Blog: Time Out NY's Best Bartender 2015
Inside the glamorous Gallery space of the Meatpacking District’s Dream Downtown hotel, a two-month search to crown New York City’s Best Bartender was celebrated in the form of a grandiose cocktail party. The affair, hosted by Time Out New York would welcome upwards of 400 tastemakers inside the lavish space to sip on some artisanal cocktails courtesy of the contestants as well as some passed around fare prepared by the hotel’s culinary staff. Priced at just $25, New York residents on any budget were welcome to attend- and much like any party thrown by the team at Time Out, this was certainly a see and be seen evening.
Though the winner of the crown had been announced prior to the event- mixologist Anthony LoPorto of Bay Ridge’s Bean Post Pub would enjoy the splendor as champion- the top seven contestants would each be stationed amid the energetic setting to serve a different cocktail for an awaiting collection of scenesters filing into the space. While some folks posed momentarily on the red carpet at the event’s step-and-repeat, others jumped on one of the quickly moving lines that would lead to a different crafted concoction. The drinks themselves ranged from the intricate to the experimental. Maura McGuigan of BKB creatively utilized beet juice as a base for her “Cynara Royale,” paired with Reyka Vodka and sparkling wine. The results were predictably earthy, but unpredictably refreshing.
From the hearty to the sweet, Joshua Brandenburg of Forty Four at The Royalton whipped up a zesty lavender Prosecco and vodka creation called “Mrs. Poppy’s Fields,” a rose colored batch of bubbly using bits of orange rind as its garnish. And deliciously, Davina Thomasula’s (Park Bar) Milagro Tequila infused “Ancho Fresco” and Moses Laboy’s (Gotham Bar and Grill) peach flavored “The Go To” joined LoPorto’s own fiery “Ancho Reyes Fuego Margarita” as our favorites as the evening wore on. Given that the two hour celebration occurred during prime dinner hours, famished guests grabbed bites of “Bruschetta Crostinis,” “Meatball Sliders” and tasty gluten-free desserts from Carly’s Better Bites whenever a tray was spotted in their periphery- and the array of eats proved pivotal as attendees continually slugged down drink after drink once reaching the front of each line.
Nearly 200,000 votes were cast in all, meaning the collection of bartenders in attendance during Monday evening’s festivities were among New York City’s most highly regarded masters of the mix. Though Anthony LoPorto was crowned New York’s Best Bartender in 2015, you’d be hard pressed to take umbrage with any of the competitors being given due credit. As usual, the drinks were refreshingly inventive, the small bites were tasty and the party was the place to be on Monday- but given that the evening was hosted by Time Out New York, that shouldn’t be much of a surprise at all.
- Jane Van Arsdale