By: Ross Greenberg
Over the years since turning 21 (because we all know I didn’t have a sip of alcohol until I was legal *wink wink*) I have become more and more interested in the cocktail. I have simple taste, so I usually opt for a glass of wine or a two to three ingredient drink at the bar, but lately I have been more experimental and willing to try some of the more adventurous mixology creations this city has to offer. Thus, when I heard about the NY Craft Cocktail Expo, which took place at the Bohemian Hall in Astoria, I was excited!
I brought along my best friend Daria and we had a blast! And a ton of cocktails! The hall was filled with people when we arrived at 1:30pm so we got right to tasting. Everyone is given a little “passport” of vendors and bars so that when you try their cocktail, they mark it off on your card. The crowd was already enjoying themselves as the music and giveaways kept their energy up!
We moved from table to table and tried samples of some delicious cocktails from bars all over Astoria and the city. Some highlights included the Lucky #9 from Cork and Kerry, which took the #1 spot last year! It was a refreshing blend of milk-washed Hendrick’s Gin, acid-adjusted orange juice, orange blossom water and sea salt and was garnished with a blackberry. It reminded me of an upscale mimosa and I would have loved sipping on a few of them over brunch!
Next, we sampled two different cocktails from The Queens Kickshaw; Take Me Somewhere Nice (a milk punch coconut rum and honey liqueur) and One in the Moonlight (a spicy ginger-based drink). There were some really visually captivating drinks being made all around - presentation was definitely a factor in the enjoyment of these drinks!
One of our favorites of the day came from The Bonnie! They served up a cocktail with Queens Courage Old Tom Gin, strawberry, sumac, Cocchi Rosa, lemon, Cocchi Vermouth di Torrini and Rosewater called the Moroccan Rose. Their bartender Mike Di Tota was the most entertaining mixologist I have ever seen! He was dancing, chatting up the crowd and mixing up these mean cocktails for all to enjoy. Plus we got to walk away with a free hat!
Other highlights included the Just in Case from The Station House, the sweet Sucker Punch and the delicious Basil Gimlet from the guys over at Sandfords, the Tupelo Honey from Mar’s and the most delicious honey liqueur we have ever tasted (in fact the only one we have ever tasted) courtesy of Kas Krupnikas.
The event was catered by Pink's Taco's - serving up small bites of their smoked chicken, pulled pork, beef and vegetarian fillings with their signature sauces on the side.
After getting our hands on quite a few cocktails and mingling with the crowd, we decided that we had our fill and needed a good old-fashioned diner dinner! We had a fantastic time getting to sample the best of the best in cocktails that the city has to offer and we are definitely looking forward to next time!
You should not miss the Expo’s next stop in Long Island for the NY Cocktail Expo – Long Island on May 7th! Tickets can be purchased at NYCocktailExpo.com.
We were invited guests of the NY Craft Cocktail Expo, however, the opinions are our own.