Friday, May 22, 2009

Dreamland Gala - May 24th

Michael Arenella sends news of an important fundraiser that he is organizing to bring back the Jazz Age Lawn Party at Governor's Island.


SUNDAY, MAY 24th, 2009

9:00 PM

$30 (includes open bar, hors d’oeurves, and live entertainment!)

You are cordially invited to attend the Dreamland Gala - a fundraiser for the 2009 Jazz Age Lawn Party on Governors Island in June.

The State of New York has cut funding for programming on Governors Island . While the island will thankfully remain open, there will be no funding provided for entertainment on the island. In order to raise funds for the Jazz Age Lawn Party, we are hosting the Dreamland Gala.

Featuring Michael Arenella and His 12-piece Dreamland Orchestra, this promises to be an enthralling night of music, dancing, cocktails and treats. A silent auction will be held featuring items from: Ellen Christine Millinery, Cassie MacGregor, Bumble & Bumble, Olive’s Very Vintage, Lori Mclean Jewelry, OK Cigars, Cercle Rouge Restaurant (Tribeca), Duane Park Restaurant (Tribeca), Flatiron Lounge, Hey Sailor! Hats, Cobblestones Vintage, and others. Handmade chocolates will be sold from local chocolatier Chocolate Meurens. A wide variety of drinks will be served at our open bar, as well as complimentary hors d’oeurves from gourmet charcuterie Stinky Brooklyn.

Guests are encouraged to attend in their finest Roaring Twenties evening wear.

This speakeasy-themed gala will be held at the enchanting Green Building , a 19th-century warehouse nestled along the banks of the Gowanus Canal , in Carroll Gardens , Brooklyn . Located at 450 Union Street , it is just a short walk from the following major subway lines:

- F/G to Carroll Street

- R to Union Street

Directions can be found with Hopstop.

There are excellent, dependable car services in the neighborhood which will be available, as well. We will have cars waiting outside for the duration of the evening.

Keep in mind, Monday the 25th is Memorial Day! So we hope you’ll take advantage of the long weekend and join us on Sunday night.

If you are unable to attend our fundraiser, but would like to make a contribution, we would be most grateful if you do so here!

Warm Regards,

Michael Arenella & His Dreamland Orchestra

Thursday, May 21, 2009

What We're Drinking: The Moscow Mule

by Senator

Like most great cocktails, the inventor and birth site of the Moscow Mule is disputed and, not surprisingly, New York claims both in regards to this zippy little summer drink.

According to a 1941 edition of The New York Herald Tribune, the drink was invented thusly:

The mule was born in Manhattan but "stalled" on the West Coast for the duration. The birthplace of "Little Moscow" was in New York's Chatham Hotel. That was back in 1941 when the first carload of Jack Morgan's Cock 'n' Bull ginger beer was railing over the plains to give New Yorkers a happy surprise... Three friends were in the Chatham bar, one John A. Morgan, known as Jack, president of Cock 'n' Bull Products and owner of the Hollywood Cock 'n' Bull Restaurant; one was John G. Martin, president of G.F. Heublein Brothers Inc. of Hartford, Conn., and the third was Rudolph Kunett, president of the Pierre Smirnoff, Heublein's vodka division. As Jack Morgan tells it, "We three were quaffing a slug, nibbling an hors d'oeuvre and shoving toward inventive genius". Martin and Kunett had their minds on their vodka and wondered what would happen if a two-ounce shot joined with Morgan's ginger beer and the squeeze of a lime. Ice was ordered, limes procured, mugs ushered in and the concoction put together. Cups were raised, the men counted five and down went the first taste. It was good. It lifted the spirit to adventure. Four or five later the mixture was christened the Moscow Mule.

“It lifted the spirit to adventure.” That’s a classic line and one I am sure to repeat during my next binge drinking episode and you should, too.

Anecdotally, I was told a similar version of the story, only the Smirnoff distributor, desperate for a foothold in the bourbon drenched hills of California, invented the drink at some dive in San Francisco.

The story has the down-on-his luck vodka salesman drowning his sorrows at the bar and the guy sitting next to him was suffering a similar lament, only he had unsold cases of ginger beer at his side (maybe those two should have been out selling instead of spending their day in the bar lamenting). In a classic “your chocolate is in my peanut butter” moment, they combined the ingredients and, seeing that it was good, poured a round for all of the patrons and snapped a picture. Allegedly, the Smirnoff salesman took that picture around the country, showing how people really loved vodka once they tried it, and vodka elbowed its way onto the shelves of liquor purveyors nationwide. (Vodka, I am told, is still selling in stores to this very day.)

