Dizzy Gift Guide 2012 & Giveaway!

One of The Dizzy Fizz's Facebook friends will win this box!

One of The Dizzy Fizz’s Facebook friends will win this Julibox!

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.

Barrel Aged Cocktail Kit

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.

Hemingway

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).

Bitters

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).

P&H SODA CO SARSAPARILLA SYRUP

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.

gatsby-ice-bucket
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.

Mr-and-Mrs-Cocktail-Glass-Set
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.

File Under: Hot Dates

Last year's winner of the Barenjager battle, Brendan Dorr of Baltimore, Md.

  • The line between food and art gets blurred tonight at Something I Ate, featuring a creative cocktail menu to boot. A collaboration between Sam Kim of SkimKim Foods and Kat Popiel of On Plate, Still Hungry, the event invites artists to showcase work inspired by a week of consumption. Sam Kim will also present a specialty dish for guests as well as cocktails featuring Hendrick’s Gin and Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur. Asahi Beer will also be available. Tickets are $30 and available here. Tonight, 7-10 p.m., Kinfolk Studios, 90 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn.
  • Barenjager Honey Liqueur is collecting entries for its second annual national bartender competition through Aug. 22. Submissions will be judged by Dushan Zaric (Employees Only, Macao Trading Co.), master mixologist Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich (author of Imbibe!), Todd Richman (Barenjager brand mixologist) and Aisha Sharpe (Contemporary Cocktails). Six finalists will compete on Sep. 19 at the Andaz 5th Ave., and the first-place winner receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Munich, Germany for Oktoberfest 2011 plus $1,000. A crowd favorite prize will also award $1,000. Register here to enter.
  • You also have until Aug. 22 to apply for a rum-lover’s dream job: Tommy Bahama is searching for a “Rumologist,” and the job pays $50,000. The Rumologist will serve as the brand’s rum ambassador and create custom drinks for the chain’s 13 locations, share a rum blog and travel extensively. Enter the contest through Tommy Bahama’s Facebook page.

Dizzy Recap: Bootlegger 21 Vodka’s Amateur Mixology Showdown

The Bootlegger 21 Vodka Amateur Mixology Showdown winning cocktail, Veronica Criswell's Brooklyn Pearl.

On a stormy Saturday last month, three budding bartenders went shaker-to-shaker for the inaugural Bootlegger 21 Vodka Amateur Mixology Showdown. Held at a secret location in SoHo that was later revealed to be the former townhouse of Andy Warhol, the cocktail competition kicked off a Cotton Club-themed night of vintage cocktails, swing music, cigar smoking, poker playing, burlesque and all-around tomfoolery. The event, hosted by Adam Aleksander and Michael Arenella, celebrated the launch of Bootlegger 21 Vodka.

After announcing the contest here and narrowing down the finalists, the live showdown all came down to a people’s choice vote for the winner. It was an extremely close contest–I for one was impressed with the way the finalists managed to present cocktails that were both complex and well-balanced. They also served about 200 guests without missing a beat. In the end, Veronica Criswell (check out her demo video here) edged out Tom Flaschen and Garret Richard to win first prize, netting her four tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala. Each finalist went home with an OXO barware kit.

Watch out for these budding mixologists–they might not be amateurs for long!

First Place: Brooklyn Pearl by Veronica Criswell
1 oz. Bootlegger 21 Vodka
1 3/4 oz. Velvet Falernum
1/2 tsp rose water
1 egg white
Method: Shake vigorously with ice. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass that has been rinsed with Cointreau.

Tie for Second Place: Martinez Blanc by Tom Flaschen
2 oz. Bootlegger 21 Vodka
1/2 oz. Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 tsp Maraschino liquer
2 dashes grapefruit bitters
Garnish: maraschino cherry
Method: Stir with ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with maraschino cherry.

