Black licorice is an acquired taste and a taste I have acquired. It seems to be the kind of thing that emotes certain memories for people because it is such a distinct preference. Regardless, If you haven't tried it, I dare you - and if you don't like it, try it again. People seem to love it or hate it much like people love or hate cilantro. I was born with the love for many acquired flavors but black licorice is my most favorite. I crave it. I feel triumphant if I go a day without it. I'm clearly not talking about black Twizzlers but moreso the stuff your grandmother might like. There is Australian black licorice and super salty dutch varietals. There are those covered in hard candy shells similar to good and plenty and some blended with mint or caramel. My personal favorites are the coconut licorice stacks and the bridge mix typically sold in bulk at Fresh Market or Brachs packs. So, if you love it like me, check out my top picks for the best black licorice selections in New York City below.
1. Handsome Dan’s – with locations in the East Village + Williamsburg, Handsome Dan's has lots of throwback treats and an extensive licorice selection in vintage glass jars. What stood out here was the plethora of black licorice salt water taffy. Beyond that, it was the atmosphere that drew me in most. And they have much more than just licorice. Post dinner, stop by HD and pick up a piece or two for dessert. 168 1st Avenue + 218 Bedford Avenue
2. Sockerbit – this is the OG spot for licorice. It’s a dutch candy store that literally specializes in all things dutch candy ie licorice. It can be confusing though and they don’t have much of what is recognizable. But if you're up for a licorice adventure and not afraid to try a few things, check out this West Village gem. The aesthetic is super clean the selection is super extensive. As an added bonus, the rum raisin fudge is a total showstopper. 89 Christopher Street
3. Its Sugar – Its Sugar is a playground for tourists and sugar freaks. they play the music really loud, are really slow to ring customers up, but sell coconut licorice stacks in bulk. don't miss the fresh Australian licorice, licorice wheels and sugar coated black licorice gum drops. sadly, they discontinued the licorice bridge mix but if I can find enough people to request they bring it back, they might. Multiple locations
4. Dean & Deluca – D&D has a great variety of black licorice and offers different selections than the typical candy stores. They have coconut stacked pieces in ready packed containers but the real prize here is the glass jars filled with the good stuff. Do not miss the salty salamiak, licorice caramels or the honey licorice. I love picking by the piece, just a few, at the Soho location before catching a movie at the Angelika theatre on Houston. I can feel the shop lady rolling her eyes as she sees me head toward the counter and request just three of these and two of those and six of these and one caramel...Either way, I ask with a smile and leave happy. For an added bonus, pick up a piece of sugar covered fresh marzipan from the adjacent glass case before you check out. Multiple locations
5. Dylan's Candy Bar – Dylan's is every child's dream candy store. They play music, the employees always seem like they are hosting a party, and somewhere in the store, there is usually a sample or two. When Dylan's opened in JFK I literally made it a point to always fly out of that Jet Blue terminal just so I could fill up on black licorice stacks pre-flight. With that said, in terms of black licorice, Dylan’s is hit or miss lately depending on location. On UES, they used to do bridge mix and coconut stacks. They recently replaced the stacks with a miniature version. In USQ they have coconut stacks, Australian ropes and licorice wheels, but no bridge mix. And at JFK, there seems to only be Australian licorice as of late. Regardless, when you're at Dylan's, you can't help but be happy, and if they don't have good licorice, they certainly have almost everything else. Multiple locations