A COCKTAIL FEAST TO BRING IN THE CHINESE NEW YEAR

luckyrice events - LUNAR NEW YEAR EPICUREAN COCKTAIL FEAST

by: alex Nguyen

Brandon & Alex – the men, the myths, the legends – enter The Bowery Hotel for what begins as a sophisticated inauguration of the Year of the Rooster, complete with a 16-cocktail tasting menu presented by Bombay Sapphire East. Little did they know, Luckyrice had grander intentions for them…


With the newfound friendship of a particularly gregarious barman at the Feast, an errant business card, a healthy bit of luck - and most importantly, Luckyrice -  the SarahFunky boys find themselves whisked from the festive scenes of the Epicurean Cocktail Feast to a secretive, joyous afterparty in heart of the East Village.

9:15pm, Friday, January 27th – The Bowery Hotel

I meet up with my buddy, suited up for the occasion – after all we are going to Luckyrice’s 8th Annual Epicurean Cocktail Feast. The line outside the hotel is already over a hundred people long and growing rapidly, and luckily we’ve come early. The guest list comprises a smart crowd, professional.

Guests enjoying cocktails on the terrace of The Bowery Hotel.

Guests enjoying cocktails on the terrace of The Bowery Hotel.

Make no mistake: this is no ordinary cocktail party. Luckyrice has managed to corral the top mixologists from all over New York – Sanatorium, Lumos, Maharlika, The VNYL, PS450, Macao Trading Co., Fifty Restaurant and Extra Fancy – for a celebratory kick-off to the Year of the Rooster.


Upon entering, we realize exactly how much attention to detail has been put in to transform The Bowery Hotel. The vibrant orchids, the crimson envelopes, the paper lanterns, the ceramic Roosters all speak to an intention to immerse.

Orchids strewn with red envelopes, which are customarily given out on Lunar New Year and thought to ward off spirits (but perhaps an exception can be made for tasty drinkable spirits).

Orchids strewn with red envelopes, which are customarily given out on Lunar New Year and thought to ward off spirits (but perhaps an exception can be made for tasty drinkable spirits).

But what catches our eyes first, are the cocktails, which are strong, complex, beautifully-garnished.

Gareth Howells, of THE VYNL, and the THE MONKEY’S ROOST: Bombay Sapphire® East Gin, St-Germain® Elderflower Liqueur, Dewar's 12 Year Old Scotch, Pineapple, Pink Grapefruit, Jalapeño, Cardamom, Canella, Coriander, Star Anise, Earl Grey Tea, Sencha Green Tea, Milk, Demerara, Orchid Garnish

Gareth Howells, of THE VYNL, and the THE MONKEY’S ROOST: Bombay Sapphire® East Gin, St-Germain® Elderflower Liqueur, Dewar's 12 Year Old Scotch, Pineapple, Pink Grapefruit, Jalapeño, Cardamom, Canella, Coriander, Star Anise, Earl Grey Tea, Sencha Green Tea, Milk, Demerara, Orchid Garnish

As we move past the antechamber, we enter the main hall, and the wonderful Lisa of Sarah Hall Productions directs us to the slushy machine, churning out Frozen Gin & Tonics.

Rob Krueger, of EXTRA FANCY, and the FROZEN BOMBAY & TONIC: Bombay Sapphire® East Gin, Extra Fancy Tonic Mix, Lime

Rob Krueger, of EXTRA FANCY, and the FROZEN BOMBAY & TONIC: Bombay Sapphire® East Gin, Extra Fancy Tonic Mix, Lime

We systematically make our way through the eight cocktail stations, and the momentum of the crowd takes us to the terrace, where we watch the partygoers enjoying the revelries on the other side of the floor-to-ceiling windows. The scene is museum-like, as if we are on the outside of a snowglobe, looking into a world that is entrancing precisely because it is unaware it is being observed.

The hedge-lined terrace, uncovered, lends a chance to get some fresh -- but chilly -- air.

The hedge-lined terrace, uncovered, lends a chance to get some fresh -- but chilly -- air.

Suddenly, the distant but distinct rumble of percussion brings us back inside: drums, shouting, a building beat. We walk right into a lion's dance - a Chinese folk dance meant to bring good luck. This one involves two dancers in a towering, pantomime lion costume, followed by a procession of percussionists. 

We follow the procession through the four chambers of The Bowery Hotel, raising our glasses, joining in the clapping, the chanting. Along the way we pick up some more cocktails.

Gareth Howells, of THE VYNL, and the THE SILKEN ROAD: Elderflower Liqueur, Batavia, Arrack, Lychee, Lemongrass, Ginger, Kaffir Lime, Thai Chili, Lemon, Orange, Darjeeling Tea, Green Tea, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Coconut Milk, Milk, Demerara, Fortune Cookie Garnish

Gareth Howells, of THE VYNL, and the THE SILKEN ROAD: Elderflower Liqueur, Batavia, Arrack, Lychee, Lemongrass, Ginger, Kaffir Lime, Thai Chili, Lemon, Orange, Darjeeling Tea, Green Tea, Cinnamon, Star Anise, Coconut Milk, Milk, Demerara, Fortune Cookie Garnish

What can be said about fortune cookies can also be said about Fortune: that it brings in some boats that are not steered. Which is to say, the night takes a turn. Over Macao Trading Co's Bashful Maiden (Bombay Sapphire® Gin infused with Kaffir Lime Leaf, Agave Nectar, Fresh Lime Juice, Green Chartreuse, Kaffir Lime Leaf Garnish), we make friends with one of the more gregarious barmen. After some merriment, he hands us a business card, which reads Albert Trummer, with an address in small non-descript font. 


This is the afterparty, he says.

And so with the Feast winding down a little bit before midnight - and in the spirit(s) of continuation - we hop into a cab and set our sights on Sanatorium.


This is a private event, sorry. 


I’m about to call it a night, but my buddy, thinking on his feet, produces the gregarious barman’s business card. 


Oh, you guys were at Luckyrice?


And the doors open.


On most nights, this place is a hospital-themed watering hole, with anatomy tomes, x-ray radiograms on the walls. But something is different tonight.

Inside the afterparty.

Inside the afterparty.

If the vapors of spirits are said to be the angels’ share, then this must have been their divine drinkery. Women in white, men in dark suits, monogrammed napkins, a chandelier. Little did we know, we had walked into an altogether different kind of party. But that is a story for another time.

Luckyrice hosts cocktail parties and festivals throughout the year in celebration of Asian culture and cuisine. To learn more about their next event, visit luckyrice.com and sign up for their newsletter.

We were invited guests to this event, however, the opinions are our own. 


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