Almost nine years ago, Ravi DeRossi and Sother Teague partnered to open bitters destination Amor y Amargo in the East Village. Today, the bar opens its second location in Brooklyn. As with the original, the bar will not stock any juice or syrups, focusing solely on amari, bitters, vermouth, and spirits, and only serving stirred drinks. While the zip code may have changed, the mission remains the same: a welcoming and informative cocktail experience without pretense.
Amor y Amargo Brooklyn will have more elbow room at the new location, with 20 seats inside across elevated benches, high-top tables, and bar stools, and an extra 10 to be offered on an outdoor patio at a later date. Fondly referred to as ‘the little bar that could’, Amor y Amargo was once a niche idea intended to be a limited time pop-up concept. An idea to create a space serving only stirred drinks, no juice and no frills, and that could host those passionate and curious about cocktails, turned into nine years. Amor y Amargo Brooklyn carries that small bar energy into south Williamsburg to create an intimate experience for all guests, without the limitations of such a small space.
The menu will consist of new and old items, featuring drinks unique to the Brooklyn location such as the Velvet Leaf (amaro, Cocchi Americano, cachaça, Earl Grey tea bitters, and celery shrub); Spotted Elephant ( amaro, vermouth, aged rum, and bitters); and Waterproof Watch (amaro, Aperol, gin, and pimento bitters).
Three staple cocktails from the original location will also be available in Brooklyn including the 8 Amaro Sazerac, on the menu since day one in 2011, a blend of eight different amari with two tincture bitters served in a Chartreuse rinsed glass. This cocktail planted the bar’s flag firmly in the notion of heavily using amari and bitters in cocktails. A bottled cocktail, Sharpie Mustache, will follow the team as well, with Meletti Amaro giving it its signature cola like flavor. The third and the “juiciest“ without-the-use-of-juice cocktail carrying over from the existing menu, Di Pompelmo features two types of grapefruit amari as well as grapefruit bitters and tequila.
What makes Amor y Amargo special is the adherence to a strict ethos. They don’t use any juice or house-made items and only make stirred, spirit forward cocktails. The inspiration comes from the boundaries they’ve set for themselves.
“In our nearly nine year history at Amor y Amargo, we’ve only made three cocktails; Old Fashioned, Manhattan andNegroni,” says Teague.
The menu works from these three templates for every drink they make. The menu of ten featured cocktails will change quarterly, although the exhaustive selection of tincture bitters and Amari behind the bar can be utilized to craft an incalculable number of cocktails.
The space is dim with hues of purple and copper picking up light and bringing focus to the custom tile floor. Elevated banquette style seating and high top tables give the opportunity for group seating, unlike the original location’s solo stools, and a large marble counter top offers seating at the bar. The aesthetic follows that of the original with wooden walls and a deep but colorful palette of navy, white, copper, yellow and burgundy hues. The design of the space is based in minimalism. This will be the first time for group seating at Amor y Amargo, so the focus is on extending the small tasting room experience from the East Village location into the design of a larger size while still creating an intimate space. As with the original, a retail section of the space will have bottles of bitters, books, and tools available for purchase.
As it was when DeRossi and Teague opened the original Amor y Amargo, the focus of the new space continues to bring all attention to the enjoyment of the cocktail. Amor y Amargo is a great place to explore amari both on their own and in cocktails, a place for guests to be guided on a great drinking experience.
Amor y Amargo Brooklyn is located at 188 Havemeyer Street, Between S 3rd & S 4th, operating from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and Friday and Saturday from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. Closed Mondays. For more information visit amoryamargony.com or visit Night Music on instagram at @amoryamargo.