Sidecar Tasting: Hop in this Thursday!

May 10, 2010

Vino’s Cocktail Hour continues! Hop in this Thursday when we’ll be mixing Sidecars! Made from Cognac, triple sec and lemon juice, this classic cocktail is generally believed to have been invented shortly after the end of World War I, either in London or Paris (Paris’ Ritz Hotel often claims origin of the drink). Early sources credit Pat MacGarry, the celebrated bartender at Buck’s Club in London, with creating the Sidecar, although David A. Embury suggested the cocktail was devised by an American Army captain stationed in Paris during World War I. According to Embury’s The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks (1948) the drink was named after “the motorcycle sidecar in which the good captain was driven to and from the little bistro where the drink was born and christened.”

Whatever the drink’s origins, the sidecar remains one of the quintessential 20th century cocktails. If your bartender doesn’t know how to make it, you’re definitely in the wrong bar!

COCKTAIL HOUR: Sidecar Tasting
Thursday, May 13

For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email


Rev up the Vespa… Aperitivo comes to Vino!

April 28, 2010

Anyone whose spent twenty-four hours in Italy will no doubt be familiar with “aperitivo”. This quintessential Italian pastime is more than just a drink: aperitivo represents the blissful post-work, pre-dinner moment when Italy’s streets and piazze begin to swell with people enjoying a passeggiata — and invariably pausing for refreshment at a bar or caffè. This Thursday aperitivo comes to Vino as we taste a classic Italian cocktail: Negroni!

Made from equal parts gin, sweet vermouth and Campari, this refreshing aperitivo was invented in Florence by Count Camillo Negroni, who demanded bartender Fosco Scarselli create his usual Americano (sweet vermouth, Campari and soda) with a little extra kick. The setting for this historic occasion was the Caffè Casoni on the corner of Via Tornabuoni and Via della Spada (the bar later became Caffé Giacosa and today forms an extension of Florentine fashion designer Roberto Cavalli’s flagship store).

Today the classic Negroni is arguably Italy’s most common pre-dinner cocktail. It’s success has even spawned modern variations, including the Negroski (in which vodka substitutes the gin) and the Negroni sbagliato (literally “wrong”, whereby gin is replaced with spumante). Join us on Thursday as we bring you Negroni just as the Count intended!

Thursday, May 6

For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email

L’heure verte comes to Vino

April 21, 2010

Celebrating the return of Absinthe, this Friday

Edgar Dégas, “L’Absinthe”, 1876, Musée d’Orsay, Paris.

This week Vino’s cocktail hour celebrates one of the world’s most celebrated and controversial spirits, Absinthe, the popularity and notoriety of which have inspired writers and artists for generations. Its apparently addictive qualities and subsequent ban have only served to enhance its mystique.

Though originating in Neuchatel, Switzerland, this green, anise-flavored herbal spirit reached the peak of its popularity in turn-of-the-century Paris, where it rapidly became the tipple of choice among painters and literary-types basking in la vie bôhème. From the bourgeoisie to the working classes, at its height Absinthe was so popular in France that 5 o’clock in the afternoon became affectionately known as “l’heure verte” or “The Green Hour”.

Edouard Manet, “The Absinthe Drinker”, 1858-59,
Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek, Copenhagen.

Absinthe also became known as “la fée verte” (“Green Fairy”), an allusion to its supposed drug-like properties. Critics claimed it was a potentially dangerous hallucinogenic and psychoactive drug, associating it with crime and social unrest. By 1915, Absinthe had been prohibited in France and most other European countries and the United States, after which demand fell sharply.

Pablo Picasso, “The Absinthe Drinker”, 1901,
The Hermitage, St. Petersburg.

Despite Absinthe’s continued availability in Spain and the UK, it was decades before a resurgence in interest occurred. After an independent push to have the laws adjusted, in 2000 the first French-made Absinthe was made available in France since 1914. In 2007, after a 95-year absence, Absinthe was imported into the United States.

Now Absinthe has found its way to Vino! Join us tomorrow afternoon as we pour Vieux Ponterlier Absinthe Française Supérieure by Èmile Pernot. Carefully crafted in small batches using alambic stills that were specifically designed to make absinthe, this top quality French Absinthe is distilled using locally grown wormwood (Artemisia absinthium), which is considered the finest in the world, along with green anise seed, Provençal fennel seed and a variety of additional aromatic herbs and spices. Faithful to Absinthe’s original formulations, there is no sweetening added of any kind — its refreshing taste is obtained entirely from the combination of plants and the distiller’s skills.

