Tag Archives: wine

The New Black: NOIR NYC exudes a 1930s supper club vibe with modern touches

28 Jul

NOIR, the upscale restaurant and nightclub that opened in the old Nikki Beach space in June, hearkens back to its early 20th-century origins, first as an opera house and later as a speakeasy. The design attempts to recreate the old-school glamour of Sinatra’s hey day with tile flooring, marble staircase, dark wood banisters and leather banquettes. The elegant dining room takes up the first floor, while the glitzy lounge area comprises the second story.

The bar program features $220-to-$300 punch bowls that contain 20 servings and a premium spirits cart offering top-shelf Cognac and whiskies, including Scotch, which can be pour over a signature Macallan ice sphere.

The drinks menu highlights handcrafted cocktails ($15) developed by award-winning mixologist and beverage director Adam DelGiudice, who previously worked at the Florida Room in Miami’s South Beach. The list features twists on classics and original concoctions, including the Manhattan En Noir, made with rye whiskey, vermouth, Port, Grand Marnier and bitters, and the Five Point Sour, mixing Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, applejack, lemon juice and a float of red wine. NOIR also offers an extensive wine list.

I started with the Garden Variety, which blends vodka, muddled strawberries and basil, balsamic vinegar, lime juice and white pepper. The cocktail perfectly balances the fresh fruitiness of the strawberries with the acidic tang of the lime juice and vinegar. Plus, the basil and pepper exude herbal and spicy aromas.

I also tried the sweet and floral Lavender Aviation, made with gin, maraschino liqueur, lemon juice and house-made lavender syrup, as well as the tart and refreshing Ghost of Mary Pickford, comprising light rum, lime and pineapple juices, and house-made grenadine.

The cuisine—from Michelin-starred chef Jean-Yves Schillinger—combines American and French elements. Items include salmon and arugula flatbread pizza, Kobe beef sliders, red snapper with Asian sauce, and salmon, tuna and steak tartares, the last of which is topped with raw quail yolk.

NOIR is definitely the place to take a date, meet colleagues for drinks or host an extravagant birthday party in Midtown. Whatever the occasion, it’s sure to impress.

© 2012 Amber Drea and New York Drinkie. Unauthorized use or duplication of images and text without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be quoted, provided that clear credit is given to Amber Drea and New York Drinkie with links directing to the original content.

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Get Blasted: Buy discounted tickets for the Ultimate Blast through September 15th

12 Sep

Next month, the wine and spirits evaluation company Ultimate Beverage Challenge is hosting the second annual Ultimate Blast at the Marriott Marquis in Manhattan. The three-hour wine, spirits and cocktail tasting event takes place on Friday, October 14th, and will feature renowned brands and bartenders from all over the world, as well as a full buffet of hot and cold cuisine catered by the hotel and a live band playing a mix of lounge music and upbeat tunes. Mixologists and cocktail experts—including Punch author David Wondrich, “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff and PDT co-owner Jim Meehan—will also be on hand signing their books.

Attendees will have the opportunity to taste about 250 different spirits, 80 to 100 cocktails, and roughly 100 still and sparkling wines and Champagnes. The 2010 event featured bartenders and mixologists from venues like Pegu Club, Little Branch, Highlands and Eleven Madison Park, alongside such brands as The Dalmore Scotch, Banks 5 Island rum, Broker’s gin and Cognac Ferrand, and this year promises to be equally exciting. General admission tickets cost $125 for unlimited food and beverage tastings from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., while the $175 VIP tickets include an additional hour beginning at 5:30 p.m. And if you order tickets online by this Thursday, September 15th, you’ll get 30% off!

© Amber Drea and New York Drinkie, 2011. Photos by Michael Gold/TheCorporateImage. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of images and text without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that clear credit is given to Amber Drea and New York Drinkie with links directing to the original content.

