St. Petersburg Garden

St. Petersburg Garden

Monday, February 8, 2016

Beam Me Up Scotchy

12, 15 & 18 Year Scotch (not pictured - Nadurra)
It's winter in New York City. This means cold. Very cold. Finding things to do each weekend gets harder and harder. Not for lack of events. It's my motivation.

When I wake up each morning, or get home each night, I fight the urge to want to get back in bed, underneath those warm covers.

The struggle is real.

Until I see "free". Free? Now that's truly something even harder to come by. So imagine my surprise when we've recently had the good fortune to attend not one, not two but three free scotch tastings.

Ah, Scotch. Where do I begin? I have an interesting relationship with Scotch. I do not love it. I do not even like it. So why would I go to so many tastings? One word: Mike. Mike loves Scotch. I'm talking love. Love.

I knew he was enamored of the golden liquid and I wanted to do my part to make sure he enjoyed it as much as he could. I began my search. Our first two tastings began months ago.

I had seen an add for a Balvenie tasting and signed us up. Mike was hooked. It followed with a tasting by Macallan. Then, this past Friday, came the Glenlivet at the Hudson Mercantile.

Taking one for the team
The Glenlivet is the single malt whiskey that started all. Made in Speyside, Scotland, it was so good that back in 1822 even King George the IV requested it. Mike would agree. It had such a good name that others were using the Glenlivet name in addition to theirs. Glenlivet was able to trademark their name and they became THE Glenlivet.

THE Glenlivet is produced in 6 steps.
1. Malting
2. Milling
3. Mashing
4. Fermentation
5. Distillation
6. Maturation

This final step, maturation, is what defines whether it will be a 12 year, a 15 year, an 18 year or 25 year and above. It all depends on how long you allow the whiskey to mature.

We were able to taste four scotch whiskeys. A 12, 15, and 18 year with a bonus called the NĂ durra. Great for Mike. Not so much for me. Have I mentioned that I do not like scotch? I've tried. A lot. Hey, I'm no quitter. I'll keep at it for Mike.

It was a great event. They had a nice variety of appetizers throughout the venue and the host was great. It was at the top of the tastings that we've been to. A little rushed for the tasting portion but overall, well done.

Now it's time to move on to the big time. The Motherland. Where Mike can go from scotch to scotch to scotch. And me? I can listen to the bagpipes.

To learn more about the products and places mentioned, you can visit their websites:

Monday, February 1, 2016

A Sweetleaf in Long Island City

I can't stress enough how much winter in NYC makes me sad. Cold and sad. That's me, by the sign, being sad. No, really.

You're probably thinking, well, hey, you don't look too sad. I mean, I'm standing in front of a giant Pepsi-Cola sign so I'm not really that sad.

And it was Saturday. You can't be sad on Saturday. And it was sunny. You can't be sad when it's sunny. It was still cold so maybe I was just a little bit sad. Or cold. But I was on a mission. A random fun mission.

Mike and a portion of the city skyline
We started out the day on a charity mission. Checking out art to use for a future art benefit for the Icla da Silva Foundation.*

The foundation is located in Long Island City. Not an area we are familiar with and we decided it was time to explore.

Long Island City is in Queens and is across the water from Manhattan and the view is beautiful. We started with a walk along the boardwalk.

This area has so many new things to explore - cafes, restaurants, parks - even a dog run.  

The Comrade Mary
We were starting to get cold so it was time. Cocktail time. We walked around and found Sweetleaf. Sweetleaf is a coffee and espresso bar and apparently at this location it is also serves cocktails. It's like it was calling to us.

We found our seat by the window and the flavor adventure began. 

The bartender, Jonathon, came over and went over everything. I was set on the Comrade Mary, a lighter version of the Bloody Mary. When I say lighter I mean light on the mixers, more of the alcohol. Lemon, lime, cucumber and some other mixers included and it was perfection. 

It was mixed to perfection so well that I had to stop myself from drinking it down in one sip. Light, refreshing and just, well, just so good. 

Bartender's Surprise
Mike opted for the bartender's surprise. He wanted a hot drink and went for a coffee mix. It involved cinnamon syrup and two types of rum. I don't know what else was in there but it was so good that the girl at the next table ordered it based on smell alone. 

We went in for one drink. We stayed for 3 hours. Yes, I said 3 hours. We lingered over the delicious flavors of our beverages and tested a few others. The bartender was so talented that he could take any flavor profile and mix it up. 

He made Mike The Penicillin. Scotch, ginger and a few other ingredients, garnished with candied ginger. At first, all you tasted was scotch but as the drink sat, the ginger came through and that was the predominant flavor. 

Then there were the ice cubes - like mini art pieces. The last time we had seen cubes like this was in Japan where the bartender carefully chiseled away to create perfectly formed orbs. Such precision and care. 

Jonathan showed such a passion for each drink that we knew we were getting a good product each time. We had hit the jackpot. The cocktail jackpot. We will be going back to Sweetleaf again.

The Penicillin

For more information on the location mentioned, visit their website:
*The mission of the Icla da Dilva Foundation is to save lives by recruiting bone marrow donors and providing support services to children and adults with leukemia and other diseases treatable by marrow transplants.