Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lounge Essentials: Japanese Barware

For over a decade, I have been using a standard bar glass (typically a bar pint) to roll stirred cocktails. My bar is stocked with a half dozen of them which I also use as part of a Boston Shaker for mixing shaken drinks too.  Recently,  I began retiring the old pint glass.

First, I substituted stainless steel tops to my Boston shaker in lieu of the pint glass after seeing them used to achieve maximum chillness at some of the nation's top cocktail lounges. Then year ago, I began noticing heavy bottom crystal mixing glasses with a chemistry set beaker type spouts popping up at cutting edge establishments such as PDT in New York City.  My interest was peaked but it was impossible to find these glasses. Last summer, I attended Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans and there was a buzz about the newest barware; the tools were Japanese and originated from innovations of the Tokyo cocktail scene. The mixing glasses were crystal with seamless pour spouts and the shakers are stainless steel cobblers that produce super ice cold drinks. The man to talk to about getting my hands on the gear -  Mr. Greg Boehm of Mud Puddle Books.

The Yarai mixing glasses are made from crystal, have an artistic glass design that also acts as a grip,  and features a beaker like spout for "seamless pours." The thickness of the glass keeps the drink colder and the weighted bottom prevents the glass from tipping over while the drink is being stirred. The bartender no longer needs to hold the glass because weight is centered. Again, the idea is to eliminate body heat from the hand for the coldest drink possible. Oh and they look pretty rad too!

The AG Cobbler Shakers are mini stainless steel cocktail shakers for single serving drinks. It is composed of three-part shaker and holds 500ml of volume. This tool is essential to a proper "hard shake." In addition, Greg Boehm told me that in Tokyo the cocktails are actually smaller and not American portions, so this cobbler shaker was born of necessity as well as style.

This barware does not begin and end with mixing glass and cobbler shakers. The AG Japanese style jiggers are long and conical shaped with a weighted in the center to prevent spillage. There are two sizes of jiggers - 30ml/15 ml (1 oz/1/2 oz) and 45ml/30ml (1.5oz/1 oz) which are about $10 each.  There is also a weighted Hawthorne stainless steel strainer which fits perfectly on the Yarai Mixing glass.

The mixing "trident" spoons are perfect for stirring drinks, acting as a bar spoon to add floats to drinks, and trident piece is meant to grab garnish and fruit. They also make a bar spoon with a tear drop shaped top which I recommend. No need to lose an eye while waiting for your Manhattan to settle.

Then we have the uniquely designed bitters dispensers or "dasher" bottles. According to bartender Joaquin Simo of New York's Death & Company, the Yarai bitters bottles dispense the most exact "dash."  Mr. Simo has tested these bottles against the all manner of bitters dispensers. There is no overage or spillage or subjective amount. Just the perfect dash.

For your home bar I suggest the following starter kit which are great tools to mix shaken or stirred cocktails.

The Basics in Japanese barware:
  • Yarai Mixing glass (500ml) - heavy and stable crystal with beaker like spout for seamless pour.
  • AG Hawthorne Strainer - also weighted.
  • AG Japanese jiggers - I suggest one 45 ml (1.5 oz) and 30 ml (1 oz). 
  • 1-2 stainless steel stirrers (32cm) with tear drop top or Bonzer muddler 
  • AG Cobbler Shaker (500ml) - if you want to master the hard shake, use what master cocktailian Kazuo Uyeda employs.
  • Yarai bitters bottle (50ml)
While you are at it, why not pick up spherical ice molds at MOMA Design Store for the true Japanese cocktail experience. These perfectly round ice balls are perfect in an Old Fashioned because the ice melts very slow. Again the idea is less melting and maximum coldness for the duration of the cocktail.

The Japanese barware featured in this post can be purchased at Greg Boehm's  Cocktail Kingdom along with one of the best assortment of hard to find bitters and bar accessories on the web.

