Vanilla Goodness

Last week I enjoyed Madagascar in it’s liquid form at Tailor in the West Village.  Our hostess with the mostest, the brand ambassador for Navan Vanilla Liqueur (which is, of course, a liqueur made from Madagascar vanilla beans and cognac), Aisha Sharpe, was out in full form (she’d been drinking since brunch that morning).  This extra special dinner/cocktail pairing was inspired by the avant-garde kitchen that inhabits Tailor, and the talent that is exuded behind the stick here.  Eben Freeman is the man behind the bar, and he creates magic whenever a shaker is placed in his hands.  And whenever Navan is placed in anybody’s paws, they become Houdini.

I’ve included a few photos below of that magical Sunday evening below.  Check them out and go to Tailor. 

Here’s Eben looking mighty snazzy and talking up a storm.

The rowdy crowd that night at Tailor.  Look closely and you can just make out H there at the head of the table.  Who the heck does he think he is?  A recent B.A.R. graduate or something?

Antoine Gervais from Navan/Grand Marnier, and Aisha.  Navan was the star of the night.

Eben in his hole – right where he belongs!



Summer…meet Fall.

Do ya feel the nip in the air?  Huh?  Do ya!?

I do, and frankly, I’m glad.  Don’t judge me for liking the Fall weather better than Summer’s excruciating humidity.  Although there tend to me more ingredients to work with during the summer (cocktail-wise, that is), the Fall still lends itself to some wonderful favorites (enter Pomegranates, Apples, Pears, Cranberries, Maple Syrup…the list goes on.) 

I’ve gotten a bit creative, some may say a bit too much (is that possible?), on my current Fall cocktail menus at my bars.  I’ve introduced obscure ingredients, but really, is that unlike me?  I exaggerate…

With tomorrow being the first day of the Fall season, I urge you to try your local watering hole’s signature drinks – if, indeed, said watering hole is the type to change their menus around seasonally.  I cannot stress how important this is for any bar or restaurant to uphold.  Ok, I’m done preaching now. 

Here’s a recipe from my new cocktail menu at The Campbell Apartment.  It’s for a tasty concoction I call the “Anjou Cocktail.”

Anjou Cocktail

1 oz. Dewar’s Blended Scotch

1/2 oz. Averna

1 tsp. Wattleseed Extract **

1/2 oz. Honey Syrup **

1/4 of a ripe pear (Anjou Pear)

Directions:  Muddle the pear in the honey syrup.  Then add remaining ingredients and ice and shake very well.  Strain into martini glass.

Garnish: thin pear slice

**Wattleseed is the seed of the Acacia Tree, popular in Australia.  Very high in protein and nutrients.  We have it in extract form**

**Honey Syrup is simply 2 parts honey to 1 part water**


If you want to know more about this “Wattleseed” substance, visit Vic Cherikoff’s website: 


A big “Shout Out” to my pals taking the BAR course this week at Astor Center

This is an Acacia Tree

Don’t turn off that annoying Taxi TV…& USBG-NY Happy Hour!

You may just catch a glimpse of me making some Fall wedding drinks.  Gosh darnit – didn’t realize how much play it would get.  Folks have come out of the woodworks to tell me about how they saw me in a cab on their way home.  So if you get into a cab in NYC, and it’s the NBC taxi TV, step right back out and try again until you find an ABC Taxi TV cab, k?

Well, just in case you missed it, here is the clip which originally aired on WABC-TV news:

Many thanks to the kind folks at 


USBGNY Happy Hour (for current and interested members)


What is Cointreau Noir?  Join your fellow Bartender brothers and sisters, along with Cointreau’s new brand ambassador, Erin Williams, as she spills the beans on this intriguing new libation.


What: Complimentary cocktails and nibbles.


Where: The World Bar (Trump World Tower, 845 United Nations Plaza, 48th St. and 1st Ave, NYC)

When: Mon. Sep. 22, 4-6pm




Hope to see you all there!


Pic Your Olives Not Your Toes!

A couple of years ago (geez, has it been that long!), a young lady approached me as I was slinging drinks at The Campbell Apartment for commuters catching their 6:32 Metro-North trains. (As a side bar, if you haven’t been over to this magnificent prohibition-era cocktail lounge, you’re missing out.  There is not other space like it in the city, and the cocktails are pretty damned tasty – not that I’m biased or anything.)  So, getting back to this young lady who approached me at the bar.  She ordered a drink, a gin martini, I think, and proceeded to intently study the pic that which was holding her 3 pimento-stuffed olives.  She called me over and asked me where I get my cocktail pics from.  Hell if I knew.  They’re just there.  They’ve been there since I started.  Never really thought about it.  What’s your obsession with olive pics, I thought.  She proceeded to hand me her business card, and as it turns out, cocktail pics is her business.  And guess what?  I should be paying more attention to what kind of cocktail pics I skewer those olives, or cocktail onions, or whatever, on. 

Allow me to tell you a little bit about this woman’s interesting products.  Janet Torelli makes these lovely sterling silver designer cocktail pics.  And that’s not all!  She also makes servers, spoons, and sugar tongs.  If I had known about her terrific website when I was betrothed, I would have registered for her goods.  Yes, she does wedding registries, too.  Make me happy and click this link to go to her website.  You’ll be amazed at the hand-crafted art that is sure to add flair and luxury to your cocktails. 

Now doesn’t this Manhattan look ten-times better with Ms. Torelli’s cocktai pic:

(photo courtesty of

Get with the trends.  Skewer your garnishes.

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