Tag Archives: Tasting Tours

Prohibition Pub and History Tour in New York

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Prohibition Pub and History Tour in New York

The Prohibition Pub and History Tour in New York is guided walking tour of historic bars from the Prohibition Era replete with all the stories of immigration and the Gilded Age.

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Prohibition Pub and History Tour in New York

If you don’t really know what the Prohibition Era was, it’s ok. I’ll briefly tell you!

In short, it was a 13-year period between 1920 – 1933, where the production, commercialization, distribution and importation of alcoholic beverages was completely banned throughout the United States.

But this did not mean that people stopped drinking or going out! What happened then was that the famous speakeasies started to pop up around the city!

These speakeasy bars were strategically placed in basements, in the back area of butcher shops, and in the most unique locations. It obviously was not advertised, and you only knew about these bars mostly from word-of-mouth.

Today, New York City is still the home of countless speakeasies. While many are quite hard to find, others you can only go in with a special ‘secret password’. Pretty cool, right?

That said, this tour will tell you a bit more about his fascinating history and places.

The tour begins in Midtown at an original speakeasy – the speakeasy of all speakeasies.

The group then enter a Gilded Age bar celebrating the greatest catalyst to Prohibition. Finally, it will end at one of the oldest Irish bars in New York and celebrate the end of Prohibition together!

So, be sure to book your spot and come have fun with us in the Prohibition Pub and History Tour in New York.

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Rates & Details:

  • Price: $40 / person
  • Time: starts at 4pm
  • Duration: 3 hours – 1.5 mile guided tour at a moderate walking pace
  • Meeting Location: 21 Club at 21 West 52nd Street
  • One complimentary drink sampler (based off an original Prohibition-style cocktail)
  • Alcoholic/non-alcoholic drink menus available
  • Dress Code: business casual apparel
  • Ticket price includes tax and fees. Gratuity not included.

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If you enjoyed this tour, be sure to check out other amazing ones through out the city!

And, if you need a private tour or need assistance in tailoring one for a corporate group, contact our experts!


Photo Credit: Courtesy

Neighborhood Eats Tour: Brownstone Brooklyn

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn Delicatessen

We love Brooklyn and we love food, so putting them together is the perfect combination! Explore with us the Neighborhood Eats Tour: Brownstone Brooklyn! Come hungry!

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn Delicatessen
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn Bagels
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn Drinks
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn Sweets
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn Empanada
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Neighborhood Eats Tour Brownstone Brooklyn
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Italian, Middle Eastern, and New American cuisine come together and create New York City’s best neighborhood food.

Discover delicious mom & pop shops and restaurants, and experience how food is the engine of a local eco-system.

Brooklyn’s Smith and Court Streets and surrounding neighborhoods have a vibrant mix of small, locally owned, artisanal food shops (both old and new) unlike almost any other neighborhood in America.

On this tour you will find out how that came to be and what makes it tick!

We will visit both old school haunts and new culinary entrepreneurs to experience an exciting menu of traditional flavors and daring dishes. We’ll stop into Italian and Middle Eastern shops that have long been the staple of the neighborhood, and explore the growing scene of cafes and restaurants specializing in New American cuisine.

While we enjoy their delicacies, we’ll learn about the neighborhood’s rich history and changing character from the local business owners and residents themselves and you’ll find out what makes this neighborhood so special.

Come hungry! Price of ticket includes beer tastings and food, transportation, tour map of the neighborhood, and your tour guide.

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Highlights:

  • Discover why Brooklyn is now the centre of the NYC food scene
  • Visit family-owned food stores to get the local lowdown on food in Brooklyn
  • Stroll down the beautiful tree-lined streets of Brooklyn with a local
  • Explore the many faces of Brooklyn cuisine, from New American to Italian, the Middle East and beyond!

Rates & Details:

  • $69 / person – includes food & guide
  • Duration is about 3 hours
  • Tour meets at Stinky Bklyn – 215 Smith Street, Brooklyn
  • Advanced purchase required
  • Schedule: Every Friday at 11am and every Saturday at noon

Other Info:

  • Inclusions: Local English speaking guide, food tastings, and tour map of the neighborhood.
  • Exclusions: Items of a personal nature, tips and gratuities for your guide (highly appreciated, tks!)
  • Your Trip: You will be in a small group of a maximum of 12 people.
  • Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the start point. Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
  • Child Policy: Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed upon booking. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children below the age of 6 are not permitted on this tour.

