On August 18th I attended the 3rd annual New York Cocktail Expo. The Expo which began in Rockville Center, Long Island in 2016 has grown to be New York’s premier cocktail festival, “the most attended cocktail event in New York”.
The event was held at the Melrose Ballroom located at 36-08 33rd Street in Long Island City, Queens, a short walk from the “N” train. It’s cavernous (and dark) music venue space where on this day all three floors were full of spirits and cocktails.
The 3rd floor held the “Rum Room” which was decorated in tiki style with many wearing an Hawaiian shirt. The floor was full of rum with many of the usual favorites such as Diplomatico, Appleton Rum, Plantation Rum and The Real McCoy and some off the radar brands such as Soggy Dollar, Stroh and Transcontinental Rum Line to name a few. The two other floors in the rest of the venue were packed with various whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila, cachaça, specialty liquor, beer, cider, and quite a few locally made apple brandy.
There was a cocktail competition and a Tiki Throwdown going on with Mixologists from local restaurants and bars participating so every table had a particular specialty cocktail to sample as well as whatever spirit was being poured. Consumers had the chance to vote on their favorite.
The winner of the Best Cocktail of the Year went to Bartender Leah Moss of Tooker Alley in Brooklyn using spirits from Balcones Distillery.
The winner of the Tiki Throwdown was Paradise Lounge in Ridgewood, Queens using Plantation Rum.
The event last year had one long session and was quite crowded, this year they decided to break the event into two sessions which made for a more manageable crowd size, I attended the evening session.