December 17, 2012 § 4 Comments
To say I’m excited is a MASSIVE understatement – I am STOKED to ring in 2013! And I really hope a lot of you are deciding right this moment to party in New York City this year … and here’s why.
The Flatiron Room – the very new 500+ whisky bar who just snagged Heather Greene of William & Grant ambassador fame as the only whisky sommelier in the city – is hosting the party of the night. And I can’t WAIT.
Here are the details provided by TFR’s owner, my good friend, and fellow whisky geek, Tommy Tardie:
- Introductory Signature Cocktail made with Brenne Whiskey (editor’s note: woo hoo!)
- Herb Focaccia with smoked white fish (w/ Compass Box Asyla)
- Beet Salad with panko-fried goat cheese and hazelnut-mint vinaigrette (w/ Scott’s Independent Bottling of Auchentochen)
- Spicy crab ravioli with a moroccan date cream sauce (w/ Glenfiddich Rum Cask 21)
- Creamy bourbon-vanilla bean panacotta w/ lemon granita (w/ New Yorks Dutch’s Moonshine Spirit)
- Braised Short ribs with mixed berry bbq sauce served over sunchoke puree (w/ Michters 10)
- Single Malt Chocolate Malted Shake (w/ Glenmorangie Signet)
- Midnight Toast: Bowmore 18
TWO SEATING OPTIONS:
- 7pm – 10pm: $145 per person (tax and gratuity included)
- 10:30pm – 1:30am: $195 per person (tax and gratuity included)
• Live Entertainment – You’ll be entertained with live prohibition style jazz.
• 6 Course Tasting Menu – Our Executive Chef Susan Burdian has created a special 6 course tasting menu. Each dish will be plated and presented to share with your party.
• Whiskey Pairing – Our in-house whiskey sommelier Heather Greene has carefully selected 6 drams of fine whiskey to be paired with each food dish. We think you’ll be delighted to see how they interact and compliment each other. A tasting chart and notes will accompany your meal.
• Bottle of Perrier Jouët Champagne – 1 bottle per 2 guests
• Complimentary Coat Check
• Party Hats & Favors
September 18, 2012 § 3 Comments
If you follow this blog at all – you’re already familiar with my love of Brandy Library in NYC. Alas, my heart has been opened further to embrace another wonderful whisky bar here in New York.
When meeting with a fellow whisky geek Doug Stone (founder of ForWhiskeyLovers.com) last week, I offered to meet him at his favorite whisky bar in the city. Rye House was his choice – which made me happy as this would be my first visit. Since then, I’ve been there twice more in just the last 7 days. Needless to say, I LOVED it. With hand-sculpted warm wood benches, communal tables and decor grounding the lofty ceilings, despite it’s classic NY “intimate” space, you won’t feel overwhelmed or cramped. Just down right comfortable.
With over 190 whiskies to choose from and the most welcoming environment – I will certainly continue my patronage. From the moment you walk in, you feel as if you’ve entered your best-friends man cave. It’s friendly, warm, and a come-as-you-are kind of spot. You don’t have to know anything about whisky either; their knowledgeable staff will help guide you through their maze of offerings until you’ve landed on something that may suit your mood.
While you’re there, make sure you check out their growing list of tasting flights (not included in the PDF below). These are always a great way to better familiarize oneself with the ever expanding whisky sub-categories.
They do have food, though I’ve been enjoying the whiskies so much I haven’t ventured over to the dining menu just yet. All in good time!
In my humble opinion, this is a MUST for those living here and anyone passing through this fine city. Share your experience below if you’ve been!
11 West 17th Street between 5th & 6th avenue
February 22, 2012 § 13 Comments
I had the most unique experience the other night that still, 2 days later has me a bit perplexed.
Sitting at the bar of an Italian restaurant around the corner from my home (Centro Vinoteca) I found myself peering quite intently at a lightly colored whisky sitting quietly between the Balvenie Double Wood and the Chivas Regal 12yr.
Can you see it? 🙂
Towards the end of the meal, I asked the bartender if I could just see the bottle. Realizing that it had never been opened, the gentleman sitting to my right said, “Let’s open it up and have a taste!” At which point I learned that he was one of the owners. He kindly poured a taste for me and one for himself and then quickly drank his like a shot. I, like the whisky geek that I am, sat there for what seemed like 30 minutes but was probably more like 5 smelling, examining and as best as I could, keeping track of the delicious experience.