Disclaimer: Loungerati has not received any complimentary Japanese barware or any compensation from Cocktail Kingdom or MOMA Design Store. The review of this product and opinions expressed are purely that of the author.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pre-Tales of the Cocktail Blogger Brunch at Rye House

This past Sunday afternoon, I had the pleasure of joining dozens of my fellow New York cocktail bloggers, barflies, mixoligists, cocktailians, and up and coming industry folks at the Rye House for a libatious Blogger Brunch. The Herbsaint sponsored event was produced by the gang behind Tales of the Cocktail and Selena Ricks of the Dizzy Fizz.
Participants received a complimentary Herbsaint "Louche" which is a mini water drip (pictured) and provided with a delicious brunch and cocktails (natch). 
The drinks featured the sponsoring liqueur Herbsaint, also known as Liqueur d’Anis, which according to Tales of the Cocktail founder Anne Tunermann means "Absinthe" in creole. J.M. Legendre's original formula for this anisette has been lost for decades until now. The kind folks at Sazerac Company, also based in New Orleans, have resurrected prized ingredient for the famous Sazerac cocktail. Herbsaint, which is 90 proof, is available at Astor Wine & Liquers and comes in a vintage designed bottle and label. Below is one of the great Herbsaint cocktails served at the Pre-Tales Blogger Brunch:

Herbsaint Fizz by Rye House's Jim Kearns

3/4 oz lemon juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
1-1/2 oz Herbsaint
1 egg white

Preshake egg white, lemon, simple,  and spirit to emulsify, add ice, shake, serve in a tall glass, top with soda.
For more information about Tales of the Cocktail, contact:

A big thanks to Selena Ricks at the Dizzy Fizz for being the hardest working gal on the scene! 

Loungerati will be Tales of the Cocktail in the Big Easy reporting and imbibing ... what about you?

(Photos courtesy of Lush Life Productions)

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Destinations: "Moonlight Frolic" by Wit's End at Flute, April 24th

Saturday night is the loneliest night in the week
’cause that’s the night that my sweetie and i
Used to dance cheek to cheek
I don’t mind sunday night at all
’cause that’s the night friends come to call
And monday to friday go fast
And another week is past

But saturday night is the loneliest night in the week
I sing the song that I sang for the memories I usually seek
Until I hear you at the door
Until you’re in my arms once more
Saturday night is the loneliest night in the week
- Frank Sinatra

Say, don't be lonely tonight, why not head over to Flute Bar in Sinatra's for a "Moonlight Frolic" brought to you from our dear friends Don Spiro and Diane Nagel of Wit's End. Find that dance partner and cut a rug to Gelber & Manning, sip cocktails of yesteryear, and dress to impress.

The Press release:

Wit's End and the Dorothy Parker Society are proud to present you with this special fete to celebrate the launch of the second issue of Zelda : The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau! ( Zelda's cover feature is an interview with the incomparable Doris Eaton Travis, the last living Ziegfeld girl, and in her honor, we offer you THE MOONLIT FROLIC, a soiree in Ziegfeld style! Music will be provided by favorites GELBER & MANNING, featuring songs from the Ziegfeld Follies!

All guests will receive a copy of the second issue of Zelda! (We'll have gift bags with extra goodies while they last, so arrive early to get yours!)

FASHION SPECIAL! Our friends at the Ziegfeld Club ( will be providing a very special showcase: a showing of authentic Ziegfeld costumes and headpieces! See a real piece of New York history in person!

FREE HORS D'OEUVRES from 7-8pm provided by Flute Bar! Arrive early and order dinner at Flute!

FREE DANCE LESSON at 830pm - our resident dance diva, Jeri Lynn Astra, will be providing a very special dance lesson in honor of our Follies event: join us for a beginner tap lesson!

FANTASTIC GIVEAWAYS from Lauren Redniss, author of Century Girl L 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis (, The Pink Birdhouse (, Cladrite (, and more to be announced!

DRESS CODE : Come in your finest 1920s/30s/40s evening attire, fit for a night out at the Follies! No casual attire is permitted! For this Ziegfeld special event- bring out your sequins, your headpieces, your 20s showgirl best! The best dressed vintage-style showgirl will receive a wonderful prize!

As always, we'll be providing our vintage cocktail menu and the great tunes you love at Wit's End! We hope to see you there!

205 West 54th Street
New York, NY
$17, 21+

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Louis 649 Bar Amateur Mixologist Competition Deadline April 18th!!

