eat. shop. love. nyc.

FREE Miniburger Mondays at Idle Hands
May 6, 2011, 10:22 am
Filed under: Drink, Eat | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I love a good free food with drink deal. And I love Idle Hands Bar – how can you not love a place whose tagline is Bourbon. Beer. Rock.? So this news makes me giddy:

  • Who: burger, beer, and bourbon lovers all across NYC
  • What: free mini burgers from That Burger Tent
  • Where: Idle Hands on Ave. B at 3rd St.
  • When: Mondays from 7 to 10 pm
  • Why: One of the Idle Hands’ owners also runs Burger Conquest. Need I say more?
  • How: Get a free mini burger w/$5 drink purchase, or buy mini burgers for $2 each


Eat/Drink: Idle Hands Bar (Alphabet City/East Village) 25 Avenue B between 2nd and 3rd, downstairs; New York, New York 10009. (917) 338-7090. Miniburger Mondays from 7-10 pm.


Skee ball, darts, and pool at Ace Bar
March 22, 2011, 10:37 am
Filed under: Do, Drink | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Sometimes it’s just not enough to walk into a bar and order a drink. Sometimes you just want something more. Maybe it’s an early in the game date and you’re not sure if you’re going to have anything to talk about with said date. Maybe you go out every night and the thought of another bottle of wine and another drawn out conversation about life is making you nauseous. Maybe you just feel like being a little more active than sitting on a barstool, but you don’t feel like dancing or yelling over crowds of people. Maybe you just like winning, and you feel like kicking ass and taking names.

Enter Ace Bar in East Village/Alphabet City. You’ll walk into what is a rather expansive space for a bar in the EV. Bar to your left, arcade games and booths to your right. Sidle up to the bar and order a drink. For a $10 deposit, you’ll be handed a set of darts, and as long as you don’t lose them, you’ll get to play for free.

In the back room, there are two dartboards, two skee ball machines, and two pool tables. Skee ball is $1 a game. Just remember that it’s easy to blow through a game in 30 seconds, so bring lots of dollar bills. If you can hit certain scores, you can win free beers. I think it’s MGD or something like that, but you’re playing for victory, not for microbrews.

I don’t remember how much pool is, but I think you pay per game rather than per hour (I could be wrong).

Drink: Ace Bar (East Village/Alphabet City) 531 East 5th Street between A and B. New York, NY 10009. (212) 979-8476.

Colt & Gray’s San Francisco Handshake
March 18, 2011, 11:54 pm
Filed under: Drink | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

One of the best drinks I’ve had in a while. Thank you, Kevin.

Drink: Colt and Gray (Platte) 553 Platte Street #120. Denver, CO 80202. Happy hour 4:30 to 6:30 pm weekdays.

More hot booze to keep you warm

Happy New Year, everyone! Hope you all had fun-filled holiday festivities full of friends, family, and food.

Judging by my site stats, it looks like everyone’s been on the prowl for some warming winter cocktails as of late. I’m with you. I’ve been buying apple cider in mass quantities at Whole Foods and heating the cider with cinnamon and whole cloves before pouring mugs of the stuff and adding shots of Captain Morgan’s or Wild Turkey and topping with whipped cream and a dusting of ground cinnamon. And sure, while it’s fun to make yourself some hot drinks at home, sometimes you want just a little something extra, and you’d rather pay someone else to make it for you. It’s time to update my “Hot Alcoholic Drinks to Keep You Warm in the NYC Cold” post, so I have been doing extensive, ahem, research for you New Yorkers. I know. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it.

After the blizzard aka Snowpocalypse or Snowmageddon 2010, it seems like pretty much every bar with a chalkboard is offering your standard hot toddies and such. Maybe Usher was onto something. I haven’t been able to try every hot boozy beverage in the city, but I have tried a few, and I can comfortably recommend the following bars/drinks without hesitation:

Summit Bar (Alphabet City): The Road Well Traveled, Driving Ms. Davies (cold), Like Water for Chocolate (???)
How did this warm, sexy bar go unnoticed (by me) for so long? I’d walked by it several times thinking it’d be just like any other East Village bar, but I was wrong, because partners Hamid and Seider are two of the coolest cats around. Case in point? Like Water for Chocolate. (More on that later.) I liked the three separate bar islands, the eclectic sightly mismatched track lighting and chandeliers, and the long expanse of exposed brick punctuated with small walls of richly patterned wallpaper. There are a couple of couches for limited group seating, and we’d recommend arriving early as the place fills up around 11/midnight. I showed up on Thursday night around 9 with a friend and ordered their holiday punch, The Road Well Traveled ($12?), a hot brew of spiced apple cider with bourbon, walnut liqueur, cinnamon agave, lemon juice, and chipotle powder. It was kept in one of those metal soup warmers, and I was concerned that the alcohol might evaporate since it had already been added to the mix, but they maintain the temperature at a warm but not boiling temperature so fear not, the alcohol is very much present. We also ordered the Driving Ms. Davies ($12), a cold winter cocktail served with Templetown rye, gingerbread syrup, cardamom infused agave, and orange and whisky barrel bitters. I was especially impressed with the ice cube. Yes, singular. Ice cube. A large, single 2×2 ice cube from a special ice cube mold designed to cool your beverage with minimal dilution.

