Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!


Happy New Year from your friends at Loungerati!

Tonight's suggested itinerary:

GMT New Year's Eve party at Campbell Apartment
This is a Lounger tradition ten years in the making. A bunch of folks show up to Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Station just before 7pm EST and celebrate the New Year Greenwich Mean Time (GMT)! So put on your best duds and head over now for the early show!

Campbell Apartment
Grand Central Station,
New York, NY


2010 NEW YEAR'S EVE FORMAL BALL

Once your lips are wet with the first champagne of the evening, cab it to Brooklyn for the New Year's Eve Ball at the venerable Montauk Club. Festivities kick off at 9:00PM. Featured performers include Loungerati's 2009 Best of Lounge winners of Best Burlesque act and Best Musical act, the Minsky Sisters and Michael Arenella's Dreamland Orchestra. $75 PER PERSON - OPEN BAR

The Montauk Club
25 8th Ave, Brooklyn, NY
www.montaukclub.com


PLAYERS CLUB NEW YEAR'S EVE

The entire clubhouse will be transformed into the setting of one of the most elegant parties in New York!Food Stations Open All Night!Open Bar All Night Long!

Dance to the music of the JC HOPKINS BIGGISH BAND featuring QUEEN ESTHER special guest JOLIE HOLLAND

PARTY BEGINS AT 9:00 p.m.

MENTION JC AND GET TICKETS FOR $125
MEMBERS: $185 plus tax
NON-MEMBERS: $225 plus tax

BLACK TIE OPTIONAL

For Cocktail Lounge options, please visit The Dizzy Fizz. Selena Ricks highlights the main attractions for New York. One addition, Dutch Kills in Long Island City is throwing a New Year's fete, $65 open bar, Giuseppe Gonzalez and Richie Boccato behind the stick.

Finally, we are retiring the term "behind the stick" for 2010, that was the last time,no really. We promise!

(Image courtesy of Michael Arenella
)

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Salon at Players Club - New Year's Eve Eve Party Dec 30th


New Years’ Eve Eve & The Piano Store’s 10yr Anniversary

Fore more info & advance tickets, go to:
http://www.thesalon.biz
Advance Online tickets end Monday (Dec. 28th) at 11:59pm

***NEWS***
THE SALON is thrilled to announce sponsorships by DEWARS and INFINIUM SPIRITS! This includes free Scotch tastings all night long by Dewars and top-shelf premium spirits from Infinium featured in our specialty cocktails, at our regular cocktail prices.
***********

In the Main Ballroom:
GEORGE GEE's JUMP, JIVIN, WAILERS
with John Dokes & Hilary Gardner on vocals
(10 piece Big Band)

Upstairs in the Library Lounge:
QUEEN ESTHER & THE HOT FIVE

with Guest Bartender
Eryn Reece (LUPEC NY and LOUIS 649)

in the Sargent Room:
GELBER & MANNING
The feuding vaudeville lovebirds.

In addition to live music all night long, The Salon proudly presents:

HELEN PONTANI
The Burlesque Tap Dancing Sensation

PANDORA
The Greek Goddess of Burlesque

DJ RIKOMATIC
Spinning an eclectic mix of soul, funk, swing & blues to keep you dancing


At the main bar, cocktails designed by our friends from
LOUNGERATI & WIT's END plus former Piano Store bartender KEVIN BROWN

Plus, Zelda: The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau!

AND special guest performances... including The Remarkable Theater Brigade (hot off their Carnegie Hall debut) performing FIRE, the caveman opera!

The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park S.
(20th St., off Park Ave)
New York, NY

Saturday, December 26, 2009

What We're Drinking: Scotch Cocktails

Sam Ross' Penicillin Cocktail
"There is no such thing as a bad whisky. Some whiskies just happen to be better than others."- William Faulkner

Scotch cocktails are nothing new for the lounge crowd. For over a decade, the Rob Roy was a standard, as was the Rusty Nail, Blood and Sand, and various scotch sours. However, there was an unwritten taboo about using single malt scotch in cocktails. In recent years, leading bartenders left their safe zones and expanded the range of cocktails made with scotch by using singles. Naturally, this peaked our interest and aficionados made a beeline for places like Little Branch to savor cocktails made with whiskey from Scotland's distilling regions: Islay, Highland, Speyside, Campbelltown, and Lowland.

Most of the new generation of scotch cocktails are typically built around a blended scotch, such as Famous Grouse, with a single malt as the secondary spirit. The most frequently used are young single malts like 10 year Islay (such as Laphroig and Ardbeg) or Speysides (like Balvenie or Glenfiddich) but we are also seeing the Highland scotch (such as Highland Park) finding their way onto the cocktail palette.

Islay scotch is particularly popular because the region's peaty essence gives the cocktail a smokey nose. The single malts enter the drink in the form of a float or spritz. It is no wonder why the Smoke and Mirror won 2009 Best of Lounge' Best Cocktail.

Our favorite Scotch Cocktails and where to get them.

Smoke & Mirrors

2 oz Balvenie 15yr Scotch (or other decent Highland)
1/2 oz Marie Brizard Apricot Brandy
1/2 oz Ramazzotti Amaro
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

Stir & serve up, then add 1 spritz of Ardbeg 10 Year scotch on the surface (or other Islay). Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

Where to get it: Raines Law Room, New York City

Cat's Meow
by Aisha Sharpe, Contemporary Cocktails/Rogue

2 oz Islay Scotch (Bowmore Legend)
3/4 oz Dolin Sweet Vermouth
2 tsp Cherry Herring brandy
1 tsp Absinthe

This cocktail is a scotch based version of Charles H. Baker's Remember the Maine. Combine ingredients in bar glass, add ice, stir rigorously and strain into chilled cocktail glass. Lemon peel.

Where to get it: Dutch Kills, Long Island City

Admiral Warrender
by Lynette Marrero and Jim Kearns of Rye House

1 1/2 oz Ballentine's Blended Scotch
1/2 oz Qi Black Liquor (a tea based spirit)
1/4 oz Demerara syrup
Dash of orange bitters

Combine ingedients, stir, and pour over large ice cube in chilled rocks glass with orange twist.

Where to get it: Woodson & Ford (closed) so find Lynette or Jim at Rye House and see if they will make it for you.

The Broadmoor
by Andrez Noren of Milk & Honey, London

1 1/2 oz Compass Box "Asyla" Blended Scotch
1/2 oz Green Chartreuse
1/4 oz simple syrup
Dash of Orange Bitters
Star Anise

Combine blended scotch, chartreuse, and simple syrup in a bar glass, add ice, and stir well. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with star anise.

Where to get it: White Star, New York City

Penicillin Cocktail
by Sam Ross of Milk & Honey, NY

2 oz Famous Grouse blended scotch
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
3/4 oz ginger-honey syrup
1/4 oz Islay scotch (Laphroaig 10 year or Bowmore Legend)

Combine blended scotch, lemon juice and ginger-honey syrup in a shaker, fill with ice and shake well. Strain into a chilled rocks glass, add a large sized ice cube, and float Islay scotch on top. Garnish with candied ginger.

Where to drink this: M&H, New York City

Scotch Law

2 oz Famous Grouse blended scotch
3/8 oz Yellow Chartreuse
3/8 oz Chino Amaro

Combine blended scotch, chartreuse, and amaro in bar glass, add ice, and stir well. Strain into a chilled coupe. Garnish with lemon peel.

Where to get it: Little Branch, New York City

Mah-Jong
by Jason Kosmas

2 1/2 oz J&B Rare blended Scotch
1/4 oz Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Navan Vanilla liqueur
Homemade Five spice Bitters

Combine over ice in a bar glass, stir until chilled, strain into a chilled glass goblet. Garnish with lemon peel.

