New York-Made Spirits Get Their Moment at Cozy New Wine Bar
For New Yorkers looking to chase away the December chill with a glass of wine or a casual plate of sheep’s milk ricotta drizzled with truffle honey, the team behind Brooklyn mainstays Colonie and Gran Electrica have just opened Pips, a wine bar spotlighting super-local New York spirits, bitters, and custom amaros.
At Pips, you'll find the requisite small plates and low-intervention wines, but there’s also a Negroni on tap made with Inferno bitters from St. Agrestis, a Brooklyn-based distillery, as well as a Lucien Gaudin made with blue gin from Forthave Spirits, another local distiller.
Wine director Elise Rosenberg and her partner, Emilie Kilstrohm, also teamed up with Long Island-based Matchbook distillery to produce two custom amaros.
Initially, the team intended to make just one amaro, but after going through the development stages and realizing how big their wishlist was, flavor-wise, the Pips team settled on two unique amaros: the Front of House, which is floral, mint-forward, and perfect for easy drinking, and the Back of House, which is “a little on the full flavor side with more bitterness, exactly what you want after a long day.”
In terms of wines, Rosenberg says that the list at Pips pays close attention to small producers across Europe and the United States––nothing on the list comes from south of the equator––who are “doing things the way their families have done for generations and generations,” as well as young upstarts that have wanted to move away from commercialization to do small cool projects.
“We focus on indigeonous varieties, and I really love a good story about people who have reclaimed a forgotten vineyard,” she says. While Rosenberg gravitates towards pet-nats and orange wines, she notes that “not everything has to be a dirty brown wine that looks and smells like a mouse,” and that Pips will also have a selection of natural wines that present crisp, clean, and easy to drink in order to appeal to a broader audience.
Chef Jared Braithwaite, also from Colonie, says that one of his favorite dishes on the menu is a broth with garlic chili flakes and clam liquor coated in pistacchio oil and lovage, an old-school Italian herb. At its core, however, it’s a bowl of really good clams and beans. “It doesn’t need to be more complicated than that,” he says.
Pips, 129 Atlantic Ave, Brooklyn, NY