just cocktails - HOBNOB Magazine

Posts Tagged ‘just cocktails’

Traditional Irish Toasts with Personality for St Patrick’s Day

Posted on: March 17th, 2022 by Ellen Swandiak

Traditional Irish toasts can come in handy for all sorts of occasions. We gathered a bunch to help you be extra witty and deliver heartfelt wishes with charm.

Get into the true Irish spirit by memorizing and quoting some of the loveliest toasts from the other side of the Atlantic. This will lend a sophisticated flair to your day of excessive imbibing.

—May the luck of the Irish be with you!

—Here’s to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold pint and another one!

—May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.

—May you always have a clean shirt, a clear conscience, and enough coins in your pocket to buy a pint!

—May neighbors respect you, trouble neglect you, the angels protect you, and Heaven accept you.

—May the roof above you never fall in, and those gathered beneath it never fall out.

—May misfortune follow you the rest of your life, and never catch up.

—May you be poor in misfortune, rich in blessings, slow to make enemies and quick to make friends. And may you know nothing but happiness from this day forward.

—May your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

—May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

—May your heart be light and happy, may your smile be big and wide, and may your pockets always have a coin or two inside!

—May you have food and raiment, a soft pillow for your head. May you be forty years in heaven before the devil knows you’re dead.

—May you get all your wishes but one, so that you will always have something to strive for!

First Blush: Celebrating Rosé in a Summer Cocktail

Posted on: June 16th, 2019 by Ellen Swandiak

This summer cocktail features an unusual mix of sweet, bitter, and fruity flavors that play with bouncing blueberries. See the cocktail recipe and the exceptional ingredients used in the mix.

A light sipper accompanies red and white bites on the buffet. Garnish with blue or white straws if you have them.


[1] Hangar One Handcrafted Vodka

Since launching in an airplane hangar in 2002, HANGAR ONE’s handcrafted vodkas have won fans around the world, so rest assured you will be tasting an exemplary spirit here. The creators were not happy with the “straight” vodkas that were in the market, so they decided to take matters into their own hands and create something new. Known for distilling brandies, Ansley Coale and Jorg Rupf started with wheat from the midwest, then combined that with a California Viognier grape eau de vie. The Viognier grapes are distilled using the whole fruit—including the stem, leaves, skin and blossoms, thus capturing its full flavor profile. Then, by distilling the same day it’s picked, flavor is captured at its peak. The vodka is known for its smoothness. Besides “straight” there are three infusions to choose from: Mandarin, Citron, and Kaffir Lime, all lovingly created. Available online at reservebar.com (check your state’s shipping details). About $35. hangarone.com

hobobmag summer cocktail

[2] Lillet’s Rosé Wine

Can you think of anything more suitable for a hot summer night than a nice glass of rosé? The debut of Lillet’s Rosé wine is the first time in over 50 years that the renowned French company has launched a new product, and it was well worth the wait. Consisting of a blend Grand Cru Bordeaux used in Lillet’s Rouge and Blanc, plus light aromas of berries, orange blossom and grapefruit, its flavor is a delight. Lillet Rosé is best served chilled. About $18. lillet.com

[3] Mathilde Framboise Liqueur

This formula comes from an old French family recipe. Only the best raspberries are hand picked from various parts of Scotland and the Hautes Côtes de Bourgogne, to give the liqueur it’s delicacy and sweetness. Just a spoonful is all you need. Berry nice. About $14. liqueurmathilde.com

[4] DRY Rhubarb Soda

Forget about traditional tonic, or generic soda—instead, add sophisticated flavor with this soda. The tartness of rhubarb in a refreshing bubbly drink, what’s not to love? And at only 60 calories, it is a perfectly guilt free option. Great to offer those not consuming alcohol as a elegant sip. Try all their amazing flavors like blood orange, vanilla bean, apple, cherry, lavender, juniper berry, wild lime, pear and cucumber. Available online at store.drysoda.com. $32 for a 24-pack of 12 oz bottles.

[5] Blueberries for garnish

Line the bar with blueberries in white bowls so guests can nibble and play with them in their cocktails.

Cocktail Infusion: Pineapple Spiked Tequila and Chocolate Mint Spiked Tea

Posted on: September 30th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

If you are looking for methods for cutting sugar and calories out of your drinks, cocktail infusion is the way to go. See how to infuse fresh fruit into tequila, and add the flavor of chocolate mint into this low-cal sipper.

We all love a nice cocktail, but sometimes the ingredients add much in the way of extra calories. One of the easiest ways to cut back on sugar, yet maintain killer flavor, is to make cocktail infusions. For this simple cocktail recipe, I’ve chopped up a fresh pineapple and let it marinate in the fridge for a couple of days. Then I made some Caramel Vanilla tea to use as a mixer, which also provides nuances of flavor without the extra calories. OK, I did add a little sugar to the tea, but the most dramatic taste came from the addition of fresh chocolate mint that I had growing in my garden. If you’ve never tried chocolate mint, you would be surprised to discover that it smells exactly like the chocolate mint you might get on your pillow at a fine hotel. It’s super aromatic, yet the taste is a little milder than peppermint.

