© Alessandra Bulow
Cradle of Life flaming cocktail at Painkiller.
I can’t stop talking about tiki. Not because of the Tiki Barber
sex scandal, but because I recently got an exclusive preview of the tiki drinks that Richard Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzalez (Dutch Kills
) are going to be making at their supercool new bar Painkiller
, which is opening in early May in New York City.
In addition to smooth daiquiris, flights of mini zombie drinks and all-you-can-eat hot dogs (“They’re not going to be fancy, Grade-A or kosher, but they’ll be free,” said Boccato), they’ll be serving fantastic rum-based flaming cocktails like the Cradle of Life (made with spiced rum, white rum, lime and orange juices and almond syrup; the green chartreuse on top is set on fire, pictured). The menu will also include communal drinks served in custom-made ceramic vessels called Scorpion Bowls. Each Scorpion Bowl will be named after a 1970s NYC street gang, like the Electric Coffin, a large coffin-shaped bowl that will billow steam from a hidden chamber for dry ice in its underbelly.
Boccato got the idea for the Scorpion Bowl names while narrating a friend’s documentary about the gangs and he's continuing the urbanized-oasis theme by asking some of NYC’s classic old-school graffiti artists to tag the walls of the bar.
“Half of tiki is about presentation,” said Boccato. “Tiki bars usually look like a dive, a Disney ride or Grandpa’s basement. We’re going for something different.”
© Brian Malik
The Benson Cocktail from Cure in New Orleans gets its color from arugula.
I’m about to turn 30, and I think someone is trying to tell me to celebrate by drinking tequila. Piece of evidence #1: In the past week, four bottles of tequila have arrived on my desk out of the blue. #2: Patrón sponsored last night’s Best New Chef party, and the stellar cocktails reminded me that tequila is good for way more than margaritas (and shots, of course). #3: Today, we tested a killer tequila-based drink from Neal Bodenheimer of Cure in New Orleans. He developed it to go with this crab roll, which was served recently at a party thrown by Mad Men actor Bryan Batt, but in the magazine, we paired it with wine instead. Nicely balanced between sweet and tart, with a slight peppery edge thanks to muddled arugula, it’s dangerously easy to drink but still tastes grown up. It's so perfect for leaving my twenties behind, I'm considering making it by the pitcherful. Click below for the recipe.
© Hotel Amano
Mario Grünfelder created the cocktail list for the bar at Hotel Amano.
For the last few days (and very late nights), I found myself restaurant-and-bar-hopping around Berlin with Mario Grünfelder, the star mixologist of the city’s coolest bar, Tausend. F&W’s European correspondent, Gisela Williams, had been telling me about a number of ambitious projects the Swiss-born spirits genius been working on. He already co-owns Tausend, along with W Imbiss and the superhip Café 103 (which he says will be transforming into something even cooler very soon). Mario is good buddies with the brilliant, semi-maniacal chef Christian Lohse, so we met for lunch at Lohse’s Michelin-starred seafood-centric Fischers Fritz to talk about potential collaborations, which included talk of a 24-hour bar-hopping bus.
Later, Mario invited us to Cantina, the new restaurant in a room behind the bar at Tausend. The former chef of Berlin’s popular Shiro I Shiro is turning out casual Latin-Asian dishes like Peruvian tiradito, tuna tataki wrapped in foie and Momofuku-rivaling pork buns. Over a second round of the stellar pork buns, Mario shared his newest passion, making his own spirits, including an unbelievably smooth wheat-based vodka he’s named Greenfield and Harter 73 (Greenfield being an Americanized version of his last name; 73 referring to his date of birth; and Harter the last name of Tausend co-owner Til Harter). I’m hoping we’ll see bottles stateside soon.
When Tausend gets too crowded late at night, Mario heads to his newest bar project at the chic, affordable new Hotel Amano in the Mitte neighborhood. The low-lit lounge serves late-night snacks and Mario’s cocktails, like the Grischenko (Xoriguer gin, cordial lime juice and Limettensaft bitters) until 4 a.m. The prolific spirits obsessive is now off to Barcelona. Maybe he’ll be opening his first project outside of Germany soon.
Up, up, up in the Air tied for best drink at the Beverly Wilshire
Yes, The Hurt Locker
won big at the 82nd Annual Academy Awards. But it was shut out of the Best Cocktail category at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel
’s Blvd restaurant
this weekend in Beverly Hills, which created a special cocktail menu to honor many of the nominees. (In fact, The Hurt Locker
didn’t have a drink/entry.) Winner of the Best Drink category was, drumroll… a tie between:Up, Up, Up in the Air
(tequila, crème de cassis, lemon juice and sugar)
andCognac a l’Avatar
(Hennessy, lime juice, blackberries and mint leaves—3-D glasses optional)
Spotted in Beverly Wilshire in those frantic days leading up to the Oscars (but keeping their nominated-drink votes secret): Morgan Freeman
, Renee Zellweger
and, coincidentally, Up in the Air
’s Anna Kendrick
(who was at the hotel for a great cause
: the Pre-Oscar Haiti Relief party
© Joe DiStefano
Fatty 'Cue's smoked lamb sandwich.
