- Hot on the heels of news that William Grant & Sons has purchased Philly's Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction brand, including its ROOT liqueur, AITA is now bottling its next organic spirit, SNAP, based on a Pennsylvanian Dutch black strap molasses ginger snap recipe. The bottles will be on Pennsylvania shelves later this summer; widespread distribution of both SNAP and ROOT to be announced.
- Craft beer fans (like myself) will sate their thirst and then some at this Saturday's Fourth Annual New York Brew Fest on Governor's Island. More than 300 styles of beer from more than 100 breweries from New York and beyond will be sampled from 3:30 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $55 and include water taxi to and from the island.
- It's that time again--the New York Bar Show is this Sunday and Monday at Javits Convention Center. Although last year's show seemed to highlight the clash between nightclub-style bartending and cocktailian bartending, it will be interesting to see if this year's show will take itself a little more seriously. The agenda includes Le Cognac's cocktail competition awarding $3,000 in prizes, USBGNY mixology demonstrations, and a cognac seminar led by Dale DeGroff, Dave Wondrich, and F. Paul Pacult. Tickets are $50 for the floor show and $150 for all-access to seminars.
- And on June 23, the Indy Spirits Expo rolls into town from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Touch nightclub. [Odd venue for this, but the club is centrally-located.] The expo will feature tastings and presentations from some of the best artisanal spirits producers around. Tickets are $55.
- Earlier this week, the team behind Scottish gastropub Highlands got approval to turn the former Allen & Delancey space into their next concept, Mary Queen of Scots. Billed as "Highlands meets Vivienne Westwood and the Sex Pistols," the brasserie will feature whiskey cocktails and is slated to open in the fall.
- Scientists are getting closer to growing livers, which is good news for those of us who may be beating them up more often than we'd like to admit. [No need to worry Mom, I take my milk thistle!]
- Summer cocktail season is upon us, and I was honored to contribute a write-up of the best summer cocktails in town for this week's issue of Time Out New York. It was hard to choose from so many delicious drinks at so many of my favorite bars, but for you, dear readers, this is the kind of research I go to great lengths to do.
- In case you haven't heard already, Albert Trummer, proprietor of Apotheke and the recently-unveiled Theater, was arrested Saturday night after undercover fire marshals witnessed his signature fire show at Apotheke. The Apotheke bartenders I've spoken with say given the size of the bar, it's doubtful that the flames were six feet wide, and the bar also does not have curtains, as The New York Times reported. The bar, which does not have an open flame permit, reopened the following night. Trummer is facing charges of reckless endangerment and criminal nuisance, both misdemeanors.
So many parties, so little time! June officially kicked off summer party season in NYC, and so far it's been quite the bender:
Beefeater Gin launched its limited-edition Beefeater Summer featuring hibiscus, elderflower and black currant at the Ace Hotel. This gin has balanced sweetness and can be sipped straight--clearly Master Distiller Desmond Payne knows what he's doing. Refreshing summer cocktails by Jamie Gordon, fish and chips, and a live twitter screen made this event a hit among the bartender, blogger and cocktailian crowd.
St. Germain's Third Annual Can-Can Classic brought 13 bartenders from across the states to compete in a cocktail competition judged by Dave Wondrich, Andy Seymour, Lynnette Marrero, Toby Maloney and Phil Ward. The top $5,000 prize went to of Bobby McCoy of the Eastern Standard in Boston (winning cocktail recipe below). Afterwards, St. Germain kicked off its 1920s-themed Harvest Fair Party at the Bowery Hotel, complete with sword swallowers, carnival games and a live band.
Zagat Survey hosted this week's much-anticipated reveal of Theater, the new Tribeca cabaret-themed cavern from Apotheke's Albert Trummer. Also billed as a celebration of Internet Week New York, Trummer opened the doors to his not-yet-officially-open space at 114 Franklin St. featuring a bar designed to look like a stage, a VIP room behind the stage, and an upstairs balcony and DJ booth. Zacapa rum cocktails and Sigmund Pretzelshop pretzels kept this party going strong.
And just last night, hordes of Brooklynites packed into the PowerHouse Arena in DUMBO to celebrate the launch of Absolut Brooklyn, featuring a red apple and ginger flavor (although more like a hint of ginger). With special guest Spike Lee, DJ Spinna keeping the crowd bumping, professional dancers and a steady supply of refreshing cocktails, this party was off the heeze and further proof that Absolut throws some of the best parties in NYC! For more pics, check out Ucwhateyec.com.
Whew! Off to drink more water and take a nap... until the next!
Elixir Alpestre by Bobby McCoy, Boston, Eastern Standard
2 oz. Bols Genever 3/4 oz. St-Germain 1/4 oz. Becherovka 1 Dash Angostura Orange Bitters 6 Drops Pernod Absinthe
Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin over ice and shake. Strain into a large coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.
Summer solstice may be around the corner, but the hot party season is here! Lots of recaps in the pipeline, but first I have to give you the word on ¡Gracias! at The Summit Bar, held Sunday night. I hosted my first punch party there in December, and then threw the big punch affair at Ramscale Gallery during Manhattan Cocktail Classic, so naturally, third time around was quite the charm. The turbulent storms that were forecasted held off, and by sunset the bar was full of bartending industry insiders, writers and cocktail enthusiasts from NYC and beyond.
The Summit Bar's Hamid Rashidzada and Greg Seider wanted to thank the cocktail community for their support since opening in the fall of last year, so of course I agreed to join in the showing of gratitude--The Dizzy Fizz has had phenomenal launch as well! And since the party fell during the same weekend as the Gourmet Latino Festival (recap to come), we decided to offer Latin-themed punches created by Seider. The punches featured Corralejo Tequila, Ilegal Mezcal, Leblon Cachaca, Ron Zacapa Rum, Pisco 100 and a myriad of Latin spices and flavors. The invite-only event also featured tacos, Latin dance music spun by DJ Kimiko and a piñata full of fun surprises. (Which I wholeheartedly busted open!)
A big fat gracias to all who came and made the night a sizzling fiesta!! Special thanks to: Carmen Operetta, Abigail Gullo, Leo Borovskiy of Lush Life Productions, and the entire staff from The Summit Bar!