BOOK NOW!

In addition, if you enjoyed the Neighborhood Eats Tour: Brownstone Brooklyn, but you prefer to book a private tour, please submit a request. Furthermore, for corporate requests, let our experts help you out.

Don’t forget to explore all our other Tours & Experiences too!


Photo Credit: Courtesy of our partner

Lower East Side: Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Tenements Tales and Tastes Fruits

New York is known for its fantastic variety of cuisines from all over the globe. Plus, we know that there are certain iconic foods that you really have to try, when coming here! Explore with us the Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour that will take you on a delicious journey around the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Tenements Tales and Tastes Cheeses
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Tenements Tales and Tastes Bread
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Tenements Tales and Tastes Fruits
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Tenements Tales and Tastes Little Italy
BTSNYC Experiences On Going Urban Adventure Tenements Tales and Tastes Meeting Point
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When people come to New York, not many know that all these delicious dishes and snacks were actually brought to New York by immigrates years and years ago. And, it definitely helped shape the diverse American food culture found in NYC! We are certainly huge fans!

As you already know, we are all about going where locals go, eating where true New Yorkers eat, uncover spots far away from the touristy scene! If you enjoy this type of experience too, then this tour was catered perfectly for you!

The Lower East Side of Manhattan has a fantastic history and countless stories of the immigrants that settled there. The neighborhood grew a lot, but you can easily find it’s origins.

You’ll enjoy the story of the millions of immigrants and taste several delicious dishes like pretzels, dumplings, potato knishes, waffles, homemade cheeses and even beer, of the many groups that have lived there.

Learning their origin in a fun, tasty way, is totally up our alley and is exactly what you can expect at the Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour.

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Plus, you’ll also walk the narrow, tenement lined, streets of an area known by names like Kleindeutschland, Chinatown, and Losaida.

Whether they were Dutch, Jewish, or Chinese you’ll learn about and taste something from every group that has called the neighborhood home and you’ll leave happy and full!

So, come enjoy with us and have some delicious food throughout this experience!

Highlights:

  • Discover NYC from a local perspective, with a local guide by your side
  • Visit bustling markets and sample the tasty treats on offer
  • Stroll through New York’s unique cultural historic sites in the Lower East Side, Chinatown, and Little Italy.
  • Get a glimpse into New York’s immigrant heritage and how it is shaping the city today

Rates & Details:

  • $69 / person – includes food & guide
  • Duration is about 3 hours
  • Tour meets at the fountain in City Hall Park
  • Advanced purchase required
  • Schedule: Every day at 10am

BOOK NOW!

Other Info:

  • Dress standard: Summers can be hot and humid, autumn can be cool, and winters downright frigid with snow. Dress according to the weather and wear comfortable walking shoes
  • Exclusions: Items of a personal nature, tips and gratuities for your guide (highly appreciated, tks!)
  • Your Trip: The tour is offered on a “join in” basis.  Maximum group size is 12.
  • Confirmation of booking: If you have your voucher, your booking is confirmed. We’ll see you at the start point.  Get in touch if you have any concerns or require more information via the email address or phone number (business hours only) on your voucher.
  • Child Policy: This is a child-friendly tour. Children between the ages of 6 and 11 inclusively are permitted on this tour at the rate listed above. Please select ‘child’ above when booking. Children under the age of 6 are permitted to join this tour free of charge. Please inform us at the time of booking if you’ll be bringing a child under the age of 6. You can do so in the special request box on the checkout page.

In addition, if you enjoyed the Tenements, Tales and Tastes Tour in the Lower East Side, but you’d like to book a tour for a private group, please submit a request. Furthermore, for corporate requests, let our experts help you out.

Don’t forget to explore all our other Tours & Experiences too!


Photo Credit: Courtesy of our partner

Day 2: Siemens NYC’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Retractable Ceiling

This was Day 2 with Siemens USA! We visited some of New York City’s major attractions to understand how Siemens actually helped build our beautiful city! So, tag along with me to explore what happened during the “Siemens NYC’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour”!

