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What cocktail has the greatest potential for variation and experimentation? I think it is the margarita, and that’s why I have written about them very often on this blog. I have even revealed my secret ingredients: lemon juice instead of lime, and an equal part of sugar syrup. Bartenders do add that syrup all the time.

But, as part of that experimentation, some bartenders play with the syrup. So, instead of simple syrup, what if you used Jalapeno Simple Syrup to make the margarita. And instead of just tequila, you used “hot” tequila. Not hot from jalapeno. No, hot from habanero. Yeah, jalapeno and habanero in your margarita!

You’d need food to go with this burning margarita. How about a tostada made with crabmeat offered with habanero and grapefruit? Or some sweet corn supplied with chipotle mayonnaise?

Where could you ever find all this? How would you find it? You need to visit Gran Electrica in the Dumbo district just under the Brooklyn Bridge. How did I know about this spot and many others? I have the brilliant new book Brooklyn Bar Bites by Barbara Scott-Goodman with incomparable photography by Jennifer May.

This is book number twelve by Barbara, counting the ones under her name. She is a designer, stylist, and writer so she has helped out on innumerable books and learned every aspect of the book creation trade. You’ll be impressed by her website.

You’ll surely be impressed by this book. The product of two years of research, which required so much tasting and drinking, Barbara offers tours far and wide of Brooklyn bars serving the best in bar food. In fact, to make this book there was one high hurdle: the food had to be damn good. A bar can have a grand mixologist and make you smile as you sip, but it takes a very special combination of people and talent to have superior booze and food ready for you.

Barbara got her leads from friends and from a daughter, in her twenties and the perfect demographic model for the Brooklyn food scene. If New York is a food capital of the world, then it is to Brooklyn, not Manhattan, that you must travel. Manhattan rents are too high for the young geniuses who, in ten years, will open a Manhattan megaspot. No, when you are starting up, you start in Brooklyn. If you want the newest, freshest ideas, you go to Brooklyn.

Brooklyn is big, so you could get lost in its maze of neighborhoods and diagonal streets. You need a superior guide and here it is in Brooklyn Bar Bites. What does the guide offer? Here are ten food and beverage ideas you will find:

Pickled Oysters [pictured below, picture kudos and credits to Jennifer May]

Vegetable Shepher's Pie

Smoking Jacket Cocktail made with Chili Stout Reduction [yes, there is heat almost everywhere in this book!]

Kim Chi Bloody Mary

Korean Tacos with Dokebi Barbeque Sauce [which Barbara says to use anywhere!]

Singani Spritz with Aperol, grapefruit juice, brandy, and cava

Smoked Bluefish Pate

Ground Pork Rice Bowl topped with fried egg and scallions

Roasted Beet Salad with grapefruit, fennel, and candied sunflower seeds

Nor’Easter Cocktail with bourbon, lime juice, maple syrup, and ginger beer

You’ll want to put a copy Brooklyn Bar Bites in your tote bag or in your glovebox in the car. The book covers a dozen neighborhoods in the borough. It’ll take you several trips to even begin to explore everything. And, I suspect, you are going to be doubling back sometimes. There are irresistible drinks and bites offered here. Recidivism is encouraged. Satisfaction is guaranteed.

Oh, the photos by Jennifer May are amazing. Everything was shot live, on site. What you see is what you eat and drink. Enjoy it all.