Tag Archives: New York City

The 101 Whisk(e)y Challenge

When ordering a drink from a bartender I often get order anxiety.  I freeze, frantically scan the whisk(e)y selection, and then end up ordering an Old Fashioned.  This process was not helping in my ultimate goal of expanding on my whisk(e)y palate and trying new things, so I decided 2013 is the year to break this mold and learn how to overcome my boring ordering habits!

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After racking my brain I decided to run over to Strand Books and pick up Ian Buxton’s latest edition of 101 Whiskies to Try Before You Die.  What I like about this book is that it is free of pretentiousness and filled with accessible whiskies.  One night, I slipped my brand new unopened book into my  purse and headed downtown to the Brandy Library.  I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to go about trying these whiskies – was I going to start from page one or randomly open to a page in the book?  I decided I would open the book to any page and choose the whisk(e)y featured.  This worked out pretty well the first time, but when I tried for a second whisk(e)y it took a lot of time to choose one that the Brandy Library had in its stocks.  After chatting with the whisk(e)y sommelier, I decided to turn the book over to him and let him do the choosing.  Thanks to his expertise, I was pleased to find the whiskies he chose were both very different yet equally delicious.

I’d like to invite you to join me on my 101 whisk(e)y challenge.  To help you get started, I recommend the following establishments to visit on your journey.

The Brandy Library

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A NYC staple for whisky aficionado’s this establishment has some of the most unique whiskies around.  Perfect for cozying up with a dram and melting into one of their oversized leather couches.

The Flatiron Room

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One of NYC’s newest whisk(e)y establishments this venue offers over 600 whiskies and live entertainment.  You can even purchase your own bottle which will be kept in your personal whisk(e)y locker!

Caledonia Scottish Pub

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A cozy Scottish pub with a knowledgeable and friendly bar staff.  The perfect place to call your neighborhood bar!

The Highlands

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Trendy as it’s home of the West Village, the Highlands is a true gastropub inspired by Glasgow and Dublin.  There is always a great crowd here and the staff will pour you a malt or mix you up a cocktail with one of their 130 bottles of Scotch.

I would love to hear where your favorite whisk(e)y establishment is!

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A Taste of Irish True

New York City is full of exciting events at legendary venues each and every night of the week. Mornings over coffee are filled with gossip about the elite access and private parties that lit up the city the night before. Last night I was lucky enough to be one of 24 guests to attend an event of this kind. The exclusive venue happened to be the Consul General of Ireland’s private penthouse residence and the celebrity of the evening was a vintage bottle of Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.

The evening was hosted by Mr. Noel Kilkenny, Consul General of Ireland, and Mrs. Hanora O’Dea Kilkenny, and struck a beautiful balance of the storied legacy and the bright future of Tullamore D.E.W. Upon stepping off the elevator onto the 52nd floor, I was warmly welcomed by Mr. Noel Kilkenny, his wife, and their two Labrador Retrievers to their impressive duplex penthouse. The evening began under the setting sun with delicious Tullamore D.E.W. cocktails served on the 360 degree wrap-around balcony. After a few cocktails and some wonderful whiskey conversation, the breathtaking group of elite NYC guests were ushered down to the first floor where a proper tasting was awaiting.

Welcomed by the charming and witty Brand Ambassador Tim Herlihy, guests were immersed into the Irish True world of Tullamore D.E.W. This year the brand is building its future by strengthening the ties to its past. The renovated state of the art Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre in Ireland has been re-opened; returning distillation of the liquid to the town of Tullamore for the first time since 1959. This bit of information provided a perfect segue into the main event of the night, tasting whiskey! Tim had with him a stash of three very different but equally beautiful expressions of Tullamore D.E.W, giving guests a taste of the past and the future.

