When Vince Favella first told me about the place he was opening with partners Doria Paci and Ruth Tranter, I imagined a cozy nook in Williamsburg, serving craft cocktails, well-selected wine and beer, and a small menu of sandwiches, small plates, and upscale bar snacks. I was sort of right.
The Counting Room is all of those things—except it is by no means a nook. Despite the fact that it spans two floors, The Counting Room manages to be cozy—helped by exposed brick, golden wood, plentiful, strategically placed candles, and the hospitality of the staff behind the bar. In the downstairs bar, cocktails are king. I was able to taste both the refreshing and the heavy ends of the spectrum and a few in between, while nibbling on deviled eggs and truffled grilled cheese.
At the light end, their French Compromise is a variation on a French 75 made with orange-infused Beefeater gin. It is a perfect summer starter and would be lovely with brunch, especially if you can find a spot with a shady tree under which to eat it. At the intense end, the Italian Herloom packs a serious wallop—the two key ingredients are Cynar, a bitter Italian amaro made from artichokes, and Laphroaig, an uber-peaty Scotch that was once described to me as smelling like Band-aids. It will linger on your tongue for quite some time after your first sip, but as crazy as it sounds, it compels you to come back for another sip.
The recipes for both, after the jump.
Here are both recipes from bartender Maksym Pazuniak, so you can adjust your selection according to your mood.
1 1/2 oz Orange-infused Beefeater Gin*
3/4 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
(skinny) 3/4 oz Simple Syrup (1:1 ratio)
Shake and strain into a frozen coupe glass and top with Prosecco; garnish with an orange twist.
* Add 2-3 peels orange peels (no pith) to the gin for about 24 to 48 hours, shaking every 6 hours or so, and taste as you go. You want it to be bright but without too much acid and not too orange in color.
2 oz Cynar
1/2 oz Laphroaig 10 yr Islay Scotch
1/2 oz Dewars Blended Scotch
3 Lemon Peels, donated
1 drop Salt Solution (1:1 ratio)
Stir and strain into a Chilled coupe glass; garnish with a lemon twist.
The Counting Room
44 Berry Street, Brooklyn NY 11211