The COVID 19 crisis has changed a lot of things, among them state laws governing alcohol sales. New York was one of, if not the, first states to open up those laws so it may only be fitting that one of the more creative ideas to come out of this entire catastrophe is in Brooklyn’s Hunky Dory where co-owner Claire Sprouse is offering tasting flights for delivery along with her extensive tasting notes and snacks.
The mezcal angle is pretty amazing, the agave spirits flights contain everything from widely available labels like Vago and Cascahuin along with true rarities like Mezonte labels seldom if ever found in the US. Each package contains Sprouse’s tasting notes and background on the spirits so that drinkers can gain from her long experience with spirits. Because, she’s not just offering agave spirits flights: Mezcal’s sister category of artisanal rum has its own flight as well as amari, fortified wines, brandies, and gins. Innovation really can be the fruit of crisis.
Like many restaurants Hunky Dory has already been through an entire cycle of business models adapted to this new era. Sprouse started serving pick up meals but quickly abandoned that because she found it so time consuming and a danger to her health. As that first “week progressed I noticed that people were leaning more into the comfort of us having been a bar, at first people were just walking in, grabbing things and leaving. By the end of week they were getting a bit more stir crazy and wanting to linger.” And that’s when the lightbulb went off to package up flights for delivery.
Plus the flight idea fits more with her overriding philosophical and educational interests. Like many in the the bar world Sprouse is very engaged with the stories and issues behind the bottles and is focused on educating her clientele. “It’s been a very cathartic experience coming to share this geekiness that’s not always appropriate at the bar because someone just wants a drink or is out on a date. Now, I get to share all of this knowledge.” This is exactly the sort of thing we need to move us forward in these trying times.