Dizzy Gift Guide 2014

Still have some last-minute holiday shopping to do? You can always take the tried-and-true route and give all of those cocktail lovers on your list a shiny new bottle for their top shelf. Of course, you might be tempted to keep those kinds of gifts for yourself. Here are some other suggestions for the tipplers on your list. Cheers to a safe, warm, and peaceful holiday season, and please, be kind to your neighbors!
Forage Haberdashery
Gents, need a dapper accessory for your holiday or New Year’s Eve outfit? Look no further than Forage Haberdashery, a line of handcrafted bow ties, neck ties, handkerchiefs and more. They also offer a line of bows for the ladies. Reasonably priced with free domestic shipping, get 20 percent off with the code HOLIDAY, and as an added bonus, your package will arrive pre-wrapped in handsome black paper and string.

Skull cocktail picks
For the Zombie drinkers on your list, bring some goth to their tiki game with these Grave Digger cocktail picks ($10.50) made from howlite turquoise and food grade stainless steel. Plus, the seller’s name is Dizzy Diva, so she’s obviously doing something right.

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For the party hosts who seem to have everything, you can’t go wrong with gifting them a new set of rocks glasses. This Double Old Fashioned set from West Elm ($30 for 6) offers geometric intrigue and a modern touch that will liven up any bar top.

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For the frequent flier, the Carry-On Cocktail Kit ($24) is a winning move. Have the most dignified flight ever with this handy kit that includes aromatic bitters, cane sugar, a muddling spoon, a recipe card, and a linen coaster. Just add a mini bottle of whiskey and ice, and you’ll have yourself two Old Fashioneds at any altitude.

bicycle growler
The growler craze has taken full hold ’round these parts, and NYC bars serving beer to go are a dime a dozen. Help your favorite beer drinkers keep their crafty suds mobile with this bicycle-friendly growler ($50) that holds 64 oz.

Death and Company book
Taste your way through 500 original cocktail recipes from one of NYC’s most celebrated drinking dens with Death & Co: Modern Classic Cocktails ($26) by David Kaplan, Nick Fauchald, and Alex Day. The elegant tome lays out instructions that are simple enough to follow at home. Soon enough you’ll be whipping up Oaxaca Old Fashioneds of your own–just be sure to dim the lights down low and burn some candles for the full effect.

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For the cocktail geeks on your list looking to sharpen their skills, hand them a copy of The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique ($20.95) by Jeffrey Morgenthaler. The Oregon bartender and blogger is known for his expertise, and here he breaks down every step needed to make cocktails that taste just as good as those from your favorite craft cocktail bar. Don’t be surprised if the recipient of this gift starts crowding the refrigerator with jars of homemade syrups, sodas, and infused tinctures.

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For the whiskey lover with an attention span, book a seat (or two, and save one for yourself, naturally) in the best kind of school around–the Spirit School at Brandy Library ($55-$120 per class). Not only will they expand their palates with tastings such as “Rare and Precious” and “Japanese Whiskey at its Best,” but they’ll be treated to expert guidance from the Brandy Library’s spirit sommeliers.

The 5th Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar Kicks Off the Season of Revelry with a Punch-Off!

A toast to punch, and to victory! Photos by Clay Williams.

A toast to punch, and to victory! Photos by Clay Williams.

More than 700 thirsty New Yorkers recently cozied up to ring in the season of merrymaking at the 5th Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar, a raucous, sold-out affair held at the Invisible Dog Art Center in Brooklyn on November 22, 2014. Approximately 20 of the best bartenders in NYC competed for the title of top holiday punch, with tastings and festivities split over two floors of rustic gallery space: a Winter Whiskey Tavern kept guests buzzing on the first floor, while a Sparkling Spirited Parlor hosted a glittering scene on the third floor. Plaza Hotel bartender James Menite, representing the Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whisky, took home the First Place Punch trophy with the “Gloag’s Traditional Scottish Holiday Punch” (recipe below) featuring a bewitching concoction of whisky, gin, Scottish tea, and blood orange juice. The esteemed judging panel included David Wondrich, cocktail historian and author; Lynnette Marrero, star bartender and co-founder of Speed Rack; and Leo DeGroff, cocktail consultant and educator. Additionally, Jack Mulhern, representing Calvados Boulard, won the People’s Choice vote for the “Calvados Cider Punch,” (recipe below) featuring the French apple brandy mixed with both hard and fresh apple ciders as well as ginger beer.

Yours truly, Lynnette Marrero, James Menite, David Wondrich, and Leo DeGroff (L-R).

Yours truly, Lynnette Marrero, James Menite, David Wondrich, and Leo DeGroff (L-R).

