On the Manhattan Cocktail Classic
June 02, 2010
It's about time I got around to talking about the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, as it happened a few weeks ago.
I was only able to go to New York for 2 1/2 days but in that time managed to hit Cienfuegos twice, PDT once, Death & Co. twice, and Mayahuel twice. I love that they're all walkable from each other.
The problem with having a big cocktail event in New York is that there is so much New York in New York. You spend all your time running around to catch up on the new bars and such, sometimes oversleeping and missing the seminars at the Astor Center you really wanted to attend.
But I did attend several, including the one I spoke on: Bloggers, Bartenders, and Brands. I also hit up the The Martini Family Tree given by Angus Winchester. That talk was pretty great- and this chart explains a lot.
I also went to a seminar on orange liqueurs given by David Wondrich and Steve Olsen. According to Wondrich, the original curacaos were made from Naranja oranges only grown on Curacao. Curacao was a specialty of the Dutch, and it was made with strong base liquor notes in pot stills. Later the French got into the game and it became "triple sec," with a complicated three-distillate formula but an end result emphasizing the orange and de-emphasizing the base liquor. The first reference to Curacao or triple sec in a cocktail, according to Wondrich, was in 1820-1830 or so in a punch. Hopefully in his forthcoming punch book we'll learn more.
I also had a great time just hanging out and seeing everybody from around the country at the Astor Center bar. Like the Hotel Monteleone at Tales of the Cocktail, having a central place for people to meet (or just run into each other) is important, especially in a city as big and distracting as New York.
From my end the first Manhattan Cocktail Classic was a success: I got information I was seeking for two different potential stories, I saw a ton of bartenders, writers, PR people, and brand ambassadors from around the country, I saw a new bar (twice) and had plenty of excellent cocktails, and I got to spend time in New York.
Thanks again to Uber bar tools for sponsoring my trip!
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