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



Secret Summer Garden Party

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This past Sunday on August 14th, I attended the second annual Secret Summer garden party. Hosted by RAPT NY, Bespoke Solutions and Highlife Productions, it was a “farm to bar” cocktail festival serving cocktails made with premium liquors using responsibly sourced herbs and greens from Farm One hydroponic garden as well Swedish cider from Rekorderlig and Tiger beer.

Live music was provided by the tuba playing band of Lucky Chops, the Coyote and Crow duo and songs by Ida Blue. Additional live performances by wandering ballerinas and aerialists with some ping-pong tables thrown in.

The event was held at ivy-covered Foundry event space across the East River from Manhattan at 42-38 Ninth Street in the industrial waterfront area of Queens at the foot of the Queensborough bridge.

The New York area was in the grip of a heat wave that weekend and the outdoor patio was steaming at start time but fortunately the indoor tastings rooms were cool enough and temperatures moderated as the sun set. It was a fun Sunday of cocktails, people and entertainment.


The cocktails (You were supposed to eat the garnish)

The Beetnik

Finlandia Vodka, Market Beetroot, House Made Allspice Falernum, Fresh Lemon, Red Veined Sorrel.

Doc Hollywood

Butter Washed Old Forester Bourbon, Toasted Pecan Sarsaparilla, Micro Bubble Soda, Amaranth.

The Shoemaker

Gentleman Jack Whiskey, Chambord, Mountain Huckleberry & Ginger Syrup, Fresh Lemon, Assam Black Tea, Market Berries and Shiso.

Hart’s Desire

Herradura Silver tequila, Market cantaloupe, Vanilla Bean Agave, Fresh Meyer Lemon, House Made Yuzu Bitters, Provencal Foam, Hibiscus Aviators.

Churchhill Downs

Woodford Reserve Bourbon, Cinnamon Basil Steeped Honey, House Made Bergamont Bitters, Purple Ruffles & Peppermint




Boco Resort Cocktail Party

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This past Sunday afternoon, the Bowery Collective which holds cocktail themed events during the year, held their first annual Boco Resort cocktail festival featuring over 50 types of Summertime cocktails. In preparation for Summer drinking they wanted us “to rethink the margarita and show how brown spirits can work in the sun” using brown spirits in cocktails that traditionally use white spirits such as rum, tequila and vodka. Works for me. The event which was held at the ever trendy Bowery Hotel on 335 Bowery in Manhattan and was held on the second floor terrace event space. I’ve been to many cocktail and wine events at this space and with an outdoor terrace and a hunting lodge motif, makes for a fun event space

There were many booths featuring brown as well as white spirits with mixologists creating various incarnations of Summer cocktails including fruity drinks with umbrellas!. Out in the terrace there was a guy with a buzz saw slicing (empty) rum bottles. It seems that Monkey Rum designs its bottles so that they can be reused as a drinking glass.

After a glass of Fernet Branca to start the day, I sampled many cocktails and whiskeys. With a reggae band playing in the background, followed by a DJ spinning tunes, a good time was had by all.




GimmeJoy Holiday Soirée

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Tis the season for holiday parties. To me it seemed that there were less consumer holiday parties this year than last, a couple of big events that were held last December weren’t replicated this year, or maybe I was just out of the loop. I did manage to attend one holiday party last Saturday evening on December 19th which was the Gimmejoy holiday party. The event was run by the same organization that ran the Secret Summer food and cocktail festival last August at The Foundry in Long Island City.

This soirée was held at the “hip and funky” artists’ loft, Poverty Row, deep in the heart of Chinatown in Manhattan at 277 Grand Street.

This was a more intimate event than the Summer event and was scheduled to run to 2am. With a team of mixologist making craft cocktails, a holiday photo booth, a DJ, live music by the jazz duo Acute Inflection and some frolicking reindeer; a good time was had by all.


Tree Trimming Party At Refinery

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Wine tasting events at this time of year usually get put on the back burner while the holiday parties are in full swing. Last Saturday afternoon I attended another one of those holiday parties, a holiday social at the Refinery Hotel located on 63 West 38th Street in Manhattan. The event took place at the rooftop bar which is an event space I’ve never been to before. Brick walls and an outdoor seating area with a great view of the Empire State Building. This afternoon the customers got to trim a real live Christmas tree out on the deck. It was a casual afternoon of ornament hanging, appetizers and the drinking of seasonal beers, eggnog made with Window Jane Distillery Bourbon and mulled cider with rum, bourbon or apple brandy (my favorite). Of course there was  a fireplace and mistletoe.



Saveur Holiday Social

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This past Saturday afternoon I attended Saveur magazines holiday social, “a one day fête to get you into the holiday spirit”. The event took place at the Astor Center at 399 Lafayette Street in Manhattan. The event featured one room full of foodie gifts that were available for purchase while the other room was dedicated to food tastings of which my favorites were handmade garanelli pasta with urbani mushrooms in a truffle sauce and tacos de carne asada with pomegranate guacamole. There was also a bar serving holiday inspired craft cocktails, beer and wine. The cooking and cocktail seminars of which I attended took place in the back kitchen and lecture hall.

The event was open to the public and was soon crowded with party goers for most of the afternoon. My drinks of the day were the 2011 Grgich Hills Chardonnay and The Pallini Thyme Out which was a refreshing cocktail made with lemoncello and fresh thyme.

Workshops & Seminars

The Art of Transforming Ingredients with Bethony: Beet Milk Punch

I’ve never had a Milk Punch before, milk-based cocktails with spirits and sweeteners as a way to preserve milk. The cream is curdled and strained resulting in a clear liquid. At this workshop, the Somm from Bethony restaurant made a milk punch from goats milk, beets and gin. The milk was curdled and infused with the beets and strained through a fine sieve several times. It turned out clear and bright red and didn’t taste half bad!

A Classic Reinvented: Beef Wellington by Chef Florian Wehrli of Triomphe.

The reinvention part is from the use of Bison instead of Beef tenderloin in the recipe. The Bison is leaner than the Beef and the dish was very tasty.

His and Hers Wine Tasting from the Nomad and the Breslin

A flight of six wines from the husband and wife Sommelier duo of Thomas Pastuszak and Jessica Brown.

2008 Domain e Rolet Crement du Jura (Jura) Light yellow with a greenish tint with crisp, green apple fruit.

Savart L’overture NV (Champagne) Light gold in color with bread dough on the nose and yeasty, tart finish.

2013 Ravines Wine Cellars Dry Riesling (Finger Lakes) Light yellow with an oily and toasty nose and petroleum and shale on the fruit and a toasty, crisp and tart finish.

2013 Venica & Vencia Collio Sauvignon (Friuli) Light gold with a sweet nose of honeydew, dried flowers and earth on the fruit and nicely balanced.

2012 Tyler Winery Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara) Medium red with red dried herbs and red candy on the nose, cola and green stems on the light fruit.

2013 Tami Frappato  (Sicily) Light to medium red in color, bright nose of cherry and forest, dry and tight with mouth-watering acids at the end.