Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bartender Lunch at Fatty Crab

April 14

Events that take place in the middle of the day always throw me off a little because for me it's an interruption in the middle of the day. Now, I mean this in good jest, because while I like to poke fun about how the hours of my desk job existence differ from the hours of the many good folks I meet, there are those with a day jobs who are up and about before noon. Still, I couldn't help myself as I wisecracked if this lunch was more like the first meal of the day for some of the bartenders attending.

Today's lunch was a little something put together by Domaine de Canton. John Cooper, founder of Domaine de Canton, told me that the ginger liqueur company's previously hosted other lunches like this in other cities.

I took a glance at the lunch menu and the number of drinks outnumbered the food. Besides the ginger liqueur's signature cocktail (Domaine de Canton, lemon, Angostura bitters), there were also four other cocktails created by Fatty Crab's Adam Shuman.

Far East Side Cocktail
Domaine de Canton, cucumber, cilantro root, yuzu

tequila, chili-infused Domaine de Canton, watermelon-kaffir, lime

gin, Domaine de Canton, green Chartreuse, kalamansi, maraschino

The Post Coital
Domaine de Canton, Cynar, Martini Bianco, dry sherry

True to its word, the event itself was a relaxed lunch atmosphere with people mingling about, talking, catching up. When we all sat down to partake in the lunch it felt like a bit like a huge family and friends get together.

I found myself seated neatly in a corner next to Damon Dyer, directly across from Jonathan Pogash and diagonal to Jason Littrell. As I took a quick glimpse down the table I spotted other familiar faces like Marshall Altier, Terence Miller and raven-haired Eryn Reece, who I bump into plenty of times, but I could never quite place where I'd met her for the first time. She figured out for me that we first met back when she worked at Bar Milano. Porter House's James Menite was also sitting one person away from me.

I had to admit, even though I'd left the office grumbling thanks to an interrupted work day, I was pretty glad to have made it. The lunch format made it feel more casual and I got a chance to catch up with people as well as see what the word on the street was without my pesky notebook getting in the way and being all rigid and...professional? Soon the conversation turned to topics of who is working where these days, who was out of town, any tentative plans coming down the pike, Who's going to Tales, and OMG ME TOO. Obviously, the bartenders had more shop to talk about than I did, but at one point I looked around the table with a mixed look of skepticism, intrigue and horror as Damon started up a half-joking (I hope?) thread of conversation with Jonathan about what bitters could possibly consumed shot style (some from experience), and how.

I knew I couldn't stay long since I had to get back to work, but funnily enough, some folks couldn't stick around because they had to be going off to work too...

...yea, I was going to try and end with some cutesy tie-in about how it's so Alanis Morisette ironic, but I can't bring myself to do it.

And now, food porn!

Sadly, the few drink photos I snagged didn't come out too well, so all I have are food pictures. Not photographed, the super peppery Singaporean Black Pepper Mussels. Oh, and there's a drink hidden in one of these pictures, so play "Find Waldo." I mean, "Find the Chupacabra cocktail."

Raw quail egg topped with dried shredded pork

Jalan Alor chicken wings (particularly good with the cocktails)

Watermelon pickle and crispy pork

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Emails I get: Earth Day

Once again, from the "stuff that comes across my desk" department. Warning: This is just a collection of various things I've received via email that I'm sharing simply as data points. But by all means, read the NRN story on organic spirits featured in this month's NRN Beverage Trends E-Newsletter.

One email from the Gerber Group was about their Earth Day tie-in with Veev Acai Spirit. By RSVP-ing at a participating bar, you get a complimentary "eco-friendly" cocktail made with Veev. But wait, there's more. For every bottle of Veev sold, the producers will donate $1 towards preserving the Brazilian rain forest.

In related news, an email from back in March from folks representing Veev stated that the company would also plant a tree for every Veev "Treetini" cocktail ordered at participating New York bars bars and restaurants through the rest of April until the end of May. Check out the Treetini website for more info and other participating locations elsewhere.

Earlier this month, TRU Organic Spirits released results from two independent studies that stated TRU's line of organic vodkas and gin are "the most radically carbon negative consumer products on the market." The company also said that the makers Melkon Khosrovian and Litty Mathew of TRU are working with hotel groups, creating all-organic fresh ingredient cocktail menus with major chains such as the Marriott Group, Wyndham Hotels and Resort and The Mandarin Oriental.

Other establishments chose to highlight existing green beverage efforts. One email blast I received was about Harbour's FRESH Water Filtration system that purifies water on-site, as well as the restaurant's reusing of glass water bottles.

Counter, an organic and vegetarian joint in the East Village, is holding an Earth Day celebration on the 23, with tickets available for $10. There will be music (promises of "electro-funk, disco and 80's dance") food, and of course, organic beverages. The party is in actuality an after party for Project Earth Day, runway show and student competition that puts the spotlight on green design principles and sustainability. The announcement boasted a long list of donations from beverage producers like EEL River Brewing Company, Doc's Hard Cider, Martin Scott Wines, Q Tonic, Rain Vodka, TRU Vodka & Gin, Peak Organic Brewing Company and Tequila Terras. Oh, and for every bottle of TRU Vodka consumed, TRU will plant a tree (One Tree per Bottle).

Diageo also announced some of their own Earth Day initiatives, with the company's employees from Norwalk, Conn., Plainfield, Ill., and Amherstberg, Ontario participating efforts to increase environmental awareness. The company also announced that Sterling Vineyards Winery in Napa Valley, Calif., has been certified as a Napa Valley Green Winery by the Napa County Department of Environmental Management. Daigeo also announced in the press release that the company recently b egan construction on a new high-capacity rum distillery in the U.S. Virgin Island with LEED certification principles in mind. The distillery is slated to begin production in 2011, with goals to supply all the rum used to make Captain Morgan products for the United States beginning in 2012.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Tales of the cocktail announces official cocktail: The Creole Julep

In the annual Official Cocktail Competition finals that took in April. Maksym Pazuniak, mixologist at Rambla and Cure, snagged the honor of creating this year's official cocktail for Tales of the Cocktail.

Creole Julep
Created by Maksym Pazuniak, Cure/Rambla

2 1/4 oz. Cruzan Single Barrel Estate Rum
1/2 oz. Clement Creole Shrubb
1/4 oz. Captain Morgan 100
2 dashes Fee Bros. Peach bitters
2 dashes angostura bitters
8-10 mint leaves
1 Demerara Sugar Cube

Muddle sugar, Creole Shrubb and bitters until sugar is dissolved in a 10 oz. tall glass. Add mint and press to express oils. Add cracked ice. Add Cruzan and Captain Morgan 100 and stir until frost appears on outside of glass. Garnish with mint sprig.

In second place was the Joie de Julep, created by Corey Bunnewith of Drinkin. And awesomely enough, third place went to the Ginger Peach Julep, created by Wayne Curtis, a freelance journalist. One for the writers!

Judges included Author David Wondrich, Mixology Research Engineer Robert Hess, TV Personality, Lorin Gaudin, Yuri Kato, Editor of and Chris Hannah of Arnaud's French 75 Bar.