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Retractable Ceiling

As you’ve probably noticed, after reading our Day 1 experience with Siemens, I had a fantastic time! I always say that I’m not only extremely curious to learn historical facts about NYC, but I think it’s extremely amusing to understand how this amazing city operates and functions.

Siemens’ technology is literally scattered throughout the city of New York in places and world-famous landmark: from the Statue of Liberty, the subway system, the Amtrak and the beautiful World Trade Center Memorial Fountains, to the retractable ceilings at Arthur Ashe Stadium, the impeccable acoustics of Carnegie Hall and even, hidden within the top breweries in Brooklyn. The purpose? To make your NYC days eternally memorable and seamless experiences.

That said, let me start telling you about our Day 2 at Siemens “New York City’s Hidden Technology – A Behind the Scenes Tour”. If you thought that yesterday was cool, take a look below at where we went this time!

After a very early breakfast, starting at 7am at a hotel in FiDi, where me met the entire group, we hopped on the bus and headed to the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, better known as the home of the US Open Tennis Championships that is actually happening now!


9am – USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

I’m a huge tennis fan and even played when I was younger for a couple of years.

If you follow tennis, you’ve probably seen how many matches have been cancelled or delayed during the years, due to bad weather, right? Such a bummer!

Not only is this a hassle if you’re there watching and enjoying the match, but specially for the athletes that end up cooling down and getting distracted, to then have to go back to court.

The Arthur Ashe Stadium is the largest tennis stadium in the world, with retractable ceilings that have ended the bad weather problems.

Siemens worked with Morgan Automation Systems, part of the Morgan Engineering family of companies, a world leader in automation of extreme large mechanization projects, to make this project become a breathtaking reality!

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Retractable Ceiling
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Mark Sharamitaro
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Screen
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Monitoring
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Heat Sensors
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Control Room
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Arthur Ashe Stadium Inside
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I listed some of the most curious facts that you should know about it, and that I thought were particularly interesting:

  • This ceiling is the largest structure in the world, over a tennis court, installed just earlier this year
  • The retractable ceilings are controlled and powered by Siemens
  • Each half of the roof weighs around 1 million pounds
  • The roof has 250ft long, each one being 125ft
  • It moves at approximately 25ft / minute. It opens within approximately 6 minutes 10 seconds and closes in approximately 5 minutes, 35 seconds. Why does it close faster? Well, when a storm suddenly pops in, they have to be quick to preserve a dry court, so the game continues.
  • Everything happens through the push of 1 single touchscreen button
  • It has the power to resist winds that reach 125mi/h
  • There is a team that is exclusively monitoring and controlling the air temperature and moisture
  • They have to be careful for not 1 single drop to fall on court
  • The Stadium is regulated to have the same temperature as the outside weather, so every player is performing under the same conditions
  • The stadium is used only 3 weeks during the entire year, with 4 yearly maintenances

 Now, understand the Siemens cutting-edge automation technologies onsite:

  • The ceiling is powered and controlled by Siemens’ Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs)
  • The S120 Safety System is totally integrated
  • Easy to use with access comfort panels
  • These industrial equipment and systems can be seen not only in factories, but also throughout the entertainment world like: Cirque du Soleil stages, rides at Walt Disney World parks, shows in Las Vegas, the Orlando Eye 400-foot observation ferris wheel, and even Broadway shows.

12pm – Other Half Brewery

Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery Tasting
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery Tanks
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery Packaging
Curiosities City Secrets Siemens BTSNYC Tour Other Half Brewery
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It’s amazing how Siemens is literally spread throughout New York! What do I mean? Well, we had lunch and a great beer tasting experience at a brewery in Brooklyn called Other Half.

The place is amazing and the aroma of their beer is all over as soon as you walk in! They incentivize people to do the tour and learn about the entire brewing process.

In the case of breweries, Siemens’ technology is seen through different components that are inside other equipment. Their tech ranges from increasing efficiency in the overall process, to controlled bottling process and modeling & managing the complete workflow.

They have a few other breweries in Brooklyn using their systems, as well as most of the Coronas you’ll drink in the US! Cool right?


