Dizzy Recap: Tales of the Cocktail 2011 Part 3

From guest blogger Emily Cavalier:

I’m back with my final recap of Tales 2011. Thanks for spending time with me here on The Dizzy Fizz. I hope to spend more time with you, whether it be here, on one of my sites or over cocktails.

Saturday, Saaaaturday Saturday! Saturday! Oh yeah. Let’s just say we didn’t get a ton of sleep on Friday night. We were out all hours and I really would not have gotten out of bed for anyone but Melanie and Lizzie da Trindade Asher of Macchu Pisco and La Diablada Pisco.

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I went to their tasting Tasting Room for a traditional Peruvian breakfast and a pisco blending session, where we received vials of the different grape essences that make up the La Diablada blend. La Diablada is the higher-end sister to Macchu Pisco, and just 1,000 bottles are produced each year. Each vintage is a slightly different blend, and the pisco is one of the smoothest I’ve ever tasted (and I’ve tasted many). With a deconstructed La Diablada in front of me, I set out to create my own version of “the spicyness of the devil and the sweetness of the angel.”

Bartenders John Hogan of Level Restaurant (Annapolis), Kevin Martin of Eastern Standard (Boston), Brother Cleve of Think Tank (Cambridge, Mass.), Rachel Sergi of Jack Rose (DC) and Lizzy Asher (representing her favorite cocktail from Eleven Madison Park in NYC) all presented a cocktail made with one specific varietal, with wonderful results.

I had two favorites. La Diablada Pisco Punch Fizz (made by Hogan) was amazing with fresh pineapples, torrontes white wine that had been carbonated, Barkeep Lavender Bitters, lime, simple and egg white. The second was The Panamericano from Eleven Madison Park. It was like a white Negroni with equal parts La Diablada Pisco, Cocchi Americano and Dolin Blanc.

It was a blast playing with proportions of Quebranta, Italia, Torontel and Moscotel grape brandies until I got my perfect mix. This was also the most entertaining of the daytime events I attended at Tales, as the participating bartenders were all dressed to represent the personality (metrosexual, dandy, macho, coquettish or sophisticated) of the grape they were mixing with. Brother Cleve playing the part of Macho Man in an El Luchador mask made my day.

I made a quick stop at the Grey Goose relaxation suite at Le Foret for a quick massage and some fresh fruit. After that, it was off to what was probably my favorite event of this year’s Tales: Pig & Punch.

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The Pig & Punch fundraiser was hosted by San Francisco bartenders The Bon Vivants again at Washington Square Park. I missed out on the awesome Pig & Punch logo t-shirts last year, so I made a beeline over to the table this time around and bought two (since it was a fundraiser and all).

The otherwise free outdoor pig roast boasted the Young Fellaz Brass Band and the same delicious spit-roasted pigs from Cochon as last year, as well as panzanella, cucumber salad and slaw. I was blown away by the quality of this year’s barrels of delicious punch, which included variations made with Don Q Anejo, The King’s Ginger, 42 Below, Combier, and loads of fresh fruit. There were Death’s Door vodka lime slushies and a Don Q watermelon contraption. My favorite taste at the pig roast was a shot of Templeton Rye paired with a Templeton-cured, grilled sausage sandwich. But I can’t forget the delicious Tenneyson Absinthe brownie. YUM!

2011 Spirited Awards: The Dizzy Fizz’s (and my) home city of NYC cleaned up the Spirited Awards once again this year, which was held at the Mahalia Jackson Theater. We took home seven accolades. Here are the highlights:

2011 Cocktail Apprentices on stage.

2011 Cocktail Apprentices on stage.

Employees Only took home two honors for World’s Best Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Drinks Selection. Not bad. Kenta Goto (Pegu Club) and Sam Ross (Milk & Honey), tied for American Bartender of the Year award. Audrey Saunders (who we’ll claim due to Pegu Club, though she’s now bicoastal) won Best Bar Mentor. Dizzy Fizz friend David Wondrich walked away with Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book for Punch. Eleven Madison Park earned Best Restaurant Bar.

Congrats to Rickhouse in San Francisco for winning the category for Best High-Volume Cocktail Bar. I was there in June and can vouch for the fact that they’ve earned it. I think Clyde Common (Portland, OR), should have won for Best Hotel Bar, but what do I know? Maybe in future years, I’ll get to judge!

Scroll to the end to see the full list of 2011 Spirited Awards nominees with winners in bold.

The rest of Tales is a blur. I did head to the Plymouth Gin Bartender’s Breakfast. The downside to the party is that it was a madhouse to get in if you didn’t have a special medallion, to the point where they weren’t even letting in people working the party unless they could find someone to escort them in. The upside is that, once inside, I was treated to some of the best bar bites of the week as well as delectable cocktails like the “Coke Den Punch” created by The Florida Room, with mezcal, cucumber juice, apple cider and Plymouth Gin.

Audrey Saunders and Robert Hess wed at Plymouth Bartender's Breakfast

Audrey Saunders and Robert Hess wed at Plymouth Bartender's Breakfast

Had I paid more attention to the inscription on my commemorative Julep glass, perhaps I would have known what surprise was in store for us. But it was too dark, and I was too hazy to read the writing which says, “Congratulations Audrey & Robert.” Yes, if you haven’t yet heard, Audrey Saunders got married to her sweetheart and fellow cocktail giant Robert Hess (of DrinkBoy.Com). I saw it. It was lovely. And then we all danced.

I continued the tradition Selena, Carmen and I started last year, by ending the night with a dip in the pool at a secret location, as guests of Spirited Award Nominee Colin Asare-Appiah (nominated for Best American Brand Ambassador with U’luvka Vodka). The three of us hosted a little gathering of those still standing. Pizza was hand-delivered to me in the pool. People drank while they floated. I’d show you a picture, but it was a No Picture Party. Make sure you stay in touch with us if you want an invite next year.

With friends at the Milagro Closing Pool Party

With friends at the Milagro Closing Pool Party

Sunday started out with the closing party on the rooftop at Monteleone. I was afraid the rain would keep people from having fun in the pool, but with all the delicious Milagro cocktails flowing, I shouldn’t have fretted. There were all sorts of treats, but the Milagro sno-cones might have been my favorite tipple of the bash. I was on the sidelines staying dry, so I had a low-key come down.

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If you were anywhere on the perimeter of the pool, though, it didn’t matter if you had an iPhone or money or a camera in your pocket. You were getting pulled in. Even Milagro’s own brand ambassador Jamie Salas wasn’t safe.

