The Morning After: Our First Good Spirits

Good_Spirits2010The Aftermath of Good Spirits: Roni-Sue’s Chocolates, Black and White Cookies and Several Empty Drink Glasses Make Use of Us as Their Coaster. (But it’s Appropriate, Considering Our Cover Girl This Issue is the Divey Subway Inn.)

Last night Edible Manhattan hosted its inaugural Good Spirits event, which is something like our summer Good Beer fest and our Brooklyn Uncorked wine shindig in May, except this time we honed in on cocktails.

Taking over the lovely E. 22nd St. restaurant called Almond for the evening–they have a massive pool table and some sweet leather couches in the back room, FYI–we had six Manhattan chefs with serious street cred prepping dishes paired with six  drinks, like the La Sombrilla Rosa, made with smoky single-village Sombra mezcal, Campari and freshly-squeezed juices from a triple-citrus punch of grapefruit, lemon and limes.

Okay, the line for its pairing–the sweet fresh corn tamales topped with shrimp, chipotle butter and avocado pico de gallo, made allll night long by the folks from Rocking Horse Cafe–was the longest of the evening, but it was worth it, especially if you could suck down a few La Sombrilla’s as you waited. (Which is what we did, at any rate.)

A few other crowd faves: The shaved persimmon, fennel and hazelnut salad from Il Buco chef Ignacio Mattos, paired with the Il Buco Sour, made with Tuthilltown Distillery Hudson Four-Grain Bourbon, fresh persimmon, lemon juice, thyme, simple syrup and Sagrentino Passito. And the lamb with celery root puree and and kumquat-basil marmalade from Almond washed down with the J.M. Ginger, made with J.M. Rhum Agricole Blanc, fresh pear puree, ginger-infused simple syrup and red wine sorbet. And the smoked venison carpaccio from with hummus, pine nuts, green apple and cinnamon chile oil from Ilili with the Sidon Rose, made from Tuthilltown vodka, green apple juice, rose syrup and a splash of soda.

In fact you can see all of the dishes and their paired drinks here, along with tasting notes from Jim Meehan, the drinksman behind PDT and Food & Wine magazine’s cocktail guides. Last we saw him last night, actually, was in the tamale line…

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Rachel Wharton is the former deputy editor of Edible Brooklyn and Edible Manhattan. She won a 2010 James Beard food journalism award, holds a master’s degree in Food Studies from New York University, and has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and reporter. A North Carolina native and a former features food reporter for the New York Daily News, she edited the Edible Brooklyn cookbook and was the co-author of both Handheld Pies and DiPalo's Guide to the Essential Foods of Italy. Her work also appears in publications such as The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and Saveur.