Elton John said it best: the Bitch is Back.
As loyal readers know I’ve set up shop and am a permanent New Yorker. Fear not. I’ll always be Chicago girl at heart but now I’ve brought the Cheekiness with me to the Big City.
I look forward to sharing tips and tidbits, drink trends and dining destinations that inspire and intrigue. I’ll still be your resident Scene contributor, only now my columns will be penned from a New York State of Mind.
I’ve already managed to take a dive into the cocktail culture of the city. It started with a private tasting session with master mixologist Alex Ott who is working with New Amsterdam Gin. As you recall, I chronicled the spirit earlier this summer and shared signature cocktail recipes and tips. Alex developed the cocktail menus for Buddah Bar and Sushi Samba and consistently finds himself flying across the country to mix cocktails for celeb studded events like the Academy Awards. Under the direction of the world traveling mixologist, I got a crash course in how to incorporate simple ingredients into gin cocktails: consider shaking strawberry jam with a hint of mint and a couple ounces of gin for a fresh twist.
I also took home a bottle of Rose water (a must for cocktail queens) and fresh sandalwood, one of Alex’s signature Indian spices.
The gin tasting was the first step in the NYC cocktail immersion.
The second step was tagging along with Alex as he made the rounds to several NYC cocktail lounges on a Saturday night. First stop was Angel’s Share (see images in post below), a chic Japanese cocktail abode that’s discreetly tucked behind a wall in a different Japanese restaurant.
The education began.
First was a lychee martini made with citron vodka, quickly prepared with the precision that only comes with Japanese discipline and custom bar tools. If Japanese knife ware is considered art then so too should the gleaming silver shakers and strainers used to craft the cocktails - they‘re beautiful. Then it was on to an artfully crafted and beautifully layered drink, too elegant to be referred to as a shot, but that’s how we consumed it.
Dinner followed, but the drinks continued to be the highlight.
Sake, order by Alex (an off menu selection, naturally), was enjoyed with several Japanese servers .
“I stay with him whenever I’m in Tokyo,” Alex said, referring to a slender 25-year old server who was covered in black and white tattoo sleeves.
In addition to the rounds of sake came a 40 oz signature Japanese beer that complemented the quail eggs. I drooled for the green tea tiramisu but I knew that another destination was still in the cards.
The evening ended at Zinc, a quiet and cool jazz club in the West Village where tequila was ordered and taken with fresh slices of orange sprinkled with cinnamon (I’ll never have a lime again), Hendricks gin was the middle course and the night cap was a bourbon cocktail paired with the soulful live Brazilian jazz.
If my New York cocktail adventures continue to be as fun as this one, Cheeky readers, you are in for a treat.
Here's The Jist:
As a Drink Editor I receive a lot of requests for restaurant, bar and nightlife recommendations. So I started a blog to chronicle Chicago's social scene which eventually morphed into New York's drinking and dining scene. After years in Chicago, I'm now a full time resident of NYC, the East Village to be exact. Look forward to sharing the latest and greatest from the wine & spirits world, straight from the Big Apple.