File Under Hot Dates: June Drinking Events in NYC

Summer is in the air, and in NYC that means there are rooftops to ascend, picnic lawns to sprawl on, and even some island-hopping to do. (Ok, maybe commuting to Manhattan doesn't count, but hopping a ferry to Governor's Island or Fire Island could be fun.) It seems the city is in sync with our desire to escape our stuffy apartments and overly air-conditioned offices — there are plenty of opportunities this month to refresh your palate. And in light of recent tragic events, including the loss of industry legend John Lermayer, the beverage community is even more inclined to connect and heal. Show your face and pursue happiness at these June drinking events:

 Bar Convent Berlin. Photo by Gili Shani.

Bar Convent Berlin. Photo by Gili Shani.

Bar Convent Brooklyn

June 12-13, Brooklyn Expo Center, 79 Franklin Street, Brooklyn. $65. barconventbrooklyn.com

New this year, Bar Convent Berlin, a renowned bar industry trade show, is expanding to Brooklyn. Designed for bar and beverage professionals only, attendees are invited to network and learn about the latest trends, techniques, and products in the national and international markets. In addition to tastings and educational sessions, expect the usual debauchery that circumnavigates bar industry festivities.

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Harlem Whiskey Renaissance

June 15, Museum of the City of New York, 1220 5th Avenue, New York. $125-$175. harlemwhiskeyrenaissance.com

Head uptown for this rousing celebration of whiskey and the spirit of Harlem's grand history. Choose from a wide selection of brown spirits (Smooth Ambler, Johnnie Walker, Bunnahabhain, among others), small bites, and Jazz-age entertainment by Dandy Wellington. Get into the swing of things with lessons by Harlem Dance Society. Proceeds benefit Boys & Girls Harbor, a Harlem organization providing educational support to local youth.

 

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Arte Agave

June 29, Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery, New York. $85. arteagave.com.

This annual festival puts agave spirits on center stage, with endless samples of both craft and big-name tequilas and mezcals (Milagro, Cazadores, Ilegal, Del Maguey, and many more). Get inspired to make your own cocktails while feasting on tacos, churros, and corn, and taking in a variety of Latin music, art, and dance. 

File Under Hot Dates: Hurricane Relief Fundraiser

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Following widespread damage from hurricanes Harvey and Irma, the NYC food and beverage industry has pulled together to raise money to support relief efforts by doing what it does best—throwing one heck of a bash. NYC Loves TX + FL takes place on Sunday, September 24 at Pier A Harbor House, 22 Battery Place.

Members of the city's top cocktail and culinary talent will offer tastings, and the evening will also include a silent auction and live entertainment, including one of the Dizzy Fizz's favorite DJs, Tomas Delos Reyes, as well as DJ and producer Jillionaire of Major Lazer. VIP admission ($125) at 3 p.m. will feature oysters and martinis presented by VDKA 6100. General admission ($75) is from 4-8 p.m.

One hundred percent of proceeds will go to the John Besh Foundation, a non-profit organization established by New Orleans chef John Besh in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The organization is leading efforts on the ground in both Texas and Florida to feed those in need and rebuild homes and businesses.

Participating NYC bars and restaurants include: Basík, BlackTail, Blind Barber, Boulton and Watt, Clover Club, Clyde’s, Coup, Daddy-O, Dante, Drexler’s, Employees Only, FLAGSHIP Montauk, Ladybird, Leyenda, Llama Inn, Loverboy, Nitecap, Porchlight, Pouring Ribbons, Rosé Bar Provided by SevenFifty Daily, Suffolk Arms, Sundays in Brooklyn, Sweetwater Social, The Dead Rabbit, The Raines Law Room and Underdog.

For tickets and more information, visit the Eventbrite page.

File Under Hot Dates: November Drinking Events in NYC

 Swig 'n Swine returns to Brooklyn this Sunday.

Swig 'n Swine returns to Brooklyn this Sunday.

November brings a cornucopia of drinking events to NYC, in addition to the Holiday Spirits Bazaar. Break out your favorite fall sweater, assemble your crew, and experience the tastiest events the city has to offer.  

5th Annual Swig 'n Swine Brooklyn

November 6, Union Pool, 484 Union Avenue, Brooklyn. $40. pigandpunch.party

Get ready for barrels of punch--San Francisco's Bon Vivants are bringing their pig roast fundraiser back to Williamsburg this weekend. The annual pork and punch event that started at Tales of the Cocktail is now held at cities around the world, and the team has donated more than $300,000 and more than 8,500 of volunteer time to schools and youth centers in need. Enjoy all-you-can-eat BBQ and all-you-can-drink punch featuring spirits such as Don Q Rum, Leblon Cachaca, Don Julio Tequila, Beefeater Gin, and lots more, all while supporting an important cause.

