Talia Ralph: Pitorro on Ice
Thanks to my wonderful bosses at the Sporkful, I ended up with a bottle of this Puerto Rican moonshine as a belated holiday gift. Distilled in the South Bronx, this will erase anything you ever thought moonshine was. This apple-y, spicy, buttery, strong-as-heck liquor is so delicious and complex, all it needs is some ice (though it’s done wonders for my cocktail game, too). I’ve become especially fond of having a small glass on the couch with my roommates at the end of a long day… it almost makes me feel like I’m somewhere warmer.
Ariel Lauren Wilson: Dona Chai
Like anchovy paste or pickled mustard seeds, “chai concentrate” can seem like one of those condiments that you’ll use once, stock it in your fridge door and then throw out during an annual kitchen purge. How could consuming such a thing become a regular habit? I’ll tell you: get yourself a bottle of Brooklyn-made Dona Chai, warm up a little milk, stir in the concentrate to taste, sip and thank me — this is basically that $4.50 chai latte that you can never justify buying at the coffee shop, now attainable right in your own home. Dona Chai cold-presses ginger before blending with cinnamon bark, cardamom, vanilla bean, cloves, black peppercorns and loose-leaf black tea. You can find their concoction at specialty grocers all over the city, as well as in use at several cafes (Greene Grape Annex in Fort Greene for one). Milky beverages might be losing their appeal as the weather warms, but just throw some ice in there or take inspiration from their Instagram feed. I hear this juice is great for baking.
Caroline Lange: New York Honey Whiskey from Catskill Provisions and Finger Lakes Distilling
Back in the fall, my friend Hannah Kirshner of Sweets & Bitters entered a cocktail in NYC Honey Week’s Queen Bee Cocktail Classic, a competition for lady bartenders shaking and stirring with local honey. Her cocktail featured Catskill Provisions’ New York Honey Whiskey, honey switchel and bubbly water — and boy was it good. She came in second place that night, and gifted me a massive jug of the whiskey-switchel mixture to take home. About five months later, I’m still happily working away at it. I drink it icy cold, with a little salt sprinkled on like Hannah taught me, while I read.
Sari Kamin: Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co.‘s Michelada
In the holy trifecta of pickles, smoked fish and tomato-based cocktails, the michelada at Greenpoint Fish and Lobster Co. really nails it. Bloody Mary’s lighter and less boozy cousin is the michelada: a beer cocktail brunchefied by the addition of hot sauce, lime and sometimes tomato juice. The one at GFL is spectacular and comes garnished with a house smoked oyster and a house smoked clam. The best part is actually being at Greenpoint Fish & Lobster, where you can eat oyster breakfast tacos while washing back your michelada. That’s the kind of oyster-on-oyster action that I’m always trying to get at.
Carrington Morris: Saltie’s Tumeric Tonic
In early anticipation of The Great Thaw, I’m sipping Saltie’s magical turmeric tonic. The sunny saffron color alone will brighten your spirits, but the turmeric’s purported restorative properties might help counter any damage done while winter comfort feeding. Sister pub Edible East End scored the recipe here, if you’d like to DIY. Ingredients can be picked up at Kalustyan’s, Foods of India and elsewhere in Curry Hill.
Gabrielle Langholtz: Other Half Brewing Company
I was halfway through editing our story on Other Half Brewing before I actually tasted the stuff. So I’d read that the year-old beer biz made, as writer Betsy Bradely put it, “insistently fresh beer” that’s poured everywhere from Roberta’s to Gramercy Tavern. But it wasn’t until I sat down to dinner at Cooklyn with editor-at-large Rachel Wharton that I got to taste a pint. Despite the pretty words I’d read, I was startled by the California-style IPA – it’s pungent, hoppy and crazy fresh. Little wonder we put it on the cover.
Featured photo credit: Instagram/urbanxkoi