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 – Negroni Week!

Jacques Bezuidenhout serves Negronis at Campari's bar at the 2013 MCC Gala. (Image courtesy M Booth)

Jacques Bezuidenhout serves Negronis at Campari’s bar at the 2013 MCC Gala. (Photo by Virginia Rollison)

As the first steamy heat wave of the season descends on NYC, you’ll likely be reaching for a refreshing quaff to revive your tastebuds. Coincidentally, Imbibe Magazine has dubbed this week Negroni Week, May 27 to June 3. Not only will the classic Italian cocktail (1:1:1 ratio of gin, Campari and sweet vermouth) do the trick of cooling you off, but a handful of local bars (and nearly 100 across the country) will donate $1 from each drink sold to a charity of their choice.

In Brooklyn, participating bars include Maison Premiere (Charity Water) and Huckleberry Bar (charity TBA), while in Manhattan, PDT (American Red Cross) and Amor y Amargo (Barman’s Fund) are pitching in. Naturally, bartenders are putting their own twists on the drink, using a variety of gins, vermouths and bitter aperitifs. Huckleberry’s take is a summery, delicate version including Carouun Gin, Cocchi Americano Rosa, and Salers Aperitif ($10).

Speaking of Campari, the bittersweet aperitif threw an invite-only Bartender’s Bash during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic at the swanky McKittrick Hotel’s Gallow Green. Bar industry insiders swarmed the event, where delectable Campari concoctions were being served, but everyone was left talking about the brand’s innovative Negroni Sbagliatos in a can. While sadly not for sale on store shelves, you can make your own fizzy, low-alcohol version of the Negroni at home:

Negroni Sbagliato

1 oz. sweet vermouth
1 oz. Campari
1 oz. lightly sparkling wine (Prosecco)

Combine vermouth and Campari in an ice-filled glass. Top with sparkling wine, stir to combine and garnish with a slice of orange.

Canned Negronis. Photo by Virginia Rollison.

Campari’s genius canned Negronis. Photo by Virginia Rollison.

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.

Elsewhere in the Liquiverse…

A new cocktail menu arrives tonight at The Breslin.

  • Aisha Sharpe of Contemporary Cocktails unleashes a new cocktail menu at The Breslin at the Ace Hotel tonight. See the full menu below.
  • My prediction of “all-tiki-everything” is already coming true–NYC is finally getting a tiki cocktail bar! Food & Wine reports that Painkiller (from Dutch Kills‘ Richard Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzales!) will open at the former site of the East Side Company Bar on Essex Street in March. The bar will combine the vibe of 1970s New York with 1940s tiki culture. Stay tuned!
  • If you haven’t seen it yet, PDT’s Jim Meehan was a guest on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, mixing gin tonics and tequila highballs.
  • On Wednesday Jan. 13, Benedictine is hosting the finals for it’s “Alchemist of Our Age” cocktail competition celebrating the liqueur’s 500th anniversary. The throwdown takes place at the Hearst Tower in NYC, with Dave Wondrich selecting the winner. First place prize is a stand-alone profile in Esquire‘s March issue. Finalists are: Jackson Cannon (Boston), Damon Dyer (NYC), Brandon Clements (San Francisco), Lynn House (Chicago), and Daniel Victory (New Orleans).
  • The cocktail industry was in a tizzy this week over the sudden shortage of Angostura Bitters, a staple product at most bars. Reportedly the plant that makes the secret-formula bitters in Trinidad and Tobago had a brief shutdown.  Many bar managers are either paying exorbitant prices (such as $65 for a 20-oz. bottle) for the bitters, or they have been told it will be weeks before their orders arrive. Expect to see different brands of bitters dashed in your next Manhattan.
  • One more reason for cocktail bars to use bottled soda: an International Journal of Microbiology study found half of soda fountains analyzed contained fecal bacteria. Now you know.

The Breslin Cocktails, all $12:

Liquid Swords (rye whiskey, orange curacao, Aperol, Green Chartreuse, with an orange zest)

Lust for Life (gin with lavender syrup, mint, fresh lemon juice, topped with soda water)

Rush of Blood to the Head (prosecco with blood orange liqueur, hibiscus syrup, and lemon zest)

London Calling (vodka with Ribena-Blackcurrant Syrup, fresh lemon juice, topped with prosecco)

Kingdom Come (blended scotch whisky, orange essence, black tea syrup, fresh lemon juice, egg white)

Pablo Honey (blanco tequila with spiced agave nectar and fresh lime juice)

Beggar’s Banquet (bourbon whiskey with maple syrup, fresh lemon juice, aromatic bitters, topped with ale)

Rattle and Hum (rum with spices, brown sugar and butter and hot water)

The Breslin Gin & Tonics:

The Classic (Tanqueray Gin with tonic and a lime)

The Garden Tonic (Hendrick’s Gin with cucumber, celery bitters and tonic)

The Tonic and Grapefruit (Beefeater 24 with grapefruit bitters, tonic and grapefruit zest)

Dizzy Recap: Yerba Buena Perry Opening

 

Cervantes makes a Pisco Mojito

Cervantes makes a Pisco Mojito

What is it about Latin food that makes it so broadly appealing? Is it the spicy flavors, the warmth of the people preparing the food, or perhaps the cultural pride that shines through? In NYC, there are some muy bueno standouts (Mercadito on Avenue B comes to mind), but one definite success story to emerge in the past year is Yerba Buena, which has received accolades for both its food and cocktails attracting crowds on Avenue A. While other restaurants are struggling to stay open in this economy, Yerba Buena is launching a second location, Yerba Buena Perry, opening to the public tomorrow night.

Taking over the old Matador space in Greenwich Village, Yerba Buena Perry stands to be a gem in the neighborhood’s cluster of Italian eateries. Chef/Partner Julian Medina (also the chef at Toloache and at Yerba Buena’s L.E.S. location) and Christopher Gilman have put together a Pan-Latin menu that includes a selection of ceviches and panko fries (including watermelon, which is succulent and crispy at once) as well as dry aged steaks.

At the media opening party earlier this week, the new restaurant had the lively feeling of a Cuban-inspired nightspot, complete with live Latin music and a professional cigar roller on premise. Avocado green walls, dim Edison bulbs, a black-and-white checkered floor, and a sleek dark wood bar all added up to “date night vibe.” Behind the bar, Cervantes, previously of PDT and Little Branch, offered a handful of selections from his cocktail menu, all $12. The Pisco Mojito was a tri-colored treat. Muddled yerba buena (a species of mint) and lime were topped with crushed ice, Macchu Pisco, and bitters. Equally delicious were the Mezcal Maid (Scorpion Mezcal, muddled cucumber, lime, and yerba buena) and the Blackberry Gimlet (Tito’s Vodka, muddled blackberries, and lime). The hors d’oeuvres served were, as Robert Palmer would say, simply irresistable. In addition to the watermelon fries, highlights included avocado fries, manchego cheese croquettes with pickled jalapeno salsa, and yellowtail Baja style tacos that included pineapple, red onion, habanero peppers, and some sort of magical aioli type of sauce.

Yerba Buena Perry also offers a range of piscos, tequilas, mezcals, and rums served neat, and an affordable wine list spanning Spain, Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay. Be sure to check out Yerba Buena Perry on your next Greenwich Village crawl!

Yerba Buena Perry is located at 1 Perry Street (212.620.0808).

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