No one throws a party like the team behind NYC’s awesome Fatty Crab restaurants. To celebrate the one-year anniversary of Fatty Crab’s Upper West Side location, the Fatty crew threw a bash Wednesday night with a DJ spinning in the dining room and some killer cocktails and snacks from all of the Fatty restaurants (Fatty Crab UWS, Fatty Crab West Village, Cabrito), including a sneak preview of a few dishes from the soon-to-open Fatty ’Cue. Some ’Cue highlights:
The secret to the smoked brisket on Pullman bread from Chinatown's Dragon bakery was a sweet-and-spicy chile jam made with dried prawns, chiles, tamarind, palm sugar and smoked tomato.
The guanciale, served on a lemongrass salad, was house-cured with a curry powder that chef de cuisine Andrew Pressler brought back from his recent trip to Qatar.
A sandwich of smoked lamb breast was topped with a lemon-and-garlic emulsion. The lamb got its amazing flavor from a marinade that included cincalok (a Malaysian paste of fermented shrimp, salt and rice flour).
The ’Cue cocktail was a gorgeously complex mix of Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum, smoked pine, Tabasco, yuzu and Pernod. I found myself going back to the Hunter S., a mellow drink of Buffalo Trace bourbon, St-Germain elderflower liqueur, Campari and orange.
© Jen Murphy
Cocktails at the Drinks Company in St. Anton am Arlberg.
Amid the wooden chalets, ski and snowboard shops and fabulous artisanal food stores on the main street of St. Anton am Arlberg is a window showcasing glowing neon liquids in all sizes of bottles. What looks like a futuristic mad scientist's laboratory is actually a shop, called the Drinks Company. With roots in one of the oldest Tyrolean herbal distilleries, it works with herb farmers and specialized mountain farmers who supply the ingredients for excellent herbal elixirs, brandies, schnapps and grappas. Each beverage is stored in a gorgeous, beaker-like glass vessels, and customers can taste samples of Alpine Herbs Root Spirit, Farmer Fruit Brandy and even pre-made caipirinhas. Once you find your favorite, you pick a bottle to fill with your drink of choice and take it to go.
© Jen Murphy
The après-ski party at Mooserwirt.
Dining at American ski resorts has undergone a radical transformation over the last few years, but Europeans still one-up Americans when it comes to post-ski indulgence. I’ve just come back from a week of snowboarding in St. Anton am Arlberg, Austria. The charming Tyrolean village is considered the birthplace of modern skiing and is also arguably Europe’s best après-ski destination. I’ll be blogging this week about my adventures.
Adventure One: The legendary Mooserwirt bar claims to sell more beer per square meter than anyplace else in Austria. As skiers come down the slopes around 4 p.m. they stop off to dance on picnic tables to techno-versions of "Sweet Carolina" and "YMCA" and warm up with Jägertee (black tea spiked with rum, schnapps, sugar and sometimes a bit of lemon) or my new personal favorite, Heiße Witwe, a warm plum liqueur with cream and cinnamon. Wilder than the dancing is watching tipsy partiers try to ski home down the mountain in the dark.
© Alessandra Bulow
Rye House Punch at Rye House in NYC
In a tribute to J.D. Salinger
, the famously reclusive author of The Catcher in the Rye
, who passed away this week, my colleague Kristin Donnelly
and I raised a glass to him last night at Rye House
, a new cocktail bar in New York City’s Flatiron District. We especially liked the citrusy but not too sweet Rye House Punch (made with chai-infused Rittenhouse Rye, Batavia Arrack, lemon, grapefruit and Angostura bitters, pictured) as well as the flaky pork belly and smoked Gouda-filled empanadas.
Here, a few rye-based cocktails to toast the author’s life and literary works:Carra-Ryed AwayManhattanSilver Lining
When I vacationed in Chicago last weekend, my first stop was star chef Paul Kahan’s latest bar and taqueria, Big Star. The large rectangular bar that dominates the space holds two of Big Star’s three specialties: some 50-odd bourbons and a couple dozen tequilas. The other specialty comes from the kitchen: tacos—hundreds of tacos.
Tapping along to a Loretta Lynn record, I elbowed my way to the bar to order a drink, from a list conceived by the team from the adjacent cocktail haven The Violet Hour. I started with a San Antonio Sling, a bracing combination of tequila, St-Germain and grapefruit. I followed that with the Hud, an Old Fashioned–like lowball heavy on the bourbon and light on the citrus—tangerine, in this case. Then I turned to food. First up was a fondue-like casserole of rajas chiles, house-made chorizo and cheese. A quartet of tacos followed: lamb, al pastor (marinated pork) and my two favorites, poblano with queso (cheese) and pork belly. The food was delicious, and with nothing exceeding five dollars, also a bargain.
When the weather gets warmer, Big Star will offer a huge alfresco dining area. As long as the music remains louder than the nearby El train, Big Star will be a party few will want to leave.
All-star food-and-cocktail pairings for a good cause.
In NYC, the Surrey Hotel’s awesome new Bar Pleiades is hosting a spectacular pairing event tomorrow (Wednesday, January 20). Here are three great reasons to stop by:
1) Mixologist extraordinaire Cameron Bogue, formerly the bar genius at Daniel Boulud’s Vancouver outpost of DB Bistro Moderne, will be making excellent winter cocktails, including a warming brandy shaken with roasted butternut squash puree and Meyer lemon juice.
2) Look for bar snacks from Café Boulud’s ultratalented chef Gavin Kaysen and guest chefs George Mendes of NYC’s Aldea, Vinny Dotolo and Jon Shook of L.A.’s meat-centric Animal and Nate Appleman of the forthcoming Pulino's Bar and Pizzeria.
3) Ticket proceeds benefit Citymeals-on-Wheels. Click here to eat and drink well, while contributing to a good cause.