The drink is simple to make, and when served in a copper mug – the traditional drinkware for the cocktail – tastes something along the lines of a lime popsicle – only with ginger and booze in it. (Or maybe it doesn’t taste like a popsicle at all – I just think that any drink with fruit juice in it tastes like a popsicle, raising suspicion about just what kind of popsicles I ate as a kid. No wonder I never complained when I was teething.)

My version of the drink was created at The City Tavern in Kansas City at the urging of my bartender, the great Sean O’Malley. After a brief discussion and some research, I procured the copper mugs and tweaked the recipe ever so slightly, in so doing winning awards and forever securing my reputation as a master mixologist. (No kidding, it really was chosen Kansas City’s best cocktail by The Pitch newspaper in 2005.) Without further ado, the recipe:


2 parts Smirnoff vodka
2 parts Stewart’s Ginger Beer
1 part sweetened lime juice

Serve over ice in a Copper mug.

There are a few “musts” when making this drink.
1. You MUST use Smirnoff, because if you’re a lounger like me, you appreciate the drink’s lineage and clearly Smirnoff was the vodka used to make the original. Also, if you’re a lounger like me, you are drunk. So go ahead and use Grey Goose or what you will, but if you do that, you’re a Moscow Ass in my book.

2. It MUST be “ginger beer” and not it’s sweeter, watered down cousin “ginger ale.” There’s a difference. Most good liquor stores that sell soft drinks will also sell ginger beer. I chose Stewart’s because my supply was reliable and, like Ray Croc, I wanted the drink to taste the same every time. There are however superior small batch brewers of ginger beer so feel free to shop around.

3. It MUST be served in a copper mug. This is a pain for restaurants and bars because patrons always steal the mug and that can get expensive (and annoying) but in your home bar, if your mug is missing, it’s probably behind Cindy’s Kitty Carryall doll in Tiger’s dog house. Copper, as fans of wire already know, is an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. Those same endearing properties also apply to cold: the drink get’s insanely cold in the copper mug, I’m talking brain freeze cold, so be forewarned. Don’t slug this drink.

My recipe for lime juice was to squeeze a few limes and add a few barspoons of ultra-refined sugar to take a little of the sour edge off. I never bother with the simple sugar thing – I don’t believe in pots and pans behind the bar, sorry.

So there you have it. Simple drink with a long story, which come to think of it, is a remark I resemble very much.

Va fa salud,

P.S. Smirnoff has an excellent website with an old Hollywood movie spoof that you should check out if you’re into that sort of thing:

(photo compliments of Cocktail Times)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Barfly's Beat quoted in New York Times

by Fredo

Before there was Loungerati, I had a blog called the Barfly's Beat that chronicled cocktail recipes and bars I inhabited.

Well, New York Times Drinks columnist Jonathan Miles must have found it in his research on the Scotland Yard cocktail, a derivative of the classic old man drink, the Rusty Nail. A quote from my original review of the Rusty Nail in the Barfly's Beat is included in the May 17, 2009 Sunday Times article!

The Scotland Yard (Blended Scotch, Drambuie, lemon-grass syrup, lemon juice, basil leaves) sounds good to me and a visit to the West Village restaurant Entwine is in order to sample Duane Fernandez's creation.

The Rusty nail article on Loungerati (originally published in the Barfly's Beat).

Monday, May 11, 2009

Barfly's Beat: Prime Meats makes Primo cocktails

by Fredo

I thought I had it good cocktail-wise with Clover Club and The Jake Walk within walking distance of my apartment but it just got better. The team of Franks (Castronovo and Falcinelli) behind Frankies 457 Spuntino have collaborated again and opened Prime Meats on the corner of Court Street and Luquer Street in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn.

The restaurant is not a steak house but a tribute to an older tradition that will feature an in house butchery, home made mustard, sausages, Stumptown coffee, and a Germanic themed cuisine centered around pork. Eventually, there will be an upstairs speak easy and retail shop where one will be able to purchase the foods and other products sold at the restaurant. For now the front room bar and dining room is open for business and like Frankies, it is cash only.

Standing only bar. Mustachioed bar chef. Circa 1890s vintage bar. Fresh ingredients and artisanal liquors. Uncle!!

The bartender, Gabe from Weather Up, another Loungerati haunt in Prospect Heights, is all business but takes time to answer questions from newbies and old barflies alike. He helped me sample the cocktail menu and knows his stuff.

