Browsing Tag

tipsy brooklyn

Cocktails, Wine

Last Minute Holiday Spirit: A Wine and Spirits Gift Guide

December 19, 2014

We all have tricky recipients on our list, and time is running out. Here are some gift ideas to help you wrap up (no pun intended!) and relax into the festivities:

Your roomie
Think strategically here. A bar stocker is something that is best shared with friends.

Our pick: Martini In A Box, a bottle each of Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth.

Your big client

Listen, your business needs happy clients so don’t scrimp on this one. Go for something special that isn’t available just anywhere: a gift set of locally distilled whiskeys and bourbons.

Our pick: Kings County Gift Pack, a 3-bottle pack including Brooklyn-local Moonshine, Bourbon and Chocolate Whiskey.

Your kid’s teacher
A sparkling rosé. Trust us on this one— this person does not need more soap or chocolate.

Our pick: Raventos i Blanc “De Nit” Rose Cava 2011, one of our favorite cavas with layer upon layer of red fruit.

Your office mate
A bright and complex Chardonnay, something light and easy that you can open to kick off happy hour the next time you’re both working late.

Our pick: Chateau Fuisse Pouilly-Fuissé Tête De Cru 2011, a parfait of peaches, pears and honey.

Your boss lady
You cannot go wrong with a chocolatey Syrah or a jammy red Zinfandel.

Our pick: Bella Vineyards Lily Hill Estate Zinfandel 2010, a perfectly balanced, textured, sleek and smooth red.

Father in-law (Because you know you need help with this one)

Choose a bourbon or whiskey—or, better yet, one of each. With any luck, he’ll share.

Our pick: Koval Single Barrel Bourbon, organic, small batch and single barrel. Sip, savor and enjoy.

Your trainer
Even fitness buffs have cheat days, and frankly, a bit of booze is better than a burger. A smoky Mezcal is an unexpected, versatile departure from the norm.

Our pick: El Buho Mezcal, so smoky with slightly sweet and earthy undertones.

Your super
Your super is one of the most important people in your life. A warming bourbon is the perfect way to cap off a day of shoveling snow or fixing broken heaters.

Our pick: Bulleit Bourbon, with gentle spice and sweet tones of toffee and nutmeg, this is a toasty bottle.

Your doorman
In addition to the annual holiday bonus, go the extra mile and splurge on a California Cabernet—big, zesty and festive.

Our pick: Flora Springs Trilogy 2010, all big blackberries and cherries in this Napa Valley Cabernet.

Yankee Gift Swap
The holiday season means holiday parties and games. Bring something everyone can use (hello, Bubbly!) and don’t be surprised if your gift ends up the coveted item that players scheme to “steal” from each other.

Our pick: Moet & Chandon Nectar Imperial Champagne, an effervescent nectar that’s rich with vanilla notes and slightly sweet tropical bubbles.

Julie Bausch is a freelance writer who moonlights for Tipsy, a wine and spirits shop in Brooklyn, where you can find all these bottles and more. Visit us at the corner of Myrtle and Classon or online at

From the Web


Some Steps to Learning About Wine, Brooklyn Style

May 20, 2014

When I first decided to learn about wine, someone recommended that I read “The Wine Bible” by Karen MacNeil. I got about a quarter of the way through the book before I put it back in my bookshelf and to be honest, it’s been gathering dust ever since. For some academic-minded people, that may be a good route to go, but many learn best by doing and luckily for us, that means tasting.

But…how do you start? Here are a few steps that I took to begin my journey.

1. Select the shop.

Stop into your neighborhood wines shops and pick one that will from then on be dubbed “your wine shop.” Select one with a good selection and high and low price points. Make sure that you’ll feel comfortable talking to the clerks and won’t be intimidated by the vibe. Even if their selection is a bit overwhelming, a good clerk can easily guide you to the right bottles. Take note of their specials, events or classes they offer and their displays. If there’s a tasting, taste! That’s a great way to get the conversation started.

2. Introduce yourself.

Many people are embarrassed that they don’t know much about wine, or that they only want to spend $10 a bottle. No need to be ashamed. It’s a sensible place to start and the important thing is that you be open to everything and ready to learn. Let the clerk know you want to learn about wine but you’re just getting started. Be clear about your budget and your likes/dislikes (if you have any). Let them know that you’d like them to guide you: they’ll be thrilled that you’re a clean, unbiased slate!

