I've just returned from House Spirits Booze Bazaar, and in spite my near state of inebriation, I'll attempt to post my experiences. Raena and I arrived just as Kevin Ludwig (currently of Clyde Common and soon to be opening Beaker & Flask) was departing. Kevin went back inside with us and we went straight for the booze. Kevin and I selected a Trident cocktail, made with Krogstad Aquavit, Cynar and Fino Sherry. The cocktail was interesting, the sherry seemed to really bring out the caraway notes in the aquavit, creating a very food friendly cocktail that I may have to experiment with soon.
Next, we spotted Siobhan Crosby, Soshanna Cohen and Karen Foley of my favorite magazine, Imbibe displaying their wares. If you haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of Imbibe yet, just put this down, get in the car and race over to your nearest Barnes and Noble or Borders and buy and issue already. They've got a great blog going over at www.imbibemagazine.blogspot.com and then of course is their website, www.imbibemagazine.com. If this sounds like an ad for Imbibe, then good. It's my favorite magazine (supplanting Saveur), well written, cutting edge and they deserve your support. In the interest of being honest and open, I may have a byline appearing in the Jan/Feb issue as well, so don't just buy one copy, buy 3.
I then made it over to taste some really interesting products. Vitaly Paley of Paley's Place is making a wonderful energy bar. Get this, it actually tastes good rather than the usual energy bar/ roofing shingles that you usually find on the market. Their Strawberry and Peanut is a revelation. You can find them online at www.jwmerc.com
I came kind of late, so I missed out on his chocolates, but the caramels that I tried from Xocolo de David were outstanding. On par with the caramels that I've had in Paris, his fleur de sel is a classic caramel, while the bacon caramel confirmed for me that everything goes better with bacon.
My friend Mike, over at Sub Rosa Spirits was tasting his Tarragon and Saffron vodkas. Always a revelation if you haven't tried them.
My favorite part of the night was when Matt Mount, one of the distillers at House Spirits shared with me their ouzo. Made from rye spirit and flavored only with anise, it was drier than most ouzo's, more similar to a good Lebanese arak, but delicious nonetheless. Definitely my favorite part of the night.
I'm off to see Spoon play at the Crystal Ballroom this evening, and I just might pop in and see Charlie Hodge pour some drinks at the Clyde Common before that.
One last thing. If I met you tonight, please leave a comment. I'd love to hear from all of you.