Articles Tagged: New York City


Gin News [November 8th, 2013]

homemade xmas gin

A quiet week in the world of gin. If the change in the weather, or  the sudden appearance of red ribbons and green trees at local retailers hasn’t hinted otherwise, perhaps the two gin launches we have to note will remind you, “the holidays are right around the corner….”

What’s New?

Who was talking about gin this week?

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Gin Reviews

Perry’s Tot Navy Strength Gin

perry tot thumb

Perry’s Tot?

As with New York Distilling Company’s other gin offerings [Dorothy Parker, Chief Gowanus] a history lesson is necessary to get the reference:

Matthew Perry was a Commodore in the U.S. Navy. He rose in the ranks of the Navy in part due to his efforts in the War of 1812, where he nearly died when a shot caused a cannon to burst. He later was stationed in Key West, and in the mid 1830’s in the New York Navy Yard. His accomplishments in his later life including being an outspoken advocate for modernizing the navy (hail Steam!) and his work in helping Japan open to the West.

He died in 1858 of Rheumatism, and complications caused by [gulp] alcoholism. So gin fans, let’s enjoy Perry’s Tot responsibly, alright? For Perry?

Now on to the Gin

As a reminder, this is Navy Strength. 114 Proof. So expect a punch on the nose and on the palate.

The nose has a nice gin like stability, juniper, orange and a hint of cinnamon. Believe it or not, it does not have a strong nose in the way that other Navy strength gin often have.

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Bar Programs are a dime a dozen at restaurants these days, with every looking to be a little bit of “everything” to everyone. But focused bar programs, those are exceptionally hard to find. So although I would say, Oceana’s selection of other spirits are quite good in some places [whiskey?] their gin program stands head and shoulders above. Because it’s not just the gin selection which is stellar, but the attention paid to gin’s two major drinks which everyone knows that helps Oceana stand out as a place for a gin drinker in New York City to seek out.

First, the selection. It was excellent, with almost 50 gins spanning both sides of the Atlantic. Most stunning to me was that they had Berkshire Mountain’s Ethereal Gin Batch No. 4 as one of their more inexpensive options. An out of production, never to be seen again, excellent gin just sitting there? Their other options included stateside standbys like Corsair, Greylock, Farmer’s and Terroir (to name a couple, warning .pdf). Plenty of classic gins from Europe were represented on the stellar menu, including several of our 4.5 and 5 star reviews.

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Tonic Water

Haber’s Tonic Syrup

habers tonic bottle

While strolling a local street festival this past summer I stumbled upon Haber’s tonic. Imagine my surprise, walking a festival where the only things I expect to find are cheap socks and $20 1000 threat count sheets, and perhaps more than one stand of burned CDs and no fewer than 3 or 4 folks selling lemonade and grilled corn- I found something new, and oddly enough for me walking at a street festival: something I actually wanted.

Even more exciting for me as a proud resident of Astoria, it is made locally. Naturally, this is perhaps the most exciting street fair find of the year for me. For my wife, her favorite find might have been the free sunglasses from Seamless. But that’s another story.

Haber’s tonic syrup is an amber golden brown, with even a hint of something reddish in there. Visually brighter than other tonic syrups and very opaque.

Flavorwise, it’s quite sweet, a good deal of citrus on the mid-notes, and the finish has a mild amount of quinine and some ginger- maybe even a touch of lemongrass on the finish. It tastes zesty and fresh, very bright.

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Pouring Ribbons

I’d heard the buzz about Pouring Ribbons long ago. It’s been on my must visit list for far too long. When my friend Justin visited over Memorial Weekend we made a point of checking out some of the best new cocktail bars in the city.

However, we didn’t plan for the epic cold weather of Saturday and we postponed our bar crawl until Sunday. Sunday was beautiful. But our first visit, Dead Rabbit down in the financial district was closed [well at least the parlor]. So when we arrived at Pouring Ribbons we were ready to get down to business. Fortunately although there was a small line outside at 6 pm this wonderful Sunday, the 7 of us in that line were the only people in the bar for over an hour. Justin and I were fortunate to be at the bar on this quiet Sunday evening, and that’s where the cocktail journey began.


If you like seeing cocktail photos, as well as other random photos come in live. Check out my Instagram….

