O M’Darlin’ Rhum Clement…

Pipeline Brands did a good thing last week: they invited some of the top mixologists in NYC to a cocktail jam at the “XChange,” a somewhat raw, loft-like space way way way on the west side of Manhattan.  Exclusivity at its best, in my humble opinion.  Pipeline reps such respectable brands as the aformentioned Rhum Clement, Junipero Gin, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, and Coole Swan Liqueur, just to name a few.  There were booths set up for each of these brands, as well as a nifty ‘in the round’ center bar, where bartenders played around with the myriad of ingredients that were provided to them.  I, of course, got right in on the action.  Speaking of action, I, for some odd reason, don’t have any photos of myself playing around that night – probably a good thing, though.  Don’t want to embarass myself any more than is necessary.  So here’s some action sans me for your eyes only:

 

Blazing Trails in Spain

You may think that by the above title I am writing about a recent trip to Spain.  You’d like to think so, wouldn’t you?  I’m not THAT lucky.  I accepted an even better substitute a few days ago and attended a Wines From Spain tasting at none other than Per Se.  Yes, that illustrious center of gastronomic perfection located in Columbus Circle.  I’m almost embarrassed to say that this was my first experience at Per Se, and most def not my last. 

It’s only fair to give the wines some air time, and that they did deserve.  The ever humorous Doug Frost moderated the wine tasting, and guests included Steve Olsen, David Rosengarten, Jack Robertiello, Natalie Bovis-Nelson (the Liquid Muse), Baroness Shari De Borgrave, just to name a few.  A Martinsancho Verdejo 2007 from Bodegas Angel Rodriguez was light, herbal, and had strong notes of white peach (look at me, the Mixologist, talking about wines!)  On the red side, the El Nido 2005 from Bodegas El Nido, had a deep, rich rose color, capped with hints of cinnamon, spice, and dark fruits.  (Mind you, folks, I work with spirits and cocktails.  You may think that some of my wine verbage is a bit elementary.  Please forgive this doltz.)

For lunch (oh, did I not mention that this was a luncheon), we dined on an interesting salad of spring beans, that seemed to include different ‘stations’ on the plate each with unique flavors.  A monkfish wrapped in bacon was melt in your mouth good, and a Liberty Valley duck ‘roulade’ was cooked to perfection.  The accompanying poached morel mushrooms fit the dish to a tee.  Service, as everyone who has been to Per Se can agree on, was professional and unobtrusive. 

Stick to cocktails, Jonathan, you say?  I disagree.  The more well-rounded my edumacation, the better.  So crack open a bottle of Vino de Espagna, my friends, and dream of the harvest season in Galicia.

Behind Bars…

Is where Gary Regan belongs. 

Regan, a deviant soul and derelict of the U.K., will be spewing stories and tips to the innocent public this coming Sunday afternoon.  Care to spend a couple of hours with a master at NYC’s brand-spanking new Astor Center?  Of course you do!  But whatever you do, don’t mention ‘The Negroni Incident,’ and don’t ask if you can see Gary’s ‘Negroni.’ 

Buy tickets for his class here.

For more info on how you, too, can show Gary your Negroni, click here.

And tell him he needs a haircut, ok?

 

 

World Cocktail Week Celebrated in Style

As always, I celebrate in style (yea right.)  But for those are of the stylish mindset, you might enjoy the festivities of this past Monday, May 12th, designated by the Museum of the American Cocktail as World Cocktail Day – the beginning of the week they call World Cocktail Week.  Hendrick’s Gin had their now annual Bartender Croquet Tournament at a secret, undisclosed location, that from the photos below, looks a lot like the Chelsea Piers area.  The gin cocktails rendered guests a bit woozy – not making for quality croquet – but who the hell cares! 

By the time 6pm rolled around, Gary Regan, a man you all may know and love to hate, made his grand entrance at Flatiron Lounge, in garb that can only be described as a cross between Keith Richards on the last leg of a concert tour and Billy Crystal in “City Slickers.”  You can be the judge yourself in the photo below.  Tales of the Cocktail hosted this next leg of WCD with their announcements of the official Tales of the Cocktail punch recipe, the lucky bartenders chosen to be apprenti (isn’t that the plural form?), the spirit award nominees, and probably some other stuff that I can’t think of at the present time.  The winning punch recipe (which I have to admit, tasted a bit like the recipe I submitted – so for a few minutes I thought the winning recipe was mine – funny, right?) was a deliciously balanced cocktail created by none other than the Victorian lass Charlotte Voisey.  And wouldn’t ‘ya know it, she managed to put 1/4 oz. of Hendrick’s Gin in their, too.  Go figure.  I have to say it was damn good – and I don’t use that word very often. 

