The vast majority of walk-around tasting events either revolve around small portions of food, wine, or beer, but for the first time ever, on Thursday night, Dec. 5, the Village Voice hosted their Holiday Spirits festival, where it was liquor and mixed drinks all the way with more than 30 local distilleries on hand (along with a handful of wineries) to show off their wares.
Falling on the anniversary of the repeal of Prohibition, the event, which took over two floors of Astoria’s Studio Square, was a celebration of all things booze. And while we’re sure that there are probably more than a few pounding headaches the day after, it wasn’t just an excuse to down shots: while the distilleries on hand were more than happy to pour small samples of their products to try straight, many also showcased them in mixed drinks.
Highlights included Brooklyn Gin’s The Empire State, with gin, wildflower honey, lemon juice, and sparkling wine; Breuckelen Distilling’s Suburban, with whiskey, dark rum, port wine, and Angostura and orange bitters; Catskill Distilling Company’s Lil Rascal, with buckwheat spirit and peach liqueur; Cooperstown Distillery’s Mohegan Fizz with Fenimore Gin, lime juice, pear nectar, ginger beer, and sage; Dutch Spirits’ Fat Apple, with hot mulled cider, moonshine, and cinnamon sugar butter; Tanteo’s jalapeño margarita, and Scorpion Mezcal’s spiked hot chocolate.
It was an admittedly tricky event to navigate for those looking to not over-imbibe — the combination of a huge variety of different spirits, plus wine, and a limited food selection made for an undoubtedly hazy evening for many — but it was a spectacular way not only for distilleries to showcase their wares, but for guests to experience a wide array of some of the region’s finest liquors.