3pm – LO3 Energy

It’s literally hard to point out the highlight of these 2 amazing days, but I can say that LO3 was certainly a different experience.

What is LO3 Energy?  Well, they’re a pioneering blockchain startup that is changing the way we think about our electricity and how it works. Plus, we are seeing more and more, the importance of having our own data protected and encrypted, and with their program, by creating and applying a token, it creates a business model that gives value to data, so can buy a key to unlock and also secure your data while directly managing the purchase of power.

In addition, it’s also great to see that the big shark companies like Google and Facebook are also now going 100% renewable, with wind and solar tiles.

People are literally starting to care about energy!

Where does Siemens come in? LO3 Energy is working with Siemens Digital Grid and Siemens’ startup financier next47, on the Brooklyn Microgrid project.

“In an energy market that is becoming increasingly distributed – whether based on wind, sun, water or biomass – intelligent grids are becoming increasingly important. Siemens microgrid technology is helping communities pioneer the movement toward a self-sufficient energy future.” (Siemens)

But wait! What is a microgrid? The correct, dictionary definition is: “a small network of electricity users with a local source of supply that is usually attached to a centralized national grid but is able to function independently.”

The purpose of a grid is to balance electricity: not too much, not too little.

The idea is for a community to be able to produce, consume and purchase power from within their own community. And, the cool thing is that people will be able to consume from a distributed energy supply system that draws on renewable-generated sources for a more resilient, customer-driven economy.

Being able to choose where to buy your energy from and be sustainable is now a reality!

You can also read more about them.


And, this wrapped up these 2 amazing and truly surprising days that we explored New York through different lens.

It was extremely interesting to see and understand a bit of how the engine works “behind the scenes” to make our New York City function so properly and seamlessly, giving us locals – and also visitors – a priceless, memorable experience!

I can’t wait to see more about how Siemens technology is impacting our lives, without us even knowing!

Thank you Siemens, once again, for this breathtaking experience with endless interesting information!


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Hashtag: #SiemensInnovates

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Sunday Funday: A Boozy Brooklyn Tasting Tour

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Boozy Brooklyn Tasting Tour Like A Local

Come explore Williamsburg, Brooklyn with us on this tasting tour! The Sunday Funday: A Boozy Brooklyn Tasting Tour will certainly be the best activity for your upcoming weekend!

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Boozy Brooklyn Tasting Tour Like A Local

This tour has been recommended by Fodor’s Travel for locals & tourists alike, so come explore and toast with us!

BOOK NOW!

(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)

Brewery Tasting and Wine Tasting:

  • Tastes of Local Eats & Treats + Special Shopping Experience
  • History of the Neighborhood & Local street art
  • Stunning Views & Tons of Great Photo Opportunities!

SUNDAY FUNDAY!

Come explore Williamsburg, Brooklyn with us on this tasting tour!

Not only will you get to try some tasty treats at our favorite Williamsburg establishments, but you can indulge in some shopping while meeting local designers.

From the Williamsburg waterfront with stunning NYC views, to Brewer’s Row, to spectacular street art, this tour has it all!

Knowing the best hangs is crucial to experiencing this hood to the max. Your super knowledgeable and fun local guide will dish out the history of the neighborhood while you savor the local flavor that is unique to this bohemian mecca.

Rates: $55 / person
Times: Sundays at 1:30pm

BOOK NOW!

(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)

If you enjoyed this tour, you might want to check out the “A Flatiron Food, History & Architecture Tour“. We also recommend a few places for wine tastings! But, if you want a custom tour related to art, food, historical sights, fashion or any other focus, contact us! For Corporate Tours, let our experts help you out.

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery

A Flatiron Food, History & Architecture Tour

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Flatiron Food History Architecture Tour Like A Local

Enjoy some of New York City’s best and most unique food stops with a local! Come explore Flatiron’s food, history and architecture!

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Flatiron Food History Architecture Tour Like A Local Day

This tour has been recommended by Fodor’s Travel!

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(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)

There will be enough food for brunch with fascinating tales along the way. So, come and have fun!

Explore two of New York’s most iconic and picturesque neighborhoods: Flatiron & Union Square. On this tour you will enjoy 6 full portion, gourmet tastings. PS – this tour has excellent substitutions for vegetarians. You will walk one mile.