I saw many pals from the cocktail world that night, and after cocktails and a delicious meal at Employees Only, all I wanted to do was to sit back, relax, drink more Partida Tequila, and thank the lord that there will be 5 straight days of the exact same thing come July 16th (Tales of the Cocktail, I mean).  World Cocktail Day is every day for us booze biz folks, in moderation mind you. 

So here’s to all the bar folk across the world, who toasted at midnight this past Monday – I’m sorry I couldn’t last ’til then.  You can be assured that in NOLA, I’ll be up past midnight.

Gary and Lynnette – what city slickers they are!

Ann Rogers announcing the Bartender Apprenti, a program being headed by Phil Ward.  Don’t look so freaked out, Phil, okay?

Charlotte and her winning punch, “Punch and Judy.”  Great name, Charlotte.  Only a Brit could come up with such brilliance.

Julie, Willy,  Paul, and Phil.  There Phil goes again, hamming it up for the camera.

The raucous scene at Employees Only.  Look closely and you can just make out Dave Singh’s (of Partida Tequila fame) mug. 

And what you’ve all been waiting for – the winning punch recipe that has been designated as the official cocktail of the 2008 Tales of the Cocktail:

Punch and Judy

1 oz Martell VSOP
¼ oz Old New Orleans Crystal Rum
½ oz Hendrick’s Gin
½ oz Bols Orange Curacao
2 oz Pineapple Juice
½ oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
½ oz orange juice
½ oz Partida agave nectar
2 dashes Angostura bitters
4 mint leaves

Assemble ingredients in a mixing glass with as much love and interest that is healthy (that is to say not in a obsessive fashion but certain passionate and perhaps as if you were preparing the drink for someone you respect, admire and love in a plutonic fashion) – no need to muddle the mint, just throw it in- shake properly (hard) and strain over fresh ice in a highball glass.

Cut a thinly sliced lime wheel and place on top of the Punch and Judy; add a hearty sprinkle of ground nutmeg directly on the lime wheel fresh from the “nut” with a small grater of using already ground nutmeg from a small shaker.

Empire Squared

The Empire Hotel on 63rd St. played host to the 2008 Empire Wine & Spirits Distributor Showcase event.  The rooftop deck at the Empire Hotel is quite expansive – a bit overwhelming for someone like myself coming from one of my bars, Bookmarks Lounge, which happens to be a rooftop bar (it’s around 1/4 the size).  Yes, the Empire roof deck is beautiful and the view could not be beat.  The hotel just finished up a large renovation, and it’s transformed the entire space into this swanky, low-light, designer furniture kind of spot. 

Importing companies showcased their brands, with everyone from Moet Hennessy USA, to Bacardi USA, to Diageo, to Brown-Forman at their respective booths set up for tastings of wines, spirits, and cocktails.  This bartender was behind the main bar mixing up some Brown-Forman brand cocktails.  Here’s a quick and easy recipe that I served up last night using Herradura Silver Tequila.  Slainte! (still obsessed with my Ireland trip):

Herradura Margarita Mundial

1 oz. Herradura Silver Tequila

1/2 oz. Chambord

1/2 oz. Tuaca

1/2 oz. Fresh lime juice

1/2 oz. simple syrup

Directions:  shake well in a cocktail shaker with ice.  Strain into a chilled martini glass.

Garnish: Lime wedge

 

A Great Bar Chef Moves South OR Sneak Peak at new Hot Lounge

Now that you’ve digested my last post (no big deal if you haven’t), I finally have a new one to share with you.  Last week I attended a going-away party for a dear friend of mine.  He’s been in the business for years, and is one of those genuinely happy and talented chaps.  That dude is Stefan Trummer.  He and his lovely wife, Victoria, have packed up and moved to D.C. (Virginia, actually – close enough) and are opening their own place.  Congrats to you both!  You’ll truly be missed in the big apple. 

So this party that I attended (with my betrothed), was at the yet-to-open “Apotheke,” Albert Trummer’s (Stefan’s brother) new cocktail lounge in the heart of Chinatown.  The space, which I can currently describe as raw and hip, will open in the coming weeks.  We had a rare glimpse into the place, and the drinks, that are sure to wow New Yorker’s this summer.  And you can be assured you’ll catch me there at some point.  Here are some pics from the party:

 

The bar at Apotheke.  Look closely, and you can catch a glimpse of Victoria and Stefan behind the stick.

Five summers ago, “Trummer Home” opened in Greenport, (on the north fork of Long Island) and brought us all together for 2 glorious years.  Ahead of it’s time?  No doubt!  Nikki Beach at it’s heart out for those summers.

Victoria, Albert, Me, and Stefan.  One big happy family.  We’ll miss you guys!

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