Where to get it: Macao Trading Company, New York City

The Scottish Dandy
by Giuseppe Gonzalez

2 oz Chivas Regal
1 bar spoon John C. Taylor Velvet Falernum
1 bar spoon Yellow Chartreuse
Dash of Fee Brothers Aromatic Bitters

Build cocktail in a chilled rocks glass, add a hand carved block of ice, garnish with freshly cut lemon peel.

Where to get it: Dutch Kills, Long Island City, NY 

Insider tip: We suggest Bowmore Legend for floats and cocktails using Islay. It is relatively inexpensive yet retains the smokiness desired from the region.

Enjoy these sublime libations responsibly, they go down way to easy.

(Photo of Penicillin cocktail courtesy of Star Chefs)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Destinations: Catch the Vintage Train Dec 27th


SAY, YOU SHOULD BE CATCHING THE V AS IN "VINTAGE" TRAIN THIS SUNDAY!

Our pal Morey sends us word of a unique New York happening this Sunday, Dec 27th:

"The 1930s-era "Nostalgia Shoppers' Special" has been running intermittently along the V Line between Long Island City, Queens, and the Lower East Side on Sundays all this month. The train cars are all authentic from the era, and still run beautifully. They feature wicker seats, original lighting, bladed ceiling fans, and period advertising cards -- all literally museum pieces. Such a treat to see and so much fun to ride!

A bunch of us swing-era vintage enthusiasts decided it would be great to add to the atmosphere, with period clothing, music and dancing. FUN and FREE with MTA entrance!

This Sunday, gather on the Queens-bound platform of the 2nd Ave. V train between noon-1 p.m. Dress in your favorite '20s-'40s threads, dance to awesome swingin' LIVE jazz musicians, and strut for the many professional and amateur photographers out for a unique slice of city life.

Most of us will catch the train departing the platform around 1 or 2:30 p.m. (or both), ride out to Queens Plaza and back. (Queens folks, feel free to meet on the Queens Plaza platform closer to noon and join us in the LES for dancing and photos.) Allow a couple of hours for all the festivity.

The trains linger on the platform between departures (spaced between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.), so there's plenty of time for mingling and checking out other cars and all the people.

If you don't want to dress up, please come as you are! Don't miss this unusual opportunity to see a bit of New York history! See you there!

Here's the official 2009 news release, with fun facts:
http://www.mta.info/mta/news/releases/?en=091203-NYCT195a"

(Photo courtesy of Morey Kunin)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas from your pals at LOUNGERATI!!! Remember the words of the Senator as you spike the egg nog and dish out pickled punch:

"We shall drink to the end, we shall drink in the morning, we shall drink in the night, we shall drink in the gutters and the streets, we shall drink in the hills, we shall order wines with growing confidence and growing tolerance in restaurants, we shall order after dinner drinks and digestifs, no matter what the cost, we shall never throw up, and even if we do, which I do not for a moment believe, we shall boot and rally and make it to the last call!" - The Lounge Doctrine

For your Holiday cheer, Dizzy Fizz blog-gal-about-town Selena Ricks sends us a delicious recipe that won "Crowd Favorite" at her Puncheon Holiday Party that was held at Summit Bar in Alphabet City this past Sunday.

The Redhead
By Jane Elkins, LUPEC NYC

Multiply recipe by number of servings:
.5 oz. lemon juice
.75 oz. grapefruit juice
.5 oz. ginger syrup
.5 oz. sage-infused Barenjager Honey Liqueur
1 dash Fee Bros. Whiskey Barrel-Aged Bitters
1 oz. Yamazaki 12 Year Whisky
1 oz. Bulleit Bourbon
1 oz. rooibos tea

AUGOURI A TUTTI!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Lounge Essentials Presents: Ten Cigar Smoking Tips that Sound Dumb But Ain’t

by Effervescent

1) The Triple Cap: Cubans are almost always triple capped. Non-Cubans are almost always double-capped. This is one great way to avoid the old label switch-a-roo trick.

2) The Black Ash: Cubans almost always burn a black ash. I’m told it results from the minerals in Cuban soil. Who knows? Regardless, I’ve yet to experience a real one that burned white, or a non-Cuban that burned black.

3) The Quiet Companion: The drink should never overpower the cigar. Steer away from full-bodied booze that will (always) steal the show. Believe it or not coffee, or tea makes for a lovely alternative while eliminating the risk of tobacco/alcohol’s synergistic effect on the C word.

4) Break it Up!: A piece of food can break up a palate that gets overwhelmed. Just tear off some cookie, chocolate, a piece of bread, an M&M, hell even gum or a light mint. My favorite, a walnut brownie from Diane’s in tony Roslyn Heights, NY. Plus J-Lo stops in there about once a week.

5) Ignite the Rim: Once the outside edge of the cigar is lit, the rest will take care of itself. Many fellas overdue the lighting, and start off hot-boxin’ the tobacco right off the bat. Just get the outer rim lit, nature will handle the rest.

6) Save it, Buddy!: Save memorable bands. One day your grandson will appreciate the band from that engagement cigar and might even sell it on eBay. One boulevardier I know even has a framed pic of himself, with his wedding Cohiba Robusto, and the actual band affixed to the frame. And that boulevardier, my friends, is Fredo.

7) The Lighter Your Draw, the Better Your Smoke: I’m not talking how the cigar draws, I’m talkin’ how you draw. Light, well-spaced draws are the key to low temps and greater flavor. Ripping through a cigar is one of the best ways to hotbox the tobacco and overpower your palate. Experienced smokers take their time. Towards the end of a great cigar, take faint short puffs and you’ll discover flavor despite the heavier tar presence.

8) In Your Prime: Following these concise instructions: Remove sticks from humidor. Fill humidifier, using a spritzing bottle, spray with distilled water and wipe down with paper towel, close the box for 6 hours, repeat spray/wipe/wait. New humidors require to be refilled more often for first month. This will prevent your cigars from humidifying the wood in your humidor. Many know of this tip, few actually execute it once a year.

9) There’s a Waterfall in Prospect Park!?!: If you think you’ve located every secret cigar smoking spot in town, you aren’t looking hard enough. Get off your high horse and ask another like-minded gentleman if he knows prime spot he wouldn’t mind introducing “just” you to. Bet he does. And will.

10) A Burden Shared is Half the Burden, a Cigar Shared is Twice the Cigar. Everyone can think of at least one fella they know who’s exceedingly generous when it comes to gifting cigars. Be that guy. Not the guy with his hand always out.

Monday, December 14, 2009

What We're Drinking: The Baltimore Red


The shock of red hair hit you first. The twinkle in his eye drew you in and the tall tales kept you playing until he took your last poker chip. The scuttlebutt was Baltimore Red hailed from Pikesville, Maryland, but the country boy made myth into legend at underground Charm City gambling parlors. Red was known for ostentation, self-aggrandizement, fast-talk, entertaining banter, as well as his tailored suits. He was renown for playing the out of town gentleman lush, ordering his cocktails “fancy”, talking up amazing feats, and then confounding opponents with hands of poker that would leave them penniless. Between the summer of 1956 and New Year’s Eve 1958, the manicured card shark took the East Coast scene by storm and then disappeared without a trace. Some say he took his game to Meyer Lansky's Havana and ended up on the wrong side of the Revolution. Others say he went west to Vegas and got busted counting cards. No one ever caught Baltimore Red’s real name or learned of his fate. However, like his velvet smooth moves and infamous bluffs, you will not forget his eponymous drink. So bet on red and enjoy.

Shot and a half of Pikesville Straight Rye, ounce of Dubonnet Rouge, a splash of Falernum, two dashes bitters – one of Peychaud's and one of aromatic. Mix it in cold bar glass, add a few lumps of ice, and stir it up a dozen or so times. Strain into a fancy cocktail glass, garnish with an orange peel, burnt if the stakes are high, ya follow?

