Founded in Brooklyn, produced in Queens and proudly representing New York City, The Hella Company is small batch, all natural and handcrafted. Originally started as a bitters company, they’ve recently moved into the world of tonic syrups as well. Today we’re reviewing their baseline offering, a combination of citrus peels, real sugar, lemongrass and other undisclosed spices. They offer other tonic syrups, including a Hibiscus variant as well.
A surprising herbal note, is present on the nose as well. It’s deep, surprisingly resinous and green.
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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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Of all of the speakeasy style cocktail bars I’ve been to, Dutch Kills holds a special place in my personal list of cocktail bars. Underneath the subway tracks that I take to work every day in an area of town that once was a wasteland of ten lanes of vehicular traffic (they’ve made some great improvements as of late though!),there exists this wonderful haven of cocktail-making.
Dutch Kills is just one of Saschaa Petraske’s “Hand Crafted Cocktail Empire,” which includes Little Branch, Mile and Honey, The East Side Company Bar, and White Star.
Getting In: The outside is marked by only a white neon sign. It says “Bar.” The insides are dark wood and dimly lit- it feels like a speakeasy and is very much in the line with the current trend. Its a cozy bar and a great place to take someone for a date or for an intimate gathering of a few friends. I don’t recommend it strongly for groups, but compared to other speakeasy style cocktail bars in the city you’re more likely to find space for your large group here than many other places.
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