Carmen Operetta, Arik Torren, Trevor Schneider, John Pomeroy and Enzo Lim in the Rematch madness.

After sobering up with an oyster po’ boy at Acme Oyster Bar and a nap, I headed over to Rematch, Beyatch!!! at Cure as if I needed more booze that night. I’m not sure what one would expect when getting some of the country’s top TOP bartenders together for a speed competition involving craft cocktails, but … it was a ish-show, and I’m tired again just THINKING about it, so read all about it and see some pictures here.

So that about does it for the tales of Tales. Missing from the story are specs for the best drinks of the week, more great photos and all the great southern meals shared with friends. For that and more, check out my photos on Flickr (booze here, food here) and stay tuned next week to Mouth of the Border. Until next Tales, if you can’t be good, be careful!

Emily Cavalier is the founder of Mouth of the Border, an online community for lovers of ethnic food and culture in New York City. She’s also the hostess, founder and resident cocktail geek at Midnight Brunch supper club. In addition to food and beverage writing, Emily consults on event and digital media strategy with food and media brands like Conde Nast, The Vendy Awards and Google.

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2011 Spirited Award Nominees (Winners in bold)

American Bartender of the Year
Eric Alperin, Los Angeles, California
Kenta Goto, New York City, New York (tie)
Misty Kalkofen, Boston, Massachusetts
Sam Ross, New York City, New York (tie)
Joaquin Simo, New York City, New York

Best American Brand Ambassador
Colin Asare-Appiah, U’luvka Vodka
Jacques Bezuidenhout, Partida Tequila
Jamie Gordon, Absolut Vodka
Jim Ryan, Hendrick’s Gin

Best American Cocktail Bar
Clover Club, New York City, New York
Drink, Boston, Massachusetts
Employees Only, New York City, New York
The Varnish, Los Angeles, California

Best Bar Mentor
Wayne Collins, London, England
Steve Olson, New York City, New York
Audrey Saunders, New York City, New York
Dushan Zaric, New York City, New York

Best High Volume Cocktail Bar
Eastern Standard, Boston, Massachusetts
Flatiron Lounge, New York City, New York
Florida Room, Miami, Florida
Rickhouse, San Francisco, California

Best Cocktail Writing – Non Book
BarLifeUK.com
Imbibe USA
Liquor.com
The Tasting Panel

Best Cocktail Writing – Author

Toby Cecchini, New York City, New York
Camper English, San Francisco, California
Darcy O’Neil, London, Ontario
Naren Young, New York City, New York

Best International Brand Ambassador
Ian Burrell
Claire Smith, Belvedere Vodka
Dan Warner, Beefeater Gin
Angus Winchester, Tanqueray Gin

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Fix the Pumps by Darcy O’Neill
Left Coast Libations by Ted Munat & Michael Lazar
Punch by David Wondrich
Speakeasy by Dushan Zaric and Jay Kosmas

Best New Product
Banks Rum
Cocchi Americano
Smith & Cross Rum
Tequila Calle 23

Best Restaurant Bar
The Drawing Room, Chicago, Illinois
Eleven Madison Park, New York City, New York
Hawksmoor Seven Dials, London, England
Hix, London, England

International Bartender of the Year
Erik Lorincz, London, England
Dre Masso, London, England
Sam Ross, New York City, New York
Dushan Zaric, New York City, New York

World’s Best Cocktail Bar
69 Colebrooke Row, London, England
Dry Martini, Barcelona, Spain
Employees Only, New York City, New York
High Five, Tokyo, Japan

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Artesian Bar at The Langham, London, England
Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Mayahuel, New York City, New York
Sanctuaria, St. Louis, Missouri

World’s Best Drinks Selection
Artesian Bar at The Langham, London, England
Cure, New Orleans, Louisiana
Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Employees Only, New York City, New York

World’s Best Hotel Bar
Artesian Bar at The Langham, London, England
Clive’s Classic Lounge at Chateau Victoria Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia
Clyde Common at The Ace Hotel, Portland, Oregon
The Savoy, London, England

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar
1534, New York City, New York
Dram, New York City, New York
Eau de Vie, Sydney, Australia
Painkiller, New York City, New York

Dizzy Recap: Tales of the Cocktail 2011, Part 2

Old Campari Ad

Vintage Campari Ad

From guest blogger Emily Cavalier:

Read Part One here. We’ll open up Part Two of “All the Tales Fun That’s Fit To Print” with my profession of undying love for the Negroni (even when frozen). The only seminar I squeezed into my Tales schedule was “The Negroni: an Iconic Cocktail.”

The panel was moderated by cocktail journo Paul Clarke. He was joined by USBG Past President Livio Lauro (currently with Southern Wine & Spirits Nevada), Kimpton Hotel Group’s Master Mixologist and Partida Tequila brand ambassador, Jacques Bezuidenhout, and surprise guest, Luca Picchi, Tuscan bartender and author of Sulle Tracce del Conte: La Vera Storia del Cocktail Negroni (On the Trail of the Count, The True Story of the Negroni Cocktail). Lauro is currently working with Picchi to translate and distribute the 2006 book in English.

We sampled several variations on the Negroni theme, including a classic Florentine Negroni as well as a Negroni Swizzle from PKNY‘s Giuseppe Gonzales. Clarke projected images of iconic Campari advertisements from past decades throughout the panel.

Lauro made 80-100 Negronis while translating the book and said he found London dry gins and Plymouth Gin work best in the Negroni. He loves Carpano Antica for what it is, but, in the context of this cocktail, it has a tendency to take over. He prefers traditional Italian vermouth like Martini & Rossi. Bezuidenhout chimed in about the cocktail’s third component, saying “Campari is not debatable.” (The panel was sponsored by Bombay Gin and Campari).

I kept the Negroni theme going by popping over to the Negroni with a Twist Party at the Royal Sonesta Hotel, where the “-est” theme continued with the making of the alleged “World’s Largest Negroni.” (Great pics on Metromix here.) The 30-gallon cocktail was mixed with equal parts Campari, gin and vermouth in a gargantuan ice block.

Master mixologist Francesco Lafranconi presided over the “swazzy” (swank + snazzy) gathering, where a dozen Italian mixologists conjured up their own magical renditions of the classic cocktail. The men’s giant moustaches made the day more entertaining.

Of the nine Negroni variations served up, my favorite version was the Garibaldino, created by none other than Lauro himself. It featured Campari (of course) along with apricot brandy, blood orange juice and Mionetto Prosecco.

