Covered in cobblestone with two brick warehouses on either side and the mighty Brooklyn bridge crossing perfectly in the horizon, it all amounts to a perfect place to pose.
Steps away from the Instagramble locale is another hotspot. Dubbed Gair (which oddly takes its name from the inventor of cardboard), the soft-lit space outfitted with comfortable booths, a modern, futuristic bar with accents of bronze and gray and yes, a view out the window onto the famed DUMBO streets, is already making a name for itself in the noisy New York cocktail scene.
The prices here are like the drinks: elevated. But you get what you pay for, as each has been crafted with intense tender love and care with unique brands and rare ingredients. It’s all the brainchild of Beverage Director Robert Struthers whose resume includes beloved Big Apple cocktail destinations including Fresh Kills, Dutch Kills and Nitecap.
Struthers took CHILLED on a journey exploring four of Gair’s cocktail standouts. And yes, the famed photographed street is honored here, too.
Japanese Whisky, Soy, Nori, Umami
“While I am a fan of all my cocktails, this one brings me the most pride. The name came first. How could I combine elements of ‘old man’ (represented by whiskey – apologies for the stereotype), and ‘the sea.’ Aftermany failed attempts at creating anything remotely palatable using Western spirits, I had a lightbulb moment of combining Japanese flavor elements in a layered, nuanced drink. The template of a classic Sazerac seemed an ideal launching point for this, and hence was born the philosophy behind this drink: ‘What if a Sazerac took a trip to Japan, and re-discovered itself along the way?’”
Mezcal, Passion Fruit, Cayenne, Celery, Lager
“There’s a degree of tongue-in-cheek behind this cocktail. Since Gair is located on the second-most Instagrammed location in NYC, I concocted this drink with that demographic in mind. Agave spirits, especially mezcal, are highly in vogue, so the base of the cocktail was a no-brainer. All the other components were an incredibly fun journey of layering flavors that compliment other ingredients, without any of them becoming overly dominant. Passion fruit and mezcal is one of my favorite pairings, period. Bringing lager into the equation resulted in a light, fun, entertaining cocktail; arguably the best qualities personified by social media celebrities!
Blackstrap Rum, Sherry, Mexican Amaro, Coconut, Passion Fruit
“It is no secret to anyone I know that I am an unabashed, unapologetic fan of rum: as a singular spirit, and particularly when blended and imbibed in the form of a tropical cocktail. I have tremendous respect for the master crafters of classic tropical cocktails, and I wanted to embody the soul of this style, while also creating something more sessionable, and with a lower proof. I was essentially searching for something antithetical to the stereotype of tropical drinks being nothing more than a fruity booze bomb. Amontillado sherry provided an excellent base, emulating the aged quality of many of my favorite mixing rums, and lending incredible acidity to balance the richness of coconut in the beverage.”
Blackberry, Lime, Ginger, Mint
“We at Gair believe anyone should be able to enjoy the excellence of our space, even if they don’t choose to drink alcohol. That ethos carries over into our no-proof cocktails, because the lack of spirit is no excuse for a lack of creativity in making a new drink. While I think that attempts to fully replicate a classic cocktail with zero proof often fall short, it’s important to lean on fundamentals of balance that make the classics great. I think the Look Ma, No Booze is a delightful result of that balance.”
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