MCC 2011 – British Invasion at Eleven Madison Park
I know – finally. This post is long overdue, but you know what they say: save the best for last.
On the Sunday of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, the British Invasion event was held at Eleven Madison Park. The event was sponsored by the gin portfolio of Pernod Ricard (Beefeater, Beefeater 24 and Plymouth), and featured classic gin cocktails including the Pimm’s Cup, the Tom Collins, the South Side, and the Negroni. To accompany these delicious gin cocktails? Fish and Chips a la Eleven Madison Park (which is to say, the best fish and chips you’ve ever had). All this, served al fresco on the patio of the restaurant opposite Madison Square Park, with The Crooners (regulars at Eleven Madison Park) playing through the Beatles catalog. What could possibly be bad?
Seriously, this was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon. Amazing food, perfectly crafted cocktails, impeccable service (as always), wonderful music, and even more wonderful friends. I was fortunate to be joined by @daisy17, @sweetblogomine, @jordanarothman, @TroySidle, @winenshine, @rockdoggydog, @brooklynwino, @shotsandcuts, @smoothdude and many other truly awesome people from the cocktail world.
I also learned an important lesson at this event: I do like negronis after all. In the cocktail world, it borders on shameful to admit that I was not a fan of the negroni. For those of you unfamiliar, the negroni is a classic Italian aperitif, made with equal parts gin, sweet vermouth, and bitters (usually Campari), served on the rocks with an orange peel. My problem is that I’m not a huge fan of Campari. It’s not a knock on the product in any way – it’s beloved by MANY. But on its own, it just doesn’t agree with the makeup of my palate. But I was won over. Leo Robitschek – the head bartender at Eleven Madison Park – prepared these negronis with Beefeater gin and Carpano Antica Formula sweet vermouth (the best vermouth you’ll ever have), and it may have been the joy of the day that gave me the extra push, but by the time I left, I was a convert. (Also by the time I left, Leo was pouring them out of tea kettles right into our mouths. Win.)
I’d like to thank Simon Ford and the folks at Pernod Ricard; Will Guidara, Leo Robitschek, and everyone else at Eleven Madison Park; and Lesley Townsend and the staff of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic for putting on a terrific event. It was the highlight of my Manhattan Cocktail Classic experience this year. Also, great thanks to the amazing group of friends mentioned earlier; they made it all perfect.