(As described to the author by an elderly ginger haired dandy claiming to be the missing rounder on a bench in Baltimore’s Penn Station.)

Translation of recipe:


THE BALTIMORE RED
an original cocktail by Fredo

2 oz of Rye (Pikesville)
1 oz Dubonnet Rouge
2 bar spoons Velvet Falernum (John C. Taylor)
1 dash Peychaud bitters
1 dash Fee Brothers Whiskey barrel bitters (or Angostura)
1 orange peel

Combine liquids in mixing glass, add ice cubes, stir with mixing spoon until chilled, strain into cocktail glass and add orange twist (burnt twist is optional for the extra flair).

Where to get it: Fredo's Home bar

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Destinations: The Winter Ball Dec 12th

Loungerati's best musical act of 2009, Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra team up with The George Gee Swing Orchestra to cordially invite you to...

THE WINTER BALL
Saturday Dec. 12th, 2009
Doors 8PM, Music 9PM
$20

Michael Arenella & His Hot Eight and The George Gee Swing Orchestra partner up to present December's hottest holiday dance event.

At Brooklyn's most enchanting little speakeasy, the Green Building, a 19th-century warehouse nestled along the banks of the Gowanus Canal, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

A most festive assortment of winter follies:
- Grace Gotham - burlesque beauty
- The Minsky Sisters - world renowned '20s tap duo and Loungerati Best Burlesque Act of 2009
- Roddy Caravella & His Varsity Syncopators - wobbly-kneed Charleston-dancing troublemakers
- Special musical guest Drew Nugent
Plus -
-On-the-spot vintage portraits by Tsirkus Fotografika

- Cocktails served by expert mixologists from Court & Spark and Loungerati.
- A tasty variety of sweet treats will be available if you're feeling peckish.
- Raffle with fabulous prizes!

The Green Building

450 Union Street
just a short walk from the following major subway lines:
- F/G to Carroll Street
- R to Union Street

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Saloon Series: The Muppet Show

by The Senator

One of the great things about living – and working – in Greenwich Village, NY is that you are only 10-feet or so from a completely different scene.
While it’s true that there are some constants – dirt, rats, the incessant bleating of car horns – you can seamlessly move from the south of Spain to Mexico, to Italy or Ireland, a Yankee bar or Mets stronghold all in the same block. On this night, Chef Sebastian and I are in Albania.

It’s been a tough night for me and Sebastian, as usual. The restaurant he owned and I managed had the ignominy of being located right next to the most popular pizza restaurant in the entire city. Most restaurateurs would probably think this was a good thing. They would plan to take advantage of the runoff, but at our restaurant -- a place that could best be described as a chef driven seafood fusion place -- wasn’t going to lure the guy who drove all the way from the Poconos to eat at that cardboard pizza joint.

Adding insult to our injury, the line to get into the pizza place also ran past our front door, so it was as if you had to run a gauntlet just to get into our place. And if you thought a few folks would at least succumb to the idea of getting a quick cocktail at our restaurant, think again: due to the arcane New York City liquor and “cabaret” laws, we were not allowed to serve hard liquor because we were within so many feet of a church. On top of that, it wasn’t even what New Yorkers would consider a “real” church…it was some sort of bible study place – housed in a two-story brownstone -- more condominium than cathedral. Because of that, we couldn’t serve a Martini? You have to love the idiocy of blue laws…place a crucifix within a football field of your bar and your patrons are only permitted to get blasted off of beer or wine, but not gin or whiskey, because that would, like, lead to Satan or something.

That said, every night began with the same ritual for me and Sebastian – a glass of Pastis over ice (bootlegged, of course). The way the night ended would vary according to our mood but halftime would come at around 11 pm when we would go across the street to an Italian restaurant run by a bunch of Albanians because there we could get an honest drink (they were something like two-feet further west of the pseudo-church and had a full liquor license).

Over drinks, we would complain about the night or he would lecture me about a problem he thought he saw with the staff. We could keep an eye on the restaurant from across the street – a real professional setup, the manager and chef of the restaurant on the clock, not there. Truth be told, were getting flat out blasted and at the time, it seemed right..

The Albanians, for the most part, didn’t like us. We brought nothing to the place insofar as glamour. Sebastian wore a white chef’s coat that looked like he had thrown up all over it and I wore the typical sports jacket that restaurant managers wear, you know…the one hadn’t been dry cleaned in, oh, about four years? And because we had been working the floor that night, our tongues were always razor sharp, and we were pretty sarcastic to begin with. The Albanians were a bit shaky with their English, so when we’d make fun of them – which was a near constant – they would get flustered and their only comeback was, “You are stupid!” (but because of the accent it sounded more like “you are shtoopid!” which made us laugh all the more).

We delighted in watching their mistakes. If the server took over a dish from the kitchen to show Sebastian, Sebastian would always nitpick something. “Is that cheese on fish? Go back to Albania with that dish.” (The reply: “You are shtoopid!”) I would put the bartender through outrageous hoops, ordering “Singapore Slings” or just making up drinks that never existed, like an “artichoke kefir.” And when they really started to falter, really started to show us fear, that’s when we’d break into song.

There’s an episode of Cheers where Coach tries to pass a test and one of the questions involves Albania and he can never remember where it is, so the bar suggests a pneumonic device. “Put it into a song,” says Norm. So they do, and the result is a song sung to the tune of “The Saints Go Marching In.”

“Albania! Albania! You border on the Adriatic! Your terrain is mostly mountainous and your chief export is chrome!”

This, as you can imagine, would drive the Albanians insane and fluster them all the more. At first, the patrons of the restaurant thought it was annoying, but after a few lively choruses, even they got the joke. Even the piano player – an Albanian himself -- got into the spirit after a few rounds, gamely pounding out the notes of the tune on the baby grand. Soon the whole restaurant would get the idea and sing along.

But the Albanian’s didn’t understand the cue.

“You are shtoopid!”

Silence. Sebastian blinks. Then the hands start pounding the bar and tabletops in unison yet again.

“Albania! Albania!”

Everyone wants an excuse for a fun time, no matter how shtoopid it may seem. Our sing along got to the point where some people were doing close approximations of alpine dances, skipping through the aisles. Others threw their napkins in the air. People clapped along joyously. People out in the street craned their necks to see just what the hell was going on inside this little Italian place. And behind the bar, the cute bartender that I had just ordered a “Flaming Albanian” from was tossing her head back and laughing. The server was furious.

“Why are you laughing at ‘zem? They are shtoopid!”

“No zey’re not,” she said, her face red with laughter as the bar do-si-do’d together. “They are so funny! They are just like ze Muppets!”

And that is how nicknames are born. That is how, when a neighbor introduces his kid to the chef by saying, “this is the chef!” his reply is to pull out a cigarette, light it, inhale, exhale and say, “No, I’m not the chef. I’m a Muppet.”

Hey, there are worse things to be…and their chief export is chrome.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Repeal Day!!


On this day, December 5th, in 1933, the 21st Amendment to the US Constitution became law. This piece of legislation repealed the 18th Amendment's Prohibition of alcohol. The last state to ratify the amendment in the State conventions, thus passing the 3/4 majority required to amend the Constitution under Article 5, was Utah! So three cheers to Utah!

XXI Amendment

Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Section 2. The transportation or importation into any State, Territory, or possession of the United States for delivery or use therein of intoxicating liquors, in violation of the laws thereof, is hereby prohibited.

Section 3. This article shall be inoperative unless it shall have been ratified as an amendment to the Constitution by conventions in the several States, as provided in the Constitution, within seven years from the date of the submission hereof to the States by the Congress.


