New York bar only serves neat dark spirits

29th July, 2014 by Melita Kiely

A new bar just opened in New York is breaking the mould with its sole offering of brown spirits such as Bourbon, Scotch whisky, rum and Tequila served neat.

Dram of Scotch whisky

New York bar Copper & Oak is dedicated to serving brown spirits neat

Copper & Oak, situated on the Lower East Side, boasts a back bar of more than 600 different brown spirits.

But guests will find no cocktails on the menu and mixers are limited to a choice of soda water or ginger ale, all of which are served in a separate glasses if ordered.

“We are not against cocktails, we are just pro-spirits,” Joel Cuellar, “spirits sommelier”, told the New York Daily News. “If someone wants a whisky and ginger ale, I won’t refuse, but I will serve it in separate glasses.”

Cuellar also keeps eyedroppers filled with water behind the bar for customers who wish to add a few drops to their dram of whisky.

Emulating the bar’s name, the venue is decorated in copper and oak from Bourbon barrels.

The walls are made out of deconstructed Bourbon barrels, the bar and bar stools are made out of copper, the bell used for last orders is made from a piece of a copper still and the bathroom sink taps are made from an old copper whisky still.

Serves are offered in either one or two ounces ranging from US$5 for 30ml of Kentucky Bourbon to almost US$500 for 60ml of a rare Karuizawa Japanese whisky.

5 Responses to “New York bar only serves neat dark spirits”

  1. Emil says:

    Nice Idea, but from the outside it doesn’t seem well thought through. Been in this industry for 18 years, and still do not like drinking spirits neat socially. Tasting it is one thing. Considering that most consumers’ palates cannot handle the assault of neat spirits, who is actually going to be able to drink more than a drink or two. More so on a hot summer’s day.

    Besides becoming a hangout for pretentious self proclaimed spirits anoraks, how is one supposed to enjoy a night being tortured by neat spirits and water? If education was the aim then a team of sommeliers or “tutors” hosting tastings is a far more fun way of spending an evening. As far as cocktails are concerned, there are many drinks that has specifically been designed to celebrate the base spirit, so instead of drinking insipid ginger ale, I’d rather have an option of 100 spirits to have in a well made Old Fashioned, or Classic Martini.

  2. Martin Townsend says:

    This is such a great idea, it surprises me nobody has thought of this before

  3. I can’t wait to go here. Bravo Flavien! If you don’t get this and think it is not thought through after 18 years in the business, then I’m not sure what you were dong for those 18 years. This place is small, focused and completely thought through. These drinks have great margins with no spoilage or loss, and the clientele that will come here has money to spend. It is a destination bar that people will seek out. IF you don’t want sushi, don’t go to a sushi bar. Nine out of ten bars will make you a martini or an old fashioned, but that tenth bar is this one, and I for one, love it.

  4. Jeffrey Bryson says:

    I have to agree with H (Heya, H. :). As Martin mentioned, it is (or should be) an obvious if not plain logical and, yes, good idea. The quantity of fine spirits available is indisputably unparalleled in this era we live in. The quantity of people interested in fine spirits is, I believe also clearly, indisputably unparalleled in this era we live in. As nicely as many of these fine spirits perform in cocktails, there is, of course, no possible to way to more greatly appreciate their individuality and excellence besides the neat way. Add to all that, the cost-savings that H. mentioned and and the sufficient demand for all of this in New York City, and, well…I assume you see the point.

  5. Steve Maroma says:

    I love a few cocktails on a night out but always resort back to drinking fine 100% agave tequila neat. It would be easy to spend an evening exploring the true taste of spirits. I know that most people have never tasted a real tequila… only a shot of a mixto with lime an salt awlful……Hope you will carry AquaRiva its fantastic to sip as an introduction to fine tequila…

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