 Bar Institute Northwest © Lush Life Productions

Bar Institute Northwest © Lush Life Productions

Bar Institute New York

November 6-10, Pier A Harbor House, Battery Place. $25-$60. thebarinstitute.com

Geared toward bartenders, bar proprietors, and other industry professionals, Bar Institute began as an educational component of Portland Cocktail Week. This year, Lush Life Productions embarked on a cross-country tour to bring advanced skills to the mixology masses, and New York is the final stop. After full days of classes, the evening event lineup--a Patron karaoke party at Marquee, a Jack Daniels big band bash at Bowery Hotel, a Monkey Shoulder Konga party at Dream Hotel--looks not-to-be-missed.

 Get your fizz on at New York Champagne Week

Get your fizz on at New York Champagne Week

New York Champagne Week

November 7-10, various locations. $60-$100. nychampagneweek.com

This week-long celebration of all things bubbly gets better every year. Expect a sparkling lineup of industry and public events, from educational tastings to an Election Night party at Corkbuzz and a St. Germain Champagne garden brunch at Bobo. This year's festival is even more special for founder Blaine Ashley of CitySip, as she releases a limited edition cuvee, "Bulle de Reve" from Champagne Lombard, available at select retailers and restaurants.

 Cart Before the Horse at  Slowly Shirley . Photo by Nick Voderman.

Cart Before the Horse at Slowly Shirley. Photo by Nick Voderman.

International Sherry Week

November 7-13, worldwide. sherry.wine/sherryweek

Look for sherry tastings, seminars, and events popping up as International Sherry Week kicks off at restaurants, bars, and bodegas worldwide. New York participants include Dante, which will feature a special menu of classic and original sherry cocktails, and Slowly Shirley, where the Southern Spanish wine is incorporated into inventive cocktails like the Cart Before the Horse (Oloroso Sherry, 123 Anejo Tequila, Neisson L’ Esprit, Lux Fernet, orange juice, carrot juice, root beer syrup, brown sugar, and acid phosphate). Follow the hashtag #sherryweek to stay informed.

File Under Hot Dates: The 7th Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar!

Kick off the season of entertaining with an annual celebration of wintry cocktailing on Saturday, November 19 at the 7th Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar! Guests will sip their way through an unlimited array of holiday cocktails and punches made by some of NYC’s best bartenders, each competing for the top title in a friendly Punch-Off. Using text-to-vote technology, the crowd will pick a People’s Choice winner for the ultimate bragging rights.

Hosted by The Dizzy Fizz, this year the spectacular bash will be held at Astor Center (339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10003), transforming the modern industrial venue into a cozy, woodland scene. This year, the merry-making is spread over two rooms—a Winter Whiskey Tavern and a Sparkling Spirited Parlor.

VIP hour is from 6 to 7 p.m., giving guests an extra hour of imbibing before the crowds arrive, plus access to an oyster bar featuring Bluepoint Oysters. General admission is from 7 to 10 p.m. All ticket-holders can enjoy unlimited libations as well as small bites from local purveyors, including cheese and charcuterie. For more information, please visit holidayspiritsbazaar.com.

The event also includes a mini pop-up cocktail book fair featuring some of the best spirits writers around signing and selling copies of their newest releases, adding to the festive spirit of the event while continuing the theme of encouraging guests to entertain at home.

A portion of ticket proceeds benefits Children’s Aid Society, a non-profit supporting some of NYC’s neediest children. Guests are also encouraged to bring new, unwrapped toys for Toys for Tots or non-perishable food items for Food Bank NYC.

Exhibitors include: Westward Whiskey, Don Q Rum, Aviation Gin, Krogstad Aquavit, Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, Four Roses Bourbon, Rhum Clement, Montelobos Mezcal, Reyka Vodka, Blue Nectar Tequila, Half Moon Orchard Gin, Usquaebach Blended Scotch Whisky, Diplomatico Rum, Amaro Lucano, Hudson Whiskey, Indigenous Vodka, Drambuie, Deadwood Whiskey, Arak Brun, Owl's Brew, and more!

Don’t miss your chance to join one of New York’s most spirited celebrations!

Must be 21-plus to attend. Please drink responsibly.

 Photo by Clay Williams.

Photo by Clay Williams.