The first whiskey we tasted, Tullamore D.E.W. Private Stock, was from the old distillery. This bottle was so rare that it is the only bottle the company has and the bottle so unique that upon cracking the seal Tim was surprised to find he would need a corkscrew to actually open it! Distilled in 1940 this Single Pot Still whiskey was aged in Bourbon casks and pulled from Daniel E. Williams private stock. The gorgeous liquid was extremely smooth with a burst of spice on the palate.

The second whiskey, Tullamore D.E.W. 1970S, is another extinct bottle. Distilled in 1948 in a coffee-still, the liquid was a blend which was truly pioneering for the time. The whiskey, produced at the old St. John’s Lane distillery in Dublin, was triple distilled and triple blended created with the American palate in mind.

Finally, we enjoyed Tullamore D.E.W. number three. Lucky for us, it is still available! Matured in Bourbon and Sherry casks the liquid remains true to the heritage of Tullamore D.E.W. This bottle featured new packaging paying homage to where the liquid came from and the man himself who made all of this possible

It’s hard to say which whiskey was my favorite as they all were so unique and beautiful in their own way. At any rate, I must admit that I am one lucky lady to have been able to taste a bit of two now extinct bottles of Tullamore D.E.W!

Photography by FYM Productions

Cheers!


Fashion Week – An Evolution

Each September, New York City is transformed into the stylish and sophisticated world belonging to fashion.  It has that feeling reminiscent of the first day of school.  There’s the excitement of seeing friends after a long summer of work, the display of crisp new clothing, and the rush of possibly being this year’s trendsetter.  For one week only the tents are hoisted high and filled with crowds of designers, makeup artists, reporters, socialites, celebrities and those lucky enough to score access.  The days all seem to blend together, packed with runway shows, designer presentations and the glamorous after parties that last all night.  While us seemingly “small people” are seen gawking over long limbs and splashes of color and design, the designers are in anticipation for approval of their newest collection. Just take it all in, it’s fashion week after all!  

 New York City, one of the four fashion capitals of the world, hosts one of the most prominent Fashion Weeks.  It is all about the future;  declaring what’s in, what’s out and hypnotizing retailers and buyers alike.  Although Fashion Week is always looking forward, there is a rich history and a number of significant fashionistas making it the important industry icon we know today.  In 1943, the first New York Fashion Week was held, with one main purpose: to distract attention from French fashion during World War II.  It was during this time when workers in the fashion industry were unable to travel to Paris.  This was an opportune moment – as for centuries designers in America were thought to be reliant on the French for inspiration.  It was starting then that women became the integral part of Fashion Week that we know it today.

 The American Dream

Eleanor Lambert

During the 1930’s Lambert was named the first Press Director of the Whitney Museum of American Art.  Her rich history of fashion and art played an integral role in her contribution to founding the Museum of Modern Art as well as representing Jackson Pollock, Jacob Epstein and Isamu Noguchi.  In 1943 Lambert organized an event she called “Press Week” to showcase American designers for fashion journalists.  Press Week proved to be a huge success resulting in major fashion magazines like Vogue phasing out French designs for innovative American fashion.  This fashion maven proved to be a game change for the industry.  She was formally asked by the US Government to present American fashion for the first time in Russia, German, Italy, Australia, Japan, Britain and Switzerland.  She defined what we today know as Fashion Week  breaking through the barriers of French fashion being the “ultimate” fashion and shaping the American fashion industry.

 A Foreign Affair

Coco Chanel

French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand Chanel is one of the most important designers ever to enter the industry.  Chanel was born into a lifestyle of French peasant stock but lived her life determined to rise above her humble origins.  She is credited with liberating women from the constraints of the corseted silhouette and making the sportive, casual chic trend acceptable in the post World War I era.  Her design aesthetic redefined the fashionable woman of her time and still resonates a look of youthful ease, liberation, and confidence.  The fashion industry has many things to thank Chanel for; a favorite being the “little black dress”.  This contribution to the fashion lexicon survives to this day and I am sure appears in most every woman’s closet!

