There are a lot of reasons why you should visit the just-opened Genuine Liquorette, located underneath Genuine Superette in NYC’s Little Italy. There’s the self-serve refrigerated case where impatient patrons can grab beers or glasses of wine or bottles of wine and simply rack up a tab. Or there are the bartending classes curated by master mixologist and head of bar operations Eben Freeman, which qualify you to hop behind the bar and guest-bartend whenever you want. But the number one reason to pop down into the bodega-esque Liquorette is to experience the Cha-Chunker.
Invented by Freeman, the Cha-Chunker is a focal point of the bar—it even has its own identifying sign dangling above it. It’s a repurposed arbor press (a piece of shop equipment traditionally used to press designs onto leather), which Freeman uses to make cocktails inspired by two trends: canned cocktails and beergaritas (margaritas topped with inverted bottles of Corona). To make his in-can cocktails, Freeman uses the machine to widen the mouths of mini canned drinks like juices or sodas in order to make room for tiny bottles of booze (which he inverts into the cans), extra ingredients and a straw. As you sip the drink, more alcohol flows from the mini bottle into the can, so it gets progressively boozier as you go. In-can, Cha-Chunked cocktails include Mojitos, Piña Coladas, Bloody Marys and pretty much any other drink you can think of that involves cracking open a can.
Though there have been inquiries, the Cha-Chunker is one of a kind and not for sale. If you want to try making your own versions of Freeman’s canned cocktails at home, he recommends widening the mouth with a citrus reamer.