This story was originally published in December 2019; offerings and opening times may be different due to COVID-related restrictions, so check in advance of a visit.
It can be easy to miss New York Distilling Co., tucked into a residential Brooklyn block next door to a fire station. But the understated distillery boasts one of the best cocktail bars in a neighborhood known for them, turning out perfectly executed drinks while maintaining a low-key vibe. Described by beverage director Marissa Mazzotta as a “bartenders’ bar,” The Shanty focuses on simplicity, offering a mix of classic, updated, and original cocktails made with thoughtful ingredients.
Eighty percent of the menu features one of New York Distilling’s spirits, but The Shanty also uses whiskies and spirits of all types from across the country and globe. Try the refreshing Searchlight (Ragtime rye, Combier orange liqueur, lemon juice, and ginger syrup), complex American Dream (Applejack-Finished Ragtime, Zucca rabarbaro amaro, Smith & Cross rum, and white cacao liqueur), or heavy-hitting Dead Ass (Ragtime, Perry’s Tot gin, Sombra mezcal, St. Elizabeth allspice dram, ginger syrup, and lime juice).
But cocktails aren’t the only draw. New York Distilling nurtures community, frequently gathering bartenders, distillers, and other spirits enthusiasts for education and collaboration; Eddie Russell of Wild Turkey, among others, has plied his craft on the 1,000-liter still alongside co-founder Allen Katz. More frequently, events like the weekly comedy night—often headlined by big names like Janeane Garofalo, Aparna Nancherla, and Julio Torres—bring together diverse crowds, and the venue hosts fundraisers and other community events. The bar gets busy around weekend tour times, but go during the week and there’s no trouble snagging a prime seat—like right beneath the picture window looking into the distillery—among the regulars.
Must-Drink Cocktail: Fast Car, featuring Ragtime rye, Aperol, and Fernet-Branca
Don’t Miss: The photos of famous whiskey distillers, like Parker Beam and George Washington, lining the top shelf of the backbar