To the casual New York City resident, a town called Speonk might seem as far as the other side of the globe. To those in the know, however, Speonk is out east on picturesque Long Island—a quaint, inoffensive little town a little over an hour on a train from big, bustling New York City. Speonk may not, at first, seem like much, but walk into Brewology295, a spacious, wood-and-metal-lined restaurant with a bustling craft cocktail scene, and you just might rethink what Long Island has to offer.
“Frankly, we opened a restaurant in Speonk because there was no place to eat around here,” Roger Bencosme, co-owner of Brewology295, tells us. We appreciate his frankness—he admits he came into this business with no experience in restaurants outside of eating in them. But he and his partner knew there was an opportunity here.
“The place was vacant, the landlord wanted very little money, so we said, let’s try it.” He laughs, almost overpouring the Brockmans gin into his jigger. Continuing to make us a Brockmans drink as he he talks, he explains how hiring a consultant was the best decision they made, and the key to their rookie success.
“We had no idea what we were doing, so we avoided all the mistakes we would have made.”
Years later, and Roger has gone from a banker-turned-newbie restaurateur to a confident, experienced owner–and a qualified bartender, to boot. What’s more, they have a policy when it comes to picking the spirits for their cocktails: it has to be something not everyone knows about yet.
“We have the spirits in house that are popular, but we also have lesser-known stuff—up and coming, for example—because there are better spirits out there that might not have the budget of the giant brands, but they’re a better product. For example, if people ask for a gin martini here, it’s Brockmans. We say to our customers, ‘this gin is going to make you feel differently about gin,’ and it works.”
As it turns out, Speonk will surprise you. All those years ago, Roger clearly saw potential here, and tapped into it, opening a buzzy restaurant with a lot to offer-good food, great atmosphere, even greater gin. Sometimes, you just have to take a leap of faith and hop onto a train…
by Roger Bencosme
- 1.5 oz/45 ml Brockmans Gin
- .5 oz/15 ml elderflower liqueur
- .5 oz/15 ml lemon juice
- .75/20 ml simple syrup
- barspoon absinthe
- Add all ingredients to a shaker.
- Shake vigourously.
- Double strain into a chilled coupe, and garnish with an expressed lemon twist.