HOBNOBMAG cocktail infusion

I demo’d this at a local WeWork, which seems to be the place to be nowadays. The cocktail was well received! Here are the super easy steps for creating this cocktail:

HOBNOBMAG cocktail infusion


1. Cut off top and bottom

2. Cut pineapple in half vertically, then cut the 2 halves in two.

3. Remove the hard core from the center.

4. With a small sharp knife, cut away the thick rind, then chop into bite-size pieces.

HOBNOBMAG cocktail infusion


1 bottle (750ml) tequila

empty bottle

Pour half the tequila in the empty bottle. Add pineapple to fill both bottles. Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days. If serving immediately, let pineapple remain, remove if storing for longer periods.

HOBNOBMAG cocktail infusion



As before mentioned, notes of pineapple, caramel, vanilla, and chocolate mint play around in this low-cal, tasty cocktail. Just remember that the pineapple needs at least two days to infuse its flavor into the tequila. The mint only needs 15 minutes. And definitely start with a good tequila. I used Viva, which I just discovered at a recent tasting, and it is soooo smooth. (see a couple of spicy tequila cocktails at this link, if you enjoy a bit of heat in your sipping)


48 oz water
4 teabags Republic of Tea Caramel Vanilla

2 TB Heilala Vanilla Bean Sugar
bunch of chocolate mint, tied in a bouquet

Boil water, steep tea for 5 min. Stir in vanilla sugar. Immerse a bouquet of mint into the tea, let sit for 15 min. Allow to cool. Refrigerate till ready to serve. This makes enough tea for 12 cocktails. (or a lovely tea mix to sip on its own.)


2 oz infused Viva Tequila Joven
4 oz tea mix

Stir together with ice in an old-fashioned glass. Top with fresh garnish.


Spear the fresh herbs first, so that they are at the top, then their aromas will come into play while sipping. Then, cut strawberries and cucumbers into thick rings, so that they can be speared horizontally. Separate clementines into individual pieces. Do different assortments.

Prosecco Cocktails: Top Mine with Bubbles, Please

Posted on: August 9th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

I love attending a good cocktail competition! I always come away with great ideas and discoveries in many categories—spirits, mixers, infusions, syrups, and clever garnishes. This one was no exception.

Hosted at Seamstress, on the upper east side of NYC, seven mixologists competed to see whose mix of exotic ingredients would please the judges. Blaine Ashley, the founder of New York Champagne week orchestrated the fantastic event (seen in the photo at the top of this post) showed up on the scene with the prototype of her new rosé wine). All in all, it was a great way to spend a late afternoon, with bottles of Cinzano Prosecco.

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

It was fun visiting each table and hearing a little bit about the mix and inspiration. Trish Rosienne reveals her cocktail secrets. Right: husband and wife competed: Nicole and McSon Salicetti.

Let these creative cocktails inspire you to create one of your own for your next get together. Or just visit the mixologists at their locale and have one specially mixed for you.

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

Four by Fire (the winning cocktail)

This one had a smoky twist to it.

—by Nicole Salicetti of Railway Bar

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

La Ponderosa

Italian prosecco with a Mexican influence.

—by Stevie Gray of Cecconi’s Dumbo

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

Mela D’Amore

A foodie approach to cocktails.

—McSon Salicetti of Crimson & Rye

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

Fenice Fiama

A heady mix of strength and fire.

—by Becca Pesce of The Dead Rabbit

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

Spa Water

On the lighter end of the spectrum.

—by Meaghan Montagano

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

The British Tea Party

This was my favorite of the bunch, mixed with a fantastic gin.

—by Craig Scheidlo of Ousia

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

Unconventional Lovers

Another foodie approach, with a bit of smokiness.

—by Trish Rosienne of Monk McGinn’s

HOBNOBMAG prosecco cocktails2

Judge Francine Cohen sits aside the line of contestants. Right: the crowd waits while the winner is announced.

Spicy Cocktails to Heat Up Your Summer by Jonathan Lind of George Washington Bar

Posted on: June 29th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Fresh jalapeños and a chili liqueur mix in with a new, smooth tequila in these spicy cocktails. These simple recipes need to be part of your summer repertoire.

I met Jonathan Lind at an event downtown where he was pouring a newly launched tequila. Viva, turns out, was one of the smoothest tequilas I have ever tasted… and that’s saying a lot! I am a huge fan of specialty tequilas, and have done many a tasting. (See another tasting.)

hobnobmag Spicy Cocktails

With this smooth spirit in mind, Jonathan created a couple of cocktails with a bit of a spicy twist. I caught up with him at  the Freehand Hotel, where he tends bar. The George Washington Bar is handsomely adorned and was actually the library when the hotel first opened in 1927. The bar itself dates back to that time frame as well, so the room emits a feeling of history, like it’s been around for a long time. The crown molding and woodwork in the room is original and quite handsome. This new venue is attracting a crowd of cocktail aficianados to its comfy space.

hobnobmag Spicy Cocktails

hobnobmag Spicy Cocktails

Enjoy these two cocktails, and make sure to serve them to your guests who enjoy a bit of a kick in their libation.

hobnobmag Spicy Cocktails


Spicy Margaritas are the hottest (pun intended) cocktail in town, and they’re a pretty simple DIY for the home mixologist. Below are two recipes for similar style drinks, choose your favorite!

