The Tasting Panel magazine

Nov 09

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 50 of 92

The Lady Takes Manhattan "What took so long?" one might wonder, considering that the Big Apple has been the epicenter of the Ameri- can cocktail movement. Lesley Townsend, who for- merly ran Astor Center, housing one of the city's most illustrious wine & spirits shops, founded the five-day event, which will take place in May. The MCC "preview weekend" took place October 3 and 4. Bartenders and industry professionals flocked to NYC to see what the hullabaloo was about, and what could be expected in the spring. We were delighted by seminars on subjects ranging from agave to cognac to rye, from mixology history to bar tools from around the world. We were doused in gin at Gaz Regan's book signing. We ran around Manhattan from cocktail bar to cocktail bar. We got gussied up for the Sun- day Gala at the New York Public Library. "We've got a posi- tively absurd density of bartending talent in this city, as well as tremendous diversity and breadth—from the 19th century cocktail revivalists to the envelope-pushing techniques be- ing pioneered by the likes of Eben Freeman and Dave Arnold," says Townsend. "With that, though, comes a sense of responsibility," she continues. "Bar owners are now seeking out the best possible ingredients for use in their cocktails, and many are taking further actions toward cutting down on waste and non-biodegradable products. This shift in thinking is happening slowly, and we, as New Yorkers, have an obligation to help pave the way for other cocktail com- munities to (hopefully) follow." —Natalie Bovis-Nelsen The Manhattan Cocktail Classic (MCC) is New York City's first multi-day festival celebrating the history, contemporary culture and artful craft of the cocktail. Three of our roving reporters attended the preview of what's to come in May 2010 San Francisco mixologist Carlos Yturria shakes it up at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic's Sun- day Gala, where over a thousand attendees donned black ties and gowns at the New York Public Library. A Taste of What's to Come The MCC preview hosted a gamut of seminars and networking events during the weekend of October 3 and 4. At the Astor Center, Milk & Honey owner Sasha Petraske hosted "Cock- tails for your Home Cocktail Party" and author Dave Wondrich led "The History of the Cocktail in New York." A lounge in the Astor Center allowed for networking and drinks between events, and there were also official off-site chats at locations such as PDT, Mayahuel and Pegu, where a few of the city's most illustrious bar owners told the back stories of their own bars. "Basically all of these owners opened up their souls about what had gone into making that bar," Townsend explains. "It was an intensely personal bonding experience for attendees, because tickets were limited to the number of barstools each place had." The preview weekend was also the premiere of Rogue, a new cocktail event team that is the combination of Contemporary Cocktails Inc. and aka Wine Geek. Rogue sought the help of more than a hundred bartenders from across America to set up the bar stations and create all of the cocktails for the weekend. They will be back in action for the spring. "It was an amazing display of what our indus- try can do when we all come together to show the world that this cocktail movement isn't a joke," offers Jackie Patterson, a bartender from Heaven's Dog in San Francisco, enlisted by Rogue. "The MCC preview proved to me that consumers are starting to understand what it is we can do and the beauty of a great cocktail." —Jenny Adams The In Crowd Lesley Townsend founded the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. PHOTO: NATALIE BOVIS-NELSEN 50 / the tasting panel / november 2009 PHOTO: JENNY ADAMS

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - Nov 09