Here’s what I wrote down:
ABOUT: 21 year old blended Scotch, 40% abv (80 proof), this is the house blend of the Springbank distillers in Campbeltown
NOSE: maple honey comb, hint of geranium, jasmine black tea, wet spices (clove, cinnamon)
PALATE: water, tire and sweet tobacco leaves on the front, perhaps a bit of toned-down cereal milk which lent a pleasant sweetness in the middle, toffee with grapefruit crème brûlée
FINISH: very smooth, lingering black tea, tobacco, leather and a lovely hint of peat
Coming home, I realized just how rare this bottle might be. I found it sold out on the UK site, Master of Malt, and haven’t yet found anywhere else (IF YOU DO, please share a link in the comments section below!). The only review I found was by the beloved Ralfy. I’ve included his video below. He gives a lot of history about this particular bottling. ENJOY and let me know if you can find it!
November 15, 2011 § 9 Comments
To say I have been out and about these last few weeks is a bit of an understatement. And while I haven’t been able to collect my thoughts and share them with you here until now, I will say that my twitter accounts (@whiskygirls and @localinfusions) have never been so active!
That said, I am sorry for my recent absence and not just from my own blog but from so many of the other great whisky blogger’s blogs in the community.
Let’s start, shall we?
Whisky Week NYC
The GOOD: Lot’s of fantastic brands, all under one roof. Some interesting pours if you could get to those tables fast enough and then prove that you were worthy of such a pour (by the end of the night, this seemed to really come down to one basic fact: are you going to taste this or take it like a shot?) … though not in those exact words.
HIGHLIGHTS: Running around the first half of the night with my good friend (and fellow whisky geek) Jonathan Wingo of Brooklyn’s Whiskey Shop and together having a beautiful moment with Jonathan Luks of Mackmyra who shared with us a taste of their Special07 bottle (that will never be sold in the USA) and another taste of their Cask Strength whisky (whose proper name didn’t make it into my notebook – my apologies) but it is also a whisky that will not make it to the US market, sadly. A proper review of this company will follow as they are most certainly worthy.
The other highlight for me was meeting Preston & Juilan Van Winkle (you know, of the Old Rip van Winkle brand). Not only were they serving their incredibly limited and incredibly delicious products but, if possible, I was more impress with them as individuals. Not pretentious, not stuffy – just easy to talk to, whisky loving, Southern boys. I was honored to share a few laughs and a few sips with these two fine gentlemen.
The BAD: Too many vendors in not enough time. The food was awful and water was not easy to come by. Unfortunately, this turned out to be a recipe for disaster. People were frantically running around trying to drink every whisky they could and, aside from those in the industry, this seemed to have turned everyone into animals. Sadly, the atmosphere quickly morphed into a post-college frat party. Not. Cool.
Rodeo Bar Balcones Event
WHAT: Rodeo Bar in NYC is a Texas-style bar who has their BBQ (think Ribs & Brisket) flown in from Texas daily. Head distiller, Chip Tate, of the Texas distillery Balcones, was in town and did a very cool pairing of his Texas whiskies along side of the authentic Texas fair.
HIGHLIGHT: The BBQ ribs with Balcones Brimstone whisky. This is a blue corn whisky that has been smoked after coming off the stills and before going into the barrel with Texas Scrub Oak … the same wood that gives the meat it’s amazing smoked flavor. Picking up what I’m putting down? Heaven.
WHO: Lots of brand ambassadors, industry people, whisky enthusiasts and the NYCwhisky.com folks. Very fun!
Balcones & Ellabess Fine Dinning Pairing Event
WHAT: The very chic NYC hip dining spot, Ellabess, threw a private soiree celebrating Chip’s unique whiskies. Chef Troy Unruh and his team created an exciting pairing menu using Balcones products that were timed and served just as the appropriate Balcones spirit was being poured.
HIGHLIGHTS: The evening finished on the roof with cigars and generous pours of Balcones extremely limited Rumble Cask Reserve (a cask-strength version of the Rumble, only ~200 bottles ever made).
Check out this video of the chefs hard at work with Balcones’ high-quality whiskies!
