01/07/2015 § Leave a comment
While I have yet to use the oven in the apartment I’ve lived in for over two years, one area of my kitchen that gets a fair amount of attention is my home bar. What started out as a few bottles of my favorite spirits — no obscure liqueurs, no tools, no doo-dads — has gradually evolved into one of my favorite places in my apartment. Its remarkable growth can be explained partially by the fact that I currently work in the spirits industry, but it’s also true that few things bring me more pleasure than collecting.
For spirits, my first look is Astor Wines. They’re humongous. But it’s definitely worth exploring your neighborhood to find a local shop you like. They’ll be able to order you pretty much anything — as long as you ask them nicely.
For tools and glassware, check out Cocktail Kingdom.
For how to bring it all together, refer to the Death & Company Book. Written by the folks behind one of New York’s preeminent cocktail bars, this tome is no joke. Be prepared for indulgent discussions about the bar itself and the folks who work and drink there, and on how to make over 500 cocktails. Mind you, “indulgent” in the best possible sort of way.
And if history is more your thing, David Wondrich just re-released his classic IMBIBE!, which traces the beginnings of the great American invention: the cocktail as we know it today.
Where to keep it all? If you’re like me and have no space (hello teensy Soho apartment life), make due with the best surface available. In my case, as shown above on Instagram, the bar is perched atop my midcentury modern dresser…which is technically in the kitchen. I told you my apartment was small! If you’ve got a little room to work with, I love bar carts like this one, this one and ESPECIALLY this one.
Did I miss anything??
28/03/2015 § 1 Comment
In honor of the upcoming final (!) season of AMC’s Mad Men, a select group of New York restaurants — the sort of joints that Madison Avenue ad men probably would have favored — featured special lunch menus last week. Priced at $19.69 — the year of the final season — patrons could treat themselves to the hallowed “liquid lunch” or opt for a prix fixe menu. It wasn’t something I was prepared to miss, so I corralled a compatriot and made my way directly to the 21 Club.
The 21 Club, formerly a prohibition-era speakeasy, has been in operation since the 1920s and has occupied its current, jockey-decorated location since 1929. Since its inception 21 has been a favored spot of presidents, celebrities, socialites, politicians, and titans of industry. A four-story townhouse with multiple private rooms, its famed secret wine cellar has housed the private collections of folks like Ernest Hemingway, John F. Kennedy, and Frank Sinatra. Today, 21 retains a sense of old-fashioned formality that has become somewhat unique – gentlemen are required to wear jackets to gain entrance to the dining room, servers are dressed in tuxedos. The Bar Room, where we lunched, sports a ceiling decorated with antique toys, suspended in air.
If you know me at all, you already know I went for the cocktails: Manhattans made with Canadian Club, while my dining partner opted for gin martinis. Feeling very Roger Sterling and Don Draper, we also ordered for a dozen oysters, and a fabulous, mid-century time was had by all.
21 W. 52nd Street
New York, NY 10019
18/09/2012 § 1 Comment
It’s always a favorite time of year for me when details about the annual Louis Vuitton City Guides — and their accompanying video clips — start to emerge from the ether, but when the House of Vuitton decides to feature New York City first, it’s a double win. In its fourteenth year of publication, the Guides offer the discerning traveller expert advice on a select group of cities in the Americas, Europe and Asia.
Kicking off the 2013 guides in a perfect marriage of travel and cocktailing,* we find ourselves in hot pursuit of a perfect Manhattan in Manhattan — a shaken cocktail that has shown remarkable staying power since its invention at the Manhattan Club in 1870 — we visit Jimmy at the James Hotel, Le Bain at the The Standard Hotel, The Summit Bar on the Lower East Side and Amor y Amargo in the East Village.
I don’t know about you, but my watch definitely just hit cocktail o’ clock.
*probably not a word, but should be.
28/05/2012 § 2 Comments
While I may not be much of a cook, I do quite enjoy tending bar. With an exceptionally warm Memorial Day Weekend (what thunderstorms?!?) and friends visiting from out of town, I took the opportunity to make my first pitcher cocktail of the season. A bit bubbly, a bit tart, and completely refreshing, I’m calling this gin-based concoction of mine The Seven Year Itch. To make it, you’ll need:
- 1 1/2 cup of gin. I used Brooklyn Gin.
- 1/2 cup elderflower liqueur. I used St. Germain.
- 1 cup club soda
- 1 large handful of fresh raspberries
- 1 handful of fresh mint, additional sprigs for garnish
- 1 lime
- 1 lemon
- large pitcher, wooden spoon or muddler, cocktail glasses
Next, add a good amount of ice to the pitcher, and then pour the liquors and the club soda over the ice. Serve immediately to avoid the club soda going flat and the ice melting.
Voila! Garnish with a raspberry and a mint sprig.
One of the most iconic Marilyn Monroe movies — yep, the white dress/subway grate one — The Seven Year Itch was directed and co-written by Billy Wilder and was released in 1955. Featuring an exceptionally hot summer in New York (ahem), the story details the overactive imagination of publishing executive Richard Sherman (a role that Tom Ewell originated on Broadway), who has been left to his own devices in the city while his wife (yep, of seven years) heads off to Maine for the summer with their son. Settling in for a long, hot few months, Mr. Sherman is surprised to find his upstairs neighbors have sublet their apartment for the summer to a model (Monroe). Proper Wilder-esque hijinks then ensue. It’s a lovely little film and one of my very favorites. And when I thought about what I wanted to call my cocktail, I immediately thought of Marilyn’s dress, crisp and fresh in the hot city night. Perfectly fitting, no?