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The most tempting draw to dessert is that it’s not a necessity, but instead, a novelty. Desert has a special meal-completing  touch which adds to each rewarding bite. For many, dessert is hands-down the best part of dining. Sweet-tooth fanatics wouldn’t dream of ending their feast without a sugared treat, and rightly so! New York has some innovative alternatives to the typical summer frozen eats. Take a break from the typical and venture to tantalizing, drool-worthy summer  desserts around the city. A few are even dressed with Pop Rocks and paired with booze! (Seriously!)

 

Nix

Nix

Honey Custard (top)  Carrot Cake Moon Pies (bottom)

 

The cool, creamy, and texture-focused sweets at Chef John Frasier’s veggie haute, Nix, is sure to satisfy an array of sweet-seekers. The whimsical selections such as Dirt Pudding with gummy worms, Carrot Cake Moon Pies, and peachy Honey Custard will evoke fond childhood memories while impressing grown-up taste buds. Plus, each bite or spoonful shall brighten the sunniest of summer days. Desserts at this Michelin -starred dine are not to be missed!

 

 

 

 

 

The Palm Court at The Plaza Hotel New York 

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James’ Peachtree Fizz + Palm Court Summer Verrine

 

Move over afternoon tea, booze-paired desserts have arrived in The Palm Court of The Plaza Hotel. All summer long, an exclusive NOLET’S Silver cocktail and dessert pairing menu will be offered in the iconic hotel. Relax in the picturesque Palm Court with a made-to-order gin martini served tableside from the NOLET’S Martini Cart while enjoying a decadent dessert, flawlessly created by Pastry Chef Matthew Lambie. Chef Lambie thoughtfully highlighted the sophisticated flavor notes in NOLET’S Silver Gin and paired them with two addictive desserts: Hibiscus/Violet Vacherin and Palm Court Summer Verrine. The verrine is paired with the refreshing James’ Peachtree Fizz cocktail (with peach puree and lemon juice) while the Vacherin complements the Gin Blush sipper (with Chambord and raspberry puree). This is an ideal must-visit opportunity while taking a staycation, if you don’t have a chance to escape the city this summer. These selections will be available to all until Labor Day.

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Gin Blush + Hibiscus/Violet Vacherin

 

il Buco

il Buco is of course one of New York City’s most beloved dines known for its impeccable mix of northern Spanish and Mediterranean influences. Not only are the savory dishes a thoughtful fusion of tradition and innovation, but the same creativity overflows into the desserts as well. One such selection, the chocolate ganache, is a silky, semi-sweet confection, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with Pop Rocks! The creative play on sweet and savory with a bang, is as much of a thrill to eat as it is a cold, bold summer delight.

il buco

Chocolate Ganache

Dragon Fruit Margarita with straw

Summer is knocking on the door; so, why welcome it with a spectacular cocktail? Start the season with a sunny Peach Lemonade Punch using NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin or stir up a delish Truly Sangria for Memorial Day. Sip your way through summer with these refreshing chillers perfect for poolside, beach-side, and after-five.

Peach Lemonade Punch with bottle

Peach Lemonade Punch

Ingredients:
750 ml NOLET’S Silver Dry Gin
2.25 L Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
375 ml Elderflower Liqueur
2 Bags Frozen Peaches

Directions:
Mix all ingredients in a pitcher or infusion jar and stir.

Serve over ice in a highball glass and garnish with a peach slice or raspberry skewer.

 

Aperol SpritzAperol Spritz

Ingredients:

3 Parts Cinzano Prosecco

2 Parts Aperol

1 Dash Soda

Ice and a slice of Orange

Directions:

Add ice and a slice of orange to glass.

Pour in the Prosecco, the Aperol and add a dash of soda. This avoids the Aperol settling at the bottom.

Quick stir and sip away!

 

TRULY Sangria (1)Truly Sangria

Ingredients:

6 oz. Truly Spiked & Sparkling Pomegranate

2 oz. Red Wine

1 oz. Brandy

1 oz. Raspberry Flavoring (ex. Monin)

Assorted citrus (oranges, etc.) and berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries)

Squeeze of orange and lime wedges

Directions:

In advance, soak fruit in brandy.

Combine 6 oz. Truly Spiked & Sparkling Pomegranate and 2 oz. red wine in a red wine glass over ice and brandy-soaked fruit.

Garnish with orange slice

NOTE: To make batch sangria, use 3:1 ratio of Truly to red wine.

