Spirited: Brooklyn’s First Dessert Speakeasy

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Prospect Heights is essentially a microcosm of what you’d want in a neighborhood when it comes to food and drink. 606 R&D for eclectic, New American dining. Washington Commons for leisurely, back patio beer drinking. Mitchell’s for soul food. Ample Hills for ice cream. Chuko for ramen. And what about a dessert speakeasy? Thanks to the soon-to-open Spirited, it’s currently the only Brooklyn community to have that too. 

Taking over Beast’s lease (which had become less and less known for its “Earth,” “Sky,” and “Ocean” small plates than its gorgeous gothic façade), the boozy new bakery already had some mighty fine bones to work with. In fact, owner Kimberly Wetherell took great pains to restore the sizable corner establishment to its swinging, sultry, 1930-era’s heyday, with a sweeping bar, tin ceilings, tile floors, old registers, and (sorry, non-functional) cigarette machines. Granted, the gleaming, open kitchen that divides the lively front room from the cloistered lounge in back is mostly modern, but the wafting perfume of fresh from the oven Bourbon-Orange-Chocolate Chip Cookies (a classic Old Fashioned in confection form) sure beats the standard bar aromas of crushed Chex Mix and spilled beer.

Spirited offers all manner of stiff, standalone cocktails and “buzzed” bakery takeaways (showcasing locally-made spirits whenever possible), but its soused mission statement is perhaps best represented by a series of plated dessert pairings. There’s a silken Brenne Whisky-spiked Crème Brulee, accompanied by the Rum and Fernet-based “Kerschner 57,” as well as Bourbon sugar-dusted and Brooklyn Brewery Ale-infused Churros, dipped in Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur-spiked chocolate and enjoyed alongside the “Vanderkilt,” a powerful triple whammy of Single Malt Scotch, Port and Grand Marnier (it’s a marvelous hat-trick; not only does each alcoholic addition assert itself separately, but they all play wonderfully well together). A considerably lighter offering, although no less complex, is the Cardamom Bitter-accented Pavlova, dolloped with Champagne cream, drizzled with Drambuie honey and paired with the fiery “Black Panther Punch” — an ode to the tavern’s notorious, 1960’s regulars. And the Floating Brownie Sundae gives nearby Ample Hills a real run for its money; a dense Owney’s Rum Raisin Brownie, topped with a scoop of Van Leeuwen ice cream, laked with an addictive Sorel-Limoncello sauce, and served alongside “The Beast,” a pink but potent concoction of Greenhook Ginsmiths Gin, Lillet Rosé, and Campari. Spirited even goes the den of iniquity bit one further with a daily, off-menu dessert special, which in-the-know patrons can only obtain by password (ok, you’ll find it on their Twitter account).

Passwords, punches, Amaretto Blondies and Tequila Sunrise Upside Down Cake? Looks like lucky Prospect Heights has scored itself a speakeasy for the 21st century.

638 Bergen Street, Prospect Heights

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