Trend Alert: Guest Bartending

Nolita's 1534 introduces a guest bartending series next week.

Guest bartending is nothing new, especially given the jetset lifestyle of today’s mixologists, but lately, NYC cocktail bars seem to be taking the “have shaker, will travel” concept up a notch. Last year’s opening of Forty Four at the Royalton featured an ongoing series of guest appearances from the Cocktail Collective, the bartenders who consulted on its cocktail menu. Visits from Eric Alperin of LA’s Varnish, Misty Kalkofen of Boston’s Drink, or John Lermayer from Miami’s The Florida Room translated into flash crowds at Forty Four, in attendance for the touring drink-slingers’ star performances. More recently, Fatty Johnson’s, part of NYC’s current pop-up restaurant craze, has featured a different mixologist or brand ambassador every night (from Eben Freeman to Dave Wondrich), with their own exclusive cocktail menus. Check out Fatty Johnson’s Tumblr highlighting the guest bartenders’ demo videos and cocktail menus.

And next week, Nolita bar 1534 introduces “Roustabouts,” a weekly guest bartending series on Wednesdays from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. on Wednesdays. Here’s the upcoming line-up:

  • 2/23: Dushan Zaric, Employees Only, Macao Trading Co. & Aisha Sharpe, Contemporary Cocktails
  • 3/2: Dominic Venegas, Smuggler’s Cove & Willy Shine, Contemporary Cocktails
  • 3/9: Misty Kalkofen, Drink Boston & Leo DeGroff, AKA Wine Geek
  • 3/15: Phil Pepperdine, St-Germain & Daniel Undhammar, Zu Vodka

Trend Alert: All Things Punch


Cienfuegos' Anchor Punch makes Time Out New York's 100 Best Things to Eat and Drink List. Photo by Aubrey Therkelsen.

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have a thing for punch. It’s been the centerpiece of every event The Dizzy Fizz has thrown, from last year’s Holiday Puncheon to the recent 18-punch smorgasbord at The Summit Bar’s First Anniversary bash. Of course, we’ve been spoiled with delicious punch in NYC for some time, thanks to cocktail havens such as Clover Club, Death & Co., and Prime Meats.

Thanks to some recent press, it seems that the idea of serving bowl-sized cocktails has gone mainstream, and with the holidays around the corner, I can only predict that we’ll be seeing more ladled goodness:

  • Dave Wondrich was recently interviewed by esteemed food writer Frank Bruni for The New York Times about his forthcoming book,Punch: The Delights and Dangers of the Flowing Bowl,” out next month. As Bruni says, the book’s subtitle says it all: “An Anecdotal History of the Original Monarch of Mixed Drinks, With More Than Forty Historic Recipes, Fully Annotated, and a Complete Course in the Lost Art of Compounding Punch.”
  • Check out this recipe for 19th century Roman Punch, featuring a meringue topping, from “The Essential New York Times Cookbook” by Amanda Hesser, coming soon.
  • Time Out New York recently selected Cienfuegos’ Anchor Punch as one of its 100 Best Things to Eat and Drink. The punch, just one of the East Village bar’s menu of rum punches, features Seven Tiki spiced rum, apricot brandy, guava juice, ginger juice and nutmeg.
  • And at the recently revamped Fourty Four at The Royalton Hotel, we can thank The Cocktail Collective for having the vision to replace the outdated clubby tradition of bottle service with punch service. According to ChiChi212 blogger Brittany Mendenhall, the punch bowl arrives to your table with a large block of ice and servers pour rum concoctions from two giant shakers. The servers then top the punch with grated nutmeg and sliced fruit, which is “much sexier than a vodka cranberry with a poorly cut slice of fruit,” says Mendenhall. Check out Fourty Four’s punch menu here.

Dave Wondrich's "Punch," available Nov. 2.