Today is also the third anniversary of Loungerati. In 2006 as the lounge website Tommywhitetie.com was closed down by it's eponymous founder, a select group of Loungers refused to go quietly. It wasn't last call yet, and there was an open bar of opportunity and ideas. Loungerati was born on a cocktail napkin and continues to serve as an outlet to those who enjoy Lounge culture, the sporting life, exquisite cocktails, classic music, and a good time!

So please join us at WARD III in Tribeca, NYC tonight to celebrate your right to imbibe and Loungerati's birthday.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Best of Lounge 2009 - Winners

Most Sought After Ingredient for the Home Bar
The Loungerati readers have voted via PollDaddy for the 2009 Best of Lounge, and the results are in:

Best Bar/Lounge Newcomer: DUTCH KILLS
Honorable mention: Raines Law Room, Fort Defiance, Mayahuel, Ward III

Best Bar/Lounge Veteran: DEATH & COMPANY
Honorable Mention: PDT, Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club, Pegu Club

Best Burlesque Act: THE MINSKY SISTERS
Honorable Mention: Legz Malone, Melody Sweets, This Is Burlesque with Angie Pontani

Best Lounge Event: WIT'S END
Honorable Mention: The Salon at Players Club, Jazz Picnic at Governor's Island, GMT New Year's Eve

Best Barfood: CLOVER CLUB
Honorable Mention: Minetta Tavern, Mayahuel, Freemans, PDT

Best Jazz/Swing/Lounge Band: MICHAEL ARENELLA & HIS DREAMLAND ORCHESTRA
Honorable Mention: Queen Esther & J Walter Hawkes, JC Hopkins Biggish Band, Gelber & Manning

Best Dressed Lounger: EFF BLANGIARDO (LOUNGERATI)
Honorable Mention: Mr. Swank, Jack Newcastle

Most Sought After Ingredient for the Home Bar: HAVANA CLUB RUM (CUBAN BARREL PROOF)
Honorable Mention: Dolin Vermouth (Bianco), Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Bitters, Orgeat Syrup, Manzanilla Sherry

Best Cocktail of 2009: SMOKE & MIRRORS (Raines Law Room)
Honorable Mention: Prescription Julep (Ft Defiance), The Slight Detour (Mayahuel),Twisted Whiskey Mac (Artesian Bar - London), The Cat's Meow (Dutch Kills)

Editor's Picks:

Best Seat in the House: F14 at CLOVER CLUB
Honorable mention: Bar seat at Dutch Kills and the "regular" at Employees Only

Best Cocktail for the Road: THE PORTO FLIP (St. John Frizzel)
Honorable Mention: Hanky Panky (Brad Farran), The Wild Turkey Flip (Thomas Waugh), The Eagle's Dream (Matt Dawson)

Best Saloon: WARD III
Honorable Mention: Henry Public, The Richardson, 124 Rabbit Club

Best of the Internationals: CURIO PARLOR (Paris)
Honorable Mention: Rick's (Edinburgh), Rheingold (Berlin), Artesian Bar (London), 69 Colbrooke Lane (London)

We do apologize for the New York-centric nature of this list. We did go out to the readers to submit nominations and well, most are from New York. Hopefully that will change in the next year.

On the hit list to visit in 2010: Sweets Shop at Duane Park, The Varnish in LA, B-Flat in Tribeca, more Shanghai Mermaid,Summit on Ave C, Heaven's Dog in San Francisco, Violet Hour in Chicago, POV in DC, Eastern Standard in Boston, Tales of the Cocktail Part Deux, The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, and so much more.

Please join us on December 5th for Holiday cocktails at Ward III in New York. It is Repeal Day and Loungerati's third birthday.

Monday, November 23, 2009

What We're Drinking: The Midnight Stinger

by Fredo

Minty, refreshing, and potent, the Stinger cocktail is part eye opener, part ultimate nightcap. It is an original and proves it by breaking the rules. The Stinger is one of the only all booze cocktails for which it is acceptable to shake. No Lemon juice and no egg whites here, just liquor that needs a bruising. I believe the drink is simply better ice cold and quite frankly, do you need a neat drink to end the night?

Our favorite variation of the Stinger was created by a man who is expert at bringing amari into a cocktail. It is called the Midnight Stinger and features a float of the bartender's handshake - Fernet Branca. And the man to make you this gem is Sam Ross of Milk & Honey and Little Branch.

MIDNIGHT STINGER

3/4 oz fresh lemon
3/4 oz simple syrup
1 oz bourbon
1 oz Fernet Branca
Mint sprig

Combine the ingredients in cocktail shaker and roll back and forth. Strain into rocks glass over crushed ice,  add mint springs.

Where to get it: Milk & Honey or Little Branch, New York City

Thursday, November 19, 2009

In Memoriam: Conker Hill

by Fredo
Conker Hill, our favorite Irish pub in New York City, served their last pints of Guinness last Saturday night. Kieron St. Ledger, the publican, was forced to close the pub due to the terrible economic times that have squeezed small businesses like Conker into the pages of history.

Conker Hill was a relaxed neighborhood bar that featured darts, Big Buck Hunter, bands, comedy night, the Dewar's Repeal Day party, trivia night, and more importantly - a friendly crowd that checked any pretense at the door. It was off the beaten path, on 10th Avenue but worth the trek.It was a place where you ordered a beer, and by the end of the night a shot was sure to come your way.

We had a fantasy baseball league meeting their every March and geeked out while picking MLB players. Kieron would open up early just for the event. Each participant would await their turn, pick an available player, and then would put the name on a big leader board set up in the bar. There were cheesesteaks and plenty of trash talk in the air. To celebrate the opening of the baseball season, the gang would gather for a "meatfest" at the Argentine restaurant Churrascharia Plataforma in Hell's Kitchen. It was a bunch of guys getting together, bonded in friendships formed over pints at Conker Hill, and sealed in a love of baseball.

I will miss Conker Hill but I am glad of the friendships I made and I take them with me in the go cup of life.

Good luck to Kieron and his family. KSL, I hope to see your smiling face behind the stick of a new pub sooner than later. I mean what could possibly go wrong?!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Destinations: Hooch on November 20th


We recommend the following hush-hush de-lovely event for your Friday night pleasure:

"Ladies & Gents, Harlots and Hedonists, Flappers and Philosophers:

Break out your fur stoles and saddle shoes ..

We invite you to join us on Friday, November 20th for a night of indulgence, entertainment and depravity..

Be seduced by live cabaret-style performances, brass bands and swinging jazz, while cigarette girls offer surprising treats..

Drown your sorrows or elevate your spirits with unique cocktails, home brews and moonshine..

Flirt with strangers in shadowy corners.. Dance with lovers and friends to an incredible sound system.. all in an unseen underground Tribeca loft."


9PM-2AM
$10 entrance
RSVP to hoochrsvp at gmail dot com for location
.
-----
Stumble Bum Brass Band

Raya Brass Band

Judy Sky of Reverend Billy's Choir

Burlesque by the delectable Isabella Minx

Monday, November 16, 2009

Lounge Doctrine Reaffirmed

by Fredo

It is hard to believe two years have passed since The Senator, J&B Scotch's most valuable customer, proclaimed an ambitious doctrine which is the cornerstone of Loungerati's philosophy. Tonight, this platform was reaffirmed by Loungers from New York to Seattle. An official toast will happen in December when the Loungerati mini-summit convenes at the Algonquin Hotel bar (natch).

Delivered by the Senator at the Algonquin Hotel, November 17, 2007

"Loungers, I come before you tonight, drink in hand, with a message of hope.

They said that there was no more room at the bar for us. They said that there was no longer a place where good taste hardly ever went out of style. They said that times had passed us by.

Well, my friends, I have seen how the other half parties and let me be the first to say to them: KEEP ON PASSING.

