Tue Dec 16 2008
Q Where can I sample great bourbons in Brooklyn?—Ryan Masters, Brooklyn Heights
A Begin your quest for the quintessentially American brown spirit—a style of whiskey that’s distilled from at least 51 percent corn and stored in new, charred wooden barrels for two years or longer—at The Pig (64 Lafayette Ave at South Elliott Pl, Fort Greene, Brooklyn; 718-797-0292), an annex to BBQ canteen the Smoke Joint, which dispenses 20-odd bourbons. Opt for a three-liquor flight ($18) featuring one-ounce tastes of small-batch distillers such as Tuthilltown and Basil Hayden. Another fine choice is The Jakewalk (282 Smith St between Degraw and Sackett Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 347-599-0294). While this cozy spot mainly focuses on wine, you can try one of two-dozen tasty bourbons like soft, buttery 20-year-old Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve ($19). But Smith Street’s true brown-liquor HQ is Char No. 4 (196 Smith St between Baltic and Warren Sts, Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn; 718-643-2106), a smoky Southern eatery named after the darkest degree of charred oak. Sit at the front bar and thumb through a thick binder listing one- or two-ounce pours of their 100 or so bourbons. Sample the exceptionally smooth and affordable seven-year-old W.L. Weller ($4 for a one-ounce pour). If the spirit moves you, by all means have another.