Not only were guests inspired to create seasonal sips for their own holiday parties, but the addition this year of a Cocktail Lovers’ Pop-Up Shop gave them the opportunity to get a head start on gift-giving. Purveyors included Cocktail Kingdom’s high end bar tools, Owl’s Brew tea mixers, Tipsy Scoop booze-infused ice creams, Royal Rose flavored simple syrups, cocktail-flavored artisanal chocolates by Cesar Christian Ramirez, homemade pies and cheesecake by Brooklyn Baked and Fried, and Bloody Mary mix and crunchy pickles by McClure’s Pickles. VIP hour guests were treated with an open oyster bar featuring Blue Island Oysters served by master shucker Eddie Oysters, and for the main event, guests were served artisanal cheese from Stinky Bklyn, rustic bread by Scratchbread, roasted veggies from 61 Local, Perrier Sparkling Water, and even holiday-themed Tic Tacs for the trip home.

A portion of ticket proceeds benefits Children’s Aid Society and guests also brought dozens of toys for Toys for Tots and non-perishable food for Food Bank NYC.

Sponsors included: 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, The Irishman Whiskey, Aviation Gin, Indigenous Vodka, Redemption Rye, Excellia Tequila, Fernet Branca, Carpano Antica, Suze Liqueur, Boulard Calvados, Ruffino Prosecco, and Perrier Sparkling Water.

For the full list of recipes from the event and more information, please visit holidayspiritsbazaar.com. For additional photos, please check out The Dizzy Fizz’s Facebook page.

Gloag’s Traditional Scottish Holiday Punch
By James Menite
1.5 oz Black Grouse Blended Scotch Whiskey
.5 oz Edinburgh Scottish Gin
.75 oz blood orange juice
.5 oz Scottish tea
Grated lemon zest
2 blood orange slices
Freshly grated nutmeg
1 dash Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters
Topped with Fever Tree Bitter Lemon
Served in Traditional Punch Glass

Calvados Cider Punch
(Recipe serves 15-20)
1 1/2 cups Boulard Calvados
8 cups apple cider
1 750-ml-bottle of dry hard cider
3 12-oz-bottles of ginger beer
Juice of one lemon
Several dashes orange bitters
orange sliced into rounds and cinnamon sticks for garnish

© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com
© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

© Clay Williams / claywilliamsphoto.com

Special thanks to my husband, Damien Good, event assistant Adam Albert, my hardworking staff, The Invisible Dog team, and media partners Urban Daddy, Pulsd, and Shakestir.com.

Happy holidays everyone!

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Announcing the 5th Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar!

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Kick 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.

Photos by David Stewart.

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Elsewhere in the Liquiverse

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

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.

Beach tote designed by artist Shantell Martin.

File Under: Hot Dates – Cambalache, One Night in Argentina!

Cambalache
The Dizzy Fizz is proud to be a media partner for  Cambalache – One Night in Argentina, a cutting-edge celebration of Argentine wine and culture blasting some much-needed South American warmth to the Brooklyn Night Bazaar warehouse in Williamsburg on April 16 & 17.

This two-day event, coinciding with World Malbec Day on April 17, is not your typical wine tasting. Expect a multi-sensory experience showcasing the passion, complexity and contradictions that define Argentine culture. Guests can indulge in empanadas, Argentine beef, dulce de leche ice cream, wine-based cocktails, and of course, unlimited malbec and other wines from 26 of the top Argentine wineries.

In addition you’ll be invited to witness infamous Argentinian graffiti artists painting murals at an outdoor street party; venture into a rustic estancia to drink traditional ‘mate’ tea with authentic Argentinian cowboys; dance Nuevo Tango in a Buenos Aires nightclub; get a lesson in street slang to stir up trouble in downtown Buenos Aires; learn the unconventional art of pairing wines with music with a couple of English professors; and hear a bass-heavy global electronic music set by DJ Uproot Andy.

Tickets are available for $80, and for a limited time, Dizzy Fizz readers can use the code VINO to save $20 on pair of tickets, bringing the price to $140.

Included in your Cambalache ticket is the chance to win a set of two airline tickets to travel from New York-JFK to Buenos Aires on Aerolineas Argentinas plus three nights accommodation at the Pan Americano hotel. Winners will be announced each night at 9pm at the event and must be present to win.

Wednesday, April 16, and Thursday, April 17, 6 to 11 p.m. each night. 165 Banker Street, Brooklyn, 11222.

Cambalache 2

Cambalache 3

File Under Hot Dates: Speed Rack is Back!

Erin Reece, Miss Speed Rack 2013.

Erin Reece, Miss Speed Rack 2013.