Hibiscus Dragon Fruit Margarita

Dragon Fruit Margarita with straw

Ingredients:

2 oz Patron Reposado Tequila

2 oz Fresh Pineapple Juice

.75 oz Cinnamon Hibiscus syrup

.50 oz Fresh Lemon

.25 oz Triple sec

Pinch of Sea Salt

2 Dashes Hellfire Bitters

Directions:

Add all ingredients into a shaking tin and fill half way with ice.

Shake for 5 seconds and strain into a hollowed out Dragon Fruit with ice.

Garnish with pineapple spikes, mint and flaming lemon half.

 

SgroppinoSgroppino

1 ½ parts elit Vodka

1 scoop of Lemon Sorbet or another different flavor

3 parts Prosecco

Directions:

Blend all ingredients in a blender with a bit of crushed ice.

Pour into a coupette and garnish with fresh lemon zest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Coralina Margarita

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, Patrón has announced its 2017 Margarita of the Year, the Coralina Margarita. After a world-wide search with thousands of thirst-quenching hopefuls, live voting on social media allowed imbibers to support their favorite tipples. This year’s champion beautifully showcases the oaky Patrón Reposado coupled with the Patrón Citrónge Orange and hibiscus to create an instant attraction for the most discerning of palates.

Want to try this highly coveted winner? This year, Patrón teamed with Cocktail Courier (think  Blue Apron for cocktails) to offer an opportunity to make the Coralina Margarita at home. Another top-rated marg’, the Mumbai Margarita, is also available to try. This addictive east-meets-west fusion also uses Patrón Reposado, mixed with mango puree and spicy rose syrup. I tried shaking up this tantalizing drink and it was a smashing success! Very simple to make, loaded with fresh, quality ingredients and great to taste.

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The home delivery service offers an array of seasonal cocktails, crafted by trailblazing mixologists.  All cocktail information, including number of servings, is included in the kit and easily accessible online. Kits provide everything needed for the DIY sips except for bar tools and serving glasses. The easy- to-follow directions, garnishes, and packaging is very convenient; an ideal set-up for a fabulous time!

Whether you are a spirits aficionado, or you just enjoy a superb sip, the Patrón – Cocktail Courier combo is simply perfection.

pour_julio_smashCatch the latest POUR episode here! The Ship NYC (Manhattan) joins the ranks of dope bars like August Laura (Brooklyn) and Llama Inn (Brooklyn). Find out about the seductive mashup sipper, Julio Smash, and hear unbelievable stories on this episode and the rest on POUR.

so-it-appears

So It Appears

Sure, New York City has lots of glitz and glam. Huge buildings and iconic attractions are among its characteristics, but NYC wouldn’t be what it is today, without its dreamers; those who take a chance to pursue their passions with reckless abandon – or those who live by ‘YOLO’ (You Only Live Once). For generations, New York has been built by go-getters and is full of those seeking their ultimate ‘American Dream.’

The same aspirations are true for Frankie Rodriguez and Alyssa Sartor, owners of August Laura, in Brooklyn. Bartending more than 20 years combined in New York City, the couple was blessed to open their ‘dream,’ befittingly located four blocks from where Alyssa’s grandfather (an Italian immigrant) grew up. Paying homage to her grandfather, the living room style bar has been named after him. The deep familial ties are undeniable at August Laura. Family pictures and home-goods are tastefully placed around the room, creating a cozy nightcap for all guests.

Tipples are elegant, intriguing, and satisfying, at the warm neighborhood cocktail bar. Each highlight the individual ingredients whether sweet, bitter, or savory and progress thoughtfully in spirit strength. The signature and nostalgic Amaretto Sour is seriously addictive. Alyssa’s recipe uses egg white and flavorful Nocino walnut liqueur, which adds sophistication and a seductive, creamy element to each sip. Shaved nutmeg heightens the senses and is the perfect garnish for the luscious drink.

The dedicated staff at August Laura pours sippers for patrons nightly, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, while listing to stellar playlists such as Sam Smith, 90s rap, and even a live jazz duo (every Wednesday night).

In its premier year, August Laura is making its imprint because Alyssa and Frankie dared to dream. Each time a customer enjoys their drink of choice, in essence, he or she raises a glass to couple’s surreal American Dream.

Want to know more about August Laura? Check the interview and how to make the buzz-worthy Amaretto Sour on POUR.

