For New York City cocktail culture, the East Village is Mecca. With Death & Company, PDT and Angel’s Share all a short drunken stumble from each other, one might expect craft cocktails to be flowing from taps. Just off the corner of Avenue A, on Sixth Street, expectations have become reality.
Amor y Amargo, or Love and Bitters, is a tasting room/general store/tapas bar run by husband and wife partners Avery and Janet Glasser. The couple first made a name for themselves in the world of cocktails by creating the Brooklyn based Bittermens Bitters, now one of the top selling brands in America. The space is what you’d expect out of a renovated East Village sandwich shop. As soon as you’ve entered, you’ve almost hit the back wall. Part of the tiny space is strategically used for the display and sale of bitters, jiggers, stirrers and other cocktail making accessories. If one of the handful of bar seats are available at the Spanish tiled bar, you’re in luck, but non-industry people beware, this little NYC crevice is where cocktail and spirit nerdiness reaches its all-time high. The conversation between Avery, Janet and the guests is likely to be about the herbal makeup of Fernet, tasting notes of a new liqueur, or the process of making homemade bitters. For bartenders, it may as well be heaven.
For snacks, a few modestly priced tapas-style plates are offered that find their way to the customer via a back-bar portal. Available are cheeses, cured meats and Spanish-style salads. For only six bucks, the patatas bravas are a must order.
Finally, what gives this little bitter boutique its extra “kick,” as they say, is what they have on draft. Not ales or lagers, but sweet vermouth and an Americano Cocktail, which brings us to our featured cocktail:
Americano Cocktail (Campari, sweet vermouth, water)