Drink DuJour: Pink Flamingos

Starting today, W Hotels across Manhattan will be celebrating Pride weekend with an array of colorful cocktails. Between 3:30pm and 8pm, visitors and guests at four W locations in the Big Apple will be greeted at the elevator by drag queens Marti Gould Cummings, Monet, Dina Delicious and Pixie Aventura.

The W New York Downtown will be serving up the red stripe in this boozy, city-wide rainbow with a concoction of gin, cranberry and grapefruit juice. 

“We’re so excited to be able to partner with these iconic personas and incredible spirits brands,” said W New York’s Marketing Manager Pablo-Andres Lopez. “The chance to offer our guests something exclusive, surprising, inspired by the effervescent spirit of everything that Pride stands for is something that hits close to home for the W Hotels of New York.” 

PINK FLAMINGOS
1.5 oz. Four Pillars Gin Rare Dry
2 oz. Cranberry juice
1 oz. Pink grapefruit juice
2 dashes Peychauds bitters 

Combine all ingredients over ice in cocktail shaker.  Shake and strain. Garnish with grapefruit wedge.

 

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Drink DuJour: Fern Gully

After a recently completed renovation, Scribner’s Catskill Lodge in upstate New York is the sheer epitome of rustic luxury. With clean, farmhouse-inspired decor and an elevated on-site restaurant called Prospect, it’s a popular weekend getaway for chic city-dwellers looking to escape to the mountains. But it’s the mountains themselves, with their textured coat of trees morphing from winter white to fiery red and yellow to bright spring green, that make this place a destination.

As a toast to Mother Nature, the team at Prospect will donate a dollar to the Catskill Forest Association for every Fern Gully cocktail sold. “This refreshing but savory cocktail was inspired by the change of season as spring rains give way to warm summer months,” says beverage director Michael Kang. “The drink contains many botanical components, adding heat and vegetal flavors to balance out the sweet and sour of the agave and lime.”

FERN GULLY
1 1/2 oz. Gin
1/2 oz. Don Ciccio & Figli Finochietto
1/2 oz. Agave syrup
3/4 oz. Lime juice
1 slice Jalapeno
2 slices Cucumber

Lightly muddle cucumber, jalapeno and agave. Add remaining ingredients with ice and vigorously shake. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with a slice of cucumber.

 

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Drink DuJour: Texas to Tokyo

You can now step inside the surreal world of Quentin Tarantino—without fear of bodily harm. Past a hidden door inside what appears to be a VHS rental store in Cincinnati, OH, lies a speakeasy dedicated entirely to the cult-favorite filmmaker.

“All of our cocktails are nods to Tarantino movies,” says Jacob Trevino, owner of The Video Archive. “Most of the cocktails have a southwestern Asian spin using ingredients like Japanese sochu and tequila, much how Tarantino mixed martial arts with spaghetti westerns in the movie Kill Bill.” Aside from the spicy Texas to Tokyo cocktail, the menu includes concoctions like the Hanzo Steel (gin and peach-gunpowder green tea syrup), the Mango Unchained (cognac and mango) and more punny drinks. 

And if the mastermind behind hits like Pulp Fiction and Inglourious Basterds walked into the bar? “After I picked my jaw off the floor, I would offer him a shot of Green Chartreuse,” says Trevino. “Mostly because of his line in Death Proof where he says, ‘Green Chartreuse! A liqueur so good they named a color after it.’”

TEXAS TO TOKYO
1 oz. Reposado tequila
1 oz. Sochu
1 oz. Lime
2 oz. Serrano-blood orange syrup
Dash of Peychauds Bitters
Dash of Agnostura Bitters
Soda 

Mix all ingredients except soda. Top with soda and enjoy.

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Drink DuJour: Almond Blossom Crusta

Unlike other Manhattan neighborhoods, Midtown wasn’t made for meandering. Personally, if I do have to walk through the area, I’m usually focused on elbowing my way through throngs of tourists to reach my destination. Recently, though, to my pleasant surprise, I was introduced to a hidden gem of sorts amidst the chaos.

Though dangerously close (in my opinion) to Times Square, Lantern’s Keep at the Iroquois New York hotel is a cocktail bar on par with speakeasy-inspired establishments typically found below 14th Street. After looking over the extensive menu categorized by drink style (shaken, stirred, over ice, etc.), I decided to opt for the last item listed: “Bartender’s choice.”

After asking my preferences (gin or tequila, light, fruity, not too sweet) the bartender nailed it with the Almond Blossom Crusta, a delicious blend of strawberries, Pisco and a hint of almond which somehow avoids being overly sugary. 