Boston Drinkie: Two Beantown establishments offer top-notch cocktails in classy settings

26 Aug

While Boston isn’t the first place that comes to mind when discussing cutting-edge cocktails, the New England city certainly has its fair share of venues that deliver delicious drinks. Last weekend, I visited some friends there and took the opportunity to check out the cocktail scene on Saturday night. We started the evening at Eastern Standard Kitchen & Drinks, a Kenmore Square mainstay that serves an array of upscale meat and seafood dishes and has extensive cocktail and wine lists. At the bar, I tried the Colony Cocktail ($10), a Martini-style concoction made with Plymouth gin, maraschino liqueur and fresh grapefruit juice. It was sufficiently strong yet pleasantly refreshing — the perfect aperitif.

Eastern Standard’s cocktail menu features a variety of libations in such categories as Standards, Heritage, Infusion and Tikisms, many of which fall into the $10-to-$12 price range. The restaurant also offers “Table Sized” pitchers ($25 to $70) and a Vic’s 1940s Scorpion Bowl ($22 to $65) that serve two or more people. We ordered a bottle of 2009 Pascal Granger “Le Bouteau” Beajolais ($30) to pair with our meal of grilled flat iron steak, pan-seared foie gras, roasted bone marrow, jumbo prawns and halibut ceviche. The red wine was earthy and complex with a spicy zing.

After dinner, we headed to the Waterfront and attempted to gain entry at Drink, a sleek nightspot from the Barbara Lynch Gruppo that serves bespoke cocktails. As expected, the line to the lower-level drinks den filled the stairwell and almost spilled out the door at 11 p.m. on a Saturday night. The fact that there were six of us didn’t help. Fortunately, the extremely accommodating hostess allowed me to put our name in and grab a round at Lucky’s across the street, rather than stand on the steps for 45 minutes. The rambunctious college bar was crowded with baseball cap-wearing fraternity types, but I enjoyed an Absolut Wild Tea and ginger ale — my go-to drink at more mainstream establishments — as my friends and I engaged in loud conversation.

Once back in line at Drink, we only had to wait another 15 minutes or so before we were finally seated at one of the three U-shaped bars. The place has a minimal design with modern lighting fixtures, exposed brick walls, an industrial ceiling and street-level windows.

Our bartender, Brin, asked us what we’d like to drink, and while a letter board listed a few cocktails, we decided to go for the whole bespoke experience. I requested a classic-style drink with dark rum and bitters. The result was a lemony, slightly sweet concoction served up in a coupe glass.

Josie asked for something “minty and milkshaky,” and that’s exactly what she got. We deduced that it was probably a Grasshopper, which comprises cream, green crème de menthe and white crème de cacao. The drink tasted just like melted mint chocolate chip ice cream and looked like it too.

Adam wanted a citrusy vodka cocktail, but failed to mention that he doesn’t like gin. Bartenders are notorious for tricking vodka drinkers into trying gin, and true to form, Brin served him a combination of gin and lemon juice. It actually worked — Adam said he didn’t mind the taste. So maybe he’s not a full on convert yet, but at least he drank the cocktail. Meanwhile, Genie ordered a Pimm’s Cup and received a beautiful work of art featuring layers of sliced cucumber like a Pimm’s parfait.

For my second cocktail, I asked for something rum-based, but stronger than my previous drink. Brin obliged with a mix of rum, whiskey, lemon juice and simple syrup, though it definitely had more of the first two ingredients and less of the latter two. Let’s just say I was done for the night after that.

All the cocktails cost $11.50 — a steal for the amount a craftsmanship that goes into them. And our bartender was a hard worker. At one point, she carried out the largest cube of ice I’d ever seen.

Between drinks, Brin procured a dangerous-looking tool and sawed away at the solid surface. I’m assuming she made smaller ice cubes out of the gigantic one, but we didn’t stick around long enough to find out. There’s always next time!

© Amber Drea and New York Drinkie, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of images and text without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that clear credit is given to Amber Drea and New York Drinkie with links directing to the original content.

Soul Mates: Booze finds its perfect match at Edible Manhattan’s mixer

30 Jan

Food paired with wine or beer is fairly common; less so is food paired with cocktails, the complexity of which can often dominate the dishes. However, if anyone knows how to bring together delicious drinks and bountiful bites, it’s Edible Manhattan, and the magazine’s Good Spirits event at (Le) Poisson Rouge in Washington Square Village definitely delivered. Restaurants and bars teamed up with spirits brands (and one wine) to showcase their best cuisine and cocktails, while foodies and drinkies swarmed throughout the two rooms, dutifully tasting every offering.

