Greetings from Hangover Central the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, a multi-day fete celebrating cocktail culture. The event is only at the halfway point, but already I’ve got some photos and stories to share.
For me, the main event was “The Spirited Whey,” yesterday’s seminar on Monk-Inspired Cocktails & Cheeses, which I co-presented with cheese expert Diana Pittet. I’ll have more on this soon, but I’m happy to report that the room was filled to capacity, all the spirits and cheeses arrived (plus some last-minute surprise add-ons), and we’ve been getting lovely feedback that the audience had a good time. (whew!)
But a quick story: For “The Spirited Whey,” we had hunted for a great cocktail that showcased two particular liqueurs with monastic heritage: Benedictine and Chartreuse. We found one in the Monte Cassino, Damon Dyer’s award-winning drink crafted for Benedictine’s recent 500th anniversary event. It’s a lovely drink made with rye, Benedictine, yellow chartreuse, and loads of lemon. And yesterday, minutes before our presentation, I spotted it on the bar menu at Astor Center, ground zero for most of the MCC events.
So I ordered one and introduced myself, (yep, it was Damon behind the bar!) and explained that we were about to feature his drink. What impressed him most: Diana had done the research to figure out the meaning of the drink’s name (it’s a the name of a monastery). He later popped into our seminar to talk about how he came up with the drink.
Other highlights: The “Hotel Bars” panel hosted by Elayne Duke.
And of course, you know I woudn’t miss Tad Carducci’s seminar on Spice: The Fennel Frontier.
The drink with the hottest profile was the Little Market, made with tequila, guajillo chile syrup pineaple, Yucateca green habanero sauce, and a pico piquin (chile salt mixture) rim for “extra depth and heat.”
But my personal favorite was the Masalarinha (a riff on the caipiriha), made with cachaca, fresh lime, Garam Masala syrup, and garnished with a cinnamon-dusted wedge of pineapple. (I need to add this to my list of curry-spiked cocktails.)