File Under: Hot Dates

Whisky rocks! Yours truly and Carmen Operetta going wild for Ardbeg at Whisky Live 2010.

  • Oh, is there a football game on this weekend? Super Bowl fan or not, I think we can all rally around Union Square Wines’ Martini Bowl 2011, taking place from 2 to 5 p.m. this Saturday, Feb. 5. Taste more than a dozen types of martinis featuring top vodkas and gins, including locally distilled spirits, all for free–game on!
  • And in case you haven’t heard, Louis 649’s Tuesday Night Tastings, free tastings featuring a different spirit every week, are back in effect. At 7 p.m. this Tuesday, Feb. 8, sip Redemption Rye with brand representative Dave Schmier.
  • Although Whisky Live New York is two months away, now is the time to get your tickets for the April 6 event–brown spirits extravaganzas like this sell out fast. Taking place at the same venue as last year, Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers, the focus this year will be on raising awareness that Scotch and bourbon are whiskies too, said event organizer Jeffery Connell. Cruise the tasting hall while you sip drams of whisky from Kentucky to Scotland, meeting the distillers, producers and ambassadors behind the brands. I attended last year, and whiskies I tried included Maker’s 46 and Suntory’s Hibiki 12, which weren’t even on the market yet. I watched a live iron bartender competition featuring some of NYC’s top mixologists, entered an Ardbeg chopper sweepstakes (guess I didn’t win), and  I even recall some amazing chocolate truffles among the impressive buffet spread. Mostly, it was a memorable event where I connected with whisky fans from all over–I hope to see you there this year!

File Under: Hot Dates

Pegu Club owner and cocktail maven Audrey Saunders will mix sensory-heightening cocktails during "The Alchemy of Taste & Smell" at Astor Center this weekend.

  • Master chefs and mixologists are flocking to Astor Center this weekend to explore all things olfactory and tongue-tingling for a two-day conference,  The Alchemy of Taste and Smell. The event kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 12, with a session on the use of aroma in cocktails (tickets are $55) led by Pegu Club owner Audrey Saunders and Dave Arnold, Director of Culinary Technology for the French Culinary Institute. At 7:30 p.m. Friday, Astor Center flings open the doors for an Opening Night Party (tickets are $75), featuring creative cocktails by Dave and Audrey, as well as hor d’oeuvres by chefs David Chang, Alexander Talbot, Nils Noren and Bill Corbett. Interactive stations will also include dishes by chef Daniel Patterson (Coi, San Francisco) and essential oils presented by perfumer Mandy Aftel. See the Astor Center website for the full calendar of events, which includes sessions led by Wylie Dufresne, Harold McGee and Johnny Iuzzini and culminates with a multiple-course all-star dinner the night of Saturday, Nov. 13 (tickets are $300).
  • On Wednesday, Nov. 17, Allen Katz of Slow Food NYC is leading a workshop on “Greenmarket Mixology for Holiday Cocktails.” Learn how to incorporate farm-fresh ingredients such as herbs and maple syrup into your drinks. The session is from 6 to 8 p.m. at Union Square Wine & Spirits (tickets are $45).
  • And if you haven’t purchased your ticket yet for the third annual Repeal Day Ball on Saturday, Dec. 4, in Washington, D.C., you’d better get on that before the big event sells out. This year, the black tie soiree will be held at the Maison Biltmore in Adams Morgan and will feature themed rooms representing significant eras in cocktail history: 1800s (punches), 1900s (pre-Prohibition), 1920s (Prohibition), 1940s (tiki), 1960s (Mad Men), 1980s (inspired by Cocktail) and “The Future,” along with a main ball room where jazz band The Red Hot Rhythm Chiefs will play. Tickets are $100 (or $150 for VIP hors d’oeurves and afterparty), with proceeds going to the D.C. Craft Bartenders Guild and the Museum of the American Cocktail. At the ball, enjoy cocktail creations from D.C. favorites like Gina Chersevani, Derek Brown, Tom Brown, Chantal Tseng, Owen Thomson, Dan Searing, and Adam Bernbach, to name a few, along with special guests–bartending legends Dale DeGroff from New York, Chris McMillian from New Orleans, John Hogan from Annapolis, and Jeffrey Morgenthaler from Portland, as well as nationally-renowned cocktail historian and writer David Wondrich and Tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry.

Last year, NYC crashed the DC Repeal Day Ball and had a hell of a good time!