Brooklyn Shaken & Stirred, an event “celebrating Brooklyn imbibing,” was held two days ago in the Green Building, on the Carroll Gardens side of the stinky, superfundy Gowanus. As an imbiber from Brooklyn, I went to the event to see what could be tippled.
Naturally, I did what you do when you pay a not insignificant amount of money for three hours of artisan booze and fatty food: you show up on time, with an empty stomach. In fact, you show up early, and stand in line, under drizzling rain, with the other eager boozehounds, asking, Is this the line for the cocktail thing? The event itself, an overstuffed, trade show-like affair with rows of skinny folding tables lined with the libations and nibbles on offer, is about getting more than you paid for.
In addition to making myself a very specific sort of unwell, I gathered some two-bit impressions for you, internetz. Enjoy.
25₵: I find myself agreeing with a friend that the recent wave of foodie politicking has got to be tied to our generalized lack of political power in other areas of life. Hence the singlemindedness of some foodiots, the sense that that this is their one avenue of political engagement. Can't get bank reform pushed through a congress that needs money from banks in order to secure reelection? Well, at least you can change the wor...er, your diet, by buying only 100% local, organically farmed animals and produce. Besides, that shit tastes better.
25₵: In the relative quiet of the venue, my ears could snatch fragments of booze-oiled conversation from the air. Some strange things were said.
“It was risqué, but not sexy. My mom was wearing shorts.”
“You're quite memorable.” (Someone to someone else who I don't remember)
“You're just gonna keep drinking the stuff?” (One friend to another who should have probably stopped three tables back)
"They have this event where you can canoe on the Gowanus canal, I know it sounds like something you don't wanna do, but it is nice, they make a nice evening out of it.” (Woman with voice like Marissa Tomei's in My Cousin Vinny)
“Seriously, that's how we roll. We're like Motörhead. Louder than everyone else.” (Well, their food was alright. Pretty sure it ran through me like grease.)
25₵: Some big dude tells me a story about a benign tumor on his spine. When his eyes focus, they send off shimmering flickers of a sentiment roughly readable as I don't really like you — when he is talking to me, anyway. “Doctor tells me I had six months to live.” I blink, feeling the rush of emotion requisite to hearing these sorts of things. “Well, you're still here,” I respond and laugh. It's the laugh that people throw at bartenders and other people who don't really need to reciprocate. He doesn’t, and I pound his liqueur. Later, I wonder if the whole tumor thing is a fabrication, a story to tell to credulous semidrunks at trade shows and other events like this. And then: if it were, it wouldn't really matter. The drink was good.
25₵: I start to have fun, really, when the entirely shit-faced head bartender from Van Horn succeeds in making me smile by making me a drink. A good portion of it ends up on his vest — this being the hazard of attempting to shake drinks in a Boston shaker while drunk. The drink, named Van Horn fittingly enough, has basil in it.
Well, that’s at least a buck in two-bit observations. Now, some parting thoughts: a few people can make a cocktail — those at Sycamore, Pok Pok, and Van Horn, definitely. Spelt contributes an exceptionally pleasant, creamy flavor to a whisky, and White Pike is very nice thing to put on your tongue. And let's not forget the dark moral of Brooklyn Shaken & Stirred: no matter how much you care about the way your liquor is produced, the effects of expensive booze don't differ from those of the cheaper sort. This includes the zing of hangovers, if my direct experimental analysis is to be believed. Anyone who tells you the top shelf stuff hurts less is a liar, or just didn’t try hard enough to make Golden Anniversary work for them.