Thursday evening was low-key. I swung by a pop-up cocktail hour hosted by Max Messier, formerly of No. 7 in Brooklyn and proprietor of the soon-to-open Whiskey Tango Foxtrot bar, also in Brooklyn. Messier offered cocktails built with infused booze, house vermouths and homemade syrups, which he carted to NOLA from Brooklyn in a giant cooler. Drinks featured Brooklyn Gin, Brugal Rum and Woodford Reserve Bourbon.

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot stealth cocktail hour

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot stealth cocktail hour

Thursday night, I skipped the awesome Spirited Dinners in favor of catching up with the men of Brooklyn Gin and a few other friends over a late dinner at Cochon. Since my last visit to the restaurant, Cochon’s chef Stephen Stryjewski won the James Beard Award for Best Chef of the South and it’s completely deserved.

Out at the Zu Vodka Enchanted Forest with Russell Davis of Rickhouse and Dave Shenaut of Oregon's Bartenders Guild

Out at the Zu Vodka Enchanted Forest with Russell Davis of Rickhouse and Dave Shenaut of Oregon's Bartenders Guild

The night ended with a quick visit to the Bombay Sapphire party at the House of Blues and then an enchanted frolic through a magical forest on Bourbon Street. Yes, you heard me right. ZU Bison Grass Vodka teamed up with Adam Aleksander to turn the historic address into a fairy tale filled with Spanish moss and, of course, lots of cocktails.

Friday was another fun-filled day. I started out in a Tasting Room, sipping the one of finest spirits around, Pierre Ferrand‘s Cognac. They were sharing a preview of their 1840 Original Formula, which was just launched nationwide on Aug. 1. The classic Cognac cocktail, the Chanticleer, made for a delicious breakfast as I caught up with legend David Wondrich, who had a hand in creating the formula for the 1840.

Dave Wondrich and Pierre Ferrand President Alexandre Gabriel at the 1840 Formula Cognac Launch

Dave Wondrich and Pierre Ferrand President Alexandre Gabriel at the 1840 Formula Cognac Launch

With a smirk, Wondrich joked with me, “I just came in and took all the credit.” Wondrich worked with Cognac Ferrand President Alexandre Gabriel and cellarmaster Christian Guerin, tasting several three-star Cognacs including the 1840. He continued, “We wanted to create something that was a mixing Cognac and we tasted so many bottles. The 1840 was the one we all agreed on.”

After a boozy good morning, I headed off to eat a proper breakfast and imbibe a bit more at the Purity Vodka Bloody Mary Brunch at the Bombay Club. There, brand ambassador John Pomeroy showed us how to make our own pressure-infused cocktails from an extensive Bloody Mary bar with everything from shrimp to green beans to fresh peppercorns. The fried chicken and waffles were delicious, the tomato-infused vodka cocktail I made was indeed fresh and “pure” and the live jazz band on hand was a soothing start to the afternoon.

Wemyss Malts at the Domaine Select Classic & Vintage Suite

Wemyss Malts at the Domaine Select Classic & Vintage Suite

I stopped by for a quick visit with Ben Jones of Rhum J.M. over at the Domaine Select‘s Classic & Vintage suite at the Ritz-Carlton. There, I was overwhelmed by the sight of seemingly the entire Classic & Vintage portfolio set out for tastings. I settled on sipping a couple of the Wemyss malts, a sip of Averna and tasting the Excellia tequilas.

Chris Elford of Amor Y Amargo (NYC) and Clyde Davis, Jr. of Chairman's Reserve Rum at the WTF/Midnight Brunch cocktail pop-up hour

Chris Elford of Amor Y Amargo (NYC) and Clyde Davis, Jr. of Chairman's Reserve Rum at the WTF/Midnight Brunch cocktail pop-up hour

Late Friday afternoon, Messier and I got boozy again. My supper club, Midnight Brunch, teamed up with Whiskey Tango Foxtrot to host another stealth cocktail popup hour to get people primed and ready for the Bar Room Brawl.

Highlights from the 2011 Brawl: Once again, bars from around the country did battle at the 2011 Bar Room Brawl. This year, it was Boston’s Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, L.A.’s Roger Room, Portland’s Teardrop Cocktail Lounge, Chicago’s Sable Kitchen & Bar and NYC’s Little Branch.

The team from Teardrop Lounge (Portland, OR) accepting People's Choice award at Bar Room Brawl

The team from Teardrop Lounge (Portland, OR) accepting People's Choice award at Bar Room Brawl

My personal favorite was Teardrop’s “Latin Quarter” cocktail with Hennessy and house made Amer Picon. The people’s choice award was a three-way tie between L.A., Portland and Chicago. Teardrop didn’t take the big cheese, but congrats to Eastern Standard for taking the night’s title, and to Boston for bringing home the Brawl bacon for the second year in a row.

As is our way, friends and I ended the night at Old Absinthe House again, blurry but determined to do it all over again on Saturday.

With friends at Old Absinthe House

With friends at Old Absinthe House

Stay tuned for my final Tales recap, with tasting notes from the La Diablada Pisco blending session, tidbits from Pig & Punch, The Spirited Awards and what you missed if you left on Sunday before the fun began …

Emily Cavalier is the founder of Mouth of the Border, an online community for lovers of ethnic food and culture in New York City. She’s also the hostess, founder and resident cocktail geek at Midnight Brunch supper club. In addition to food and beverage writing, Emily consults on event and digital media strategy with food and media brands like Conde Nast, The Vendy Awards and Google.

Dizzy Recap: Tales of the Cocktail 2011, Part 1

Zacapa Rum Hurricanes

Zacapa Rum Hurricanes on Tales' opening day

From guest blogger Emily Cavalier:

I’m back and only halfway (mentally) recovered from my second Tales of the Cocktail, which celebrated its ninth anniversary in New Orleans this year. The resounding opinion this year was that it was not quite as fun as last year’s Tales, and everyone agrees it’s because Selena was not there. We’re already training our livers for her return in 2012.

Between parties, seminars and tasting rooms, there are too many highlights for one post. Here’s Part One of All the Fun That’s Fit to Print (or that I can remember):

Grey Goose Inspire: I hopped over to Latrobe’s to kick things off at this event which featured four bespoke bars piled high with fresh produce, herbs, juices, garnishes and other beacons of summer abundance. Guests collaborated with bartenders on an array of ingredients, mixers, garnishes and product to create their own cocktails. Grey Goose Brand Ambassador Nick Mautone made me a delicious cocktail with the citrus notes I picked out, and there was also a juicy watermelon libation being passed. Great way to cool off before heading out into the steamy NOLA night.

