On Friday, October 14, 2011, close to 2,000 avid wine, spirits and cocktail enthusiasts tasted the night away at the year’s most exciting consumer, trade and media tasting event – Ultimate Blast. The second annual Ultimate Blast event was held at the New York Marriott Marquis Hotel in Times Square. The hotel’s Broadway Ballroom was transformed by Ultimate Blast into the city’s biggest lounge and nightclub. Attendees entered an elegant, dramatically lit space to the sounds of a live band and then roamed more than 70 tables and six lounges sampling from more than 100 cocktails, 300 spirits and 120 wines. Guests enjoyed learning about the world’s best cocktails, spirits and wines.
An incredible array of artisanal spirits, well-aged cognacs, whiskeys from around the world, single estate wines, cocktails and punches created and served by some of the city’s hottest mixologists, and much more were available at the exhibitor tables. Attendees could sit, taste and chat with friends in the six chic lounges hosted by ABSOLUT Vodka, Beefeater 24 Gin, Chatham Imports, Remy Cointreau USA, US-Sino – with their unique selection of Chinese spirits and wines – and brands such as Bacardi Rums, Dewar’s Scotches, Bombay Sapphire East Gin, Grey Goose Vodka and more. In addition, the Blast was accented by celebrity spirits and cocktail authors such as Jim Meehan, David Wondrich and Dan Searing signing their books and talking to attendees. There was also a wide spread of food ranging from a variety of delicious cheeses from Murray’s Cheeses to some prepared hot foods to satiate your hunger as well as let you drink more drinks.
Louis Royer, an iconic Cognac house dating to 1853, showcased two new Cognac cocktails at the Ultimate Blast. The cocktails were shaken up by Chad Solomon & Christy Pope of Cuffs & Buttons Cocktail Catering. The new cocktails used VSOP “Force 53,” a 106-proof Cognac, and included an Old Fashioned and a holiday punch. The High Force Old Fashioned cocktail is a personal favorite. In addition, the brand ambassador, Estelle Ngo, offered tastings of Louis Royer’s XO and VSOP Preference expressions. The following are the cocktail recipes:
“High Force Old Fashioned” by Chad Solomon and Christy Pope
2 oz (60ml) Louis Royer Force 53 Cognac
¼ oz (7.5ml) Grade B Amber Maple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters (OR Jerry Thomas Decanter Bitters)
Stir/Strain/On the Rock
Glass: Old Fashioned
Garnish: Orange Twist
“Autumn Wassil” by Chad Solomon and Christy Pope
1 ½ oz (45ml) Louis Royer VSOP “Force 53” Cognac
½ oz (15ml) “Santa Teresa 1796” Rum
4 oz (120m) Wassail Batch if serving hot, or 3 oz (90ml) Wassail Batch if serving cold
Glass: Toddy glass or Cocktail glass
Garnish: Apple Slices & Cranberries
For Hot A.W. – Measure spirit into toddy glass then top with 4 oz Hot Wassail batch.
For Cold A.W. – Measure spirit and 3 oz of cooled Wassail batch into a mixing glass then add ice. Cap shaker and shake vigorously. Uncap shaker and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
1 quart Organic Apple Cider
1 pint Pomegranate Juice (Non sweetened, Not from concentrate)
¼ cup Sugar
1 cup Freshly Squeezed Orange Juice
¾ cup Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
3 Cinnamon stix
1 tsp Whole Cloves
1 tsp Whole Allspice
To prepare Wassail batch, combine all ingredients into a pot and simmer over medium – low heat for at least one hour or until all ingredients are well incorporated.
It was indeed the Ultimate Blast! Make sure you don’t miss next year’s event! For more information and to view more photos and a list of featured products, please visit www.ultimate-beverage.com.