Get your original cocktail recipes in!! Tonight's the deadline for Louis 649's amateur mixology competition!

Here is the skinny:

ANYONE CAN BE A MIXOLOGIST – Louis 649’s Consumer Cocktail Competition

“Anyone can cook!” said Remy and Chef Gusteau in Ratatouille. While we don’t welcome rats behind our bar, we do welcome our guests since we believe at Louis 649 that, “Anyone can be a mixologist!” And we’re letting you put this theory to the test in our first ever Louis 649 Consumer Cocktail competition.

This is your chance to shine. Anyone and everyone who sits on the other side of the bar is encouraged to tap into their little bar chef within and submit a delicious cocktail recipe. Bartenders need not apply, this contest is strictly for you loyal bar patrons.

It is of course a competition, and with all competitions come a prize! The winning cocktail of Louis 649's first "Anyone Can Be A Mixologist" Consumer Cocktail Competition will be highlighted on our upcoming Spring Menu and credited to you. The winner will also recieve a much coveted Plymouth Gin Bartending Kit, a 1-Year Subscription to Imbibe Magazine and a $100 Gift Card to your friendly neighborhood Louis 649.

Recipe Submission Guidelines
1) Submission DEADLINE is April 18th
2) Send all recipes to
3) Be creative, but not over the top. Please remember, we have to make this cocktail all Spring.
4) You must use one of the following spirits as your base ingredient:
- Beefeater Gin
- Becherovka Herbal Liqueur
- Chivas Regal 12yr Scotch
- Jameson Irish Whiskey
- Luksusowa Vodka
- Martell Cognac
- Pernod Absinthe
- Plymouth Gin
- Ramazzotti Amaro
- Ricard Pastis

5) All other ingredients are up to you, but refer back to Rule #3

On April 26th, ten semi-finalists will be invited to Louis 649 to prepare your cocktails in front of a panel of bartenders who will then decide the winning cocktail based on criteria the recipe’s creativity, ease of preparation, flavor and balance.

Cheers and Good Luck!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Destinations: Japanese Cocktail Technique May 3rd and 4th

A unique and historic event brought to us from our friends at Cocktail Kingdom:

"Cocktail Kingdom is excited to announce Japanese Cocktail Technique, a focused two-day event on the Japanese way of bartending. Kazuo Uyeda, Japan’s most famous bartender, will preside over the event on May 3rd and 4th, 2010 at the Hiro Ballroom in New York City. This will be Mr. Uyeda’s first appearance ever in New York and will coincide with the release of the first English translation of his influential book Cocktail Technique.

Tickets will be available shortly at at a cost of $675. Ticket price includes admission to both days of the event, an ultra-high quality AG cobbler shaker (a brand Mr. Uyeda uses at his own bar), lunch on both days and cocktails during the event, admittance to an after-party on Day 2 with a guest, and many other special gifts."

There will also be an after party on Day Two at the Hiro Ballroom sponsored by Suntory Japanese whiskey. Loungerati will be dispatching Fredo to learn the "hard shake!"

Purchase tickets here.

(Photo of Kazuo Uyeda courtesy of

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Destinations: The Bourbon & Blues Burly-Q Revue April 22nd

Antebellum bella Pandora sends us an offer we cannot refuse and nor should you! Southern comfort food, naughty burlesque, The Moonlighters jazz, and plenty of Bourbon Manhattans under one roof?? See y'all there!
The Bourbon & Blues Burly-Q Revue
Featuring vintage delta blues by Delta Dreambox (the southern-leaning offshoot of 1930's Hawaiian steel guitar band The Moonlighters) & burlesque by your dear, glitter dusted friends Pandora and Grace Gotham! Dust off that seer sucker suit and join us for some down Southern hospitality!
Special, one-night-only, southern menu items will be offered, such as crawfish bisque, chicken and andouille sausage gumbo, banana bread pudding, bourbon pecan pie, etc.
Thurs. April 22nd 
9:00 p.m. / No Cover, but reservations strongly recommended 
Duane Park Restaurant 
157 Duane Street (between West Broadway & Hudson) 

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Angolo di Modo: Dr. Martens 50th Anniversary 1460 Oxblood Boots

The trip to purchase my first pair of classic Doc Martens leather boots involved hiding money in my socks, extreme paranoia, and an exit plan. The year was 1988. The only place worth getting a pair of the air cushioned rubber soled 8-eye Oxblood colored boots was a store called 99X in New York's East Village neighborhood. The East Village in the late 1980s was a sketchy place and not the gentrified college campus of today.