They can take their smoking bans and they can take their political correctness and they can shove it right up their asses. To you my fellow Loungers I say this: let us never inebriate out of fear, but let us never fear to inebriate.

We say, with not so silent lips – if you are tired, if you are poor, if you’re one of the huddled dancers yearning to drink for free, then you must be refused and your wretched ass must be kicked outside the golden door! On this fantastic voyage, nobody rides for free.

Unless you’re really, really hot.

The Loungers and the musicians, linked together in their cause and in their need, will defend to the death bars like Algonquin Oak Room. Even though large clubs of Manhattan and many old and famous lounges have fallen or may fall into the grip of the techno scene and all the odious apparatus of American Idol and that karaoke bullshit, we shall not flag or fail.

We shall drink to the end, we shall drink in the morning, we shall drink in the night, we shall drink in the gutters and the streets, we shall drink in the hills, we shall order wines with growing confidence and growing tolerance in restaurants, we shall order after dinner drinks and digestifs, no matter what the cost, we shall never throw up, and even if we do, which I do not for a moment believe, we shall boot and rally and make it to the last call!

And so my fellow Loungers, in closing, let the word go forth that the torch has been passed to an older generation. Let every dancer, lounger and barfly know, whether they wish us well or premium, gin or beer, whiskey or soda, that we shall pay any cover, tip any bartender, meet any manager or maestro, in order to assure the survival and the success of the lounge.

Thank you, and may God bless the gutter."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Vote for Loungerati's 2009 Best of Lounge


We have boiled down our categories to the Top Ten for the 2009 Best of Lounge.

Vote Here


Voting ends at midnight November 26, 2009. The winners will be announced at Loungerati's annual Holiday Cocktail party and anniversary, Repeal Day December 5th. We are still working on a location for the party and will let you know shortly!

Barfly's Beat: TNT - Hendrick's Gin

Hendrick's Gin from Scotlandby Fredo

Last Tuesday, I scampered out of work early and made my way to Alphabet City. My destination, the weekly Tuesday Night Tastings series at Louis 649 bar. I arrived early and secured a coveted bar seat. My usual "dug out" spot was already taken but I was hardly deterred. There was gin to be tasted. There was gin lore to be heard. And I knew the crowd was coming due to the write up in Tasting Table.

Jim Ryan, Hendrick's Gin brand ambassador, was behind the bar mixing up an autumn Pimms/Hendrick's punch as the place filled up. By sunset, Louis 649 was at capacity with thirsty folks. The packed house included bartenders from notable cocktail bars, drinks bloggers, spirits aficionados, industry folks, booze hounds, and the curious.

Once the punch was sorted out, Ryan presented the history of the hallmark brand from Ayrshire, Scotland. Hendrick’s is a small batch gin distilled produced by William Grant & Sons (the Glenffidich/Balvenie Scotch manufacturers). According to their website:

"The unusual distillation process combined with our oddly delicious set of infusions yields a one-of-a-kind gin that is passionately loved by a tiny yet growing handful of individuals all over the world. No other gin tastes like it because no other gin is made like it."


Jim Ryan spins Hendrick's tale
As Mr. Ryan described the narrative behind the Hendrick's brand, he encourage the crowd to participate in naming the botanicals which make up the gin. Thus, the tasting part of the evening commenced. We detected cucumber (of course), orange peel, elderflower, and juniper amongst many others. Understanding why this gin is special is an important part of the Hendrick's story and their "unusual" marketing strategy. They are not trying to compete with the other London dry gins, Plymouth, or the newly in vogue Genever or Holland gin. Hendrick's stands on it's own taste-wise because unlike other botanical heavy gins such as Bombay Sapphire, the infusions do not overwhelm the base spirit. Which means you can add this gin into a cocktail and it will add to the flavor profile not become it.

Jim's Autumnal Punch (Hendrick's Gin, Pimms No 2, Honey,allspice berries, cucumber slice garnish, block of ice)

Once our taste buds were awaken, Mr. Ryan concocted several Halloween inspired cocktails that I must add are tasty all year round.

Corpse Reviver 2009

3/4 oz Hendrick's Gin
3/4 oz Solerno Orange liquer
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc
3/4 oz Lemon juice
Dash of Kubbler Absinthe

Combine ingredients in shaker, add ice, then shake rigorously. Strain into chilled coupe, no garnish required.

Satan's Whiskers
1/2 oz Hendrick's gin
1/2 oz Grand Marnier
1/2 oz sweet vermouth
1/2 oz dry vermouth (Jim substituted Lillet)
1/2 oz freshly squeezed orange juice
Dash orange bitters

Combine ingredients in shaker, add ice, then shake rigorously. Strain into chilled coupe, no garnish required.


Bonus
: Louis 649 also announced the beginning of food service in November, so you can nosh while imbibing delicious libations. According to Eater: "they're letting local purveyors curate menu items, including herring from Russ & Daughters, pickles from Rick’s Picks, charcuterie from The Bklyn Larder, Washugyu beef sashimi from Japan Premium Beef, cheese from Saxelby Cheese Mongers, empanadas from Barnyard, and chocolate from Nunu Chocolates."

Louis 649

LOUIS 649
649 East 9th Street @ Ave C
New York, NY

Disclaimer: Loungerati was not paid nor received any gifts from Hendrick's Gin or anyone associated with the brand or Louis 649 in exchange for this write up. We frequent the TNT at Louis 649 to learn about spirits and experience well crafted cocktails.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

What we are Drinking: The Fernet Flip

by Fredo

I wish I could personally thank drinks journalist Paul Clarke of the Cocktail Chronicles for introducing me to this sublime concoction. His article on the Fernet Flip marries one of my favorite spirits Fernet Branca and my obsession with Flip into one hell of a corpse reviver.

The chocolaty Carpano Antica vermouth complements the medicinal Fernet Branca and doesn't skimp on flavor. I tried several versions described by Mr. Clarke including the Boston version. Alas, I had no Xocolati Mole Bitters so I stuck with Fee's Whiskey Barrel bitters which as he points out, works just fine. I modified the recipe slightly, adding a 1/2 ounce of heavy cream to make the finish extra smooth. The drink turns out semi-sweet, creamy, and with the familiar Fernet taste coming at the end.


The Fernet Flip
1 1/2 oz of Fernet Branca
1 1/2 oz of Carpano Antica sweet vermouth
1 dash of Simple syrup
1/2 oz heavy cream
Two dashes of Fee's Whiskey Barrel bitters
1 whole medium egg
Nutmeg

Combine the ingredients in a shaker,dry shake for a few seconds. Then add ice, shake rigorously, and strain into a chilled wine goblet. Top off with a dusting of fresh nutmeg.


Trust me, Mr. Clarke calls this drink "a keeper" and I couldn't agree more. The Fernet Flip is now my official morning after remedy.

Where to get it: The Violet Hour in Chicago, Eastern Standard in Boston or my home bar.

(photo of Fernet poster courtesy of Ryan Medeiros)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Destinations: Halloween 2009

Halloween falls on a weekend for the first time in years. That equates to dozens of ghoulish parties, a myriad of masquerade balls, plenty of parades, and Gotham City in full dress up mode. I predict lots of Zombies in Mad Men attire. The festivities begin on All Hallow's Eve Eve and keep going well into the All Souls Day. Below is a short list of Loungerati recommendations:

Friday, October 30th

The Halloween Eve Masquerade

Join Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra the night before Halloween, and rub elbows with other glamorous ghouls... at Brooklyn's most enchanting little speakeasy, the Green Building, a 19th-century warehouse nestled along the banks of the Gowanus Canal, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

The featured performances include:
- The Love Show - sultry avant-garde dance troupe
- Jezebel Express and Lucy Lustgaarten - burlesque sensations
- Roddy Caravella & His Varsity Syncopators - wobbly-kneed Charleston-dancing troublemakers
- The Minsky Sisters - world renowned '20s tap duo
- Special musical guest Drew Nugent
Plus - Exotic Pumpkin and Gourd Exhibition!

