Friday, March 27, 2015


I've been complaining (yeah, yeah, I know - what a surprise), about the lack of places to drink good ciders in New York City, for quite some time. Sure - I know there are a few places, each offering a few ciders, around town. There's Huertas, on 1st Avenue; Donostia, on Avenue B; and, you know, maybe some others that I'm either forgetting - or never even knew about in the first place.

Oh, there is also a place in Astoria, that I'd heard/read about over the years, called The Queens Kickshaw - and it easily had the deepest cider list of all - but...Astoria? I mean, we like to occasionally take the drive out to Astoria, hit a Greek supermarket, maybe one of the classic old school Greek restaurants, but it's not exactly in our regular rotation. And I'm certainly not driving there if I'm going to be getting my drink on - I stopped that shit years ago.

So imagine how great it was to read about The Queens Kickshaws' owners going about opening a place on the lower east side - literally a 10-minute walk away. The wait seemed never-ending; the first story I read about it was last August, quoting an opening date sometime around January, 2015 (but we know how that usually goes).

And then there was breathless coverage on all those, you know, food sites. And word-of-mouth. And an invitation to the "soft-opening," via a connected friend (we weren't able to attend). And then finally, this week, WASSAiL opened! Immediately, Significant Eater and I happily found ourselves 2 seats at the bar, right next to another happily ensconced old friend.

I will never complain again. OK - I will never complain about not having a cider bar in New York City again.  Because WASSAiL is the cider bar of my dreams. With somewhere between 80 and 100 ciders available, including about a dozen on draught and a bunch more by the glass out of bottles, I'm a little worried about spending more time here than I should.

About the cider - way more than I could've hoped for. Looking at this list, it's obvious I've got a lot to learn. About the space - really nice.  About the staff - from the owners, to the bartenders, to the manager, to the hosts - pleasant, professional, and excited about sharing their knowledge of cider. About the food - haven't tried any yet, but I think cider matches up wonderfully with food. In California last week, we drank some fine Oregon cider with oysters, and it was a perfect match. About the location - Orchard Street. Orchard - get it?!

We tried Craigies, which was a little locker-roomie, even for me. Nicol. Millstone - tart and delicious. Pacory Poire. Jurancon Sec. And Trabanco. Significant Eater even had a Stone Fence, which is usually a shot of rum in a glass of cider - almost a boilermaker, basically. (Here is David Wondrich's perfect description of How to Make a Stone Fence.) Her's was a shot of rye. And she liked it just fine.

Heading back - ASAP. And, if you like cider just a wee bit, you should too. Watch out though - we just might be sitting at the bar.

WASSAiL Millstone Cider.

WASSAil - 162 Orchard St., NYC  (646) 918-6835


  1. WASSAiL Millstone is the best?

  2. Can't say it's the best, as I've only tried 6 or 7 of their ciders.