Gracias! Punch Recipes by Greg Seider at The Summit Bar
Multiply proportions by number of servings:
1 ½ oz. Leblon Cachaca ¾ oz. Mexican cinnamon-infused agave nectar ¾ oz. fresh lime juice Dash grapefruit bitters 2 oz. ginger beer
1 ¼ oz. Ilegal Mezcal Reposado ¾ oz. Pisco 100 1 ½ oz grapefruit, cilantro and jalapeno pepper puree ½ oz. Dimmi liqueur Splash soda water
2 oz. Corralejo Blanco Tequila 1 oz. fresh lime juice ¾ oz. agave nectar ¾ oz red pepper puree Dash orange bitters Slice muddled cucumber
From Dusk ‘Til Diablo
1 oz. Zacapa 23 year Rum 1 oz. Chilean Cabernet ½ oz. black pepper and clove-infused agave nectar ½ oz. lemon juice 1 oz. coconut water Dash Fee Bros’ whiskey barrel-aged bitters
2 oz. Pisco 100 2 oz. pineapple and Serrano chili pepper puree ¾ oz. agave nectar ½ oz. fresh lime juice Dash orange bitters Splash soda water
- Just when you thought the Manhattan Cocktail Classic couldn't get soaked with any more liquids, hometown heroes The Tippling Point have gone and put together an event that actually floats--on New York Harbor, specifically. Tickets for "The Three Hour Tour," as it's been dubbed, went on sale today, and they are moving fast. The booze cruise aboard the Royal Princess Cruise Liner at sunset on May 16 will feature a live band and DJ, live ice carving by Shintaro Okamoto, and five cocktails by some of the best bartenders in the states: Jacqueline Patterson of Heaven’s Dog (San Francisco), Thomas Waugh of Death & Co. (NYC), John Lermayer of The Florida Room (Miami), Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills & Painkiller (NYC) and Danny Valdez of Cure (New Orleans). Moet Hennessy USA is sponsoring (10 Cane Rum, Ardbeg Scotch, Grand Marnier, Belvedere Vodka, and Hennessy), so you might as well be screaming "I'm a boat" the entire time. To make this happen, Jason Littrell teamed up with Gianfranco Verga, Tad Carducci, and Paul Tanguay to form the company The Tippling Point. Come through for this, the Gala, and of course, the Tastemaker's Punch, and you'll have your party points for the year--not to be missed! Use code TONY for 25 percent off on all Manhattan Cocktail Classic events!
- May 1 means Derby Day, the quintessential day to sip a mint julep and wear a hat for at least two minutes. This year is the 135th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, and with the resurgence in brown spirits it seems like a lovely reason to celebrate. Most recipes call for bourbon, but Harry Johnson's 1888 recipe with brandy and a dash of Jamaican rum, copied below, sounds equally as delicious.
- On May 3 and 4, bartenders from all over will converge in NYC to take a master class in Japanese cocktail technique from Kazuo Uyeda. The most famous bartender in Japan, Kazuo is author of "Japanese Cocktail Technique," which is being released for the first time in English by Cocktail Kingdom/Mud Puddle Books, sponsors of the event. Two days of rigorous education (including hard shake demonstrations) take place at Hiro Ballroom in Chelsea, where everyone will also let off steam with Suntory cocktails the night of May 4. Contact email@example.com for ticket requests.
- And wow, what a difference a year makes--on May 13, we celebrate World Cocktail Day! The day marking the first public mention of the word "cocktail," this date also commemorates the first full year of The Dizzy Fizz! Coincidentally, I have the same birthday as one of the best cocktail culture blogs on the West Coast, Thirsty in LA. Since NYC is the place to be this month, Thirsty in LA's Daniel Djang will actually be here and we're going to celebrate our "blogiversary" together! Deets to come!
Mint Julep, adapted from Harry Johnson, "New & Improved Illustrated Bartender's Manual:"
Serving vessel: a glass.
1/2 oz. sugar 2 oz. water or seltzer 3 to 4 sprigs of mint
Muddle mint in the sugar and water to extract the flavor of the mint, then remove and discard the mint.
6 oz. brandy
Fill with shaved ice, stir. Garnish with a mint leaf, berry, pineapple and orange.
1 dash Jamaican rum.
Sprinkle with sugar, serve with a straw.
Are you ready for another event brought to you by The Dizzy Fizz? I'm pleased as punch to announce that tickets are now on sale for "Tastemaker's Punch," happening from 7 to 11 p.m. on Monday, May 17 as part of The Manhattan Cocktail Classic!
In New York City, art is everywhere you look - it's even in your glass of punch! You are invited to celebrate the creativity of NYC cocktailians with a stylish soiree featuring punches made from artisan ingredients. Featuring special guest and toastmaster, Dave Wondrich, the puncheon will stimulate your senses while you take in contemporary artwork in a West Village penthouse gallery with terraces overlooking the Hudson River. Exhibiting artists will include saloon artist Jill DeGroff, graffiti artist/designer Claw Money, cocktailian/painter Charles Hardwick, cocktailian/painter Nicole Desmond, cocktailian/photographer Elba Giron, and lots more. Spring-inspired punches will be created by top NYC mixologists. And of course, it wouldn't be a Dizzy party without a slammin' soundtrack and plenty of surprises. Come see what NYC's tastemakers are up to!
Sponsors so far include: Bols Genever, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Mathilde Fruit Liqueurs, Tuthilltown Spirits, Laird's Applejack, and Vita Coco Coconut Water. (More to be announced soon!)
Monday, May 17th, 7:00pm - 11:00pm RamScale Gallery, 463 West Street between Bank and Bethune Street
Must be of legal drinking age. Includes complimentary admission to the Official Bar of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (plus one drink ticket) on Monday.
Can't wait to get started on some seasonal party action? If you are in NYC, come out for drinks for two great causes on Sunday, April 25 at The Delancey. Co-hosted by Tales of the Cocktail and Nosalikes, "From NY With Love" will raise money for rebuilding efforts in Haiti and New Orleans. An open bar from 7 to 8 p.m. will feature the Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans, along with Oloffson’s Punch, invented at the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince and made with the famous Rhum Barbancourt of Haiti.
The suggested donation will be $5 per person during an open bar from 7 to 8 p.m., and $10 per person from 8 to 11 p.m. Drink specials will be in effect throughout the night. All proceeds will be split between the SOS Children’s Villages of Haiti and United Saints Recovery Project of New Orleans.
