Secret Summer Cocktail Party 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

On Sunday afternoon August 4th, I attended the fifth annual Secret Summer cocktail festival. It was promoted as “the country’s only farm to bar festival dedicated to sustainable cocktails” using locally sourced ingredients. The event was produced by High-Life Productions and RAPT Hospitality.

The event was held again for the fifth year at The Foundry, an event space located at 42-38 9th Street in the the industrial waterfront area of Long Island City, a stones throw away from the Queensborough (Ed Koch) Bridge. The Foundry is a restored 19th century foundry, literally a brick fortress with an outdoor courtyard and several rooms.

Each of the rooms (or experiences as they called it) was dedicated to a particular sponsored spirit with mixologists on hand to make several signature cocktails with that spirit. New this year was a travelling trailer from Suntory whiskey which housed a tasting room with a rooftop sitting area.

Spirits used in the many cocktails that were available to sip on included: Suntory Whiskey Toki, Haiku gin, Roku gin, Huku vodka, Westward whiskey, Uncle Nearest whiskey, Aldez tequila, Gem & Bolt mezcal, Aperol, Mr Black coffee liquor, Chinolo passion fruit liquor, Toma Bloody Mary and Blue Point beer.

One of the non alcoholic options available were coffee drinks from Elmhurst Coffee Bar made with various non-cow milk products such as oat milk, walnut milk and hemp milk.

I would say that this is one of the best cocktail parties of the year in the city. You were able to spend the afternoon wandering around the many rooms and courtyard sampling cocktails while being entertained by immersive performances, aerialists, local artists, live music and DJ’s.

It was a typically hot and humid August afternoon so my go-to drink for the day was the classic gin & tonic made with Roku gin and London Essence tonic.

 

 

Rosé Splash

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Rosé Splash was a rosé wine themed boat ride that was held aboard the Spirit of New York on the afternoon of September 3rd. It’s not to be confused with the other rosé boat ride, the La Nuit en Rosé boat ride from last May.

The boat shoved off from Pier 61 at Chelsea Piers at West 21st Street in Manhattan for a leisurely three hour cruise along the Hudson river and lower Manhattan.

The Spirit of New York which is normally used as a dinner cruise venue, is a fairly large boat and today had three floors of tasting tables and a buffet, They poured an international selection of wines including New York State wines in addition to spirits such as Ketal One vodka, Taconic Distillery whiskey and Goslings rum to name a few.

It was a beautiful afternoon to be on the water and the crowd enjoyed themselves. I didn’t think that the quality of the wines today were as good as the wines poured at the La Nuit en Rosé boat event, but with three floors of wine and spirits, there was plenty to keep everyone occupied for the afternoon. Plus, they had really good bread at the buffet table.

 

 

Dan’s Taste of Two Forks 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Dan’s Paper is a weekly publication that focuses on the Hampton’s lifestyle. Their “Taste of Summer” is a series of food and wine parties out in the Hamptons that include everything from a rosé soirée to a taco fiesta.

On Saturday July 20th they hosted their 9th annual Dan’s Taste of Two Forks. With this years demise of the long running (28 years) Chefs & Champagne event, the Taste of Two Forks, “the #1 event of the Summer in the Hampton’s” is now the premier foodie event on the east end.

It was a food and wine celebration with over 40 restaurants serving their signature dishes, 20 vineyards pouring wine along with beer, spirits and cocktails to accompany all that food. Music was provided by DJ Phresh.

The event which was one huge cocktail party was held under the big tents overlooking Mecox Bay at Fairview Farm located on 19 Horsemill Lane in Bridgehampton.

It was a brutally hot Summer day and it seemed that the outdoor venue might turn out to have sauna-like conditions, but a strong breeze off of Mecox Bay blissfully cooled down the temperature to comfortable levels. I was happy to spend the afternoon grazing and drinking Aperol spritzs and hard seltzer.

 

 

Some of the food I sampled:

The Clubhouse: Tuna tartare in crispy taco.

Saaz Indian: Chicken tikka masala, basmati rice.

Topping Rose House: Oyster kimchi.

Shinnecock Lobster Factory: Lobster fritters and truffle fondue.

Vermont Wagyu: Wagyu sliders.

The Frisky Oyster: Peconic gold oyster friskafeller.

Calissa: Brisket souvlaki.

North Sea Tavern: Seafood salad.

Grace & Grit: Spicy Long Island seafood chowder.

Union Cantina: Skirt steak taco.

Anker & Green Hill: Tuna, quinoa, cucumber, tomato, cilantro.

Smokin’ Wolf BBQ & More: Slow smoked BBQ pulled pork sliders.

T Bar Southhampton: Yellowfin tuna tartare.

The Halyard: Crab and summer bean salad.

The Garden at Watermill: Scallop crudo.

Scarpetta Beach: Yellowtail crudo.

Mirabelle Restaurant: Rissoles of duck and foie gras.

 

Rum Fest New York 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Rum is a distilled spirit made from sugar cane juice or its byproduct molasses. Generally, there are three styles of rum based on nationality. Spanish style rums tend to be lighter, English style rums darker and richer and French style rums which are a controlled product governed by an AOC (Appellation d’Origine Controlle) and uses only free run sugar cane juice.

Rum Lab is a website that caters to all things, rum with rum themed articles, and interviews with people in the rum business. Their motto is “teaching the secrets and history of rum”.

They also host rum festivals in Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and Puerto Rico. On Saturday June 15th, they hosted the New York City rum fest which was part of rum week in the city.

The event which was held at Metropolitan West, an event space at 639 West 46th Street on the west side of Manhattan.

