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.
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!
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sponsors included: Rhum Clement, G’Vine Gin, Bulleit Bourbon, Sorel, White Pike Whiskey, Monkey Shoulder, Montelobos Mezcal, Art in the Age Spirits, Tuthilltown Spirits, Four Roses Bourbon, Iceberg Vodka, Blue Chair Bay Rum, Excellia Tequila, George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, 300 Joules, Cockspur Rum, The Irishman Whiskey, Tap 357 Maple Rye Whiskey, Molinari Sambuca Extra, The Famous Grouse, Averna Amaro, and more!
For punch and cocktail recipes from the event, please visit holidayspiritsbazaar.com
For more photos from the event, please visit The Dizzy Fizz on Facebook.
General Admission is from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m., and tickets are $50. Subscribers to Urban Daddy Perks will get the scoop about a VIP hour starting at 5:30 p.m. featuring Mable’s famous sliced beef brisket. Use the code EARLYBIRD to save $10 before midnight on Sunday, Nov. 3!
A portion of proceeds benefits Children’s Aid Society, a non-profit supporting some of NYC’s neediest children. Also benefiting CAS, Brooklyn Farmacy is selling pie for $3 per slice and there will be a silent auction of cocktailian art and photography. Guests are also encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for CAS or non-perishable food items for Food Bank NYC.
Sponsors include: Rhum Clement, G’Vine Gin, Bulleit Bourbon, Sorel, White Pike Whiskey, Monkey Shoulder, Montelobos Mezcal, Art in the Age Spirits, Hudson Whiskey, Half Moon Orchard Gin, Four Roses Bourbon, Iceberg Vodka, Blue Chair Bay Rum, Excellia Tequila, George Dickel Tennessee Whiskey, 300 Joules, Cockspur Rum, The Irishman Whiskey, Ron Abuelo, Molinari Sambuca, Averna Amaro, and more!
Saturday, November 23, 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Invisible Dog, 51 Bergen St., Brooklyn, NY 11201. All ticket holders must be 21+ with valid ID. For more information, please visit holidayspiritsbazaar.com.
The annual spirits industry mecca known as Tales of the Cocktail recently wrapped up in New Orleans, and once again, the NYC bar community cleaned up at the Spirited Awards. Brooklyn’s Clover Club took home Best American Cocktail Bar and Best High-Volume Cocktail Bar while bar owner Julie Reiner won Best Bar Mentor, NoMad Hotel (bar program by Leo Robitschek) won Best Hotel Bar, Saxon and Parole (bar program by Naren Young) won Best Restaurant Bar, and The Dead Rabbit took both World’s Best New Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Menu while Jack McGarry won International Bartender of the Year. Check out the full list of winners over on Good Spirits News.
On the heels of their big triple-win, The Dead Rabbit is partnering with Williamsburg’s Nitehawk Cinema to launch their new series, “Spirits, Dinner and a Movie” this Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 7 p.m. Featuring Gangs of New York–Martin Scorcese’s 2002 fictional/historic look at the Five Points gangs in 1863 New York–the menu will be served at key moments during the film. Guests will enjoy creative food and drink pairings such as “The Dead Rabbit” (rabbit terrine, whiskey aspic and torn bread) with the “Bill the Butcher” (Redbreast 12 year old Irish Whiskey, poire eau de vie, lemon sherbert, Dead Rabbit Orinoco bitters, mace tincture, boiling water and fresh grated nutmeg). Tickets are $95. 136 Metropolitan Ave., Brooklyn.
On Saturday, July 13, a sold-out crowd of more than 300 guests filled Astor Center for The French Spirits Soiree, a lively walk-around tasting featuring more than a dozen fine French spirits in celebration of Bastille Eve. More than 5,000 cocktails were served to the thirsty and attractive crowd, many of whom dressed for the summer garden theme. First held in April of 2011, this year the soiree was moved to Bastille weekend to give New Yorkers an alternative to the city’s traditionally wine-heavy celebrations. Not that there’s anything wrong with wine, of course, but with such a range of Gallic spirits now on the market, why not enjoy refreshing tipples while toasting France’s independence?