August Laura

387 Court Street

Brooklyn, NY 11231

Tidbits:

Jazz on Wednesday evenings

Pop-up Weekend Brunch: Dovecote at August Laura – Saturday and Sunday 10 am – 3 pm (featuring La Colombe coffee, coffee cocktails, and local bakery goods)

amaretto-sour_al

Amaretto Sour, August Laura (Photo credit: Daniel Krieger for The New York Times)

The nostalgic Amaretto Sour at August Laura in Brooklyn, New York, is seriously addictive. Alyssa Sartor, co-owner, shares her recipe which uses egg white and flavorful Nicino walnut liqueur, which adds sophistication and a seductive, creamy element to each sip. Shaved nutmeg heightens the senses and is the perfect garnish for the luscious drink. Watch Alyssa create this delish drink.

– Courtesy of Alyssa Sartor, co-owner of August Laura

Ingredients:

1 1/2 ounces amaretto

1/2 ounce Nocino walnut liqueur

1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice

1/4 ounce simple syrup

Egg white

Ground nutmeg, for garnish

Yield: 1 drink

Directions:

Separate the egg white from the yolk and add the egg white to a shaker.

Add the amaretto, Nocino, lemon juice and simple syrup and shake well.

Now, add ice to the shaker and shake again.

Strain into large coupe glass.

Dust with nutmeg.

brennivinIt’s celebration season and Brennivin, the original Icelandic Spirit, marks the launch of its 80th Anniversary Cask Aged Aquavit. For the first time, this semisweet spirit is available in the United States.Only 1,200 out of 5,000 bottles may be purchased here for the holiday season.

The Aquavit is made from grain and infused with caraway seeds. Made from grain and infused with caraway seeds, the current batch was distilled in 2015, then matured for one year, aging within a combination of Islay Whiskey casks, bourbon barrels, and finished in New American White Oak. The result is a deliciously, smooth spirit which can be enjoyed on its own.

opalLicorice lovers have another reason to rejoice as Brennivin’s Opal Icelandic Liqueur recently made its première voyage to the U.S. The unique flavor profile is akin to Iceland’s beloved pasteille, a licorice-like candy. The unmistakable label echoes a groovy 1940s /1950s pop art bulls-eye design.

 

With such exclusivity to the Scandinavian sippers, there’s a handful of states which sell spirits (listed below). Howevery, if you are in or near New York City, you can head to the Up & Up Bar (116 Macdougal Street), the first U.S. bar to offer Brennivin. Imbibe on tipples such as the Icelandic Sense of Urgency crafted with honey, jalapeno and of course the 80th Anniversary Edition Brennivin or try the savory Visa Application made with both Brennivin exclusives, sherry and pear brandy. Cheers!

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Brennivin 80th Anniversary Cask Aged Aquavit:

— 40% ABV
— Price: market to market

Opal Icelandic Liqueur:

— 40% ABV
—  Price: around $35, 750ml bottle

Where to find Brennivin 80th Anniversary Cask Aged Aquavit and Opal Icelandic Liqueur (listed by state and merchant):  

Maine, Massachusetts and Rhode Island—MS Walker
California—H. Mercer Imports, K&L Wines, Bar Keeper LA and Bitters & Bottles (SF)
Texas — Favorite Brands
Kentucky — River City Distributing
Colorado — European Wines & Spirits
Washington, DC — Sherry’s Wines
Washington State — Vinum Wines & Spirits
Alabama/Idaho/Montana/Oregon/Wyoming — State Special Order

flying_purple_pisco

Lynnette Marrero, co-beverage director of Brooklyn’s Llama Inn, shares the inspiration of the Flying Purple Pisco – a play on the traditional Pisco Sour and named after the Flying Purple People Eater. This refreshing libation  features Peru’s infamous spirit, pisco, a grape brandy made in the country’s wine regions. It’s perfect for any season, celebration, and much needed happy-hour. Click here to learn how to make the Flying Purple Pisco.

Courtesy of Llama Inn.

Flying Purple Pisco Recipe

1 oz of Purple potato puree (with simple syrup mixed in*)

½ oz Lime juice

½ oz Lemon juice

2 oz Macchu Pichu Pisco

1 Egg white

Directions

Dry shake all ingredients together.

Add ice to ingredient mixture and shake again.

Strain into a low-ball glass

Top with a streak of Angostura bitters and grated nutmeg

 

*Simple Syrup Recipe

1 part water

1 part white granulated sugar

Simple syrup directions:

Directions

In a medium saucepan combine sugar and water.

Bring to a boil, stirring, until sugar has dissolved.

Adjust amount of sugar to desired taste.

