A crowd of excited, young Gothamites took a detour from wine on Saturday night to retreat to the magnificent Highline Room and Terrace at The Standard Hotel in Manhattan for an evening filled with premium spirits and cigars.
Upon walking into the large, postmodern Highline Room at The Standard, attendees of Cigar & Spirits, sponsored by Cigar Aficionado and its sister publication, Whisky Advocate, were greeted with an array of drink offerings, with premium cigars being passed out and smoked on the connecting Terrace that overlooks the city's High Line and Hudson River.
The crowd, feeding off the high-energy vibe that downtown Manhattan is known for, eagerly walked from booth to booth to sample and learn about the more than 20 different spirits on hand, which included Bourbon, Irish whiskey, brandy, vodka and cocktails. Many commented on the laidback atmosphere of the event, which sold out, with some calling it a welcomed respite from the wine-heavy events of the New York City Wine & Food Festival. Cigars & Spirits was the only NYCWFF event that allowed cigar smoking.
Among the spirits being poured were Bourbons from Beam Inc., including Booker's, Basil Hayden, Knob Creek (as well as Knob Creek Smoked Maple), and Baker's. Heaven Hill Distilleries, Inc., was also pouring a slew of Bourbons, which included Elijah Craig 12-Year-Old Small Batch, Evan Williams Single Barrel 2003, Larceny, Bernheim Wheat Whiskey, and Henry McKenna Single Barrel. Frapin also poured its Landy Cognac, both VSOP and XO, while Hot Irishman served its single-malt Irish Whiskey and Romate served its Cardenal Mendoza brandy. Four Roses Distillery also poured its Single Barrel, Small Batch and Limited Edition Small Batch. Chopin served its signature Potato Vodka, while mixologist Todd Richman used Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur and Bärenjäger Honey and Bourbon in two delicious cocktails, Lowland Smokey Bear and The Bear-Lin Trifecta (recipes at end of article).
After sampling some premium drinks, guests made their way to the hotel's High Line Terrace for the chance to smoke premium cigars courtesy of Montecristo, Davidoff, Nat Sherman and Rocky Patel, who was personally on hand to pass out his Rocky Patel Decade, Vintage 2003 Cameroon and his new Royale smokes. While guests contended a steady breeze, they were still able to ask questions and intimately learn about each company's cigar offerings.
Among the cigars being passed out were Montecristo Epic and New York Connoisseur Edition; Davidoff Nicaragua, Classic Series and Millenium Blend; Nat Sherman Timeless Collection (Dominican and Nicaragua), 1930, and Host Selection cigars.
At the end of the night, event-goers, their grab bags stuffed with cigars, descended back onto the city street, ready to tackle the next party.
Lowland Smokey Bear
.75 parts Bärenjäger Honey Liqueur
1.5 parts Auchentoshan Single Malt Scotch Whisky
1 spoonful of simple syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients in a mixing glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe glass. Gently twist the lemon peel, getting the oils on the surface of the drink and add the peel to the drink.
The Bear-Lin Trifecta
1 part Bärenjäger Honey and Bourbon
1.5 parts Templeton Rye Whiskey
2 dashes orange bitters
Combine all the ingredients in the large glass. Add ice and stir until well chilled. Gently twist the lemon peel over the glass and get the oils into the drink. Add the garnish to the drink or discard.