Rum Fest New York 2018

 

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On September 29th, the Rum Lab.com held their 2nd annual rum festival in New York City. They have produced similar festivals in Puerto Rico, California, the Midwest and Seattle. The Rum Lab is “focused on becoming the official rum expo throughout the northern east coast.”

Rum is made around the world but most associated with the Caribbean. Generally, there are three principle styles of rum in the Caribbean that reflect the terroir, climate and who colonized the country. There is the Spanish style ron which is molasses based and are generally lighter in body, the English style rum which are also molasses based and tend to be bolder, and the French style rhum agricole which are based on sugar cane juice and have many of the place of origin rules that wine have, they tend to taste of herbs and the earth.

The event was held at Sounds of Brazil, a music venue located at 204 Varick Street in lower Manhattan. There were a good selection of rum from around the world and since I enjoy aged rum, I began the tasting by trying whatever was the oldest rum at the table.

Some of what I sampled:

Montanya (Colorado): Oro, Exclusiva, Anniversaria.

Owney’s (New York City) Distiller’s Reserve, Superior Quality.

English Harbor Reserve (Antigua): 5yr, 10yr, port cask finish, sherry cask finish.

Chairmans’ Reserve (St. Lucia): The forgotten cask, 1931.

Ron Barcelo (Dominican Republic): 30yr Anniversary Reserve, Imperial.

J Bally (Martinique): 2002.

Clairin (Haiti): Sajous, Vaval, Casimir.

Diplomatico  (Venezuela): Single vineyard 2002, Ambassador.

Plantation Rum (Barbados): XO 20th Anniversary.

Clement Rhum (Martinique) VSOP, XO.

Flor de Cana (Nicaragua): 18yr, 25yr.

Rhum JM (Martinique): 1999 Reserve.

Denizen (Jamaica): 3yr, 8yr.

Barcardi (Puerto Rico): Limitada.

Boukman (Haiti): Botanical Rhum.

 

 

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New York Cocktail Expo

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This past Sunday August 19th, I attended the New York Cocktail Expo. This event hasn’t been around very long since the expo first held in April 2016 in Rockville Center, Long Island.

This event showcased beverage trends with 50+ distilleries and Queens (one of the five boroughs of New York City) restaurants and bars serving spirits and cocktails. There was also a “best cocktail” competition.

The event was held at the Melrose Ballroom at 36-08 33rd Street in Astoria, Queens, a couple of blocks from the subway station.

Fortunately for me, I arrived a little early and was able to secure a spot near the front of the line because soon the line snaked around the block. After the mandatory bag check and weapons pat-down, we were let in to the cavernous event space.

There were three floors of spirits and mixed drinks. The main floor was crammed with tables serving the non rum spirits of whiskey, gin, vodka, tequila and even grappa. At each booth you could have sampled a mixed drink made by one of the local bartenders or have the spirit as is. Most of the mixed drinks were a little too fruity for my taste so I sampled most spirits neat. The second floor was the “tiki room” with rum and rum based cocktails while on the third floor the rooftop patio.

The venue was jam packed and people were having a good time.

 

 

Secret Summer Cocktail Party 2018

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On Sunday, August 12th I attended the 4th annual Secret Summer cocktail festival. It’s the country’s only “farm to bar” cocktail festival where this years spirit companies consisting of Suntory Whisky, Brugal Rum, Brockman’s Gin, Hanger 1 Vodka and Blue Point Brewery concocted cocktails using locally grown ingredients.

The event was held at the The Foundry, a restored 19th century foundry located at 42-38 9th Street in Long Island City in the shadow of the Queensborough bridge .

Party goers were able to stroll the open air courtyard plus any of the five rooms in the building and stop at one of the cocktail stations for a drink. A DJ played in the main room while strolling musicians played in the courtyard. Food trucks were on hand to feed hungry patrons.

The weather forecast was not optimal as rain was forecast for the weekend but on this Sunday, the rain clouds stayed away and it was sunny, hot and humid on this August afternoon.

 

Some cocktails I sampled:

Tasogore Toki

Toki whiskey, sparkling sake, Bernard Ranches’ sustainably grown citrus, green tea & koppert cress pequino syrup.

