Sunday, September 23, 2012

Barfly's Beat: Pouring Ribbons

Death & Taxes Cocktail - a best seller at Pouring Ribbons
Joaquín Simó (Tales of the Cocktail American Bartender of the Year, 2012) partners up with Toby Maloney (Alchemy Consulting), Troy Sidle and Jason Cott to open up a new East Village cocktail destination. This collaboration has been hotly anticipated by cocktail lovers who flocked to Death & Company for Simó's drinks.  Joaquín brings his signature attention to detail and D&C tradition of layering flavors to his new boite Pouring Ribbons. Maloney (a Milk & Honey and Pegu Club alum) and company bring an impressive record of opening award winning operations like Patterson House (Nashville) and Violet Hour (Chicago). Needless to say, with this pedigree, Pouring Ribbons could quickly rise to the top of New York's cocktail pantheon.

The entire bar is on the second floor above a liquor store at 225 Avenue B near 14th Street. When we rolled up, there was a ear piece totting doorman who on door control duty. After two unsuccessful attempts to radio upstairs to check capacity, he cried UNCLE and sent us up. I expected a D&C style wait and was pleasantly surprised for the easy access. Up the stairs, we entered an airy 88-seat bar with a curvy wood bar, and plenty of banquette and table seating. There was more of a saloon vibe to the place which is a nice departure from the standard speakeasy motif. A smiling hostess greeted us, asking our preference for table or bar? One can stand in the bar space at Pouring Ribbons, so we chose that option until a seat opened up. We wanted to see Joaquín at work and got quite a show.

The cocktail menu is succinct and simple which is a nice departure from the encyclopedias handed out at some bars.  The menu is divided into two main sections, classic drinks made to your preference (negroni, manhattan, mai tai, etc) and 15 house cocktails. According to Simó, the best selling house cocktails are a delicious concoction called Death &Taxes (Dorothy Parker Gin, Lemon, Clear Creek Blue Plum brandy, Lavender-infused Cinzano Bianco, acai honey syrup, grapefruit bitters) and the Dueling Banjos (Weller Special Reserve Bourbon, Lemon, Eagle Rare Bourbon, Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao, and Coconut milk). My favorite, The Death & Taxes, was reminiscent of an Aviation cocktail but with a layers of floral and fruit flavors from the brandy and infused vermouth. The Dorothy Park American gin was definitely prominent and overall the drink has a thirst quenching feel to it.

The house cocktails are expected to change seasonally so expect lots of exciting variations on classic and new favorites. The ice program here is serious too, with hand carved blocks and cylinder shaped pieces fitting snug in elegant glassware. Even the garnishes were artistic with grapefruit peels cut into the shapes of lips. It is noteworthy to add that these extra touches of fancy did not come off as ostentatious given the general welcoming and egalitarian feel of Pouring Ribbons. There are also small plates available (Beecher's gourmet cheese, charcuterie platters, and other delectable tidbits) and the wine and beer selection is top notch.

No reservations, no dress code, come as you are, and enjoy yourself.

225 Avenue B 
(btw 13th & 14th Streets)
New York, NY 10009
Phone: 917.656.6788

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