File Under Hot Dates: Summer Cocktail Events in NYC

Summer is off to a sizzling start in New York, and that means it's time for some alfresco imbibing. Here are three main events sailing into the city that promise a perfect mix of excellent drinks and buzzing summertime scenes.arte_agave

Tequila y Mezcal Week & Arte Agave

June 5 - 10, Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery. $59 - $85. arteagave.com

Bowery Collective's annual celebration of agave spirits returns this year, adding a full week of events leading up to the main tasting event on Friday, June 10. Head to Casa Mezcal's "Mexico in a Bottle" tasting of rare mezcals not yet available on the East Coast, sit down to an intimate dinner at La Contenta with agave spirit pairings, or go full tilt at Arte Agave at Bowery Hotel, where more than 100 varieties of tequila and mezcal will be available for sipping –remember, amigos don't let amigos do shots of the good stuff. Save 20% on all tickets using the code DIZZYFIZZ.

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The Jazz Age Lawn Party

June 11 - 12 & August 13-14, Governor's Island. $55 - $5,000.  jazzagelawnparty.com

This swinging picnic party has become a summer tradition in New York, especially for those who like to gussy up in their vintage threads and kick up their heels to Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra. Whether you're looking worthy of a Bill Cunningham snap or not, be sure to grab a St-Germain cocktail at the bar station helmed by Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Leyenda.

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PINKNIC

July 9 - 10, Governor's Island. $55 - $95 (bottles of wine sold separately). pinknic.com

If sipping rosé all day on pink-hued picnic blankets to live DJ sets and performances sounds like a dream come true, head to La Nuit en Rosé's inaugural PINKNIC for a weekend full of the blush stuff. Sip varieties of still, sparkling and champagne rosé sold by the bottle, and if your picnic packing skills are lacking, pre-order boxes by chef Chris Santos. Suggested dress code is pink and white, just to add to the je ne sais quoi.

File Under Hot Dates: Cocktail Magic!

Punch Bowl (Courtesy of Freehand Chicago) A good night out can truly be mind-blowing—why not add actual magic to the mix? This appears to be the inspiration behind Cocktail Magic, coming to Weylin B. Seymour's in Williamsburg on Saturday, March 19. Sip libations from some of the city's top drinking dens (Clover Club, Death & Co., PDT, Attaboy, Nitecap, among others) plus Chicago/Miami's Broken Shaker and Denver's Williams & Graham, all while scarfing down slices of Roberta's Pizza while DJs spin and magicians perform illusions throughout the night. Who knows, maybe they'll even make your hangover disappear. Produced by Superfly, the team behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, this dazzling cocktail affair will also make a stop in Boston on the following Saturday, March 26.

Tickets to the NYC event are $124.50 for general admission; and $159.50 gets you "first pour" status with an extra hour of early admission.

Saturday, March 19, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Weylin B. Seymour's, 175 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.

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Announcing the 5th Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar!

HSB_Final_2014-02LR-2Kick off the season of entertaining with some of the best spirits around at the 5th Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar on Saturday, November 22 at the Invisible Dog in Brooklyn. Sip your way through an unlimited array of holiday cocktails and punches made by some of NYC’s best bartenders, each competing for the top title in a friendly Punch-Off. A judging panel featuring cocktail historian and writer David Wondrich will choose the Best Bowl, and the crowd will help pick a People’s Choice winner for additional bragging rights.

Hosted by yours truly, this year the event spreads over two floors -- a Winter Whiskey Tavern and a Sparkling Spirited Parlor -- creating room for more merry-making than ever before. Also new this year, a Cocktail Lovers’ Pop-Up Shop will feature tasty treats and bartending gifts from local purveyors such as Cocktail Kingdom, Royal Rose Syrups, Tipsy Scoop, Brooklyn Baked ‘n’ Fried, Owl’s Brew, and more.

General admission is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $50. Ticket-holders can enjoy unlimited libations as well as artisan bread from Scratchbread and cheese from Saxelby Cheesemongers. Subscribers to Urban Daddy Perks will get the scoop about a VIP hour starting at 5:30 p.m. featuring a raw bar supplied by Eddie “Oysters” Casiano. Use the code EARLYBIRD to save $10 before midnight on Monday, November 3!

A portion of proceeds benefits Children’s Aid Society, a non-profit supporting some of NYC’s neediest children. Guests are also encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for Toys for Tots or non-perishable food items for Food Bank NYC.

Sponsors include: Bulleit Bourbon, Don Q Rum, Lillet, Death’s Door Gin and Vodka, Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur, Four Roses Bourbon, Rum Diplomatico, G’Vine Gin, Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur, Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Famous Grouse Scotch, Montelobos Mezcal, Half Moon Orchard Gin, Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, Molinari Sambuca, Tap Whisky, Sorel Hibiscus Liqueur, The Irishman Whiskey, Aviation Gin, Indigenous Vodka, Redemption Rye, Excellia Tequila, Fernet Branca, Carpano Antica, Suze Liqueur, Boulard Calvados, and Ruffino Prosecco.

Don’t miss your chance to join one of New York’s most spirited celebrations!

“For New York’s cocktail elite and casual imbibers alike” --Societe Perrier

Must be 21-plus to attend. Please drink responsibly.

