Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Getting back on the horse and into the game

February 9

Walking into a bar and having the folks working there greet you with an enthusiastic, "Hey, long time no see!" probably would set the gears turning in anyone's head as they question their drinking habits. Then again you could also give it a charitable spin that the place has a staff that provides great customer service and remembers its guest.

If you're me, however, the first thing to cross your mind is that you have not been keeping up with the game. I have to admit, I seemed to have fallen into this inexplicable morass of not going to as many events or bars. It was mostly timing I guess. Deadlines, the end of the year, the holidays, they all sort of crept up on me and put me into a sleep hold while I wasn't looking. Things needed to change. I needed to untangle myself from all this and put a German suplex on it. I needed to get myself back into season shape to bring the stories that this crazy town has to offer when it comes to alcohol consuming and making. That's why I'd finally gotten off of my rear to respond to some event invites and that evening I was set to check out Marc Forgione's place, which was having a (re)christening party of sorts.

Before I headed that way, I still had some time, so I dropped by Death and Co. to give Mr. Alex Day an issue of our publication. He'd been kind enough to act as a source for an article I'd written for our NRN 50 special issue.

I felt like Rip Van Winkle as I walked into the place. It seemed like ages since I last sat down for a drink.

"I feel like it's been a while since I last saw you," Alex said as I handed him the issue.

I ordered a Faithful Scotsman. It's sort of become my go to drink at Death and Co. I think it's because it's refreshing without being too sweet so it's nice and easy to start off with. And it has two of my favorite things, tartness and whiskey. High-five, everyone.

John Deragon and Don Lee were there as well. John wanted to know what happened to the rest of "Tuesdays with Eben." I winced a little. I admit, my fault entirely. It basically came down to scheduling. I'd gotten the OK to leave work early the first couple of times, but now I had to figure out another way that didn't have me leaving work early. I need to get on that so I can at least do one more session and tie that series up neatly. Also, a little relieved to get confirmation that people are really interested in that particular series.

Don told me he felt I was slacking off in a tsk-tsk-ing tone. Man, this wasn't good. With renewed fire and vigor I stomped off down to Marc Forgione's restaurant, which was changing its name from Forge to, well, Marc Forgione.

I remember at the Tales of the Cocktail and Saveur event, our food editor Bret Thorn's friend Blain Howard asked me about what I did. When I told him about this blog he asked, "Wait, so why's Bret here?"

Because the two intersect. This Marc Forgione event is more Bret's bailiwick, but when I do get invites for restaurant events that state "cocktails will be served," I can't help but go and take a peek at what they're serving.

The restaurant's old "Forge" nameplate sat near the host stand surrounded by flowers, candles and sympathy cards. A smorgasbord of cheeses and cured meats. Servers also walked around with tasty hors d'oeuvres.

It looked like there were several drinks available that evening, but there wasn't really a menu to look at, or at least I didn't see one. Nonetheless, I was able to grab two before I had to leave.

I tried a kumquat mojito made by muddling kumquat, mint and simple syrup. I watched the bartender add rum then shake the drink. He topped it off with a sparkling juice or fruit drink of sorts, but I couldn't quite catch what he said it was as he passed the drink to me over the heads of the masses that huddled around the bar. Earlier I had bumped into Jordana Rothman from Time Out New York and we'd talked about how kumquats seemed like such a confusing rip off as a kid with its inside-out sweet and tart.

Out of the two I had that evening, the favorite was the first drink I had, made with lime, cucumber gin and a bit of ginger.

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