My strategy was to go early, when the place opened, buy the "Docs", and run like hell back to Astor Place subway station. There were rumors of Skinheads camping out in front of the store or hiding in dark stairwells down the block near Fourth Avenue. They would mug kids buying Dr Martens boots at 99X. This of course was urban legend but as far as my 16 year-old mind was concerned it was real. In fact, some girl I met at the Cure Concert  heard it happened to a friend of a friend -  so it had to be true!

99X was the only game in town at the time when it came to cool British apparel like Fred Perry, Ben Sherman, football scarfs, braces, skinny ties,  and of course the must have DM boots. My junior year in high school was starting the following week and I had saved money during the summer just for this event. I had to have new Docs for the first day! So I ventured down to 99X on East 10th street between 3rd and 4th Avenues wearing running shoes.

Well the worst that happened at 99X was the coveted oxbloods were out of stock. So, I decided to settle for the regular black Doc. There were no skinheads or punks outside, the street was empty. The only human contact I encountered was a disinterested store clerk reading a fanzine.  I remember Iggy Pop was playing on the PA. Luckily, the black boots in a UK size 9 (a US 10) were in stock and they fit perfectly. I opted not to get steel toes which were more expensive and a bit too  "New York Hard Core" for me. I was more of a New Waver dude.

The mystique behind the boots is not only the iconic yellow stitching around the sole or their cool factor. It is the comfort. The difference is the  air-cushioned sole, which is oil and fat resistant, tough as nails, and practically slip proof. The original craftmanship still endures, the upper and sole are sewn together, not merely glued like other boots. Doc Martens' patented "Z welt-stitch and heat-sealing process" ensures a life time of durability making it a true working class rugged boot.

This year marks the 50th Anniversary since the first hand crafted Dr. Marten boots rolled off the Cobbs Lane factory assembly line on April 1, 1960 in Wollaston, England. Since then it has been the signature footwear of the British working class, then Skinheads, Rude boys, New Wavers, Punks, and eventually even Mall Rats

Vintage 1460 Oxblood Quilon boots ($180), a direct replica, of the very first boots are now available. They feature "narrower horizontal tread bars, criss-crossed coring bars, a darker sole, a storm welt bound together on the lateral side, small indentations left on the welt by the original stitching machine, no top collar binding and runs into the eye stay above the top eyelet." 

My original pair of black boots went to the Salvation Army ten years ago, which means only one thing - I am buying a pair of the replica Vintage 1460 Oxbloods!! It is about time! Oi!

- Fredo

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Destinations: Midnight Follies May 7th at Players Club

The Players Club, the Slipper Room, and band leader JC Hopkins collaborate to throw the first gala of the spring called Midnight Follies on May 7th. There will be dancing, there will jazz, there will be free mint juleps from 8-9pm! This event will have a mid-century theme so think "The Apartment" or "Mad Men"  when picking out your pocket square and cocktail dress.

The skinny from JC Hopkins, aka the man who knows where Hoffa is buried:

Landmarked NYC Jewel THE PLAYERS Opens to Public for “Spring Spectacular” 
Swing Dance, Burlesque and Jazz

With the JC Hopkins Biggish Band
featuring Champian Fulton and DeWitt Fleming Jr.

Performances by  Martha Wainwright, Jolie Holland, Shien Lee 
and NYC “It” Artists Highlight the Event

Friday, May 7th, 8pm-1am
Complimentary cocktails from 8 to 9pm
The Players, 16 Gramercy Park South
$20 w/RSVP, $25 at the door

 New York, NY - April 1, 2010 - The historical landmark The Players of Gramercy Park opens its private doors to the public for SPRING SPECTACULAR, a night of elegance harkening the rich history of Manhattan’s legendary entertainers with a Kennedy-era flair.  This star-studded evening will feature big band, swing dancing, burlesque and jazz while bringing together a staggering array of talent demonstrating the city’s diversity.  The event will be held Friday, May 7th at 8pm.  Guests are encouraged to dress in swing, beatnik or mid-century modern attire (Mad Men).

