Amor y Amargo
New York City-Lower East Manhattan
May 11, 2018
This tiny chink of a bar from the good folks at Death & Co. is tucked away in a corner of the Cienfuegos complex. Within this compact space, a former sandwich shop, they’ve created a miniature cocktail lab, an eight-seater space lined with dark damask wallpaper, and shelves packed with bartending paraphernalia and rows of unusual bitters (the name translates as Love and Bitters). Amor y Amargo also lays claim to New York’s only vermouth tap. The mysterious ingredients may seem daunting, but the bartender is on hand to make recommendations based on customers’ preferences, while gently encouraging them to go for bolder flavours. Suggestions might range from the gin-based Red Envelope for the uninitiated, to the Second Sip for the bitters pro a heady mix of scotch, homemade sweet vermouth, port, fernet and bitters. Popular with off-duty bartenders, chefs and other thoughtful imbibers, the tiled bar is clearly the centre-piece of this tiny space. Spanish tiles and a warm copper ceiling complete the cosy effect. It’s possible to reserve the entire space for a special tasting session or bag one of the coveted perches by the bar for a lesson in cocktail perfection. Watching bartender Avery Glasser work his magic as he zests, pours and mixes is a night out in itself. If you fancy a go yourself, private cocktail classes are held frequently. Classic tapas dishes such as salty fried garbanzo beans sprinkled with blood sausage are served to accompany your drink and, best of all, the vermouth flows freely, Spanish style.