Month :

Nov ,2014

The following rum varieties were either vaguely inspired by, or an effort to historically recreate, alcoholic beverages of the past. The present-day incarnation of Rumbullion has been mentioned in a previous post.

Four Navy Strength Rums

Overproof spirits with a history dating back to British Navy Rum Rations  by David Graver September 2014

Back in 1655, British Naval liquor rationing made the switch from French brandy to Caribbean rum. By the 1740s, Admiral Edward Vernon of the British Navy put into practice diluting this rum acquired from Jamaica and Barbados to the proportion of half a pint to one quart of water. That was, however, after sailors proved its original strength pre-dilution by dousing gunpowder with the rum, to make sure it still burned. If it burned, it was the proof promised in their rum ration: 57% ABV. This mixture was then distributed to sailors with one serving around midday and one late afternoon, totaling a pint a day. While rations were later cut and cut and cut again, before finally being abolished in the 1970s, that original proof test defined what we know today as Navy Strength rum—overproof, potent and powerful. There are still makers of overproof rum and—for any adventurous sipper—the following four are as enjoyable (when drank responsibly) as they are really, really strong.

Smith & Cross Navy Strength Rum

The most popular (in America) for this category, Smith & Cross‘s 114 proof rum is pot still-distilled in Jamaica at the Hampden Estate Smith & Cross. It’s a blend of Plummer and Wedderburn rums, each having undergone some aging. After the initial powerful alcohol bite, the flavor blossoms into something sweet and smoky, ending with an exceptionally warm note of mixed nuts. It’s an experience for spirits adventurers and historians alike, worth sipping neat like a sailor but also blending nicely into fuller mixed drinks. Smith & Cross’ offering is available online for $29

Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum (Cask Strength)

The side project of chemical engineers who wanted to undertake distillation as a hobby, Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum wows with its balance of flavor and power. Clocking in at a whopping 136 proof, no note is lost for the sake of cask strength. The spirit is crafted from baking-grade molasses, evaporated sugar cane juice and water—and that’s all. It’s made in Northern California, where it’s pot still-distilled and then aged in charred American oak casks seasoned with Oloroso Sherry. Each sip comes complete with a little tropical fruit, some citrus and even sarsaparilla. Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum can be purchased online at Caskers for $45.

Not many people know that rum is a shortened version of the spirit’s full name: rumbullion. Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Branded Spirits not only knows, but they named their rum offering exactly that: Rumbullion! Navy Strength. The directness of the product certainly matches the direct name. At 114 proof, spice meets vanilla in a rather complex blend that’s definitely intense first and foremost. Notes of honey and apples give way to a very long finish where cinnamon and clove linger on the breath.…

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(OK, it’s from Boston, not NYC, but it’s available throughout the Northeast now, as it might have been then)


History In A Bottle: the Hub Punch

by Hans Aschim

When it comes to seeking novel libations, sometimes the best place to look is the past. Those who came before us truly knew how to party, and what they lacked in (current day) hygiene standards, they more than made up for with inventive—and piquant—liquid pathways to inebriation. It’s in this spirit that the craft distillers at Boston’s Bully Boy Distillers revived one of Beantown’s oldest boozy offerings: The Hub Punch. Popular in the late 1800s, the barrel-aged rum-based beverage is infused with a special blend of botanicals, herbs and orange peel, giving it a decidedly festive holiday vibe. Though fine on its own over ice, the floral 70 proof Hub Punch is most palatable with a few rocks and a splash of sparkling water or ginger beer. For those looking to party like it’s 1899, add a rum floater (preferably navy strength) for instant fortification.

The Hub Punch is currently available at finer bottle shops across the Northeast US and online via Bottles Fine Wine starting at $29.

Images by Cool Hunting

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from New York magazine:

 How Much Time Left?

Hit these bookshops and shoe shiners before they meet their expiration dates (or relocate).

Jim’s Shoe Repair (50 E. 59th St., nr. Madison Ave.; 212-355-8259)
Go: ASAP—it’s currently in a month-to-month lease while contesting eviction.
Get: A traditional shoe shine; all the booths are the originals from 1932, when co-owner Joe Rocco Jr.’s grandfather founded the place.

Subway Inn (143 E. 60th St., nr. Lexington Ave.; 212-752-6500)
Go: Before November 30, when the 77-year-old watering hole, frequented by Marilyn and Joe DiMaggio, will move two avenues east.
Get: A $10 beer-and-shot combo.

Posman Books (9 Grand Central Terminal, nr. 42nd St.; 212-983-1111)
Go: Before December 31.
Get: A hard-to-find 2015 wall calendar from publishers like Cavallini and teNeues.

Cafe Edison (228 W. 47th St., nr. Broadway; 212-354-0368)
Go: Before mid-December.
Get: The matzo-ball soup, served at down-to-earth Jewish-deli prices (and in the blissful absence of tourists) despite the Times Square location.

Glasslands (289 Kent Ave., nr. S. 1st St., Williamsburg; no phone)
Go: Before December 31.
Catch: A tribute night dedicated to Swedish star Robyn (November 28) or punk group Peelander-Z (December 6), whose Japanese members perform in primary-color wigs.

La Lunchonette (130 Tenth Ave., at 18th St.; 212-675-0342)
Go: Before June 2015.
Get: The very reasonably priced grilled lamb sausage, preferably on Sunday night, when there’s live accordion.