Lavender Lemonade

Hanger 1 vodka, “grow nyc” lavender reduction, Bernard Ranches sustainable citrus lemonade, sparkling water, market lavender stalks.

Spicy Mai Tai

Brugal extra dry rum, market lime, homemade almond Orgeat reduction, Shaquanda hot sauce, Andrew’s rooftop honey, brugal 1888 float.

Perfect Serve

Brockman’s gin, Fentman’s tonic, blueberries, grapefruit peel.

Plum Gose-arita

Chipotle tequila, Umeshu plum wine, lemon, plum preserves, salt, blue point beach plum gose.

 

Musical lineup:

DJ Kieren Taylor

Hungry March Band

Sitar & Tabla

Moon Hooch

Kaoru Watanabe Taiko Drums

 

 

Cochon 555 New York 2018

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Cochon 555 is a multi-city culinary tour to “further the conversation of heritage pigs on dinner tables across the nation” and whose goal is to “support family farmers and to educate influencers ultimately making them a better, more knowledgeable teacher”.

The 14 city tour kicked off in New York City on January 21 with a “friendly competition for a cause” featuring 5 chefs, 5 pigs and 5 winemakers.

The event was held at the Kimpton Hotel Eventi at 851 6th Avenue in Manhattan and showcased pork centric dishes from local restaurants (and the outlier steak tartare bar) and competitions that involved bartenders, sommeliers and butchers.

Of course to wash all that down were punches, Manhattans from the Manhattan Project and international wines some of which included:

 

2016 Mariotti Campi Rosato

2015 Chateau Carbonnieux Blanc

2015 Ronco dei Tassi Sauvignon Blanc

2015 Antica Chardonnay

2013 Antica Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Silver Oak Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Chateau Carbonnieux Rouge

2005 Marquis de Riscal Rioja Gran Reserva

 

 

Rum Fest New York

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The 1st annual New York Rum Festival was held on September 30th.  The event showcased over 40 rums from large, micro and boutique distilleries   including producers from various countries in the Caribbean, South America and the United States. The event was produced by the Rum Lab which hosted similar events in Chicago and San Francisco.

The Fest was held at S. O. B.’s (Sounds of Brazil), a live music venue at 204 Varick Street in the SoHo district of lower Manhattan which was an appropriate venue to host a rum event since they specialize in Afro-Latino music acts.

The event had a good mix of styles of rum from various countries and with this overwhelming amount of spirits to sample, I stayed away from white Rums and fruity cocktails and focused on aged rums which in my opinion are some of the most underrated spirits in the world. It was a good crowd of people enjoying the afternoon sipping on rum.

Seminar: Don Q Rum Master Class with Jaiker Soto (Puerto Rico)

Añejo: 3-8 year old rums, amber with grassy and oak notes on the finish.

151°: 3-5 year old rums, grassy, oily nose, big hit of alcohol with some honey notes on the finish.

Single Barrel: 9 year old rum, light amber, closed nose, dry finish with oak notes.

Spiced: 3-6 year old rums, light amber, vanilla on the nose, subtle flavors with a hit of heat at the finish, 90°.

Gran Añejo: 9-12year old rums, light amber, unusual sweet cotton candy and chocolate on the nose with chocolate notes on the finish.

Some of what I sampled:

Lost Spirits (California) Navy Style Rum

Montanya (Colorado) Oro

Boukman  (Haiti) Botanical Rum

Chairman’s Reserve (St. Lucia) The Forgotten Casks

Foursquare Distillery (Barbados) 2004, Criterion, Zinfandel Cask Blend

Mount Gay (Barbados) Black Barrel, XO

Plantation (Barbados) 20th Anniversary

Plantation (Jamaica) 2002

Denizen’s Merchant’s Reserve (Jamaica) 8 year

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

Clement (Martinique) Select Barrel, 10 year

Brugal (Dominican Republic) Gran Reserva  888

Abuelo (Panama) XV

Parce Rum (Columbia) 8 year, 12 year

Flor de Caña (Nicaragua) 12 year, 18 year

Diplomatico  (Venezuela) Mantuano Extra Aged, Reserva Exclusiva

Don Pappa (Philippines) Small Batch

 

 

 

Secret Summer Cocktail Party 2017

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This past Sunday afternoon on August 6th I attended the 3rd annual Secret Summer Cocktail Festival.  The event was a “farm to bar” cocktail party featuring drinks curated by RAPT NY using premium spirits and ingredients grown at the hydroponic gardens at Farm One urban farms. In addition to cocktails, beer from Queens Brewery and chilled coffee drinks from La Colombe and illy were available.

