Blog: Village Voice 'Holiday Spirits'
(Some photos courtesy of Laura June Kirsch, Village Voice)
On Thursday evening, The Village Voice hosted its first ever “Holiday Spirits” tasting event at Studio Square in Long Island City, Queens. In commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the day that ended the prohibition era, the event, featuring a lineup of more than thirty spirits companies, was extremely well put together. Both the $50 price tag for general admission tickets and the $70 for a VIP ticket, were well worth it.
First off, who knew that Studio Square had such cool event spaces? In an entrance separate from the infamous courtyard that most of us know Studio Square to be, nicely decorated and invoking a cool Winter Wonderland feeling and lots of holiday cheer, thirsty guests entered and were escorted into elevators that had a cool, rustic but polished lift feel (right in line with the theme of the night). Upon stepping out on the 5th floor, attendees encountered a very cool and chic ambiance with killer views of the city.
There was a great array of companies lining the perimeter of the two floor space, as well as inhabiting the bars on each floor, and there was also access to the rooftop with its Miami-chic design and lighting dramatically highlighting the water tower. The venue was icing on the cake for this event. We surveyed the space and picked op our branded tasting glasses before heading out to begin imbibing. The 5th floor featured the sounds of DJ Tim Martell- an MTV VMA Official after-party DJ who’s also done his thing opening for music powerhouses such as Beyonce and Robin Thicke- and the 5th floor was a great play on the prohibition theme with live jazz from The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn, a 5-piece jazz, swing and blues band.
With such a large line up of spirits, there was a need for a strategy to maintain the cheerful holiday spirit of the evening (wink, wink). A bubbles and vodka aficionado myself, we used that as the guide for making our rounds. Event sponsors sprinkled the event with some non-alcoholic messages and knowledgeable representatives with the likes of Seamless.com and Diamond Vision Lasik on hand- an interesting venue indeed to promote Lasik surgery but honestly the guy was super cool and if I didn’t have 20/20 vision myself I’d keep them in the mix for that procedure.
There was one stop in particular that piqued my interest and admittedly was not on-strategy, but we gave it a go anyway and that was at Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liquer. Now, we’ve got some friends who concoct an AMAZING ginger mojito, which I know to be a fairly labor-intensive process what with fresh ginger puree simmered on the stove to keep true to the ginger flavor, but after this event I’m happy to say we found them a dynamic shortcut. Both straight up and as an ingredient in egg nog, this Brooklyn based liquer was so tasty I highly recommend it. This just hit the market in February of this year and based on taste alone, the Liquer has a bright future ahead.
Among the many highlights of the evening, the award for Best Bubbly Beverage of the evening was hands down, the “Michelle Brut.” The ladies managing the table were personable, knowledgeable and eager to explain that the company had recently made several changes in their production process to revamp its’ Brut and you just have to appreciate a company that is always looking for ways to make their product better. They did hit the mark on that one. Visits to that table were more than a one off. We also went wild over Tito’s Vodka, a staple at so many events. People rave about Tito’s and in my initial foray, I’m happy to say that the brand is worth the hype. Paired with my favorite accompaniment, lemonade with a touch of ginger, this vodka is so smooth. We were so impressed that we asked to try it neat and the reps at the table were happy oblige. The taste went down clean and smooth and in a very nice surprise, it didn’t burn.
There were some hors d’oevures floating around, but attendees were on top of things and waited by the kitchen to scoop them up as each server made their approach. They were quite tasty and unfortunately if you weren’t aware of the strategy, you probably did not enjoy these goodies. But in the absence of food, we made the rounds to the likes of winemakers’ Barefoot Wine and Bubbly, America’s Oldest Winery, and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, beer from Asahi, and of course a variety of spirits from Death’s Door, El Buho Mezcal, Brooklyn Gin, and a perennial favorite, Greenhook Ginsmiths. All in all, this was a great showcase for not only New York City’s top local distillers, with a few national ones in the mix, but also for Queens’ rapidly growing, chic Long Island City neighborhood. The Village Voice, with both its event participants and venue choice, exposed an array of classy, sexy New Yorkers to ring in the holidays in style and with flavor.