Food & Drink

DRINK: I Drank Too Much at Village Voice’s Holiday Spirits Tasting Event

by Lea Faminiano

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Tito’s Handmade Vodka

Last Thursday, I woke up with a hangover that made me want to crawl into a hole and die a million times. Rather than lie in bed and waste away all day, I dragged myself to an event that allowed me to not only have the hair of the dog, but acquire the whole entire fur coat of that dog. Maybe two dogs.

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There are bar crawls, and there are wine crawls, and then on December 8, there was the Village Voice’s “Holiday Spirits” Tasting Event, which, basically, was the best interpretation of what can best be described as – you guessed it – a spirits crawl.

Better than any alcohol crawl I’ve ever been to, since everything was one roof (which really accommodates any actual crawling) in LIC’s Studio Square, Holiday Spirits boasted over 50 distilleries, wineries, and breweries from all over New York City and beyond. Celebrating the 80th anniversary of the day that ended the Prohibition Era (also known as Repeal Day), obviously the natural thing to do is put as many strong alcohols as possible into an event space and appreciate the day, shedding light on all the lovely distilleries and other drink-makers that serve us.

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You know how you’re not really supposed to mix multiple liquors in one night? Like, you’re not exactly supposed to combine vodka, wine, mezcal, rum, whiskey, and moonshine into your body during the course of a couple hours, right? Guests did exactly the opposite of that, taking the opportunity to sample all of local and national spirits that they possibly could.

Some of the drinks involved ranged from big names such as Asahi and Barefoot Wine & Bubbly; New York City favorites such as Brooklyn Winery and Brooklyn Gin; New York labels I’d never heard of before, like El Buho Mezcal or Widow Jane Distillery; and spirits from other part of the country, such as Death’s Door Spirits and Ole Smoky Moonshine. Most of the spirits I had never heard of before, and was I surprised to discover new ones crafted right here in the city.

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El Buho Mezcal – The Night Owl

Most spirits were offered in pure form, but in the interest of spicing things up (and to not have the event turn into an LMFAO music video), many booths served up miniature cocktails starring their respective spirit. Owney’s Rum offered up hot buttered rum, El Buho Mezcal served a holiday punch called “The Night Owl,” and then there were my favorites: Tito’s Handmade Vodka served up a drink consisting of their vodka, elderflower liqueur, fresh lime juice, and ginger beer, with an artfully placed (and slapped – I love drinks with fresh herbs!) sprig of mint; and there was also Van Brunt Stillhouse’s Moonshine Bees Knees.

Best presentation award definitely goes to Long Island Spirits for one of their drinks – anything garnished with both a cherry and a rock candy swizzle stick will win over my heart (and liver).

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Long Island Spirits

The night was rounded out with a gorgeous (yet hazy) view of the skyline, music by The Blue Vipers of Brooklyn (who looked and sounded like they had been transported from the Prohibition era), a set by DJ Tim Martell (who was definitely not from the Prohibition era) and a couple nibbles here and there (though there should have been more – we all know drunk people get feisty when they need to eat).

This was Village Voice’s first event of its kind (after their consistently successful food, food truck, and beer events) and I see it coming back for another run. There aren’t many tasting events out there that are unlimited, and for such an affordable price ($25 was the general admission cost with the discount code, that’s like two fancy-schmancy drinks at a typical classy New York bar) I’m pretty sure the NYC drink world would love to have Holiday Spirits back again. When I get over my body’s cry for help from mixed-alcohol bombardment, I’m sure I’ll wholeheartedly agree.

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