Thursday, April 22

For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email

Havana good time!

April 12, 2010

“Drinking is a way of ending the day.” –Ernest Hemingway

We can’t bring Cuba’s swaying palms to 27th Street, but you can enjoy a taste of Havana at Vino tomorrow evening, when we’ll be mixing daiquirìs! Traditionally made from rum, lime juice and sugar, this quintessential Cuban cocktail is said to have been invented around 1800 by a group of American mining engineers working at the Daiquirì iron mine near Santiago. It was Jennings Cox, General Manager of the Spanish American Iron Co., who is credited with creating the drink at the Venus bar, not far from Daiquirì beach. Some believe Cox accidentally came up with the Daiquirì after he ran out of gin.

The daiquirì remained a local favorite until the early twentieth century, when Admiral Lucius W. Johnson, a U.S. Navy medical officer, introduced the drink to the Army and Navy Club in Washington, D.C. By the 1940s, as Latin America’s cultural appeal increased, the cocktail began to obtain international status thanks to those served at Havana’s El Floridita bar (above), seeping its way into popular culture thanks to famous daiquirì drinkers such as Ernest Hemingway, JFK and, er, Fredo Corleone.

Today the El Floridita is content to mine its past as a hangout for Cuban exiles such as Hemingway, whose statue props up the bar, while his hand-written message of affection rests appended to the wall: “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquirì in El Floridita.”

Join Vino’s Scott Rosenbaum tomorrow from 5:30pm as he prepares this Caribbean classic, using Luxardo Triplum Triple Sec and Wray & Nephew Overproof Rum. What better way to end the day?

Thursday, April 15

(cigars not included)

For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email

First in flight!

April 5, 2010

Vino’s goes airborne this Thursday as we taste Aviation cocktails! Join Carl from Winebow as he mixes and pours this classic New York drink. The Aviation was originally created by Hugo Ensslin, an innovative bartender at New York’s Hotel Wallick (located at Broadway and 43rd Street — see period postcard below). Ensslin included the cocktail in his Recipes for Mixed Drinks in 1916. Considered by some a variation on the Gin Sour, the Aviation is made from Gin, maraschino liqueur and lemon juice. Some recipes call for a dash of Crème de Violette, although this was habitually omitted due to the ingredient’s scarcity.

Tomorrow evening our guest-mixologist will be using Junipero Gin, Luxardo Maraschino liqueur and Crème de Violette to create this tasty and streamlined ode to twentieth century pioneering spirit.

2 oz Junipero Gin
1 oz fresh lemon
1/2 oz Luxardo Maraschino
1/2 oz simple syrup
1/4 oz Crème de Violette

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a Martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist or Marasca cherry.

Thursday, April 8

For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email

The original Collins

March 23, 2010

This Thursday Vino welcomes Mia Consiglio from Lucas Bols as we taste the original thirst-quencher, the Collins cocktail! Mia will be preparing this classic drink using the celebrated Dutch spirit, Bols Genever. Made from malt wine and a secret blend of botanicals, this protected product gives what Mia calls “The Original Collins” a pleasant depth and slight fruitiness.

The Original Collins
A large long-drink (Collins) glass
2 shots of Bols Genever
1 shot of freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 shot of rich sugar syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
Soda water

Shake the Bols Genever, lemon juice and sugar syrup with large, hard, cold ice cubes, double-strain into an ice-filled Collins glass and top with soda water. Garnish with a lemon wedge, dropped in but not squeezed.

COCKTAIL HOUR: The Original Collins
Thursday, March 25

For more information please call 212-725-6516 or email

Know your onions

March 15, 2010

Vino’s Cocktail Hour continues on Thursday when we’ll be preparing delicious Gibsons, a tasty Martini cocktail combining Plymouth Gin, Dolin dry vermouth… and an onion. This variation is believed to have been invented by American graphic artist Charles Dana Gibson, who simply substituted the Martini’s traditional olive garnish with a pickled onion, although numerous theories abound. Whatever its origins, you can try this classic cocktail yourself this Thursday from 5:30pm!