File Under Hot Dates: Cocktail Magic!

Punch Bowl (Courtesy of Freehand Chicago)

Punch by Broken Shaker Chicago. Photo courtesy Freehand Chicago.

A good night out can truly be mind-blowing—why not add actual magic to the mix? This appears to be the inspiration behind Cocktail Magic, coming to Weylin B. Seymour’s in Williamsburg on Saturday, March 19. Sip libations from some of the city’s top drinking dens (Clover Club, Death & Co., PDT, Attaboy, Nitecap, among others) plus Chicago/Miami’s Broken Shaker and Denver’s Williams & Graham, all while scarfing down slices of Roberta’s Pizza while DJs spin and magicians perform illusions throughout the night. Who knows, maybe they’ll even make your hangover disappear. Produced by Superfly, the team behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands, this dazzling cocktail affair will also make a stop in Boston on the following Saturday, March 26.

Tickets to the NYC event are $124.50 for general admission; and $159.50 gets you “first pour” status with an extra hour of early admission.

Saturday, March 19, 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Weylin B. Seymour’s, 175 Broadway, Brooklyn, NY.

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Weylin B. Seymour’s in Williamsburg.

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File Under: Hot Dates

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of The Dead Rabbit, named World's Best New Cocktail Bar at the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail. (Photo: Hanna Lee Communications)

Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry of The Dead Rabbit, named World’s Best New Cocktail Bar at the 2013 Tales of the Cocktail. (Photo: Hanna Lee Communications)

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.

Bottlerocker of the Month: Nicholas Jarrett

Nicholas Jarrett, seen here behind the stick at Dram, describes himself as "an itinerant full-time bartender and sometime miscreant" based out of Williamsburg, Brooklyn.

“Sleep? That bed is a coffin, and those are winding sheets. I do not sleep, I die.”–Captain Ahab, Moby Dick

Craft bartenders are often split into two camps: those who forge innovative methods in drink-making, such as molecular mixology, and those who consider themselves classicists, spending many hours tooling with historical recipes. Williamsburg’s Nicholas Jarrett is happily ensconced in the latter, and it comes as no surprise that he studied the classics, along with psychology and studio art, at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania.

He left his studies to work behind various Philly bars, from corporate hotels  and independent restaurants to cocktail bars and illicit speakeasies, before breaking into the NYC cocktail scene. Philadelphia has enjoyed a burgeoning cocktail scene, spearheaded by the now-shuttered APO (originally Apothecary Lounge), of which Nick has been a key figure. Following stints at the Banker’s Club and La Bourse at the Hotel Sofitel, he was head bartender during APO’s  first year of operation, and until this past August, he was “resident curmudgeon and rabble-rouser” at the Franklin Mortgage & Investment Company in Rittenhouse Square.

Over the past two years, thanks solely to friends he first encountered by chance at the Old Absinthe House in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail in 2008, he has spent an increasing amount of time in NYC: first at Counter Organic in the East Village, followed by a tour of duty in the trenches at Pranna in Murray Hill. These days, he’s settled in behind the sticks at Flatiron Lounge in Manhattan, Clover Club in Cobble Hill and at Dram in Williamsburg. He can also be found covering the occasional shift at Bushwick Country Club.

He has studied under Gary Regan, is certified BAR-Ready thanks to the crew at Beverage Alcohol Resource, has done his time with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust, and has been thrown out of at least one bar in New Orleans each July for the past four years.

As much as he enjoys the classics, Nick doesn’t take himself too seriously. His ambition is to one day work in a dive bar–that he owns.

“The Dizzy Dozen” (The Same 12 Questions We Always Ask)

Q: What is the first thing you drink after you wake up?

A: Coffee. Strong and black. Iced in the summer, hot in the winter.

Q: What is the first thing you drink after a hard day’s work?

A: Depending on the evening, a Boilermaker, Campari on the rocks with a splash of soda, or a Punt e Mes on the rocks with a twist.

Q: What is the most delicious ingredient in your liquor cabinet?

A: Plymouth Navy Strength, or Angostura bitters.

Q: If you could sit at the bar between any two people (alive or deceased), who would they be?

A: I going to run fictional here and say Captain Ahab and Pierce Inverarity.

Q: Three favorite NYC bars:

  • Mayahuel for that michelada, the smoked tomato salsa, the bar staff, and the damn tequila (oh so much tequila).
  • Mars Bar because it has zero pretensions, makes no apologies, and offers more than one kind of bruise for the cruising.
  • And Bushwick Country Club because between the backyard, the characters, the activities, and the overheard conversations, a gent really couldn’t ask for a better bar a couple hundred feet from his front door.

Q: Three favorite non-alcoholic hangouts:

  • Second Stop Cafe, where the coffee is good (god bless Stumptown), the staff is rockstar, and the atmosphere is perfect. Plus the Norma Jean with avocado is my jam.
  • Outdoors in lovely weather, which for me (being a lazy man) preferably means navy strength negronis out of a plastic book on shell ice in paper cups in McCarren Park with a good book.
  • Lastly, museums. I love the Cloisters, the Met, and the Museum of Natural History.

Q: Average night’s sleep:

A: Very little.

Q: What is your favorite place to shop for your bar?

A: Cocktail Kingdom. I respect the folks who take a more culinary bent and cruise the green markets, spice shops, or culinary tech tradeshows, and I enjoy tasting what they’re working on, but I like my cocktails lean, minimal, and classically rooted. Give me a good set of tools, quality ice, bitters, spirits, the basic fresh juices, and a couple of standard syrups, and I’m in my element. So Greg’s little shop is my sort of place exactly.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?

A: I look for inspiration in my ingredients and my methodology. Sometimes, something is begging to get used. So I put it to use. That use is determined by whatever methodology I’m refining at that point.

Q: If you woke up on a desert island, what bottle would you hope to have wash ashore?

A: Tough. It’s a desert island. I wouldn’t be unhappy if a nice bottle of sherry, calvados, or aquavit washed ashore. I also wouldn’t shed any tears if a couple of cases of Fernet Branca appeared.

Q: Do you have any bar-related good luck charms?

A: Funnily enough, although I’m a fairly superstitious person, no. I do bring my own tools to work, but that’s more of a familiarity, speed, and consistency issue.

Q: Do you have a nickname for yourself when you’ve had too many?

A: A hot mess?

Nick prepares a bevy of classic cocktails at Dram.

Nick Jarrett's Daiquiri: 2 oz. El Dorado 3 year, 1 oz. lime juice, 3/4 oz. simple syrup, shaken with block ice.

 

File Under: Hot Dates

Get down with the Red Hook Ramblers at the Dining & Libation Society's Fat Tuesday celebration on Feb. 16 at Rye House

  • My apologies for not getting out the word sooner, but this is one of those events that was booked just as fast as it was announced: Eben Freeman’s Cocktail All-Stars kicks off tonight at the Monday Room at Public. Good luck getting in if you don’t already have a reservation, but those who have a table will enjoy “Things Eurasian: An Exploration of Ancient Flavors and Modern Science.” Dave Arnold, FCI’s directory of culinary technology, Tony Conigliaro of London’s 69 Colebroke Row, Eben, and Michelin-starred chef Brad Farmerie will create the drinks. Tomorrow night, the series hits Madam Geneva from 8 pm to midnight for “Old Shanghai on Bowery.” Featuring cocktails by Eben, Jackie Patterson of Heaven’s Dog in San Francisco, Jim Meehan of PDT, Alex Day of Death & Co., Ryan Magarian of Portland, Ore., and Misty Kalkofen of Drink in Boston, as well as passed canapes. Tickets are $58.88, contact Liz Boothroyd at 212-254-0350 to see if this event is sold out or not. And on Wednesday, Feb. 10, the series closes at PDT with “Old-Timers Night: An Old-Fashioned Experience.” Look for old-school sipping and stirring: only bartenders over 40, and no drink is allowed to include anything more than a base spirit, a sweetener, and one flavoring agent. All-Stars include: Gary Regan, Dave Wondrich, Dale DeGroff, James Menite, Tony Conigliaro, Toby Cecchini, and Eben. Tickets are $78.88 for food and drink, email cocktailallstars@gmail.com for tickets.
  • Also on Wednesday, Feb. 10, Brugal Rum is hosting a love-themed cocktail competition at Clover Club in Brooklyn from 1 to 4 p.m. I’d give you all the details but new food and beverage site, InsideFandB.com, has done a great job already. Check it out!
  • Whether you’re hooked up or single, The Summit Bar is looking to get you hot and bothered this Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14. Leave it to mixologist Greg Seider to mix up three stimulating elixirs for the bar’s “Love Punch Party” from 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. Aphrodisiac cocktails will be $7 all night–one for him, one for her, and one for those who want to swing both ways!
  • And you won’t want to miss the Dining & Libation Society’s Fat Tuesday celebration at Rye House on Feb. 16. Tickets are $55 and will get you unlimited Sazeracs, French 75s, Stella Artois, and Red Hook beer while you dine on New Orleans-style hors d’oeuvres such as oyster bienville, crab ravigote, jambalaya, fried okra, crawfish po’ boys, turducken, fried pickles, and beignets, among other delicious eats. From 7 to 10 p.m.

Dizzy Recap: The First Dizzy Fizz Blogger Brunch!

I had no trouble filling the room with bloggers who brunch at Clover Club.

“I exercise extreme self-control. I never drink anything stronger than gin before breakfast.” —W.C. Fields

How about mezcal and tequila with brunch? Something tells me W.C. Fields would have approved. On Sunday, January 24, I had the pleasure of hosting nearly 30 of NYC’s best cocktail, food, and lifestyle bloggers at Clover Club in Brooklyn for a “blogger brunch” in praise of agave spirits. My vision was pretty simple–I know enough writers via Twitter and through blogging who love to network and love to brunch, so why not gather them together so we can do that at the same time? Fortunately, Sombra Mezcal, Partida Tequila, and Clover Club’s owner, Julie Reiner, all agreed to help make the idea a reality.

Clover Club’s private parlor room, complete with a real fireplace, was the perfect setting for the rainy day occasion, and both the liquid and food offerings were tantalizing enough to satisfy even the pickiest foodies in the crowd. We began with a large bowl of punch that included Partida tequila, Chartreuse, muddled mint, and lime juice. This was an instant ice-breaker and refreshed everyone’s palates as we settled down to learn about Sombra from Jen Craig of Domaine Select Wine Estates, which represents Sombra as part of their Classic & Vintage boutique spirits line.

Jen told us how Sombra is made from organically-harvested agave in Oaxaca, Mexico, and then the pinas (agave hearts) are mesquite-roasted to give them an earthy smokiness. Other than 10 percent water used during the fermentation process, nothing is added to Sombra, which is double-distilled in copper pots. Jen led us through a tasting of Sombra on its own (retails for about $45 per bottle), giving us an opportunity to discover the subtle citrus tasting notes. Then we were given Julie’s original “Oaxacan Daisy” (Sombra, CioCiaro Amaro, raspberry syrup, blood orange juice, and lemon juice, served over crushed ice). I had asked for a Valentine’s Day-themed cocktail [I know, cheesiest holiday ever], and this ruby red concoction delivered–the mezcal added a sexy smokiness to balance the sweetness of the raspberry.

Before we delved into the Partida, plates of deliciousness were served to help us soak up the aforementioned booze: family-style tastings of bacon (maple bacon, black pepper bacon, and duck bacon), deviled eggs four ways, and baguettes with jam. For our main course, we had a choice of baked eggs with truffle and leeks, pork ‘n’ grits, or a decadent lamb burger with goat cheese. This was paired with a “Bloody Maria”–a spicy Partida tequila bloody mary.

We then heard from Partida brand manager Dave Singh about Partida’s efforts to stand out among the other premium tequilas on the market. We were fortunate to have a straight tasting of Partida Reposado (retails for about $55 per bottle), which renowned spirits reviewer F. Paul Pacult gives five stars (the highest rating). Aged for six months in Jack Daniels barrels, Partida Reposado has an amber hue and a peppery, yet subtly sweet flavor, with a smooth finish.

Special thanks to: Katie Darling (our lovely mixologist for the brunch), Chef Craig Rivard, Jen Craig, Dave Singh, Julie Reiner, and Leo Borovskiy from Lush Life Productions for taking amazing photos as always. And thanks to all of the bloggers who made it out despite the drizzle and the beginning of what was the final Jets game of the season. It was great to see so many new and familiar faces, and I think everyone agreed that there needs to be more blogger brunches in the near future–I look forward to the next one!

“Oaxacan Daisy” by Julie Reiner

1 1/2 oz. Sombra Mezcal

1/2 oz. CioCiaro Amaro

3/4 oz. raspberry syrup

1/2 oz. blood orange juice (fresh-squeezed)

1/2 oz. lemon juice (fresh-squeezed)

Shake and strain into a cocktail glass, add pellet ice, and swizzle to combine.

Dizzy Recap: Bärenjäger Throwdown

Grand-prize winner Kevin Diedrich, image courtesy of Guestofaguest.com

Grand-prize winner Kevin Diedrich, image courtesy of Guestofaguest.com

Perhaps you have already heard that congratulations are in order to Kevin Diedrich of Clover Club for taking the grand prize at the first-ever Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur New York bärtending competition held earlier this week. His winning drink, “The Bottom Line,” featured Bärenjäger with Highland Park 18, Manzilla Sherry, Cio Ciaro, orange bitters, and Angostura bitters. NoHo special-events-only speakeasy Woodson & Ford (643 Broadway) was host to the throwdown, where the vintage parlor decor was upstaged by a life-sized taxidermied black bear. The prop was in reference to the honey liqueur’s heritage as a 15th century aid for hunters to lure bears from their dwellings. Made in Germany, the 70 proof vodka-based honey liqueur is made with honey sourced from the Mexican province of Yucatan.

Six New York bartenders competed in two rounds–first up was Neil Grosscup of Country Club, Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room, and Kevin. Neil offered “The Limburg,” with Bärenjäger, Bols Genever, pressed apple juice, mint, and lemon juice, while Meaghan mixed the honey liqueur with Pimm’s No. 1, Rittenhouse Rye, Angostura bitters, and lemon juice for the “Five in the Hive.” The second round included Jonathan Pogash of Hospitality Holdings, Bradley Farran of Clover Club, and the people’s choice winner, Gerry Corcoran of PDT. Jonathan made “The Bee Sting” with Bärenjäger, Laphroaig, Fernet-Branca, egg white, tangerine juice, and Peychaud’s bitters; Bradley mixed the honey liqueur with tequila reposado, lemon juice, Cynar, and crème de cacao for “El Oso Agridulce;” and Gerry whipped up the “Bäre Fizz” with Bärenjäger, Famous Grouse scotch, fig preserves, lemon juice, and egg white, topped with Toasted Lager beer.

The judges for the event certainly knew what they were doing:  mixologist and spirits aficionado Allen Katz of Southern Wine & Spirits; mixology icon Gary Regan of ArdentSpirits.com; cocktail maven Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge; one of the foremost spirits trade writers, Jack Robertiello; and Aisha Sharpe of Contemporary Cocktails, Inc. Judges based scores on taste, appearance, creativity, and overall delivery.

Kevin, whose drink the judges said was “an instant classic,” won an all-expense trip paid for two to Oktoberfest 2009 in Munich, Germany. Kevin’s previous bartending experience includes Bourbon and Branch, Michael Mina’s Clock Bar, CASK, Beverage Academy, The Ritz Carleton and Bourbon Steak. Gerry received tickets to the Yankees.
 
” The Bottom Line” by Kevin Diedrich:

¾ parts Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
1 ½ parts Highland Park 18
1 part Manzanilla Sherry
¼ parts Cio Ciaro
1 dash orange bitters
1 dash Angostura bitters
 
Add all ingredients to mixing glass, ice and stir strain into chilled cocktail glass. 
 
“Bäre Fizz” by Gerry Corcoran:

.5 parts Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
2 parts Famous Grouse Scotch
1 part fresh lemon juice
2-3 parts Toasted Lager beer
1 egg white
1 barspoon fig preserves
1 slice of fig for garnish

Dry shake all the ingredients except the lager, add ice, and shake again. Double strain into a chilled highball glass, top with the toasted lager beer and garnish with a slice of fig.

Bradley Farran of Clover Club

Bradley Farran of Clover Club

Judges Allen Katz, Aisha Sharpe, and Julie Reiner

Judges Allen Katz, Aisha Sharpe, and Julie Reiner

People's choice winner Gerry Corcoran of PDT

People's choice winner Gerry Corcoran of PDT

New York Sweeps Spirit Awards at Tales

Photo via NYMag.com

Photo via NYMag.com

It will still be a few days before I get the muddled recap on what went down at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. To get an idea of how big of an event this 5-day celebration of the cocktail in New Orleans is, here are some stats: 15,000 people, 288 recipes, 6,000 pounds of ice, 85 pounds of mint leaves, 40 pounds of super-fine sugar, 15 dozen eggs, 280 liters of lime juice, 350 liters of lemon juice… You get the idea.

One thing I can report for you is that New York fared very well at this year’s Spirit Awards, honoring the most influential bars and people in the cocktail industry. And a special congratulations goes out to Jim Meehan of PDT, named the American Bartender of the Year. (Other nominees were Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club and Phil Ward of Death & Co. and Mayahuel.) At last year’s awards, the winners were spread out across the world (although Milk & Honey won both Best Classic Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Cocktail Bar), but this year, New York was on top. Clearly, New York is the destination for classic and quality cocktails. The winners that pertain to New York are highlighted in bold:

Best American Bar: Pegu Club, NY

Best Hotel Bar in the World: The Merchant Hotel Belfast

Best Cocktail Writing 2009: David Wondrich

Best New Product: Bols Genever

Best American Brand Ambassador: Simon Ford, Plymouth Gin

World’s Best Drinks Selection: The Merchant Hotel Belfast

American Bartender of the Year: James Meehan, PDT, NY

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book: Dale de Groff, The Essential Cocktail

World’s Best Cocktail Menu – The Merchant Hotel Belfast

International Bartender of the Year: Tony Conigliaro, UK

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar: Clover Club, NY

World’s Best Cocktail Bar: PDT, NY

Tales of the Cocktails Helen David Life Achievement Award: Peter Dorelli, London

Source: Good Spirits News