Posts Written ByDavid.Flaherty

New York Spirits Steal the Show at the 2013 Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala

Ghostbusters: Dr. Peter Venkman: "Let's show this prehistoric bitch how we do things downtown... THROW IT!"

Friday night, May 17, was a proud night to be a New Yorker. And it was a proud night to be part of a talented beverage community that calls this fair Empire State home. At 9 p.m., the Manhattan Cocktail Classic kicked off its 2013 run with the annual Gala held in one of the most iconic venues in New York City: the New York Public Library. To ascend the same steps as Dr. Peter Venkman and Dr. Egon Spengler, but while sporting a tux instead of a proton pack, is surreal…especially at night. Inside, a fairy tale-like atmosphere unfolds,…

Naked Flock: the Tinkerers of Hudson Valley

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Jonathan Hull has done what many of us city dwellers only dream of: he has run off to the country to make stuff. A former insurance broker, he recently quit that job and has now immersed himself full-time in making cider and wine deep in the Hudson Valley. Working in the same orchard planted by his grandfather (and subsequently run by his father), Jonathan oversees nearly 40 acres of apples, as well as a one-acre vineyard.  His son, Dylan, 22, has been working with him for over 15 years, and is now in charge of outside sales and meeting new…

Ice Cider: Learning to Love the Cold

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Slyboro Cider House lies in Washington County, right on the border of Vermont, and about an hour and a half drive straight north of Albany. Working the land of Hick’s Orchard (New York’s oldest “U-Pick” orchard, operating for more than 100 years), owner Dan Wilson and his team began tinkering with hard cider around 2001. Soon after those first early attempts, they met with the Cornell enology department and began getting serious; by better understanding fermentation, they were able to begin discerning the individual characteristics of the apple varieties on their farm. Not long after, during a fateful, summer trip to Quebec,…

Beach Plum Liqueur: Bringing Brooklyn Back to its Roots

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Plums and alcohol have been long-time bedfellows.  The Czechs call it slivovice, the Bosnians call it šljivovica, the Germans Sliwowitz, the Bulgarians сливовица, and the Italians slivovitz.  Be it the myriad of Slivovitz found all throughout Europe, or the famous Sloe Gin of England, plum-based distillates can be found the world over. Perhaps it’s due to the intoxicating combination of sweetness and tartness inherant in the plum; the great equalizer in the natural world, and one that has captured the palates of mankind for centuries.  Rumor has it, that upon lopping off the head of an innocent farmer, Genghis Khan shouted…

Artisanal Spirits: Forcing People from Their Comfort Zones

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People are devoted to their liquor brands.  And often militantly so.  I’ve found that, sometimes, the only way to get them to try a local, artisan spirit is to simply NOT carry their tried-and-true old standbys.  Remove them from the equation entirely.  Plain and simple. If you’ve ordered a Grey Goose Martini up with a twist the last twenty times you’ve gone out to dinner, it’s pretty safe to say you’ll do so the next twenty times you go to dinner.  In your eyes, that brand is the only brand that gets you.  Its a safe, warm lighthouse in the…

Beer Deserves its Place on the White Tablecloth

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Nothing bothers me more than this scenario in a fine dining establishment: the polite waiter hands me a wine list, (which is essentially equivalent to the weight of the stone tablets that hold the Ten Commandments), asks if he can be of assistance, and, when asked, flips to the back page to reveal the “beer list” which reads: Guinness, Stella Artois, Blue Moon, Heineken, and maybe, just maybe, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. Hmm….let’s look at this:  50 plus pages of wine…Jura represented by their offerings of Savagnin, an entire page of White Burgundy, all with three-digit prices. You want wines made…

Why Cider Week Matters

Cider Week NY kicks off today (well, to be more accurate: Cider 10 Days kicks off).  Throughout New York City and the Hudson Valley, hundreds of participating restaurants and bars will begin pouring with a vengeance.  In my eyes, this couldn’t happen at a more crucial time.  The cider revolution is in its nascency.  And already its in danger of losing its soul. Although cider is a niche market in the U.S, sales rose 23% last year.  This is huge.  And there is an interesting comparison here–what began 20 years ago in the craft beer world, is now happening in…

Whole Foods Market-Harpoon Brewery “Saison Liaison”

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You can’t mess with Saison. Seriously, don’t even try. You meet a frothy glass of it in an alley, promptly throw down your wallet, bow your head, take a few cautious steps backward, and run. And, just recently, a new player has stepped out of the alley and onto the scene.  Harpoon Brewery has teamed up with Jeff Wallace, the NYC Whole Foods Beer Buyer (and an avid homebrewer), on a new collaboration called “Saison Liaison,” which will only be available at Whole Foods Markets in NYC that carry growlers. Saisons are my favorite beer style, made even cooler by the fact that they nearly disappeared from the world,…

Brooklyn Republic Vodka: Made in Brooklyn…or Missouri?

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Now the last thing I’d consider myself is a skeptic… although with each passing day, I do find myself a little more susceptible to my BS meter going off.  Some days its a silent companionship, and other days the thing’s a steady buzz of deafening chirps and whistles. What I do consider myself is an advocate of New York spirits.  If we’re eating locally, then its only natural we follow by drinking locally.  The people I have met that are at the forefront of distilling in the Empire State are renegades.  The wave is a new one.  It wasn’t until…

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Hard Apple Cider

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If you’re not hip on the cider train, that’s okay.  If your experience with cider up till now has consisted of a pint of syrupy sweet Magners from your local O’Fooligans, or you’ve gone one step further into darkness by mixing a half pint of lager with a half pint of Strongbow (known conspicuously as a “Snakebite”, and with after effects not so far off from a Cottonmouth Water Moccasin snake sinking its fangs in the meat of your calf, filling your bloodstream with toxins), then you’ll be okay.  And if you’ve never tasted a farmhouse cider before, I’ll give…