Included on the tour is the following food:

  • Delicious breakfast foccacia at Mario Batali’s epic artisanal Italian food emporium, Eataly
  • Historic Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop (a celebrity favorite), established in 1939, for a classic New York sandwich
  • Enjoy a slice from one of New York’s most famous pizzerias, Grimaldi’s, but with a twist … this location is in the former Limelight (first a church, then a popular nightclub in the 80s and 90s)
  • Never ending cheese samples plus an out of this world grilled cheese sandwich at Beecher’s Cheese, where believe-it-or-not, they make cheese right in the middle of Manhattan!
  • Savor award-winning baked goods at Bread’s Bakery

We also stop for photos at the famous Flatiron Building and explore Madison Square Park and Union Square and learn about their incredible history.

More about the neighborhood:

Over a hundred years ago, the Flatiron District was a very important commercial and residential district in New York City. The Met Life Tower was once the tallest building in the world, many important historical figures lived in the neighborhood and there was of course, Ladies Mile.

Today, this incredibly beautiful and charming neighborhood is full of the city’s best restaurants and shops. Come enjoy all the modern day popularity of the Flatiron District and hear the interesting tales of what came before.

The tour is 3 hours long and includes 6 gourmet tastings. You will walk less than a mile or 1.6 km.

Rates: $50 / person
Times: Thursdays & Saturdays at 10:30am

BOOK NOW!

(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)

If you enjoyed this tour, you might want to check out the “Williamsburg Bites In A Brooklyn Food Adventure“, or even contact us to arrange a full picnic experience for your and your family/friends in Central Park!

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Noel Y. C.

Williamsburg Bites In A Brooklyn Food Adventure

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Williamsburg Bites Brooklyn Food Adventure Like A Local

Williamsburg Bites – A Brooklyn Food Adventure is one of our most amazing food tours! Explore the food scene in the neighborhood and have a taste of it all!

BTSNYC Experiences On Going Williamsburg Bites Brooklyn Food Adventure Like A Local

“​Want to know the best way to learn about Brooklyn? It’s through food!”

So, come hungry!

BOOK NOW!

(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)

This tour has been recommended by Vogue, TripAdvisor and more! (Can easily accommodate vegetarians!)

To start, Williamsburg, one of Brooklyn’s most popular and exciting neighborhoods, straddles old and new. You can enjoy the lively arts, music, and boutique scene here, chill in numerous cafes, dine in some very good restaurants — and soak up the unique vibe.

During this gastro experience you will discover the cultural delights and delectable bites of Brooklyn, by the hand of local food experts. And, delve into the rich culinary history of the area as you visit iconic institutions to sample tasty treats.

Food included in the price:

  • Step into Williamsburg’s past at this traditional Polish bakery (pierogis and pastries), award-winning BBQ (with excellent vegetarian options)
  • Enjoy two types of pizza from a NY Times recommended pizzeria and true hidden gem. Plus, the owner is host of Vice Munchies and is Brooklyn born and raised
  • Savor bagel bombs and cereal milk ice cream at Momofuku Milk Bar (owned by celebrity chef, Christina Tosi of Master Chef)
  • Sample chocolates direct from a artisanal Brooklyn chocolate factory (flavors like sea salt, coffee, lavender and more!)
  • Eat ice cream from an Iron Chef contestant
  • Authentic BBQ from a Kentucky transplant using his grandmother’s recipes (excellent veggie option)
  • Perk up with a guided coffee tasting from the owner of a locals only roaster + cafe (with quite a story!)

Also, see large scale street art, learn fascinating history (see author Henry Miller’s home and learn how the neighborhood shaped his writing), and capture the best view of the New York City skyline.

In addition, the guides are working actors so every tour has history through fun storytelling and lots of personality! Let us show you the Williamsburg that locals know!

The tour is 3 hours long and includes 7 gourmet, full portion tastings. Enough for lunch!

PLEASE NOTE: You will walk a total of 2 miles.

Rates: $50 / person
Times: Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays at 1pm

BOOK NOW!

(Get 15% off with the exclusive Promo Code: BTSNYC!!!)


Also, see the “Sunday Funday: A Boozy Brooklyn Tasting Tour“! During the hotter months, we really recommend the “Rooftop Reds: Brooklyn Wine Tour & Tasting” too.

