The 2011 Manhattan Cocktail Classic (MCC) at the New York Public Library has become a legend in one year. In the 44-odd weeks since the inaugural affair, the word had gotten out. Those that missed it last year were buzzing with anticipation as the first signs of spring began to flower and people could begin to imagine the flapper dresses, fine distillations and new molecular mixes that awaited.

 

 

Arriving at the MCC this year 30 minutes after the doors opened was a jaw dropping spectacle.  The 5 person wide line snaked around the entire Library and was bedazzled with a stylish crowd of New Yorkers dressed to the nines in there prohibition styled cocktail dresses and suits.  The excitement of anticipation that hung in the air on the outside of the library, transformed into the opulence staged within the storied walls of the legendary building.

 

 

On hand to welcome the visitors were brand ambassadors for an endless array of the finest distillers.  The ever-present standbys, Belvedere, Hennassy, Don Q etc., were juxtaposed with the likes of Prohibition Vodka, Bulleit Rye, and Zacapa Rum.  Godfather in the spirit world, Campari, boldly claimed this year as “The Year of the Negroni,” eliciting the talents of modern mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim to stir up definitive renditions of the original, classic tipple.

In addition to the copious concoctions of world class mixologists, there was an assortment of other treats: freshly shucked oysters, artists to render your caricature, trapeze performers, steam punk bands, spinning DJs and new, non-intoxicating beverages specifically designed to offset the tolls of a bacchanalian night.

 

 

The event was a resounding success for the patrons who were lucky enough to attend this year’s Manhattan Cocktail Classic gala.  The only naysayers were those rare few who were able to attend the previous year and, as is always the case, harken back wistfully to the glitz and glamour of the inaugural year as the one that is still, and will ever be, the standard bearer.

– Jeffery Owens