The following post (part 2) to include:
Remy Martin Event, Miami, FL & Louisville, KY for the Icons of Whisky Awards
September 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Last weekend I went to the Taste of Williamsburg event in Brooklyn, NY on the most perfect almost-autumn Sunday imaginable. While we certainly tasted many delightful bites of food (Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, is known for their non-trendy trend starting contributions to everything arts related, including their culinary creations) we also had our fair share of unique cocktails.
One cocktail in particular deserves a mention: Hotel Delmano‘s Rosemary’s Baby, which is currently being featured on their Fall cocktail menu.
What’s in the glass? Fresh lime juice, fresh spiced pineapple juice, a bit of maple syrup and Rosemary infused Jim Beam Rye whiskey. Shaken with a sprig of fresh rosemary for garnish. Dee-lightful.
Rosemary is my all-time favorite herb and the creator of this cocktail did nothing but accentuate it’s wild, pine needle, sweet-earth-meets-spiced-wood characteristics which pair beautifully with Rye whisky. The fresh rosemary sprig garnish does much more than make the drink look nice, it also fills your nose with it’s beautiful aromas as you bring the glass towards your mouth. But be forewarned, if it’s in there too long your drink can get a second, and unnecessary, round of rosemary infusion so either drink up or take it out.
See!? Looks good, doesn’t it? Why not opt for a change of pace this weekend and head over to Williamsburg, settle into the Hotel Delmano’s vintage-chic bar and ask the bar tender to make you something nice & spicy! … Whisk(e)y based, of course 😉
August 9, 2011 § 14 Comments
For these warm summer nights – I love nothing more than to sit outside with a glass of Suntory’s Yamazaki 12 (or 18!) with 1 ice cube it if it’s really sticky outside and a big plate of cured meats, raw-milk cheeses and baguette.
Welcome to Summer PERFECTED
The Japanese whiskies have the structure and depth of some of the great Single Malt Scotches but by catering to a Japanese palete (think about their cuisine; light & delicate but full of flavor), their whiskies often have a crisp, pure taste and a refreshing mouthfeel (see where I’m going with this!?). The Yamazaki’s are great whiskies to drink during the warmer months and perfect companions to cut through the various flavors in the slightly oily bites of your charcuterie & cheese plate!
On the nose: Layers and layers of flavors. You can have fun just smelling this beauty! Lots of vanilla and caramel from it’s time spent in the American, Japanese and Port casks. Honey, floral, apple, orange, touch of smoke
On the palate: Mellow pepper up front, moves to floral, ends with smoked-honey
Finish: Lingers on the tip of the tongue, pepper dissolves quickly for me but the floral notes and smoked-honey stick around for a bit
Now, to be drinking outside in NYC, that usually means you’re at a bar/restaurant but if you’re lucky enough to have a balcony, roof or garden you can relax in – invite me over! er, I mean …all the better! (My fun summer outdoor drinking suggestion: Vintry Wine & Whiskey!) Cheers!
August 2, 2011 § 8 Comments
I had the HUGE pleasure of spending time with Balcones head distiller Chip Tate this past weekend.
What. a. cool. guy.
After a marathon 6 hour talk-fest on Friday (interspersed with food and whisky, of course), we picked back up Saturday evening to do a ridiculously fun whisky “tour” of lower Manhattan (Angel’s Share, Astor Place, Brandy Library, you get the idea) where I got to play sidekick to him sharing his mighty fine spirits with the owners & sommeliers of these lovely establishments.
Here’s the inside scoop – the always interesting, super smart Mr. Tate was here finalizing his NY distribution channel. Bottom line: BALCONES All-American Texas Craft Whiskies WILL SOON BE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN NYC! Woohooo!!!
Check out this photo of his products front and center on the Brandy Library bar…
Here’s why I dig it:
1) Balcones makes everything themselves by hand, Chip even made the copper stills (yup, he welds copper).
2) They are the only distillery using artisanal Blue Hopi Corn (as opposed to generic white or yellow corn) which lends a much more refined and rounded flavor to their spirits (think Kraft Mac ‘n’ Cheese vs a gourmet Mac ‘n’ Cheese made with Gruyere & a bit of bacon … riiight). Makes a difference. Try the Baby Blue whisky or the cask-strength version, True Blue.
