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.
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?”
As the first steamy heat wave of the season descends on NYC, you’ll likely be reaching for a refreshing quaff to revive your tastebuds. Coincidentally, Imbibe Magazine has dubbed this week Negroni Week, May 27 to June 3. Not only will the classic Italian cocktail (1:1:1 ratio of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) do the trick of cooling you off, but a handful of local bars (and nearly 100 across the country) will donate $1 from each drink sold to a charity of their choice.
In Brooklyn, participating bars include Maison Premiere (Charity Water) and Huckleberry Bar (charity TBA), while in Manhattan, PDT (American Red Cross) and Amor y Amargo (Barman’s Fund) are pitching in. Naturally, bartenders are putting their own twists on the drink, using a variety of gins, vermouths and bitter aperitifs. Huckleberry’s take is a summery, delicate version including Carouun Gin, Cocchi Americano Rosa, and Salers Aperitif ($10).
Speaking of Campari, the bittersweet aperitif threw an invite-only Bartender’s Bash during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic at the swanky McKittrick Hotel’s Gallow Green. Bar industry insiders swarmed the event, where delectable Campari concoctions were being served, but everyone was left talking about the brand’s innovative Negroni Sbagliatos in a can. While sadly not for sale on store shelves, you can make your own fizzy, low-alcohol version of the Negroni at home:
1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. lightly sparkling wine (Prosecco)
Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish with a slice of orange.
- 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.)
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.
The results are in–thanks to the hundreds of readers who took the time to cast a vote! It was a tight race ’til the finish, and I’m glad it wasn’t up to me this time–so many fantastic cocktail bars made their debut this year and it was a tough field to narrow down. Have you sipped your way through all of these bars? If not, make it your New Year’s resolution to, and enjoy some of the best cocktails in the world. Salut!
1. Lantern’s Keep at Iroquois Hotel, 49 W. 44th St.
2. The Vault at Pfaff’s, 643 Broadway
3. Rum House, 228 W. 47th St.
4. Maison Premiere, 298 Bedford Ave., Brooklyn
5. Amor y Amargo, 443 E. 6th St.
6. Mulberry Project, 149 Mulberry St.
7. Silver Lining, 75 Murray St.
8. The Tippler, 425 W. 15th St.
9. Mother’s Ruin, 18 Spring St.
10. Bathtub Gin, 132 9th Ave.