Allow to cool.

llama-innA truly international and rustic cuisine, Peruvian food deserves more acclaim than it receives. Serving up a melting pot of cultural influences including Spanish, African and Incan, yield iconic dishes like ceviche and Escabache de Pescado (fried fish with onion sauce). Peruvian dishes often have bold, complex and vibrant flavor, incorporating ingredients like aji chili and sweet lucuma (a native fruit).

Flavors such as these are proudly served at Brooklyn’s Llama Inn. Don’t let its hipster vibe fool you – the ‘Llama Drama’ (referring to the buzzing atmosphere) is serious about delicious authentic eats, reflecting Chef Erik Ramirez’ favorite nostalgic meals. Chef Ramirez and his staff have done a wonderful job turning a social haven into a full-scale, epicurean, must-visit. One of the stand-out dishes is the Beef Tenderloin Stir Fry. This visually stunning dish matches its aesthetics in taste as it is a beautiful mountain of sliced tenderloin topped with red onion, rocoto (hot chili pepper)  and French fries served with a side of avocado and scallion pancakes. The succulent beef is bathed in a luscious soy sauce, perfect for dipping fries or drizzled on a pancake burrito.

It’s difficult to go wrong at the Inn with so many exceptional selections including the refined octopus or spicy pork belly anticuchos (skewered meat). Whether a novice to Peru’s succulent fare or a native, Llama Inn is an unforgettable experience transporting diners’ taste buds to the motherland itself.
Hungry for more? Click here to watch the ‘Llama Drama’ in action on POUR featuring Llama Inn’s iconic Flying Purple Pisco cocktail.

Llama Inn

50 Withers Street

Brooklyn, NY 11211

718-387-3434

Tidbits:

Brunch: Saturday and Sunday 11 am – 3:30 pm

Rooftop bar and dining space

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Family Jewels Pizza

If you live in the vicinity of Brooklyn’s eclectic Bushwick neighborhood, or even voyage over the water from Manhattan (gasp!) you know ‘Roberta’s’ and heavenly ‘pizza’ are synonymous. This beloved Brooklyn pizza is as popular as New York City’s legendary bagels. So light and incredibly flavorful, the dough stands up to heavy-hitting ingredients.

Known for its relaxed, funky ambiance that serves up decadent ingredients like Italian caciocavallo cheese and delicious spek, Roberta’s is a favorite of locals and beyond. Surrounded  by refurbished, trendy warehouses, vintage clothing boutiques, and local watering holes, this hotspot contends with the most favored pizzerias in New York City.

The thoughtful selection of wine, cocktails and beer are well-rounded and have an emphasis on supporting local vendors. One such beverage, the Wölffer Rosé Cider from Long Island, is an exquisite cider made in the style of Rosé wine. Tip:this bubbly bev. beautifully complements the Duck Prosciutto appetizer.The unique prosciutto interpretation of using duck compared to traditional ham is brilliant and is deliciously paired with the cider.

Any cured meat begs for bread and Roberta’s perfectly baked bread – flaky outside while magically light and fluffy inside – doesn’t disappoint. Truly, all of the doughy treats: brunch sticky buns, biscuits, and croissants are equally as mouthwatering, lush and baked on the premises. No wonder guests visit in droves, waiting up to two hours for a table sometimes. Unfortunately, reservations are not taken, but calling ahead for the wait-time status doesn’t hurt.

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Duck Prosciutto and Wölffer Rosé Cider

Every pizza is made to order and fired in a brick oven that greets guests upon arrival. Although it’s hard not to order one of each menu item, there are a few must-haves. I recommend the delectable Family Jewels pie  topped with heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil and prosciutto bread crumbs. If toppings are your jam, try the Spekenwolf with a whopping 14 toppings, including crimini mushrooms, eggplant and ricotta salata.

Roberta’s isn’t a one-trick pony, though. Other entrées like the zesty Sasso Chicken with salsa verde  or the addictive Dry-Aged Wagyu Carpaccio are also  showstoppers. With an enticing menu, regulars are always thrilled to try something different each visit or enjoy their ‘usual’ as if it was the first time. There are so many exceptional restaurants in unexpected places in Brooklyn – and Roberta’s is no exception to this truth. The quirky pizzeria is also a bakery and tiki bar in the middle of industrial and auto repair lots. It’s obvious Roberta’s doesn’t fit any molds but breaks them instead.

Roberta’s

261 Moore St.

Brooklyn, NY 11206

718-417-1118

Tidbits:

Manhattan outpost location: 230 Park in Midtown.

Roberta’s frozen pizza is available in select markets and online grocers.

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