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Wassail (CLOSED)

  • Bars
  • Lower East Side
  • price 2 of 4
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
Paul Wagtouicz
Paul Wagtouicz

Cider at Wassail


Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

In the realm of spirits, cider is the overlooked wallflower; not as crowd-pleasing as beer or as effortlessly cool as the cocktail. But now the underrated sip gets its due at this glowing pocket-sized den on Orchard Street, offering a dozen drafts and nearly 100 bottles of the apple elixir. The brainchild of Jennifer Lim and Ben Sandler, the husband-and-wife team behind suds hub Queens Kickshaw, this fruit-forward bar will turn those cider snubbers into seekers.

ORDER THIS: Cider-splashed cocktails. The namesake punch ($36), served in a fish-shaped “glug jug,” is fun for a group, but the sweet apple juice and muddled strawberries at times overtake the bourbon and birch beer. Opt instead for the softer gin-spiked Slack Ma Girdle ($14), which bolsters delicate dandelion with tangy lime and bubbly IPA. The draft Jersey Cocktail ($12) mimics a manhattan with caramelly apple brandy, dry hard cider and a generous dose of bitters. Not up for a mixed drink? Try a boilermaker, like woodsy French cider and a shot of honey-licked El Dorado rum ($12).

GOOD FOR: Delving deep into the appley stuff. The cider repertoire runs deep, and the bar’s waitstaff excels at filtering the extensive list, drawing out wine-like tasting notes and coming up quick with recommendations to suit your fancy. A recent request for a dry yet refreshing option prompted the Casta–on Sidra ($6), a hazy, sun-yellow glass that finishes oaky. The brut Christian Drouin ($8) drinks a touch smoother, offering more prominent apple notes.

THE CLINCHER: A shareable tapas-style spread from chef Joseph Buenconsejo. The vegetable-heavy plates are injected with hints of apple: a supple, creamy orb of burrata ($15) is bathed in cooling winesap apple water, made even crisper by thin cucumber ribbons and lemon-infused olive oil; roasted root vegetables come sprinkled with hazelnuts and drizzled with apple saba ($12). If the dishes don’t draw in your cider-dismissing buddies, offer up an after-dinner pommeau ($12): The subtly sweet digestif splashes aged cider with calvados for a sublime sipping alternative to dessert. After a night here, your apple-averse pals will be sworn ciderheads.

Written by
Rheanna O’Neil Bellomo


162 Orchard St
New York
Cross street:
between Rivington and Stanton Sts
Subway: F to Delancey St; J, M to Essex St
Average cocktail: $13. AmEx, Disc, MC, V
Opening hours:
Mon–Wed, Sun 5pm–1am; Thu–Sat 5pm–2am
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