Let’s be frank. How much wine or booze can you really drink in an evening? Mario Batali is famed for downing a case of wine in a single sitting with business partner and Greenwich, Connecticut, resident Joe Bastianich, while, personally, I have only seen one serious oenophile put away two bottles and then stand up unaided. I’m not judging. Kudos to those guys if they can walk out of the restaurant (and not directly into rehab), but the question that always plagues me is, “Can they even taste the wine after drinking five or six full glasses?” I know that after several glasses of wine, it’s difficult for me to perceive distinct flavors—and it’s not because I’m drunk (though that also might be true); it’s because my palate becomes numbed by alcohol and acids. Spitting the wine helps, as does eating neutral foods between sips, but, for me, palate fatigue is the inevitable end of any extensive wine tasting.
Flights are the geek’s way of coping with palate fatigue. These arrays of small tastes offer the perfect opportunity to compare and contrast several drinks without committing to full (and fully alcoholic) glasses. If you’re looking for an education, but you’re too old to look cute staggering out of the restaurant, consider hitting these local sites for flights.
• The Peekskill Brewery currently offers quartets of its five house-brewed beers, though its staff is also happy to swap out any of the other craft brews appearing on its 16 taps.
• Tengda slings a board holding a trio of thimble-sized cups; it’s a perfect, tripartite introduction to the charms of sake.
• Tarry Lodge www.tarrylodge.com offers flights of the trendy Italian bitters, Amaro, pouring three regular-sized glasses of its nine Amaros for only $20. Plus, if you ask, Tarry Lodge’s servers will happily serve up a three of its wide array of house-infused grappas.
• Birdsall House lets you pick five of your poison(s). Design your own beer flight, or ask these very knowledgeable brew meisters to choose.
• Tarry Market adds the novelty of machinery to the mix. Charge up your mag-striped Wine Card and hit this chic market’s Enomatic http://www.enomaticusa.com/?gclid=CIKPpsSW0qsCFYeo4AodaDYiWA, which mechanically vends six wines from a carefully controlled chamber. Pay a little to taste, pay more for a full glass—or go nuts and do as the Clash advise: Get “Lost in the Supermarket.”
• Vintage 1891 offers three wine flights of four glasses each. Among the downtown Larchmont wine bar’s themed arrays are, this week, “ABC Flight” ($15), “Club Med” ($13), and “Dance With Me” ($12).