Thursday, April 28, 2011

Little Branch

Our second Women Who Whiskey outing was at Little Branch, also in the West Village.

Little Branch is a delightful little secret, with an unnoticeable door, on a tiny side street, and unless you know where you're going, it's very hard to find. Once you find the door, you go down a long, mysterious staircase and through a curtain before finally entering into the bar. It's very speakeasy-esque, which makes going there even more precious, because it doesn't feel like it's been cheapened by the New York nightlife masses.

LB is very old school. It's dimly lit, there's live jazz Sunday through Thursday at 10pm, and the decor is impeccably from a past era. And the bartenders aren't fucking around.

They wear suspenders, are the requisite paradoxical combination of dismissive and therapeutic, and they know their cocktails. Especially Prohibition Era cocktails.

Little Branch is famous for the Bartender's Choice, a tailor-made-to-you cocktail, based on a liquor and some flavor notes of your choosing. Depending on what you ask for, the bartenders whip up a cocktail that could be completely new, or an old classic, but that fits your specifications completely.

I've never been disappointed by it.

I got my usual Manhattan, choosing the classic of the three or four different Manhattan they offer. It's a bit smaller than the norm, but the quality of the ingredients and the care of the mixing more than make up for the size.

I'm a Whiskey Woman myself, but Paige ordered a gin-based Bartender's Choice with cucumber and elderberry that was absolutely delicious.

Someone got a gin fizz (a based of gin, soda, citrus and egg whites), which was also amazing. Fizzes are actually one of Little Branch's most well-known specialties, as well as its Mojitos.

One of my favorite things about LB is that they cut up solid blocks of ice into cubes or long rectangular pieces, so that they have less surface area in the beverage, and thus melting more slowly, dilute the cocktail more slowly. They also bring a bowl of yummy complimentary mixed nuts.

Little Branch is one of my favorite New York secrets, not to mention one of the most authentic Prohibition Era bars in New York. I highly recommend it, if you can find it...

22 7th Ave
(Between Carmine and Leroy)