Two weeks ago I was in New York for a brand launch that coincided with a party for Saveur Magazine and David Wondrich and Tales of the Cocktail at Tailor. It was a fun coincidence because the last time I was in NY a little over a year ago it coincided with David Wondrich's book launch for Imbibe.
After meeting Wondrich in two foreign countries and three US states before this, he said, "I never expect not to see you any place in particular." From my end I expect Wondrich to never show up unannounced. Then two days later I ran into him again at the Pegu Club- unannounced. So it was a bigger shock to me.
Anyway, at the party was almost everyone I know from the spirits industry in New York: fellow writers, editors, brand ambassadors, consultants, bartenders, and a ton of PR and marketing folk. I had no conversation for more than 30 seconds before running into someone else to say hello to.It's not easy being popular.
What was weird was that I knew all the PR folk in the room, but they didn't seem to know each other. So I had to do a lot of introductions: "Jane, this is Sue. I was in Barbados with you and in Spain with her." Eventually I started feeling like a bit of a mooch.
Then a group of us went to PDT for more drinks, because apparently we were thirsty. We had hot dogs (veggie for me) and cocktails and then it was very late.
Two days later, I returned to Tailor to try some of the drinks I've heard so much about. On the menu that night were pumpernickel raisin scotch, garam masala rum, cedar bourbon, and walnut cognac. The cocktails included the Rabanadas with brioche cachaca, raisin soda, and cinnamon, the Butternut & Falernum with rum, butternut squash, and falernum, and the Crumble with brown butter rum, clove, and pear.
I was able to try a bunch of the drinks and sips of the infusions. With butter, butternut, raisin, fruitcake, date, and other flavors the drinks were incredibly savory. There were some interesting spices like clove, nut flavors like walnut cognac, and wood flavors like cedar bourbon and spruce tincture.
Overall I enjoyed that the drinks were not served with a ton of pomp and circumstance- there was no grand show made of molecular mixology (though there was a section of "solids" on the menu I didn't try). On the down side, though everything I sampled was interesting, there wasn't anything I tried that made me want to order a second. Largely I found the drinks too intense for my tastes.
So I'm glad that Tailor is there doing what it does- showing how cocktails can push the flavor envelope and incorporating some really unique food elements into the drinks. I think if I lived in New York this would not be a place I would hang out all the time, but a definite spot to check in with and see what wacky new things they've done every now and again.