QWhere 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.
This isn’t just any old Bushwick Bar. At Starr Bar, 10 percent of the bar’s profits go to nearby Mayday Community Space, an organizing center that presents community-oriented public programming and supports social justice initiatives. It hosts everything from dance parties to film screenings to political discussions, but locals looking for a cold beer can also drop in anytime for a drink. Try cocktails like the Muckracker, made with Bulleit bourbon, Bailey’s and cold brew coffee, or the Snowden Vesper, a combination of vodka, gin and lillet blanc topped with a pickled onion (both $12). A selection of eight beers on draft (all $7), several more in cans and five easy-drinking wines by the glass should keep you happy, too. Drop by for the happy hour from 5pm to 8pm every weekday to score select cocktails for $7 and a Narragansett and shot pairing for $6.
Venue says: “Our kitchen is open! Grass-finished burgers, Vegan burgers, Chicken Mofongo & more! Happy Hour 5-8pm daily. Events: fb.com/starrbarbk”