The beer-cocktail trend has been simmering for years, but lately, we've spotted a surge of boundary-pushing quaffs that integrate hopped ingredients in innovative ways. The Tippler(425 W 15th St between Ninth and Tenth Aves, 212-206-0000) offers the boldest application in its Gin and Chronic (pictured, $11). Riffing on the classic two-ingredient highball, bartenders combine herbaceous Plymouth gin, pimento-dram--spiced lime juice, and a house-made tincture crafted from grain alcohol and a mixture of pelletized hops. A splash of tonic water and a whole-leaf hops garnish—an in-your-face touch—reinforce the nip's earthy profile. Barkeep Michael Klein, a fixture at PDT(113 St. Marks Pl between First Ave and Ave A, 212-614-0386), has also been dabbling in the bitter buds. For his Ace in the Hole ($15), he revises the classic Vesper cocktail: Employing an iSi canister (the same type of metal charger used for whipping cream), Klein forces the lemony flavor of Japanese Sorachi Ace hops into Purity Vodka, in a speedy process known as a nitrogen infusion. To the resulting elixir, he adds citrusy Lillet Blanc and Hitachino beer schnapps to give it a malty backbone. A more subtle deployment of hops can be found in the tiki-leaning R.M. Grog ($16) from Eben Freeman and Michael Longshore at Ai Fiori(400 Fifth Ave between 36th and 37th Sts, 212-613-8660). The barmen speckle their mix of rich Ron Zacapa Solera rum, raisiny Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, orgeat, ginger syrup and Meyer lemon juice with a constellation of fragrant grapefruit bitters—spiked with Bavarian hops—from the Bitter Truth. With other local watering holes, including Williamsburg bar-distillery hybrid the Shanty, also tinkering with suds-inspired potions, the next-wave beer-cocktail seems to be hitting its stride. Hops heads and spirits geeks never shared so much common ground.
Whether you’re looking for a craft cocktail, raw bar or backyard garden, the Smoking Monkey in Clinton Hill has you covered. Cocktails like The Other 75 with cognac, lemon juice and champagne and the El Clasico with mezcal, cointreau, muddled orange and pickled vegetables (both $14) riff on the classics. The bar also offers a selection of craft beer and wines. Need something to eat? The cheese and charcuterie platter ($20) would satisfy a small group, but larger parties might want to order a massive seafood platter piled high with lobster, assorted oysters, clams and shrimp ($112). The crab cake sliders ($9), baby octopus with potatoes ($9) or the house burger with sauteed red onions, tomato, bacon and cremini and shiitake mushrooms ($14) might also hit the spot. Just make sure to save room for the chocolate cake with rum-spiked whipped cream ($8).
Venue says: “Our backyard just opened! Join us for happy hour and enjoy $1.25 oysters and clams from 4pm-7pm everyday of the week.”