I See Green Fairies

The other evening you would have found me behind a short bar in the middle of a stark white art gallery in SoHo with none other than Damon Dyer of Death & Co and Flatiron Lounge by my side.  Paintings of fairies and green liquid-filled bottles adorned the walls, and the invited industry-only crowd seemed to be having a better time than usual.  Oh, right, they were drinking Absinthe, that’s why. 

The official US launch of La Fee Abisinthe (pronounced “La Fay”) was held at OpenHouse gallery on Mon. evening and boy was it a night to remember – well, hopefully those in attendance could at least recall how delicious the Sazeracs and La Fee Sea Foam Fizzes they were drinking were. 

Bet you’d like some photos from the evening, now wouldn’t ‘ya?  Funny thing is, when you’re slinging drinks for nearly 150 thirsty spirit industry barflies you rarely have a moment to take photos, let alone breathe.  So photos you’ll have to simply do without.  Just imagine La Fee.  She’s very nice.  Won’t bite.  May nibble, though.

La Fee Sea Foam Fizz

1 1/2 oz. La Fee Absinthe

1/2 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 oz. Simple syrup

1 egg white

Club Soda

Directions:  Dry shake the egg white to emulsify.  Add remaining ingredients, except for club soda, with ice and shake very well.  Strain over ice into a highball glass.  Top off with the club soda.

Garnish: lemon wheel

No Huckleberries at Huckleberry Bar?

It may be a bit infantile of me to think that huckleberries would make an appearance somewhere on the cocktail list at Billyburg’s hot new cocktail lounge, Huckleberry Bar

Well, call me little Jimmy.  Nada – no huckleberries, or berries of any nature, for that matter.  Just classic, well-mixed, prohibition-era-inspired drinks, (like an Amerigo Vespucci, or an Edward Bulwer-Lytton) and those classic standby’s (like Sazeracs and Sherry Flips).  I chose the latter of the original cocktail creations, the one that starts with the word Edward…  For a drink that had Gosling’s Rum infused with ginger, the ginger flavor barely came through, a bit over-crowded by the creme de cacao.  I enjoyed it as I kept drinking it – which tends to happen with a lot of dark spirit cocktails. 

Huckleberry Bar’s dark spirits collection is impressive, but isn’t that the norm nowadays?  What was fairly unique were the panini sandwiches that were being prepared to order right there behind the long bar.  I enjoyed my Prosciutto Pressed Sandwich with aged gouda cheese and rhubarb butter. 

The DJ was pumping, and the late-night hipster crowd seemed a bit tame for a Friday night.  My friends and I would have loved to sit outside on their outdoor patio (which seemed nice and laid-back, and quite expansive), but alas they close it around 1am.  And 1am is when we arrived.  Oh well, I’ll save that for next time – and I’ll make sure to bring the huckleberries with me.

What Makes The Cocktail Guru Sweat?

A room full of bachelorettes, that’s what.  Oh, and the 90+ degree heat in NYC didn’t help out one bit. 

This past Saturday evening I taught yet another mixology class at The Astor Center called “Crafting Summer Cocktails,” and not only was the weather appropriate for such a class, but half of my class consisted of a group of bachelorettes celebrating the last few single days of their best girlfriend.  You may think this was a recipe for out-of-control havoc and shots of soco and lime.  Not at all!  Although the other students in the class (besides the young ladies), may have felt a bit out of place, once I refreshed them with a nice tall Mai Tai, all worries and thoughts of oven-like humidity were set aside, and mixology soon flooded the minds of one and all. 

The Crafting of Summer Cocktails is what we did, and boy did we have fun.  There were raspberries, strawberries, peaches galore – cocktails made with Pisco, Rum Agricole, and Smokey single malt scotch whisky, just to name a few. 

These photos are just a sneak peak into what goes on in my classes.  Don’t worry, I don’t wear that shirt during every class (unless you want me to…):

That’s me looking very serious…

This is how to cut fruit…

In case youre interested, my next class will be one of my regularly scheduled classes: Elements of Mixology.  Click here for more info.  Great for fun gatherings with your friends, or fellow bachelorettes.

I Shagged Multiple Times in South Carolina

Please don’t be amazed, or perhaps, disgusted, by the above title.  It’s not meant to boast..or scare, for that matter.  But to tell the truth – that South Carolina is not only the birthplace of mustard-style barbecue (mmm…so good…), but also of that timeless jig they call “The Shag.”  Sort of a combo of waltzing and swing dancing, the Shag is a true artform practiced for days on end by native South Carolinians.  Geez, my body would be tired if I shagged multiple times for multiple days straight.

