A New Yorker's guide to drinking this summer

And debunking other beverage myths out there. A conversation with THE drinkz god, Alex Delany.

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I’m convinced that…

Alex Delany has the world’s greatest job: getting paid to eat and drink.

I’ve been following him for years with his work in the hospitality world and have always appreciated his perspective on both. He’s got this refined palette that doesn’t feel high-brow. He’s a man of taste who also knows how to have a good time!

Whether he’s highlighting seasonal pilsners to try from local breweries or introducing me a new za’atar spice brand to use in my kitchen, he’s dialed in and knows what’s popping.

Back in March, an old friend intro’d us when I was visiting NYC, and we had a good old time!

We met up for coffee and pastries at Abraco, a fantastic little café in the East Village. Then we strolled downtown to some of his favorite wine shops.

Turns out, he’s got phenomenal sartorial instincts too. Here are some disposable shots I took from that day.

Now, here’s how to drink like a New Yorker this summer…

What are your go-to summer drinks?

Americanos made with Forthave Red. Pink Italian and Austrian wines. And pilsners from Oxbow Brewing, Threes Brewing, and Suarez Family Brewery. Those are the big three.

Americano ingredients: 1½ oz. Campari, 1½ oz. sweet vermouth, club soda, and orange wedge

You're hosting a BBQ with friends. What drinks you serving?

Whatever my friends bring. I'm not one to yuck someone's yum at a barbecue!

Cheap beer. Hard seltzer. Beautiful wine. Mezcal from a flask. An Ocean Spray cranberry cocktail.

All are welcome.

One thing though: it will all go deep in the cooler. Everything must be icy.

Let's talk natty wine. There're so many options... how do you help a rookie choose what to buy at a bottle shop?

I want to have a concrete answer for this, but there really isn't one.

If someone says, "just buy Gamay" or "just buy the cloudiest orange wine," or "just buy zero sulphur wines from the Canary Islands," they're not helping you any.

The thing about natural wine is that it's about the relationship between the vineyard, the cellar, and the producer.

Here are some of Alex’s top vino picks:

“Finding good wine is the same as finding good art or clothing or books.”

…It's about trusting someone that knows more than you. First, you should pick a wine shop that specializes in selling responsibly-made wine.

Talk to the employees. Explain what you like, or tell them that you know nothing at all.

Trust them to make a recommendation. If it wasn't what you wanted, go back and tell them why. If it was what you wanted, ask them to describe the wine in a simple way, so you know what to ask for the next time you're buying wine. 

How do you think about pairing food + drinks together during a meal?

For the most part, I think people spend too much time obsessing over pairing.

Here’s what’s most important: drink what you like.

I've never ordered a drink I love with a meal I love, around people I love, and said, "Well, that drink pairing wasn't perfect, so the whole meal is a wash."

Instead, just have fun.

You can drink rosé with steak. You can drink light-bodied red wine with seafood. You can drink high-acid white wine with a pork chop. What’s more important is to pair experiences with people you enjoy being around.

One thing worth noting: when I order wine at dinner, I always order for versatility, not a specific dish. Light and medium-bodied wines (red, white, and pink) are always a better bet than heavier-bodied wines, especially red and orange wines with harsh tannins.

What's your coffee situation like?

I'm a big pour-over guy (Hario v60). I make one every morning. I love my coffee subscription with Yonder Coffee. Caleb (the owner) does a fantastic job featuring the best roasters out there. Specifically, I've been loving coffees from Assembly, High Bank Coffee Roasters, Methodical, Elixr, and Café Integral.

Where do you shop for wine in Manhattan and Brooklyn?

In Manhattan, I love Wine Therapy, Astor Wines, Leisir Wine, Convive Wines, Discovery Wines, and Chambers Street Wines.

In Brooklyn: Thirst Merchants, Dandelion Wine, Leon and Sons, Stranger Wines, and Henry's Wine and Spirits. 

And how about your favorite summertime watering holes in NYC…

I am admittedly someone that likes to drink in air conditioning and at restaurants more than I do outside and at bars. So keep that in mind.

That said, some places I enjoy are Café Altro Paradiso, Cervo's, Wildair, Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels, Torst, As Is, Lover's Rock, Winona's, Hunky Dory, Gem, Satsko, Accidental Bar, Threes Brewing, and Achilles Heel.