Grub/Spirits — 21 June 2011
The Spirits At Pranna: A New York City Cocktail Week Preview

New Yorkers love trying new restaurants all around town almost as much as we also love to get a deal on the bill. With the now twice a year NYC Restaurant Week having become so wildly popular, it is no surprise that has decided to roll out the first annual NYC Cocktail Week, celebrating the city’s amazing bars and their talented mixologists. Now through June 29th, patrons can sample two cocktails and an appetizer for $20.11 at some of the best spots in town. This price point is outstanding considering the typical price of cocktails in Manhattan. The spirited week also helps to support two very worthy causes: City Harvest’s fight against hunger and The Museum of the American Cocktails’ efforts to preserve mixological history.

The fine people at Pranna, Flatiron’s home for modern southeast Asian fare will be participating in the inaugural cocktail event with some of the most innovative mixtures of spirits and fresh ingredients that we have ever seen, led by head bartender and mixologist, Raphael Reyes. The LocalBozo staff was invited to the popular eatery for a tasting preview of the wide variety of cocktails they will be serving at Cocktail Week.

Shortly after arriving the tasting began, Reyes introduced himself, as friendly servers brought out samples of each cocktail. Bite sized morsels like lobster dumplings and chicken satay skewers were brought to the tables to pair with our drinks, and gave us the opportunity to taste the food at Pranna for the first time. It must be said that Reyes was extremely informative throughout the tasting, more than happy to field questions as he detailed us on how certain ingredients were derived.

The group tried upwards of thirteen diverse cocktails made under the watchful eye of Reyes. The first sample served as a tasty precursor for what was to come- the “Bison Leaves,” which features Thai basil, fresh lemon juice, fresh pineapple, hibiscus, veev acai liqueor, and zubrowka. Quite a mouthful and quite a mixture. Reyes’ collaboration of the fresh herbs and fruit juice paired together brilliantly. Another favorite was the “Spiked Rabbit,” a delicious glass of sage, agave nectar, lime juice, fresh carrot juice, yellow chartreuse, Combier, and Milagro silver. The fresh carrot juice and liquor pairing makes for a perfect summer outdoor drink. In a stark contrast the “Irish Kampai,” was the strongest of all the cocktails we sampled. The drink had both Michael Collins whiskey and maple syrup in it, two incredibly strong but complimentary flavors. Each cocktail was at the peak of freshness, as Reyes never skimps when it comes to using only the best ingredients. He informed us that he makes cocktails for the customer, and not for himself. And that was quite refreshing to hear.

Each of these cocktails are usually priced at $12 each, which truly highlights the value of the Cocktail Week. NYC’s Cocktail Week is the perfect chance for spirit lovers to sample some of our city’s best Mixologist’s creations, or impress that lady you’ve been seeing without having to break the bank. Although Pranna is just one of many hotspots around the city participating, we urge you to come on in and sip on some of Raphael Reyes’ tasty concoctions while noshing on some pretty savory fare.

- Alan Smithee

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