- Like the bosses they are, the ladies behind Speed Rack are hosting their national finals on Thursday, May 16 in the East Village. The fastest, most talented female bartenders in the top 10 cocktail cities (as well as six “wildcard” contestants who won online votes) will go shaker-to-shaker for an esteemed judging panel and live audience to crown Miss Speed Rack USA 2013. Guests who attend will see 100 percent of their $30 ticket go toward breast cancer research while witnessing Iron Chef-style throwdown and sipping all the complimentary cocktails and neat spirits they can drink. Not only does the champion earn bragging rights and the respect of her industry peers (judges include Dale DeGroff, Julie Reiner and Audrey Saunders), she’ll also get a trip for two to Paris, tour the Cointreau Bartender Academie, and receive a B.A.R. (Beverage Alcohol Resource) scholarship. Speed Rack, created by Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, and produced in collaboration with CBLLC, has raised nearly $150,000 for breast cancer charities. For more information on Speed Rack, go here, and for tickets to the finals, click here. Thursday, May 16, 6 to 10 p.m., Element Nightclub, 225 East Houston Street.
- It’s almost that time again–revelers are gearing up for the 2013 edition of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, May 17 to 21. While regular admission for the opening night gala is sold out, VIP tickets remain for the veritable prom of the cocktail industry, which at $295-$395 get you four hours of endless drinks (are 25,000 cocktails enough to choose from?). Many of the tastings and educational sessions are also sold out by now, but tickets still remain for events such as a decadent afternoon of chocolate and cocktail pairings; a Culinary Tour of Lower Manhattan with Oban, Talisker and Lagavulin; and the Indie Spirits Expo, a massive walk-around tasting of small-batch spirits. Prepare the hangover remedies now, folks.
The Dizzy Fizz is proud to be a media partner for Wine Enthusiast‘s 25th Anniversary celebration, the Red and White Bash on Thursday, May 9 at Hudson Hotel. Featuring a scene designed by experiential event planner extraordinaire Adam Aleksander, expect a decadent evening full of lots of surprises inspired by the Belle Epoch, Moulin Rouge and a twisted, vintage carnival. Guests are encouraged to dress in red and white attire and kick up their heels to Michael Arenella and his Dreamland Orchestra. A limited number of tickets are available for $65 (prices will go up after April 14), and, amazingly, 100 percent of proceeds will benefit Wine to Water, a charity bringing clean drinking water to developing countries. To purchase tickets, Dizzy Fizz readers can use the code WE25RWDF. Click here for the list of wines that will be poured, and click here for tickets. Thursday, May 9, 7 to 10 p.m. at Hudson Hotel, 356 West 58th St., New York, NY 10019.
- One of the most anticipated cocktail bars to open in NYC, The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog recently flung open the doors of its landmark building to much acclaim. Founders Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of the award-winning beverage program at Belfast’s Merchant Hotel have done their homework to create a cocktail menu that honors the mid-19th century drinking scene in gangland New York. On the first level, a pub-style bar room complete with sawdust on the floor serves up classic cocktails, bottled punch, draft beer and Irish whiskey, while upstairs a more refined lounge serves an expansive menu of meticulously crafted drinks. On a recent visit, I sipped the Automobile (Marie Brizard Parfait Amour, Pernod Absinthe, celery cordial, Piper Heidsieck Cuvee Brut Champagne and Bittermens Orchard Street Celery Shrub), the Ale Flip (Sixpoint Cask Conditioned “Dead Rabbit” Ale, Jameson 12 Year Irish Whiskey, spiced egg batter, muscovado sugar and nutmeg), the Bankers Punch (Redbreast 12 Year Cask Strength Irish Whiskey, Dead Rabbit Jamaican Rum Mix, fresh lime juice, raspberry cordial, Dead Rabbit Orinoco Bitters and dashes Graham’s LBV Port Wine), and a complimentary teacup of Grandieur Punch (Bols Genever, Varnelli Anis, lemon sherbert, lemon juice, orange flower water and peppermint tea). Everything was incredibly tasty, and the wait time for drinks was not long at all, a stunning feat considering there were only two barmen behind the bar and the room was full on a Saturday night. This Monday, Feb. 25, mixology master Gaz Regan will serve as guest bartender from 7 p.m. onward–so don’t bloody miss that. The Dead Rabbit, 30 Water Street.
- Speaking of new bars, Dipsology has a nice list of recently-opened and soon-to-open cocktail bars in NYC, including Attaboy, taking over the Milk & Honey space. Time Out New York interviewed Sam Ross and Michael McIlroy and rumor is they will open their doors later this month.