2 oz Viva Tequila, Joven works best
.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz Cointreau or other Orange Liqueur
.5 oz Ancho Reyes Verde Chili Liqueur
.25 oz Simple Syrup

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin, shake, strain, and pour into a rocks glass filled with ice.


2 oz Viva Tequila
.75 oz Fresh Lime Juice
1 oz Cointreau
.25 oz Simple Syrup
3 or 4 slices of jalapeno. (The more seeds, the spicier the drink.)

Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin, shake, double strain through a fine mesh strainer, and pour into a rocks glass filled with ice.

Both cocktails can also be served in a coupe, with or without a salt rim. Garnish as you see fit, though a fool-proof classic garnish is a lime wedge.

—Jonathan Lind

And if you like tequila as much as I do, check out my other posts for brands and cocktail ideas.

Host an Exotic Tequila Tasting, Featuring Easy Prickly Pear Margaritas

The Philter: A Tantalizing-Tricked Up-Tequila Love Potion

How to Throw a Trés Elegant Kentucky Derby Party

Posted on: May 21st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

It seems every year there are more and more choices in NYC for attending an elegant Kentucky Derby party. Luckily, I received an invitation to a very special soiree, hosted by Four Roses—a bourbon lovers dream! Get inspired to host your own.

This is a great party model to aspire to, if you are thinking of hosting a super-chic Derby party. The menu features fantastic, Southern-inspired small bites, and, of course bourbon cocktails. Recipes for a truly tasty punch made with Four Roses bourbons and a classic Mint Julep can be found at this link. ADD LINK

hobnobmag Elegant Kentucky Derby Party2

hobnobmag Elegant Kentucky Derby Party2


Four Roses invited hat designer Gigi Burris to grace the scene, and she did look lovely in a straw number with black edge and bow. She also had some hats for other guests to wear, making for a festive room indeed. Check out her website for the latest collection and inspiration.

hobnobmag Elegant Kentucky Derby Party2

A nice touch at this party—for extra excitement—was a friendly betting pool on hand, where $5 got you a pick of one of the race’s horses. Turned out, Good Magic was my pick, and, I have to say, it was exciting to see the horse in third place for most of the short race. But not the winner in the end. Shucks. The pot was split between the winner, and the horse that came in last place, just to be nice.


The food circulated to ensure we would not get too tipsy. All the recipes were inspired by food down-South, but designed in mini portions for mingling. The Southern-Influenced Small Bites Menu:

• Buttermilk Biscuits with Tasso Ham, Spicy Mustard, Cress
• Deviled Eggs topped with Bacon, Chives, Scallions
• Ritz Crackers with Pimento Cheese & Roasted Peppers
• Pickled Shrimp
• Truffle Popcorn with Rosemary
• Pecan Pralines Cupcakes

hobnobmag Elegant Kentucky Derby Party2

hobnobmag Elegant Kentucky Derby Party2


I created a Pinterest Board showing more Derby classics that have been revamped in the most sophisticated way. Be sure to reference the cocktail recipes in a separate post, the Derby Day Peach Punch ADD LINK was absolutely addictive! Here’s what’s on the Pinterest board Elegant Kentucky Derby:

HOBNOBMAG elegant Kentucky Derby pin

Creative cocktails featuring bourbon, stretching the imagination beyond the Mint Julep.

Bourbon Meatballs: Infusing bourbon into this mix is a wondrous combination, and includes bases other than beef.

Kentucky Hot Brown Sandwich: I found variations that mimic the flavors of the Kentucky classic, but dress it up in party mode.

Benedictine Tea Sandwiches: The classic Louisville spread can be beautifully displayed, and doctored with additional flavor enhancements.

Biscuits: Use them as a base to incorporate a Southern vibe into a variety of small bites.

Deviled Eggs: Mother nature supplies a perfectly sized vessel. I found some graphic and pretty examples.

Pecans: a must for dessert or snacking

A Bourbon Party Punch for a Kickin’ Kentucky Derby Bash

Posted on: May 21st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Whether hosting a chic Kentucky Derby party, or not, bourbon should be a staple on your bar. This bourbon party punch will keep the party rollicking.

When thinking of southern cuisine, tea, peaches, and bourbon definitely come to mind. Mixologist Mimi Burnham brings these flavors together in a punch she created for a party hosted by Four Roses. I was lucky to get an invitation to this elegant bash (see more on the menu here) and found this punch to be absolutely addictive.

hobnobmag 4 ROSES Bourbon Party Punch

In addition to the punch, and many Mint Juleps, Four Roses featured a tasting of their editions in honor of their 130th Anniversary. The tasting began with their original, Four Roses Bourbon, which has a smooth and light feel with sweet notes of vanilla and coconut. This was my favorite of the three. Then we moved onto the very rare editions: Single Barrel and Small Batch, which are deliciously designed to be sipped on their own.

