Posts Tagged ‘eastern standard’

December 5th, 2008

My head hurts

Repeal party at Eastern Standard - bartenders shaking atop the bar
When you get past the utter crappiness of this photo I took last night, and you look closely, you’ll notice seven bartenders standing atop the bar at Eastern Standard (there were eight, actually — Jackson Cannon was out of frame). This is one of the cooler things I’ve seen in a bar.

The bartenders are shaking Pisco Sours for the 100 or so guests who attended a six-course, six-cocktail dinner and all-night speakeasy to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition. What more authentic way to mark this day than by drinking cocktails of the era — an Ampersand, a Waldorf-Astoria Perfect Martini, a Charles Lindbergh, a Blood & Sand, a Scofflaw and a Pisco Sour — and being thankful the next day for our constitutional right to give ourselves ripping hangovers?

The moment that felt most 1920s to me? Eating a course consisting of caviar on rye toast, scrambled eggs with white truffle, and deviled egg paired with that martini I mentioned: Beefeater, Martini & Rossi dry vermouth and Fee’s orange bitters in a small cocktail glass with a large olive. Heaven.

I don’t know how he did it, but Fred Yarm over at Cocktail Virgin Slut managed to post about the event in vivid detail well before noon today.

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Posted in Cocktails, Events | 3 Comments »

November 18th, 2008

Plymouth Rocks

Simon Ford, Plymouth Gin-Eastern Standard dinnerThis is the time of year when every culinary scribe in the nation chips in to solve a seemingly widespread problem: What to Drink with Thanksgiving Dinner. Wine writers have made pinot noir a standard tipple to pair with turkey and stuffing. Beer writers are making inroads with the argument that, actually, craft brews offer way more variety for Thanksgiving pairings than wine. Historical purists would advocate drinking water, as that is likely all the Pilgrims had on hand during their 1621 feast with the Wampanoag Indians. I don’t know if hosts are really in as much agony over what to serve with gravy-soaked root vegetables as they’re made out to be, but if they are, I have an easy answer: Plymouth Gin.

Unlike, say, wine, Plymouth Gin actually has a connection to the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony. The Mayflower set sail from the original Plymouth, in England. Not only that, the night before they left for the New World, the Pilgrim Fathers lodged in a former monastery dating from the 1400s that is today known as Black Friars Distillery, a.k.a. the producer of Plymouth Gin. The ship that appears on the gin’s label? Yep, it’s the Mayflower.

Coriander venison chop Eastern StandardI learned all this on a little junket I attended recently: a dinner in Eastern Standard‘s private dining room with Plymouth’s brand ambassador, British drinks expert Simon Ford. (For the record, I was a devotée of this crisp, balanced gin before the company plied me with product.) This was a multi-course Thanksgiving of sorts that paired Plymouth Gin-based cocktails with dishes that featured some of the botanicals used in distilling the spirit. Kevin Martin led the Eastern Standard bar staff in mixing up French 75s, Alaskas and Gin Flips, among others. Dishes included a coriander-crusted venison chop, rabbit terrine with juniper berries, and cardamom tapioca pudding. And, believe it or not, before dinner we were given a steamed towel scented with orris root. Fancy!

Kevin Martin, Eastern Standard-Plymouth Gin dinnerReps from the Pernod Ricard company, which owns the Plymouth brand, informed me that Boston is a hot market for this gin. Given that every bar doing classic cocktails stocks the stuff (thanks largely to the pioneering B-Side Lounge), I’m not surprised.

Fun facts about Plymouth gin:

  • Not long after it was first distilled in 1793, Plymouth Gin became the official gin of the British Royal Navy. And because the navy shipped it everywhere, it became one of the first global brands.
  • Black Friars Distillery is the oldest working distillery in England, with records of spirit-making dating to the 1600s.
  • Like Scotch whiskey and Cheddar cheese, Plymouth Gin has its own appellation contrôlée, which means the spirit can only be distilled in Plymouth.
  • The pot still in which every drop of Plymouth Gin is made was installed in 1850.
  • In 1896 the first printed recipe for a Dry Martini, in Stuart’s Fancy Drinks and How to Mix Them, specified Plymouth Gin.

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Posted in Cocktails, Gin | 19 Comments »

September 12th, 2008

Please don’t tell

Kevin Martin of Eastern StandardIf you walk into Eastern Standard next week and wonder who that new kid is behind the bar, count your blessings. His name is Daniel Eun, and he works at PDT (Please Don’t Tell), a speakeasy-style cocktail bar in lower Manhattan. And if you’re wondering where Eastern Standard’s sweet-faced Kevin Martin is, don’t worry. He’s shaking up a few ES cocktails down at PDT. Yep, it’s a bartender exchange.

Jackson Cannon, bar manager at ES, and Jim Meehan, owner of PDT, are sending these two talented, young emissaries to each other’s bars for three nights: Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. At PDT, Kevin will greet a clientele of in-the-know cocktail enthusiasts who enter the bar by ringing a bell on the wall of a phone booth inside a hotdog joint. At Eastern Standard, Daniel will tend to a sprawling mix of cocktail enthusiasts, businesspeople, baseball fans and tourists who enter the place through a clearly marked entrance in bustling Kenmore Square. Both bartenders will bring with them an abridged menu of drinks from their own bars. I, for one, am looking forward to meeting Daniel and ordering one of his cocktails. “He’s pretty feisty, they say. Young and gung-ho,” says Cannon.

Despite the two establishments’ differences, Cannon says that “bars are supposed to be like kitchens — there’s a common language. We’re putting that hypothesis to the test.”

The mastermind behind the bartender exchange is another NYC mixologist, Philip Ward of Death & Co. He helps coordinate the exchanges along with Rob Cooper, distiller of St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, who as a goodwill gesture provides a small stipend to the bartenders for travel and lodging expenses. These two guys got wind of a “shot war” between Boston and New York bartenders who attended Tales of the Cocktail this year (the only war in which shots of Grey Goose are considered an attack), and figured they might as well nurture that rivalry. Good luck, Kevin and Daniel.

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Posted in Bartenders | 4 Comments »

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