“During the warmer months in New York City, champagne consumption is a must, Lantern’s Keep bar manager Daniel Rutkowski explained of the choice. “In the Almond Blossom Crusta we combine fresh berries and crisp bubbles with aged Chilean Pisco and our housemade almond syrup to create a fruity and nutty libation perfect for the dog days of summer,” 

ALMOND BLOSSOM CRUSTA
1 oz. Chilean Pisco
1/2 oz. Fresh lemon juice
3/8 oz. Orgeat
4 Strawberry slices
Pinch of salt
Champagne or dry sparkling wine

Muddle strawberries. Shake all ingredients except for champagne. Strain into coupe and top with champagne. Garnish with a strawberry.

 

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Obsession DuJour: Savor Beauty

In my humble opinion, amidst a bustling life in New York City, there’s no finer luxury than the spa day. I don’t mean to say that going to a spa is the most luxurious thing to do in New York—although that case could easily be made. What I mean is this: anyone familiar with the typical lifestyle of a go-getting, non-stop New Yorker knows that nothing compares to a tried and true spa day. Last month, I discovered one such escape at Savor Beauty + Spa’s newest (and third overall) location in New York’s Upper West Side neighborhood.

 

Inside, you’re immediately welcomed into a bright space that’s been skillfully arranged to work with its deceivingly small square footage. Founded by Angela Jia Kim, the K-beauty destination boasts a full line of 100 percent natural, organic and shoppable products. All products are also used for an array of treatments, which include a menu of facials, massages and makeup appointments.

Once you’ve chosen your service—which can, of course, be personalized according to skin type and preference—you’ll head to a private, cheerful room towards the back of the space. Each room is accented with a heavenly ceiling of fluffy white clouds, something you come to decidedly appreciate in the middle of a transformative caviar facial and massage. 

So to my fellow city dwellers and all around hard workers: take a well-deserved New York minute to indulge in the beauty practices of Savor. On a day-to-day basis it can be easy to overlook the small things and to skip stopping to smell the flowers. But in this case, take my word for it: it’ll be worth your time to savor this experience. 

All Images: Anjie Cho Architect

 

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Drink DuJour: Le Grand Fizz

Memorial Day weekend—the official start of summer—is upon us. For throngs of New Yorkers, this means heading “out East” to The Hamptons to soak up some sun and do some serious socializing. Those shacking up at Surf Lodge in Montauk can look forward to a weekend of concerts as Lukas Graham, Cole Ramstad and Son Little take the stage to kick off the property’s Summer Concert Series

In honor of the occasion, the iconic hotel called upon Grey Goose to create the perfect summer cocktail. 

“Le Grand Fizz is a refreshing and elegant cocktail for the summer,” says Phil Iordanou, Director of Operations at Surf Lodge, of the resulting fizzy concoction. “It’s an elevated twist on the classic spritz, using only the highest-quality, natural ingredients – Grey Goose, St-Germain, fresh lime and soda water served over ice.” 

LE GRAND FIZZ 
1 ½ oz. Grey Goose® Vodka
1 oz. St-Germain® Elderflower Liqueur
½ oz. Freshly squeezed lime (approx. Half a lime)
3 Wedges of fresh lime
2 oz. chilled soda water

Build in an oversized cabernet wine glass with lots of ice. Add Grey Goose® Vodka and St-Germain®. Then squeeze fresh lime and discard. Top with chilled soda water. Stir and garnish with fresh lime wedges and a Grey Goose stirrer.

 

 

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Drink DuJour: Countrypolitan

As its name suggests, the easy-to-drink Cosmopolitan cocktail (vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, cranberry juice) is widely seen as a concoction best enjoyed in urban metropolises like New York City. But one bar in Nashville, TN has created a version more suited to country life.

“With the recent $ 15.5 million transformation of Union Station Hotel in October 2016, along with the transition Nashville has undergone to an ‘It City’ in the national spotlight, a new play on a classic cocktail felt like a natural fit,” says Pandora Elferdink, bartender at Carter’s in Union Station. “Taking something that everyone knows and that so many enjoy and putting a modern and local spin on it was a fun opportunity.”

Get the recipe for the bourbon-based version below.

COUNTRYPOLITAN

1.5 oz. Belle Meade Bourbon
.5 oz. Fresh lime juice
.5 oz. Demerara syrup
.5 oz. Grand Marnier
Lime garnish  

Instructions:
Add first four ingredients to shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a well-chilled rocks glass. Express and garnish with lime.