- Beefeater Gin recently got the green light to open London’s first gin distillery visitor center, expected to be completed later this year. As someone who has been fortunate enough to visit Beefeater’s headquarters in Kennington, I am thrilled for Master Distiller Desmond Payne and his team. Desmond is profoundly passionate about the making of gin and will do a great service to the public by showcasing the distillery’s process. (Check out the video announcement here.)
Proving that when it comes to Valentine’s Day, New Yorkers are ready to think outside the chocolate box, The Dizzy Fizz hosted Cocktails Are For Lovers on February 7, 2013, packing New York’s Astor Center with an enthusiastic crowd of imbibers. The event was held a week before Valentine’s Day to encourage guests to mix their own love potions in time for the holiday.
The elegant evening featured dozens of refreshing, fragrant cocktails, and some included aphrodisiac ingredients. Cocktails such as the Heart Breaker (Sandeman Reserve Port, grapefruit juice, homemade grenadine, rose water and aphrodisiac bitters) celebrated the enchanting effects of mankind’s oldest icebreaker.
Filipino gastropub Jeepney served small bites to pair with the cocktails, including “Sloppy Jose” pulled pork adobo sliders, chayote soup garnished with saffron cream, and savory spring rolls. Bacon bakery Baconery dished out indulgent bites of sinfully delicious confections. Throughout the night, DJ Tomas Moves maintained the event’s seductive vibe and burlesque performers Cheeky Lane and Callie Peck flitted through the crowd in barely-there costumes.
Sponsors included: Rhum Clement, Aperol, Ardbeg Whisky, Sandeman Porto, G’Vine Gin, June Liqueur, Excellia Tequila, Xante Pear Brandy Liqueur, Pallini Limoncello, OR-G Persimmon Liqueur, Voli Light Vodkas, John B. Stetson Bourbon, Killepitsch Liqueur and Pisa Italian Liqueur.
Special thanks to: Jonathan Pogash and The Cocktail Guru Consulting, Damien Good, Adam Albert, Sharon Festinger and Urban Daddy.
Single? Coupled? It’s complicated? Who cares! Everyone feels lovely with a romantic cocktail in hand. New Yorkers can celebrate the enchanting effects of the eternal icebreaker at Cocktails Are For Lovers, a red-hot walk-around-tasting party brought to you by yours truly from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 7, 2013 at AstorCenter.
Sip endless love potions, aphrodesiac elixirs, dessert cocktails, effervescent punches, seductive slings and fragrant fizzes served by some of the hottest bartenders in NYC. Pair your tantalizing tipples with small bites by Filipino gastropub Jeepney including pulled pork adobo sliders. Bacon bakery Baconery will dish out savory sweets. Sexy beats by DJ Tomas Moves and burlesque performers will keep things interesting.
Sponsors include: Rhum Clement, Ardbeg Whisky, Sandeman Porto, Pallini Limoncello, G’vine Gin, June Liqueur, Excellia Tequila, Aperol, OR-G Persimmon Liqueur, Voli Light Vodkas, Xante Brandy Pear Liqueur, John B. Stetson Bourbon, Killepitsch, Pisa Italian Liqueur and more!
Want a preview of what you’ll be tasting Thursday night?
0.75 oz. June Vineflower Liqueur
Fill with Alfred Gratien Champagne
The Islay Affair by Jonathan Pogash, the Cocktail Guru:
1 1/2 oz. Ardbeg Single Malt Scotch Whisky
1 oz. blackberry puree
1/4 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Directions: Add ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
Garnish: sage leaf
Thanks darling readers for taking the time to stop by every now and then. I know things were quiet there for a while I persevered through the infant-raising stage–it’s amazing how much easier it is to type now that I have at least one arm free twenty percent of the time. The Dizzy Fizz Facebook page is closely approaching 1,000 fans, and to help sprint past that milestone, I’ve got a fantastic Julibox giveaway to announce! If you haven’t already heard about Julibox, it’s a monthly subscription service that sends you a cocktail party in a box. [So brilliant, cocktail kits mailed to your door--I'm a little jealous I didn't think of this!] Each kit contains liquor and mixers for four servings of two different cocktails, plus the recipes. At $40 each, these little bundles of love would make a charming holiday gift (or one heck of a care package) for the home cocktail enthusiast on your list.
On New Year’s Eve, one lucky Dizzy Facebook fan who lives within Julibox’s distribution locations [and is 21-plus] will be chosen randomly to receive their December box featuring two rum cocktails–Ron Zacapa and Rhum Barbancourt!
Winner will be announced by Jan. 2, 2013. This contest is closed – winner has been selected, thanks everyone!
Speaking of cocktail lovers on your holiday gift list–look no further than this year’s dizzy-approved gift guide for other presents made for year-round-tippling. And while it’s nice to support your favorite small businesses, the holiday season doesn’t have to be all about spending money–homemade gifts, charity donations and volunteering your time to those in need are also excellent ways to celebrate.