The event was held again this year at The Foundry event space at 8-03 43rd Avenue in the industrial riverfront of Long Island City, Queens. The venue is a former 19th century steel foundry, an ivy covered brick building with an outdoor courtyard and various rooms overlooking the Queensboro (Ed Koch) bridge and the Manhattan skyline. Music was provided by DJ Kieren Taylor and Momentum Drums.

The cocktail stations were scattered around the building which kept the crowd flowing throughout the venue. Something new this year were the Haiku guys and gals typing out poems to order and unlike the previous events, there were no ballerinas or faeries prancing around. The unusually cool weather made for an enjoyable afternoon of cocktails.

Cocktail List:

 

Resting Birch Face

Woodford Reserve Bourbon, foraged black birch, Wilklow Orchard cherries, variety of Farm One mints.

 

Another Night, Another Dream

The Real McCoy Rum 5 year, La Colombe bitter coffee, demerara, coconut puree, pineapple, cardamom.

 

Talk To Me, Goose!

The Real McCoy Rum 3 year, Phillips Farm gooseberry cordial, Bespoke spiced falernum, Farm One anise hyssop.

 

Figgedaboudit

Zacapa 23 Rum, Murray Farms mission figs, Harmless Harvest coconut water, Rooftop honey, thyme.

 

Stone In Love

Herradura tequila, chipotle, Thorpe’s Farm nectarines & serrano peppers, cilantro, blossom & hibiscus heart.

 

The Dirty Lowdown

Spring 41 gin, Hepworth Farms heirloom tomato dashi, dry vermouth, laitue de mer, sungolds.

 

Highgarden

Peony vodka, Hepworth Farms yellow watermelon, Bespoke rose syrup, sweet vermouth, dry rose petals.

 

Hochstadter’s Slow & Low Rock & Rye

Old Fashioned

 

Dingle Gin

Gin & Ginger Beer

 

 

 

Speedrack NYC Finals Season 6

 

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Speedrack is a speed-bartending competition for women.  There are eight regional competitions held in Seattle, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston and Boston with the finale held here in New York City. The winner would be crowned Miss Speedrack of 2017. The competition have the bartenders making specialty cocktails very quickly, to be judged by a panel of cocktail experts not only for speed but for deliciousness of the final product. Proceeds from the event go to breast cancer research,  education and prevention.

The finale took place May 21st at the Weylin event space located at 175 Broadway in Williamsburg Brooklyn. The event space, which is across the street from the iconic steakhouse Peter Luger, is the former Williamsburg Savings Bank. Built in 1875 back in the day when banks were built to impress with its cathedral-like frescoed dome, mosaics and wooden carvings, is an impressive venue for an event.

As befitting a cocktail competition, there were many cocktail stations scattered around the room with bartenders mixing specialty drinks using high end spirits and liquors.

The final pitted bartender Elyse Blechman from Texas against bartender Mony Bunni from Chicago. Ms Bunni won.

Some of the cocktails I sampled:

 

Negroni: The classic, 1 part gin, 1 part sweet vermouth, 1 part Campari

Bust-Ed Punch: Jameson Black Barrel, lemon juice, pineapple juice, Monin cinnamon syrup, Lustau Manzanilla sherry.

Count of Mount Kisco: Averell Damson gin, Salers Gentian aperitif and Dolin Dry vermouth de Chambery.

“Haus” Negroni: Royal Dock navy strength gin, Cappelletti aperitivo and Cocchi vermouth di Torino.

The Hot Whisper: Singani 63, lime juice, jalepeno juice, cucumber juice and Perrier.

Moonwalk: Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, grapefruit juice, rose water and Champagne.

Pisco Paloma Punch: Olmeca Altos Reposado, grapefruit juice, lime, ancho reyes, GH Mumm Champagne.

“The Independent Ginger” Punch: The perfect puree ginger sour, the perfect puree blood orange, ruby red grapefruit juice and lime flavored seltzer.