3. Start with the basics

A good way to start selecting bottles is to focus on varietals, instead of regions, and to keep each bottle under $10 or $15 (or whatever budget you set). Ask your new best friend in wine to choose bottles for you that they feel represent the varietal you’re interested in. Need a place to start? Begin with the basics: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc, to name a few. The bottles the clerk picks for you may be blends of different kinds of grapes but that’s ok. Not all wines, even if they are called by one varietal name, are purely made from that grape. Then once you have some basics down and have tried a few bottles of some standard varietals, branch out into the lesser-known ones. These are often some of the best values in the store because there is less demand for them, but it certainly does not mean that they’re any less delicious.

4.Taste it!

This is the fun part! Go home, open a bottle and pour a glass. Look at the color, the viscosity (the thickness) and the effervescence (if there is any). Take some notes. Then swirl it around, stick your nose in and breathe deeply. Take more notes. Finally, take a sip. Don’t just swallow, let it pour over your tongue, get some air into your mouth and really taste it. Write down anything you think of, no matter how silly. Is it sweet and fruity? Does it dry your mouth out? Is there some spice? A lot of people use strange vocabulary to describe wine, but just try to describe it with whatever comes to your mind.

Can’t articulate the flavors? Have someone else give it a sip. Did you taste the same things or different things? If different, can you taste the flavors your friend tasted? If you’ve given it a few tries and you’re still stumped, go online and look up some tasting notes for the wine. Do you agree with them? It’s ok to disagree too (taste is subjective!), just try to write down what you tasted differently. This will help you get better at identifying and then giving names to the many different flavors that wine can have.

5. Repeat as necessary.

If you continue with this, even if just for a couple months, you’ll start to make connections between how a certain grape varietals display in wine and then how the region it’s from can affect it. At the very least, you’ll recognize common varietal names and know the basics of what they taste like. That’s some pretty solid knowledge to have in your back pocket. From there it’s easy to branch out into blends, different regions and to explore things you really liked. Remember to take a picture of the label. If you liked the bottle, it will be easier to go find it again and easier for you to remember what you liked about. Cheers!

Selina Andersson heads up events and social media for Tipsy, a wine and spirits shop in Brooklyn. Tipsy hosts 3 or more free tasting events every week. Visit us at the corner of Myrtle and Classon or online at

From the Web


A Hibiscus Liqueur: From Barbados to Brooklyn

April 25, 2014

Much like any regular cocktail drinker, I love discovering new spirits from all over the world. But as of late, I’ve realized that it’s even more fun to discover liquors that come right from my own urban backyard.

You may have heard about Brooklyn’s burgeoning distillery scene, but whiskey, rye and bourbon aren’t the only things our borough is producing.

A few months ago we were introduced to a liqueur called Sorel, which is a Caribbean spirit made from hibiscus flowers. The producer of this spirit, Jack (pictured), is a New Yorker, born and raised, but has roots leading back to Barbados. His grandparents told him stories of sending the neighborhood children to pick the flowers, which, Jack says, “are as common as dandelions,” so that they could make hibiscus iced tea. Since Barbados was part of the spice route, they flavored the tea with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg. When the kids were asleep, his grandparents would spike it with rum, making it a perfect nightcap.

For years, Jack made his own version of Sorel right here in New York, but never had aspirations to bottle or sell it. That changed when he was suddenly diagnosed with cancer and given a five percent survival rate. Jack quickly reassessed his goals and focused more intensely on what was important to him: enjoying time with friends and family while discovering and drinking spirits, especially Sorel. He applied himself fully to making a commercial version of the liqueur and officially launched his distillery in Red Hook in May of 2012. He beat the odds and is healthy today.

Jack only uses organic grain alcohol as his base of his Sorel, as well as pure cane sugar and imported spices. What really impresses us is the flexibility of this liqueur; it’s delicious straight up, hot or on ice, with mixers, in punch and the list goes on. When Jack visited our shop, he shared a recipe with us called “The Ariana” and this cocktail is our new go-to for every boozy brunch.

The Ariana

For one cocktail, you’ll need:
1 champagne flute
2 oz Sorel liqueur
3 oz Prosecco
Pour Prosecco into champagne flute and finish with Sorel.

Or, you could take after the founder himself, who likes to mix two parts Brenne Single Malt Whiskey with one part Sorel. This combination, he says, brings out the best qualities of each spirit. Now that’s a motto I’ll keep in mind the next time I’m mixing up a cocktail.

Selina Andersson heads up events and social media for Tipsy, a wine and spirits shop in Brooklyn. Tipsy hosts 3 or more free tasting events every week. Visit us at the corner of Myrtle and Classon or online at

From the Web