82 Mercer Street was the place to be for cocktail aficionados on Thursday, March 20th.

2014 Edible Manhattan Good Spirits

2014 Edible Manhattan Good Spirits

From 6-9PM, people poured into Good Spirits to taste some of the city’s finest food and drinks, many of which were set up side by side as purposeful pairings.  Cuisines ranged from Italian to Japanese, and beverages were equally locationally diverse.  Whiskey, gin, shochu, Cognac, even ginger ale–there was something to quench everyone’s thirst.

The cocktail I found most drinkable was Lejay Original Cassis Liqueur’s “Lejay Spritz,” a mix of Brut champagne, Lejay liqueur, and sparkling water.  Friendly and knowledgeable representatives from each distillery were available to talk about their products and pour tastes of straight alcohol and mixed drinks.  I was surprised to enjoy a refreshing drink made with hints of celery and Mizu shochu and another with green tea that masked the strong alcohol flavor I usually dislike.

While I tend to prefer events that are more food than drink focused, there was a surprising number of tasty bites at to satisfy my perpetual hunger.  Mac n cheese croquettes from Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola were my favorite savory bite of the night, followed by a lobster taco from Taco Santo.  L&W Oyster Co.’s smoked oyster taco was a unique preparation that I found very tasty.  The most interesting dish of the night–probably the strangest I’ve yet to encounter at any festival–was Crescent Grill’s English pea and carrot gelee topped with scallop mousse, caviar, and crispy pappadam.  It looked and felt like opaque jello, perhaps too brightly colored to be natural, but I can’t deny that it tasted pretty great!

Desserts were also plentiful.  Prohibition Bakery boasts a menu of mini cupcakes infused with alcohol, making their Four Roses, coffee, and orange bitters treat an appropriate addition to Good Spirits.  Noteworthy were Whole Foods’ delicious mini brownie and Luca & Bosco’s three decadent flavors of ice cream, two of which contained traces of alcohol.

There were several barware sets on display as raffle prizes throughout the spacious two room venue.  People milled about in clusters, some stopping to momentarily post up by the bar in the back of the second room.  The crowd truly was in “good spirits” at this ultimate post-work gathering, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in expanding his or her happy hour horizons!

By: Emily Giove