Some of NYC’s fastest female bartenders will go shaker to shaker on Sunday, Dec. 15 for the third season of Speed Rack. The annual competition, which kicks off in NYC and tours nationally, was founded by industry vets Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix to raise funds for breast cancer research. (They have raised $160,000 to date!) Contestants from bars such as Raines Law Room and Mayahuel will compete in timed heats to make rounds of cocktails in front of a panel of judges featuring cocktail pros such as Julie Reiner (owner of Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club), Dave Wondrich (cocktail historian and writer), Jim Meehan (co-owner of PDT) and Aisha Sharpe (cocktail consultant). The New York winner will go on to face other regional winners in a national throw-down in May of 2014. Not only do attendees get to support this amazing cause and lady bartending, they also receive complimentary punch throughout the evening as well as treats from local food vendors. Sunday, Dec. 15, 4 p.m. at Music Hall of Williamsburg, 66 North 6th St., Brooklyn. $30.

Dizzy Gift Guide 2013

While it's too late to order UK designer Kate Broughton's classic cocktail gift wrap in time for Christmas, how lovely would it be to use this later in the year?

Although it’s too late to order UK designer Kate Broughton’s classic cocktail gift wrap in time for Christmas, how lovely would it be to use this later in the year?

If you are anything like me, you have lots of cocktail lovers on your holiday gift list (and you are also one yourself). What are the holidays about, if not spreading the love? While your hunt for Pappy’s may prove fruitless,  here are some cocktailian gift ideas that should be readily available at fine shops (or online retailers) near you. Cheers to the holiday season, and may your glass always be half full!

ice_sphere_glass

For the whiskey drinker who likes their poison on the rocks, ice sphere molds ($12.95 for a set of two) are an essential accessory. Not only does a globe of ice look impressive, it melts more slowly and evenly, leading to less dilution.

absinthe glass set
Spirits connoisseurs know that absinthe won’t make you hallucinate (that’s just a myth), but at 106-148 proof, the anise flavored hooch demands to be served properly.  This stylish absinthe glassware set ($24 without spoons, $48 with) is made in the classic Belle Epoque style with 1-ounce reservoirs so you can easily measure your desired absinthe-to-water ratio.

Restoration Hardware bar collection
Restoration Hardware might not be the first place you think of for bar accessories, but their vintage hotel silver bar collection ($29-$79) is almost as charming as real vintage flea market finds. Cast brass with a soft patina, these shaker tins and tools recall a simpler era.

anthropologie decanter
Nothing dresses up a home bar quite like a crystal decanter. Anthropologie has a nice range to choose from, such as this quilted crystalline decanter ($68) that begs to pour something strong and delicious.

unbound-maraschino
If you are looking for a DIY gift, you could easily make your own brandied cherries — but if you are short on time and ingredients, these all-natural maraschino cherries ($7) will be welcomed by any fan of the Manhattan or the Mai Tai.

bamboo-straws
For the beach bum on your list, these faux bamboo straws ($7.95) are the perfect addition to tiki drinks. Pair with a set of tiki mugs ($22.41) for the full effect.

potc-front-cover
Speaking of beach bums, the one and only tiki drink historian Jeff “Beachbum” Berry returns to publishing with the release of “Potions of the Caribbean: 500 Years of Tropical Drinks and the People Behind Them” ($34.95). A compendium of vintage Caribbean drinks, this epic collection of recipes shares the stories behind the spirited history of the West Indies.  Of the 77 recipes in the book, 16 of them are “lost” and have never been published in any form, and another 19 have never been published in book form before.

Whiskey John Lamond
For the novice drinker getting started in the worlds of bourbon, rye, and Scotch, Whiskey: Instant Expert ($13.21) is a handy field guide to all things whisk(e)y. Learn the lingo, dive into the histories of famous Scottish and American distilleries, get buying tips, cocktail recipes, and more.

regions_of_scotland_tasting_set
Drinks by the Dram is a genius business idea making high-end whiskey (and other spirits) more accessible for the masses. Tasting sets feature 3oml wax-sealed bottles of otherwise rare and expensive bottles. For instance, their Regions of Scotland tasting kit ($57.06) includes a sample of Glenfarclas 40 year old, which retails for $499 for a 750ml bottle. You’ll want to place your order soon if you want it to arrive before Christmas, as this company is based out of the UK.

silver banded punch bowl
For the party host on your list, this silver banded punch bowl ($129.95) is not only the ultimate crowd-pleaser, it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Add a copy of Kara Newman’s Cocktails for a Crowd ($13.91) full of punch recipes, and you’ll ensure your name is always on the guest list.