If you need help in NYC, or if you’re a company looking for Corporate Concierge Services, contact our experts!

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy

Doc Hersons: Story Behind a Harlem-born Absinthe Brand

Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Kevin Herson Stacey Luckow

New York City is known for many things, from being the #1 Fashion Capital in the world, to its tireless nightlife, but did you know it’s also the home of the 1st and very special, all natural, small batch absinthe producer named Doc Hersons?!

Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe White
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe White with Sparkling
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe White Root Beer
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Bloody Mary
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Cocktail
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Green Ginger Beer
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Green Ice
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Green
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe 3 Flavors
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Decor
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe WeWork BTSNYC Experience
Curiosities Insider Interviews Doc Hersons Absinthe Kevin Herson Stacey Luckow
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New York City is known for many things, from being the #1 Fashion Capital in the world, to its tireless nightlife, countless fantastic restaurants and yet a priceless art scene. Of course, there is much more to this list!

But, maybe something you didn’t know: It’s also the home of the 1st and very special, all natural, small batch absinthe producer named Doc Hersons.

A while ago, we hosted a great tasting event, paired with fantastic acoustic music, at one of Williamsburg’s coolest rooftops. Doc Hersons was the brand we brought in to offer the tasting and share a bit of his journey.

We were so intrigued with the product and their story, that we decided to interview Kevin Herson that founded the brand with his wife, Stacey Luckow.


1) Tell us a bit about your background and what lead you two to start Doc Hersons? Is it a family tradition, or a personal passion?

We started the distillery in 2012 in our basement in Harlem. My day job as a commodity broker ended around 3pm each day, while Stacey would only return home from working at our vintage clothing store in the East Village around 9pm.

This left plenty of time for me to experiment in the basement of our Harlem apartment. I started buying distilling equipment and experimented with making Whiskey and Moonshine.

Then I decided to try make some Absinthe, since I had always enjoyed drinking it.

My Chemistry background and knowledge supplied the baseline for which soon became a full functioning Absinthe distillery on 142nd and Broadway, the 1st Absinthe distillery in NYC.

2) We love Harlem! What is it about this neighborhood that relates to the brand and being there during the journey to bring this product to life?

I feel that starting a distillery in a Harlem basement just seems sort of a natural beginning for an Absinthe distillery. Harlem has many great stories and an amazing history, as does the Absinthe.

3) Why absinthe? I feel that not many people know how to drink it, so what are the challenges when trying to introduce this spirit into people’s lifestyle?

Absinthe has an interesting history and many myths associated with it.

I think the spirit is very misunderstood, and the controversy surrounding it was intentionally made well know through the efforts of the French wine industry – read the “History” paragraph on Wikipedia).

Our Absinthe is very unique and we simply enjoy it over ice or in the various different cocktails that call for Absinthe as an ingredient.

I feel the biggest challenge regarding Absinthe is dispelling all the myth’s surrounding it. This will take time, for almost 100 years Absinthe was illegal in the USA so we have some truthful storytelling to do to educate people that Absinthe can be enjoyed just like all the other wonderful categories of spirits out there.

4) So, what’s the biggest myths about absinthe?

Absinthe doesn’t make you hallucinate, it never did and it never will.  It’s a unique spirit and the truth is it’s delicious!

5) Tell us a bit about how absinthe is made.

We start by fermenting grains from upstate New York. We then run that ferment through a stripping still to get a raw alcohol, raw meaning all the good and the bad alcohol mixed together.

Then, we take that raw alcohol and transfer it into our pot still, add a bunch of different botanicals from fennel, anise, Grand Wormwood, mint, lemons… etc. That concoction is boiled and fractionally distilled to collect all the good alcohol infused with the flavors and essential oils from all the herbs.

Once we collect the good stuff, we proof it and then add additional herbs for color and flavor, all 100% natural. Finally, we strain off the spirit from the botanicals, let it settle and then bottle it all up to enjoy.

6) Do you know a few curious historical facts about the spirit that you can share?

Wikipedia does a good job of this. However, most people don’t know that Absinthe was originally developed as a Malaria prevention. This was way back when it was first produced, in 1792.

