by Liza Weisstuch
Wine shop pros Carri Wroblewski and Klaudia Mally uncork a second, state-of-the-art location.
Carri Wroblewski and Klaudia Mally appear to have it all: youth, good looks, a booming business. Since opening their boutique BRIX Wine Shop four years ago in the South End, the pair have managed to earn a healthy clientele of local oenophiles—and the respect of even the most seasoned wine snobs—thanks to a knowing selection of liquors and rare vintages and a commitment to pretension-free guidance for their customers.
It turns out, the entrepreneurial duo were just getting warmed up: This month they'll open a second, bigger BRIX Wine Shop in the Financial District. Dramatic lighting and an airy space give the shop a restaurant feel, and rather than overwhelming customers with sheer volume, it displays individual spirits behind the counter, with easygoing staffers on hand to offer advice. But the highlight is a private tasting room outfitted with an LCD television and rigged for WiFi, where the girls are banking on hosting their corporate neighbors for off-site meetings followed by scotch tastings, or renting out the space for, say, a Kentucky Derby party with bourbon samples.
It's a high-end approach that dovetails nicely with the city's current trend toward superpremium spirits as well as cocktails made with vintage ingredients such as crème de violette. "People are going back to the basics," Mally says. "It's sophisticated to be classic." Here's how Wroblewski and Mally got into the business, and what they like to do when they're the ones buying the drinks.
Before they joined forces as the "BRIX Chix," Wroblewski was a manager for J. Lohr Vineyards and New York–based wine importer Frederick Wildman and Sons, and Mally had worked at Grill 23 for eight years before earning a business degree.
The duo sing the praises of affordable vintages—what Wroblewski refers to as "Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday wines"—such as Henri Bourgeois Petit Bourgeois ($11.99) and Château de Ségriès's Lirac Rouge ($15.99) from Rhône.
When going out for mixed drinks, they tend to favor practitioners of cocktail "revivalism," including Eastern Standard and Cambridge's B-Side Lounge and Green Street Grill.
The Brix Chix suggest some top-shelf home bar essentials.
Bitters A few dashes are vital to many old-school concoctions. Finely crafted Regans' Orange ($5.95) is a favorite; Peychaud's ($5.95) should occupy a spot right next to it.
Gin Imbue martinis, fizzes, sours, and Negronis with the botanical notes of Martin Miller's Gin ($33).
Bourbon Buffalo Trace 12-Year-Old ($30) serves as a fine base for Manhattans, whiskey smashes, and mint juleps.
Rum For tiki drinks, daiquiris, and mojitos, Rhum Clément Première Canne ($27) white rum proves smooth and versatile.
Vermouth Available in both dry and sweet styles, Vya ($24.99) makes a complex, well-balanced Manhattan and gives other classic cocktails a rich aromatic edge. —L.W.
105 Broad St., Boston; 1284 Washington St., Boston; 617-542-2749, brixwineshop.com.
Originally published in Boston magazine, October 2007