Brooklyn’s First Cocktail in a Can Goes on Sale Tomorrow

Interboro has plans regularly can a variety of different cocktails. Image courtesy of Interboro Spirits and Ales.

Interboro Spirits & Ales, the combination brewery and distillery in East Williamsburg, has just made it a lot easier to be sippin’ on both gin and juice—laaaaaid back, with my mind on my money and my… Er, sorry.

On the brewery side, Interboro has quickly gained notoriety for its cloudy, juicy pale ales and IPAs (many of which have hip-hop-inspired names, among them La Dee Da Dee, Made You Look and The Next Episode). These creations are mostly in line with the ragingly popular New England-style IPA that’s adored for its hazy appearance, creamy mouthfeel, lush citrus and tropical-fruit flavors and minimized bitterness. Like many of today’s hottest hop specialists, Interboro’s IPAs and the like are packaged in 16-ounce cans and sold in limited quantities exclusively on-site.

Now, the company is ready to introduce aluminum and the on-premises-only sales model to the distillery side of operations with tomorrow’s release of its first canned cocktail, the Goodwin Hill Gin & Tonic. Maintaining a traditional, no-fuss approach to the classic cocktail, the ready-to-drink refresher (instead of “juice bomb,” think “juicy gin grenade”) features tonic water and Interboro’s Goodwin Hill Gin that has six botanicals, or accents: juniper berry, coriander, lemon peel, black pepper, licorice and angelica roots. It’s an intriguing gin with spicy, earthy flavors and a slightly rough bite.

At Interboro’s tasting room, the cocktail is premixed and served on tap, coming over ice and garnished with a lime wedge. It’s one several premade potions the bar has offered since Interboro opened last fall. “But even then we were thinking about canned cocktails,” Jesse Ferguson, the co-owner, brewer and distiller, told me. “It’s been a major goal since we started canning our beer.”

Ferguson accomplished his mission last Thursday when Iron Heart Canning, a top mobile-canning company, was on-site to also package Mad Fat Money, a new imperial IPA made in collaboration with Long Island’s Barrier Brewing. After that run, about 150 cases of 12-ounce cans were filled with the gin and tonic, an “all-around nerve-wracking experience,” Ferguson said. “We basically had to figure out how to mix one giant 450-gallon cocktail, which is much more than the batches we do for draft, so everyone was holding their breath through the entire process. But the result is delicious and we’re excited to share it.”

Now the first local distiller to put his booze in a can, Ferguson plans to regularly package a variety of cocktails that feature Interboro’s spirits in the format. Next, you can expect a riff on this gin and tonic and a drink incorporating New Jack, his apple brandy. “It’s going to be a tasty summer,” he said.

You can get Goodwin Hill Gin & Tonic this Thursday, May 4 at 5:00 p.m. at Interboro Spirits and Ales (942 Grand St., Brooklyn). A four-pack of 12-ounce cans is $24.00.

Katherine Hernandez

Katherine Hernandez is an Afro-Latina chef and multimedia journalist. Her work has been published on NPR Food, PRI's The World, Edible Manhattan, Feet in 2 Worlds, Gothamist and more.