 An Expression of Style

Princess Diana

Princess Diana was one of the most photographed women in the world making her wardrobe the target of constant discussion.  In her early life, Diana wore little make-up and was less concerned with her dress being sophisticated and more so with it being comfortable.  Upon her engagement, she began experimenting with more appropriate fashion choices.  In the beginning, she found it difficult to find the right “look” being scrutinized as “very British” or “dressing older than her years”.  She quickly learned that her appearance was key to the way people perceived her and decided it was time to make a change.  Princess Diana videotaped every one of her television appearances and carefully began to analyze every detail of her hair, makeup, and clothing.  She mastered the art of how to dress diplomatically developing an acute sense of the right clothes for the right occasion.  Much of what made Princess Diana very popular and beloved by the public was her modern approach to her own life, both public and private. As with the other great style icons of this century, it was Diana’s ability to look cool and chic in the simplest attire.

“Fashion is not something that exists in dresses only. Fashion is in the sky, in the street, fashion has to do with ideas, the way we live, what is happening.” – Coco Chanel

Let the Fashion Week festivities begin!


Everybody Loves a Flash Mob

This past Saturday, August 25th, two William Grant & Sons employees decided to show their pioneering spirit for Glenfiddich Single Malt Scotch, the brand which the company was built on.  As part of an internal company contest to show your passion for Glenfiddich, a select group of people will be chose to venture to Cambodia to build houses.

Celebrating the company’s 125 years in the spirits industry, Jeremiah “Mackie” Courtney and Lorne Cousin, also know as “Scottish Piper to the Stars”, teamed up to organize the world’s first ever bagpipe flash mob!  125 pipers from more than 11 different bands came together in New York City’s Battery Park to celebrate two icons of independence, Glenfiddich and Lady Liberty.  During the performance, bands were placed in different sections around the park each playing “Scotland the Brave” and then all coming together for a moving performance of Amazing Grace.  After a series of encores prompted by the crowd, all 125 pipers followed Mackie and Lorne to The Palm to raise a dram to Glenfiddich and Lady Liberty.

Check out the amazing video done by FYM Productions!

http://youtu.be/y7dh-RxXBCo


Vegetarians Beware!

I must thank everyone who has contented to tune in during this month long drought of Whiskey Dame insight.  You are truly inspiring!

Sometime during my disappearance from the blogosphere Spring snuck out the back door.  I could sense the Summer season by the clusters of awe-struck tourists, parades of food trucks lining the streets, and the random outdoor festivals popping up around city blocks.  For those of you who live in New York City I am sure you are familiar with outdoor festivals.  Most of them consist of the same lemonade stand churning out bright yellow juice and grease carts serving up “dirty waters” (those are hot dogs for the rest of you!).  But what really makes NYC unique during the summer are the speciality food festivals that bring vendors in from around the nation, and today was no exception!

Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the Big Apple Barbecue Block Party hosts tens of thousands of meat lovers who come to enjoy some of the best BBQ from around the country.  After meeting up with a few fellow foodie friends we decided it was time to embrace our inner carnivore and see what this festival was all about.

As we approached Madison Square Park my mouth began to water as the smokey aroma filled the air.  The streets were lined with some of the best roasted, braised, and fired meat being seasoned and served up by 18 of the most renowned pit masters in the United States.  Cues of hungry BBQ lovers wrapped around the edges of the park but were surprisingly orderly and quick.  The biggest dilemma we had was what to try first!

Our first stop was New York City’s own Blue Smoke.  A true lover of beef ribs I was excited to try Kenny Callaghan’s salt and pepper ribs.  These incredibly beefy bones had the perfect amount of spice crust while remaining fall-off-the-bone tender.  And did I mention they were absolutely delicious!

Being that the festival was almost over for the day we made sure to snag some BBQ from a non-local joint.  We headed over to check out Drew Robinson’s Jim ‘N Nick’s for a taste of Alabama.  A true passion for honest Southern cooking Jim ‘N Nick’s was serving up homemade smoked sausage drizzled in a tangy BBQ sauce with a side of pimento cheese.  It was an explosion of smokey and spicy that felt completely balanced on the tongue.