Saturday, November 22 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY 11201. All ticket-holders must be 21-plus and present valid ID. For more information, please visit holidayspiritsbazaar.com.

Photos by David Stewart.

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Elsewhere in the Liquiverse

Agave spirits take center stage at Bowery Hotel tonight, June 5.  

  • Now that we've survived the great lime crisis of winter 2013-'14, it's time to raise a glass (or several) of agave spirits at tonight's Arte Agave at the Bowery Hotel. Featuring more than 100 different varieties of tequila and mezcal, the event also celebrates Latin American culture with food, music, and art. A limited number of tickets are still available, $120 for VIP entry at 7 p.m., or $85 for general admission at 8 p.m. Bowery Hotel, 335 Bowery, New York, NY 10003.
  • There's still time to partake in the second annual Negroni Week, organized by Campari and Imbibe magazine, which promotes Negroni-drinking (like we needed encouragement) and philanthropy across the country. Hit up participating NYC bars through June 8, and a portion of proceeds from each delightfully bittersweet concoction sold goes to the bar's charity of choice, such as Meals on Wheels, Coney Island Recovers and Food Bank of New York City.
  • Summer is here, and for New Yorkers, that means weekend escapes from our sizzling concrete abodes. If you're heading to the Hamptons via the Jitney, or taking a Grand Central train Upstate or elsewhere, the W New York on Lexington has a Summer Friday happy hour special for you. From 1 to 3 p.m., order a cocktail at the W's Living Room and receive a complimentary tote bag designed by artist Shantell Martin full of summer goodies like Kiehl's sunscreen (while supplies last). Even if you're staying in town, cocktails such as the Lemongrass Drop (Tito's Handmade Vodka, St-Germain, lemongrass syrup, lemon juice, pineapple, mint) should put you in a sunny mood.  W New York, 541 Lexington Avenue (at 49th Street), New York, NY 10022.

Beach tote designed by artist Shantell Martin.

Announcing: The 2011 Holiday Spirits Bazaar!

The Holiday Spirits Bazaar is back! Yes, Halloween just ended and Thanksgiving is a few weeks away, but you have a lot of holiday parties to plan, don't you? Ring in the season of entertaining at the 2011 Holiday Spirits Bazaar, swinging into NYC on Saturday, November 12, 2011 from 6:30 - 10 p.m. at Astor Center. Cocktails and punches from both vintage and modern traditions will be served in abundance by some of the best bartenders in the city at this spirited tasting hosted by NYC cocktail event producer The Dizzy Fizz.

Following the success of last year's spectacular bash at The Green Building in Brooklyn, the Bazaar moves to Manhattan this year for festivities on an even bigger scale. Sip a seemingly endless array of libations perfect for your next holiday party, such as whiskey milk punch, mezcal hot chocolate, hot apple cider spiked with rye whiskey and an authentic vintage punch recipe from holidays of yore unearthed by cocktail historian David Wondrich. To stay refreshed, guests can snack on artisan bread by SCRATCHbread and grass-fed beef jerky by Slantshack as well as sip filtered water by MAVEA. Andaz Hotel's DJ Kimiko will keep the party beats flowing all night long.

A limited number of discount tickets are now on sale  through Thrillist Rewards. For VIP entry at 6:30 p.m., which includes an hour of small bites by Emily Cavalier of the Midnight Brunch supper club, tickets are $55. For general entry at 7:30 p.m., tickets are $45. The first 200 ticket-buyers will receive a giftbag full of lushy goodies such as mini liquor bottles and bar tools. The first 30 ticket-buyers will receive a free copy of Jill DeGroff's newest book, "Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar, Series 2." A portion of ticket proceeds will benefit the Children's Aid Society.

Sponsors include: Hudson Whiskey, Bulleit Bourbon, Cointreau, Beefeater 24, Plymouth Gin, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Chairman's Reserve Rum, Russian Standard Vodka, Catdaddy Moonshine, Denizen Rum, Becherovka, Bluecoat Gin, Vieux Carré Absinthe, Penn 1681 Rye Vodka, XXX Shine Whiskey, Iceberg Vodka, Cockspur Rum, Redemption Rye, Redemption High Rye Bourbon, Scorpion Mezcal, Midnight Moon Apple Pie Moonshine and Innis & Gunn Cask-Aged Beer.

Take a sneak peek at the festive cocktails planned for the Holiday Spirits Bazaar here. This is an event not to be missed--not only will you get inspired to throw a bash of your own, you'll taste delicious spirits that make great gifts and are the perfect remedy to holiday stress!

Must be 21-plus to attend. Please drink responsibly.