- Cocktails served by the mixologists of Court & Spark. Fredo of Loungerati will also be slinging drinks.
- A tasty variety of hot and cold hors d'oeuvres and treats will be available if you're feeling peckish.

The Green Building
450 Union Street
Brooklyn, NY
9pm - $20


Saturday, October 31st
The Black Cat Masquerade with Gelber & Manning

Brought to you by Wit's End and the Dorothy Parker Society - the Black Cat Masquerade is the place to be this Hallowe'en!

It's the big one, kids! We've been waiting all year to bring you a Hallowe'en evening of spooky hot jazz tunes and other surprises, and we're bringing it to you with the fabulous musical stylings of Gelber & Manning! Come on in, take off your skin, and dance around in your bones with us!

DRESS : Vintage evening attire 1920s-40s: the more glamorous and mysterious, the better! And MASKS of course! We'll have some masks on hand for those unfortunate few who come bare-faced!

This evening also features the OFFICIAL LAUNCH of Zelda : The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau! Our hostess Diane (along with a bevy of amazing talent) brings you THE publication for lovers of early 20th century arts and culture!

ALL GUESTS AT THE BLACK CAT MASQUERADE WILL RECEIVE A FREE COPY OF ZELDA, AND AN ARRAY OF OTHER LOVELY FAVORS IN OUR HALLOWE'EN TREAT BAG! (treat bags while they last! arrive early!)

PLUS:
--FREE Balboa Lesson at 8PM with Jeri Lynn Astra and Neal Groothuis!
--Vintage party games to win prizes from our pals at Hey Sailor Hats and Cladrite.com!
--Best Dressed will take home a special prize provided by our venue, Flute Bar!
--Haute Chocolates from our favorite chocolatier, Chocolats Meurens!

Our venue for this special event has moved to Flute Bar, conveniently located at 54th Street near 7th Ave! Flute is in a quite legendary location : the very same spot as Texas Guinan's notorious speakeasy, Club Intime! (Also a longtime favorite of the Dorothy Parker Society!)

Flute
205 West 54th St @ 7th Ave
New York City

SWEET & SOUR SCARY SWING

Sweet & Sour Scary Swing returns to The Grand Harmony Palace in Chinatown on Spooky HALLOWEEN SATURDAY NIGHT, October 31st, 2009. LIVE HOT SWING JAZZ for listening and dancing featuring The Battle of the Bands with George Gee and The Jump, Jivin' Wailers (with vocalists John Dokes and Hilary Gardner) and Lt. Jim and The Blue Saracens (with vocalist Bess McCrary) duking it t all night long! A guaranteed good time with a heavy dose of Halloween Revelry and exciting, swingin LIVE BIG BAND dance music!

COSTUME CONTEST!CHINESE FOOD!COCKTAILS!TWO 12PC. BANDS, TWO CHARISMATIC BANDLEADERS!
SWINGIN' VOCALS!LIVE HOT SWINGIN' JAZZ!DIM SUM!LARGE DANCE FLOOR (MARBLE)DOOR PRIZES!
AND MORE.......

$20 Advance (Please make Paypal payment to "grandharmonyswings at gmail dot com" with indication of how many tickets and attached names - your names will be at the door night of the event)
$25 at the door.

Doors open for dinner at 7pm and music from 9pm to 1am.

GRAND HARMONY PALACE is located at 98 Mott Street (Canal Street) in historic Chinatown in lower Manhattan, New York City.

Dances of Vice Halloween: The DWINDLING PARTY

This Halloween, Dances of Vice presents "The Dwindling Party", an ominous Edward Gorey themed Victorian Halloween fete with a murder mystery undertone that promises to be most elegantly deranged.

The Dwindling Party will feature the murder ballads of special musical guests THE SCARRING PARTY, sensational crime scenes performed by resident rapscallions COMPANY XIV, fashions by that ruffled ruffian PUREVILE!, CORNELIUS LOY performing on the theremin, and the musical pandemonium of Ben Ickies' 24-piece chamber rock orchestra, THIS AMBITIOUS ORCHESTRA. Specialty cocktail menu presented by your charming bartender CHRX!

Artists FYODOR PAVLOV and LAWRENCE GULLO will be offering hand-drawn Gorey portraits to our dwindling guests, photographer STEVEN ROSEN will be offering specialty antiquated portraits, and PUREVILE! and COR-LEONIS will be vending handmade jewelry, candles and accoutrements!

303 BOND Street Theatre
303 Bond St.
Brooklyn, NY

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Destinations: The Sunday Night Show - The October Edition

New York City - OCTOBER 25th, 8pm

Our friend Kiki Valentine is throwing her monthly underground burlesque show at the Slipper Room. It is called "The Sunday Show" and it is "censorship free." Their website reveals:

THE SUNDAY SHOW is a censorship-free monthly exposition of performance artists which aims to sharpen the lost edge of Lower Manhattan’s underground art and music scene in the form of an unpredictable variety show. Never the same show twice, the production guarantees guests a night of world-class entertainers delivering racy antics, grace, music, beauty, humor, fanfare and scandal including the now-infamous “Risque Raffle” held at each show. The production also provides artists from all backgrounds and disciplines an arena to showcase their unique talents in a creative, collective environment.

Tonight's show will be enlightening to say the least especially after a few Rob Roys from the crew at the Slipper Room bar. But don't get too glassy eyed or you will miss the performances by world-renowned extreme(ly hot) juggler Marcus Monroe, the fire-hooping “razor blade in your apple” Justina Flash and bad-to-the-bone, original burlesque pieces by the ghoulish, gorgeous and incredibly talented B.B. Heart, Misty Lux and Leta Le Noir.

What exactly do they mean by "censorship free?" That is the ... ahem ... question. Then head over to the Zombie themed after party at Beauty Bar. This month's party, with a "host bar" sponsored by Domaine de Canton, ginger infused cordial, begins at 10pm and goes on until the wee hours.

"The Sunday Night Show"
Slipper Room
167 Orchard Street
New York, NY
8:30 pm - $10

Beauty Bar
231 E 14th St
(between 2nd Ave & 3rd Ave)
New York, NY
10pm - 11pm for the Canton bar

(photo courtesy of Kiki Valentine)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Brooks Brothers Mad Men Edition

Loungerati endorses the Brooks Brothers "Mad Men Edition" suit. The limited edition gray static sharkskin suit is designed by Janie Bryant, AMC's Mad Men wardrobe designer. Only 250 will be produced and will be available from October 19 until the show's finale on November 8th.

The suit features: a slim cut, two button, single breasted jacket with diagonal pockets, narrower notch lapels, and side vents. It has the early 1960s style but with that classic American style of JFK. In other words, the suit is not a costume but rather an ode to modern haberdashery's golden era.

You can order The Mad Men edition online or pick one up at selected stores ... while they last.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Destinations: Frankies Oktoberfest Oct 18th

by Fredo
Frankies Spuntino 457 and sister restaurant Prime Meats collaborate to throw an old fashion neighborhood Oktoberfest in their shared backyard. The Frankies (Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo)and their staff were clad in Bavarian and Bohemian attire, such as pine green velour Alpine fedoras, Prien vests, and suspenders. I didn't see any lederhosen but I only stopped by for a quick sample.

The communal backyard "Stable" area was converted into a beer hall and a secondary tent was set up over the outdoor eating area. The place was packed and the feared rain never arrived. The crowd was a mix of friends, family, and locals from Carroll Gardens. A DJ spun eclectic mix of German and Europop. I was waiting for "Who the f*** is Alice?" to complete the true Oktoberfest experience but sadly it was not on the playlist.

