In the Heights: Low-cost wine hits Broadway

picture-1Washington Heights, of recent Broadway fame, is known for Dominican joints with wonderful food and seriously hole-in-the-wall decor. But the brand new Columbia Wine Co. (4038 Broadway, Manhattan–map) brings spiffy hardwood floors, recessed lighting, and a noticeable lack of bullet-proof glass, without jacking up prices.

I visited for free wine tasting, which the new shop is hosting from 5-8 every night for the next two weeks. The friendly staff was pouring four bottles in the $10 range. The highlights when I stopped by were a dscn3205Faunus Copertino Rosso and a Gecko Pinot Grigio, both from Italy and both going for $9.99, though they tasted like something well out of my price range. The store’s selection dips as low as $4.99, and almost every bottle is under $20.

They balance their wine list with an impressive array of liquors, including Brugal rum–a Dominican staple for a Dominican neighborhood–for the same price as Bacardi. One sip of the Brugal and you’ll never go back.

Classy Hour of the Week: Crush Wine’s Holiday cocktails

elderflowerWhen you’ve finally conquered your food hangover this Friday, keep up the merry-making in style at Crush Wine Co. (153 E. 57th St., Manhattan–map) in midtown Manhattan. From 3 to 6 pm they’re pouring samples of “Simple Home Cocktails for the Holidays,” including harvest rum punch, elderflower cocktail, “Viking mojito,” and more.

Crush will also have experts there to show you how to make these drinks at home, so be prepared to take notes. Then you can save money at the bar and spend more time with family–or invite that date to stay in and show off your mixological mastery. The drinks will be fiery enough to keep you warm while you rest your feet by your non-functional fireplace.

crushwineCheck Crush’s website regularly for their impressive schedule of free tastings, including a Corzo tequila event on Saturday and a champagne gala in December (RSVP required). And take advantage of the friendly and knowledgeable staff as you search for palate-pleasing wine bargains.