File Under: Hot Dates

  • The line between food and art gets blurred tonight at Something I Ate, featuring a creative cocktail menu to boot. A collaboration between Sam Kim of SkimKim Foods and Kat Popiel of On Plate, Still Hungry, the event invites artists to showcase work inspired by a week of consumption. Sam Kim will also present a specialty dish for guests as well as cocktails featuring Hendrick's Gin and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur. Asahi Beer will also be available. Tickets are $30 and available here. Tonight, 7-10 p.m., Kinfolk Studios, 90 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn.
  • Barenjager Honey Liqueur is collecting entries for its second annual national bartender competition through Aug. 22. Submissions will be judged by Dushan Zaric (Employees Only, Macao Trading Co.), master mixologist Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich (author of Imbibe!), Todd Richman (Barenjager brand mixologist) and Aisha Sharpe (Contemporary Cocktails). Six finalists will compete on Sep. 19 at the Andaz 5th Ave., and the first-place winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest 2011 plus $1,000. A crowd favorite prize will also award $1,000. Register here to enter.
  • You also have until Aug. 22 to apply for a rum-lover's dream job: Tommy Bahama is searching for a "Rumologist," and the job pays $50,000. The Rumologist will serve as the brand's rum ambassador and create custom drinks for the chain's 13 locations, share a rum blog and travel extensively. Enter the contest through Tommy Bahama's Facebook page.

Dizzy Recap: Tonight We Tanqueray

Last week, Tanqueray Gin launched a new campaign at The Green Building in Brooklyn (the same location as last year's Holiday Spirits Bazaar) featuring an impressive celebrity roster. "Tonight We Tanqueray" is all about making the most of the first drink of the night, and grabbing it "by the junipers," so to speak. Featuring red carpet appearances by Idris Elba (Thor, The Wire), Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire), model/singer Karen Elson and singer Aloe Blacc, it was quite an exciting evening for Carroll Gardens.

The packed crowd sipped gin and tonics, French 75s, and frozen Negronis, among other cocktails mixed by bartenders from bars such as 1534, Death & Co. and Milk & Honey. Aloe Blacc performed a soulful set with a live band, debuting his single "Tonight Downtown," written especially for the Tanqueray campaign. Check out a short film from the campaign and more information at tanqueray.com.

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse...

  • While I was on a gin tour in London last week (recap coming soon), I missed the dramatic unfolding of a legal tussle between Pusser's Rum and Painkiller tiki bar. By now, you've probably heard that Painkiller decided to change its name to PKNY and give up its web domain after Pusser's filed a federal lawsuit over its ownership of a trademark for the drink named "Painkiller." Furthermore, the rum company says all drinks called Painkillers must be made with Pusser's. (Painkiller/PKNY was not using Pusser's in its Painkillers.) News of the litigation led to an uproar among the cocktail community, which found such aggression by a brand over a small bar to be distasteful and a bad PR move. To make matters worse, Pusser's founder Charles Tobias responded to the criticism with a statement mentioning the brand's intent to market ready-to-drink Painkillers "in a can." For more insight into the legality of all this, read Payman Bahmani's post on Umamimart. At any rate, be sure to continue enjoying your favorite cocktails and favorite bars, whether they are trademarked or not.
  • Last night kicked off the inaugural NYC Cocktail Week, sponsored by Liquor.com. Sixteen cocktail bars in the city (see the full list here) have created a special Cocktail Week menu offering two drinks plus an appetizer for $20.11. If that doesn't make you feel better about your lushy habits, a portion of proceeds from the event, running through June 29, benefits City Harvest and the Museum of the American Cocktail.
  • Last Sunday, members of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) gathered at Astor Center for a competition and breast cancer fundraiser titled "Speed Rack." Sixteen female bartenders vied to make cocktails as fast as possible (different drinks were announced each round, including the Ramos Gin Fizz), and they were also judged on the quality of their drinks. Yael Vengroff of PKNY took first place and will compete against other finalists from around the country at Tales of the Cocktail 2012.
  • Wondering why you haven't seen as many Dizzy posts lately? I recently started writing a daily drinking column over at CBSNewYork.com. Don't worry, I'll still keep things fresh for you here, I'm just getting adjusted to the new schedule!

Dizzy Recap: Second Annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Kicking off with what has become the cocktail-lover's prom of the year, the 2011 Manhattan Cocktail Classic, held May 13-17, drew a crowd of top bartenders and drinking enthusiasts from across the country and beyond. It's great to see this event grow as it celebrates NYC's place on the map for cocktail innovation.

And grow it has--founder and director Lesley Townsend said attendance for the five days nearly doubled over last year, reporting more than 5,000 attendees. She estimated that 75,000 cocktails were served throughout the festival, and all in real glassware. For the Gala, more than 3,000 cocktail fans lined up around the block for nearly an hour to get inside. Lesley said she is already working on ways to make the entry process more efficient for next year.