So where does the bar/restaurant/spirits/cocktail come into play here?  Don’t worry, I’ll get to it.  I must say, I enjoyed myself in Columbia, that’s right, Columbia, South Carolina.  Who says all the trendy bars, restaurants, people, etc. are in Charleston?  Columbia has it’s own scene, highlighted by the the “Congaree Vista” section, a conglomerate (when I say conglomerate, in this case it’s VERY scaled down – think small-town southern US) of new condos, restaurants, bars, art galleries, and small pastry shops.  Barbecue rules, and to my enjoyment, South Carolina’s specialty is that of the mustard-based barbecue. 

The Blue Marlin Restaurant is situated in the heart of the Vista, in an old Railroad Station.  Supposedly some of the best seafood in the south is served there.  I’d have to agree.

The Liberty Tap Room had a superb pulled pork sandwich, and from the looks of things, a nice looking beer selection.  The bar had to be close to 50 seats long – perhaps a bit excessive for such a small town (hey, I’m a New Yorker – the town was small!).  Yet, I wouldn’t be surprised if by 5pm, the entire working-class members of the city came down for a nice cold beer or spiked sweet tea cocktail. 

SakiTumi, a sushi place, has a nifty name, so that’s why I’m mentioning it. 

My wife and I stayed at the brand spankin’ new Hilton Columbia, with it’s terrificly relaxing and warm outdoor pool.  This sure was pool weather, and laying out in the SC sun, sipping drinks made by the friendly bartenders at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse (yes, this is the Hilton’s restaurant – not owned by Hilton – separate from Hilton, as we were informed of several times), made the trip a memorable one. 

You, too, can plan your weekend trip to Columbia, SC.  It really is convenient – Jet Blue flies to Charlotte, North Carolina (a mere 1.5 hr. flight).  You can then rent a car, and it’s a short 1.5 hour drive down to Columbia.  That’s what we did.  Feel free to make your own travel arrangements.  I’ll warn you though – there weren’t any direct flights from the NYC area to Columbia, SC.  The only direct flights we could find were to Charlotte, NC.

Check out these fun photos from the trip below (I’ve also included a recipe way down below, for a nice sweet tea cocktail to enjoy on a hot summer’s day):

Even the street corners in Columbia are purrty.

You still get that old timey feel here.

We took a nice ride on this little guy along Lake Murray, one of the largest man-made lakes in the world!

Columbia’s pre-civil war State Capitol building was always looming in the distance, from wherever you stood.

Congaree Sweet Tea

1 oz. Buffalo Trace Bourbon

1/4 oz. Grand Marnier

1/4 oz. Cherry Liqueur

3 oz. Fresh housemade Sweet Tea**

Directions:  Shake all ingredients in a mixing glass with ice.  Strain into an ice-filled highball glass.

Garnish: 3 marinated cherries

**To make a pitcher of sweet tea:

6 tea bags (Lipton or Luzianne)

1/8 tsp. baking soda

8 cups boiling water

1.5 cups demerara sugar (or sugar in the raw)

Directions:  Pour the boiling water over the tea bags and baking soda and steep for around 10 mins.  Then stir in the sugar until well-dissolved.  Chill well.

Crafty Summer Cocktails

Wanna impress your friends with you new-found ability to create yummy summer cocktails?  Well, look no further than my next class at The Astor Center: “Crafting Summer Cocktails – A Hands-On Workshop.”  You’ll get yer hands dirty, while sipping tasty libations – I dare you to find a better way to spend a Saturday evening.  

But hurry!  Only a few select tickets left!

Here are the details: (pss…email me here to get a special discount code to give you 1/2 off the class!)

Crafting Summer Cocktails

Saturday, June 7th, 2008 – 6:30pm-8:30pm

Cost: $95 measily bucks (you get a pretty kick-ass goodie bag at the end that makes it all worthwhile!) 

at The Astor Center

299 Lafayette Ave. (@ E. 4th St.)

NYC, NY

For more info and to buy tickets click here.

Here’s a great cocktail that was created in my last class, this past Saturday:

Happy American

cocktail creators: Dennis, Brendan, Ton

1 oz. Hendrick’s Gin

1 oz. Wild Turkey Honey Liqueur

1/2 oz. Boiron Raspberry Puree

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

Directions:  Shake all ingredients very well in a boston shaker with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.

No garnish.

 

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