On Monday of my Manhattan Cocktail Classic trip, I switched gears a bit and spent a good chunk of the day as a volunteer for the MCC helping with event check-ins, rather than as attendee. Even so, I was able to spend a bit of time in between to check out the goings on of the industry invitational portion of the event. I managed to get over to some of the tasting tables, including that of Industry City Distillery. This was my second run in with the boys from Industry City Distillery this weekend - I encountered them at the opening gala when my companion and I were surprised to see a familiar face in Industry City's Zachary Bruner, whom we had met previously met in the very different setting of our fraternity house at our alma matter (though Zac is a younger vintage than I by more years than I care to think about). I had the pleasure of trying some of their small batch sugar beet-based vodka, which was quite tasty. I wish them much luck with their endeavor!
After my vodka sampling, I took a wander upstairs to check out what was going on in some of the hospitality suites. High West Whiskey was hosting a tasting in one suite. High West is an interesting brand first for the fact that they are based in Utah (Park City) - not exactly the capital of alcohol production (in 2007, they became the State's first legal distillery since 1870). Their product offerings themselves are also quite interesting. Perhaps the most intriguing was their newest offering, their Campfire Whiskey, which is a blend of straight bourbon, straight rye, and blended Scotch whiskies. The result is essentially what it sounds like - a spicy bourbon taste with a smokiness to it that's unusual for bourbon. They also offer two un-aged whiskey offerings, one an oat whiskey, and several rye and bourbon whiskey alternatives. One that I particularly liked was their Double Rye, which is a blend of a young high rye straight rye whiskey and a relatively low rye (53%) 16 yr aged rye.
In my wanderings, I was also able to check out a bit of an ice carving in the "Importance of Cold" demonstration presented by Richie Boccato of Dutch Kills (sponsored by Oxley gin). Boccato talked about some of the practical aspects of bar ice programs and took some questions from the crowd as well. He also did some of this while reducing a large block of clear ice to glass appropriate ice cubes using among other tools, a chain saw and chisel (the unfortunately blurry photo at the top).
By early evening, my MCC activities were pretty much wrapped up for this trip. I headed out to the Caroll Gardens are of Brooklyn to meet up with a few friends for dinner and drinks at a few stops that are potentially worth mentioning here. The first was Farmacy, a soda fountain shop I first read about in an issue of Imbibe magazine. Farmacy sports a seasonal menu utilizing fresh ingredients that includes a number of specialty soda fountain drinks, and one of the tastiest looking arrays of sundaes I have ever seen in my life.
|The extremely delicious "Sunday of Broken Dreams"|
Our next stop was down the street a bit to the Clover Club, a cocktail hot spot that I had not previously had the pleasure of visiting. We had a few tasty beverages off of their menu, which is organized by classic drink family (Sours, Daises, Snaps, Cobblers, and more) and features several seemingly Dave Wondrich influenced punch recipes that looked appealing.
Finally, my companions and I headed over to check out my friend Brian's condo in Brooklyn Heights before parting for the evening. The highlight of the tour was a trip up to his roof for a panoramic view of surrounding Brooklyn and Manhattan across the river. It was a fitting way to top off my weekend in New York.
With that, my trip out to New York for this year's MCC was pretty much wrapped up. I headed back to Boston the following day, sad that I had to miss an opportunity to attend the MCC's culminating event that night, the Anti-Gala (maybe next year).
For anyone that is looking to share in the fun, the Manhattan Cocktail Classic will return next year from May 17th - 21st. In the meantime, there are two other major events this year worth mentioning for the cocktail enthusiast. The first is the oldest and biggest major cocktail event in the country, Tales of the Cocktail, being held July 25th - 29th in the wonderful city of New Orleans. Then, this Fall, Boston will hosting it's first ever city-wide cocktail festival the Boston Cocktail Summit, which will be held October 4th - 7th this year. I can't wait!