Tuthilltown Spirits’ Barrel-Aged Cocktail Kit ($12.50) features a 375ml glass bottle with an oak stave straight from their barrels inside. Also available from Tuthilltown are 1-liter mini barrels ($60) perfect for the home bartending enthusiast who has everything. Check out this video featuring Portland, Ore. bartender and barrel-aging pioneer Jeffrey Morgenthaler and Tuthilltown’s Gable Erenzo for instructions on making your own barreled batch of White Manhattans at home.
Ernest Hemingway was known to have a deep affection for the lush life. Delve into Hemingway’s favorite cocktail recipes, historic love affair with liquor and anecdotes from Papa himself in To Have and Have Another: A Hemingway Cocktail Companion by Philip Greene ($24.00).
Thanks to the bitters boom of recent years, the lone bottle of Angostura is now a rare sight behind the bar. Learn the history of bitters–once claimed to be a panacea–as well as DIY tricks to making your own flavoring agents and recipes in Bitters: A Spirited History of a Classic Cure-All by Brad Thomas Parsons ($16.49).
If you have a Sodastream at home, or some other type of soda-making gadget, you’d best be acquainted with Brooklyn-made P&H Soda Syrup ($10 per 12.7oz bottle). The Sarsaparilla (water, organic cane sugar, organic sarsaparilla root, organic spices, organic citric acid), like a gentler version of root beer, is a classic.
Nothing says “I’ve graduated to adulthood” like a stylish home bar. Complete the look with a posh ice bucket, like this Gatsby Ice Bucket from Crate & Barrel ($54.95) with clean, deco lines, and class up your next fete.
Here’s a great two-for-one gift for the marrieds on your list–Mr. and Mrs. rocks glasses ($18). Hers features a sweet pair of lips and his features an ever-in-style handlebar ‘stache. If their house is anything like ours, both will be filled with something brown, bitter and delicious.
Sponsors included: Maker’s Mark, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Don Q Rum, Catdaddy Moonshine, Bulleit Bourbon, Death’s Door Spirits, Ardbeg, Greenhook Ginsmiths, The Black Grouse, G’Vine Gin, Caliche Rum, Four Roses Bourbon, Molinari Sambuca, Rhum Clement, Kansas Clean Distilled Whiskey, Cockspur Rum, Iceberg Vodka, Aperol, Starr African Rum, Brooklyn Gin, Redemption Rye, Averna Amaro, El Buho Mezcal, Cacao Prieto, Half Moon Orchard Gin, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, Don Julio Tequila, Philadelphia Distilling, Whistlepig Rye, Becherovka, The Balvenie, Monkey Shoulder, Hudson Whiskey, Scorpion Mezcal, Gotham Artisanal, Perrier Sparkling Water and more!
A portion of ticket proceeds benefits the Children’s Aid Society and guests also brought dozens of toys and non-perishable food items for Sandy victims.
Well, well, well–you didn’t forget about us, now, did you? Nothing like a hurricane to free up some much-needed catch-up time. First things first, The Dizzy Fizz is tickled plaid to announce The 3rd Annual Holiday Spirits Bazaar, blitzing into NYC’s Astor Center on Saturday, Nov. 17.
This year there are two sessions available to sip and savor the festive flavors of the season. Choose the afternoon session (1:00 – 4:00 p.m.) for some rollicking daytime tippling, or roll into the evening session (7:00 – 10:00 p.m.) for a Mad Men-style cocktail bash. At both sessions, you can pair your dazzling libations with gourmet cheese and charcuterie from Brooklyn cheesemongers Stinky Bklyn and stay refreshed with Perrier sparkling water. General admission tickets are $45, and you can use the code EARLYBIRD to save a cool $10 before Nov. 1, while supplies last!
Sponsors include: Maker’s Mark, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Don Q Rum, Catdaddy Moonshine, Bulleit Bourbon, Death’s Door Spirits, Ardbeg, Greenhook Ginsmiths, The Black Grouse, G’Vine Gin, Caliche Rum, Four Roses Bourbon, Molinari Sambuca, Rhum Clement, Kansas Clean Distilled Whiskey, Cockspur Rum, Iceberg Vodka, Sorel Hibiscus Liqueur, Cacao Prieto, Half Moon Orchard Gin, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, Don Julio Tequila, Philadelphia Distilling, Becherovka, The Balvenie, Monkey Shoulder, Hudson Whiskey, Heavenly Spirits and more! A portion of proceeds will benefit the Children’s Aid Society of New York. Must be 21+ to attend. For more information, please visit: holidayspiritsbazaar.com
And once all this hurricane hoopla dies down, don’t miss your chance to support the ladies of Speed Rack, returning to NYC at Santos Party House on Sunday, Nov. 4. The best lady bartenders in NYC will face off round-robin style in timed challenges for the title of Miss Speed Rack. All proceeds from the event support breast cancer research.
