Blog: Village Voice Holiday Spirits 2014
The middle of November is hardly an atypical time of year to be boarding a boat in New York City- but that’s where we joined a few hundred other tastemakers on Thursday night. The Village Voice’s second annual “Holiday Spirits” event emanated aboard the Hornblower Infinity Ship at the west side’s Pier 40 where guests would converge around roughly thirty different wine and spirits purveyors. The three floor ship space played an ideal venue for the event, where three hours would sufficiently ply all in attendance with enough food and booze to maximize everyone’s satisfaction.
Backed by a house DJ, the dimly lit ship was lavishly outfitted with a cavalcade of plush seating and tables setup throughout the space, where the evening’s earliest attendees quickly gobbled up most of the available chairs. In anticipation of the ninety minute cruise, the staff worked in cruise-like fashion to unveil multiple buffet spreads on each floor, replete with chicken and beef sliders, pulled pork and other fixings as other workers delivered some light passed around fare to the attendees more focused on the assortment of drinks. Fortunately, there was no shortage of food at this year’s “Holiday Spirits,” a pleasant surprise considering the sheer mass of liquor being poured on the ship.
Almost immediately, we headed to the top floor where the VIP level boasted some bites from Grandaisy Bakery and live music courtesy of The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn. To our delight, we stumbled upon the table represented by Slow and Low, among the event’s primary sponsors. The brand’s bottled 84 proof ‘Rock & Rye’ is an open-and-pour styled “Old-Fashioned” which is as authentic (and strong) as tasty as any freshly prepared style at a renowned cocktail bar. The next step is finding it locally and bringing it home. Next we headed downstairs to the Asahi Bar where the Japanese beer sponsor was doling out a ton of swag- from sunglasses to glow sticks- as well as some of their light “Asahi Super Dry” and “Asahi Black” bottles to the waiting hands of more traditional drink seekers.
Part of what made “Holiday Spirits” such a distinctive experience was the fact that the spirits purveyors utilized their brands in different drinks rather than thimble-sized tastes of each liquor. While we don’t typically imbibe in different rums, the “It’s Rum Time Bar” from Rums of Puerto Rico used the likes of Bacardi and DonQ to dole out pours of “White Sangria.” Mixed with sparkling white grape juice, orange juice and pineapple juice, the concoction was deliciously sweet- a nice change of pace to other offerings like an array of Barefoot Wines’ deliciously flavored sparkling wines, Tanteo Tequila‘s fiery “Jalapeno Margarita,” Tito’s Handmade Vodka’s tangy and refreshing “The Go To,” and pours of Widow Jane “Rye Whiskey,” each of which left a nice taste on our palates.
With picturesque views of New York City, the Hornblower Infinity Ship didn’t stray too far from the ‘mainland’ but we got up close and personal with the Statue of Liberty as the boat turned in place in the center of the water. Though downing a good amount of booze amid a relatively rocky Hudson River in November took a bit of getting used to, everyone in the house managed to maintain their equilibrium for the duration of the evening. The 2014 “Holiday Spirits” was perhaps the most unique affair yet thrown by the folks at The Village Voice. And as per usual, it was both fun and entirely memorable, despite being on the water during one of 2014′s coldest evenings yet.
- Dave Gendelson