Subject Bar LES Review

Living in NY gives me access to a wide range of bar styles. Some are dives, others cater to the beer crowd, while others are riding the wave of the speakeasy. One bar is currently bluring the line between craft cocktail joint and neighborhood dive. Subject quietly opened its doors in November ’12 with little fanfare. The bar program is headed by Chris Harrington (Momofuku, Saxon & Parole). At the heart of the program is the house made sodas and the variety of cocktails that make use of them.
So with that to go off of, 3 of us decided to check it out.

Atmosphere/Decor
The facade of the bar is all glass, allowing you a wonderful view of the inside of the bar from the street and from the inside a perfect view for street watching. As soon as you walk in on the left there is a chalk board which heralds the beer and shot combo of the evening along with any specials. The rest of the bar is adorned in brick with earth tone accented by earth tones. On the well lit back bar the vintage Coca Cola soda fountain can also be seen.

Service
Despite there being only one bartender on the night that we were there service was still good and we got our drinks in a reasonable amount of time. He was also knowledgeable and friendly.

Drinks
First off there is a rotating list of beer and shot combos. I believe the shot was a combination of whiskey, root beery syrup, and cinnamon tincture. The shot was good and flavorful and served as a nice complement to the beer. For the cocktails we had the Matilda’s Brother which although no longer being on the menu, our bartender was more than willing to prepare for us. It is a mix of rye, green chartreuse, lime, and the orange cream syrup that is used to make their orange cream soda. We also had the Chai old fashioned, the Elderflower Sour, and the Rum and Root Beer. All of the cocktails were balanced and provided interesting flavor combinations.

Food
Between the 3 of use we had the pulled pork sandwich, the panini, and the popcorn. The pork and the cole slaw was the consensus as the best sandwich between the two but neither was any slouch. The popcorn was freshly popped and seasoned with rosemary and other herbs, but alas it escapes me now. All of the food we had was good and just enough to fill the stomach.

Overall
It is an eclectic mix of craft cocktails, beer and shots that some how manages to work together in harmony. No matter your poison you cannot go wrong. The welcoming divvy atmosphere encourages you to enjoy both your tipple and your company and maybe even make some new friends while your there.

Cocktail Overhaul: Prairie Fire

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Shots! Shots! Shots! These are often the words that get the party started…and lead to countless bad decisions and lost memories. The trouble is that not all shots are created equal. Some go down as easy as pie while others burn and burn. The Prairie Fire shot is one of those dangerous shots, commonly constructed with cheap tequila enlivened by Tabasco sauce. But despite its fiery reputation, the Prairie Fire can be corralled into a balanced—and delicious—craft cocktail. Here’s how. Click Here.

Edinburgh Gin Review

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When thinking of gin many people’s minds immediately leap to London Dry. And while this will continue to be the case for some time, Edinburgh gin is continuing the long and storied history of Scottish gin. In fact in the … Continue reading

Mixology Monday: Crass to Craft

After missing the last few Mixology Monday’s I am hoping to sneak this entry in under the wire. This months theme presented the perfect opportunity to enter. Here is the theme as written by Scott Diaz of Shake, Strain, Sip.
“The evolution of the cocktail has been a wondrous, and sometimes, frightful journey. From its humble beginning, to the “Dark Ages” of most of the later 20th century, to the now herald “Platinum Age” of the cocktail, master mixologists and enthusiasts alike have elevated its grandeur using the best skills, freshest ingredients and craft spirits & liqueurs available. But with all this focus on “craft” ingredients and classic tools & form, it seems we have become somewhat pretentious. The focus on bitter Italian amari, revived and lost ingredients such as Batavia Arrack or Creme de Violette, the snickering at a guest ordering a Cosmopolitan or a Midori Sour; has propelled us into the dark realm of snobbery. Many scratch bars and Speakeasies have gone as far as to remove all vodka and most flavored liqueurs from their shelves. Some even go as far as to post “rules” that may alienate most potential imbibers. Remember, the bar was created with pleasing one particular group in mind: the guest. As such, this month’s MxMo LXXI theme, From Crass to Craft, will focus on concocting a craft cocktail worthy of not only MxMo but any trendy bar, using dubious and otherwise shunned ingredients to sprout forth a craft cocktail that no one could deny is anything less. There are a plethora of spirits, liqueurs and non-alcoholic libations that are just waiting for someone to showcase that they too are worthy of being featured on our home and bar shelves. So grab that bottle of flavored vodka, Jagermeister, cranberry juice, soda, neon colored liqueur, sour mix or anything else deemed unworthy of a craft cocktail, and get mixin’!

My biweekly column on Serious Eats called Cocktail Overhaul goal is to take on dark age cocktails and re-imagine them. So for a change of pace I decided to go the ingredient route and dust off my old bottle of Midori to create a simple old fashioned.
Midorioldfashioned
Whats Old is New
2 oz Cognac VS
1/4 oz Midori
1tsp 2:1 Green Tea Simple Syrup
1 Dash of Aphrodite Bitters

Pig Nose Scotch Review and the Pumpkin Cocktail

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Pig Nose was launched in 1974. It was created by Richard Peterson of Scotland. It is a blended whisky made by blending Invergordon grain whiskies with Speyside, Islay, and Lowland malts. It is aged for a minimum of 5 years … Continue reading

Sweet Tea Sour

Sweet tea is a Southern institution. In the South it is more plentiful then water, however this was not always the case. In the late 1800′s and early 1900′s sweet tea was a luxury. Sweet tea was a way to demonstrate ones status and decadence. There were several reasons for this. During this time period, tea, ice, and sugar were expensive. Out of all these the biggest luxury item was ice which had to cut and shipped from frozen lakes often over great distances and then stored into the warm months.

The oldest known recipe for sweet ice tea was published in 1879 in a cookbook called the Housekeeping in Old Virginia by Marion Cabell Tyree. This original recipe bears a strong resemblance to the modern version including the long steeping time and massive amounts of sugar. The only glaring difference is the use of green tea. Prior to WWII green tea was plentiful in the US and most sweet tea during this time period was made from green tea. However because of WWII green tea was no longer imported from Japan and instead the US turned to India which was under British-control and produced black tea. After the War, America never looked back and now black tea, specifically Lipton is the hallmark of sweet tea.

While people from the North may balk at the sweetness of the tea it is a refreshing summertime staple. But sometimes you need a little extra kick in your tea. The following drink was created by Simon Gibson of the Brooklyn Star. I discovered this recipe in an article written on Complex.com

Sweet Tea Sour
2 oz. Four Roses Bourbon
1 oz. sweet tea syrup
1 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. egg white

Tea Syrup: Steep two large Lipton iced tea bags in three pints of boiling water for 30 minutes. Remove tea and add 1 quart of sugar while the water is still hot. Stir to dissolve and allow to cool.

Note:
For a Southern secret, try adding a touch of baking soda while the tea is boiling to help smooth some of the bitterness. The egg white adds a real nice texture to the drink. There is a a nice balance between the sweet and sour components but in homage to sweet tea on my second go round I dropped the lemon juice by a 1/4 to up the sweetness of the overall drink. I did not have have any Four Roses so I used Old Weller Antique.

Sweet Tea Sour