Next up was the Fancypants Party hosted by Tobin Ellis and the Social Mixology crew out of Las Vegas.

Rocky Yeh mixing up some libations

Rocky Yeh mixing up some libations

Self-professed rum nut Rocky Yeh mixed up a mighty tasty “Ants in My Pants” with Dos Maderas 5+3 with rosemary and pineapple syrup. He was kind enough to dole out some straight pours when the night started getting interesting at the event’s secret venue in the French Marketplace. Also making an appearance were Trevor Schneider, fresh back to the U.S. from Australia and NYC’s Enzo Lim.

On Wednesday, Tales’ Official Day One, I enjoyed the Opening Toast at Hotel Monteleone where, with over 400 folks, I knocked back a “Kopstootje” (a shot of Bols Genever paired with a beer) to set the world record for the World’s Largest Kopstootje. I got a warm welcome by Brand Ambassador Tal Nadari and managed to down the shot of Bols without getting it all over myself. Great success.

Emily Cavalier & Bols Genever Brand Ambassador Tal Nadari

Emily Cavalier & Bols Genever Brand Ambassador Tal Nadari

From there, I checked out the Tales bookstore with a couple of friends. People in all facets of the industry have been busy behind the pen as well as the stick this past year, so I picked up the fairly new title DIY Cocktails, edited by our friends over at DrinkOfTheWeek.com.

Another highlight of Day One was the Cocktail Fresh Market, which showed off cocktails made with ingredients from a local farmers market and 18 new and traditional spirits. I spied Russell Davis of San Francisco’s Rickhouse mixing things up with classic Luxardo maraschino liqueur and The King’s Ginger, an intense ginger liqueur and relative newcomer to the U.S. market.

After that it was rum and more rum, as I hit the Zacapa Rum Garden Party at the St. Louis Hotel and the Brugal Rum Poolside Party on the rooftop at Monteleone. Zacapa’s shindig was a classy affair studded with colorful frozen cocktails and a buffet of what looked like delicious apps (got there too late to partake myself). Brugal’s party featured a secret room with a private tasting nook to sample Brugal’s newest release, Brugal 1888.

Brugal by the pool.

Brugal by the pool.

After a lovely afternoon of day drinking with friends, it was time to don my best black and white frock and head over to the Beefeater Masquerade at Gallier Hall. There were the signature giant British flags and fairytale ballerinas rolling around in super-sized transparent bubbles.

Beefeater Ballerina.

Beefeater Ballerina.

I spied Audrey Saunders and Erick Castro behind the bars before getting sidetracked by the mushroom pasta and Beefeater 24 cocktails.

I took a car with our friend Carmen Operetta from the Beefeater soiree to the National World War II Museum for the William Grant party. Just like last year, there were Sailor Jerry Rum photo backdrops and a dizzying array of drinks showing off the myriad spirits of the William Grant portfolio. The historic setting leant glamour and romance to the otherwise almost overwhelming litany of options.

In the Sailor Jerry RV with friends at the William Grant Portfolio Party

In the Sailor Jerry RV with friends at the William Grant Portfolio Party.

I was happiest with a drink from Julie Reiner in my hands, though it was wonderful to see Gable Erenzo (Tuthilltown) and his lovely wife dressed up in ’40s character.

The highlight of the evening was probably the mashup of this year’s official Tales cocktail and the “-est” theme with the “Freshest Ramos Gin Fizz,” made by the Hendrick’s Gin team using freshly-laid eggs, cream churned from a cow that was right there, at the party and just-picked lemons (though we didn’t spy any lemon trees around).

Later that night, I found my way to ye Old Absinthe House, where I enjoyed shots of Green Chartreuse with a water back with friend Mayur Subbarao (Bittermens Spirits, Dram, Amor Y Amargo), declined more shots from Todd Richman (Sidney Frank) and said a quick hello to Arik Torren (Fidencio Mezcal).

And that’s just Tuesday night & Wednesday! Stay tuned for the next wrap-up post with a recap of the Negroni workshop, Pierre Ferrand‘s launch of their Cognac 1840, making our own pressure-infused cocktails at the Purity Vodka Bloody Mary Brunch and highlights from the 2011 Bar Room Brawl.

Emily Cavalier is the founder of Mouth of the Border, an online community for lovers of ethnic food and culture in New York City. She’s also the hostess, founder and resident cocktail geek at Midnight Brunch supper club. In addition to food and beverage writing, Emily consults on event and digital media strategy with food and media brands like Conde Nast, The Vendy Awards and Google.

2011 Tales of the Cocktail Kicks Off

Bartenders, brand ambassadors, booze purveyors, drink writers and cocktail enthusiasts are flocking to New Orleans this week for the 9th Annual Tales of the Cocktail, kicking off today. For personal reasons, I won’t be attending this year, and I’m nostalgic just thinking about how much fun I had last year, but luckily my friend and fellow blogger-in-crime Emily Cavalier of Mouth of the Border will be reporting highlights for you, dear readers. For a sneak peek of Emily’s adventures at Tales, check out her Flickr stream here.

Spirit launches, giant Negronis, seminars, networking, the Spirited Awards and endless parties are on tap–and don’t even get me started on the food. For those of us stuck in the hot concrete jungle, be warned that most of your favorite bartenders are out of town, so this might be the week to order a beer or glass of wine. In fact, Dram in Williamsburg is skipping cocktails altogether while its staff is at Tales by converting into a dive bar, 86’d, serving domestic beer, White Russians and shots like the pickleback.

Have fun at Tales if you are going, and don’t forget to hydrate!

The scene at Hotel Monteleone's rooftop pool at Tales last year.

Dizzy Recap: Tales of the Cocktail 2010

The crowd at Domaine Select's Classic & Vintage Pool Parlour, July 22, 2010.

Finally, the Sazerac-tinged haze has cleared and I can somewhat recall what happened between the dates of July 21-25, 2010, for what was the 8th Annual (and my first) Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. And what tales I have returned with! Although, I’m afraid, dear readers, about half of those tales I will either keep to myself or have simply lost to the foggy grip of intoxication. I was warned not to overschedule myself, and now I know why–I didn’t go to anywhere near as many seminars and events as I had planned. I learned a few hard lessons (Drink more water!), and will certainly try to do better next year, but as my friend and hotel roommate Carmen Operetta Carroll said, “You’ll never be able to train for Tales.” All I can say is, expect the unexpected! 

Here are my highlights (and yes, I had to look at my Foursquare history to remember a few things): 

  • The Beefeater Welcome Party: Not long after landing in Nawlins, I got gussied up and headed straight to the New Orleans Contemporary Arts Center for a scene outfitted in British flags, citrus chandeliers and whimsical characters straight out of a Lewis Carroll acid trip. Carmen and I had fun posing in a Queen of Hearts garden-themed photoshoot before the cocktails took over. With some of the best bartenders in the biz behind the stick–Audrey Saunders, Kimberly Patton-Bragg, Kenta Goto, and Erick Castro, to name a few–I knew I was in for some decent gin-bibing.
  • The William Grant House Party: Following the Beefeater bash, buses took everyone to the Elms Mansion for this grown-up version of a frat party. The elegant setting maintained a casual feel with a vintage Sailor Jerry Rum photo backdrop, and a sprawling backyard featured a live jazz band and endless cocktails from other spirits within the William Grant portfolio. Thankfully there were buses to take us back to the Monteleone, as I was a little “dizzy” at this point. 
  • After-hours drinks at d.b.a., Old Absinthe House, and Alibi: Just about every night/early morning during Tales, I could be found knocking back pints at one, two, or all three of these cozy enclaves. Lets just say these were special moments…
  • “Summer in Paris” Spirited Lunch: What do Chartreuse, Benedictine, Tennyson Absinthe, Dubbonet, Pierre Ferrand Cognac and Citadelle Gin have in common? Oui, all made in France, and all quite délicieux, I might add. These and other spirits were served in abundance along with a French-Creole meal that ended with flaming Baked Alaska at Antoine’s, built in 1840.
  • Domaine Select’s Classic & Vintage Pool Parlour: Retro pool attire was in order at this sunset bash hosted by Domaine Select’s Classic & Vintage portfolio at the Hotel Monteleone rooftop pool. The Tippling Bros. and their startender team turned out refreshments such as the “Lightning Collins” (Death’s Door White Whiskey, Dimmi liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda) and the “Top Cat” (Averna Amaro, muddled strawberries, lemon juice and Fanta orange soda). I was hoping for a swim-up bar, but I still managed to sip and dip at the same time. 
  • Unofficial Spirited Dinner at Elizabeth’s: While many Tales attendees shelled out $85-$100 a head for the luxury of impeccable dining at some of the most reknowned restaurants in NOLA–with cocktail pairings, natch–I joined a group of about 18 for a layman’s version at Elizabeth’s. I got to know a bunch of fun Bostonians and had some killer fried chicken paired with beers and shots–all for the cool price of about $40 a head.
  • The History, Science and Creativity of Essential Oils and Extracts: Ah yes, the one seminar I managed to attend. Although I had a wretched hangover at this point, I enjoyed learning from Darcy O’Neil and Andrew Nicholls about the chemical breakdown of essential oils and phosphated sodas in cocktails. Be sure to use food-grade essential oils in your cocktails, and use them sparingly, such as a spray of lavender oil, so the aromas don’t overpower the drink. Fun fact–Coca-Cola is made with the following essential oils: orange, lemon, nutmeg, cassia, coriander, neroli, lime and lavender.
  • Dinner at Cochon: Finger-licking-good! From the fried alligator to the rabbit livers to the cochon with pickled turnips to the forking-tender smoked beef brisket with horseradish potato salad, this place is hog heaven.
  • Don Q and Esquire party at Restaurant August: Don Q Rum’s mixologists James Menite and Esteban Ordonez kicked off another night of cocktailing with Puerto Rican-themed crowd-pleasers such as the “El Viejo San Juan” (Don Q Anejo, Dolin Dry Vermouth, Luxardo Amaro, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur, and orange peel scent). Being an Esquire bash, everyone was smartly dressed with drink in hand.
  • French 75s at Arnaud’s French 75 Bar: In-between events, I joined a couple of New York imbibers at this classic bar just far enough from the brouhaha of Bourbon Street. We sipped Cognac French 75s, admired the antique decor, and chatted up a local, however, our Ramos Gin Fizz left much to be desired–mainly, citrus.
  • Latenight pool party with Belvedere and U’Luvka vodka: I don’t want to give away the location of this pool party because I want to stay at this hotel next year at Tales. No photos were taken, but imagine a lush garden scene, throw in a full moon, and let your perverted mind wander from there!
  • The Gran Marnier Bar Room Brawl: This massive throwdown at Generations Hall featured teams of bartenders from six of the country’s top cocktail bars: Dutch Kills in NYC, Florida Room in Miami, Rickhouse in San Francisco, Drink in Boston, The Drawing Room in Chicago, and Varnish in L.A. Hosted by aka Wine Geek, this was one of the most well-executed competitions I have ever witnessed–with stellar mixology to match. Congrats to Drink for taking home top honors!
  • Breakfast at Coop’s Place: Nothing like a plate of blackened redfish, a cup of coffee, and a shot of Ardbeg Scotch to get the blood flowing again. It took me about 20 minutes into breakfast to take my sunglasses off–yeah, Tales hangovers are like that.
  • Pig & Punch fundraiser at Washington Square Park: Hosted by San Francisco bartenders The Bon Vivants, this perfectly laid-back, free outdoor gathering featured two whole spit-roasted pigs from Cochon, all sorts of fixings such as Cajun cole slaw, barrels of punch, kegs of cold beer, and live jazz from the Smokin Time Jazz Club. T-shirts were sold at the event to raise money for the arts program at a local NOLA high school where a group of bartenders donated their time before Tales began.
  • Pre-awards drinks at Don Q’s hotel suite: From a balcony at the Royal Sonesta Hotel overlooking Bourbon Street, a handful of friends of Don Q Rum toasted (water and Diet Coke for me) in advance of the glamorous Spirited Awards. I would like to personally thank John Eason for the invite!
  • The Spirited Awards: See the winning results below…
  • The Plymouth Gin Bartender’s Breakfast: Nothing to do with breakfast, everything to do with debauchery. One of the most anticipated–and deservedly so–events at Tales.
  • Beignets at Cafe Du Monde: Believe the hype! Even at 7:30 a.m., we had to wait in line for these hot, pillowy doughnuts doused in powdered sugar, with chicory coffee to boot–post-boozing indulgence at its finest.
  • Brunch at Brennan’s: White tablecloths, Southern hospitality, perfect Bloody Marys, rich eggs Benedict… I’m so glad Emily Cavalier took me here–always trust your food blogger friends.
  • Dinner at Bacchanal Wine Bar: The Sunday night gathering spot for all of the bar industry folk left to finish out the weekend, Bacchanal in the Ninth Ward was a purely magical experience. Everyone took over tables in the backyard where bottles of wine flowed under a picturesque moon, a live band played, and food was eaten faster than it could be prepared. T’was a perfectly chill way to close out a wild week.
  • After-hours drinks at Cure: Not ones to let a party end early, most everyone moved onto Cure, one of NOLA’s premiere cocktail dens. Seasonal- and classic-inspired tipples on par with NYC’s made for a smooth liquid transition back to the Big Apple.

2010 Spirited Awards Winners:

World’s Best Drink Selection: Bar Lebensstern in Café Einstein, Berlin

Best American Cocktail Bar: Death & Co., New York City

World’s Best Cocktail Bar: Death & Co., New York City

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar: Mayahuel, New York City

World’s Best Hotel Bar: The Connaught Bar, The Connaught Hotel, London

American Bartender of the Year: Murray Stenson, Zig Zag, Seattle

International Bartender of the Year: Agostino Perrone, The Connaught Bar, The Connaught Hotel, London

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book: Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh

Best Cocktail Writing: CLASS magazine

Best New Product: Celery Bitters, The Bitter Truth

World’s Best Cocktail Menu: Death & Co, New York City

Best Bar Mentor: Dale DeGroff

Best American Brand Ambassador: Charlotte Voisey, William Grant & Sons Portfolio

Best International Brand Ambassador: John Gakuru, Sagatiba

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award: Brian Rea 

My first drink at Tales--caipirinhas at Casa Sagatiba, before I checked into my hotel!

Trevor Schneider gets his flair on at the Beefeater Welcome Party.

Kenta Goto at the Beefeater Welcome Party.

Nicolas De Soto and Cheryl Charming at the Beefeater Welcome Party.

Carmen Operetta Carroll and Charles Hardwick with a couple of Beefeater beauties.

Claire Bertin-Lang and Candice Coy at the William Grant House Party.

Yours truly and Tad Carducci, triple-fisted at the William Grant House Party.

Meaghan Dorman and Laren Spirer at the William Grant House Party.

Austin's Lara Nixon at the "Summer in Paris" Spirited Lunch.

Gianfranco Verga and Jennifer Contraveos whip up libations at the Classic & Vintage Pool Parlour.

Nicole and Joe Desmond at the Classic & Vintage Pool Parlour.

Local lovelies at the Classic & Vintage Pool Parlour.

Stephen Yorsz, Phil Pepperdine and Jim Ryan at the Classic & Vintage Pool Parlour.

Debbie Rizzo and friends at the Classic & Vintage Pool Party.

Leblon crashed the party "gorilla" style!

Colin Asare-Appiah, Amanda Gager, Emile Ilane Chaillot and Trevor Schneider enjoy downtime in the Hotel Monteleone pool.

Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller sign copies of "Spiritous Journey, Book 2."

Darcy O'Neill and Andrew Nicholls lead a seminar on essential oils.

Dinner for six at Cochon, not to be missed.

Austin's Geoffrey Metheny and Josh Loving.

The lovely bartender at Arnaud's French 75 Bar.

Straining those Cognac French 75s before adding the bubbly.

The ever-dapper Fredo Ceraso at the Gran Marnier Bar Room Brawl.

Emily Cavalier, Meghan Manning, Brett Martino, Melanie Asher and friend at the Bar Room Brawl.

Tonia Guffey and Natalie Jacob at the Bar Room Brawl.

Morgan Young and Mia Consiglio at the Bar Room Brawl.

San Francisco's Russell Davis at the Bar Room Brawl.

Joe Brooke and Gardner Dunn at the Bar Room Brawl.

Thomas Chadwick and Nicolas De Soto at the Bar Room Brawl.

Sam Ross and friends at the Bar Room Brawl.

Carving a cochon from Cochon at the Pig 'n' Punch fundraiser in Washington Park.

Sara Reynolds, Esteban Ordonez, Francine Cohen and Laren Spirer at Don Q's warm-up before the Spirited Awards.

John Eason, Robert A. Burr and Esteban Ordonez at Don Q's warm-up before the Spirited Awards.

Blair Reynolds and Nick Nemeth enjoy the view of Bourbon Street at the Don Q pre-awards party.

Oh you know, just some Seattle bartenders carving ice balls at the Spirited Awards.

Lush Life's Lindsey Johnson and Ryan Patrick Johnson doing up the Mad Men theme at the Spirited Awards.

Yours truly and Emily Cavalier at the Spirited Awards.

For many more photos, be sure to check out The Dizzy Fizz on Facebook. Thanks to Ann Tuennerman and the Tales crew, to my friends old and new, and to the city of New Orleans for being so welcoming–I’ll be back!

File Under: Prepping for Tales

“The heat’s no so bad if you stop on every corner for a Sazerac.”

This time next week, I’ll be packing up and shipping out for my virgin excursion to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, the premiere liquor industry gathering for bartenders, brand reps, cocktail historians, writers and enthusiasts from across the country and around the world. Most of the events at Tales take place at the French Quarter’s Hotel Monteleone (which features a Carousel Bar), and from what I’ve heard, everyone ends up congregating by the pool. I’m hoping to avoid paralyzing hangovers so that I can keep up with a slew of seminars, tastings, and parties, and still be coherent enough to report all of the juicy recaps for you here.

Fortunately, veteran bloggers such as Camper English of Alcademics, Tiare Olsen of A Mountain of Crushed Ice, and Kaiser Penguin have posted a number of informative articles on how best to prepare for Tales and what to bring. Read Camper’s tips on what to expect and what to pack, Tiare’s lessons, and Kaiser Penguin’s 10 Rules to Follow at Tales. Is it your first time going to Tales too? In addition to Camper’s advice, here are some pointers from bartenders that I’ve spoken with, as well as my own packing essentials:

  • Bringing bar tools to Tales? You may want to ship your tool kit to your hotel in advance of your arrival so that you won’t have to deal with the TSA confiscating your citrus knives and ice picks.
  • If you are bringing liquor with you to Tales (this really only applies to those with exciting new spirits that others will want to taste), pack large bottles with your checked luggage. You may not carry any bottle or container of liquid on to a commercial flight that holds more than 100 ml, or 3.4 ounces of liquid, except if: the bottle was purchased in the security zone of the airport you are departing from; the liquid is baby formula, milk, or juice for an infant and you are travelling with an infant; or the liquid is a prescription medication and the the name of the patient on the prescription label matches the name of the traveller.
  • Leave extra room in your suitcase or bring an extra bag for all of the awesome swag you’ll be bringing home. Or, if you end up with a number of bottles of booze and heavy items, FedEx them home from the Monteleone’s business center.
  • Going to the seminars? Be sure to give yourself an extra 30 minutes to get to any that are on the upper floors of the Monteleone.
  • Speaking of timing, try not to over-schedule yourself–just like visiting the Louvre, you can’t possibly do it all. Pick what interests you most.
  • Every day of Tales, there are four tasting rooms at the Monteleone, and brands are switched every two hours. According to Cheryl Charming, this is the best place for networking and meeting new people during Tales.
  • Whether or not you have tickets to events, there are plenty of free things to do. Check out this schedule for complimentary events, including happy hours, bicycle tours, and Tales After Dark.
  • Stay hydrated. I plan on carrying a water bottle (I hear they are provided at Tales) and stocking my hotel room with coconut water, Gatorade, and perhaps even Pedialyte.
  • Stay sunscreened–sunburns and intense heat are a recipe for illness, add a hangover and you are destined for misery.
  • Just because you can drink for free doesn’t mean you have to slurp every cocktail. Tasting and spitting might save you from embarrassment, nausea, or worse, a blackout.
  • And for all of those unavoidable hangovers, bring plenty of aspirin, milk thistle supplement, and Alka-Seltzer Morning Relief.
  • Bring business cards, and lots of them. Or if you’re fully ensconced in the digital age, have a business card app on your phone such as Dub or Bump.
  • If you have long hair, bring plenty of hair ties. I’m bringing all forms of frizz-fighting ammo.
  • As crazy as it sounds, I’ve been told not to forget to eat or sleep–although I can’t imagine forgetting either. A big breakfast is important to buffer daytime drinking, and I’ve been told to expect to sleep 5 hours or less each night–which means finding time to sneak a nap.
  • Be careful when traveling outside the French Quarter and always have a taxi buddy.
  • Don’t forget your bathing suit and flip flops for the pool!

Food tips:

Other tips:

The infamous Ramos Gin Fizz at Tujague's in the French Quarter. Photo by David Grunfeld, The Times-Picayune.

Looking forward to arriving in New Orleans the night of the 21st! If we haven’t met yet, look me up and let’s toast a Ramos Gin Fizz!

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse…

Coming to Tales of the Cocktail? New Orleans' own Cowboy Mouth is headlining the Louisiana Coastal Rehab Party hosted by Don Q Rum on July 22 at Tipitina's.

  • In reponse to the Gulf oil spill crisis, The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society will be selling a limited-edition bar towel during Tales of the Cocktail at the Tales Gift Shop. With a suggested price of $5, 100 percent of proceeds from the sale of this bar towel will go directly to oyster shuckers who have recently been laid off due to the heartbreaking spill.
  • Also in response to the oil spill, Don Q Rum will host the Louisiana Coastal Rehab Benefit Party featuring Cowboy Mouth and ReBirth Brass Band at 10:30 p.m. on July 22 at Tipitina’s in the French Quarter. Tickets are $10 and cocktails will be sold for $4 each, with 100 percent of proceeds going to the Greater New Orleans Foundation Gulf Coast Restoration Fund. Star mixologists are even expected to jump behind the stick!
  • And while we’re on the subject of New Orleans, The Bitter Truth’s Creole bitters ($15) will be arriving on U.S. store shelves soon. Described as bitter, sweet and spicy, the bitters include notes of anise, caraway and fennel. [I can't wait to try it!]
  • Don’t snuff out those vuvuzelas just yet–the World Cup comes to a hot international climax this Sunday, and you can catch all the action at a massive block party hosted by Brass Monkey. The tri-level bar has secured a permit to take over the block of Little West 12th in front of the bar, where they’ll convert a parking lot into a beer garden with picnic tables, two movie screens, and refrigerated beer trucks filled with 200 kegs of Blue Moon, Coors Light and Spaten for $6 (that’s per cup, not per keg, homeslice). You can also expect a variety of sandwiches and bar fare available for purchase. The outdoor beer-soaked festivities start at 11 a.m. and go ‘til 6 p.m., while inside the bar, flatscreens on both floors plus a screen on the rooftop will keep things kicking ‘til 4 a.m. Brass Monkey, 55 Little West 12th St. (10th Ave. and Washington)
  • New Yorkers looking for plans on Sunday night, look no further–hereby consider yourselves invited to the July edition of LES Salonnieres, a monthly artists’ salon, supperclub and speakeasy held in an abandoned rooftop tenement. In addition to a potluck BBQ, burlesque, live painting, live butchering (and cooking) of a chicken, yours truly will be mixing up cocktails and punches using Maker’s Mark and Bluecoat Gin for $6 a pop. This event, organized by the luminary Adam Aleksander, is not to be missed! The revelry goes from 7 to 11:30 p.m. 124 Ridge St. (Stanton and Rivington Sts.)

Miss Mary Cyn performs burlesque at Sunday night's edition of LES Salonnieres. It's going to be bloody fun!

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse…

Casa Mezcal, now open on Orchard Street, features drinks by Junior Merino. Photo via Eater.com.

  • Casa Mezcal, a ground-level mezcal bar within a three-story property that will soon include a Oaxacan gallery and a basement-level bar/cinema, opened at 86 Orchard St. in early June. Featuring a wide variety of sipping mezcals, including some obscure varieties, the bar also offers a cocktail menu designed by Junior Merino. A Mexican food menu will be added as soon as the gas is turned on, until then complimentary bites include fried grasshoppers and pico de gallo. The mezcaleria is within stumbling distance of two of NYC’s most rambunctious cocktail bars–Painkiller and The Randolph–creating a “Cocktailian Bermuda Triangle,” if you dare.
  • Legislation that could have a severe impact on NYC nightlife is on the table. Eater reports that State Senator Daniel Squadron has submitted a bill that would revoke a bar’s liquor license if police receive six or more noise or disorder complaints within a 60-day period. This comes on the heels of a bill from Brooklyn Assemblywoman Joan Millman that would impose an 11 p.m. curfew on rooftop and backyard bars on weekends and 10 p.m. on weeknights, as reported in the Wall Street Journal. Let’s hope both of these bills go nowhere–NYC nightlife generates renevue that the city can’t afford to lose.
  • Tribeca cocktail den Ward III celebrates its first anniversary this weekend, offering specially-priced cocktails, as reported by NY Barfly. Check out Hendrick’s Gin drinks tonight and Maker’s Mark tipples tomorrow night.
  • Speaking of Maker’s Mark, the Kentucky distillers will be launching their first new bourbon in 50 years, Maker’s 46, next month. Check out blogger DrinkBoston.com’s report from Louisville on how the special edition bourbon is made–the secret lies in the seared French oak staves. Retailing for $35, the 46 (named for the fact that it was simply the 46th recipe) will be a toasty addition to any Maker’s lover’s liquor cabinet.
  • Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans is just around the corner–July 21-25, and the 2010 Spirited Awards nominees were recently announced. New York swept the awards last year, and based on the high number of talented bartenders and bars up for honors this year, the city could see another coup–good luck!
  • Sam Mason, formerly chef at now-shuttered SoHo restaurant/cocktail den Tailor, has opened a no-frills dive bar, Lady Jay’s, at 633 Grand St. in Williamsburg next to Bushwick Country Club. The bar, which Eater reports is across the street from his apartment, has neither fancy cocktails nor food–just whiskey, beer, shuffle bowling, a jukebox and standard hipster decor–antlers on the walls. 

Sam Mason brings a hipsteriffic dive bar to hipsterburg.

Dizzy Recap: Pre-Tales Blogger Brunch

Bloggers sure know how to schmooze at brunch! All photos by Lush Life Productions.

I can’t tell you how much of a treat it was to recently host another edition of Blogger Brunch, this time with Ann Tuennerman, founder of Tales of the Cocktail, while getting schooled on New Orleans’ Herbsaint Original. Fifty of NYC’s most skilled cocktail, food and lifestyle bloggers gathered at Rye House, where we imbibed Herbsaint cocktails along with a savory New Orleans-influenced brunch. Although this brunch group was a bit larger than the last one at Clover Club, the stellar team at Rye House made serving us look like a breeze–especially with Jim Kearns and Jane Elkins behind the bar (both adorable in suspenders, by the way).

Ann led us through a traditional absinthe drip service with Herbsaint Original, which is not absinthe, but rather, an absinthe-like substitute introduced in 1933 by J. Marion Legendre to get through the absinthe ban. (By the way, fun fact:  Legendre Herbsaint loosely translates as “holy herb.”) Earlier this year, the Sazerac Company released the original recipe for Herbsaint, which is 100 proof rather than the earlier version’s 90 proof, offering a more substantial botanical  flavor. I was most impressed with how drinkable the Herbsaint Original was with just a bit of water drizzled over an ice cube nestled in the lovely glass drippers we were provided–absolutely no sugar cube required.

Then came the Herbsaint frappes–2 parts Herbsaint and 1 part simple syrup poured over crushed ice–followed by Herbsaint fizzes (recipe below). I think everyone left with a new appreciation of the Herbsaint flavor–herbaceous, gentle anise flavor, lightly sweet with a hint of sea salt–and knowing that it retails for just $35, it’s a fun ingredient to make Sazeracs with at home, especially considering that real absinthe goes for $50-$80.

Ann also revved us up for Tales of the Cocktail, happening July 21-25 in New Orleans–the premiere cocktail event of the year. A handful of lucky bloggers won cocktail books, tickets to various spirited events during Tales, and talented cocktail scene reporter Sonya Moore won a three-night stay at Hotel Monteleone! I look forward to making it down to cover Tales for the first time this summer–say a prayer for my liver now.

Thanks everyone for coming despite the rain, and a special thanks to Lynnette Marrero, Jim Kearns, Jane Elkins, the rest of the Rye House crew, and the Tales belles. Can’t wait for the next brunch!

Herbsaint Fizz by Rye House’s Jim Kearns

3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
1-1/2 oz Herbsaint
1 egg white

Preshake egg white, lemon, simple,  and spirit to emulsify, add ice, shake, serve in a tall glass, top with soda.

Springtime = Party Time!

Get ready for the "Tastemaker's Punch" on May 17!

Are you ready for another event brought to you by The Dizzy Fizz? I’m pleased as punch to announce that tickets are now on sale for “Tastemaker’s Punch,” happening from 7 to 11 p.m. on Monday, May 17 as part of The Manhattan Cocktail Classic!

In New York City, art is everywhere you look – it’s even in your glass of punch! You are invited to celebrate the creativity of NYC cocktailians with a stylish soiree featuring punches made from artisan ingredients. Featuring special guest and toastmaster, Dave Wondrich, the puncheon will stimulate your senses while you take in contemporary artwork in a West Village penthouse gallery with terraces overlooking the Hudson River. Exhibiting artists will include saloon artist Jill DeGroff, graffiti artist/designer Claw Money, cocktailian/painter Charles Hardwick, cocktailian/painter Nicole Desmond, cocktailian/photographer Elba Giron, and lots more. Spring-inspired punches will be created by top NYC mixologists. And of course, it wouldn’t be a Dizzy party without a slammin’ soundtrack and plenty of surprises. Come see what NYC’s tastemakers are up to!

Sponsors so far include: Bols Genever, Pierre Ferrand Cognac, Mathilde Fruit Liqueurs, Tuthilltown Spirits, Laird’s Applejack, and Vita Coco Coconut Water. (More to be announced soon!)

Monday, May 17th, 7:00pm – 11:00pm
RamScale Gallery, 463 West Street between Bank and Bethune Street

Must be of legal drinking age. Includes complimentary admission to the Official Bar of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (plus one drink ticket) on Monday.

The scene atop the penthouse terraces of Ramscale Gallery.

Can’t wait to get started on some seasonal party action? If you are in NYC, come out for drinks for two great causes on Sunday, April 25 at The Delancey. Co-hosted by Tales of the Cocktail and Nosalikes, “From NY With Love” will raise money for rebuilding efforts in Haiti and New Orleans. An open bar from 7 to 8 p.m. will feature the Sazerac, the official cocktail of New Orleans, along with Oloffson’s Punch, invented at the Grand Hotel Oloffson in Port-au-Prince and made with the famous Rhum Barbancourt of Haiti.

The suggested donation will be $5 per person during an open bar from 7 to 8 p.m., and $10 per person from 8 to 11 p.m. Drink specials will be in effect throughout the night. All proceeds will be split between the SOS Children’s Villages of Haiti and United Saints Recovery Project of New Orleans.

NYC DJs Kraff Swagger, Djette Luna Vega, and DJ Treats will spin music throughout the night. The event is sponsored by Sazerac Rye Whiskey, Rhum Barbancourt, and Herbsaint Original.

The benefit will be held at The Delancey, 168 Delancey St., New York, NY 10002.

Can’t make it? We’ll still take your money! We will be setting up a Paypal account shortly, so stay tuned for that.