Bier

Six Point craft beers from Red Hook such as the hearty Dunkel Weisse and Oktoberfest were on sale for $5.00. Newly available Underberg beer and bourbon spiked cider and mulled wine were also on tap to keep the crowd warm.

Fleisch
The food ranged from hefty portions of BBQ pork to bratwurst to Vienna style hotdogs with plenty of sauerkraut and Schalman & Weber Bavarian style mustard. Girls in traditional Bavarian dresses stood near the entrance selling giant pretzels out of baskets.

It was also the Fifth Anniversary of Frankies Spuntino 457, whose opening made south Court Street a gastronomic destination. Congrats to the Frankies on a great event, my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn, and for their unmatched hospitality!


Ein Prosit
!!

Frankies Spuntino 457
457 Court Street
Brooklyn, NY 1123

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Wayne Curtis on Charles H. Baker in Atlantic Magazine


I don't usually quote or link to other articles, however I do not usually come across a great article on Charles H. Baker, Jr. cocktails AND Fort Defiance in Red Hook. So here is a passage which I sums up Baker's work and how cocktailians feel about it.

Baker was a bon vivant who wrote about food and cocktails for Esquire, Gourmet, and Town & Country. Today, he is best remembered for writing The Gentleman’s Companion: Being an Exotic Drinking Book or,Around the World With Jigger, Beaker and Flask, in 1939. It remains a tour de force. Flipping through its pages is like stepping into a dusky hunting club where the trophy mounts are cocktails such as the Sahara Glowing Heart and La Zaragozana’s Ne Plus Ultra, and where Baker sits in his cracked leather chair, recounting the story behind each. (Of a cocktail called Between the Sheets, he wrote, “We ran into it one dank day of sleet and rain in early January, just after the first Arab-Jewish riots which started with a murder of a poor old man stoned to death in a Haifa melon patch, between halves of a soccer match.”)

For the entirety of Wayne Curtis' article on Atlantic Wire click here. I did not try the three cocktails mentioned during my two week expedition...I think a Between The Sheets is in order!

Between the Sheets

3/4 oz cognac
3/4 oz Cointreau
3/4 oz London dry gin
3/4 oz fresh lemon juice
Baker: “Shake briskly with lots of cracked ice and serve in a Manhattan glass.”

(photo of Baker courtesy of St. John Frizzell)

Monday, October 12, 2009

Ray Gelato at the Blue Note

by Fredo

I had the great privilege of attending Ray Gelato and the City Rhythm Orchestra's only New York appearance at legendary jazz club The Blue Note tonight. Ray Gelato is a jazz saxophonist who has been playing for over twenty years in Europe and the United States. He has been compared to Louis Prima but is hardly a cover man. Ray's original compositions and swinging anthems such as "Tu va fuo' Americano" have made him reknown internationally. He is a regular at the Umbria Jazz Festival and a must see when visiting Ronnie Scott's 100 Club in London.

I have been following Ray Gelato for over ten years. His show at Windows on the World on August 25, 2001 was the last gig I ever saw at the World Trade Center. Ray has played my friends' weddings (my friends Joe and Debbie were in the audience celebrating their fifth anniversary, Ray was at their wedding). I have seen him at Swing 46, Cache, and where ever I can catch him! Tonight was no exception.

I met up with old schooler Joe Wood of RetroSpective Magazine, Grumpy Old Hepcat of Loungerati, and Signore Gelato and his entourage of South Philly musicians at the bar (natch). We caught up, sipped cocktails, showed baby pictures, and heck - I even agreed to write a cocktail column for Joe's project. Ray seemed pleased and went on to perform an outstanding show which not only showcased his talents but those of his band mates. They played Prima standards like "Angelina Zooma Zooma" but also vintage instrumental numbers like Lionel Hampton's immortal "Flying Home." Gelato also treated the audience to his own compositions like "Mambo Gelato" and "A Pizza You." He was at his best and the City Rhythm Orchestra didn't miss a beat.

Check out Mr. Gelato for yourself singing "Walk Between The Raindrops" at one of his performances:

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Henry Public Opens

by Fredo

We were the first to report that the team behind Smith Street favorite Brooklyn Social were working on a new project in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn called Henry Public. Well, the long awaited grand opening is happening this Friday night October 9th and Loungerati was invited to the soft opening last night to sample the food, drinks, and atmosphere.

Matt Dawson, partner and principal bartender, and his wife Jen Albano had a vision of a tavern which salutes the old Brooklyn. Henry Public is a saloon reminiscent of 19th century inn that may have dotted agricultural Kings County. Matt and Jen had the historic Brooklyn of Walt Whitman in mind but the bar doesn't feel period specific. I could go into how Tracey Meyer, another partner, sweated day and night constructing the bar but he spins the yarn so much better. So I will digress on descriptions of the interior for now and just reveal that it is comfy, warm, and hospitable.

Now to my forte - the drinks. The cocktails are a mix of originals and reinvented classics but the atmosphere is come as you are. It is not another speakeasy, but HP tips their hat in their direction with regards to fresh ingredients and vintage technique. Five local beers on tap, a dozen tasty cocktails, and a simple straightforward menu that includes a perfectly cooked grass-fed beef burger from Orwashers, house made juniper pickles, oysters, and a turkey leg sandwich make the place a destination throughout the night.

I won't give away the whole cocktail list, you will have to taste for yourself. However, below are two goods one: my first drink and the nightcap.



Ether (Scotch, Dry Vermouth, Yellow Chartreuse, Absinthe, lemon peel) - Blended scotch with a hint of the Absinthe and botanticals infused from the Chartreuse and vermouth. Make no mistake this is a boozey cocktail but the layering of flavors makes it a quick study.



I rounded the evening off with an Eagle's Dream (Gin, Lemon, Egg White, Sugar, Creme de Violette). Smooth with a citrus edge, the creme de violette is not obscured, in fact it cuts the lemon and stands up to the sugar. A capper indeed!



See you at the Grand Opening!

Henry Public
329 Henry Street @Dean St
Brooklyn, NY 1231

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Gentleman's Companion Day 14 - Santiago Nightcap

by Fredo

Tonight is the last night of my two week journey tasting cocktails from Charles H. Baker, Jr.'s Gentleman's Companion: Vol II. So why not end it with a proper nightcap, one that Baker claims to have imbibed during "a stay in Santiago de Cuba, in early spring of 1930." The Santiago Nightcap.

Mr. Baker continues his free publicity for the Bacardi company in his description of this fin de nuit potable. The recipe has been passed down to him by "Senor Facundo Bacardi" via a field representative. I decided to stick with authentic Cuban rum.

SANTIAGO NIGHTCAP
1 1/2 jiggers (2 oz) of Gold Seal Bacardi (I used Havana Club Anejo 5 year)
1 pony (1 oz) of orange curacao
yolk of one egg

Shake hard with cracked ice and strain into a large saucer champagne glass (I used a chilled coupe).

The drink is the color of vanilla pudding and the consistency of a flip. At first sip, one gets the orange curacao, the slight bitterness of the orange like flavor mix with the caramel, and molasses of the aged Rum. It goes down creamy and smooth.

Where to get a Santiago Nightcap? Heaven's Dog in San Francisco has a Charles H. Baker. Jr influenced cocktail menu. I am very sure their barkeepers could whip one up for you before you call it a night.

