New York City is truly a melting pot. People come from around the world to the great city of New York, bringing with them their culture and heritage. And, not surprisingly, each of borough — Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx and Staten Island – has taken on its own identity. Thus, our unique guide to imbibing in each of New York’s five boroughs. We’ve decided on three alcohol drinks per NYC borough that express the personality and character of each borough.
With its glistening skyline, nothing is more recognizable or more “New York” than Manhattan — from Harlem, to Central Park, Times Square, to Greenwich Village and Tribeca, and Wall Street. Here’s what to drink in the city that never sleeps.
The Manhattan: While it’s true history is shrouded in mystery, it is thought to made around 150 years ago at Manhattan Club, supposedly for Lady Randolph Churchill, Winston Churchill’s mother. Thank you, Lady Churchill for insisting on this special drink! This cocktail is one of the first to call for vermouth in the recipe (predating even the Martini). How cannot we not include the Manhattan on our list for its namesake borough!
- 2 ounces rye whiskey
- 1 ounces sweet vermouth
- 5 drops Angostura bitters
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
- Garnish with a cherry
Champagne: This is about elegance and celebration! Whether it be the ball dropping in Times Square on New Year’s eve, closing a deal on Wall Street, or celebrating opening of a Broadway show, champagne has become synonymous with the Ritz and glamour of Manhattan. Nothing quite expresses the buzz and excitement of the NYC better than a flute of champagne. We recommend the Paul Clouet, Champagne Brut Grand Cru. Since 1900 Paul Clouet has produced some of the finest small batch champagnes available, with succulent apple and floral aromas, and a pleasant toasty finish. This Champagne can handle anything Manhattan can throw at it. And what’s more, Manhattan Fruitier delivers wine and Champagne in New York (including Paul Clouet as pictured below).
Moonshine: From the days of prohibition, hidden in back alley speak-easies, moonshine has played an integral role in Manhattans grittier side. Even now, tucked away in basements, you can still find establishments serving prohibition-style moonshine. We highly recommend “Manhattan Moonshine Prohibition-style whiskey” which is hand-crafted in New York. This is one of the first distilleries to produce a “luxury, northern-style moonshine” made from the finest New York State grain. This unique moonshine is available for purchase at JackNo Wine & Spirits, located in Jackson Heights (30-57 90th street).
Brooklyn, quite wrongly, is often put off as the little sister of Manhattan. We don’t agree. Brooklyn has a character all on its own. Often described as the true heart and life of New York City, it has population of 2.6 million, almost as large as Chicago!
The Brooklyn: Created in 1908 in Hoboken, NJ (our hats off to create bar keeps in our sister state), the drink call the Brooklyn is very similar to the Manhattan. Both are made with rye and vermouth. What sets the Brooklyn apart is the addition of Amer Picon, a French orange bitters that, while not technically permitted to be imported into the United States, has found its way to the hands of many savvy Brooklyn bartenders. We recommend trying this cocktail out at either Jake Walk (282 Smith St.) or The Narrows ( 1037 Flushing Ave).
- 2 ounces rye or other whiskey
- 1 ounce dry vermouth
- 1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
- 1/4 ounce Amer Picon (or a few dashes orange bitters)
- Add all ingredients to a mixing glass with ice and stir
- Strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Defender IPA: In the 1800s, Brooklyn was home to over 45 breweries making it one of the largest brewing centers in America. What better way to honour the long-held tradition of brewing in Brooklyn than to sip on a craft brew made right in Williamsburg by Brooklyn Brewery. With notes of tropical fruit and a hoppy bitterness, this is perfect for drinking on a warm summers day! This unique beer is also the official beer of NYC comic.con!
Prosecco: A is the perfect quaff for a picnic in Prospect Park, a Sunday brunch in Williamsburg, or late night roof party in Bushwick. We highly recommend Zanotto, Col Fondo Prosecco (NV), the citrus and floral notes of this prosecco accompany anything Brooklyn has to offer!
Queens is NYC’s most diverse (with over 800 languages are spoken) and largest borough. From watching the Mets play at Citi Field to getting some sun at Rockaway beach, there is always something to do in Queens!
Long Island Ice Tea: Is there a drink more iconic than the Long Island Ice Tea? Who would have thought that vodka, rum, gin, tequila, and Triple Sec could be combined to make such a delicious, and headache-inducing drink?