Although parts of the Gala had more of a nightclub feel this year--one writer compared it to Pacha--and food was once again hard to find, props must be given to Lesley and her team of 500 for organizing NYC's quintessential cocktail bash. I particularly liked how every brand had equal presence at the event with a minimalist design as opposed to loud branding. Everywhere you turned, guests were smiling and seemingly having the times of their lives, sipping expertly-mixed cocktails.

Other events held throughout the festival included a Don Q Rums '80s party, a one-time-only screening of the film "Last Call in New York" hosted by Tequila Don Julio,  the Indy Spirits Expo, and Campari's Spirited Fête for the Senses at The Box featuring Padma Lakshmi. Seminars ranged from the spirit-focused to topics such as "How to Behave in a Bar." Mostly, this festival was another example of how much fun the liquor industry can be--congrats Lesley on another successful edition of the MCC!

Dizzy Recap: Bootlegger 21 Vodka's Amateur Mixology Showdown

On a stormy Saturday last month, three budding bartenders went shaker-to-shaker for the inaugural Bootlegger 21 Vodka Amateur Mixology Showdown. Held at a secret location in SoHo that was later revealed to be the former townhouse of Andy Warhol, the cocktail competition kicked off a Cotton Club-themed night of vintage cocktails, swing music, cigar smoking, poker playing, burlesque and all-around tomfoolery. The event, hosted by Adam Aleksander and Michael Arenella, celebrated the launch of Bootlegger 21 Vodka.

After announcing the contest here and narrowing down the finalists, the live showdown all came down to a people's choice vote for the winner. It was an extremely close contest--I for one was impressed with the way the finalists managed to present cocktails that were both complex and well-balanced. They also served about 200 guests without missing a beat. In the end, Veronica Criswell (check out her demo video here) edged out Tom Flaschen and Garret Richard to win first prize, netting her four tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala. Each finalist went home with an OXO barware kit.

Watch out for these budding mixologists--they might not be amateurs for long!

First Place: Brooklyn Pearl by Veronica Criswell 1 oz. Bootlegger 21 Vodka 1 3/4 oz. Velvet Falernum 1/2 tsp rose water 1 egg white Method: Shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with Cointreau.

Tie for Second Place: Martinez Blanc by Tom Flaschen 2 oz. Bootlegger 21 Vodka 1/2 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth 1 tsp Maraschino liquer 2 dashes grapefruit bitters Garnish: maraschino cherry Method: Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with maraschino cherry.

Tie for Second Place: Panacea Cocktail by Garret Richard 1.5 oz Cacao-Infused Bootlegger 21 Vodka* 1 oz Tawny Port (10 yr.) .25 oz Cherry Heering .25 oz Benedictine 2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.

*Rapid Cacao Infusion Add 500 ml of room temperature Bootlegger 21 Vodka to a whip cream whipper Add 75g of cacao nibs to your whip cream whipper Charge with 2 8g chargers of N20 and swirl for 30 seconds Settle mixture for 1 minute and 30 seconds Vent the excess N20, and let it settle for 1 minute Strain mixture, and bottle

 

File Under: Hot Dates

  • Burlesque icon Dita Von Teese will celebrate the launch of her Cointreau "MargaDita" cocktail at Los Feliz tomorrow, May 5 for Cinco de Mayo. Drop in from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. and try the drink for $10.
  • Saturday, May 7 is the Kentucky Derby, otherwise known as "wear-a-big-hat-and-drink-mint-juleps" day, and there are a number of horse race festivities stampeding about town. In Midtown, The Rum House is showing the race (at 6:04 p.m. sharp), serving Maker's Mark mint juleps in cups you can keep, and offering traditional Derby food gratis from 5 to 7 p.m. In Park Slope, The Bell House is having a free party from 1 to 8 p.m. with $6 mint juleps, squaredancing, food by Urban Rustic, prizes for best hat and best sharp dressed man, and after the race, live band karaoke with Bunnie England and the New Originals. In Williamsburg, Brooklyn Winery is hosting a party with endless Maker's Mark mint juleps, wine and beer from 5 to 8 p.m. (tickets are $50). And in Windsor Terrace, Double Windsor is awarding a $50 bar tab to whomever guesses the winning horse.
  • On May 11, Zagat and Gilt City are co-hosting an evening of luxurious tastes at "Les Bon Temps Rouler" at Maison Premiere in Williamsburg. Your $115 ticket gets you limitless absinthe cocktails and at least six different varieties of oysters, not to mention king crab, lobster, shrimp and other fruits de mer. As an added treat, guest bartenders Aaron Gregory Smith and Brandon Joise from San Francisco's 15 Romolo will join Maison's beverage director, Maxwell Britten, behind the bar.

 

The Cointreau MargaDita 1.5 oz Cointreau 1.5 oz silver tequila 1 oz fresh lime juice 1/2 oz Monin Rose Syrup 1 pinch chipotle spice Mix all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Shake vigorously and pour into a chilled coup glass.  Garnish with floating organic yellow rose petals.  For an added kick, add a chipotle and salt rim.

File Under: Hot Dates

 

  • Oh, have you heard? This Friday, April 29, there's a little wedding happening. If you're in the mood to celebrate royally, one of several parties in NYC is taking place at The Roosevelt Hotel for a day-long bash going on from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.  An English breakfast, a mimosa toast at noon, and champagne and cake round out the festivities. 45 E. 45th St.
  • Also on April 29, food and art co-mingle at Rouge58 Gallery in Williamsburg at Something I Ate, from 7 to 10 p.m. Select artists are documenting their eating habits for one week using media and materials of their choice. At the event, SkimKim's Sam Kim will present an installation of food based on the artists' submissions, with both meat and veggie options available for consumption. London food architects Bompass & Parr (known for projects such as a pool-sized punch bowl) will create a suprise installation involving champagne flutes and ice. Cocktails featuring Kanon Vodka and Root Liqueur will also be served. Tickets are $30.
  • You have until May 2 to enter the Heering Goes Mad(Men) cocktail competition. Presented by Xante and Peter F. Heering, the competition is seeking stylish twists on classics such as the Sidecar and the Whiskey Sour. Four finalists will serve their cocktails at an exclusive rooftop event at Ogilvy & Mather (the depicted home of the Mad Men agency and where it all began) in New York City on May 16th as a part of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The winner receives features in Elle International, Gotham Magazine, and OK!  The winner also snags some Orrefors Glassware to compliment their winning cocktail, a private meet and greet with chef Geoffrey Zakarian and cocktail icon Sasha Petraske in New York City. To enter, email your recipe (must include at least 1 oz. of Xante, Cherry Heering or Coffee Heering) and a photo of your drink to: madmen@heering.com.
  • And entries close on May 5 for the "Emotion in a Glass" competition from Russian Standard Vodka, which is seeking cocktails inspired by matters of the heart. On May 20, finalists chosen by USBG chapter presidents will be announced on Facebook. A "Consumer's Choice" winner with the most "likes" will receive a trip to this year's Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, and a grand prize winner will receive a feature in Food & Wine magazine and a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • Don't miss out on tickets for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, which is just around the corner from May 13-18. Tasting Table is offering a 10% discount code (2011TASTINGTABLE). And while we're on the subject, congrats to all of the recipients of the 2011 MCC Bar Fellowship Program!

Beefeater Royal Punch by Dan Warner:

2 parts Beefeater London Dry Gin 1 part Dubonnet 1 part pomegranate juice 2 parts fresh lemonade (American style) Angostura bitters to taste

Method: Serve in a large punch bowl and garnish with wheels of lemon and lime, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds. Chill the punch with lots of ice cubes or make your own fruit ice cube by freezing oranges and lemon slices with water in a plastic container.

Dizzy Recap: The French Spirits Soiree!

 

Oh mon dieu! The French Spirits Soiree went off without a hitch last week, gathering 300 guests to sample refreshing Belle Epoque-themed cocktails, punches and spirits. Astor Center was transformed to a springtime scene complete with live vintage jazz, whimsical clowns and a scandalous window-side burlesque performance! Check out the photo album by Gabi Porter on Metromix, photos by John Walder on Facebook.com/TheDizzyFizz, and recipes from the event at SpiritsSoiree.com. Some of the burlesque photos were just too hot to post, so yes--you had to be there!

Special thanks to: Damien Good, Adam Albert, Elle Dalberg, Dani Shanberg, Mark Garcia, Erica Davis, Ali Llamas, and Lionel King. Major thanks also to Jenn Smith at Astor Center and her team, the Thrillist team, the Hot Sardines, Calamity Chang, DJ Tomas Moves, Clowns About Town, street artist GILF, Scratchbread, and Murray's Cheese. For information on purchasing the artwork "Little Seismic Girl" by GILF who will be donating 100 percent of the proceeds to relief efforts in Japan, please email gilf@hushmail.com.

And of course, none of this would be possible without the support of all of the sponsors: Lillet, Tariquet Armagnac, Pernod Absinthe, Ricard Pastis, Benedictine, Cointreau®, Rémy Martin 1738® , Noilly Prat, G'Vine Gin, June Liqueur, Bonal, Dolin, and St-Germain. Merci everyone!

 

 

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse...

