rockey. While the general theme at Betony is "classics with a delicate twist," that's not to say there aren't some progressive (read: geeky) touches on the menu.
"The whole idea behind the program was to create drinks that would complement the food but also drink well on their own," explains Phil Ward, the brains behind the revamped cocktails at the recently reopened Fatty 'Cue in Williamsburg. Which is to say that all those things one looks for in good barbecue—smoke, spice, acidity, and yes, even meat—have made their way on to the new cocktail menu here.
"What I loved about developing this menu is that my imagination really wasn't stifled," says head bartender Moses Laboy, a 16-year New York City bar veteran whose resume includes Red Rooster and Donatella. "What's cool is that we take these five different Latin spirits [tequila, mezcal, rum, cachaça, and pisco] and show each of them in three different preparation styles."
"With the new spring cocktail list there's a big change in terms of seasonality, of course—things that are lighter, more refreshing—but also a philosophical shift where we're focused on making drinks that are more cohesive with the food," explains Sean Kelly, bar manager at NoHo's Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria.
The latest from the folks behind the Mulberry Project and the Vinatta Project, this newly minted Greenwich Village spot is debuting with a cocktail list that aims to strike a balance between the accessible and the geeky. "I needed to come up with drinks that fit the season of, 'it's April, spring is here, but oh yeah, it just snowed last week,'" says cocktail director John McCarthy. His current solution for the season's bi-polar weather antics: focusing on vegetal and herbaceous flavors.
The cocktails at this new uptown restaurant were designed by New York Distilling Company's Allen Katz, and they're all named after the Duke's tunes.
They say that necessity is the mother of invention. At the freshly opened Bowery restaurant Pearl & Ash, the need was for a list of cocktails that fit within the constraints of the space's wine and beer license. Their creative solution? A collection of mixed drinks that feature beer and fortified wines like sherry, port, and vermouth as the base ingredient.
One way to keep the pretention to a minimum at your serious cocktail bar? Build it above a no-frills pub specializing in Irish whiskey and draft beer. At The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog, the Financial District's newest drinking destination, you'll find exactly that—thoughtfully-crafted period cocktails upstairs, and well-poured pints at a belly-up kind of bar on the ground floor.
Difficult as it may be to remember, there was a time, not so long ago, before classic cocktails were commonplace and "secret entrance" neo-speakeasies were the norm. Such was the case in 2004 when Employees Only opened its (not so obvious) doors in the West Village.
"This is very much a personal project for us - it tells a story of where we're from," explains Will Horowitz, head chef of East Village newcomer, Ducks Eatery. You might think it a pretty likely sounding story for a restaurant until you learn that the "where" in this case is a decidedly unlikely collection of influences spanning from New Orleans and Southeast Asia to New England and the West coast.
It might be easy to come to Lulu & Po, the small plates joint that opened in Fort Greene this past June, and overlook the cocktail menu. After all, it only has four items. But bar manager Gerrett White, an alum of Belcourt in the East Village, makes it clear that these chosen few were selected with care.
At Botanica in Red Hook, the cocktails marry the flavors of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean—a nod to the heritage of owner Daniel Preston, whose parents are Dominican and Italian. "Most of the drinks draw on the ingredients and flavor profiles of those areas, but hopefully bring them somewhere new and interesting," explains bartender Dan Carlson.