What’s Good Firstly, all of  the drinks are arranged on two axis: refreshing to spiritous, and comforting to adventurous.

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Figure 19

Somewhere on the Lower East Side is an art gallery. That’s not an art gallery. But a place where a carefully placed door in the back opens up into a true speakeasy.


What’s Good The drinks are good, and although the selection is small, the choice of liquors- particularly gin- is rather small, the drinks on the menu more than made up for  it. I had a gin drink with vanilla and egg, and it tasted exquisite: dessert in a glass.

The atmosphere around 9 on a weekend night was immaculate. Not too crowded. Great Drinks. Tons of taxidermy. Chandeliers hanging overhead, a well appointed fireplace that looked a century old adorned with candles. A very nice feel, warm, cozy. It was quiet and felt somewhat private. It was a great place, the kind of place I could see myself going on a regular basis. I was going to try and ask about becoming a member….

What’s Not so Good …and that’s when around 10:30-11 o’clock hit. The chill bar with an aggressive door policy was overrun. Not just with folks, but a certain kind of folk. Well dressed. Weekend suits.

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Top 10s

Top 10 NYC Bars for Ginlovers

# Last Year 2 Years Title —

1 1 1 Dutch Kills    My enduring favorite happens to be in my home borough. But one visit and you’ll see that this isn’t just blatant homerism. Good cocktails and the well educated bartenders have a seemingly endless list of “boozy gin cocktails without dairy, saved straight up.” 2 2 2 Amor Y Amargo  Though not really a “gin bar” and not really just a bar as much as also a “bitters showroom,” good gins often play a key role in Amor y Amargo’s cocktail concoctions. 3 3 – Madame Geneva  Though recently enduring a lot more competition in New York city for the title “best gin selection,” Madame Geneva’s nearly 50 gins are if not the city’s biggest, definitely in the top 5. Combine that with one of the best feels and largest sitting areas, its one of the city’s best gin dens. 4 – – The Gin Palace  Though some of you might get me for having the two places which specialize in gin at 3 and 4, it should hardly be considered a check against these places. Though the selection is slightly smaller than Madame Geneva’s, and has slightly fewer American made gins, it had a few more obscure entries.

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Gin Reviews

Dorothy Parker Gin


Who is Dorothy Parker? First and foremost, who is Dorothy Parker? and why is a gin named after her?

Probably her best link to gin is her widely known quote “‘I like to have a Martini, two at the very most; three, I’m under the table, four I’m under my host!'”

 Attributable quips aside, she was a renowned screenwriter, poet and critic. Her wit was described as “caustic,” and cost her a job with Vanity Fair in 1920 when higher-ups grew tired of  her bold criticisms. She was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a 1920’s association of influential New York City writers. She was a social activist, whose  left-wing activities actually got her on the Hollywood Blacklist despite two academy award nominations for her work.

So it was her reputation in the New York City arts scene, her wit, and her enthusiasm for gin which led to New York Distilling Company naming one of their two flagship gins after her.

And on to the Gin: The nose is sweet and floral. Hibiscus and fruit. It smells sweet. In my initial notes I had written ‘reminds me of Starbucks’ passion fruit ice tea.’ Bright, refreshing, inviting and somewhat unique.

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The Gin Palace

The Gin Palace burst on to the scene with a bit of a buzz this summer, a buzz which was covered in the Times and Wall Street Journal Thanks to a high-profile run in with the State Liquor Authority.

June 13th, 2012: Gin Palace Opens with Gin and Tonic on tap July 5th, 2012: State Turns off the taps due to prohibition era restriction on pouring liquor into another bottle before serving it. August 15th, 2012: The Gin and Tonic on tap begins flowing once again

Since this kind of press is hardly bad press, there was a definite buss about the Gin Palace’s taps that quickly put this bar at the top of my to-visit list.

What’s Good? First, the prices. Definitely more affordable than your average gin bar. A top notch gin selection, but perhaps a bit more heavy on the UK gins than on American craft gins. That being said, its a good mix and one with a flavor for every palette. Luxurious and beautiful looking inside, it kind of has a goth club gin den sort of vibe when you walk in. The cocktails are good, the MI5 I found to be quite good [one of these variations on the Negroni formula, Gin, Vermouth, Cynar and Applejack], as well as their house Gin and Tonic.

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