The biggest booze hounds of NYC came out to the New York Public Library on May 11th for the 2012 Manhattan Cocktail Classic opening gala.  The gala kicked off 5 days of booze related festivities with seminars, tastings, and demonstrations taking place at bars, restaurants, and galleries throughout the city.

At the gala, over 3,000 guests were dressed to the nines to celebrate all the best cocktails and spirits that the bartenders and brands had to offer.  Each square foot of the 4-floor library had a station set up so that there was no lack of libations anywhere.  This year, the MCC partnered with ClearHart Digital on a very cool use of new technology: upon entering, each guest was given an NFC (Near Field Communication) enabled wristband powered by tagstand to scan at each station. The wristband keeps track of all the cocktails we tried so that the next day, after recovering from our massive hangovers, we could revisit what cocktails we tried and get each recipe, courtesy of Tasting Table. Pretty high tech!

Other fun facts from this year’s gala are that nearly 30,000 hand-crafted cocktails were served by 150 of our best bartenders, who used over 6 tons of ice.

On the first floor, Patrón Tequila had a giant section with multiple stations, including a tequila popsicle cart, and the friendliest bartenders.  The refreshing cucumber shots were the perfect way to ease into the night, with the bartenders vigorously working at the shakers (allowing us to use as little imagination as possible as to what they would be like in bed).

Downstairs was the speakeasy lounge with a giant dance floor and a jazz big band.  Flappers and swing dancers showed off their moves while bartenders were generous with their pours and “cigarette girls” were handing out goodies.

Tons of food was also on hand to take a little bit of the edge off, including jumbo shrimp, pretzels with dips, a fresh guacamole station, meatball sliders, and the oyster shucking room featuring the Naked Cowboy with his signature oysters.

We also loved the Xanté station where they had a photobooth set up to pose with sexy “polo” players.  It’s like modeling for a scantily clad Ralph Lauren catalog!

There were tons of other drinks and sights to see, so scroll through our gallery for a peek.  If you’re jealous and feeling sad that you missed out, be sure to save the date for next year’s MCC taking place May 17th – 21st, 2013!


Photos via Grub Street by Christopher Lane and by Socially Superlative