May 11, 2011 § 21 Comments
This past weekend, I was excited to have one of my oldest friends visiting from out of town. When asked what he wanted to do, his reply was simple: “Something whiskey related”
We quickly agreed to meet in Tribeca at the Brandy Library. It was one of those perfect spring days where the weather was warm enough to make you not want to be inside but chilly enough that when the wind blew, you were thankful to be able to take the edge off with the help of a beautiful single-malt … or two… or six.
The Brandy Library has an über sexy interior – a dark wooden bar, chocolate brown leather chairs, and the most amazing amber glow thanks to the floor-to-ceiling whisk(e)y bottles that line the walls. They also have a few chairs on their elevated front porch (which is where we were sitting). I like that you’re outside but off of the ground a bit – it gives you the feeling of privacy without blocking your view for all of the people watching you’re going to want to be doing!
Menu: What made the Brandy Library a perfect choice is their extensive menu. Just warning you, it’s a book! But the staff is really helpful and the book is organized with tabs so you can find the different sections really quickly. This was helpful because in our group of four, we had covered most of the world with our choices! Collectively, we ordered a Japanese Whisky (Yamazaki 12yr), a French whiskey (Michel Courvreur 12yr), an Indian Whisky (Amrut Single Malt) and the American Pride tasting … funny that not one person ordered something from either Scotland or Ireland, which where a majority of the whiskies are from.
Aside from the ambiance, what I love about the Brandy Library are their tasting menus. Each of their flights offer 6 different whiskies (hence the “six” comment above!). They bring you a shallow box with the numbers & names underneath the corresponding, pre-poured glasses. They place another page with the names & numbers on top of the glasses for you to keep on the side while you work your way through. (I like this extra copy for note taking… but then again not everyone is a dorky as I am!) They also bring you a 7th (and empty) glass with a bottle of water for you to play & experiment with how the addition of the water can change and enhance the flavors of the spirits. The challenge? They don’t give you the name of the 6th whiskey. They want you to be able to taste, experiment, and enjoy it without any preconceived notions.
Tasting like this can be so educational. I find that being able to alternate between the glasses and compare their smells and tastes really helps me recognize and define the different flavor components in each whisky. I personally find this much easier to do when I have multiple spirits to compare verses drinking them one at a time. Which is why when I’m drinking a whisky at a bar, if I happen to order a second glass and change my choice, I usually try to leave a little in my first glass so I have it to refer back to when I’m ready to compare it to the second.
I should also mention that they do have a full liquor license and serve wine & cocktails … although that’s not why I go! The Brandy Library also has a great hors d’oeuvres menu. My personal favorite is the gougères (think perfect bites of warm, cheesy dough)! De-lish.
The only thing I would have changed would have been to have my friends stay longer.
Have you been to the Brandy Library? Post a comment below!