Guests enjoyed cocktails and punches made with Lillet, Ricard Pastis, G’Vine Gin, Suze, Excellia Tequila, June Liqueur, Pernod Absinthe, Rhum Clement, Boulard Calvados, Salers Aperitif, Bastille 1789 Whisky, Tariquet Armagnac, Dolin Genepy des Alpes, Byrrh Grand Quinquina, OR-G, Belle de Brillet, Merlet Spirits, Grosperrin VSOP Petit Champagne Cognac, and Armagnac Castarède. Guests also sipped Perrier sparkling water and dined on French cheese, crudites, Canelé by Céline and canapes by Cantine Parisienne. The Love Show gave a jaw-dropping can-can performance, live artists Jason Martinez and Dana Kotler drew and painted for guests, and DJ Tomas Moves played French house music throughout the night. Media partners included Urban Daddy, Wine Enthusiast, and Time Out New York.
Here are a few recipes from the night, for more recipes and information, please visit spiritssoiree.com:
LILLET ROSE® GRAPEFRUIT SPRITZER
1 part Lillet® Rose
Sparkling Grapefruit Perrier
Pour Lillet® in a wine glass. Add fresh berries and ice. Top with soda. Garnish with a grapefruit slice.
3 C. G’Vine Floraison
1 C. Fresh lemon juice
½ C. Raspberry syrup
¼ C. Suze
¼ C. Esprit de June
¼ C. Orange juice
½ C. Pineapple juice
10-12 dashes Tiki Bitters
2 oz. Rhum Clément V.S.O.P. Rhum
1 oz. Rhum Clément Créole Shrubb
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
Shake ingredients in a tin with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass with a partially sugared rim and garnish with a lemon twist.
A special thanks to: Damien Good, Adam Albert, Adam Aleksander, Dani Shanberg, Emily Elliott, Chris Pineda, Erin Parks, Julie Wallack, Jason Martinez, Dana Kotler, Lateef Judge, Clay Williams, David Stewart, Uber, and Astor Center.
Stay tuned to The Dizzy Fizz on Facebook for future events. Merci!
Calling all bon vivants! It’s time to storm the castle and celebrate independence with cocktails in hand at the French Spirits Soiree, coming Saturday, July 13 in celebration of Bastille Day weekend! Brought to you by NYC’s cocktail insider The Dizzy Fizz, this elegant walk-around tasting will tickle your fancies, heighten your senses, and inspire joie de vivre in a scene evoking a forbidden French garden. Want to save a cool $10 on tickets? Use the code EARLYBIRD before midnight on June 26!
- Imbibe French cocktails, punches, spirits and absinthe, OPEN BAR ALL NIGHT!
- Indulge in gourmet cheese and crudites
- Delight in sizzling can-can performance, a live art salon, French house music spun by DJ Tomas Moves and more!
Saturday, July 13, 2013
7:30 – 10 p.m.
399 Lafayette St., New York NY
Sponsored by: Lillet, Pernod Absinthe, G’vine Gin, Rhum Clement, Ricard Pastis, Suze, Boulard Calvados, Tariquet Armagnac, Belle de Brillet Pear Liqueur, Excellia Tequila, Chambord, Bastille 1789 Whisky, OR-G Persimmon Liqueur, Cognac Grosperrin, June Liqueur, Merlet Spirits, and Perrier Sparkling Water.
All ticket holders must be 21+ with valid ID. Please visit spiritssoiree.com for more information.
Suggested dress: Parisian bohemian, romantic vintage, twisted and whimsical…
“French spirits, wines and aperitifs have always been one of the main pillars upon which American bartenders have built their craft,” says cocktail historian David Wondrich. “Indeed, without them, we would have no Dry Martini, no Sazerac, no Sidecar, Brandy Milk Punch or French 75. Where’s the fun in that?”