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Best Cocktail Bar for Downing the Brown

  • Death & Co.

    433 E. 6th St.; 212-388-0882

    High-end jigger joints tend to lionize gin, but that’s not the case at this hermetic East Village newcomer that takes its name (and dark, understated design cues) from the Prohibition era. Such is its dedication to brown spirits that even mescal, normally relegated to worm-chomping spring breaks, is spritzed over Kumamoto oysters in addition to going into a smoky, forward-thinking old-fashioned that’s theatrically garnished with a flaming orange peel. Sure, the dapper, personable bartenders culled from venerable establishments such as Pegu Club and Flatiron Lounge are more than capable of sliding a faithfully rendered Monongahela down the marble bar, but why not try the signature version made with homemade ginger beer, fresh raspberries, and rye instead of vodka? And if the spicy hot buttered rum, made with house-churned butter, inspires you to try rum straight, the annotated sipping-spirits menu includes not only a 23-year-old Ron Zacapa that delights with tastes of chocolate and tobacco but also a small-batch GRM cachaça that’s too good for use in a caipirinha.

From the 2007 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine