Dizzy Recap: The Dizzy Fizz Holiday Puncheon!

LUPEC's "Remember the Night" punch was one of seven served at The Dizzy Fizz Holiday Puncheon. All photos by Leo Borovskiy of Lush Life Productions.

“If you’d know when you’ve enough – Of the punch and the claret cup – It’s time to quit the blessed stuff – When you fall down and can’t get up”–Unknown

Blessed stuff indeed, and thanks to all who made The Dizzy Fizz Holiday Puncheon an unforgettable evening!

On Sunday December 20, 2009, I was pleased as punch to ring in the holidays in style with a plaid-fashioned punch party at The Summit Bar, 133 Avenue C. This invite-only event gathered more than 100 of the city’s top mixologists and bar industry professionals, cocktail bloggers, lovely friends, as well as some internationally-recognized master mixologists. The Puncheon not only celebrated the holiday season, but was also  my way of toasting the six-month mark for TheDizzyFizz.com as I approached 20,000 views–thanks for your support!

The Puncheon, named for the speakeasy that preceded the ’21’ Club some 80 years ago, featured seven punches created by members of the USBGNY (United States Bartending Guild of New York), LUPECNYC (NYC Chapter of the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), and The Summit Bar’s staff. Punches featured sponsored ingredients including: Plymouth Gin, Bols Genever, Ron Zacapa 23 Aged Rum, Bulleit Bourbon, Partida Tequila, Yamazaki Single Malt Whisky, 10 Cane Rum, Martini & Rossi Prosecco, Gran Marnier Liqueur, Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur, Benedictine Liqueur, Chartreuse, and Averna Sambuca Agrumi.

Author/illustrator Jill DeGroff, and her husband, master mixologist Dale “King Cocktail” DeGroff, were featured guests. Jill DeGroff signed copies of her new book, “Lush Life: Portraits from Behind the Bar,” for party guests, courtesy of Chartreuse. Brian Van Flandern, a Michelin three-star mixologist, consultant to Chef Thomas Keller of Per Se, and author of “Vintage Cocktails,” and John Myers, cocktail historian, mixologist, and author of the upcoming “What Would Jesus Drink: Cocktails for the Second Coming” were also in attendance.

LUPEC bartender Jane Elkins’ punch, “The Redhead,” won the most applause and bragging rights as the crowd favorite. The punch included sage-infused Barenjager Honey Liqueur, Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky, Bulleit Bourbon, rooibos tea, ginger syrup, grapefruit juice, lemon juice, and Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters.

For the complete list of recipes, see the “Events” page. I can’t thank the participating bartenders enough: Greg Seider of The Summit Bar, Frank Cisneros of Bar Celona and Prime Meats (USBGNY), John Pomeroy of The Hideout (USBGNY), Jane Elkins of Rye House (LUPEC), Lynnette Marrero of Rye House (LUPEC), Elayne Duke, mixologist for Diageo (LUPEC), Kelley Slagle of Hearth (LUPEC), and Katie Darling of White Star (LUPEC).

Special thanks to Jill and Dale DeGroff for driving through the snow to make the event, to Katie Darling and Tal Nadari of Bols Genever for letting us use their gorgeous punch bowls, to Lush Life Productions for their amazing photography (see the full reel here!) and for providing the yummy cheese and fruit platters, to Hamid Rashidzada of The Summit Bar for organizing an extremely professional staff, to my lovely door host, Chaya Wilkins, and to everyone who made it out on a cold Sunday night–I know you all could have just stayed home in your PJs. Thanks for getting punched in the mouth with me, let’s do it again soon!

(Click on the photos to enlarge:)

Dizzy Recap: 2nd Annual Repeal Day Ball in D.C.

 

NYC crashed the DC Repeal Day Ball in style. From left, Crystal de Canton, Lindsey Johnson, Jill DeGroff, Jason Littrell, Lisa Hare, Eryn Reece, Jen Craig, Dale DeGroff, Simon Ford, Sue Leckie, and myself and Elba Giron are front and center. Photo by Leo Borovskiy of Lush Life Productions.

“One cannot have too large a party. “--Jane Austen

Lately, I have had an amazing stroke of good fortune when it comes to attending events and traveling new places.  [Well, there I go, I’ve probably jinxed myself now.] I’ll ask the universe to make something happen, and what do you know, at the last possible minute, an invite magically arrives. [Maybe next I should ask for a raise!] Such was the case this past weekend, when it was suddenly posed on Friday afternoon that I help the Lush Life Productions crew with their video and photo coverage of the D.C. Repeal Day Ball held Saturday night. I was planning on spending the weekend volunteering with kids in Harlem and otherwise bundling up on my couch. [It’s ok, there’s lots of NY Cares volunteers willing to play dodgeball with 9-year-olds.]

I scrambled to find the right dress for the swank black-tie affair, hopped into the LushLifeMobile with Lindsey Johnson, Leo Borovskiy, and Jason Littrell, and away we were, braving the first blizzard of the season to get to our nation’s capital in time so that we could document it for the Museum of the American Cocktail. Being part of the press crew meant that we got to attend the event from the pre-opening stage, watching as the PS7’s crew impressively pulled together all of the necessary details for the gala, all the way to the after-party at brand new bar The Passenger. Let’s just say I got a little *dizzy* towards the end, although it was nothing too serious or worth calling my parents about.

PS7’s bar manager, Gina Chersevani, chef/owner Peter Smith, along with the D.C. Craft Bartender’s Guild, showed all of us New Yorkers who made the trip that the District truly knows how to let loose 1933-style. From the magnificent punches, egg nogs, and classic cocktails served by all-star bartenders, to the red-and-black sequined ladies in pearls and feathers and the gents in suits, bowties, and a few sporting real (and some costume) mustaches, to the swingin’ jazz band, Red Hot Rhythm Chiefs, D.C.’s 76th anniversary of the end of Prohibition was a knockout soiree.

The “toastmaster” of the ball, mixologist and blogger Jeffrey Morgenthaler, bar manager at Clyde Common in Portland, Ore., has made it his ongoing mission to have Repeal Day recognized as a national holiday for years now, so he was the choice host. He kept us all entertained with drinking quotes from renowned cocktailians who couldn’t make it, such as Dave Wondrich and Gaz Regan, as well as historical quotes and more tawdry quips from the crowd. Derek Brown, Dan Searing, and Owen Thompson of the D.C. Craft Bartender’s Guild dressed up as the Founding Fathers, which added some revolutionary spirit to the occasion (as in, “Spirit of ’76”).

There was a leading cast of mixology all-stars both behind the stick and in attendance, which was a treat for me since I didn’t make it to this past summer’s Tales of the Cocktail:

King Cocktail, Dale DeGroff, served the “Cocktel Jerez” (Jameson Irish Whiskey, Lustau PX Sherry, Lustau Dry Oloroso Sherry, Angostura Bitters, flamed orange peel) from the heart of the kitchen, which I found especially charming. His queen, Jill DeGroff, signed copies of her whimsical, soulfully-illustrated tome of bartender and musician caricatures and colorful stories, “The Lush Life: Portraits from the Bar,” which was just released in time for the gift-giving season. Ed Hamilton, founder of Ministry of Rum, mixed ti’ punches made with 100-proof rum straight from Martinique, sugarcane syrup (which you must try if you haven’t yet, and can purchase here), and a small squeeze of lime, mixed with a swizzle stick. The Tippling Bros’ Tad Carducci made a cheerfully-garnished “Gussied-Up Bread Line” (Averna Amaro, G’Vine Floraison Gin, fresh lemon, ginger beer, cranberries). Todd Thrasher (how cool is that name), mixologist at PX in Alexandria, Va., crafted a “Veritas” (Benedictine, Laird’s Applejack, homemade apple bitters, walnut water, fermented apple, cider air) which I had two of and was as amazing-tasting as it sounds. Adam Bernbach of D.C.’s Proof delivered a unique and impressive hot drink, the “Pisco in Winter” (butter-infused Macchu Pisco, citrus-spice syrup, and hot water, garnished with an Angostura-cinnamon marhsmallow, yum). Rachel Sergi of Againn meticulously strained the “Thank U-Tah,” (Tres Generaciones Anejo Tequila, Luxardo Maraschino, Leopold Bros. Three Pins Alpine Herbal Liqueur, fresh lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit, egg, cinnamon tincture, and Fee Bros. Aztec Chocolate Bitters–whew) into a frothy flip. Philadelphia’s Christian Gaal, bartender at Apothecary and Noble American Cookery,  shook up some drinks as well, and there were other punches and nogs and delightful-looking things that I wanted to try, but as you can imagine, water eventually became a necessity.

By the time we sauced revelers arrived at The Passenger, which mixologists and brothers Derek and Tom Brown opened late last month, it was bustling with an already-packed crowd and the scene was in full swing. I had a punch that included dangerously good ingredients I can no longer remember, champagne spiked with rum, and a most refreshing dark beer, the Butternuts Moo Thunder Stout, which had notes of espresso and malty goodness. Oh, and the company was great–met Marshall Fawley of Scofflaw’s Den and made lots of new D.C. friends. Let’s just say it’s a good thing that D.C. bars close at 2 a.m. because I’m not sure some of us (myself included) needed to continue riding the express train to Overindulgence.

I must apologize for not writing down the food menu that was offered, but every hors d’oeuvre and appetizer I tried melted in my mouth, and I hope to check out PS7’s dinner menu next time I’m in D.C. After doing a little post-event research, I discovered that PS7’s is across from the historic first meeting place of the Anti-Saloon League, which launched the crusade for Prohibition. For more photos, check out The Washingtonian, keep an eye out for We Shoot Cocktails photos coming soon here, and if you’re friends with us on Facebook: there will soon be a few extras in my album, be sure to scope the lovely Lush Life Production’s album (and video here), and for shots of more NYC-D.C. love and Sunday’s bartender brunch, check out Jason’s snap-happy album–he stuck around D.C. longer than the rest of us.

Most of all thanks to Lush Life, Dale and Jill DeGroff, and all of the amazing D.C. bottlerockers. Repeal Day is the bartender’s holiday, and I was honored to celebrate it with some of the best in the country. Hope to see you again next year!

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse…

Free iPhone app out now

  • Lush Life Productions, in partnership with APPSolute Media, Don Q Rum, and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, recently launched a free iPhone app, “Happy Houred.” Just a few swipes of the fingers and you’ll know which bars are having cheap drinking hours near you, in whichever U.S. city you may be. You can even add your own reviews of the bars and drinks.
  • Have you seen that article on VillageVoice.com about where New York mixologists drink during their off hours? (Yes, I wrote it. I know, shameless.)
  • Or how about that round-up of last-minute Halloween and Day of the Dead events in NYC? (Again, I am shameless.)
  • Nation’s Restaurant News looks at the popularity of the atomizer as a mixology tool.
  • Bols is putting on an awesome-sounding contest, “Bols Around the World Shaking Twenties Competition.” Working bartenders are invited to submit cocktail recipes inspired by the Roaring 20s. David Wondrich will choose one North American finalist to go to Amsterdam and compete with five other talented bartenders representing Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and South America. The grand prize winner will win the opportunity to design and create his or her own signature Bols liqueur in Amsterdam with a Bols product developer. Deadline is Nov. 30.

Dizzy Recap: Nirvino & Bols Genever

Bols Genever, Dutch grain spirit. All photos by Leo Borovskiy of Lush Life Productions.

Bols Genever, Dutch grain spirit. All photos by Leo Borovskiy of Lush Life Productions.

Earlier this week, Nirvino, a social networking site (and mobile application) that encourages users to recommend and review drinks, hosted a Bols Genever cocktail party at Beekman Bar & Books. Created in Holland during the 16th century, Genever is the original recipe for gin, although the white spirit tastes very different from the London Dry style of gin. Made with maltwine (distilled from corn, rye, and wheat), and various botanicals (including ginger, coriander, and, of course, juniper berries), Bols Genever has a rich, slightly floral, malty flavor and is very smooth and neutral. Relaunched last year, the spirit has been a hit with NYC mixologists and won the Best New Spirit award at this summer’s Tales of the Cocktail. It’s especially relevant to the classic cocktail revolution since Genever was one of four main ingredients called for in many cocktails created by the pioneer of American bartending, Jerry Thomas.

For the Nirvino event, Ben Scorah, mixologist and managing partner of Bar & Books, mixed cocktails that would normally feature scotch whisky and used the Bols Genever instead. Guests were encouraged to sample three different concoctions–a Green Apple-Infused Old Fashioned, a Dutch Blood & Sand, and a Holland Razorblade (Bols Genever, lemon juice, simple syrup, and cayenne pepper).  A laptop was connected to a large flatscreen TV that scrolled live reviews by Nirvino users of the cocktails, so everyone could see that the Blood & Sand was clearly the crowd favorite.  Tal Nadari and Katie Darling of Lucas Bols Spirits were on hand to share more information about Bols Genever, and at the end of the event, two Nirvino users were chosen at random to win bottles of Bols Genever and cocktail shakers. Tomas Delos Reyes, the NYC representative for Nirvino, says these cocktail events will be happening monthly, so if you want to join in, just sign up as a member at Nirvino.com.

Bols Genever is a crowd-pleaser.

Bols Genever is a crowd-pleaser.

Tomas Delos Reyes of Nirvino and Tal Nadari of Bols.

Tomas Delos Reyes of Nirvino and Tal Nadari of Bols.

Ben Scorah's Green Apple-Infused Old Fashioned.

Ben Scorah's Green Apple-Infused Old Fashioned.

Dizzy Recap: The Dalmore Tasting

Ben Scorah of Bar & Books, The Dalmore Master Blender Richard Paterson, and David Blackmore of Glenmorangie.

Ben Scorah of Bar & Books, The Dalmore Master Blender Richard Paterson, and David Blackmore of Glenmorangie. All photos by Leo Borovskiy courtesy of Lush Life Productions.

Like a rockstar on summer tour, The Dalmore’s Master Distiller Richard Paterson swept through New York yesterday to pour some delicious drams of the Highland single malt whisky for those in-the-know before heading off to Chicago, Dallas, and Florida. I was in-the-know thanks to Twitter (it was my first “tweetup,” actually), and I was pleasantly surprised to see several friends at the tasting at Keen’s Steakhouse. Sadly, I missed the tasting of an extremely rare Dalmore 62-year-old (one of the most expensive single malts in the world), but I did enjoy a few drams of Dalmore 15-year, which was exquisitely smooth. Richard recommends just adding a few splashes of water (no ice!) to lower the alcohol content a bit, and let the whisky roll over the top of the tongue. Aged in Spanish oak sherry casks, the 15-year has notes of Seville orange, toffee, and vanilla, with a prominent orange aroma. Richard suggested pairing a taste of The Dalmore with bittersweet dark chocolate, and I have to say, this was the highlight of the evening. The third generation of his family to serve as Master Blender of the 170-year-old distillery in Alness, Richard really is a master of his craft, and it’s easy to see why he has achieved such a rockstar status. Now if I can just get myself to Scotland in the near future to drink scotch by the sea with the wind whipping my face. Slainte!

The Dalmore 15 year.

The Dalmore 15 year.

Tweeting and greeting.

Tweeting and greeting.

A dram will do!

A dram will do!