Every week, I document another dish that impressed and satiated me during my food adventures around New York City

When my wife and son go out of town to visit family like they did recently, my first thought is “What cocktail bar can I check out?” Since I am always at home being a good dad in the evenings when I’m not working, I find it hard to explore the cocktail scene like I used to.

I knew all about The Up & Up and it has been high on my list of spots to visit well before my son was born earlier this year. Just never made it. Now that I had the city to myself, it was time to finally stop in.

The Up & Up is a great bar. First off, it’s intimate but spacious providing a refined setting for trying classic or innovative craft cocktails. It looked as though there wouldn’t be a seat for me on a busy Saturday night, but once we started chatting, the door man and owner decided to let me stand at the service bar. Which was much appreciated since this was my rare night out.

The menu was very exciting and normally I would agonize for hours over what to order (and don’t think I didn’t). But one description kept calling my name. It was just weird enough for me.

I like cocktails (and dishes) that are unusual and surprising and the Surprise Trip is certainly that. It’s a gin based tipple with a syrup made from black trumpet mushrooms and a slew of “corns”. Szechuan peppercorn, pink peppercorn, black peppercorn, and unicorn.

When I asked the bartender what Unicorn was, he responded dryly with “The mythical creature.” I love this bar!! It’s actually Unicum (an herbal plum liqueur) but the bartenders thought there were so many peppercorns in the drink that “unicorn” was a natural addition.

This drink was so great. It had a rich earthy flavor from the mushroom with a bracing spice throughout. Black peppercorn is garnished on the ice and dripped into the drink from time to time. The gin was incredibly smooth as it played in with all the other ingredients (including star anise and demerara sugar). There was a restrained sweetness and a serious complexity.

The bartenders all seemed impressed with my choice of cocktail and I was incredible happy. It made me want to come back here again and again. Could someone invite my wife and son out of town for the weekend? Price: $15

THE UP & UP
116 Macdougal Street (between Bleecker Street and Minetta Lane),
Greenwich Village
(212) 260-3000
upandupnyc.com
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About the Author

Brian Hoffman is a classically trained actor who is now a full-time tour guide, blogger, and food obsessive. He leads food and drink tours around New York City, which not only introduce tour-goers to delicious food, but gives them a historical context. He also writes food articles for Gothamist and Midtown Lunch in addition to overseeing this blog and a few food video series, including Eat This, Locals Know, and Around the World in One City.

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