Gin has long been the less-loved stepchild of amber spirits like bourbon and scotch, but with spring in full bloom, you have no excuse to not enjoy this refreshing, complex choice. Not convinced? Like a lot of people, you’ve probably had a bad experience with gin, which derives most of its flavor from botanicals, that vary wildly from brand to brand. So if you had a super piney gin in college once, and found yourself bent over a toilet swearing yourself off juniper, we’re getting you back on the horse by sharing five great places to enjoy (quality) gin this spring.
Featherweight: For the most part, we find “unwritten menus” a little campy, but Featherweight is so unpretentious and cozy, a nice discussion here will lead you to a great drink. Which is an especially good thing for the gin fearful. Why don’t you like gin? Was it a particular experience? A certain botanical? We’re sure your friendly bartender will come up with the perfect cocktail to convert you.
135 Graham Avenue, Williamsburg
Beloved Bar: The botanicals in gin pair beautifully with herbs, and Beloved nails the combo with their Clean Shave, which contains gin, aquavit, Campari, lemon, and cayenne pepper. The bittersweet Campari complements the spice in the pepper, while the gin totally electrifies the drink.
674 Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint
The Shanty: New York Distilling Company crafts a wide variety of delicious gins, and you can enjoy them all at their adjoining bar, The Shanty. We’re big fans of the floral and fruity Dorothy Parker, integrated in highballs like the Red Headed Stranger (with tequila, lime, ginger, cucumber and bitters), and the Navy-strength Perry’s Tot gin, paired with tonic in the ultimate G&T.
79 Richardson Street, Williamsburg
The Rookery: In addition to serving unique pub fare (oxtail sloppy joe’s, anyone?) this outsized and easygoing Bushwick bar offers killer cocktails like the light, spicy, and ever-so-slightly feminine Depth Charge, made with gin, lillet (an aperitif wine), lemon zest, and an anise-scented absinthe wash.
425 Troutman Street, Bushwick
Butter and Scotch: You won’t find Ramos Gin Fizzes on too many menus, because they involve so many ingredients and a whole lotta shaking. But the good folks at Butter & Scotch have nailed the essence of the creamy, lime-forward libation with their Ramos Gin Fizz Pie. No, this isn’t technically a cocktail, but if you have enough slices (and we’re guessing you will), perhaps you’ll actually get a buzz.
818 Franklin Avenue, Crown Heights