Shaken and stirred

Tuesday, June 12th, 2007 | All Things, Events

Our event this evening, which originally had been slated for the W New York – The Court, was moved at the last minute a few doors west to the Audrey Lounge & Café at the W New York — The Tuscany. Yes: there are actually two W Hotels on 39th Street between Lexington and Park — a situation I imagine lends itself to occasional confusion. (I once experienced a similar mix-up over the two H&Ms on West 34th Street. Sorry, Aunt L!) The sister properties (formerly the Doral Court and the Doral Tuscany) were acquired by W Hotels in 1996, and reopened under their current names after The Rockwell Group‘s extensive three-year, multi-million-dollar renovation.

Audrey Bar

J and I were at the hotel for a Bacardi mixology workshop led by renowned sommelier/”cocktail stylist” Jerri Banks. Among her many wine consulting credits, Banks has created original specialty drinks for Indian-fusion lounge Taj, the Meatpacking District’s (now closed) Fressen, and Drew Nieporent‘s (also closed) Cinnabar. Hey, NYC is a tough restaurant town. Banks is also the consulting beverage director for the Upper West Side’s newest “wine and spirits boutique,” Pour.

We shook off the rains from outside and were welcomed with cool glasses of Bacardi Limón, fresh lemon juice, simple syrup and club soda over ice – now that’s quality lemonade!

Audrey Bar

After some light bites, it was time for our informal cocktail class to begin. Our group gathered around the glowing bar, where Banks demonstrated a pair of her summery rum concoctions as two assistants shook and stirred rounds of the same for the rest of us.

Her “Sun Tonic” (Bacardi Limón, fresh lemon juice, grated fresh ginger and simple syrup, garnished with a lemon pinwheel) was a crowd favorite with its spicy, sweet and tart notes. The “Peach Red Cobbler” (Bacardi Peach Red, fresh lemon juice, POM Wonderful, simple syrup and muddled seedless grapes, garnished with slices of fresh peaches, nectarines or apricots, blackberries and star fruit) was described by Banks as an “inside-out sangria,” for reasons we didn’t quite comprehend. It was tasty, too, but seemed perhaps just a bit too complicated for the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer.

Banks talked us through her recipes, emphasizing fresh ingredients and a proper balance of drink components: neither too sweet, nor overly alcoholic. J agreed, the results spoke for themselves: very refreshing!

W Tuscany

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