This rare occasion celebrates the spring season through an evening of the exuberant entertainment of yesteryear with a modern, independent edge. Special guests include vocalist Martha Wainwright performing a selection from her album “Martha Wainwright Sings Piaf” in addition to the “velvet voice” of Jolie Holland, the independent artist who counts none other than Tom Waits as one of her biggest fans.  Accompaniment  for the night's performances as well as live jazz and swing provided by the acclaimed JC Hopkins' Biggish Band along with tap-dancing sensation DeWitt Fleming Jr. (called "an amazement" by The NY Times) and singer Champian Fulton (who The New Yorker touts as having a “galvanizing voice”). Singer Shien Lee (of Dances of Vice) will perform with pianist Bryan Reeder in the club's Sergent Room.

The cabaret atmosphere reaches crescendo as some of the best burlesque dancers in NYC step on to the stage to delight and entice: winner of the 2009 Golden Pastie Award for “Most Sensual Performer in Burlesque” Peekaboo Pointe, Miss Coney Island Ekaterina, and, in band breaks, 1920s tap sensation The Minsky Sisters.

The entire evening is presented by Midnight Follies and hosted by James Habacker, illustrious owner of downtown’s The Slipper Room and with Kiki Valentine, actress and producer of The Sunday Show. Valentine explains, "The Players has an incredible history and open the doors to the public and create a happening like this seems to wake the spirits of Frank Sinatra and Sarah Bernhardt. It's like they're giving us their blessing. Plus, they always loved a good party."

The legendary Players, boasting Twain himself in its luminary roster along with Nobel-prize-winners Eugene O'Neill, Ernest Hemingway and numerous others, is a social club founded by the famed 19th century Shakespearean actor Edwin Booth. The Players' history-steeped home is a magnificent Victorian mansion with dozens of paintings, marble fireplaces, and a wrought iron balcony overlooking Gramercy, the only remaining private park in Manhattan. 

RSVP at midnightfollies at gmail dot com

Friday, April 2, 2010

Tales of the Cocktail 2010's "Official Cocktail" Announced!

Fresh off the press, it will clearly be Year of the Tiki at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this July. The "Death in the South Pacific" cocktail submitted by Washington mixologist Evan Martin was crowned Tales' “official cocktail”. More than 150 bartenders worldwide submitted recipes for the event.  I guess we will be packing Hawaiian shirts and the Orgeat syrup this year! Here is the press release:

"Winner of the Official Cocktail Competition. Evan's drink will be the official cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail 2010.

Winning Cocktail and Official Cocktail of Tales of the Cocktail 2010:

Death in the South Pacific
0.75 oz. Appleton Estate Extra 12 Year Old rum
0.75 oz. Rhum Clement VSOP rum
0.5 oz. Grand Marnier
0.33 oz. Trader Tiki's Orgeat Syrup
0.33 oz. Fee Brothers Falernum
3 dashes Absinthe
0.5 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
0.5 oz. Fee Brothers Grenadine
0.5 oz. Cruzan Blackstrap rum

Method: Add all ingredients except for the grenadine and Cruzan Blackstrap to a Zombie shell glass and fill with crushed ice. Swizzle the drink well to mix and frost the glass and then pour in grenadine. Overfill the glass with crushed ice and then pour in Cruzan Blackstrap.  

Garnish: Take a bamboo skewer and put a brandied cherry through at the very top followed by 1 pineapple leaf (insert through the middle) and then cut off skin from 1 large orange slice and then cut the strips in half. Insert the ends through the skewer having them hang on opposite sides of each other. Then insert the straw through the loop in the bamboo skewer. It should look like a guy hanging off of the drink (cherry=head, pineapple leaf= arms, citrus peel dangling away from each other are the legs)."

(Source and image courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail )