Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Lambs Club Cocktail on UMAMIMART

March is going out with a bang! So try the classic Lambs Club Cocktail, a New York original, before it gets too warm outside.
Lambs Club Cocktail (1915)

“Floreant Agni” (May the Lambs Flourish)
- Motto of the original Lambs theatre club

The month of March is supposed to end like a Lamb but Mother Nature is not playing nice–it is still 30˚F outside! Nevertheless, this week’s cocktail captures winter’s last stand and book ends the month quite nicely! The Lambs Club Cocktail is midway between the light crispness of a spring cocktail and a heavy aromatic cocktail of the winter. The proportions are 2:1 vermouths to gin–a “perfect” martini if you will. Gin, a popular spirit for warmer months is tempered by the fortified flavor of not one but two variations of vermouth. The monastically produced Bénédictine blesses the cocktail with bar spoon of herbal sweetness.

Read the rest of the post on UMAMIMART

Friday, March 25, 2011

Destinations: Wit's End & the Dorothy Parker Society Present : Puttin' on the Ritz!

Head on over to the monthly Jazz Age party Wit's End & the Dorothy Parker Society Present : Puttin' on the Ritz! party on Saturday night March 26th at Flute Bar. Here is the skinny from our friends Diane Naegel and Don Spiro:

Join us for a fabulous evening of vintage glamour celebrating our favorite toe tapper, Fred Astaire! Live music for the evening will be provided by hot jazz sensations DREW NUGENT & THE MIDNIGHT SOCIETY!


Vintage Cocktail Menu, Good Company, Good Conversation!

As always, find copies of Zelda : The Magazine of the Vintage Nouveau available for sale!

Evening Attire Required - Vintage/Vintage-style 1910s-40s is encouraged! This is the night for the top hat and tails!

$12 door, 21+
Flute Bar - Midtown
205 West 54th St
New York, NY

Thursday, March 24, 2011

American Trilogy is What We're Drinking on UMAMIMART

American Trilogy
There is nothing like an expertly crafted Old Fashioned-style cocktail to help you navigate the rapidly changing weather of late March. Since, it is not quite Gin Rickey weather and too warm for a Hot Toddy, a solid whiskey cocktail is just what the Doctor ordered. Now let’s take it to the next level in flavor, taste, and execution. Let me introduce you to the American Trilogy.

The American Trilogy is a cocktail created by barmen extraordinaire Richard Boccato and Michael McIlroy in 2007 at New York’s Little Branch. Trilogy channels the recipe for the old fashioned (spirit, sugar, bitters) and uses two base spirits instead of one. The clever combination unites two classic American liquors and a possible mystery ingredient that create a unique flavor that sets the cocktail apart from other old fashioned derivatives. E pluribus unum!

Read the rest of Fredo's post on

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Bloody Caesar on UMAMIMART

Bloody Caesar M.Wells Style
My stint as guest drinks writer for UMAMIMART food blog continues for the month of March. This week I sing the praises of the long neglected  Bloody Caesar!

"When selecting a mid-March cocktail for this article, I was tempted to go the easy route with a St. Patrick’s Day whiskey drink. Then this weekend, I had the fortune to dine at Magasin Wells (aka M.Wells), the critically acclaimed Québécois-American diner in Long Island City, Queens.
M.Wells’ haute comfort food menu and greasy spoon aesthetic were beyond sublime. However, they merit their own article devoted to what I can only describe as veritable cibo matto. Whelks in garlic and butter sauce for breakfast? Yes, ma’am! Now, the featured brunch cocktail, The Bloody Caesar, is right up my alley for the Ides of March!"

Read the rest of the post here.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Blythswood Square: The Loungerati Selection

THE LOUNGERATI provided an exclusive chapter for a new cocktail menu at one of Great Britain's most prestigious hotel bars. The Salon at Blythswood Square, winner of the Scottish Licensed Trade Award (SLTN) for Spirits Bar of the Year, and runner-up to The Bar at The Merchant Hotel in CLASS Magazine's Hotel Bar of the Year, has released an outstanding 42-page Compendium of Vintage & Contemporary Mixed Drinks & Cocktails.

A neoclassical terraced building, constructed in 1823 and envisaged then to be Glasgow's architectural centerpiece, is now the glamorous focal-point for the city's Scotland With Style philosophy. Remodeled in 1926 as headquarters for the Royal Scottish Automobile Club, and famously hosting the start of the 1955 Monte Carlo Rally, the imposing landmark received a £25 MM redevelopment courtesy of boutique hotel group, The Town House Collection, opening in November of 2009.