3) Small barrels lend a hint of those caramel & buttery notes we love from oak-aging but Chip doesn’t let it overpower the corn notes. The finished products are perfectly balanced with layers upon layers of delicate flavors.
4) One of the products in their line-up is Rumble. It’s fermented Mission Figs, Texas Wildflower Honey & Turbinado Sugar. On the nose, I find an interesting bouquet of rich honey, iris flower, and a hint of smoke/black tea. At 47% abv, this is no wimpy spirit – but it’s really fun to drink and experience the flavors rolling over your tongue. There is no category for this product. It’s its own thing … kind of like Balcones.
5) Last but not least, I need to mention the Brimstone whisky. He smokes the whisky. Let me repeat, he smokes the whisky – not the grains – the actual distilled liquid. It’s a secret processes, rightfully so, and he’s smoking his blue corn whisky with Texas scrub oak. Let me break it down further: it’s Texas BBQ in a bottle… with a side of corn bread. You just need to try it for yourselves. It’s a very unique experience and in my opinion, it rocks.
A nod to tradition fueled by their independent & adventurous drive.
Job well done. Welcome to NY.
PS – I also confirmed my visit to his Texas distillery in September… Stay tuned!
June 22, 2011 § 5 Comments
Ethan Kelly (Spirits Sommelier @ Brandy Library) is clearly a very smart man (why, you ask?…) Because we totally agree on how best to approach whisky! See for yourselves…
PS – click HERE if you missed my earlier post/review on the Brandy Library
May 11, 2011 § 21 Comments
This past weekend, I was excited to have one of my oldest friends visiting from out of town. When asked what he wanted to do, his reply was simple: “Something whiskey related”
We quickly agreed to meet in Tribeca at the Brandy Library. It was one of those perfect spring days where the weather was warm enough to make you not want to be inside but chilly enough that when the wind blew, you were thankful to be able to take the edge off with the help of a beautiful single-malt … or two… or six.
The Brandy Library has an über sexy interior – a dark wooden bar, chocolate brown leather chairs, and the most amazing amber glow thanks to the floor-to-ceiling whisk(e)y bottles that line the walls. They also have a few chairs on their elevated front porch (which is where we were sitting). I like that you’re outside but off of the ground a bit – it gives you the feeling of privacy without blocking your view for all of the people watching you’re going to want to be doing!
Menu: What made the Brandy Library a perfect choice is their extensive menu. Just warning you, it’s a book! But the staff is really helpful and the book is organized with tabs so you can find the different sections really quickly. This was helpful because in our group of four, we had covered most of the world with our choices! Collectively, we ordered a Japanese Whisky (Yamazaki 12yr), a French whiskey (Michel Courvreur 12yr), an Indian Whisky (Amrut Single Malt) and the American Pride tasting … funny that not one person ordered something from either Scotland or Ireland, which where a majority of the whiskies are from.
Aside from the ambiance, what I love about the Brandy Library are their tasting menus. Each of their flights offer 6 different whiskies (hence the “six” comment above!). They bring you a shallow box with the numbers & names underneath the corresponding, pre-poured glasses. They place another page with the names & numbers on top of the glasses for you to keep on the side while you work your way through. (I like this extra copy for note taking… but then again not everyone is a dorky as I am!) They also bring you a 7th (and empty) glass with a bottle of water for you to play & experiment with how the addition of the water can change and enhance the flavors of the spirits. The challenge? They don’t give you the name of the 6th whiskey. They want you to be able to taste, experiment, and enjoy it without any preconceived notions.
Tasting like this can be so educational. I find that being able to alternate between the glasses and compare their smells and tastes really helps me recognize and define the different flavor components in each whisky. I personally find this much easier to do when I have multiple spirits to compare verses drinking them one at a time. Which is why when I’m drinking a whisky at a bar, if I happen to order a second glass and change my choice, I usually try to leave a little in my first glass so I have it to refer back to when I’m ready to compare it to the second.
I should also mention that they do have a full liquor license and serve wine & cocktails … although that’s not why I go! The Brandy Library also has a great hors d’oeuvres menu. My personal favorite is the gougères (think perfect bites of warm, cheesy dough)! De-lish.
The only thing I would have changed would have been to have my friends stay longer.
Have you been to the Brandy Library? Post a comment below!