7) What are the main characteristics of each of the 3 products by Doc Hersons?

  • Green Absinthe: Notes of licorice, mint and slightly bitter
  • Red Absinthe: Floral Hibiscus, licorice and citrus notes
  • White Absinthe: Poppy seed, licorice and vanilla woody spice

8) Besides having the drink neat or with ice, when you teach people about how to consume it, what are the best easy mixes with each of the 3 flavors?

Each of our different styles of Absinthe can simply be enjoyed over ice or in the various traditional cocktails that call for Absinthe as an ingredient.

Or, one can enjoy them in the following simple cocktails:

  • Green Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with ginger beer and garnish with a mint leaf
  • Green Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with club soda and garnish with a lemon wedge
  • Red Absinthe (1/2 oz) over ice, fill the glass with ginger ale and garnish with an orange wedge
  • White Absinthe (1 oz) over ice and garnish with a jalapeño slice

Or even add 1/2 oz White Absinthe to your favorite Bloody Mary cocktail for an extra note of flavor and fun.

And, if you’re into beer, check out 52Brews to enjoy the great beer as a way of life.

9) Are there any upcoming flavors we can expect to see in the near future?

We are working on some other spirits projects, but as for Absinthe we just produce the three styles traditionally know, Green, Red and White.

10) The bottles and the labels are very unique and give us a delicious, nostalgic feeling. What’s the idea behind the visual communication?

Branding and aesthetics are all centered around classy, simply, elegant and intriguing. Visual representations of what one can expect when they enjoy sipping on our Absinthe.

11) Do you offer any catering service and experience, for people interested in learning more?

People are always welcome to reach out personally to find out more about our Absinthe. They can even email or call to schedule a special distillery tasting/tour. We do both public and private events to promote our brand on a regular basis. Each event is coordinated on a case by case basis.

12) Where can people purchase your products, besides online?

Besides online, there are a number of liquor stores listed on our website DocHersons.com under our “buy” tab. There are also many bar and restaurants throughout NYC and NY State that serve our Absinthe.

13) Any new upcoming project that you’d like to share with us, as a “teaser”?

We are working on a new spirit to be released in February of 2018. Keep an eye out but it’s a surprise!

14) Since you’re a Harlem-expert, we’re curious to know what are your favorite “behind the scenes” spots!

Regarding a couple cool spots in Harlem, I can suggest our favorite spot, Harlem Public. You can ask for Roni the bartender, he is awesome and makes some of the best cocktails in the city.

There’s also a great liquor store there called Pompette Wine. When you get there, ask for Mozel. He owns the store and knows a lot about great local wines and spirits.

We don’t live in Harlem anymore and haven’t for about 5 years, so we are not really current with some of the newer happening spots.

We live in Brooklyn now, so some of the cool spots we like to visit are Le Boudoir and Chez Moi, both in Brooklyn Heights!


Thank you Kevin, and Stacey for sharing your beautiful story with us. It’s certainly an exciting journey, and we will stay tuned for the new spirit launching soon!

If you want to learn more about Doc Hersons, this small batch absinthe producer, take a look at their website.

When you decide to visit the neighborhood, you might want to start by visiting a park we love called Morningside Park. Plus, stop for lunch at Seasoned Vegan, even if you’re not Vegan. We promise, you’ll be amazed with their dishes!

Lastly, if you’d like to be put in touch with them, we can connect you! As Kevin mentioned, they offer very exclusive tasting tours, so let our experts organize it for you! For Corporate requests, for catering or tours, talk to our team.

http://dochersons.com

We Love The Organic Beans-to-Bar Chocolate By Cacao Prieto

Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Store

Sourced from the Dominican Republic, Cacao Prieto is an organic beans-to-bar chocolate factory in Red Hook, Brooklyn. See what their chocolate and spirits are all about!

Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Store
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Theobroma Cacao Tree
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Dominican Republic Sourcing
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Beans
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Cacao Beans
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Mandarine
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Dominican Spice Hot Chocolate
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Dark Chocolate
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate and Widow Jane Collection at EBIS OHTSU Gallery Japan
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate Criollo and Bark Collection
Shop Specialties Cacao Prieto Chocolate at ABC Carpet and Home Tasting
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“100% organic, 100% passionately made in house from pods to beans.”