There was an extensive selection of rums from around the world with an diverse collection of white, aged, flavored rums and rum cocktails. Many of the Caribbean and South American countries were represented but there were rums from countries that are not usually associated with rum production such as the U.S., Sweden and Java.

.

Some of what I sampled:

English Harbour (Antigua): 5yr, 10yr

The Real McCoy (Barbados): 3yr, 5yr, 12yr

Mount Gay (Barbados): Black Barrel, XO

Four Square (Barbados): Empery, 2007

Montaya (Colorado): Exclusiva, Aniversaria

Dictador (Columbia): 12yr, 20yr, XO, Perpetual

Centenario (Costa Rica): 12yr, 18yr, 20yr

Karukera (Guadeloupe): Gold, Rhum Vieux Agricole, Rhum Blanc Agricole

Smith & Cross (Jamaica): Traditional Rum

The Funk (Jamaica): Heavy Pot Still Rum

Wray & Nephew (Jamaica): White Overproof Rum

Worthy Park (Jamaica): Single Estate Reserve

Rhum J.M. (Martinique): V.O., V.S.O.P.

Maggie’s Farm (Pittsburgh): Queen’s Share

Don Q (Puerto Rico): Vermouth Cask Finished, Single Barrell 2007

Havana Club (Puerto Rico): Anejo

Admiral Rodney (Saint Lucia): Princessa, Royal Oak, Formidable

Kronan (Sweden): Swedish Punsch

The Scarlet Ibis (Trinidad)

Plantation Rum: Guyana 1998, Trinidad 2009

Diplomatico (Venezuela): Single Vintage 2002, Ambassador

Santa Teresa (Venezuela): 1769 Solera Rum

Pusser’s Rum: Original Admiralty Rum

 

 

 

Bastille Day Fête 2019

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

July 14th is Bastille Day, the national holiday of France. It celebrates the storming of the Bastille on July 14th, 1789 and the birth of the modern French nation.

FIAF (french institute alliance francaise) is the “country’s leading French language and cultural center” founded nearly 120 years ago to promote French arts and teach French language and is now housed in the heart of Manhattan at 22 East 6oth Street. For over twenty years they have hosted New York City’s largest public celebration of France’s national holiday.

It was a three-block long party on East 60th Street with French themed food booths, French products and a stage with continuous live music throughout the afternoon.

Of course there were a couple of wine tastings as well, a Summer in Provence tasting and a Champagne, Cocktail and Jazz party which I attended. At the party they served five very drinkable Champagne and a specialty cocktail while being serenated by Avalon, a four-piece Jazz band.

 

Champagnes:

Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rosé

Pol Roger Reserve

Delamonte Brut

Besserat du Bellefon Bleu Brut

Michel Gonet Brut Reserve

 

Cocktail: “La Quatorze Juillet

Made with Routin vermouth blanc, Giffard rubarbe liquour, Giffard Menthe Pastille (a pepperment flavored liquour), a couple of dashes of Angostura bitters and topped with a slice of cucumber. It was very refreshing.

 

 

More Summer Rosé Long Island

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Rosé season is kicking in to high gear now and there is plenty of pink wine coming out of the east end long island wineries to keep the thirsty satisfied.

Most of the wineries do a pretty good job of making a drinkable version.

One afternoon I drove out for another tasting.

 

 

Shinn Estate Vineyards  2000 Oregon Road, Mattituck

Winery using biodynamic wine practices, featuring a wine library with a barrel room view. They also have a B & B on property.

2018 Rosé

100% Merlot. Medium cherry red, crushed red cherry on the nose, red cherry and some funk on the medium body with moderate acids.

 

Lieb  Cellars  13050 Oregon Road, Cuthchogue

The rustic tasting room is in a quiet spot off the main road. Established in 1992, they make estate grown “small production reserve wines”. They also own a local custom crush winemaking facility.

2018 Bridge Lane Rosé

Mostly Cabernet Franc. Medium copper in color, fresh honeydew on the nose, clean melon notes on the fruit, moderate to low acids, very drinkable.

 

Paumanok Vineyards  1074 Main Road, Aquebogue

The first winery you run into on the main road wine trail. Established in 1983 and the first winery to grow a Chenin Blanc.

2018 Dry Rosé

A blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Orange-copper in color, dried herbs and funky melon on the nose with some of those funky notes coming through on the fruit, nice balance of acids.

 

 

Côte du Rhône Festival

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

The debut Côte du Rhône festival was held on June 23rd and promised to be “a free flowing wine and food experience in Manhattan”.

The event was held at the event space Second at 849 6th Avenue in Manhattan. It was a walk-around tasting with a French wine bar theme. There were also a couple of seminars thrown in. To accompany the generous quantity of wines that were served were pates, terrines, salumi, mussels, cheeses and pasta.

The Rhone is the second largest wine appellation in France and the Rhone AOC was established in 1937. The appellation is divided the into four classifications; Cote du Rhone, Cote du Rhone Villages, Cote du Rhone Villages + a village name and Cru wines which come from 17 defined crus.

The region is coming off of a couple outstanding vintages of 2015 & 2016 and I’ve tried some nice wines from across the classifications at every Rhone tasting that I’ve been to this year.  Viognier based whites are in general lush with peach and tropical fruit notes while the rest of the whites have nice minerality and floral notes. The reds have nice concentration with meaty notes on the Syrah based North Rhone reds with red fruit and earth notes and approachable tannins on the rest.

They hosted a Trade/Media tasting in the afternoon and opened the doors for the consumers later that evening, it was an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.