NYC DJs Kraff Swagger, Djette Luna Vega, and DJ Treats will spin music throughout the night. The event is sponsored by Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Rhum Barbancourt, and Herbsaint Original.
The benefit will be held at The Delancey, 168 Delancey St., New York, NY 10002.
Can't make it? We'll still take your money! We will be setting up a Paypal account shortly, so stay tuned for that.
"Her early leaf's a flower."--Robert Frost
- Creme Yvette sold out within its first 48 hours on the shelves at Astor Wine & Spirits. The historic berry and botanical liqueur is a lush modifier, as I recently experienced with an exquisite Aviation at new cocktail den Dram in Williamsburg -- I'm not kidding when I say hints of blackberry, cassis, framboise, violet petals and orange peel made the gin sing on mountain high. Released as a limited early launch, the first full shipment will be coming from France at an as-yet-announced later date. If you are lucky enough to have tried it, please leave comments!
- In addition to Dram, recent bar openings include Midtown retreats Empire Room, Hospitality Holding's swanky cocktail lounge on the ground level of the Empire State Building, and La Biblioteca, a swanky tequila library at Zengo--although I've heard the latter is still waiting for their swanky liquor license.
- It's currently Tartan Week in NYC, which means there are kilted men on the loose and drams of single malt whisky everywhere you turn--in other words, this is kind of the best week ever. Be sure to check out the Tartan Day Parade, this Saturday April 10. I'll have some recaps for you on this, trust...
- Amateurs such as myself have a reason to break out the jiggers and shakers beyond entertaining ourselves by entering Louis 649's "Anyone Can Be a Mixologist" contest. Running now through April 18, non-working bartenders are invited to submit recipes using sponsored base ingredients. The live throwdown between 10 semi-finalists is April 21, and the winner gets their drink on the spring cocktail menu, a subscription to Imbibe and a $100 bar tab at Louis -- game on! Click here for the rules, newbie.
- Oh, and you probably heard this already, but Julie Reiner and her partners at Clover Club have purchased the Tailor space and are planning something somewhat tropical.
- Meanwhile, Allen & Delancey, at one point featuring a cocktail menu by Alex Day, quietly bit the dust.
- On Sunday night, March 7, the top U.S. finalists in 42 Below's World Cup cocktail competition will throw down at the Ace Hotel in NYC. Special guest judges include Dale Degroff, Chef Sam Talbot, and founder of the Bartender’s Academy of New York, Charles Ohlbaum. Ten countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, China, Australia, Ireland, Germany, France and Italy are sending finalists to an extreme cocktail competition in New Zealand from March 23 to 28. This event is invite-only.
- In honor of International Women's Day, the NYC chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails) will get behind the stick at Astor Center to mix up crafty cocktails featuring Compass Box Whisky. Five dollars from each $30 ticket will benefit Dress for Success, which provides professional work attire to disadvantaged women. Organized by Laren Spirer of Sweet Blog o' Mine, expect lots of #WomenWhisky tweeting to go with your tippling--also, men are more than welcome. Monday, March 8, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Purchase tickets here.
- LUPEC NYC is also celebrating Rosie the Riveter's 90th birthday with cocktails featuring PAMA Pomegranate Liqueur at Rye House. Founding LUPEC members Lynnette Marrero and Eryn Reece will be slinging drinks, and LeNell Smothers is expected to make an appearance via Skype. RSVP here and tweet #rosietheriveter if you're cool like that. Tuesday, March 9, from 6 to 8 p.m.
- And not that you need an excuse, but it's currently Martini Week in NYC through March 14, brought to you by Thrillist and Tasting Table. Specialty gin and vodka martinis are $10 at participating restaurants from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. nightly.
- Need suggestions on where to get a warming winter cocktail or meet someone new to raise your temperature? Check out some of my latest round-ups: The Best NYC Bars for Singles, NYC Bars to Warm Your Spirits, and the Seven Scotch Bars in NYC.
- My apologies for not getting out the word sooner, but this is one of those events that was booked just as fast as it was announced: Eben Freeman's Cocktail All-Stars kicks off tonight at the Monday Room at Public. Good luck getting in if you don't already have a reservation, but those who have a table will enjoy "Things Eurasian: An Exploration of Ancient Flavors and Modern Science." Dave Arnold, FCI's directory of culinary technology, Tony Conigliaro of London's 69 Colebroke Row, Eben, and Michelin-starred chef Brad Farmerie will create the drinks. Tomorrow night, the series hits Madam Geneva from 8 pm to midnight for "Old Shanghai on Bowery." Featuring cocktails by Eben, Jackie Patterson of Heaven's Dog in San Francisco, Jim Meehan of PDT, Alex Day of Death & Co., Ryan Magarian of Portland, Ore., and Misty Kalkofen of Drink in Boston, as well as passed canapes. Tickets are $58.88, contact Liz Boothroyd at 212-254-0350 to see if this event is sold out or not. And on Wednesday, Feb. 10, the series closes at PDT with "Old-Timers Night: An Old-Fashioned Experience." Look for old-school sipping and stirring: only bartenders over 40, and no drink is allowed to include anything more than a base spirit, a sweetener, and one flavoring agent. All-Stars include: Gary Regan, Dave Wondrich, Dale DeGroff, James Menite, Tony Conigliaro, Toby Cecchini, and Eben. Tickets are $78.88 for food and drink, email firstname.lastname@example.org for tickets.
- Also on Wednesday, Feb. 10, Brugal Rum is hosting a love-themed cocktail competition at Clover Club in Brooklyn from 1 to 4 p.m. I'd give you all the details but new food and beverage site, InsideFandB.com, has done a great job already. Check it out!
- Whether you're hooked up or single, The Summit Bar is looking to get you hot and bothered this Valentine's Day, Feb. 14. Leave it to mixologist Greg Seider to mix up three stimulating elixirs for the bar's "Love Punch Party" from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Aphrodisiac cocktails will be $7 all night--one for him, one for her, and one for those who want to swing both ways!
- And you won't want to miss the Dining & Libation Society's Fat Tuesday celebration at Rye House on Feb. 16. Tickets are $55 and will get you unlimited Sazeracs, French 75s, Stella Artois, and Red Hook beer while you dine on New Orleans-style hors d'oeuvres such as oyster bienville, crab ravigote, jambalaya, fried okra, crawfish po' boys, turducken, fried pickles, and beignets, among other delicious eats. From 7 to 10 p.m.