- ½ ounce Vodka
- ½ ounce Rum
- ½ ounce Gin
- ½ Ounce Tequila
- ½ Triple Sec
- 1 Ounce Sour mix (recipe Below)
- 1-ounce coke, added to taste
- lemon slice
Sour mix recipe
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup lime
How to make Sour mix:
- mix water and sugar and heat until dissolved, add lemon and lime juice and let cool
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Pour vodka, rum, gin, tequila, Triple Sec, and sour mix over ice. Cover and shake.
- Pour into glass and top with Coca Cola to taste. Garnish with Lemon
Queens Courage Qin: Produced by the Astoria Distilling Company, this is a beautiful example of Old Tom Gin. Old Tom Gin is a sweeter, less-botanical version of most gins found on the market today. Due to prohibition it was almost completely lost to time, but now a select few distilleries are bringing back this gin! Queens Courage has ranked 96 points at the 2015 ultimate spirits challenge, making it the highest rated Old Tom Gin in the competition. What better way to celebrate everything Queens has to offer, than by sipping on a gin made in Astoria, Queen. This Unique Old Tom Gin is available for purchase at JackNo Wine & Spirits, located in Jackson Heights (30-57 90th street).
Astoria Martini: Initially made famous by the Waldorf Astoria bar, this cocktail has been described as “stiff, durable, and affordable,” by Richard Boccato, bartender at Dutch Kills located on Long Island. He goes on to describe it as the personification of the working class community within Queens, with its subtle nuances.
- 1 shot of gin
- 2 shots of French dry vermouth
- Couple of dashes of orange bitters
- Lemon zest or peel to garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, and add the vermouth and gin and stir
- Add bitters and shake
- Pour into chilled martini glass
- Garnish with lemon peel
Home of the New York Yankees and the iconic Bronx Zoo and New York Botanical Garden, this borough is a must see on your next visit to the Big Apple. Not to mention, the Bronx is the birthplace of Hip-hop.
Guinness: With the neighbourhood of Woodlands Heights often being called Little Ireland, what better way to celebrate the Bronx’s deep Irish heritage than a pint of Guinness? “An Beal Bocht Café” is a quaint Irish pub where you can sit back with friends over a pint after a long day or work or play.
The Bronx: This cocktail gains its name not from the borough itself, but from the zoo! The story goes that the creator of the cocktail Solon, after a night of heavy drinking, stumbled into the zoo and saw many strange beasts. He decided to name a beverage after his bizarre night. This cocktail has been ranked #3 in “The Most Famous Cocktails in 1934”.
- 2 ounces gin
- ¼ ounce dry vermouth
- ¼ ounce sweet vermouth
- 1 ounce fresh orange juice
- 1 dash orange bitters
- Add all ingredients to a shaker with ice
- Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass
Pitorro Conquito: With a large Puerto Rican community within the Bronx, nothing better personifies this community than Pitorro, a Puerto Rican moonshine made from cane, apple and honey produced by Port Norris Distillery, located in the Bronx. Their Conquito (a holiday cocktail similar to eggnog) is a stunning example of what a small distillery can offer. This is a perfect substitute to traditional eggnog this holiday season. Pitorro is available for purchase at JackNo Wine & Spirits, located in Jackson Heights (30-57 90th street).
The southernmost borough, why not take the free ferry there and explore the many museums the island has to offer. Or explore Greenbelt, the city’s largest nature forest preserve! This is a great place to relax and have a drink. Just make sure not to miss the last ferry back to Manhattan!
The Staten Island Ferry: Named after the Iconic ferry which services the Island.
- 1 ounce Malibu rum
- 1-ounce pineapple juice
- Mix and serve over ice
Victory Blvd American Pale Ale: Brewed by the Staten Island Beer Company, this beer is a perfect accompaniment to a wide selection of food! Perfect for the warm Staten Island days.
Cava: Whether it be on the ferry taking in the sights or soaking up some sun on Midland Beach, a glass of cava is a great accompaniment for your next journey to Staten Island! We recommend Eudald Massana Noya, Brut Familia Cava. This cava is filled to the brim with notes of citrus, and a soft creamy texture. Perfect for your next trip to Staten Island.
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