The Salon at Blythswood Square
When entering this five-star hotel, unless you have a key for one of 100 elegant bedrooms, a table in the fine dining restaurant, an appointment at the luxury spa, or a bathing costume for the rooftop hot tub, ascend a spiral staircase sweeping around a three-story, Art Deco chandelier. On the first floor landing, glide gently across a white marble floor, and on through a pair of Romanesque columns into an historic space lit by two majestic fireplaces and sensuous red shades—at one time the area doubled as a catwalk for ladies of the night—reflecting gilded cornicing and glassy winks from bottled liquors. Aim for the latter, and take a seat on one of the bespoke Harris Tweed Hebrides bar-stools. The feel is old world and yet vibrantly urban. 

This is the city's ultimate destination for cocktails and, although Glaswegians may be too self-deprecating to compare, it's their riposte to other finalists in CLASS Magazine's "Hotel Bar of the Year," including Mayfair trio Artesian Bar at the Langham, Coburg Bar at The Connaught, and Dukes Bar at Dukes. The Head Bartender here is Mal Spence, a slim, handsome, dark-eyed 32-year old that SLTN recognized in November as "Mixologist of the Year." Spence, who was the first Scottish bartender to represent Great Britain at the Havana Club Grand Prix World Final, has worked in this industry for 12 years, honing his craft at Glasgow institutions Bar Soba and Bar Ten, earning recognition at Salty Dog, running the bar program at One Devonshire Gardens and, until 2009, Rick's Bar over in Edinburgh.

Mal Spence
These days, he leaves the competing to his protégés, and their successes—winning or placing at practically every cocktail contest they enter—are (whisper it) testimony to his leadership: Scott Ingram triumphed in The Caledonian Bartenders Cup, and former colleagues, Sam Kershaw and Steve Martin were, respectively, Grand Finalist in the Appleton Bartender of the Year, and first runner-up at the World Class (UK) Finals. Recently, Spence's influence has stretched beyond just his peers, by way of a cocktail column he authors for The Herald, one of the oldest newspapers in the world. Yet as he would agree, any originator needs an oracle.

"I've taken a huge amount of confidence from Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry at The Bar at The Merchant Hotel in Belfast. For me, The Merchant will never be equalled. It has set the standard for how it should be done, without arrogance or pomp, just well-made drinks by nice guys, with no compromise. If it wasn't for Sean Muldoon," he insists, "I would never even have dreamed of doing what I'm doing at Blythswood Square. He's been a major inspiration." Muldoon, who is in Manhattan preparing to open new venture, The Dead Rabbit, is also (with Steven Pattison) co-founder of The Connoisseurs Club, a beverage program-cum-knowledge exchange that's done more for Belfast tourism than its Titanic Dock and Tony Blair combined.

"It has played a big part in that," Spence confirmed. "Until The Connoisseurs Club started bringing guys like DeGroff, Petraske, and Wondrich across for seminars, the influence, connection, and relationship with the New York scene was quite distant." 

That New York-style of cocktail culture was something Spence fell in love with via the reportage of his friend, Graeme Jamieson, on the British bartender forum, Barbore. When Jamieson's drinking buddy, Sam Kershaw, returned from a stint at Death & Co. to take up residence at Rick's Bar in 2008, an idea was planted in Mal's head: "Sam would tell me all about the drinks, bars, and bartenders: their technique sounded so authentic. Thus, the Loungerati collaboration came about while I was at Rick's," he reveals. "After dedications on our cocktail list from Sam and I to Graeme (ask him for a Jamieson's Run or Chevalier Rose), I had the notion to incorporate a list of his and Fredo's choosing."

It was an idea that gained momentum once all three finally got together in the same room. "When I had a chance to visit, I caught up with Graeme and our first port of call was Brooklyn's Clover Club. Everything about it pretty much changed my thinking on barsthe atmosphere, bartender, clientele, lighting, music, serviceeverything was nailed like I've never seen a bar do before. I also got the chance to meet and talk with Richard Boccato, who was then in the process of opening Dutch Kills, and Graeme introduced me to Fredo, too; I really didn't want to leave."

Mal's work on The Salon bar-book has taken him the best part of a year to realize, and the result of our Glasgow-New York collaboration has brought to his hometown eight of the best contemporary American cocktails. According to Graeme, "Fredo has been curating selections at events here for a while, but I elected for potations that hold a re-emerging memory, whether it was the company, or lasting significance of an evening. They each have a special personality and I'm sure they'll create something magical in the minds and mouths of whomever has the nous to order them."

For Fredo's part, he chose competition-winning cocktails that showcase the passionate bartenders who invented them, especially their understanding of ingredients. "When we started Loungerati," he explains, "one of the underlying missions was to share our vision of craft cocktail-making by supporting establishments and barkeeps who excel at creating them. To be honored with a chapter in a cocktail tome at a bar with the gravitas of The Salon at Blythswood Square, by a craftsman like Mal Spence, makes me overjoyed and very proud. I want to fly to Glasgow and taste the entire menu!"