It goes without saying that we have all been profoundly touched by the earthquake crisis in Haiti and have desired a way to send help to the impoverished country. Initially, many of us sent text messages that allowed us to immediately give $5 or $10 to Yele or the American Red Cross, but we all knew that more could be done. So it was with great pride that I attended two fundraisers for Haiti relief put on by the spirits industry last week.
Last Thursday, Park Avenue Liquor Shop teamed up with Davidoff of Geneva Madison Avenue to host a "Help Haiti Now" benefit. The event featured a wide array of sipping rums, single malts, and cocktails shaken up by Jonathan Pogash and Justin Noel. Sponsors included Appleton Rum, Plantation Rum, Tuthilltown Distillery rums, Goslings Rum, Classic Malts, Rothmann's Steakhouse and Cigar Aficionado magazine. One hundred percent of the $50 ticket price went to the American Red Cross Haiti Relief Fund. They netted close to $3,000 and plan to host another fundraiser soon, so stay tuned!
And last Sunday, what seemed like virtually everyone in the NYC cocktail community turned out to Bar Celona in Williamsburg for "Hearts and Cocktails for Haiti" spearheaded by Ray Raymond and Dave Catania. The event asked for $40 per person at the door, offering guests access to a four-hour open bar of punches, cocktails, and shots made by the city's best mixologists. In total, $5,283 was raised for the American Red Cross Haiti fund. Food, clothing, and supplies were also collected for Haiti's Edeyo Foundation.
Participants/volunteers included: Members of USBGNY and LUPEC NYC, Contemporary Cocktails, Leo DeGroff, Abigail Gullo, Cary "Kerry" Shouest, Aisha Sharpe, Willy Shine, Brian Van Flandern, Charlotte Voisey, Lisa Hare, Erin Williams, Bek Allen, Hal Wolin, Candice Coy, Esteban Ordonez, Trevor Schnider, T. J. Lynch, Justin Noel, Edwin Nadina, Tim Cooper, Jim Meehan, Stephan Meyers, Dale DeGroff, Miguel Aranda, Bryce Jones, Tom Chadwick, Joe and Nicole Desmond, Naren Young, Lynette Marrero, Javier Rey, Francine Cohen, DJ Kimiko, and Lush Life Productions' Leo Borovskiy and Lindsey Johnson.
Bar Celona owner Cynthia Diaz and bar manager Clif Travers helped organize everything, and the staff at Bar Celona donated their time both in the front and the back of the house.
Brands that generously donated product included: Appleton Rum, Atlantico Rum, Averna Amaro, Beefeater Gin, Bacardi Rum, Bulleit Bourbon, Chairman’s Reserve Rum, Combier, Compass Box Whiskey, Domaine de Canton, Domaine Select, Don Julio, Don Q Rum, Double Cross Vodka, Fidencio Mezcal, G’Vine Floraison, Hendrick’s Gin, Ilegal Mezcal, Leblon Cachaça, Lillet, Luna Sueno Tequila, Maker’s Mark, Michter’s Rye, Milagro Tequila, Orange V, Palm Bay Imports, Partida Tequila, Pernod Ricard, Pipeline Brands, Plymouth Gin, Regatta Ginger Beer, Rhum J.M., Sailor Jerry Rum, Scorpion Mezcal, St. Germain, Tom’s Tonic, Tuthilltown, VeeV, Vision Brands Wines, William Grant & Sons, and Zacapa Rum. (Whew!)
Jill DeGroff donated proceeds of her book sales for the evening. Also, Park Avenue Wine and Spirits, The Blue Note, Drinkupny.com, Porterhouse, Havana Central, Calle Ocho, Cocktail Kingdom, Brian Van Flandern, Bar and Books, and others donated prizes to the raffle for the evening.
Ray and Dave deserve a huge thanks for putting together an amazing event in a short period of time! I'm sure there will be more Haiti benefits to come, and I think they set the tone for future events.
On a similarly charitable note, Veev Açaí Spirit recently presented a check for $10,400 to Southern Wine & Spirits to honor the amount of money VeeV donated to the Sustainable Acai Project in 2009 as a result of New York area sales. VeeV donates $1 for every bottle sold straight back to The Sustainable Açaí Project, which ensures the sustainable harvesting of açai in the Amazon. Nationwide, Veev raised $74,400 in 2009.
“VeeV is passionately committed to ensuring the sustainable harvesting of acai for generations to come," said Carter Reum, co-founder of Veev. "It is great to see New York’s cocktail drinkers playing their part in our pledge.”
VeeV is continuing to give New Yorkers ways to help Mother Earth while enjoying a cocktail. In April, order a VeeV "Treetini" at any participating New York bar in the month of April – including Spring Street Natural, Cookshop and Yerba Buena Perry – and VeeV will plant a tree in flood-ravaged Tamil Nadui, India. More info at veevlife.com.
- This Sunday, Jan. 31, NYC's cocktail community is coming together to raise money for the crisis in Haiti: "Hearts and Cocktails for Haiti" is asking for $40 (100% proceeds to American Red Cross' Haiti Relief) at the door. Attendees will enjoy a four-hour open bar from 6 to 10 p.m. with cocktails mixed by the USBGNY, LUPEC NYC, Jim Meehan of PDT, and Dale DeGroff, among others. Jill DeGroff will be donating sales of her book, "Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar," to the Haiti fund. This event, organized by Leblon Cachaca's Ray Raymond (of Haitian descent) and Dave Catania of Team Spirits Imports, takes place at Bar Celona. 104 S. 4th St., Brooklyn.
- On Feb. 2 from 6 to 8 p.m., The Summit Bar is hosting a special tasting event, "Shaken, Stirred, and Straight," featuring Compass Box whiskey's Robin Robinson and St-Germain's Phil Pepperdine. Tastings will be free and featured cocktails will be just $6. 133 Ave. C.
- Also on Feb. 2, don't miss Jason Littrell's initial run as bartender at Louis 649's Tuesday Night Tastings. While the tasting goes from 7 to 9 p.m., Jason will start shaking from from 10 p.m. 'til lord-knows-when. Already dubbed "Groundhog Day Massacre," this is guaranteed to be a scene not for the weak of liver.