One thing’s certain: There was plenty of pig. I began my tour with Peels’ pork and beef sausage hot dog, topped with Brussels sprout slaw (yum!) and Bourbon cherry mustard, and washed it down with the Cherry Crush, comprising Warwick Valley Winery & Distillery’s American Fruits Sour Cherry Cordial, rehydrated cherries, star anise simple syrup, lime juice and a splash of club soda. The drink’s sweet and tangy cherry flavor perfectly complemented the savory sausage.

Next I tried Huckleberry Bar’s peanut butter and banana sandwich, consisting of peanut butter mousse, banana, peanuts, mayonnaise, salt and orange bitters on toasted white bread. It was like a grown-up version of my favorite after school snack, especially when accompanied by The New York Times, which mixed Death’s Door White Whisky, Amaro CioCiaro, Chelsea Brewing’s Imperial Stout and orange bitters. The crisp cocktail cut through the sandwich’s salty creaminess and cleansed the palate.

Huckleberry co-owner Andrew Boggs exhibited the tools of the trade.

I swung by the table of Long Island’s Wölffer Estate Vineyard for a taste of its 2008 Chardonnay, which had great acidity and balance with just a touch of oakiness, and a bite of cheddar polenta topped with crispy bacon and apple purée, courtesy of Jimmy’s 43.

Nearby, Fort Defiance served up deviled eggs, made with smoked black pepper and pickled mustard seeds, and the King Bee, which combined Darjeeling tea-infused Comb vodka—which is distilled from honey—with lemon, a dash of Benedictine liqueur and Prosecco. I love me some deviled eggs!

In the other room, Fette Sau had a spread of barbecued Duroc pork belly, matched with Compass Box’s The Peat Monster, a light and smoky blend of Islay and Highland Scotch whiskies. I’m usually not a fan of peaty whisky, but this one I could drink.

Next up was Palo Santo’s tostada de chicharrón (fried pork rind), topped with a spicy pineapple sauce and presented on a piece of newspaper, street food-style. The dish was paired with a mix of Nonino Chardonnay grappa and crushed pineapple, served in a chili salt-rimmed cup. I found the chunky concoction to be somewhat difficult to drink, and its astringent flavor overpowered the tostada—a rare miss of the night.

Macao Trading Co. delivered with its mushroom and truffle croquette and a tartare of bacalhau—Portuguese for “salted cod”—atop a slice of baguette. Providing a fragrant, citrusy complement, the Macao cocktail comprised lavender-infused St-Germain elderflower liqueur and a sugar cube soaked with lemon bitters, topped with dry Zardetto Prosecco.

Here’s the author, happy and buzzed, in front of a piece from Kate Casanova’s art exhibition “Spoils.” Very festive.

I headed back to the main room and hunted down Lani Kai, Julie Reiner’s new Hawaiian lounge, which served tasty kalua pork on a soft poi pancake and the Pacific Swizzle cocktail, mixing lime juice, passion fruit purée and Don Q Cristal rum that had been infused with rose hips, hibiscus and lemongrass.

Julie is one of New York City’s mover and shakers—she also co-owns Flatiron Lounge, Pegu Club and Clover Club.

The final pork dish of the night was Fonda’s pork in guajillo adobo over white rice, matched with a Ginger Margarita that blended Karma Tequila, Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur and lime juice.

For dessert, Northern Spy Food Co. offered a decadent sticky winter pudding soaked with Tuthilltown Spirits’ Hudson Baby Bourbon hard sauce and served with nutmeg custard. The accompanying Tuthilltown Manhattan, made with Hudson Manhattan Rye Whiskey, further warmed my tummy.

To end the evening, I chased Tumbador Chocolate bonbons with a couple shots of Bache Gabrielsen Cognac. There were also Serendipitea and Dallis Coffee stations, but their drinks didn’t contain liquor, so why bother?

© Amber Drea and New York Drinkie, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of images and text without express and written permission is strictly prohibited. Excerpts may be used, provided that clear credit is given to Amber Drea and New York Drinkie with links directing to the original content.