Cacao Prieto was founded by Daniel Prieto Preston, whose family has been farming organic cacao in the Dominican Republic for more than 100 years.

The farm, named Coralina Farms, which supplies all the cacao for Cacao Prieto’s chocolates and spirits, is also the center for long-ranging experiments in self-sustainable and organic farming methods.

In fact, everything is 100% organic and  100% passionately made in house from pods to beans. From bars to bonbons, from hard science to the ethereal joy of tasting high quality chocolate. So, Cacao Prieto aims to link the best of the New and Old Worlds to re-define the manufacture, processing and, of course, the pleasures of chocolate and chocolate based liqueurs and rums.

In addition, they offer some pretty cool Chocolate Factory & Distilling Tours!

Here they explain a bit more in depth what the tour is all about:

“Cacao Prieto tours last 1 hour and include an in-depth look at the history of cacao in the Dominican Republic. Plus, see the beans to bar process, the machinery used for processing and science that makes chocolate the unique product it is.

From turn of the century antiques to patented machines invented in house, see how a raw fermented cacao bean moves from farm-to-bar through roasting, cracking, winnowing, milling, tempering, molding, and packaging. In addition, following chocolate is a look at distilling rums, liqueurs, and whiskey from grain-to-barrel-to-bottle.

Tasting flights of chocolate and spirits included.”

Lastly, if you don’t want to wait to go to their chocolate factory in Red Hook, you can buy online at their store. These organic beans-to-bar chocolates will definitely be a unique and pleasing experience for your palate!

And, you can find them in stores, here.

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 7pm

Public Tour Hours:
Saturday & Sunday: 12pm, 2pm, 4pm and 6pm
Private Tours are available by appointment.

Location: 218 Conover Street

http://cacaoprieto.com

 

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Cacao Prieto

Widow Jane Distillery in Red Hook is both Urban and Urbane

Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Cove

Founded by Daniel Preston, Widow Jane Distillery in Red Hook was created based on the love and appreciation for whiskey his grandfather had. Not only did he love the spirit, but he also enjoyed the science behind it. They made it both urban and urbane.

Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Barrels
Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Store
Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Machines
Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Products
Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Gift Case
Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Shot
Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Barrels Outside
Nightlife Bars Widow Jane Distillery Mine Whiskey Cove
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“As great whiskey distillers throughout the world — from Kentucky to Scotland — have long known, it takes sweet water from tough rock to make great whiskey. And, that’s what Widow Jane Heirloom Whiskey, distilled in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, is all about.”

“Fermentation and distillation are basic chemical engineering, the transformation of molecules and compounds through science into something completely different,” he says, “The ‘art’ of making spirits is in the choosing of ingredients and the development of a palate.”

It all started back in Rosendale, New York.

A.J. Snyder was known as one of the toughest guys around, but his wife, Jane, was loved by everyone in town. When her husband passed, his limestone mine, called Rosendale Limestone Mine, became Widow Jane Mine.

It is known that the sweet limestone filtered waters are perfect to distill spirits and Rosendale’s mine had some of the purest waters. The minerals found in the water were just perfect.

With the dream of producing 100% GMO free products, the research began. After tireless research and tests, Daniel Preston’s resilience paid off.

After finally producing and tasting first batch of Widow Jane Heirloom Bourbon Whiskey he knew he had gotten in right!

He produces the only US whiskey that is totally GMO free throughout the entire process. From “the enzymes used in the fermentation to the grains used in the mash.”

After that, their successful story only continued growing and people from all over the world come to buy or taste their fabulous whiskey.

They also produce ‘single-source’ organic chocolate – as we’ve written before on a post about Cacao Prieto.

On October 17th, 2018 they celebrated their 6th year anniversary.

Last, they also have fantastic tours and tastings, that are a great option for a weekend activity with your friends. Also, it’s a great experience to arrange for your team from work.

Have fun at Widow Jane Distillery in Red Hook!

Hours:
Monday – Friday: 9am – 5pm
Saturday – Sunday: 11am – 7pm

Location: 218 Conover Street – Red Hook, Brooklyn

http://widowjane.com


Photo Credits: Courtesy of Widow Jane

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