Posted by: Matt Browner Hamlin | December 28, 2008

Hotel Delmano

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Posting has been light as of late – ironically because it’s the holidays and I’ve been in New York and Connecticut with family, I have less time to post on my recreational blog.

Yesterday I helped a friend move some things and a result got taken out to a bar in Brooklyn called Hotel Delmano for a drink. I’d never heard of Hotel Delmano, which isn’t a hotel at all, before but as soon as I walked in, I knew I’d love it. It’s style is instantly reminiscent of a Parisian cafe, with a fairly long, curving marble bar in front of a tall back bar. Near the ceiling are rows of shelves stocked with even more bottles, accessible by a ladder from bar-level. Even the bathroom sink has steampunk type lever faucets that fit in with everything else in the bar It’s a gorgeous space that speaks with a great deal of style and intent, while conveying a bar that could have been in the same spot for over one hundred years. . In fact, this isn’t the case – I was told the space was recently occupied by a tattoo parlor.

We got there on the early side (a little after 4pm) and the bartenders were doing prep work, but welcomed us in. On the counter were huge baskets of grapefruits, lemons, limes, and oranges — all peeled and zested, probably waiting their date with a juicer. Also on the counter was a bowl of fresh eggs. Other cocktailian detritus – muddlers, jiggers, bar spoons, and syrup bottles – were spread along the bar. That’s about all it took for me to fall in love with this joint before I even had a first drink.

The menu came in three separate laminated pages: cocktails, wines, and spirits. We didn’t look at the wine menu, but the spirits list was pretty interesting. Beyond the usual listings of whiskeys and tequilas, Hotel Delmano gives its customers a choice of rums, absinthe, and amaros. I can’t recall ever seeing a selection of amaro offerings in a bar before and was quite impressed. The cocktail menu is brief – probably ten or twelve drinks ranging from classics to original creations.

Unfortunately I was neither taking notes (as this was an unexpected visit for me) nor did I copy down the menu, so this isn’t going to be much of a post. I ordered a rum cocktail called a Trenchtown Fix, which interestingly included “pomegranate grenadine” as an ingredient… as opposed to grenadine not marketed towards the hipster set? It was strong and tasty with strong orange and vanilla flavors and a warm blood orange color. Honestly I ended up witha  Trenchtown Fix because I could have had anything on the menu and I was genuinely intrigued to find out if the pomegranate grenadine was somehow different than grenadine, which is made of pomegranate and simple syrup. Sometimes knowing a little bit about cocktails makes reading bar menus amusing – you see the tricks meant to draw novice imbibers into a cocktail.

I rarely go out in Brooklyn – even though I was born there, I grew up in Manhattan and have always thought of Manhattan as the part of New York I want to spend time in. But I can’t wait to go back to Hotel Delmano, sit at the bar, explore their menu and the abilities of their bartenders. The place looked fantastic and the brief experience I had yesterday was more than enough to make me know I’ll be visiting again in the future.


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