Bastille Day Fête 2019


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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.



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.



FIAF Bastille Day Fest

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This past Sunday on July 10th, the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) which is New York’s premier French cultural center, presented their annual Bastille Day festival. It was a three-block long party on East 60th from Fifth Avenue to Lexington Avenue in Manhattan celebrating the best of France in New York and the friendship between France and the United States. Bastille Day is France’s Independence Day

The block party featured food “à la française” from top rated French restaurants and bakeries, performances from cast members of the musical An American In Paris, can-can dancing and live music from the Hungry March Band and Myriam Phiro’s Accordion Trio.

And since no French party is complete without wine, there was a Champagne & Chocolate tasting featuring some of France’s most prestigious champagnes and fine European Chocolates, and a wine, beer, cocktails and cheese tasting with both events held at the FIAF building at 22 East 60th Street. There was also a VIP party hosted at Amali restaurant on 115 East 60th street which featured wines from the south of France.


At the wine, beer and cheese tasting I sampled a trio of rosé:

2013 Gérard Bertrand “Thomas Jefferson Brut” Cremant de Limoux. Salmon in color, big bubbles, closed nose of cotton candy, crisp citrus at the finish.

2015 Gérard Bertrand “Gris Blanc”. Copper color with strawberry notes on the nose.

2015 Espitalet des Anges “Villa des Anges” Mostly Cinsault, salmon in color, closed nose, tight with bitter cherry notes on the finish.

Champagne & Chocolate Tasting:

NV Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé. Light pink in color with an earthy nose.

NV Brimoncourt Blanc de Blanc. Lime notes, bread dough on the nose with the bread dough notes on the fruit.  

NV Piper-Heidsieck Brut. Bread dough on the nose, crisp and tart.

NV G.H. Mumm’s Brut. Bread dough and earth on the nose with lime and earth notes on the finish.

At the VIP party:

2015 La Grezette “Le Rosé de Julie”

2015 RS “Rosé Seduction”

2015 Chateau Lamartine Cahors

2010 Chateau Bouscasse

2015 Domaine de Pellhaut

2013 Chateau de Jonquieres

2013 Domaine du Moulin



The Bloody Mary Festival


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This past Sunday I attended The Bloody Mary Festival,  a multi-city event that was advertised as “a celebration of our beloved brunch cocktail and the largest event of its kind”.

It was an afternoon of sampling Bloody Marys  prepared by local bars and restaurants along with food trucks and a DJ.

This year the event was held at the Grand Prospect Hall at 263 Prospect Avenue in Park Slope Brooklyn. It’s a 100+ year old oak paneled beer hall event space that someone described as “Disney-does-Hapsburg”.

This time around the vodka sponsor was Bleu Storm vodka, an ultra premium French vodka made from whole wheat.

A few of the Bloodys and the restaurants/bars that serve them:


Bloody Mary Liberation Party The Prospect Park

Lucky Luna (Greenpoint) Kimchi and Nori Bloody Mary

Esme (Greenpoint) Esme Bloody Mary

Syndicated (Bushwick) Blood For Dracula

Travel Bar (Carrol Gardens) The Well Traveled

706 (Prospect Heights) The 706

Hunter’s (Cobble Hill) Hunter’s Saigon Mary

Skylark (Park Slope) The Skylark

Talde (Park Slope) Talde Bloody Mary

Catfish (Crown Heights) Creole Bloody Mary