This sentiment is understood by well-informed loungers in the west of Scotland: "It's amazing to see the response," Mal says. "So far, we've sold over 80,000 cocktails, averaging around 300 on a Saturday night. Each contains hand-pressed citrus to order, all are made to spec., and every one is devoted the same amount of time, attention, and love as if it were the first or last drink ever made." To meet demand going forward, The Salon is expanding from a two- to a four-station bar manned by a team of five. "The Loungerati selection is the favorite for my team to make," he added. Probably just as well.

The Salon at Blythswood Square. 11 Blythswood Square, Glasgow, G2 4AD, Scotland, UK. Telephone: +44 (0)141 208 2458. Book flights now.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lion's Tail Cocktail on UMAMIMART and

The Lion's Tail
March, as the idiom goes, comes in like a Lion, and goes out like a Lamb. This month may bring us spring-like temperatures, but also one more blizzard for the road. Winter’s last blast requires a libation celebrating the flavors of the season and is worthy of the ferocity of the month’s namesake, Mars, the Roman God of War.

Meet the Lion’s Tail, the last winter cocktail you will order.

Read the rest of Fredo's article on UMAMIMART

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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Destinations: The Salon: Celebrating Sinatra - March 11th

The only place to be on Friday night March 11th is The Salon's Celebrating Sinatra extravaganza at the historic art deco Edison Ballroom in New York City's Theater District.

For $60 you get the following:
  • Frank Sinatra's old band mates including jazz greats Bucky Pizzarelli, Derek Smith, Jerry Bruno & Jimmie Young. 
  • Featured Singers - Hilary Gardner, Ron Sunshine, Queen Esther, Todd Londagin, John Dokes, Gregory Generet, J. Walter Hawkes, Dandy Wellington, and more
  • The Harlem Renaissance Orchestra
  • Matthew Piazzi & the Debonairs
  • Gelber & Manning
  • Over 60 performers in all!
  • Burlesque from Angie Pontani (the reigning Miss Exotic World), Grace Gotham, and the Pontani Sisters!
  • Open bar in the Lounge manned by Kenneth McCoy of Rum House and Fredo of Loungerati
  • Passed hors d'oeurves
  • Coat check
  • Taxes
  • Tips
For an extra c-note, you can get in an hour early and enjoy a delicious multi-course dinner and VIP table seating.

Doors open a 8pm. 7pm for dinner.
General Admission: $50 in Advance (ends Thursday night)  / $60 at the Door
VIP Dinner: $150ea
VIP table with prime view of stage, Four Course Dinner, top-shelf open bar all night - seating starts at 7pm - special VIP performances by Grace Gotham and Gelber & Manning. Tips, taxes and coat check included. Dinner menu available on website.

Insider Tip: The Specialty Cocktail Menu features drinks "Frank's Way" or "Our Way", either way you will be treated to expertly crafted cocktails and a good time.

Edison Ballroom
@ the Edison Hotel
240 West 47th Street
New York, NY


Then after the party head next door to the newest Cocktail Destination the RUM HOUSE where there will be an Official Salon After Party presented by Loungerati and The Salon. Expect impromptu jams on the piano, and specialty drinks specials! The Rum House is a classic Times Square bar that has been renovated both in space and spirits. Cocktails like the Barrymore that honor the Theater District and feature Bruichladdich single-malt scotch and Ramazzotti Amaro.

The Official Salon Afterparty
Rum House
@ the Edison Hotel
228 W. 47th Street
New York, NY
1:30am  - 4:00am

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Destinations: Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica's The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel - March 19th

This event sounds like a wonderful and unique evening. As a long time fan of Juan Garcia Esquivel, I am thrilled that Mr. Ho' s Orchestrotica will be devoting an entire performance to the Lounge music pioneer's songbook. Plus, Le Poisson Rouge is a great venue to see jazz and retro shows! Get your tickets, and dust off the fez! See you there.

Press Release:

Mr. Ho's Orchestrotica's The Unforgettable Sounds of Esquivel - March 19th, 8pm

"For the first time ever, the space-age pop big band music of Esquivel will be performed live in NYC! Using a 22-pc ensemble, the band will present it’s acclaimed show comprised of transcriptions of the lost arrangements Esquivel made during the 1950s and 1960s on RCA Living Stereo albums such as "More of Other Words Other Sounds" and "Infinity in Sound." A short opening set by the Orchestrotica’s third-stream exotica quartet will be opening the evening. The CD release show in Boston on Jan 14th sold out so buy your tickets ahead!

Tickets are $20 in advance for general admission. $40 for VIP (seated @ 4-top tables). The very special Sonorama VIP ticket ($85) which includes a front-and-center table and after-party in NYC must be purchased from; all other tickets are sold by Le Poisson Rouge. "

Le Poisson Rouge
158 Bleecker St
New York, NY