My first memory of being a regular at a bar was at Sparky’s Ale House on Court Street in Brooklyn. It was the perfect neighborhood bar, right around the corner from my post-college apartment with a global beer selection, eclectic jukebox, and a game room with a pool table, darts, and Ms. PacMan in back. Gerry, the manager/ bartender would stock my favorite beer at the time, Berliner Weiss, and gifted me the branded glassware one afternoon. Dog friendly and a smoker’s delight, sadly, Sparky’s didn’t survive the NYC smoking ban, implemented by Mayor Bloomberg in 2002. I remember our conversations at the time, wondering how bars could possibly survive this dramatic shift in the culture. That all seems so trivial now as our cities brace for post-pandemic life with so many human casualties, but also cultural casualties that include the food & drink institutions we’ve grown accustomed to having around the corner.
I miss sidling up to the bar and conversing with familiar faces and strangers alike. I really miss bartenders; the ones who pour a cold draft with a perfect head and the ones who will hear out your cravings for something bitter, citrusy and spirit-forward, concocting something unexpected yet perfect for the occasion.
For those of us who are still unable to grace a barstool and get the benefit of interacting with a service professional, we are bringing back some of our original Aurora Elixirs recipes, designed by our local cocktail crafters. We hope you can recreate the experience of having a well-balanced drink in the comfort of your own home.