Tie for Second Place: Panacea Cocktail by Garret Richard
1.5 oz Cacao-Infused Bootlegger 21 Vodka*
1 oz Tawny Port (10 yr.)
.25 oz Cherry Heering
.25 oz Benedictine
2-3 dashes Angostura Bitters
Method: Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass and stir with ice. Strain into a chilled coupe glass.

*Rapid Cacao Infusion
Add 500 ml of room temperature Bootlegger 21 Vodka to a whip cream whipper
Add 75g of cacao nibs to your whip cream whipper
Charge with 2 8g chargers of N20 and swirl for 30 seconds
Settle mixture for 1 minute and 30 seconds
Vent the excess N20, and let it settle for 1 minute
Strain mixture, and bottle

The Finalists: Tom Flaschen, Veronica Criswell and Garret Richard.

And the winner, Veronica! Check out that trophy.

Garret Richard in action.

Tom Flaschen gets jigger-y with it.

 

The star hooch of the night, Bootlegger 21 Vodka.

Dizzy Exclusive: Win 2 Tickets to the Indy Spirits Expo!

 

Taste more than 30 artisanal spirits at the Indy Spirits Expo, May 16. Photo by Andrew St. Clair.
 
Have you made plans yet for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, dousing NYC with spirited bashes and seminars from May 13 – 17? Want to win 2 free tickets to one of the biggest tasting events held during the classic, the Indy Spirits Expo? The Dizzy Fizz is giving one winner a pair of tickets (valued at $50 each) to this walk-around tasting of more than 30 artisanal brands from 7 to 9 p.m. on May 16. As you sip the variety of small-batch whiskey, vodka, gin, tequila, mezcal–you name it–you’ll also have the opportunity to chat with the distillers behind these small brands.
 
So you want free tickets? All you have to do is be a follower of The Dizzy Fizz on Twitter and tweet about your favorite indy brand with the hashtag #indyMCC before midnight tomorrow, May 4. A winner will be announced on May 5! You must, of course, be 21-plus to enter and available in NYC to travel to the event on your own. Good luck!

File Under: Hot Dates

 

Let's be honest - for the Royal Wedding, like all weddings, it's all about the booze.

  • Oh, have you heard? This Friday, April 29, there’s a little wedding happening. If you’re in the mood to celebrate royally, one of several parties in NYC is taking place at The Roosevelt Hotel for a day-long bash going on from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.  An English breakfast, a mimosa toast at noon, and champagne and cake round out the festivities. 45 E. 45th St.
  • Also on April 29, food and art co-mingle at Rouge58 Gallery in Williamsburg at Something I Ate, from 7 to 10 p.m. Select artists are documenting their eating habits for one week using media and materials of their choice. At the event, SkimKim’s Sam Kim will present an installation of food based on the artists’ submissions, with both meat and veggie options available for consumption. London food architects Bompass & Parr (known for projects such as a pool-sized punch bowl) will create a suprise installation involving champagne flutes and ice. Cocktails featuring Kanon Vodka and Root Liqueur will also be served. Tickets are $30.
  • You have until May 2 to enter the Heering Goes Mad(Men) cocktail competition. Presented by Xante and Peter F. Heering, the competition is seeking stylish twists on classics such as the Sidecar and the Whiskey Sour. Four finalists will serve their cocktails at an exclusive rooftop event at Ogilvy & Mather (the depicted home of the Mad Men agency and where it all began) in New York City on May 16th as a part of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. The winner receives features in Elle International, Gotham Magazine, and OK!  The winner also snags some Orrefors Glassware to compliment their winning cocktail, a private meet and greet with chef Geoffrey Zakarian and cocktail icon Sasha Petraske in New York City. To enter, email your recipe (must include at least 1 oz. of Xante, Cherry Heering or Coffee Heering) and a photo of your drink to: madmen@heering.com.
  • And entries close on May 5 for the “Emotion in a Glass” competition from Russian Standard Vodka, which is seeking cocktails inspired by matters of the heart. On May 20, finalists chosen by USBG chapter presidents will be announced on Facebook. A “Consumer’s Choice” winner with the most “likes” will receive a trip to this year’s Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, and a grand prize winner will receive a feature in Food & Wine magazine and a trip to St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • Don’t miss out on tickets for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, which is just around the corner from May 13-18. Tasting Table is offering a 10% discount code (2011TASTINGTABLE). And while we’re on the subject, congrats to all of the recipients of the 2011 MCC Bar Fellowship Program!