The Cocktail Menu (as of April 2009) is priced between $8 - $12 and is chock full of classics (some of which are reinterpreted):

-Old-Fashioned (rye whiskey & house made Bartlett pear bitters) was excellent. The Bartlett pear bitters are home made and apparently from the pear trees in the garden of Frankies 457 Spuntino.

-Martinez Cocktail (gin, maraschino liquor, sweet vermouth, & aromatic bitters)is one of my favorite drinks. The original recipe of the martini's precursor is followed to the letter. Only item to note is minor, I would have preferred Bols Genever be used in lieu of Plymouth Gin because it is closer to the raw type of gin used at the cocktail's creation.

-Prime Manhattan (rye whiskey, sweet vermouth, & house made Buddha's Hand bitters) was well balanced and the house made bitters complimented the Rittenhouse 100 proof bonded rye.

-Bijou (gin,dry vermouth, & yellow chartreuse) is a Parisian classic twist on the Negroni. At Prime, they use Yellow instead of Green Chartreuse and Dry instead of Sweet vermouth which makes the drink lighter in shade and strength. Bright side, that leaves room for another....

-Applejack Sazarac (applejack, absinthe, & peychaud's bitter)was the only misstep. Applejack and Absinthe rinse? It did not sit well. In my experience, Applejack may be substituted for Rye or Bourbon in some drinks (e.g., juleps or smashes) but in drinks with complex flavor builds like a Sazarac, I prefer to keep it simple.

Other drinks to try next visit:

-Aviation Cocktail (gin, maraschino liquor, creme de violette, lemon juice) - it is good to see the original recipe in use with the addition of creme de violette.

-Prime Daiquiri (light rum, apple brandy, lime juice) looks like a summer drink to taste.

-Loganberry Scramble (reposado tequila, loganberry liquor, lemon juice, agave syrup)is the crowd favorite according to the barkeep. I am not a big tequila fan but the loganberry liquor seems intriguing.

-The Good Word (unaged corn whiskey, lemon juice, yellow Chartreuse, maraschino liquor) - a corn whiskey twist on the Last Word.

-The Waterfront (Fernet Branca, Branca Menta, & ginger beer)- double Fernet Branca, I cannot wait!

As mentioned, the food menu has a Germanic flavor which is perfect for strong cocktails. I started with a light dish of Landesjager (pickles, relish, and hunter's sausage - $3). Then I went right for the Sakrut Garnie (smoked pork belly, Bratwurst, Kassler, Homemade sauerkraut, and potatoes) with a side of spatzel (with gruyere cheese). I hope this place goes the way of St.John Restaurant in London for true snout to tail pig goodness.

Looking forward to sampling their new brunch menu as well. Please check out Prime Meats when you are in the hood.

Prime Meats
465 Court Street (@ Luquer St.)
Brooklyn, NY 11231
Phone: 718-254-0327

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Derby Day

by Fredo

Today is the 135th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs. The track is muddy and unlike last year's race which was notable due to the tragic death of the philly Eight Belles, there is no gail force winds to dry the track. So expect "mudders" to make good strides and the hat and seersucker set to get a little dirty!

The big news from Louisville is that Derby favorite "I Want Revenge" has been scratched. We have our money on Dunkirk (4-1) to Win, Desert Party (15-1) to Place, and Hold Me Back (15-1) to Show!

Since we cannot be at the Derby en vivo, Loungerati members will be watching the race across the city, state and nation. Here, at the Brooklyn HQ, I will be cooking up two types of Juleps, the "Jersey Julep" and a "Strawberry Julep", along with English summer punch favorite the Pimms Cup.

2 1/2 Oz of Laird's Applejack
1/2 Oz of Organic Maple Syrup
4 sprigs of mint
2 tsp. of water

Muddle mint leaves, syrup, and water in frosted mason jar glass. Fill glass with hand crushed ice, add applejack. More ice, garnish with a few mint sprigs, drink with stainless steel straw.

3 Oz of Buffalo Trace 90 proof bourbon
1 tsp sugar
4 sprigs of mint
2 -3 strawberries

Muddle mint leaves, strawberries, and simple syrup in frosted mason jar glass or old fashioned glass. Fill glass with hand crushed ice, add bourbon. More ice and stir, garnish with a few mint sprigs, drink with stainless steel straw.

PIMMS CUP (or PIMMS Ginger Ale)
2 Oz Pimms No. 1
4 oz Ginger Ale
Slice lemon
Slice cucumber

Pour Pimms over ice in highball glass, top off with ginger ale, squeeze lemon slice and garnish with cucumber slice.

Enjoy the race, the drinks, and the haberdashery.