Alex Ott

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse...


  • Summer is the season of gin, so it was a nice surprise to take home the first place prize recently for New Amsterdam Gin's "Next Gin-eration" Cocktail Challenge. Set up Iron Chef-style, I was among a dozen or so bloggers and cocktail enthusiasts (no professional bartenders allowed) asked to create a tasty drink within 10 minutes using ingredients onsite at The Back Room. My winning number, as judged by Alex Ott and the New Amsterdam team? The "Greenmarket Smash," featuring 1 1/2 oz. New Amsterdam gin, 1/2 oz. liquified honey, 1/2 oz. elderflower liqueur, 1 oz. fresh orange juice, 1 oz. cranberry juice, and muddled basil. I won a catered dinner for 10 and bragging rights, woot!
  • Harlem gets another cocktail den next to 67 Orange with the opening of Five and Diamond, featuring a fresh-ingredient cocktail menu created by Jonathan Pogash of The Cocktail Guru. With top bartenders like Moses Laboy behind the stick, this sounds like another uptown destination worth the trip. See the full cocktail menu below! 2072 Frederick Douglass Blvd.
  • Ready for another rumor to get  The Jane Hotel's neighbors in a tizzy? [The Ballroom is finally open again, BTW.] Word on the street is the owners are designing an even more exclusive enclave within the landmark building--a penthouse bar.
  • This weekend's first annual Gourmet Latino Festival is shaping up to be a star-studded affair of not only chefs inspired by flavors from Latin America, but renowned mixologists too. Check out the full schedule of educational seminars and tastings featuring the likes of Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson and Junior Merino.
  • According to this whiskey blog, Tuthilltown's Hudson Whiskey has been bought by William Grant & Sons, which would mean worldwide distribution of the whiskey created in 2003 by Brian Lee and Gable Erenzo. According to the article, Tuthilltown will remain its ownership of its non-whiskey brands.
  • And if you haven't caught the latest viral video series featuring mixologists, head over to Combier's "Shaker Faces" campaign, which will award the bartender with the best shake $500. Hurry up and check out the four-way shake by the Edison's (LA) Joseph Brooke--the ladies will not want to miss that one!


Five and Diamond's Cocktail Menu

The Five and Diamond: Hangar One Buddha’s Hand Vodka, Grand Marnier, honey syrup, fresh lime, cranberry juice, fresh pineapples and Jarritos lìmon soda. ($12)

Spiced Raspberry Bellini: Fresh raspberries, spice syrup, rhubarb bitters and Cava. ($12)

Hold Me, Ransom: Ransom Old Tom Gin, St. Germain elderflower liqueur, fresh lemon juice, egg white, Jarritos tamarindo soda and Angostura bitters. ($13)

Blackberry Sage: Fresh blackberries and sage, vodka, Grand Marnier and fresh lemon juice ($12)

Replenish: Chamomile-infused Plymouth Gin, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, Fever-Tree ginger beer, Vita-Coco coconut water and fresh lemon juice. ($12)

Diamond Daiquiri: Rhum Clement Premierre Canne Rum, demerara syrup, fresh lime juice and fresh strawberries. ($12)

Raspberry Tarragon Margarita: Siembra Azul Blanco Tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, fresh raspberries and tarragon. ($12)

Smokey Sour: Sombra Mezcal, Benromach single malt scotch, fresh lemon juice, orange marmalade, and egg white. ($12)

Dizzy Recap: Amarula Cream at Esquire SoHo Penthouse

Nov3 032 Bachelors and cream liqueur might not seem a likely match, but earlier this week, Amarula Cream, Esquire Magazine, and mixologist Alex Ott proved otherwise. Amarula Cream, a South African liqueur made with the fruit of the Marula tree, held a cocktail bash to celebrate its sponsorship of the recently unveiled 2009 Esquire "Ultimate Bachelor Pad" at the SoHo Mews. "Pad" is truly an understatement--this sprawling, block-sized penthouse styled by a dozen top designers is filled with impossibly cool, impossibly pricey decor. I could go on and on about the chic interior (digitally-enhanced billiards table, a $40,000 leather "chopper chair" in the Diesel-sponsored music studio, a luxurious Hugo Boss-sponsored master bedroom with views of the Empire State Building), but I'll leave that to the design bloggers.

To kick off the evening, Alex demonstrated how he created fresh-ingredient cocktails that would bring out Amarula's refreshing fruit flavors. The marula fruit has a guava-like tropical essence, giving Amarula an exotic aftertaste. Alex's most impressive drink was a revelation of masculine flavors--the "Tobacco Vanilla" involved tobacco-infused liquified honey, sandalwood syrup (sandalwood powder-infused simple syrup), Amarula, light rum, and lime juice.

Alex's instructions for making the tobacco-infused liquified honey: dissolve two parts of Manuka honey or acacia honey in one part of hot water, stir until dissolved, and let cool. Store honey in a refrigerator. Burn organic tobacco and guide it through a punctured straw through the honey solution for about one minute.

Other cocktails served included the "Amarula & Eve" (Amarula, citrus vodka, lychee juice, and ruby red grapefruit juice), "Green Tea Wonder" (Amarula, mango nectar, gunpowder green tea, and lemon juice), and the "Pink Elephant" (Amarula, chocolate liqueur, merlot, raspberry puree, heavy cream, sugar, and a garnish of hickory smoke). Alex showed us how to make a quick whipped cream by simply shaking heavy cream and sugar in a cocktail shaker. To make the hickory smoke garnish, Alex lit a piece of wood under an inverted funnel, while his assistant siphoned the smoke into a plastic squueze bottle, thus capturing the smoke. When squeezed over the drink, the whipped cream absorbed the smoke flavor, delivering a campfire effect.

Between the penthouse views, pool table antics, and indulgent cocktails, this was one party that was difficult to leave. Fortunately, I will be back at the Mews for a Woodfords Reserve event next week!