I have certainly learned from my endeavor. My favorites where his Cuban drinks. The Daisy de Santiago, The Remember the Maine, the Hotel Nacional Special top the list. There are so any others I didn't chronicle but drank during my quest, including the Ramos Fizz and the Pan American Clipper. I highly encourage you to buy Jigger, Beaker, & Glass: Drinking Around the World, which is the republished version of the Gentleman's Companion: Vol II, and sample some of these 267 exotic drinks from the golden era of cocktails.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Destinations: The Salon at Players Club - Oct 9th


She moved like a dancer through the night; dressed with a purpose and somewhere to go. As she passed, I asked; "The Salon" she said, “at the Players Club.” I found her at the bar, sipping a cocktail, looking rather coy as I approached. The night was a blur of dancing, lounging, music & art.

featuring
RON SUNSHINE & HIS ORCHESTRA
10 piece Big Band (swing/blues)

Burlesque dancer
LEGS MALONE

20's tap sensation
THE MINSKY SISTERS

DJ EFFERVESCENT
Spinning your Swing & Lounge favorites

MATT RAY on piano in the Sargent Room

Guest Mixologist & Specialty cocktail menu created and mixed by FREDO from Loungerati

Friday October 9, 2009
8:30pm doors open. Live Music starts at 9pm

The Players Club
16 Gramercy Park S.
(20th St., off Park Ave) New York, NY

$20 - Cash Only at door
$15 - Online in Advance
http://www.TheSalon.biz
Advance Sales end Thursday October 8th at 11:59pm.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Gentleman's Companion Day 13 - The Athol Brose


I am nearing the end of my two week journey into the world of Charles H. Baker, Jr. cocktails. There are still many great cocktails to sample. So I am ending with two classics. For Day 13, I am mixing up a Scottish classic called the Athol Brose.

Mr. Baker documents three types of Athol Brose drinks. He writes of the drink, "an odd Scottish institution which, like many things Scottish, is founded on mighty good reason, & is guaranteed to profit its user." The ingredients and proportions are nearly identical in all three versions, the only difference being preparation and service. Athol Brose No I, he instructs to mix well, warm slightly to make smooth." This can be achieved by dry shaking first and then adding ice and shaking. This version is served up.

The Athol Brose No II needs one "heaping" tsp of strained honey versus one part, 4 jiggers (6 oz of Scotch), pored into a tumbler (or two), then fill tumbler with heated milk. Cool before serving. This seems like it would be a good winter night's potation. Maybe spiked with a bit of Drambuie.

The third iteration of the Athol Brose is a carbon copy of the second but advocates a 1/2 part strained honey. I imagine it is imbibed like egg nog or a winter punch, so I would used a small glass.

Mr. Baker specifies using "ancient scotch" but I think a decent blend like Famous Grouse works quite well. I have had the Number One at several reputable cocktail establishments so I went with that recipe.

ATHOL BROSE

1 part Really old Scotch (I used 2 oz of my standard blend, Famous Grouse)
1 part strained honey (I used honey syrup)
1 part heavy cream

Method: Dry shake, then shake rigorously over ice, then double strain into a chilled coupe. No garnish necessary.

I enjoy the layering of flavors in the Athol Brose. First you get the creamy honey of the thick head on the drink. Then the scotch's peaty and robust taste. It goes down fast and should be imbibed as a night cap or right before a meal.

Where to get this cocktail? I recently had a expertly made Athol Brose at Milk & Honey in New York.

- Fredo

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Gentleman's Companion Day 12 - The Porto Flip

by Fredo

For the delicious Porto Flip, I decided that a trip to Fort Defiance in Red Hook, Brooklyn was in order. St. John Frizzell the proprietor of the new cocktail destination is known to make delicious Charles H. Baker, Jr. cocktails. I sampled several including the Remember The Maine and the Daisy de Santiago. So when it came time for a nightcap, I had to go with this gem that Mr. Baker imbibed at the Army & Navy Club, in Manila, Philippines back in 1931.


PORTO FLIP

Port Wine, 2 jiggers
Egg, fresh essentially, 1 whole
Thick cream, 1 pony
Cognac, 1 pony
Sugar, 2 scant tsp
Chartreuse, 1 tsp (though the color is not specified, St. John used Green - clearly he knows Baker very well!)
Grated nutmeg

Mix the concoction over ice, shake hard, and serve in a small goblet, floating the Chartreuse on top with a bar spoon, then dust with grated nut meg.

Smooth, well balanced, with significant kick and layering of flavors. This was the best flip I ever had. Perfect capper for a crisp Autumn night.

I also wanted to add a Happy Birthday to our pal Morey who made his Red Hook debut thanks to a sold out Burlesque Festival and a Big Grazie Mille to St. John Frizzell who indulged our merry band with lovely cocktails and hospitality!

(Photo courtesy of Morey Kunin)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Gentleman's Companion - Day 11 - The Cuba Libre

by Fredo

OK. I know what you are thinking. Fredo is taking the easy way out. Well, in a way I am. I was rushed for time, but still had to adhere to the Charles H. Baker, Jr. regiment, so I am taking a freebie - THE CUBA LIBRE. Actually, Mr. Baker goes into this drink at some length in his book. He is pissed off about how he can get these "Kooba Lee-brays" all over the country. The problem with this drink is "that it started by accideent and without imagination, has been carried along by the ease of its supply. Under any condition it is too sweet."

So to improve this situation, Mr. Baker offers an Improved version of the recipe:

1 big jigger (I interpret this as 2 full ounces) of Rum (Barcardi white was my choice)
the juice of 1 small green lime and the lime peel after squeezing. Put in Collins glass, muddle well, add ice and fill with Coca-Cola. Stir once and imbibe!

I agree. What started as a freebie turned into a refreshing tropic cocktail with a kick. Rum and coke it ain't - sorry haters!!!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gentleman's Companion - Day 10 - The East India House Cocktail

by Fredo

Mr. Baker says of THE EAST INDIA HOUSE COCKTAIL "being one for any man's book, & garnered in the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, India, 1932.." He rambles on about something around a fiancee and Delhi but I have no doubt she was forgotten by Morning tea. Especially, after a few of these great cognac cocktails.

THE EAST INDIA HOUSE COCKTAIL
1 1/2 jiggers of Cognac (I used Hennessey)
1 tsp of pineapple syrup (I added pineapple juice to simple syrup formula - tasted about right)
2/3 tsp of Maraschino (Luxardo)
1 tsp of orange Curacao
3 dashes of orange bitters (Regan's)

Mr. Baker suggests shaking the ingredients with "lots of ice and strain into Manhattan glass, twisting a bit of lime peel on at the last." I didn't feel this drink warranted shaking. The pineapple juice is slight at best. I stirred and strained the drink into a sherbet glass, garnished with lemon peel in lieu of lime. I really like this drink and I will investigate how to make proper pineapple syrup. Salute.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Gentleman's Companion - Day 9 - Admiral Schley Punch

by Fredo

A nautical drink to help me wind down another choppy day on the line. Mr. Baker doesn't offer much history or details around this thirst quencher, besides:

"This is supposed to have been named after the American admiral and we shouldn't mind such a pleasant piece of business being called after us."

ADMIRAL SCHLEY PUNCH

St. Croix rum, 1/2 jigger (3/4 oz of Cruzan Black Strap from St. Croix)
Bourbon, 1/2 jigger (Buffalo Trace 90 proof Bourbon)
Sugar, 1 tsp
Lime, peel and juice, 1

Shake with fine ice, and turn into goblet - ice and all. Garnish with sprigs of mint, a stick of ripe pineapple, and so on. (I skipped the pineapple but the mint made it julep-esque). Delicious cocktail, sweet, sour, and a bit boozy, ahoy there!

*Admiral Winfield Scott Schley (Oct 9, 1839 - Oct 2, 1911) According to wikipedia - Schley was commissioned Commodore on 6 February 1898, and on 24 March, although lowest on the list of Commodores, he was put in command of the Flying Squadron, with Brooklyn (CA-3) as his flagship, for service in the Spanish-American War. He was made Rear Admiral in 1899.