- NYC cocktail enthusiasts have until Feb. 5 to submit aphrodisiac cocktail recipes featuring Bacardi Rum for the "Love Potion Cocktail Challenge" taking place from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 9. In case you missed the memo, the first place winner (judged by Dale DeGroff) wins $250 smackers, and the event has been moved to Havana Central Times Square, 151 W. 46th St. Send entries to: LovePotion@havanacentral.com
- Quite possibly the most awesome cocktail competition ever, the 6th Annual "Cocktail World Cup," presented by 42 Below and the U.S. Bartending Guild, is accepting entries through Feb. 8. The top three bartenders chosen for the U.S. team will join finalists in New Zealand for challenges such as mixing drinks while bungee jumping and riding in jet boats [looking forward to seeing video of that!]. Oh, and Dale DeGroff and Jim Meehan will be judging in New Zealand, too--those guys have all the fun! Enter the contest here.
- And it's already time to start thinking about the most spirited event of the summer, Tales of the Cocktail--find instructions for entering the official Tales cocktail contest here. Entrants are challenged to create a drink inspired by the famous "Planter's Punch" that will impress judge Jeff "Beachbum" Berry. The drink must include at least one sponsored ingredient, and should consist of at least a rum, citrus, and sweetener. The deadline is Feb. 22.
How about mezcal and tequila with brunch? Something tells me W.C. Fields would have approved. On Sunday, January 24, I had the pleasure of hosting nearly 30 of NYC's best cocktail, food, and lifestyle bloggers at Clover Club in Brooklyn for a "blogger brunch" in praise of agave spirits. My vision was pretty simple--I know enough writers via Twitter and through blogging who love to network and love to brunch, so why not gather them together so we can do that at the same time? Fortunately, Sombra Mezcal, Partida Tequila, and Clover Club's owner, Julie Reiner, all agreed to help make the idea a reality.
Clover Club's private parlor room, complete with a real fireplace, was the perfect setting for the rainy day occasion, and both the liquid and food offerings were tantalizing enough to satisfy even the pickiest foodies in the crowd. We began with a large bowl of punch that included Partida tequila, Chartreuse, muddled mint, and lime juice. This was an instant ice-breaker and refreshed everyone's palates as we settled down to learn about Sombra from Jen Craig of Domaine Select Wine Estates, which represents Sombra as part of their Classic & Vintage boutique spirits line.
Jen told us how Sombra is made from organically-harvested agave in Oaxaca, Mexico, and then the pinas (agave hearts) are mesquite-roasted to give them an earthy smokiness. Other than 10 percent water used during the fermentation process, nothing is added to Sombra, which is double-distilled in copper pots. Jen led us through a tasting of Sombra on its own (retails for about $45 per bottle), giving us an opportunity to discover the subtle citrus tasting notes. Then we were given Julie's original "Oaxacan Daisy" (Sombra, CioCiaro Amaro, raspberry syrup, blood orange juice, and lemon juice, served over crushed ice). I had asked for a Valentine's Day-themed cocktail [I know, cheesiest holiday ever], and this ruby red concoction delivered--the mezcal added a sexy smokiness to balance the sweetness of the raspberry.
Before we delved into the Partida, plates of deliciousness were served to help us soak up the aforementioned booze: family-style tastings of bacon (maple bacon, black pepper bacon, and duck bacon), deviled eggs four ways, and baguettes with jam. For our main course, we had a choice of baked eggs with truffle and leeks, pork 'n' grits, or a decadent lamb burger with goat cheese. This was paired with a "Bloody Maria"--a spicy Partida tequila bloody mary.
We then heard from Partida brand manager Dave Singh about Partida's efforts to stand out among the other premium tequilas on the market. We were fortunate to have a straight tasting of Partida Reposado (retails for about $55 per bottle), which renowned spirits reviewer F. Paul Pacult gives five stars (the highest rating). Aged for six months in Jack Daniels barrels, Partida Reposado has an amber hue and a peppery, yet subtly sweet flavor, with a smooth finish.
Special thanks to: Katie Darling (our lovely mixologist for the brunch), Chef Craig Rivard, Jen Craig, Dave Singh, Julie Reiner, and Leo Borovskiy from Lush Life Productions for taking amazing photos as always. And thanks to all of the bloggers who made it out despite the drizzle and the beginning of what was the final Jets game of the season. It was great to see so many new and familiar faces, and I think everyone agreed that there needs to be more blogger brunches in the near future--I look forward to the next one!
"Oaxacan Daisy" by Julie Reiner
1 1/2 oz. Sombra Mezcal
1/2 oz. CioCiaro Amaro
3/4 oz. raspberry syrup
1/2 oz. blood orange juice (fresh-squeezed)
1/2 oz. lemon juice (fresh-squeezed)
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, add pellet ice, and swizzle to combine.
Last week, after 10 days of self-induced sobriety, I fell back off the wagon, and oh, what a good fall it was. I headed to the finals of the Benedictine "Alchemists of Our Age" cocktail competition held in partnership with Esquire magazine at the Hearst Tower. Walking into Hearst is like walking into a scene from "The Devil Wears Prada"--the cascading waterfall sculptures and escalators are as awe-inspiring as the leggy editors and models teetering about. For a journo type like me, it was an electrifying experience just to be at the publishing group. This feeling was magnified when I reached the Benedictine event on the 44th floor and saw the view of Midtown from the tower's triangular windows--how can you not love New York?!
The five finalists were stationed throughout the room, accompanied by barbacks and other staff dressed in brown robes in honor of Benedictine's monastic history. Created 500 years ago by Dom Bernardo Vincelli, a member of the mysterious Benedictine Order in France, the unique elixir combines 27 herbs and spices gathered from around the world. The competition asked bartenders to create cocktails that were creative, balanced, and highlighted the warm spice of Benedictine.
It turned out that the first drink I tried was the winning ticket--supporting the hometown contestant, I headed straight to where Louis 649's Damon Dyer was stationed to try his "Monte Cassino." A modern twist on the classic "Last Word" cocktail, Damon's drink included equal parts of Rittenhouse Rye, Yellow Chartreuse, Benedictine, and lemon juice. Simply garnished with a lemon peel, the drink was a harmonious burst of herbaceous spice, whiskey, and citrus--I was happy to have it as my first post-detox tipple.
