The plush leather booths, dim lighting and retro jukebox tunes give Shady's somewhat of an old fashioned vibe, but with Ted Grossman is behind the bar, you'll swear you're in a Brooklyn speakeasy circa the 1960s.
He specializes in making classic cocktails, and even brings his own ingredients if the bar doesn't stock them. Some customers come in exclusively on Grossman's shift just to order one of his signature cocktails.
But many customers (the younger crowd especially) prefer super sweet, energy drink infused cocktails. Sure, Grossman can whip up a mean Blueberry Bubblegum Vodka Red Bull when necessary, but he wouldn't be caught dead drinking one himself.
"I do favor classic cocktails over, you know, the Bubblegum 'Whatever-you-call-it,'" he says. "I prefer making them, I prefer drinking them, I prefer almost across the board the customers who drink the way that I do as well, but you can't really control that."
Grossman's own poison is "booze-flavored booze," most notably whiskey, bourbon and scotch. At the moment, his favorite drink is a Miller High Life with a Powers Irish Whiskey, neat.
It isn't just Grossman's taste in spirits that comes across as brusque; his demeanor is a bit rough around the edges as well. He says people consider him "kind of salty" because he's "all business most of the time," but as long as you don't take his saltiness personally it becomes part of his charm.
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It's best not to count on a welcoming smile or enthusiastic greeting when Grossman's behind the bar (unless you know him personally), but you can certainly expect a damned good drink.
The Ginger Old Fashioned is Grossman's own twist on a classic cocktail. He uses fresh ginger that he brings from home and even supplies his own muddler. If you want to try the real deal, you'd better mark your calendar because Grossman only makes it on Wednesdays until 7pm.
Ginger Old Fashioned: 1-inch chunk of pre-sugared ginger 1 oz. Blood Orange Bitters 1 oz. club soda 1 oz. rye whiskey orange slice Maraschino cherries
Muddle the ginger, Blood Orange Bitters, a splash of club soda, Maraschino cherry and orange slice. Add ice, rye whiskey and another splash of club soda. Stir. Garnish with Maraschino cherry and orange peel.