  

To compliment this meal of meaty goodness I pulled out my tiny silver flask filled with a true American Whiskey.  There’s nothing better on a Saturday afternoon then some good old fashioned American BBQ and whiskey shared with friends!

Cheers!


Show Her Some Love!: A Mother’s Day Gift Guide

7:50PM running through the cracked streets of SoHo in pursuit of Kate’s Paperie.  Your four inch Manolo Blahnik heel catches on a random cobble stone floating in the middle of the street.  Suddenly you are plummeting face-forward cheek planting into the sidewalk.  Your Prada bag soars overhead landing upside down in a pool of crumpled up dollar bills, lip gloss and expired Metrocards.  Wall Street suits and evening joggers step over you as if you are part of the pavement and a homeless man takes a crack at snatching one of those crumpled bills.  It’s now 7:58 PM and you see the metal gates being pulled over the stores door as you rush to collect your things.  Defeated, you hobble on your one unbroken heel, stick your hand out onto Broadway, and wait for a cab to come scoop you up.  And all of this because you waited until the last minute to purchase your annual “You are the Best Mom Ever” Mother’s Day card!

Ok, so I might be exaggerating a tiny bit, but let’s be honest – Mother’s Day has lost its glimmer throughout the years.  Long gone are the days of macaroni heart jewelry and finger painted cards.  This holiday often slips our minds leaving Godiva and ProFlowers.com to save us in our last minute gift distress.  But Mother’s Day should not be about generic gift giving and increasing Hallmark’s sales, it should be a celebration honoring mothers, maternal relationships and the influence of mothers in society. 

 So instead of grabbing that last minute box of chocolates try something new this year!

 A Piece of Art

With the invention of the “smart phone” traditional photography has taken a backseat to the quick snap of an iPhone camera.  Our frozen moments are now detailed in mobile albums on our facebook pages instead of living inside frames around our homes.  Take a page from photo history and create a physical piece of art.  You can restore an old picture from your mothers past or choose a great current shot of the two of you.  Have it enlarged and printed on a beautiful silk photo paper.  Get creative and pick a really special frame; you can either go to your local frame shop or sift around antique stores for a unique and rustic touch.  You will be sure to warm any mother’s heart with your creativity and lack of confusing gadgets! 

 An Afternoon Affair

Between your morning spin class, your day job, and your dating life we know it’s hard to always pencil in time for mom.  Cancel your plans for May 13th, skip your afternoon Green Juice, and take your mom out to New York City’s most fashionable address, the Plaza.  A famous tradition at The Plaza is afternoon tea service served in The Palm Court.  The menue boasts with delicate savories, scones and sweets for the two of you to choose from.  Spend the afternoon indulging in an icon of luxury; a place where Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Truman Capote, and The Beatles once dined as well!

 For more information visit http://www.fairmont.com/theplaza/GuestServices/Restaurants/AfternoonTea.htm.

 A Boozy Date

A modern twist on the classic afternoon tea, the Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails are celebrating Mother’s Day in a salute to women in the spirits industry!  Cocktail enthusiasts and “matriarchs” of the distilled spirits industry alike will come together for a very civilized afternoon of tea cocktails and conversation featuring the women who run this industry.  (Participating companies include American Fruits Liqueur, Bulleit Bourbon, George Dickel Tennessee Whisky, Laird’s Applejack, New York Distilling Company, SquareOne Organic Vodka, Tuthilltown, Macchu Pisco, Zacapa Rum, and Perfect Puree.)  The women behind these great brands will gather at the New York Distilling company to share stories and commiserate about launching distilleries, building brands, supporting the family business, and more! 

 For more information visit http://tickets.manhattancocktailclassic.com/default.asp?SearchMonth=5%2F1%2F2012&MV=5%2F13%2F2012&sel=x.

Your mom (and Manolo’s) will thank you for making Mother’s Day so special!

Cheers!