Damon's drink was selected for first place by Benedictine Global Brand Ambassador, Ludovic Miazga, and famed cocktail historian and Esquire Drinks Correspondent David Wondrich, who was most impressed by “the way the Monte Cassino had of just sliding down the throat.” He added, “It was a tough field, though, and all the drinks were truly excellent.”
Excellent indeed, and the crowd favorite was the "Greyhound's Tooth" from San Francisco’s Brandon Clements (Benedictine, vodka, fresh grapefruit juice, house-made grapefruit bitters and sugar). Other finalists included Boston’s Jackson Cannon, New Orleans' Daniel Victory, and Chicago's Lynn House. Personally, I thought Jackson's drink was Damon's closest competition--a simple but delicious combination, the "Vincelli Fizz" (Benedictine, egg white, rose vermouth, and lemon juice).
In addition to bragging rights, Damon will receive a full-page advertorial feature in Esquire’s April 2010 issue--congrats!
"Monte Cassino" by Damon Dyer:
3/4 part Benedictine Liqueur 3/4 part Yellow Chartreuse 3/4 part fresh lemon juice 3/4 part Rittenhouse Rye
Shake, fine strain into a chilled coupe (or small cocktail glass). Lemon twist garnish.
- Tomorrow night, don't miss an exhibit by saloon artist Jill DeGroff featuring caricatures from her book, "Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar." There will be live music, and Jill's husband, Dale "King Cocktail" DeGroff, and son, Leo, will be mixing up drinks. 8 p.m., Jan. 15, Sunny's Bar, 253 Conover St., Redhook, Brooklyn. RSVP: JD2design@aol.com
- Yellowtail Wines is looking for the best wine-tail recipe. Submit yours before Jan. 22 for a chance to win $1,000.
- NYC Cuban restaurant Havana Central is looking for love potions for a Valentine's Day-themed cocktail throwdown using aphrodisiac ingredients with Bacardi Rum. The winning drink, chosen by Dale DeGroff, goes on the menu at all three Havana Central locations for the month of February, plus the winner gets dinner for two. Submit entries to LovePotion@havanacentral.com by Feb. 5. (*Extended deadline.)
- Time is running out for Pernod Absinthe's "Creator Of" art contest. Create an original work of art including the date 1805, the year the absinthe was created, and submit a copy before Jan. 31. First prize is $1,805, second place gets $500, and third place gets $250.
- Speaking of time running out, tomorrow is the deadline for the G'Vine Gin Connoisseur's Program, which will award the winner with a year's supply of G'Vine, $3,000, and a trip through Amsterdam, Paris, and London to explore the history of gin (if you win, bring me, will ya?). Even the 12 finalists get to go to Paris and Cognac, France--enter here if you haven't already.
- Aisha Sharpe of Contemporary Cocktails unleashes a new cocktail menu at The Breslin at the Ace Hotel tonight. See the full menu below.
- My prediction of "all-tiki-everything" is already coming true--NYC is finally getting a tiki cocktail bar! Food & Wine reports that Painkiller (from Dutch Kills' Richard Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzales!) will open at the former site of the East Side Company Bar on Essex Street in March. The bar will combine the vibe of 1970s New York with 1940s tiki culture. Stay tuned!
- If you haven't seen it yet, PDT's Jim Meehan was a guest on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, mixing gin tonics and tequila highballs.
- On Wednesday Jan. 13, Benedictine is hosting the finals for it's "Alchemist of Our Age" cocktail competition celebrating the liqueur's 500th anniversary. The throwdown takes place at the Hearst Tower in NYC, with Dave Wondrich selecting the winner. First place prize is a stand-alone profile in Esquire's March issue. Finalists are: Jackson Cannon (Boston), Damon Dyer (NYC), Brandon Clements (San Francisco), Lynn House (Chicago), and Daniel Victory (New Orleans).
- The cocktail industry was in a tizzy this week over the sudden shortage of Angostura Bitters, a staple product at most bars. Reportedly the plant that makes the secret-formula bitters in Trinidad and Tobago had a brief shutdown. Many bar managers are either paying exorbitant prices (such as $65 for a 20-oz. bottle) for the bitters, or they have been told it will be weeks before their orders arrive. Expect to see different brands of bitters dashed in your next Manhattan.
- One more reason for cocktail bars to use bottled soda: an International Journal of Microbiology study found half of soda fountains analyzed contained fecal bacteria. Now you know.
The Breslin Cocktails, all $12:
Liquid Swords (rye whiskey, orange curacao, Aperol, Green Chartreuse, with an orange zest)
Lust for Life (gin with lavender syrup, mint, fresh lemon juice, topped with soda water)
Rush of Blood to the Head (prosecco with blood orange liqueur, hibiscus syrup, and lemon zest)
London Calling (vodka with Ribena-Blackcurrant Syrup, fresh lemon juice, topped with prosecco)
Kingdom Come (blended scotch whisky, orange essence, black tea syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white)
Pablo Honey (blanco tequila with spiced agave nectar and fresh lime juice)
Beggar’s Banquet (bourbon whiskey with maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, aromatic bitters, topped with ale)
Rattle and Hum (rum with spices, brown sugar and butter and hot water)
The Breslin Gin & Tonics:
The Classic (Tanqueray Gin with tonic and a lime)
The Garden Tonic (Hendrick’s Gin with cucumber, celery bitters and tonic)
The Tonic and Grapefruit (Beefeater 24 with grapefruit bitters, tonic and grapefruit zest)
So really, this recap only reflects the past seven months of 2009 since I started this blog in May, but so much radness went down that I thought the time period deserved some pause--including one event I haven't even recapped until now because life and too many cocktails got in the way (it happens to the best of us).
