Last Friday, fans of The Black Grouse (makers of a silky smooth whiskey that happens to have completely charmed this writer) had one more reason to TGIF with their #WhiskeyFriday tagged event held at Mable’s Smokehouse in Williamsburg.  The final stop on their already brilliantly badass Distinctive Bartender Tour, Brooklyn–with its notorious penchant for a finely mixed quaff–seemed like the perfect fairytale ending that every fine Whiskey deserves (and every whiskey loving Brooklynite, for that matter!).

Already having won hearts in various cities across the country, including Los Angeles, Chicago, and Miami (click on each city’s name to see a video of the event), expectations were high and the joint was packed to the britches with The Black Grouse aficionados eagerly waiting to taste their way through no less than eight “distinctive” cocktails dreamed up by some of New York’s most skilled mixologists.  Though indirectly the point was to choose the “most distinctive” cocktail of all, what ended up being showcased was the remarkable versatility that a fine whiskey can offer when in the hands a skilled bartender.

Ranging from a “Gentleman’s Bolermaker” (a la Frank Cisneros of The Bourgeois Pig) which mixed whiskey and porter, to a “Narin Rose” (by Lynetter Marrero of Rye House) on which delicately floated a tiny, real rosebud, to my personal favorite “The Presbyterian Revenge” (dreamed up by John McCarthy of Highlands) which irreverently added italian apertivos into its own private cocktail religion.

As if our spirits weren’t high enough, comedian and Digital Director for The Onion, Baratunde Thurston, was also on hand, voicing his own unique perspective on what’s most distinctive about New York’s cocktailing scene.  Though his light-hearted insight was well received, most event goers were more thrilled to participate in the revelry of cocktail appreciation and good company.  It’s been a while since I have been part of such a genuinely friendly and affable crowd!  Many cheers to The Black Grouse for bringing us all together!

– Ava Fedorov

Photographs by Jamie Falkowski and Kyle Dean Reinford for MBooth.