Driving Ms. Davies at the Summit Bar

The attention to detail here is impeccable. I started chatting with Hamid about my quest to find a proper (spiked) Mexican hot chocolate with my friend the day after the blizzard, and he mentioned the movie Like Water for Chocolate wherein Tita whips up a chocolate mole sauce so full of passionfor her lover Pedro that it incites in her guests all sorts of amorous urges. I told him I wanted that, but in hot chocolate form. Hamid introduced me to his partner Seider – a mixology savant with a culinary background – who was also intrigued. Moments later, they sent someone out to pick up some whole milk and Lindt dark chocolate. I like to call the drink Seider concocted that night Like Water for Chocolate, but it may very well never make its way onto the Summit Bar menu, living only in my memory and in urban legend as the best boozy hot chocolate in New York City. There were three layers there: one layer of dark chocolate melted with a little milk, having the consistency of drinking chocolate; another layer of whipped milk with gingerbread sugar, cinnamon, chipotle pepper powder, and sea salt; and finally the addition of Ilegal Reposado mezcal tequila – smoky and spicy, but still smooth. And he just threw that ish together, just like that. Color me impressed, Greg Seider. Duly impressed. I’m coming to Summit Bar with some chocolate bars and milk in hand this week. See you again soon! Winter hours: Sun-Wed 5:30 pm to 3 am, Thurs-Sat 5:30 pm to 4 am.
The Summit Bar
, 133 Avenues C between 8th St. and 9th St.; no phone – e-mail

Elsa (Alphabet City): Sweet Potato Cider, Cortez the Killer, Elsa’s Toddy
Elsa is my favorite under-the-radar neighborhood cocktail lounge (it’s a little closer to me than Summit Bar, and those 5 extra blocks do make a difference). If a guy were to take me here on a date (without my suggesting it), he’d be one step closer to another date. Elsa has a sweet, faux speakeasy vibe with its white parquet walls, cozy tables and booths, and soft but not dark lighting. After all, you do want to be able to see your date, don’t you? Here, you have three choices of hot booze. The Sweet Potato Cider ($12) is filling, but incredibly satisfying. Made with hot organic apple cider, Jack Daniels, a housemade sweet potato puree, and spices (likely cloves and cinnamon), it tastes like a cross between sweet potato pie and apple cider with a hint of whiskey. I’d recommend this if you are drinking on an empty(ish) stomach, as it drinks like a meal. If you’re in the mood for a spicy Mexican hot chocolate, get Cortez the Killer ($13), which is made with Mast Brothers hot chocolate, ancho chilies, and silver tequila. If you like some tea with your whiskey, you can’t go wrong with the Elsa’s Toddy ($10), which is generously spiked with rye whiskey, lemon, maple syrup, and, surprisingly, mint. Also a bonus: they actually take reservations for Sunday through Thursday.
Elsa, 217 East 3rd Street (between Avenues B and C); 917-882-7395.

Sidewalk Cafe and Bar (Alphabet City/East Village): Makers Hot Toddy, Peppermint Patty, Apple Jack
You get your choice between three hot drinks at this unassuming Avenue A bar (attached to the Sidewalk Cafe), and each hot drink is $10. The Makers Hot Toddy is made with Makers (duh) Mark bourbon, hot tea, lemon, honey, and cinnamon. I’m not sure if it’s because I went in the day after the blizzard or what, but this was one of the best hot toddies I’ve had in my life, and I’ve had a few. Strongly recommended. Also delicious is the Peppermint Patty, a hot chocolate fortified with Stoli vanilla vodka, peppermint schnapps, and topped with a bit of whipped cream. It’s sweet, and you can barely taste any booze, so this is the best choice at Sidewalk for non-whiskey drinkers. The Apple Jack is a hot apple cider spiked with Jack Daniels and sprinkled with cinnamon. Sidewalk is open 24 hours on the weekends and until 2 am on Sunday nights and until 4 am on Monday through Thursday nights. When you walk in, you feel like you’ve walked into a bar. Nothing more, nothing less. Of note: is one of the live music venues that launched antifolk superstar Regina Spektor. Two-for-one happy hour daily 2-8 pm, though I don’t recall that we were given a second drink when we went in around 4 on Monday afternoon. Pint and any shot for $9 after 8PM.  Rumored to have an all-day-long happy hour at the bar on Tuesdays and Sundays.
Sidewalk Cafe and Bar, 94 Avenue A at 6th St.; (212) 473-7373.