- Junior Merino's Liquid Lab (November): Holy hole in a lotus root, if you have been to Junior's lab you have truly tasted the rainbow. Primarily for bartenders, this free, day-long experience at Junior's offices in the Bronx (sorry, no photos allowed) is a mix of mad cocktail science and blind tastings. On the day I attended, we tasted five different kinds of vodka, cachaca, rum, pisco, tequila, and mezcal, and we tasted everything twice. Tasting spirits twice (after lots of water and spitting) allowed my palate and brain to register more intense flavors. We then mixed cocktails using each type of spirit and pulled ingredients from Junior's seemingly endless supply of liquor, liqueurs, juices, syrups, bitters, fresh produce and herbs, garnishes, spices, salts--really anything you could imagine, it was there. Each cocktail we made included at least one sponsored ingredient--Combier Orange Liqueur, Domaine de Canton Ginger Liqueur, and Castries Peanut Rum. Being an amateur mixologist, this was a real treat for me, as was tasting the more experienced bartender's concoctions. My best drink (in my opinion) included: muddled pepquinos (tiny melons) and starfruit, habanero-infused Siembra Azul Tequila, Combier, The Liquid Chef Agave Nectar, lemon juice, and garnished with rock chives, starfruit, and The Liquid Chef Cactus & Lemongrass Salt on the rim. Some bartenders toyed with the liquid nitrogen, dry ice, and liquid smoke for more molecular experiments. A highlight for me was tasting the not-yet-released Creme Yvette, which offers a brilliant mix of berry and vanilla flavors. Another major highlight was the amazing lunch spread provided by Junior's wife, chef Heidi. If you are in the NYC area and are a working bartender, this is an opportunity not to be missed.
- World Cocktail Day (May): The day I got this blog up and running, and what a day it was! More than 20 of the country's top mixologists threw down at Pranna in celebration of the birthday of the cocktail.
- The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Day 1 & Day 2 (October): Two days of expert sessions and tastings, followed by a blowout gala. This is one weekend that will probably be remembered as the event of the year for NYC cocktailians.
- WhiskyFest New York (November): Where I learned that there is no such thing as too much whisk(e)y. Why can't every day be WhiskyFest?
- 2nd Annual D.C. Repeal Day Ball (December): No better reason to put on a black-tie outfit than to celebrate the anniversary of Prohibition's end--and no better place to celebrate than the D.C. cocktail hub.
- The Dizzy Fizz Holiday Puncheon (December): C'mon, you know I had to put the puncheon on here! If you were there, you know; if you weren't, I'm sorry but you missed a damn fine time.
*Glaring omission: No, I was not at Tales of the Cocktail. Hopefully next year!
How was your 2009? Mine was half crap, half amazing. I'm ok with that--discomfort breeds growth, and let's just say I had a lot of growth over the past decade. I'll be ringing in New Year's Eve 2010 with a Moroccan-inspired dinner and cocktail party at home with friends, followed by a few rounds at some of these cocktailian fêtes for a tip of the arm or two (or three):
- What's a new decade without a pre-party? Swing in 2010 a night early with "The Salon" at The Players Club featuring guest bartenders Eryn Reece (Rye House, Louis 649) and Loungerati's Fredo Ceraso as well as free Dewar's cocktails to the first 125 paying guests. Entertainment includes George Gee's Jump, Jivin' Wailers (10-piece band); Gelber and Manning vaudeville; burlesque tap dancing by Helen Pontani; burlesque by Pandora; and DJ Rikomatic. Tickets are $25 cash at the door. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m.
- Death & Co. is not only celebrating the New Year but also its three-year anniversary. Tickets are $125 per person (not including tax and tip) and include cocktails, champagne toast, bites, and dessert. 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. RSVP: email@example.com (Tickets are almost gone!)
- Lexington Bar & Books is hosting an exclusive New Year's bash with a midnight champagne toast, hors d'oeuvres, and party favors for all. Plus you get to light up cigars inside, if that's your thing. Tickets are $25 in advance; $30 at the door. RSVP: (212) 717-3902. Proper attire requested. 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.
- Louis 649 is hosting a "No Bullsh*t" New Year's Eve with no cover, no doorman, no tickets, no pre-fixe--just bring your smiling faces. 8 p.m. to 7 a.m.
- The Summit Bar is throwing two parties in one--a "Disco 2010" party from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. with DJ Kimiko, followed by a bar industry party from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m. with DJ D Sol. Head mixologist Greg Seider will be whipping up a spiced cranberry champagne drink and a New Year's punch. No cover, drinks are pay-as-you-go, and you can bring non-industry friends. RSVP: Hamid@thesummitbar.net
Also, if you're looking for food with your drink on New Year's, here's some restaurant suggestions. Cheers!
Blessed stuff indeed, and thanks to all who made The Dizzy Fizz Holiday Puncheon an unforgettable evening!
On Sunday December 20, 2009, I was pleased as punch to ring in the holidays in style with a plaid-fashioned punch party at The Summit Bar, 133 Avenue C. This invite-only event gathered more than 100 of the city’s top mixologists and bar industry professionals, cocktail bloggers, lovely friends, as well as some internationally-recognized master mixologists. The Puncheon not only celebrated the holiday season, but was also my way of toasting the six-month mark for TheDizzyFizz.com as I approached 20,000 views--thanks for your support!
The Puncheon, named for the speakeasy that preceded the '21' Club some 80 years ago, featured seven punches created by members of the USBGNY (United States Bartending Guild of New York), LUPECNYC (NYC Chapter of the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), and The Summit Bar’s staff. Punches featured sponsored ingredients including: Plymouth Gin, Bols Genever, Ron Zacapa 23 Aged Rum, Bulleit Bourbon, Partida Tequila, Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky, 10 Cane Rum, Martini & Rossi Prosecco, Gran Marnier Liqueur, Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur, Benedictine Liqueur, Chartreuse, and Averna Sambuca Agrumi.
Author/illustrator Jill DeGroff, and her husband, master mixologist Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff, were featured guests. Jill DeGroff signed copies of her new book, “Lush Life: Portraits from Behind the Bar,” for party guests, courtesy of Chartreuse. Brian Van Flandern, a Michelin three-star mixologist, consultant to Chef Thomas Keller of Per Se, and author of “Vintage Cocktails,” and John Myers, cocktail historian, mixologist, and author of the upcoming "What Would Jesus Drink: Cocktails for the Second Coming" were also in attendance.
LUPEC bartender Jane Elkins’ punch, “The Redhead,” won the most applause and bragging rights as the crowd favorite. The punch included sage-infused Barenjager Honey Liqueur, Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky, Bulleit Bourbon, rooibos tea, ginger syrup, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters.
