A few weeks back, we found ourselves attending another booze soaked bachanalia – the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Don’t be misled by the name – this party covers multiple boroughs, leaving the city awash in booze. And, I will have to warn you that the cocktails served at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic aren’t your average, run of the mill drinks. These cocktails are consistently among the best we have ever tasted! No easy task given the volume of drinks being prepped but having some of the most talented bartenders from across the country on hand certainly helps. It’s not easy to stay standing!
Friday night kicked off the soiree with the Opening Gala, an event that takes over the entire New York Public Library and is attended by thousands of people. Literally, at the Gala, hundreds of classic and innovative cocktails are served. You have to be selective on which ones to try since you certainly can’t try them all. My favorite drinks of the evening were served by the PDT pop-up bar, which offered a nice reprieve from the crowd, as well as tasty libations.
The next day, we attended the Industry Invitational at the Andaz hotel and took in some interesting classes and cooking demonstrations by Angostura bitters (believe me, Angostura ice cream is good). One of us attended a presentation by Patron where they were a bit worked up by their tequila’s lack of appeal to bartenders (despite its huge popularity with the general populace) and hit up the Haus Alpine tasting (the wife is a bit of a fan girl) and another attended classes on ice by our friend Roberto of Glace and frozen drinks. Later that evening, we went to a 60’s soiree put on by Stella Artois and the Mandarine Napoleon pop-up bar manned by the boys from the Soho Bar with representation from New York, Los Angeles and Miami.
On Sunday, we ventured out to Brooklyn for the first annual Pig and Punch put on by San Francisco’s own Bon Vivants. The Bon Vivants also host the Pig and Punch at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, as well as fundraisers in San Francisco. They take the proceeds from their events and use them to build homes in New Orelans, fixing a school in the Bronx and various projects in San Francisco. As you can see, the Bon Vivants are class acts, as well as being super nice guys and amazing bartenders. We are lucky to have them in San Francisco. After, we ventured back to Manhattan where I hosted my own non-MCC event at the Macau Trading Company run by xxxx. Another class act. We finished out the evening with a return trip to the Mandarine Napoleon pop-up manned by Bar Lab out of Miami. A great way to finish the drinks.
Just when you think we had done enough, Monday rolled around. I will be honest and admit that we skipped Tuesday out of pure exhaustion. On Monday, the wife judged a Pisco Sour competition hosted by Gran Sierpe. But, it wasn’t any Pisco Sour competition, each competitor had to bring their own twist. We then headed to a class on how to effectively use water as an ingredient in cocktails sponsored by Perrier. What a great class and great ideas for us to bring you on how to save calories in your cocktails by using water. Lastly, we attended an amazing sensory dinner hosted by Don Julio where we were treated to sensory exploration of the aromas found in Don Julio. It was amazing and gave me a much better appreciation for tequila and the aroma/flavor nuances in Don Julio.
We were also treated to a pairing of Don Julio’s portfolio with dinner, including their amazing 1942 and Extra Anejo!
If you love cocktails and New York City this is an event not to be missed.