Straddling the pond as we do, and sleeping in some mid-Atlantic time zone as I do, lends a rare opportunity to compare and contrast the two drinking cultures and as it’s good to share, this one’s on me.
One of the best bars in Manhattan is Amore Y Amargo in the East Village. It’s a bitters bar. That’s bitters, not bitter. It looks like a regular bar but the pumps serve home made vermouths and all the bottles behind the bar contain weird and wonderful aperitifs, digestifs and infused (quite alcoholic) concoctions from around the world. You can sample these one at a time or in small tasting flights and I challenge anyone not to find something they love but have never drunk before. The Czech cinnamon bitters were amazing.
They also make their own concoctions in the back room, which I imagine to be something between Snape’s potions class and a crack cookup, and then they sell them in little bottles so mixologists can make more unique cocktails, which it turn refers people back to the bitters. It’s a niche but amazing little cottage industry and epitomizes the maverick and creative spirit we should all embrace in high streets that are becoming more and more homogenized by corporate chains.
Several states in the US have laws prohibiting chains of alcohol retailers which promotes a real opportunity for the individual with a startup idea. Passionate independent wine retailers are everywhere and I’m often reminded of the Oddbins staff of old. Now if we just get them to to stock more Rhone…