We had the pleasure to attended the recent Manhattan Cocktail Classic, held at the Astor Center. The day we spent was amazing, arriving around noon, I was immediately greeted be an amazing bar full of fresh ingredients and rare spirits.
I chatted for a bit and then headed into a session titled “Choosing the Right Glassware” lead by none other than Dale de Groff. If you don’t already know, Dale is a bartending legend and responsible for championing the cocktail revolution going on today. Mr. De Groff dazzled the crowd with an amazing collection of vintage barware, each with a different purpose. As he talked about the different glasses, Dale told us a history of their evolution. Then things got fun, we started making cocktails! Taking volunteers from the audience, we made 1/2 a dozen cocktails using a variety of glasses. Yours truly had the honor of making a Coffee Cocktail for the class. Think there is coffee in this one, guess again, this coffee cocktail is made from port, cognac, simple syrup and an egg with a bit of nutmeg on top. Shaken well the egg gives it a bit of foam and the drink taste like—you guessed it—coffee. After several more cocktails were made the whole class was treated to Dale’s famous Irish Coffee.
Next, I was off to “The History of the Cocktail in New York City” with Professor Dave Wondrich. We were all taken back to the origin of the cocktail in the Hudson Valley and through it’s evolution in New York Cities greatest Hotels and Bars. From the famed City Hotel of the early 1800s to and all the way through prohibition, Professor Wondrich wove the tale of what was always the hotbed of cocktail innovation, NYC. We were also treated to some vintage cocktails to help us channel the past.
After a bit more schmoozing and cocktails at the Astor Center Bar (and a short nap), I was ready for the closing gala. It was held in the main hall of the New York Public Library on 5th Avenue. All I can say is WOW! This event did the room proud. Attended by over 1,000 guests, the night featured a big band, great food and of course, cocktails poured by some of Americas best mixologists. James and Estaban from DonQ are pictured below mixing up a wonderfully fruity rum concoction.
This just being the preview, I can’t wait until the full event in May 14 -18, 2010.
Manhattan Cocktail Classic