Thursty: Straight Law at Taberna de Haro

Straight Law bar. Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian
Test out some sherry-based cocktails at Straight Law.
Credit: Derek Kouyoumjian

What’s one of the finest things in life? Sitting on a patio in the summer with a bottle of Manzanilla sherry, Sean Sullivan and I both agree. The bartender is explaining the concept of the new Straight Law bar to me over the phone, and frankly making me very thirsty. Taberna de Haro chef and owner Deborah Hansen leaned on Sullivan and fellow Drink bar vet Will Thompson for help conceptualizing and launching the offshoot of her long-running Spanish restaurant in Brookline a couple months back.

While Taberna de Haro has been in operation for over fifteen years, it expanded into a second room about two years ago. The idea was to turn it into a Spanish-style bar, but bringing Sullivan and Thompson in has reinvigorated the concept.

“Will gave me a call and said, ‘Do you want to do a gin and sherry bar in Brookline?” Sullivan said. “I thought he said Brooklyn, because it definitely sounds like something that would be in Brooklyn. From the jump, it sounded a little too good to be true.”

Hansen has long been accumulating an abundance of sherries and Spanish wines, and had already amassed a big collection of gins, so the foundation for a shift into a more cocktail-centric concept was already in place. They stumbled across an old sherry and gin cocktail called Straight Law from which they took the name.

“It’s good for us that sherry is kind of a thing right now,” Sullivan said of the fortified wine that’s been making inroads onto cocktail menus in recent years. “It’s certainly not a fad for her,” he says of Hansen. “She’s been amassing this sherry program for 16 years. She has something like 45-60 bottles at any given time, it’s more expansive than anywhere I’ve ever seen.”

Aside from its natural pairing ability with the Spanish food on the menu, Sullivan says more guests might appreciate sherry’s lower alcohol potential. “It’s a fortified wine, but low octane enough that you can be out, eating a meal, and you can have sherry, and you’re not on your ass afterwards.”

Among the sherry cocktails he recommends to newcomers at the bar include the titular cocktail, which is 2:1 manzanilla – a fino, or dry, lightly savory style – with gin. Although it’s a dry martini style cocktail, it’s “not necessarily spirit forward. It’s bracing and briny and bright.” On the other end of the spectrum you might try the Artist Special. A riff on an old Parisian whiskey cocktail, it takes Spanish brandy as a base with Palo Cortado – somewhere between an amontillado and an oloroso sherry – lemon and grenadine. “It’s a stirred citrus cocktail, which is a little odd, and the end result is tart, but a little sweet, kind of fruity and grapey,” Sullivan said. “I thought it would be more of like an industry hit, but it’s been a pretty resounding success. Any time you can get someone a little outside of what their normal comfort zone is, it’s super cool.”


Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.


Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…


Marshals, cops arrest fugitive after shootout in Queens

Federal authorities arrested a fugitive hiding out in Queens after he shot at U.S. Marshals and officers with the New York City Police Department.

Breaking: National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…


'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.


Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.


Review: 'The Last of Robin Hood' is a…

Dakota Fanning plays Errol Flynn's (Kevin Kline) teenage gal pal in "The Last of Robin Hood," which takes a scandal and makes it dully empathetic.


Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.


When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.


Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.


Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.


MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb


Stop eating lunch at your desk

What are you doing for lunch today? If you are like most workers, you'll be eating at your desk - which isn't much of a…


Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.


Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…


Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.