  • On Monday, April 11, the local cocktail community is coming together at the Summit Bar for a New York Loves Japan Punch Party to benefit The Japan Society's tsunami relief efforts. A $20 donation at the door gets you unlimited refills of hand-crafted, Japanese-inspired punches featuring Belvedere vodka, Pernod Absinthe, Beefeater Gin, Classic & Vintage Spirits, Sailor Jerry Rum, Leblon Cachaça, and Corazon Tequila. The event goes from 7 to 11 p.m. and also features $10 pours of Japanese whiskey, benefit t-shirts for sale and tunes by DJ Kimiko Masuda.
  • While VIP tickets to the French Spirits Soiree at Astor Center on April 14 have sold out, general entry tickets are still available, entitling you to unlimited drinking, French cheese and charcuterie from Murray's Cheese, SCRATCHbread rustic bread, live jazz by The Hot Sardines, a saucy burlesque performance by Calamity Chang and more. Not to be missed!
  • The April 29 deadline is fast approaching to be considered for 2011 G'Vine Gin Connoisseur, which sends 15 finalists to France for the showdown. The grand prize is one of the sweetest around: $3,000, a year's supply of gin for your bar, a platinum vine-flower pin and an intercontinental bar tour of some of the world's best gin bars. If you are interested in participating, you should attend the April 14 preliminary in NYC.
  • In case you haven't heard by now, tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (May 13-17) are on sale, and many events, including the gala at the New York Public Library, are already sold out. Events still up for grabs include an '80s-themed rum bash, a sunset cocktail cruise, the Indy Spirits Expo, and plenty of seminars and "behind-the-bar" sessions.

Announcing: Bootlegger 21 NY Vodka’s Amateur Cocktail Showdown!

Bootlegger 21 Vodka, made right here in New York, is hosting a cocktail competition for budding drink-slingers. Three finalists will compete in a live showdown at the Bootlegger 21 launch party, an exclusive Cotton Club-themed bash in SoHo on April 16. Finalists will serve a crowd of thirsty industry veterans [including yours truly] and the winner will be selected by popular vote. Use of Bootlegger 21 as the primary ingredient, flavor, creativity, appearance and practicality will all be factors.

The contest is calling for original cocktail recipes that express the spirit of the Bootlegger and the Jazz Age.  Bootlegger 21 is distilled six times from 100% corn and made in the Hudson Valley.  The vodka has been awarded Gold medals from both the New York International Spirits Competition and from Beverage Testing Institute.

Requirements: * Recipe must use Bootlegger 21 Vodka as the primary ingredient * Please use no more than 5 ingredients (not including garnish) * Include your story of how you came to appreciate mixology * Submit a photo

The winner will celebrate their victory with 4 tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala on May 13, win the title of Bootlegger Amateur Mixologist 2011, and have the opportunity to mix cocktails at an upcoming Bootlegger 21 event.

Entrants must be 21 years of age and older. Cocktail recipes must be submitted by 5 p.m., Friday April 8 to BootleggerMixology@Gmail.com.

Good luck!

Announcing: The French Spirits Soirée!

The Belle Époque, or "the beautiful era," was considered a period of extreme optimism in Europe between the late 18th Century and World War I. This was time that champagne was perfected, Cognac went mainstream, and the well-to-do leisured in an absinthe-fueled haze. It was the era of Einstein, Tesla, Picasso, and D.H. Lawrence.

So with this inspiring period in mind, The Dizzy Fizz is hosting The French Spirits Soirée, an enchanting evening celebrating French spirits, liqueurs and cocktails on Thursday, April 14, 2011. The event, at Astor Center in New York City, will feature turn-of-the-20th-century cocktails, punches, spirits and absinthe; gourmet cheese and charcuterie by Murray's Cheese and rustic bread by Scratchbread; and live cabaret band The Hot Sardines and more.

"French spirits, wines and aperitifs have always been one of the main pillars upon which American bartenders have built their craft," says cocktail historian David Wondrich. "Indeed, without them, we would have no Dry Martini, no Sazerac, no Sidecar, Brandy Milk Punch or French 75. Where's the fun in that?"

The event is sponsored by: Lillet, Pernod, Ricard, Tariquet Armagnac, Bonal, Dolin Vermouth, Cointreau®, Rémy Martin 1738® Accord Royal, Benedictine, G'Vine Gin, June Liqueur, St-Germain, and Noilly Prat Vermouth.

Media/VIP entry is from 6:30 - 7:30 p.m., and general entry is from 7:30 - 10 p.m. Tickets are available exclusively on Thrillist Rewards. Please note, guests must be 21 to attend and bring photo ID. Astor Center is located at 399 Lafayette St., (Between Astor Pl. and E. 4th St.), New York City.

For more information, please visit: www.spiritssoiree.com

Hope to see you there!