Union Square Cafe (21 E. 16th St., nr. Union Sq. W.; 212-243-4020)
Go: Before December 2015 (relocation plans are TBD).
Get: The tuna burger, unchanged since Danny Meyer opened here in 1987.
—Hana R. Alberts

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Fri 11 2014 , by

The last of…in NYC

from New York magazine:

The Everything Guide to Last-Chance New York

Video stores, wooden telephone booths, big-screen smut: Experience these iconic spots before they go the way of Bleecker Bob’s and Pearl Paint.

The word in early November that beloved Broadway diner Cafe Edison would soon be serving its last bowl of matzo-ball soup was, unfortunately, not the only devastating closing news of 2014 (see also Smith’s, Pearl Paint, Kim’s Video, Milady’s, Ding Dong Lounge, Rizzoli, and Shakespeare and Company). But while it’s indeed been a particularly brutal year for a certain kind of classic spot, New Yorkers, remember, have long been prone to head-shaking and “back-when”-ing—from the time the last couple met up under the clock at the Biltmore to the day the lone remaining Afghan-rug shop on Bleecker Street made way for Brooks Brothers. Amid the nostalgia-fests and #SaveCafeEdison lunch mobs, it’s easy to forget the stalwarts still hanging on. Here, we offer a spotlight on the places that belong to a dying breed of shop (or mobile knife sharpener, or roller rink), which are in many cases the very last of their kind. Get to these glove-makers, fleabag hotels, Chino-Cuban eateries, dirt roads, and seltzer men while you still can.

Wooden Telephone Booths

Among only a handful of working wooden telephone booths left in the city (including those at the Harvard Club, the Frick, and Bamonte’s restaurant in Williamsburg) are the three spread across separate floors of the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building (above). Installed when the building opened in 1911, these booths include vintage folding doors, wooden seats, electric lights, and ventilation fans. These days they’ve become more of a prime backdrop for selfies, but outgoing calls are still possible for the price of a quarter.

Art-House Movie Rentals

Cinephiles in the city took a gut punch when Kim’s, the St. Marks Place mecca of niche video rentals, closed in 2009 (the last branch, on First Avenue, shuttered this summer). Others like it still remaining: Two Boots Video (42 Ave. A., nr. 3rd St.; 212-254-1441), which opened in 1996 and whose 5,000-title collection is heavy on Criterion, cult classics, and foreign films; Video Free Brooklyn (244 Smith St., nr. Douglass St., Carroll Gardens; 718-855-6130), which started in 2002; and Videology (308 Bedford Ave., nr. S. 1st St., Williamsburg; 718-782-3468), which opened in 2003 as a stand-alone video-rental shop but has expanded with an in-store bar and screening room that shows horror classics like Nosferatu and music-video marathons.

Society Dance Classes

The 1930-founded ballroom-dance school Barclay (its multiple locations include an outpost on the Upper East Side) is one of the last programs of its kind, in addition to the Knickerbocker and the Heights Casino. Here, three alums who went on to put their children through the same white-gloved rite of passage.

“I had a huge crush on this one redheaded little boy.

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Of a Fashion
Mixology legends take on the Old Fashioned, live
Let us pause for a moment, gents, and consider the Old Fashioned:Sugar. Bitters. Whiskey. Orange slice for garnish.Dates, more or less, to the May 13th, 1806 issue of The Balance and Columbian Repository. It’s a damn good drink.

And on December 2nd, some of the best bartenders in the world will converge at Nolita drinkery The Daily to show you exactly how to make one. Want to go? Read on.

The event is hosted by molecular mixology pioneer and NY legend Eben Freeman.

Also on board: Milk and Honey founder Sasha Petraske, Pegu Club and Death & Co. vet Brian Miller, and no less than David Wondrich, arguably the world’s preeminent authority on the history of boozin’.

Tickets are very, very limited. However, InsideHook’s got a line on a few.*

The format: each jigger jockey selects their favorite rock anthem, and in the time that it plays, must craft their own imaginative take on the historic tipple.

“Stairway to Heaven” has been summarily banned. No word on “Stranglehold.”

Then everybody drinks. And chats. And drinks some more. According to Freeman, “into the wee hours of the night.”


*Tickets are $80 a pop and can be purchased by emailing Tell ’em InsideHook sent ya.

And because we’re such pals, we’ve also got a pair of tix to give away to a lucky reader — head on over to our Twitter for details.

Old Fashioned Showdown at The Daily
For tickets,

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Though the modern incarnation of the “Speakeasy” is a “speakeasy” in name only (as alcohol and places which serve it are back to being legal) operating above-board, they face all the other relevant regulation aimed at public gathering and eating places, including capacity limits.  Here’s a relevant example:


Church Street Tavern and Bandit Roost have been slapped by the DOB with a partial vacate order.

The Tribeca restaurant Church Street Tavern and it’s basement speakeasy Bandit’s Roost are less than two months old and neighbors are already very unhappy with them. The owners originally used the largely residential building’s lobby as it’s exclusive entrance to the basement party. “All of a sudden we had a bouncer outside of our door and these people wandering through our lobby to get inside…It was ridiculous,” a resident who has lived in the building for 34 years told DNAinfo. The team has reportedly moved the entrance inside the restaurant, but there are still complaints of vibrations from the music from residents.

The DOB has slammed the restaurant and bar with a partial vacate order, saying that it violated the legal limit of 74 patrons in both spaces and doesn’t have a Place of Assembly Certificate that would allow it to host up to 120 people. The liquor license for both spaces is a holdover from when Morimoto operated Tribeca Canvas and the short-lived Bisutoro, and is set to expire on November 30. The team will appear before the local community board next month, but given the loud way it announced itself to the neighborhood, that may not go very well.

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