Drink This Cocktail: One Life to Live

Pin it

Ian from Huckleberry on six-hour makeout marathons and seasonal drinking.


Huckleberry Bar
588 Grand St.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn

What are we drinking?
It's called The One Life to Live.

So have you ever seen any dates here that have turned out like a soap opera?
I don’t know if I’d say soap opera. I’ve definitely seen a few dates that haven’t gone particularly well.

What would you recommend someone order if their date left the bar?
Probably just a shot of whiskey.

What would you recommend someone order on a first date if they don’t want their date to leave?
To like impress them? Well, I’ve always been a fan of the classics. If you are, say, a whiskey drinker, maybe a Sazerac or an Old-Fashioned. Those are classy but sort of boozy enough to get the job done.

What kind of drink should I order if I want to impress a bartender?
That’s a tough question. Impressing a bartender with a drink is… I have no idea. I have no idea how you’d impress me with a drink.

High standards.
Honestly, it’s not that my standards are high. If you order a drink, that’s what I do. So it’s sort of like like impressing a postman by mailing a letter — you know, "What sort of postage should I use to impress you?"

Good point. So what would someone have to do at a bar to get your attention?
I think the best thing to do is just to be a good conversationalist and be a genuine person. Actually engage the bartender who's serving you. I feel like a lot of people are intimidated by the bartender. Which is completely ridiculous, because the point of my existence is to convey some sort of social environment, to put you in a place where you can talk to anybody. So above everybody else in the room, you are allowed to talk to me. To me, the most impressive thing about somebody is when they’re actually engaging from that initial "Hello, how are you doing tonight" kind of moment.

Are there any stories you can share with us about dates at this bar?
At this bar in particular, I’ve seen a lot of people making out. This is a big first-date bar, but it’s also a big first date-makeout bar. Like, people clearly on a first date will sit down and spend three or four hours here, and they’ll make out at the bar to the point where everyone who works here can’t go over to that section to the bar for a while. One time there was this couple sitting [indicates] at that table right there at the end, which is the most visible table at the bar, and they literally made out for six hours straight. That’s like, the majority of my shift.

Did they keep ordering drinks?
No. Nobody would go near them to take an order.

So what’s the difference between a first-date bar and a first-date-makeout bar?
Well, a first-date bar is somewhere you’d take somebody on a first date because it’s sort of classy. A first-date-makeout bar has a kind of romantic atmosphere that sort of pushes two people to start making out with each other.

Do you think darkness has something to do with it?
Darkness, and a sort of inviting atmosphere. Good feng shui, or whatever. Kind of a welcoming environment to put people at ease, I guess. To start getting… friendly.

Do you think people behave differently in bars as the weather changes?
Absolutely, yeah. People tend to be more subdued in the winter, but cozier. In the summer people tend to be wilder and more exuberant. There’s definitely a different kind of drunk to every season.

What would be the fall drunk?
I think the fall drunk, in my experience, is people longing for summer. There’s a lot of desperate partying.

Gotta get it all in before it gets too cold?
Yeah, trying to cling to what’s left. Trying to force the world into what you want to be doing. Then you eventually get over it as November rolls around. I think Halloween is a good holiday for that because it just sort of seals the deal on fall. Everyone gets their party on, and then it’s like, oh… party’s over.

One Life to Live

1 1/2 oz Mezcal – Del Maguey Vida
1/2 oz Bonal – Gentiare-Quinoa
dash Demerera Syrup
1/2 dropper black pepper tincture
2 dashes orange bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Orange peel
Lemon peel