One Bourbon, One Bourbon, and One… Bourbon: Moonlight Mile

03/26/2014 4:00 AM |

Moonlight Mile
200 Franklin Street,Greenpoint

If you’re going to be so bold as to stock your bar with one kind of liquor—and presumably endure endless conversations about whether you really can’t make me a gin and tonic—you’d better know what you’re doing. And if you’re going to name your business after a Rolling Stones song, you’d better not embarrass yourself when it comes to the jukebox. Luckily, this place does both tunes and booze nicely, with a staggering selection of 80 bourbons as well as a massive restored jukebox with an excellent selection of records handpicked by owner Garry Embry, who is as passionate about music as he is about drinks. (You can even play songs for free, if not necessarily with the guarantee they’ll come on in any order.)

This place has mastered the art of serving one drink—and serving it very well. It also cannily caters to tastes highbrow and low, with bourbon flights for the serious connoisseurs (you can get one for as little as $12) and a cocktail list varied and creative enough that even the bourbon-hater I brought with me happily swallowed several. (The cocktails are all $12, too.) The Kennessee Old Fashioned, made with homemade sassafras syrup, is a sweeter, easygoing twist on the original, and when autumn rolls around, we expect to see the cinnamon-tinged Washington County on a lot of seasonal Best Cocktails lists. Moonlight Mile also offers a few snacks (think bourbon caramel popcorn) and a respectable list of beers from Bells, Founders, and Schlafly, as well as a few wine and prosecco options if you’re really, truly, honestly not in the mood for bourbon.

The inevitable downside is that whiskey culture—and high-end cocktail culture in general—can bring out the worst in people, or just the worst people. It takes a while for any new place to find its groove, but Embry, a laid back Kentucky native, already has a way of ensuring the place isn’t overrun with shouty bros; on a recent visit, he pulled off one of the quietest and most evenhanded ejections of a rowdy, blacked out, ass-grabbing patron I’ve ever witnessed. “This isn’t my first time at the rodeo,” he told me later, and I believed him. Soon enough, the mood settled down and the place again became what it’s clearly meant to be: a neighborhood spot for stiff, perfectly made drinks.