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Obsession DuJour: Chillhouse

Much like how I find most of my obsessions, I first came across Chillhouse on Instagram. Take one look at my own Instagram, and you’ll know that I love any location with palm wallpaper or a neon sign. And Chillhouse is just about as Instagrammable as it can get, featuring not just a neon sign, but colorful lattes, nail art and a minimalistic seating area complete with cacti. However this coffeeshop-spa isn’t just a cute place to snap a pic: The space offers a menu of luxe spa services, nail art and trendy drinks, and Chillhouse’s founder, Cyndi Ramirez, is no newbie to the business. Ramirez also founded the blog Taste The Style and Den Hospitality, the group responsible for chic spots like Dinnertable, The Lately, and The Garrett (another good spot for a neon sign pic).

Ramirez says she started Chillhouse out of pure necessity. She wanted to create a go-to space for relaxation that wasn’t intimidating. “My husband and I were trying to get massages one day and were very underwhelmed with our options; in NYC, the gap is so split between super low or super high end massage options. There’s a major void there. Then we just started chatting about ‘spas’ as a whole and realized there wasn’t a place to go unwind without the pressure of fully immersing yourself in a spa-like environment. They’re intimidating and they almost always break the bank! As the daughter of an esthetician, I always knew the industry needed an update. It became so obvious to us that now was the time—we landed at a cafe/spa boutique that focused on manicure and massage services.”

Nail services

For my own trip to Chillhouse, I opted for the Chill Pill, a full-body massage that focuses on relaxation. The massage area traded the usual lyric-less spa sounds for a playlist of chill Frank Ocean-style songs that I had to resist jumping up from the massage table to Shazam. The massage itself definitely lived up to its name, and I left thoroughly de-stressed. Ramirez’s favorite massage option is the Stretch Armstrong, which stretches muscles to enhance fitness, with the addition of aromatherapy. Other choices include The Express Focus, which targets a specific zone of the body, and The Hangover Cure, which aims to do just what its name suggests.

As for nails, patrons can choose from a book of nail designs, curated by Lady Fancy Nails. Choose from options like Latte Life (feminine ombre), Discoteca (’70s printed), or Tan Lines (reverse French manicure). I went with DPI, a tiny dot pattern suggested for nail art newbies. Says Ramirez, “I’m a Matisse girl for life,” referencing a squiggly, conceptual nail design.

Coffee bar

My final step in experiencing all of Chillhouse’s offerings was the coffee bar. The cafe is worth stopping into even if you aren’t there for spa services. “[It’s] modern, uncomplicated but thoughtful. We wanted to make it clean, easy on the eyes, and most importantly, relaxing and welcoming,” says Ramirez of the design. The cafe’s menu is split into drinks that either energize or relax, with categories aptly named Turn Me On and Wind Me Down. I played it safe with a (delicious) Nitro Cold Brew, but the more adventurous can choose from the Beet-Chata, Golden Latte, Ube-Bay Latte, or the Black & Green. “I’m a matcha girl, through and through,” says Ramirez, when I asked for her go-to.

Chillhouse completely lives up to its goal of being a luxurious, yet unintimidating, space to destress. Whether your splurge is an herbal tea in the bright cafe or a full-on 80-minute massage, you will leave completely chilled out. Just don’t forget to Instagram.

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Drink DuJour: Hot Sauce in my Bag

Checking out an up-and-coming musician often means visiting a venue with plastic cups and sticky floors—and sometimes that vibe is just what you’re in the mood for. But Kola House, in New York City’s Meatpacking District, is making a point of showcasing rising talent in an atmosphere that’s a bit more refined.

The sleek bar and restaurant has a yummy menu of shareable plates created by Chef Jon Feshan and an elevated cocktail program created by the one and only Pamela Wiznitzer.

“All of the cocktails at Kola House have their roots in songs, musical artists and lyrics and this one is no different,” she explains. This drink in particular was inspired by that catchy Beyoncé lyric from her song “Formation.” “The cocktail uses tequila as the base with Ancho Reyes as a modifier to create a slight spicy tone. We use lemon juice for the acidity (a la Lemonade) and round it out with some apricot jam for sweetness and texture. The big surprise of the drink is the small bag that is clipped onto the side with a mini bottle of Tabasco hot sauce for the guest to use as much or as little in their cocktail.”

HOT SAUCE IN MY BAG
1.75 oz. Blanco Tequila
.25 oz. Ancho reyes
.75 oz. Lemon Juice
.5 oz. Apricot jam
Mini Tabasco bottle

Shake ingredients and strain into a lowball with ice. Garnish with a small pouch with a mini tabasco bottle in it.

 

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