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!


--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!
--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!)

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


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!

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.


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.

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.

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.

10 piece Big Band (swing/blues)

Burlesque dancer

20's tap sensation

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
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.


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.


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.

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.