JBird Cocktails brings artisanal drinks to the Upper East Side
NOW THAT MIDTOWN has begun building some cocktail credibility, with venues opening over the past year like Lantern’s Keep, The Lamb’s Club and JBird, it’s time to keep the classic and craft cocktail bandwagon moving Uptown. Working its magic on styling up the cool-impaired Upper East Side, the new JBird Cocktails.
Owners Jamie Hinojos and Joshua Kaiser, along with cocktail geniuses Jason Littrell and Marshall Altier, launched JBird Cocktails on Tuesday, January 24 with a Friends and Family preview. The bar opened to the public this week.
A bit more spacious than the Midtown penthouse location (adjacent to the nightclub Louis XVI), the bar is designed to invite a neighborhood crowd with comfortable-yet-chic leather banquets, exposed brick on some walls, and deep purple wallpapering on others. A Carrera marble communal table and two circular tables accommodate larger groups.
Several popular cocktails, like the Honey Nut Old fashioned (using roasted peanut-infused bourbon and honey syrup) and the Sadie Hawkin’s Sling (a bourbon-based Tiki style drink served in a hollowed pineapple), made the move uptown from the original JBird. However, much of the menu includes creative new riffs on classic drinks. New takes on the Old Fashioned, considered one of the earliest true cocktails, include the Thornybush (London Dry Gin, elderflower liqueur, Kaffir lime and celery bitters) and the Brush of the Bush (añejo tequila, mezcal, agave nectar and house-made cherry bark and vanilla bitters). Like its parent bar, drinks are broken down into cocktail families like “Swizzles, Juleps and Fixes,” and “Collinses, Fizzes and Effervescent.” Beer and rum cocktails (like the Daisy de Obeah, featuring Denizen rum, lime, falernum and a strega liqueur float) reflect hot mixology trends, and it’s certain the cocktail program will continue to grow and evolve.
One inventive (and daring) move is the bar’s open policy of “trading in” drinks guests don’t care for in exchange for new ones, in an attempt encourage experimentation and exploration. If you don’t like the Camomila (rye whiskey, camomile grappa, bianca vermouth, elderflower and orange bitters) after tasting it, the bartenders will help steer you towards another inventive drink more attuned to your palate. Altier and Littrell have made it their business at the original JBird to be approachable and customer-oriented at the bar. With the new space, their goal (along with the rest of the bartending team) seems to be to double-down on hospitality. Beer, wine and other libations are available for those who aren’t seeking a cocktail.
Pair your drink with small bites from Chef Ricky Garayua, including Roasted Bone Marrow with caramelized onions and sauteed mushrooms (no word on whether they’ll then follow up with a Bone Luge shot). Entrees include a self-titled “Damn Good” burger is topped with house-cured, thick-cut bacon, and meats are sourced regionally from small farms. Like the bar’s bitters, syrups and more, anything that can be house-made (including butter), is.
JBird Cocktails is located at 339 East 75th Street, between 1st and 2nd Aves. Bar and small bites available Mon-Thu 5:30 p.m. – Midnight, Fri-Sat 5:00 p.m. – 2:00 a.m. Visit jbirdny.com for more information and special offers.