Each month, we pull together a selection of drinking-related items that have, for one reason or another, grabbed the attention of PUNCH’s editors, who spend pretty much all day, every day surrounded by booze. Here’s what we’re into right now.
Blue Lagoon at Fresh Kills | Chloe Frechette, Assistant Editor
A far cry from the better-known vodka- and blue Curaçao-based concoction with which it shares a name, the Blue Lagoon at Brooklyn’s Fresh Kills is a delicate mixture of pastis, crème de violette, blanc vermouth and gin. Richie Boccato and Lauren McLaughlin have managed to unify a roster of hard-hitting ingredients into a complex, well-rounded whole, with the herbal notes of pastis complementing the botanicals of the gin for a drink that reads like a Martini by way of Southeast France.
Amaro dell’Etna | Talia Baiocchi, Editor in Chief
I tend to cycle through amari brands in phases: one month it might be Varnelli’s unfiltered Amaro Dell’Erborista; the next, the more easygoing Lucano; or, if I am feeling particularly sinister, Cappelletti’s double-dare of an amaro, Elisir Novasalus. Last month it was the new(ish)-to-market Amaro dell’Etna—a sort of southern retort to Braulio’s alpine vivacity. Or, as the sommelier at Brooklyn’s Lilia, David Sawyer, puts it: a lovechild of the more brooding, licorice-y Nardini and cooling Braulio. However you slice it, it’s delicious. Hailing from the slopes of Sicily’s Mount Etna, it’s smoky, intensely herbal and on the drier side—a perfect all-purpose amaro.
Le Rocher des Violettes Montlouis-sur-Loire Petillant Originel | Bianca Prum, Managing Editor
I first had this wine at Frenchie Bar a Vins a few years ago, where a bartender billed it as a decent budget sparkling to start the night off with. Quelle undersell. The wine was lovely, creamy-textured with super-pretty floral nose, and, at sub-50 Euro for the bottle, an incredible value. I don’t often spot it on menus Stateside, but occasionally it will present itself, like a little gift from the wine gods—as it did recently at Diner in Brooklyn, where you can get it by the glass right now.
BierWax | Lizzie Munro, Senior Editor
Though I’m still trying to get over the name—BierWax—I am loving this new bar, which opened in December right around the corner from my Brooklyn apartment. There are a number of great things about this place, like the “wax,” which is a collection of more than 5,000 vinyl records on display, and, of course, the beer, about 80 percent of which is sourced from nearby independent breweries, like Transmitter and Grimm, with selections from the likes of Hill Farmstead and Stillwater thrown in for good measure. While the notion of a local craft beer bar isn’t exactly groundbreaking, I’m loving the constant rotation of beers on tap, and the fact that practically everything is available in a tasting room-sized, four-ounce pour.
100 Percent Malt Genever | Robert Simonson, Contributing Editor
Between recent releases by Old Duff and Bols, we’ve experienced a mini-boom in 100 percent malt genever in America. Both have considerably more oomph than the genevers we’ve known up until now, and I’ve had fun applying them to the 19th-century cocktails that called for genever. The upgrade in flavor is considerable.
The Broken Shaker, Miami | Allison Hamlin, Social Media Editor
On a recent trip to Miami, I hit a perfect batting average at the Broken Shaker. Meaning: I drank there four out of four days. Because when I like something, I really like it. Their drinks hide structured savory flavors under playful exteriors, from a colada with cashew orgeat, a sweet potato-infused take on a New York Sour, to a sherry and Montenegro highball with housemade dill soda. They’ll also whip you up a pitcher of Negronis or send a cheerful parade of Miller High Lifes poolside, so you know they have a fun side too.