Sponsors include: Absolut Vodka, Barritt’s ginger beer, Beefeater Gin, Benedictine, Brugal Rum, Campari, Cherry Heering, Coffee Heering, Cointreau, Cutty Sark, Drambuie, Four Roses, Harpoon Brewery, Haus Alpenz, Hine Cognac, Jameson, Lillet, Luxardo, Macchu Pisco, Martini & Rossi, Olmeca Altos Tequila, Perfect Puree, Perrier, Plymouth Gin, St. Germain, Xante and more! Visit speed-rack.com for more information.
From guest blogger Carmen Operetta:
It’s a new year and hopefully you have survived the winter season swimmingly. In most parts of the temperate countries in the world, snow has been a no show or just a wee bit of a tease this year! Whisky drinkers are used to snuggling up in front of a warm crackling fire with a proper dram in hand in these wintry months, cold snap or not. Well, I have a whisky for you to revisit and indulge in, along with a new release and an expression that is about to be out of production!
Glenrothes recently held a spirits tasting and dinner at one of NYC’s top Scottish restaurants, Mary Queen of Scots. The whiskies were paired with sandwich selections from the menu, such as the Tobermory (Scottish cheddar, crispy figs and sourdough bread) and the Pawlet (American gouda, pancetta and roasted pears on a brioche bun).
The Tasting Menu and Notes:
- The Glenrothes Select Reserve: No age statement, slightly fruity with caramel on the nose, vanilla with orange and lemon on the palate, elegant, complex, and terrific for cocktails. Great before and after dinner.
- The Glenrothes Vintage 1985: Get this one if you can!! It’s almost out of stock, and it’s hard to say with every expression tasting amazing, but this is one of my favorite! This fantastic almost rum-like dram is very chocolatey with honey and spicy notes on the nose. Oak, vanilla and orange on the palate with a silky long finish. A delectable after dinner dram.
- The Glenrothes Vintage 1994: Ahh….. what another great expression.This is amazing in cocktails too! On the nose, toffee and honey. Full of zesty lemon, orange, creamy vanilla, and toffee. Medium to long finish. An incredible before and after dinner dram.
- The Glenrothes Vintage 1995: So silky on the palate that I didn’t want to add water, but did it anyway to experience the full flavor profile. Loads of vanilla with some red grapes on the nose. Butterscotch, lemon, vanilla and honey on the palate. Medium to long finish…..such a lovely after dinner dram.
- The Glenrothes Editor’s Cask: For all of the lovers of tobacco and full-bodied whisky, you’ll love this one! The super dark chocolate color is very appealing and tempting on the eye. Orange and syrupy on the nose. It’s rich in dark fleshy fruits, dried fruits, orange, honey, tobacco leaf, spicy, and coffee notes. A long finish with more coffee and dark chocolate notes. This is an all of the time dram!
We were also treated with custom Glenrothes Cocktails by Mary Queen of Scots bartender John McCarthy:
The McQueen (Glenrothes Select Reserve, Fidencio Mezcal, dark agave syrup, orange and chocolate bitters)
Presbyterian Revenge (Glenrothes Select Reserve, Cynar, lemon juice, simple syrup and soda)
The Highland Fling (Glenrothes Select Reserve, Yellow Chartreuse, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and grapefruit bitters)
While the limited-run Editor’s Cask is being sold for $375, the Glenrothes Select Reserve used in these cocktails is an easy-drinking Speyside retailing for about $35, making it a smart choice for mixing at home.
Carmen Operetta is the CEO/Founder/Writer of Planet Operetta Productions, a primarily whisky-based production company which consults, presents events/seminars, and creates programming for the whisky category. She is currently launching a NYC based whisky consultancy division and continuously researching whisky between NYC and the UK in order to distill the first American Scottish peated style whisky.
“Malt drinkers are for thinkers and blended drinkers are for drinkers” – Ronnie Cox
You may have wondered what happened to this blog over the past month or so–why the silence? No, I did not drown in a vat of bourbon. Nor did I run away to Mexico to douse myself in mezcal. What’s happened, dear readers, is that I’ve multiplied! Well, myself and my husband have actually, with the addition of our beautiful baby boy, Owen Ezra. He was born on January 11 and he’s kept me busy making his milk punch of choice at the moment. I’ll be back on the scene soon enough, and until then, here is a link to an article about breastmilk in cocktails, in case you’re into that sort of thing. Cheers!