As an antidote to all the booze, I loved the fact that there was a water dispenser on the scene filled with strawberries, which was a great way to cleanse the palate and hydrate in between cocktail-ing.

hobnobmag 4 ROSES Bourbon Party Punch

Here’s a recipe for the classic:

Mint Julep
2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
.25 oz demerara syrup
8 mint leaves

hobnobmag 4 ROSES Bourbon Party Punch

Derby Day Peach Punch

Something to keep in mind: the caffeine aspect of the tea. It definitely has an arousing effect.

Make the Lemon Oleo
4 lemons
8 oz sugar

juice of 4 lemons

Remove lemon peels with a vegetable peeler. Place in a bowl with sugar and toss together. Muddle the lemon peels with the sugar and allow to sit for at least a half hour, up to an hour. Add the juice from the peeled lemons.

Make the tea
3 black tea bags

Boil 32 oz of water and let tea steep for 10 minutes, then cool.

Make the punch
32 oz black tea
16 oz Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon
32 oz Four Roses Bourbon
4 oz Peach Brandy
16 oz Perfect Puree White Peach
2 oz Angostura bitters
Lemon Oleo

Mix together in a few pitchers. Transfer to a punch bowl to serve.
—recipes by Mimi Burnham

hobnobmag 4 ROSES Bourbon Party Punch

Four Tequila Cocktails: An Excuse to Open That Favorite Bottle

Posted on: April 26th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Try these four tequila cocktails at your next Cinco de Mayo celebration, or just find another excuse! They feature a lively mix of fresh, fruity flavors.

After our tantalizing tequila tasting at Agave we were treated to some wonderful cocktails which featured Tequila Tromba Blanco.


1.5 oz Tequila Tromba Blanco

.5 oz Crème de Cassis

.5 oz fresh lime juice

ginger beer

Build ingredients over ice into a tall glass. Top with ginger beer.


1.5 oz Tequila Tromba Blanco

1.5 oz agave syrup (mix agave nectar 50/50 with water)

1.5 oz lime juice

lavender bitters

dash of sea salt

garnish: rosemary sprig

Shake ingredients together, pour over ice into an old fashioned glass. Garnish with rosemary.

—cocktail courtesty Robin Kaufman of Byblos, Toronto

HOBNOBMAG Tasting Tromba Tequila cocktails 1


1.5 oz Tequila Tromba Blanco

.5 oz fresh lime juice

2 dashes grapefruit bitters

grapefruit soda

garnish: slice of ruby red grapefruit

Build ingredients over ice into a tall glass. Top with grapefruit soda and stir.


2 oz Tequila Tromba Blanco

2 barspoons Roses Lime Juice

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 barspoon simple syrup

Shake and double strain into a chilled martini glass, garnish with a lime twist.

The Dancer: A Cocktail Bar For Locals and Mixology Enthusiasts

Posted on: March 31st, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

An intimate space with touches of red is now serving nice cocktails on NYC’s lower-lower-east side. I visited with my friend Dave Phillips and we were treated to a couple of fab concoctions by the lovely Jane Elkins (who shared a recipe) and got to speak to some locals who have been drinking in the area for decades. They had some entertaining stories which made for a fun little escape on a Monday night.

HOBNOBMAG review The Dancer nyc

In the space there’s a nice round red velvet banquette in the back to serve as a fun group rendezvous, plus a long narrow bar with some tables in front. Also available are bar snacks like smoked whitefish salad served with chips, chicken liver mousse on crostini, olives, nuts, and house-made popcorn. Happy Hour lasts until 8, the bar is open until 2.

HOBNOBMAG review The Dancer nyc

The Dancer, 202 Clinton St (betw E Bway/Henry)

HOBNOBMAG review The Dancer nyc

Extraordinary Drinks at The Aviary plus Two Cocktail Recipes from Aidan Bowie of The Office

Posted on: March 5th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

A peek inside the duo dens of inventive mixology: The Aviary and The Office bring new heights to the art of the cocktail at Columbus Circle. We even got a couple of cocktail recipes to share with you.

Who To Take: Someone who appreciates the ultimate in the art of mixology or to really wow a date

To kick-off my birthday in proper style I couldn’t think of a better place in NYC to sample cocktails than The Aviary. Using Grant Aschaz and co-owner Nick Kokonas’ philosophies from the original in Chicago, this spot mixes science, theater, gadgetry, and attentive service to really pull out all the stops in their delivery. First off, the location is prime, with great views over Columbus Circle and beyond. The lounge has a sleek, dark, zen design outfitted with sofas and coffee tables for low-key socializing. We were happy to get a seat right next to the window, but I would say anywhere in the space would feel  comfortable and offer up a view of the skyline.

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

Now to the cocktails. We started off with two classic-with-a-twist numbers from the 1 & 1 category, which both incorporated the ice into the cocktail flavoring strategy. The twist on The Aviary’s classic Gin and Tonic: it’s arrival as a tall, bright-green leaning tower with the addition of chartreuse, almond, green apple and cucumber. The cucumber was frozen onto the sides of the vessel to add flavor as it melts. Mmmm, quite refreshing. I chose to start with a Mimosa whose twist was that the ice cubes were made out of Harvey Wallbanger cocktail—adding vodka, OJ, and Galliano flavors as it melted down. Love this idea of melding two drinks into one. The Zombie Panda had the cutest round raspberry ice cubes that melted into pisco, lychee, and lemon for a fresh fruity mix, almost like a not-too-sweet adult ice pop.

