Category Archives: Events

USQ Martini Bowl

From the website of Union Square Wine & Spirits:

Event Date: Saturday, February 05, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Description of tasting:
Join USQ to kick off Superbowl weekend with one our most spirited tastings of the year! Martini Bowl 2011 is set to erupt with over one dozen selections offered in classic and seasonal martinis!  Whether you like them dry, extra dry, dirty, or totally twisted, cocktail connoisseurs are encouraged to stop by The Salon for an afternoon of imbibing pleasure!  Attendees may look forward to Swedish stylings from Martini Bowl 2010 champion Karlsson’s Gold Vodka and Heavy Water Vodka, a juniper-fueled UK Invasion from the #1 contender for the 2011 title Bulldog Gin and Hendrick’s Gin, as well as righteous elixirs from Uluvka Vodka, DH Krahn Gin and Double Cross Vodka!  This year’s Bowl features a full roster of New York State spirits as well!  Supporters of local libations will be pleased to sip and savor Finger Lakes Distillery’s Seneca Drums Gin and Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka, Westchester’s own Comb Vodka and Comb 9 New York Gin, Long Island’s LiV Potato VodkaBreuckelen Gin, and the Hudson Valley’s Core Apple Vodka

Here’s what we’ll be serving:

Come join us for a tipple this weekend!

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Greenmarket Mixology for Holiday Cocktails

If you’re free in NYC tonight, Union Square wines is presenting, Slow Food U: Greenmarket Mixology for Holiday Cocktails with Allen Katz from 6-8 pm. 

From USQ’s website:

Holidays are a time for good cheer… and good cocktails.  Local, legendary, “slow” mixologist, Allen Katz, promises, “the best damned holiday drinks you ever tasted.”  Join Allen as he mixes up seasonal, Greenmarket inspired holiday libations featuring some familiar, and some not so familiar, spirits and local, seasonal ingredients.  You will learn technique, and a few secrets, while enjoying a festive flight of unique holiday libations you CAN prepare at home to enjoy with friends and family.

Proceeds from this event will benefit the programs and activities of not-for-profit Slow Food NYC, including the Urban Harvest programs of good food education for NYC kids.

I happen to know that at least two of the ingredients involved tonight are McKenzie Rye and Finger Lakes Distilling Cassis.  You need tickets for this event and you can get them here.

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Sommelier smackdown

I just learned I’ll be competing at the 1st annual Sommelier Smackdown at the 5th annual International Chefs Congress, sponsored by StarChefs.  A multi-day, “on-the-fly” food and wine pairing contest with the chance to win a trip to Italy.  Oh.  Heck.  Yes.

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Free booze this week

Finger Lakes Distilling has two upcoming events at Union Square Wines & Spirits. From their website:

Event Date: Friday, July 30, 6:00pm – 9:00pm
Description of tasting:
Join USQ and Finger Lakes Distillery’s Selena Shannon for a look at their Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka! Master distiller Thomas Earl prides himself on the fine elixirs created on Seneca Lake, be they whiskey, gin, eau-de-vie, liqueurs or vodka. Marrying the skills of vintner and distiller, Thomas Earl has created one beauty of a vodka- Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka starts with a grape neutral spirit distilled from the estate’s local grapes. The distillate is infused with pounds of native strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries before a final distillation to further refine and balance the vodka. This hand-crafted spirit might well pass for a vibrant eau-de-vie from the likes of Massenez or Riesetbauer but stop by and sip for yourself! Selena will be showing the Vintner’s Wild Berry Vodka both neat and in a summer cocktail just in time for the dog days of summer!

Admission to this tasting is free, and no reservations are required!

If you can’t make it Friday, stop by on Saturday:

Event Date: Saturday, July 31, 2:00pm – 5:00pm
Description of tasting:
Few cocktails can capture the feeling of summer like the Gin & Tonic. The trinity of ingredients- the squeeze of lime, the bite of quinine, the juniper-fueled expression of spirit- encapsulate the essence of refreshment on a hot NYC day….anyone thirsty? Stop by the salon for USQ’s Summer Sereis: The G&T Invitational! Featured producers include Europe’s Bulldog Gin, Boudier Saffron Gin, and Old Raj Gin, domestic spirits from Farmer’s Organic Gin, Ransom Old Tom Gin, Death’s Door Gin, Aviation Gin, Junipero Gin, and the Finger Lakes Distillery’s Seneca Drums Gin!

Admission to this tasting is free, and no reservations are required!

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Yelp event at Traif

This past Monday night we attended a “Yelp Elite” event, where Yelp rewards its most-frequent and best reviewers by throwing them a little shindig.  Finger Lakes Distilling donated some Glen Thunder to the party that was held at the 8-week-old Traif, in South Williamsburg. 

Noah and I hijacked a table and brought some additional samples for the Yelpers to try. Photo courtesy of Benjamin Lozovzky.

Heather, manager and co-owner of Traif, created some stellar cocktails with the corn whiskey.  My favorite was the Red Pearl and Heather was kind enough to send me the recipe.

Red Pearl

1.5 oz Glen Thunder
1 slice of jalapeno (add or take away for desired degree of spice) 
3 leaves of thai basil
4 cubes of kiwi (skin off, cube-like shapes) 
.25 oz of citrus sour (sour mix–our mix is a combination of lime, lemon, orange, simple syrup and water)
.25 oz simple simple syrup

Muddle the jalapeno, thai basil and kiwi.  Add ice, Glen thunder, citrus sour, and simple syrup.  Shake all together in shaker. Sip and Enjoy!

Just when you thought it was going to be too spicy, the kiwi would kick in. This cocktail was a perfect complement to the porky dishes. Photo credit same as above.

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This is what we do every weekend…

…cigars, stoles, boas, really tall chicks in old-school stewardess get-ups.

Not really, but Ultimat vodka did have one of the cooler exhibits at the Gala kickoff of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic this past Friday.  For the full gallery of our shenanigans, click here.

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Outstanding wine service award

Always held the first weekend in May, The James Beard Foundation Awards started in 1990 and are considered by many to be the “Oscars of food”. 

I wanted to give a shout-out to Bernie, who just won The Outstanding Wine Service Award for Jean Georges restaurant. 

The criteria states: A restaurant that displays and encourages excellence in wine service through a well-presented wine list, a knowledgeable staff, and efforts to educate customers about wine. Candidates must have been in operation for at least 5 years.

I first met Bernie in 2002, while I was working at Tribeca Grill and he was at Montrachet.  The excitement he had (and still has) for wine has been an inspiration for me.

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