The Redhead (East Village): Hot Chocolate Car Bomb
I just saw the Hot Chocolate Car Bomb featured in the Serious Eats Best Winter Cocktails slideshow and nearly choked on my coffee. You will find me at the Redhead very soon to try out the hot cocoa laced with Jameson, Guiness, and topped with Bailey’s Irish Cream marshmallow fluff. Irish car bombs: not just for the violently drunk on St. Patrick’s Day anymore.
The Redhead, 349 E. 13th St. at 1st Ave.; 212-533-6212.

Huckleberry Bar (Williamsburg): Ixcacao
I haven’t actually been to Huckleberry in Williamsburg, but when I read about the Ixcacao on Refinery 29, I knew it had to be in this post. My friend Kim and I had actually gone into several bars and restaurants asking if they could serve us Mexican hot chocolate spiked with silver tequila, and couldn’t find any (this was before I remembered Elsa, doh!). The Ixcacao ($10) at Huckleberry is apparently named after the Mayan goddess of chocolate and combines house-infused peppermint tequila with blood orange liqueur and home-made hot chocolate with a kick at the end. Follow Huckleberry Bar on Twitter for daily specials – they’ve featured hot fig mulled wine ($5 a glass!), homemade gingerbread, and other toasty goodies recently.
Huckleberry Bar, 588 Grand Street (between Powers and Maujer streets); Brooklyn; 718-218-8555.

If you are more of a DIY type, I suggest you order some Ibarra Mexican chocolate pronto – it’s not the highest quality Mexican chocolate out there, but it sure beats Nestle Abuelita and is still easy enough to order or to find at your local grocery store in the Mexican/International food aisle.  Typically, Mexican chocolate is made with roasted and ground cacao nibs, sugar, and cinnamon. Depending on the chocolatier, it may also include nutmeg, allspice, and chilies. Chop or grate the Mexican chocolate and stir it into hot (but not boiling!) milk on the stovetop until fully dissolved. Pour the hot chocolate into individual mugs, and if you have a frother (I use my Aerolatte), froth away: Mexican hot chocolate is usually served with a bit of foam. If desired, add a shot or two of tequila, and enjoy.

Hot alcoholic drinks to keep you warm in the NYC cold

[tweetmeme]UPDATE! For a new list of hot alcoholic drinks, please visit More hot booze to keep you warm posted January 3, 2011.

Brrrr. It’s winter. It’s frigid outside. The wind whips through you like an open window. Fancy a hot alcoholic beverage, do you? I’ve rounded up a list of places to go for a warming drink in NYC, and how to make them at home, approximately, in case it’s so cold you can’t bring yourself to step outside. In no particular order:

Hot Obama at Joe Doe (Pictured. EVill/LES: 45 E First St. between 1st and 2nd Aves.)
Served in a glass jar with a handle, your bartender Mike will heat up the apple cider with the milk foamer on the espresso machine, then adds two shots of Rum Clement, one shot of fresh lemon juice (diluted 1 part lemon to 9 parts water), quickly refoams, then grates fresh cinnamon on top of your drink and drops the rest of the stick into your $11 Hot Obama. I don’t get the name. Obama = boozy apple cider? Why is this called a “Hot Obama?” Feel free to take a crack at it in the comments.

Grandad’s Coffee, Hot Buttered Rum, or Freemans Toddy at Freemans (LES: End of Freemans Alley between Bowery and Chrystie.)
Freemans knows there’s nothing like a warm, spiked drink to make the world right again when it’s 15 degrees outside. On the cocktail menu under “Warm and Soothing” are three (!) warm boozy drinks for $12 each. Grandad’s Coffee is coffee spiked with brandy and walnut liqueur and served with a sweet cream float. The Hot Buttered Rum is made with a dark rum, spiced butter, and hot water. Here’s Emeril Lagasse’s recipe for a Hot Buttered Rum cocktail. The Freemans Toddy is made with applejack (Jack Daniels and apple cider or juice), lemon juice, and apices (likely cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg). Continue reading