Don’t forget to the Best of Westchester Party’s Facebook page for news, weekly ticket giveaways, prizes, and more! This week, we’re giving away an Oasis Signature Package (a 60-minute Swedish massage, a 60-minute customized facial and a 30-minute body scrub—a $260 value) to one lucky fan who “likes” our Best of Westchester Party’s Facebook fan page. The winner will be chosen at random from all Facebook fans as of noon on Friday, June 29th. Good luck!
There you are, clutching your PDT Cocktail Book as you approach your lovingly curated bar. Did I use “curated” to refer to liquor? You bet I did. You’ve gathered 13 types of bitters, organic absinthe, and four locally distilled ryes. It was an investment, but at least the money went to booze and recipes. Or did it? If you’re reading the hipster bartending bibles, maybe you’ve been thinking about buying old-fashioned bartenders’ tools. You’re thinking: Am I going to look like a loser without the $50 bar spoon? Do I need a gold-plated julep strainer? Or how about that copper Moscow mule mug? If you break out the roasting fork to stir a cocktail, will your friends be thinking, “Total Skimp Alert!” (that is, as they neck your very expensive liquor)?
Turns out that real bartenders don’t use those super-specialized cocktail tools any more than Shakespearian actors go to the Post Office carrying swords. You don’t need props unless you’re going to be performing on stage, and, let’s face it, Tom Cruise looked pretty dishraggy in that movie, Cocktail. Don’t let yourself be that guy this summer.
We here at EDP feel that you shouldn’t waste money on tools when you can spend it on liquor. So, just in time for summer cocktail season, here are the six really, absolutely necessary tools that you need for your home bar. Plus, just to spare you some drawer space, we’ve listed three tools that you just don’t.
· The big bce cube tray. The shape and size of ice makes a huge difference in the resulting cocktail. Smaller cubes melt faster and, in aggregate, offer a larger ice surface-to-drink ratio. Small cubes make for watery drinks, especially in warm weather, and distort the balance of your carefully wrought cocktail in just a few minutes. If you’d like to impress your guests (and offer a cold drink that’ll stand up to summer), check out the large-cube, silicone ice trays available here (Just make sure that you can fit a single magnum cube through the neck of your highball glasses.)
· Jigger/shot-glass combo. I know: You’re the eyeballer of highballs. You don’t need to measure—you can eyeball down to the smallest millimeter. But, guess what, sport? Your drinks suck. They’re too strong, too weak, and, worst of all, -inconsistent. Even the best bartenders measure their booze, because consistency counts. So, does elegant James Bumbery of Pour (who was an instructor for the New York Bartending School in Manhattan, Long Island, and Florida) use a swank jigger/shot glass from Cocktail Kindom? Actually, he prefers the cheapo version from CVS. “Yes, that CVS. It has every measurement I need, right down to milliliters.”
· A good-looking pitcher. Look, that whole cocktail shaking thing is cool for about four drinks; then it gets tiring to do, hear, watch, and (especially) wait for. Do your guests a favor and get a drink in their hands within the first five minutes of their arrival. Cocktails by the pitcher are a speedy solution. And, because you skip the measuring steps, you can still quickly shake the drinks to order if you want to (or not); just pour them over ice and serve!
· Shaker. Here we are back to the roasting fork. What is the purpose of shaking a cocktail? Why don’t you just stir it in some ice and call that sucker a day? Cocktail shakers do a lot of things, very, very quickly: They homogenize, aerate, and (especially) chill. Get a pro Boston shaker at Harris Restaurant Supply in Port Chester.
· Lemon squeezer. Don’t waste your time with those glass bowl juicers or wooden reams. Either spring megabucks for a standing, lever-action citrus press or pick up this cheap and cheerful hand-held press at Target.
And for beer geeks:
· Growler Cozy. You know those beer geeks, always showing up with a growler of some super-rare brew that you can only buy at the brewery on alternate Tuesdays. What are you gonna do? Shove that thing in a wine bucket (it won’t fit) or in an ice chest (and serve craft beer at brain-freeze temps)? No, you’re going to chill it to the perfect temperature and then keep it in a stretchy, neoprene cozy like this.
And a few that you don’t:
· Anything in the Cocktail Kingdom catalog that’s specific to a single drink. Just think how soon you will land on Hoarders if you keep buying unitaskers.
· A muddling stick. Just use the handle of a wooden spoon, unless you’re going to be muddling drinks for a crowd. If that’s the case, you’re either a pro bartender or a really poor party planner.
· Strainers are nice, but unnecessary. Just angle the Boston shaker cups together in a wide V and pour through the gap.
Tell us – what are your must-haves for summer drinking?
So, on Independence Day, are you going to swelter it out, all cheek by jowl with the hoi polloi? Or will you sit back in the lap of luxury, with a glass of wine and a view of colorful explosions? Thought so. Here’s where:
Dinner and Fireworks at Crabtree’s Kittle House
July 4, 7pm (fireworks start at nightfall)
$60 per person; half-price for children The great news here is that the Kittle House enjoys a front-row seat to the fireworks display detonated by the Mount Kisco Country Club. This year, look for an all-you-can-eat/drink barbecue buffet with unlimited draught beer and house wines. Blammo!
Sunset Barbecue at Haymount House www.HaymountHouseNY.com
July 4, 6:30 – 9:30 pm
$60 per person; half-price for children 12 and under
To reserve, call (914) 502-0080
Chef Scott Riesenberger will be serving an all-you-can-eat buffet on the historic house’s terrace overlooking the Hudson.
Summer Bean Salad
Home Made Coleslaw
Grilled Corn on the Cobb
German Fingerling Potato Salad
Watermelon, Feta and Basil Salad
Grilled Peach and Asparagus Salad
Homemade Chips and Dips
Shrimp and Chicken Kebabs
Choice of Hamburger or Cheeseburger
Mixed Local Berries with Crème Fraîche
Do you remember Port Chester’s F.I.S.H.—Fox Island Fish House? Rumors say that the beloved restaurant was forced to close because of unfortunate structural conditions (whose repair would have bankrupted the business). Whatever the reason for F.I.S.H.’s long-lamented closure, we’re happy to welcome Chef Bill Rosenberg back to Westchester. Look for Rosenberg’s delicious takes on Mediterranean–New American fare at NoMa Social http://www.radissonnewrochelle.com/index.php?src=gendocs&ref=Bar%20Menu&category=chowmenus, located in the New Rochelle Radisson Hotel. We especially like this tangy, sharp ceviche, so perfect for a steamy June night.