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

The night was just getting started—with the idea of infusion taking over. What arrived next on the scene is a device made famous by The Aviary in Chicago. Called the Porthole Infuser, it takes fresh ingredients and permeates the flavors into the cocktail. In this case Lovely Bunch had french curry, ancho, chai, reposado, banana, and blood orange. Each bit poured gets more intense as time goes on, making for a different experience with each round. (Once you try this cocktail you will want to purchase one of these guys to infuse your own cocktails, oils, teas, dressings, etc. Get it here).

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

Even though this should have been enough, we did try one more cocktail which prompted a second device. Beam Me Up Toddy featured an open flame in which the base cocktail was heated, then shot into the top of the gadget with fresh ingredients—cranberry, brown butter, pear, and fresh herbs—then worked its way back down into the pot for pouring. A wonderful treat on a chilly night.

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

We did get one bite of food here, the Black Truffle Explosion, which did, indeed, explode in the mouth, and was so good we had to get another round. (To follow this grand experience and continue the birthday celebration, we headed a few block east to Bill’s Townhouse. Read about our dinner here).

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

This was truly a special experience which only whet my appetite to get into The Office, a speakeasy version of experimental cocktails styled in a more traditional, quirky environment, associated and located right next door. Luckily, Aidan Bowie, who I met at Dandelyon in London, was now behind the bar here, and offered to share a few of his cocktails. (see the recipes with this post)

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

The Dealer’s Choice was the ultimate in froth-iness, in a pretty light green color and vintage glass that could liven up any party scene. The micro herbs sitting atop make an artistic, natural statement. And if you are an Old Fashioned afficianado, the addition of banana liqueur and miso could be a nice way to end the night in a sweet and sultry way.

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

What’s best about The Office is that they are positioned for spontaneity and bespoke concoctions, meant to accommodate guests’ preferences. Say no more! And for those who aim to taste only the rarest spirits, their collection includes those priced at $500 an ounce. Ouch! What I love is the attention to detail, like the branding of an oversized ice cube with The Office logo and the personable service you will experience.

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

The Aviary and The Office, 80 Columbus Cir (Broadway & 59th St), enter on 60th Street and take the elevator up to 35, or take escalators up through the mall, and get the elevator on the 3rd floor to 35th floor

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

HOBNOBMAG cocktails The Aviary The Office NYC review

Classic NYC: A Cocktail Recipe from the National Arts Club

Posted on: February 4th, 2018 by Ellen Swandiak

Enjoy this cocktail recipe from one of New York City’s splendid spaces, The National Arts Club, in Gramercy Park. Bartender Jonathan Schenk puts his spin on a gimlet.

The National Arts Club is a classic, historic part of New York City with a lived-in welcome feel. Originally founded in 1898 by Charles De Kay, the literary and art critic for The New York Times, the club moved to its present location in the Samuel Tilden Mansion in 1906.

There’s always a pleasant vibe in the space, with its view to Gramercy Park across the street. Cocktails taste even better in the space with its gorgeous stained glass and medley of art on the walls. Bartender Jonathan Schenk mixed up an attractive and tasty number with a citrus bent. The flavors are light and bright and so nice to clink with.

I ❤︎ RHUM: A Mixology Roundup Featuring 14 Fabulous Cocktails with Exotic and Rare Rums

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

I am a big rum lover, and so appreciate the range that the spirit offers—from a fine cognac style to sweeter, more intense offerings. This prompted me to find fellow rum lovers and get some unique and complex cocktails with exotic and rare rums.

The mixologists in this story have a special affection for rum and have collected rare bottles in their travels. They shared some of their favorite cocktails, which you can link to below. Hobnob also offers a downloadable pdf of all the cocktails, for your bartending pleasure, scroll to the bottom.

Four Cocktails with Rare Rums by Francois Morisson

Dear Irving’s Tom Richter Mixes Up a Smooth Rum Cocktail for Sipping

Three Super Cocktails from Abdul Tabini and The Rum House

Shaun Dunn of The Nomad Hotel Mixes a Rum Cocktail with a Caffeine Kick

Raphael Reyes Adds a Culinary Touch to a Special Aged Rum Cocktail

Moses Laboy Treats Rum to Lemongrass and Candied Ginger in His Warming Cocktail

Jim Romdall of Rumba’s Pretty Tropical Rum Cocktail

Sachin Hasan of 2e Bar/Lounge Infuses Garam Masala Into Rum to Stunning Effect

Hobnob Mag’s Ellen Swandiak Mixes a Rum Cocktail with Coconut and Chocolate Overtones

Download the PDF:


HOBNOBMAG 14 rum cocktails by 10 mixologists

I ❤︎ RHUM Series: Four Cocktails with Rare Rums by Francois Morisson

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Our first mixologist, François Morisson is a feisty French national, and NYC original. His passion for rhum may be in the genes. Part of François’ family originates from Martinique which is known for its specific variety of rhum. François has developed a taste and expertise for the spirit, which he collects and features widely in his cocktails with rare rums.

With over 20 years in the biz, you may have run across Francois at Balthazar, Cherche Midi, or Minetta Tavern. He not only mixes extraordinary cocktails, but has been involved in the design and set up of many bars, including several of the McNally chain. François currently works as Head Bartender at Augustine.

When François has an opinion, do listen! This article naming him Top 5 Legendary Bartenders says it all. Please enjoy these four very different rum cocktails:


Dead Cousin

2 oz Clement Select Barrel
1 oz Aperol
.5 oz lemon juice
.25 oz Green Chartreuse

float of Mezcal Fidencio

Serve up with an orange twist.

HOBNOBMAG Cocktails with Rare Rums Francois Morison2


Tituba’s Share

1.75 oz Mount Gay Black Barrel
.5 oz Bonal
.5 oz 1840 Pierre Ferrand Cognac
.75 oz lemon verbena tea

Serve on the rocks with a twist.

HOBNOBMAG Cocktails with Rare Rums Francois Morison2


Good Thing

2 oz Damoiseau Blanc 55º
.5 oz Poire Williams
.25 oz Creme de Gingembre
.75 oz lemon juice

Serve up with brown sugar rim.

HOBNOBMAG Cocktails with Rare Rums Francois Morison2



Muddled lime w brown sugar
2 oz Damoiseau Blanc 55º
.75 oz pomegranate molasses

garnish: dried rose bud

Serve up with dried rose bud and salt.

HOBNOBMAG Cocktails with Rare Rums Francois Morison2

I ❤︎ RHUM Series: Dear Irving’s Tom Richter Mixes Up a Smooth Rum Cocktail for Sipping

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Tom Richter mixes up a very special rum cocktail using Barbancourt 8 year Haitian Rum as the base. Rum lovers rejoice! This is a twist on the classic old fashioned.

I have spent many a late night at Dear Irving, and was always happy to see Tom Richter behind the bar as I entered. He is all class and such a gentlemanly presence. He is also the man behind Tomr ‘s Tonic, an artisanal quinine syrup meant to replace the cheap tonic you get at the supermarket. He concocted a special recipe which comes in a small bottle as a concentrated brownish syrup, which then gets mixed with club soda. It is the real deal.

HOBNOBMAG rum cocktail Tom Richter2

Try his cocktail, the Haitian Divorce, a riff on an old fashioned with Tom’s expert palate and twist. You won’t find him at Dear Irving any longer (sniff) but you can rely on his expertise as the Spirits and Sake portfolio manager with David Bowler Wine And Spirits.


Haitian Divorce

1.5 oz Barbancourt 8 year Haitian Rum

.75 oz Del Maguey Vida Mezcal

.5 oz Pedro Ximenez Sherry

2 dashes Angostura Bitters

Build in a double old fashioned glass and stir with a big rock. Garnish with lime twist and orange twist.

HOBNOBMAG rum cocktail Tom Richter2

HOBNOBMAG rum cocktail Tom Richter2

I ❤︎ RHUM Series: Three Super Cocktails from Abdul Tabini and The Rum House

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

One place I thought of immediately when putting together this roundup of rum cocktails was, of course, The Rum House—which offers a true feeling of old New York right in the midst of Times Square.

The Rum House does provide a haven from the hustle and bustle and tourist traps in Times Square. Do come here to not only enjoy cocktails but also live jazz. To follow are 2 cocktails from Abdul Tabini and 1 from bartender Abel Rodriguez. Abdul Tabini gained local fame at his stint at The Odeon, and went on to open beloved Ward III and The Rum House.   




Estate Daquiri

1.5 oz Barbancourt 8 year

2 oz El Dorado Rum 8 year

.5 oz PX sherry

.5 oz honey syrup

.5 oz lime juice

1 dash orange bitters

lime wheel

Serve up in a coup glass, garnish with lime wheel.



Island Still

2 oz Brugal Añejo

.5 oz Cocchi Americano

.25 oz Amaro Montenegro

2 dashes orange bitters

orange peel

Stir ingredients together with ice in old fashion glass. Garnish with orange peel.



Abel Rodriguez Special

2 oz El Dorado Rum 8 year

1 oz Rhum J.M. White Rum Agricole

.5 oz lime juice

.5 oz simple syrup

.5 oz maraschino

Serve up in a coup glass. Garnish with Luxardo cherry and lemon wheel.


I ❤︎ RHUM Series: Shaun Dunn of The Nomad Hotel Mixes a Rum Cocktail with a Caffeine Kick

Posted on: November 29th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

I do like to pop into the Nomad Hotel now and again. On one visit I was enchanted by the unpresuming Shaun Dunn, who whipped up a cocktail supreme upon my request for something in the rum category.

Please enjoy this one, especially if you are looking for a little extra in the energy department.



1.5 oz Cognac

.75 oz Black Strap Rum

.75 oz Cold Brew

.75 oz Velvet Falernum

Green Chartreuse rinse

Grapefruit twist expressed over the glass.

Cocktail Video: How to Customize a Caipirinha with Seasonal Fruit

Posted on: September 22nd, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

If you love caipirinhas, the drink Brazil made famous, then these variations with fresh fruit should also be just as appealing. Watch the cocktail video by Jim Romdall to know all the tricks.

Anyone who hasn’t experienced the joys of cachaça ought to get on board immediately! The traditional Caipirinha, the famous drink from Brazil, is typically made with muddled limes, sugar, and cachaça—a truly joyous mix. (see Hobnob’s step by step process for creating a perfect caipirinha). If you are serving this mix as part of our Paleo Party theme, though, we suggest you switch from sugar/simple syrup to maple syrup or honey syrup.


Jim Romdall, founder of Rumba in Seattle, a bar known for its collection of rums and cachaças, has come up with some fresh fruit variations, that will have your taste buds tingling. Refer to our cocktail recipe for different fruit and liqueur combinations,  and be sure to watch the cocktail video.


Novo Fogo is a favorite cachaça brand of ours. They not only offer the traditional spirit, but also have developed a series of aged specimens. A tasting might be the way to go, to experience all the flavors. Then you can decide which to include in your cocktail.

Start with the Chameleon, aged one year in American oak, adding just a touch of woodiness, then move onto Barrel-Aged, which spends an additional year in American oak. This single barrel approach goes up to 9 years, for your sipping pleasure.

From there you can get even more exotic with a combination of woods: Tanager starts in  American oak barrels and switches to zebrawood casks which lend a reddish color, and an earthiness; Graciosa, probably the most exotic of the bunch, ages for 2 years in repurposed oak and is finished for 18 months in Brazil nut barrels, adding pecan and orchid on the nose, the palate, morphs into cherry custard and finishes with pleasant notes of soft clove and anise. novofogo.com

Advanced Cheese Board: Four Fab Cocktails and French Cheese Pairings

Posted on: August 16th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

At an event at the French Cheese Board in Soho, we attended a cheese and cocktail pairing, making for an extremely fun-filled afternoon. Learn the basics of pairing from our four examples.

This just goes to prove that it’s not only wine can that can accompany your cheese selections (see also our post on beer/cheese pairings). Tommy Flynn, mixologist from Drexler’s in the East Village, who is also developing the beverage program at the new Williamsburg Hotel, created the snazzy cocktails. Check out these four variations, all with very different flavor profiles, and one is sure to appeal.

French Cheese and Cocktail Pairings

The first couplet takes mimolette, a nutty hard cheese and marries it to a refreshing citrus cocktail. Number two fuses a special bourbon with tomme brulee, a manchego-style cheese. For those who love soft, oozing cheese, pairing number three introduces a smoky whisky with époisses. Blue cheese, bleu d’Auvergne finishes the scenario, with a partner bearing tropical attributes.

French Cheese and Cocktail Pairings


Mimolette A hard cheese that’s has a sharp, nutty taste with sweet hints of butterscotch. The flashy orange color comes from annatto seeds, which also lends a peppery/nutmeg essence. Mimolette comes aged six months or twelve months, the latter factored into this lovely pairing. A little history: This cheese started to be produced in France at the request of Louis XIV who wanted the French to produce something similar to Edam, which was very popular at the time. Not only will this baby look super on your cheese board, you can enhance the tasting experience with a gin cocktail. Lazy Susan’s ingredients are a wonderful play of bitter and citrus. Bluecoat gin (a HOBNOB fave) is a less juniper tasting gin, and the Giffard Pampelmousse, a grapefruit liqueur, both lend a hand in the citrus department, while the bitters and Suze contribute to the bitter aspects. Tommy Flynn, “This pairing blend strength with strength. Mimolette is sharp and the cocktail is pretty acidic. The  citric notes of the cocktail blended well with the cheese and had us wanting more.”

Lazy Suzan

1.5 oz Bluecoat Gin

.75 oz Giffard Pampelmousse

.25 oz Suze

.75 oz lemon juice

.25 oz simple syrup

3 dashes Boston Bittahs

garnish: orange slice

Shake with ice and pour into a highball glass, add a orange slice to garnish.

French Cheese and Cocktail Pairings


Tomme Brulee A hard cheese made from unpasteurized sheep’s milk, something like a manchego, but more creamy as it melts on your tongue. You can recognize it at the cheese counter by its scorched exterior, which is where the “brulee” comes in. The flavor is milky, salty, sweet with grassy notes. The matching cocktail features a medley of orange and lemon with an herbal twist. Tommy Flynn, “I wanted to brighten up the brûlée cheese by pairing it with a whiskey sour/mint julep variation. We pinned two very different flavor profiles against each other to help boost the individual flavors of each.“Heavenly!

Two by Four

2 oz Four Roses Small Batch Bourbon

.75 oz Pierre Ferrand Dry Curacao

.5 oz lemon juice

.5 oz lemon verbena/mint syrup

garnish: bouquet of mint

Shake with ice, strain into a old-fashioned glass. Garnish with mint.

French Cheese and Cocktail Pairings


Èpoisses Oozy and gooey, this orange-rinded cheese from Burgundy sounds the decadence alarm. It’s the type of cheese where the dipping of bread becomes irresistible. You may find the aroma slightly misleading, as the taste is milder than advertised, subtle and slightly salty. The rind gets its color from brine and a local brandy, which also adds to its suppleness. Look for it in its signature wooden case. The cocktail that brings out the best of this cheese starts with a smoky whisky, adds a sensual vermouth plus the complexity and sweetness of Benedictine to counteract the cheeses’ mildness. Try this one, you will love it. Tommy Flynn, “This cocktail reminded us of sitting at home in a wooden basement having a fire in the dead of winter. The warming sensation of the peaty Scotch was perfect with the strength of the cheese.”

Tip of the Ardberg

2 oz Ardberg 10 Year Old Whisky

.5 oz Dolin Rouge Vermouth

.25 oz Benedictine

2 dashes Peychauds bitters

1 dash absinthe for depth

lemon twist

Stir with ice, transfer to a Nick & Nora glass. Twist lemon to expel oils, then discard.

French Cheese and Cocktail Pairings


Bleu d’Auvergne As in any tasting scenario, leave the strongest for last. This is a blue cheese with a lot of veining, but its bite is less than you would expect. Grassy and floral notes mix with the usual blue cheese flavor profile, with a lush creaminess. A medley of tropical flavors went into the cocktail, that makes for an amazing pairing. The rum offers notes of citrus and vanilla, and the Giffard Banane de Brésil provides even more fruity deliciousness. Tommy Flynn, “Since blue cheese is incredibly strong on its own we needed a flavor that would allow it to shine while also making us want more. The pineapple jalapeño syrup proved to be the ultimate enhancer and the softness of the rum went great with blue cheese.”

High Tide


1/2 pineapple, plus a few more chunks

1 CUP sugar

1 CUP water

1.5 jalapenos

Chop 1/2 pineapple and puree in a blender. Add all ingredients to a saucepan. Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove any chunks left. Transfer to 14 oz squeeze bottle.   


1.75 oz Atlantico Platino Rum

1 oz Jalapeno Pineapple syrup

.5 oz Giffard Banane de Brésil

.75 oz lime juice

garnish: mint bouquet, slice of orange

Shake with ice, transfer to an old fashioned glass with crushed ice preferably. Garnish with mint and orange.


Special thanks to Charles Duque, Director of the French Dairy Board for NA for his fantastic cheese histories. If you love French cheeses make sure to head over to purchase some or take one of their class. They also offer a litany of books on cheese, for those doing research.


SEE MORE Cheese Board inspiration on our Pinterest page, in the board: Cheese & Charcuterie Boards for Parties.

Pretty in Pink: Enter the Rosé Cocktail

Posted on: June 11th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Which rosé cocktail will suit your fancy? These not only taste great, but will make a gorgeous color statement at your get together.—sure to entice oohs and ahhs from your attendees.

As temperatures warm, the desire for rosé enters the picture. HOBNOB attended the most fabulous rosé tasting on Avenue C, which was a crash course, so to speak, in learning more about all the different grape varietals and flavors. Here’s your chance to create a cocktail using the season’s favorite wine.


1 oz Hangar1 Straight Vodka

2 oz sparkling rosé wine

3/4 oz lemon juice

3 slices English cucumber

3/4 oz spicy ginger syrup

1.5 oz seltzer

garnish: mint sprig

Combine ingredients over ice and garnish with mint sprig.



2 oz Hangar1 Straight Vodka

1 oz rosé wine

1 tsp Elderflower syrup

1 1/2 tsp rose water

juice of 1/2 lemon

4 oz soda water

Pour vodka over ice in a glass. Add rosé wine, elderflower syrup, rose water and lemon juice. Top with soda water and stir.



1 oz Boodles Mulberry Gin

1 1/2 oz rosé sparkling wine

garnish: lemon twist

Combine ingredients in a champagne flute and garnish with lemon twist.

Earth Day Tribute to Flowers: Flora Gin Cocktail

Posted on: April 20th, 2017 by Ellen Swandiak

Try this pretty gin cocktail, with hints of Aperol, strawberry, ginger—and black pepper. Doesn’t the sound of that just whet your tastebuds? We toast Earth Day with this drink made with a gin chock block with botanicals.

Tamworth Distilling has created a super gin with something extra—in this case, pretty botanicals. Beginning with a London Dry style, then infusing linden flower, red clover, elderflower, violet, and lemon verbena the result is a flavorful gin with spark.

Flora Gin, in its gorgeous bottle, can stand up in a cocktail, succeeding without a juniper-forward taste dominating. Try just adding water to release the  floral components from the liquor.

Tasting Notes: …bright citrus on the nose, which opens up into a delicate bouquet of floral notes on the palate. Notes of grapefruit, elderflower and lavender follow, culminating in a long finish with a touch of sweetness from local honey.

We love it in this refreshing cocktail which adds a touch of bitter and bright fruit, see the recipe with this post.

HOBNOB Magazine