Beefeater Royal Punch by Dan Warner:

2 parts Beefeater London Dry Gin
1 part Dubonnet
1 part pomegranate juice
2 parts fresh lemonade (American style)
Angostura bitters to taste

Method: Serve in a large punch bowl and garnish with wheels of lemon and lime, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds. Chill the punch with lots of ice cubes or make your own fruit ice cube by freezing oranges and lemon slices with water in a plastic container.

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse…

  • On Monday, April 11, the local cocktail community is coming together at the Summit Bar for a New York Loves Japan Punch Party to benefit The Japan Society’s tsunami relief efforts. A $20 donation at the door gets you unlimited refills of hand-crafted, Japanese-inspired punches featuring Belvedere vodka, Pernod Absinthe, Beefeater Gin, Classic & Vintage Spirits, Sailor Jerry Rum, Leblon Cachaça, and Corazon Tequila. The event goes from 7 to 11 p.m. and also features $10 pours of Japanese whiskey, benefit t-shirts for sale and tunes by DJ Kimiko Masuda.
  • While VIP tickets to the French Spirits Soiree at Astor Center on April 14 have sold out, general entry tickets are still available, entitling you to unlimited drinking, French cheese and charcuterie from Murray’s Cheese, SCRATCHbread rustic bread, live jazz by The Hot Sardines, a saucy burlesque performance by Calamity Chang and more. Not to be missed!
  • The April 29 deadline is fast approaching to be considered for 2011 G’Vine Gin Connoisseur, which sends 15 finalists to France for the showdown. The grand prize is one of the sweetest around: $3,000, a year’s supply of gin for your bar, a platinum vine-flower pin and an intercontinental bar tour of some of the world’s best gin bars. If you are interested in participating, you should attend the April 14 preliminary in NYC.
  • In case you haven’t heard by now, tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (May 13-17) are on sale, and many events, including the gala at the New York Public Library, are already sold out. Events still up for grabs include an ’80s-themed rum bash, a sunset cocktail cruise, the Indy Spirits Expo, and plenty of seminars and “behind-the-bar” sessions.

You won't want to miss Calamity's electric performance at the French Spirits Soiree on April 14!

Announcing: Bootlegger 21 NY Vodka’s Amateur Cocktail Showdown!

Bootlegger 21 Vodka, made right here in New York, is hosting a cocktail competition for budding drink-slingers. Three finalists will compete in a live showdown at the Bootlegger 21 launch party, an exclusive Cotton Club-themed bash in SoHo on April 16. Finalists will serve a crowd of thirsty industry veterans [including yours truly] and the winner will be selected by popular vote. Use of Bootlegger 21 as the primary ingredient, flavor, creativity, appearance and practicality will all be factors.

The contest is calling for original cocktail recipes that express the spirit of the Bootlegger and the Jazz Age.  Bootlegger 21 is distilled six times from 100% corn and made in the Hudson Valley.  The vodka has been awarded Gold medals from both the New York International Spirits Competition and from Beverage Testing Institute.

Requirements:
* Recipe must use Bootlegger 21 Vodka as the primary ingredient
* Please use no more than 5 ingredients (not including garnish)
* Include your story of how you came to appreciate mixology
* Submit a photo

The winner will celebrate their victory with 4 tickets to the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala on May 13, win the title of Bootlegger Amateur Mixologist 2011, and have the opportunity to mix cocktails at an upcoming Bootlegger 21 event.

Entrants must be 21 years of age and older. Cocktail recipes must be submitted by 5 p.m., Friday April 8 to BootleggerMixology@Gmail.com.

Good luck!