For the complete list of recipes, see the "Events" page. I can't thank the participating bartenders enough: Greg Seider of The Summit Bar, Frank Cisneros of Bar Celona and Prime Meats (USBGNY), John Pomeroy of The Hideout (USBGNY), Jane Elkins of Rye House (LUPEC), Lynnette Marrero of Rye House (LUPEC), Elayne Duke, mixologist for Diageo (LUPEC), Kelley Slagle of Hearth (LUPEC), and Katie Darling of White Star (LUPEC).
Special thanks to Jill and Dale DeGroff for driving through the snow to make the event, to Katie Darling and Tal Nadari of Bols Genever for letting us use their gorgeous punch bowls, to Lush Life Productions for their amazing photography (see the full reel here!) and for providing the yummy cheese and fruit platters, to Hamid Rashidzada of The Summit Bar for organizing an extremely professional staff, to my lovely door host, Chaya Wilkins, and to everyone who made it out on a cold Sunday night--I know you all could have just stayed home in your PJs. Thanks for getting punched in the mouth with me, let's do it again soon!
(Click on the photos to enlarge:)
With all of the hubbub [brouhaha? hullabaloo?] reverberating from last week's Repeal Day Ball, I didn't have time to report on the Absolut Exceptional Experiences bash held in NYC earlier this month. Hundreds of [highly attractive, I must say] guests packed into a warehouse event space at 508 W. 37th St. to witness Absolut's launch of its new ad campaign photographed by Ellen Von Unwerth and featuring celebs such as Kate Beckinsale and Zooey Deschanel.
Drinks included Absolut and tonic, the Absolut Citron cosmo, the Absolut bloody mary, and the Absolut Mandarin crush. There was no lack of entertainment, as scantilly-clad ladies danced on stages designed to look like live versions of the new ads while intermittent performances (woman on stilts, for instance) went on throughout the evening.
Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills were featured at a satellite bar, mixing drinks with Absolut Citron, Mandarin, and Peppar for a sizable crowd. Contemporary Cocktails managed the bar service and staffing, and everyone seemed to be having a blast.
According to The New York Times, Absolut, sold under the umbrella of Pernod Ricard USA, is planning to introduce ads in collaboration with director Spike Jonze next year. Let's hope there's a party for that, too!
- The Meatpacking District isn't just a place to chug bottles of Goose and Patron. Take your next date or out-of-town visitor on this romantic walking tour for an alluring look at the cobblestone zone. (Yep, by yours truly)
- Harlem speakeasy 67 Orange celebrates its one-year anniversary tonight. They are celebrating with $5 shots and introducing a new cocktail menu. Try the "Almack's," with Batavia Arrack, Lillet Blanc, Velvet Falernum, Allspice Dram, and muddled grapes. 8 to 10 p.m., 2082 Frederick Douglas Blvd.
- A look at Williamsburg's new rum bar, Roneria Caracas, in the Village Voice. (Again, by yours truly)
- The New York Times recommends Underberg bitters to combat holiday overindulgence, and apparently Prime Meats in Cobble Hill sells more of the German bitters than any other place in the country.
- Jim Meehan shows off his $660 bartender's bag for Metromix.
- On Dec. 16, The Metropolitan Opera is collaborating with mixologist Allen Katz to hold a cocktail competition. A group of NYC bartenders were recently invited to see a dress rehearsal of Tales of Hoffmann, which opens with the title character in a tavern, reflecting on past loves. Joaquin Simo (Death & Co.), Lynnette Marrero (Rye House), Meaghan Dorman (Raines Law Room), Leo Robitschek (Eleven Madison Park), Ryan McGrale (Flatiron Lounge), Brad Farran (Clover Club), and James Menite (Porter House) will be competing to create cocktails inspired by the production.
- The Magnificent Bastard is hosting a cocktail competition in search of the next classic cocktail. Bartenders have until Jan. 31 to submit recipes, and the winner will receive a $500 gift certificate to KegWorks.
Death & Co., which recently rejoiced over its extended hours (now open until 2 a.m. on weekends), rolled out a new cocktail and food menu earlier this week, and I had the pleasure of attending last night's press tasting. The 2 1/2-year-old cocktail den of East 6th Street had a challenging beginning with several legal battles with the SLA/Community Board 3, but this new, inspired menu signals perseverance for the bar and seems to put the past to bed.
Co-owner David Kaplan is especially proud of the new food menu by recently-hired Chef Luis Gonzalez, who trained under renowned chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten at Mercer Kitchen. "For once, I feel like we have a food menu that is on par with the quality of the cocktails," said Kaplan.
And quality cocktails they are--we started with "Pelée's Blood" (Rhum JM Blanc, Don's Mix #2, homemade grenadine, lime juice, dash absinthe), D&C bartender Thomas Waugh's take on a tiki cocktail. It was a delicious punch-type drink with balanced sweetness, and it made for a refreshing start. The drink was paired with a small plate of tuna tartare with crushed avocado and homemade kettle chips as well as a melt-in-your-mouth pan-seared foie gras with corn pancake and quince puree. Clearly, Gonzalez's dishes elevate bar snacking to a whole new level.
Next, I had the "Daisy Buchanan" (Chamomile-infused Old Overholt Rye, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Aperol, and Yellow Chartreuse), created by D&C bartender Joaquin Simo. Solid, strong cocktail, especially if you like a dry finish. This was a perfect palate-cleanser for the pulled-pork slider and mini-scoop of truffle mac 'n' cheese, which were both highly-satisfying indulgent treats. Then, onto the "Ingenue" (Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac, Dolin Sweet Vermouth, Don's Spices), one of D&C bartender Brian Miller's cocktails. The clove-heavy flavors of Don's Spices (a mix of vanilla syrup and allspice dram), made for a rich, autumnal drink that would be perfect for sipping next to a fireplace. This was paired with a mushroom tart with walnut and onion pesto and the crispy pork belly, served with sauteed kale, braised cranberry beans, and pomegranate seeds.
Last but not least was D&C bartender Alex Day's "Little Engine" (Famous Grouse whisky, tawny port, apple butter, lemon juice, maple syrup). Served over a mountain of crushed ice with a fresh apple garnish, this drink for me was the most "adult" apple cocktail I've ever tried. The port adds depth to the usual apple pie flavors, and the apple butter infusion coats the tongue without being unctuous. Naturally, this was served with apple cobbler.
Special thanks to David for the invite, and to bartenders Jason Littrell and Brian Miller for being so on-point, given all of those new recipes to keep track of. I can't wait to return and try more!