Brooklyn’s Best New…Something

By Nick Fauchald Posted May 13, 2008

Patrick Watson and his wife Michele Pravda are very good at naming stuff. First was their Carroll Gardens wine shop, Smith & Vine, a name that would make Hemingway proud: simple, direct and packed with information (location plus trade, separated with an ampersand). They took more of a Gossip Girl approach for their next business, a nearby cheese chop called Stinky Bklyn: sassy and smart, with allusions to the txtmsg era and a cheese head’s weak spot.

If Stinky Bklyn is Gossip Girl, then the couple’s latest venture, The Jake Walk, is John from Cincinnati. Its name is obscure—“jake walk” is 1930s slang for the partially paralyzed gait exhibited by Prohibition-era vagabonds who drank Jamaica Ginger, a highly alcoholic (though legal) patent medicine found to be loaded with, whoops, neurotoxins—and, like John from Cincinnati, you’re not quite sure how to describe Jake Walk , except for “singularly awesome” (if you disagree with me about JfC, don’t hold it against Jake Walk).

You can’t simply call Jake Walk “a bar,” because its carefully curated wine list (50 by the glass) is too good—seriously, I think it’s Brooklyn’s best. But you can’t call it a “wine bar,” either: A selection of 120 whiskies and eclectic, pre-Prohibition cocktails says you can’t. And “restaurant” isn’t quite right, though the place is a charcuterie- and cheese-aficionado’s Disney World, with an expansive selection of both. So let’s just call it what it is—a gastro wine-cocktail lounge and charcuterium—and leave it at that.

Oh, I almost forgot: Jake Walk is also the place’s signature drink, courtesy of David Wondrich:

The Jake Walk
Makes 1 drink
3/4 ounce reposado tequila
3/4 ounce J.M. Rhum Blanc (or other white rum)
3/4 ounce St-Germain (elderflower liqueur)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
Candied ginger, for garnish
Fill a shaker with ice. Add everything except the ginger and shake vigorously. Strand into a chilled coupe and garnish with the candied ginger.

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