Friday, March 6, 2009

The New York Korean cocktail mafia loses one of its members

March 3

I was down over at Dumpling Man on St. Mark's and just managed to bite into pork dumpling four of six when suddenly my phone jitterbugged across the counter where I was sitting. I almost choked on the barely chewed morsel, but hurriedly got it down so I could answer the phone. Seat available at the bar? Is it OK if I get there in 5-10 minutes? Alright.

I closed the phone and proceeded to shove dumplings number five then six into my maw. I hopped off the stool and headed out to trudge over the stubbornly lingering snow and down a couple of doors to PDT.

As I previously mentioned previously here, Tuesday was Daniel Eun's last shift at PDT before he moved out to California to study law. My presence at PDT was more symbolic than necessary. All the time I'd known Daniel, I've tried drinks he's created, run into him at numerous events, but never, ever stopped by PDT during one of his shifts. It seemed a little unconscionable to send him off like this. I mean, he was probably had no problems with the current state of affairs, it just did not seem right to me is all.

I'd already wished him well and said my goodbyes on Monday when Pranna was taken over by bartenders and other well-wishers in a double feature party both for Daniel and also to celebrate Jamie Gordon's birthday. I handed Daniel a shot of reposado tequila and joked that if I'd been quicker on my feet, I would've also bought him a beer and made him a poktanju on the spot (Korean: "bomb drink," basically a boilermaker, except, you know, you "bomb" the shot glass into the beer. Come on guys, I don't need to spell it out). We both laughed heartily at that though I noted a bit of relief in Daniel's voice when he said, "Good thing you didn't think of that."

I asked him if he was fully folding his bar career. Or, you know, be like...a bartending lawyer.

"That really sounds like the plot of some kind of Japanese movie," I said.

"Yea, they'll show like a montage of me doing stuff like carving ice," Daniel added.

"Oh, and also scenes of you studying really hard for like the bar or something," I said all excited as I could practically see the trailer running through my head. [Note: I just realized what a totally delicious play on words the movie would have if you took into account someone studying for the bar, versus studying for B.A.R.]

"And I'd accidentally hit my hand while carving the ice and go, 'Ah!'," Daniel parried.

"...and you'd, like, examine and throw a series of ice balls that don't meet your standards in increasing frustration!"

I could only stick around briefly for one drink at the party, but I told Daniel I'd try to stop by for his last shift, which is how I found myself at PDT sipping on a Rustbelt (Barbancourt 8 year rum, Navan, citrus, egg white, orgeat syrup, angostura bitters) made for me by Amanda.

I liked it. Ah, my weakness for egg whites. What I liked about this cocktail was the two layers of flavor it had going with the separation between the liquid and the foaminess of the egg whites on top. The top sort of trapped all the aromatic scents and flavors, such as the bitters as well as the vanilla and almond scents, while the liquid packed the sour flavors.

I told Daniel I couldn't leave before he made me a drink. so he made me a Derby cocktail. I said that once I finished the drink I could leave in good conscience.

"What? You wanted a send off drink? You should've told me," Daniel said. "I could make you something else."

"As long as it's not poktanju," I said.

"Oooh, I wasn't going to before, but now that you say that..."

"Wait! You guys do not make that here!"

Luckily he was mostly kidding and I worked on finishing the drink I had so I could weasel out before he changed his mind, but not before seeing Richard Boccato, who'd also stopped by with Ari to see Mr. Eun.

I asked Mr. B what the haps was with Dutch Kills. I told him the buzz online about the place was pretty intense. It sounded like people were ready to pounce on the place the minute it opened.

He said they're gearing up towards opening. There were still some finishing touches being taken care of so the opening is definitely looming over the horizon.

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