- On Saturday, Nov. 6, go Dutch with a "Tour & Taste" brought to you by Rolling Orange Bike Shop, Vandaag and Bols Genever. Meet at 9 a.m at the bike shop at 269 Baltic Street in Cobble Hill, then bike over the Brooklyn Bridge to Manhattan with a stop at the Union Square Greenmarket. Vandaag chef Phillip Kirschen-Clark will lead a walking and tasting tour of the fresh ingredients he's inspired by. Then bike to Vandaag in the East Village for a three-course lunch paired with Bols Genever cocktails mixed up by Katie Stipe, or enjoy a beer or mocktail. Tickets are $45; email email@example.com.
- Also on Saturday, Nov. 6, and also featuring Bols Genever, there will be a Daylight Savings drink promotion at Louis 649. Enjoy a "Kopstootje"--a tulip glass of Bols Genever, to be slurped alongside a beer, from 11 p.m. to midnight, for a special price. What were you planning on doing with that extra hour, anyway?
- You can file this in your mental folder of geeky cocktail trivia: Monday, Nov. 8 just happens to be "Harvey Wallbanger Day." A classed-up screwdriver, the Harvey Wallbanger features vodka, orange juice and Galliano (an Italian liqueur featuring notes of vanilla, juniper, anise and yarrow musk). There are a few stories about how the popular '70s drink got its name, and most seem to agree on a drunken Cali surfer who kept stumbling into walls. Find the classic at Huckleberry Bar and variations at Dram and Clover Club.
- If you haven't already secured a ticket for WhiskyFest New York on Tuesday, Nov. 9, you're out of luck--the massive event is sold out. But you can still sip a dram or two at the after-party at Ward III, where after 10 p.m., there will be $5 beer specials, snacks and the possibility of whisk(e)y leftover from the festival for sampling. 111 Reade St., Tribeca.
“Too much of anything is bad, but too much of good whiskey is barely enough.” –Mark Twain
Toasted vanilla, sweet sherry, cedar. Prunes, dark chocolate, charred fruits. Cracked pepper, moss, smoky peat. What is there not to love about the spicy, tongue-tingling world of whisk(e)y? Clearly, not a thing, as the 12th Annual WhiskyFest New York at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square was wall-to-wall packed with whisky drinkers Tuesday night. With more than 200 exhibitors pouring drams of single malts, blended whiskies, bourbon, rum, beer, and other spirits, this was one dizzy affair.
Upon entering the boisterous scene, I made a beeline for the USBGNY booth to sip on some scotch cocktails before diving into straight pours. As expected, the drinks were complex and delish--I sampled Meaghan Dorman's "Bagpipe Dream" (Compass Box Asyla scotch, fresh lemon juice, ginger maple syrup), Jolene Skrzysowski's "Rustic Plums" (Woodford's Reserve bourbon, Domaine de Canton, plum wine, pear nectar), and Hal Wolin's "2009 Scotch Odyssey" (Glenmorangie 10 Year scotch, Laphroaig scotch, mole bitters, demerara syrup). I also had a fantastic Old Fashioned by USBGNY President Jonatha Pogash, but forgot to write down the ingredients.
John Glaser, creator of Compass Box Whisky, said the recent evolution of fine scotch as an ingredient in cocktails has made for a positive addition at WhiskyFest. "You would never have seen this five years ago," he said.
So which whiskies did I try? Let's see, from what I can recall there was Michael Collins Irish Whiskey Single Malt, Compass Box Spice Tree, Glenmorangie Nectar D'Or, Ardberg 10 Year, The Balvenie Portwood 21 Year, Glenrothes 1991 (they were out of 1985), Tullamore Dew 12 Year, Blanton's Single Barrel bourbon, Highland Park 18 Year, Yamazaki 18 Year, and a most delicious Signatory Glen Grant 1976 from the Bar & Books booth. I also had Zacapa Rum, BrewDog Paradox Smokehead stout aged in Scotch casks, and more scotch cocktails mixed by kilted bartenders from St. Andrews Restaurant & Bar. There were so many more drams I wanted to try, if time and liver capacity were of no concern.
The crowd was, from my approximation, 90 percent male, 40 percent Orthodox Jewish (maybe more), and 70 percent over the age of 40, not that it matters or anyone's counting. Thanks to Malt Advocate for organizing the event and to Kate Laufer for the invite. Slainte!