In Greenpoint’s more industrial neighborhood, just past Budin where you can order the infamous $10 latte and not quite at the pencil factory, Ramona, a cocktail bar which opened in early 2014, serves impressively sophisticated cocktails in a warehouse-chic dual-level bar and lounge area. Little sister to the East Village institution Elsa (yes, the bar shares a name with Disney’s newest Queen…), Ramona inspires a fresh new take on cocktails and drinking culture, and we dare you to stop in for just one.
Ramona works with completely house-infused alcohols (think fresh herbs), homemade syrups (with fresh ingredients like watermelon), grenadine, and creative garnishes (like a hibiscus-soaked lime wedge), so there’s no doubt you’re going to have a completely unique experience here. Without published recipes (but easily memorized by the bartender when asked to recite them), these specialty cocktails cannot be recreated.
After months of planning and an intense two-week trial period in which finishing touches were established, the bartenders at Ramona and Elsa have created five new drinks for summer, all of which are rather pink and prim, despite the masculine feel of the Edison-bulb and copper pipe decorated bar.
Mayhem ($12), is perhaps the most interesting of the group: made with salted licorice rum, hibiscus syrup, lime, mint, and mole bitters, the sweet drink has a touch of savoriness to it, that gives a nice aftertaste between sips. Perhaps a bit too easy to drink quickly, it’s no wonder this is one of the most popular of the new cocktails.
Hotel Danger ($11) was my personal favorite. Perhaps because it tasted the most like a juice box. Peach mescal, chipotle agave, lemon, Aperol, and a grapefruit twist amp up this drink, served with a giant ice cube that melts much slower than you can sip.
New Lifeboat Rules ($12) is another pink and popular drink of the season. Created with dill infused tequila, fresh watermelon syrup, pink peppercorn and a pink himalayan salt and sugar rim, this is a rendition of a margarita like you’ve never had before! And yeah, it may encourage a little lifeboat rule breaking…
Latin Homework ($12) is not as daunting as it sounds, and in fact no verb conjugation is necessary to order to fruity cocktail. Vodka, pineapple, honey, cucumber, lemon, campari, and salt all combine to form a tart yet fruity summer drink that could perhaps be best enjoyed in a beach lounge.
In addition to the new summer treats, old favorites are still available like the Manhattans on tap (and soon to be added: Negronis from the keg!) and the rose hip shandy for those who prefer a beer-based cocktail.
To supplement the cocktails, platters from Murray’s Cheese as well as other small bar snacks are available.
Weekends get pretty crowded and busy by 9pm, so be sure to stop in earlier, or on a weekday, in order to get your seat of choice– and it should be at the bar.