Gaz Regan Courtesy of Mbooth
Over the weekend, the Manhattan Cocktail Classic came to town, starting with a grand gala at the New York Public Library on Friday and continuing through Monday night at the Andaz Hotel with specialized seminars, spirit-sponsored suites and a gallery full of tasting tables. With the alcohol flowing so freely, it's only natural to witness some odd behavior and walk away with TMI. Here, a few oddball experiences and tips.
Hemingway's Chilling Secret
At a Sunday morning seminar on Ernest Hemingway's drinking habits, To Have and Have Another author Philip Greene revealed that the resourceful writer liked his martinis so cold that he would garnish them with frozen cocktail onions and chill pitchers of them with massive ice cubes made in tennis ball cans.
Friday night’s gala was packed with people dressed to the nines in tuxes and gowns, so the wandering couples wearing trench coats stood out. Even odder was when they opened their coats to reveal the skimpiest of outfits—briefs for him, bikini for her. Then they would close up and walk on, leaving guests to look at their drinks suspiciously and consider easing up on the Dark n’ Stormies.
On Sunday night, Campari hosted a star-bartender-studded bash at Gallow Green, the bar at the top of the McKittrick Hotel where the interactive play/experience Sleep No More takes place. There, bartenders like Leo Robitschek of The Nomad and Jacques Bezuidenhout mixed up Campari drinks from around the world inspired by the “love” story of Davide Campari (Campari founder Gaspare Campari’s son) and opera singer Lina Cavalieri. Back when they were alive, Davide was so obsessed with Lina that he followed her wherever she travelled from Italy to Russia—spreading the good word of Campari as he went. She never fell for him, because, well, he was a stalker. So on Sunday night, Campari rewrote history and wed the two. Actors portraying Davide and Lina were married by bartender and cocktail writer extraordinaire Gaz Regan who, clad in a caftan, bound them with negroni-inspired vows.
One of the most off-putting cocktails during the gala was Gaz Regan’s finger-stirred negroni. It is exactly as it sounds: A standard negroni made with gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, which Regan stirs with his fingers. Not for germaphobes, but oddly one of the best cocktails of the event.