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Recap: Cocktail Magic NYC

Williamsburg
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I’m the first to admit that I’m a big craft beer nerd, but I haven’t spent nearly as much time as I should diving into NYC’s craft cocktail scene. So when I heard that Cocktail Magic was coming to town, I knew I had to attend.

Lucky for me, they were nice enough to invite the Bitches to attend! I was so excited to sample concoctions from twelve different bars, all of which are incredibly well-respected in the cocktail industry. Each bar was responsible for serving one signature cocktail that they’re known for, and one specialty cocktail inspired by music.

Cocktail Magic 2016

My first thought as we entered the event was, “Wow, this venue is absolutely stunning!” Turns out, Weylin B. Seymour’s is located inside the former headquarters of the Williamsburg Savings Bank. From the mosaic marble floor, to the incredibly detailed interiors and domes, every room took my breath away.

Cocktail Magic 2016

Our favorite cocktails were the Val’s Daiquiri and Sheena is a Rum Rocker, both from End of the Century Bar, as well as Lust for Life from Pouring Ribbons and Young Americans from Nitecap.

Val’s Daiquiri, the signature cocktail from End of the Century Bar, was made up of aged white and dark rums, blended with strawberry, lime, cinnamon, and pineapple, and topped with a sliced strawberry.

Cocktail Magic 2016

After tasting this unique twist on a daiquiri, I decided that cinnamon should be a key ingredient in every tropical drink. It added such an interesting flavor, and made this drink very memorable.

The beau and I both loved Sheena is a Rum Rocker, also from End of the Century Bar. This cocktail consisted of Navy Strength Jamaican rum, aged rum, biscotti liqueur, white cacao, lemon, passion fruit, and Peychaud’s bitters.

Cocktail Magic 2016

We particularly enjoyed the nuttiness of the biscotti liqueur, as well as the sweet flavors of the passion fruit. Both ingredients paired perfectly with the rum.

My other favorite libation was Lust for Life, Pouring Ribbons’ specialty cocktail. Topped with a pineapple, this Mezcal-based cocktail also included Palo Cortado sherry, toasted orgeat, lemon, and pineapple juice.

Cocktail Magic 2016

I’m usually not a fan of Mezcal, which tastes like a smokier tequila, but the sweetness of the pineapple and toasted orgeat— a syrup made from almonds, sugar, and rosewater—really balanced this drink out nicely.

Unlike me, my guy is a big tequila fan! So naturally, he was all about Young Americans, the specialty cocktail from Nitecap. The bartender mixed blanco tequila with elderflower liqueur, dry vermouth, tomatillo juice, shishito peppers, jalapeño, and lime.

Cocktail Magic 2016

He remarked that this cocktail wasn’t too spicy, and offered a good blend of the juice and the peppers. It reminded him of a tomatillo-based Bloody Mary.

Most the cocktails we sampled were delicious in their own right. However, there was one I found underwhelming. I had read amazing things about the Shark Eye, Mother of Pearl’s signature cocktail.

Cocktail Magic 2016

While the cocktail had great flavor, it had way too much crushed ice, and not enough liquid. It did have one of the best presentations of the night: served in a shark koozie with the grenadine on top, made to look like blood. 

Cocktail Magic 2016

We wished that Roberta’s Pizza, the only bites served during the fest, had been served in a more efficient manner. Despite the large group gathered waiting for pizza, only one pizza arrived at a time, served into small slices. While the kitchen situation may have played a large part–we were in an old bank, after all–we were hungry and displeased by the wait. At least we had our cocktails!

Cocktail Magic 2016

Wait time aside, the pies sure were delicious! We sampled the Margherita pizza, with tomato, basil, and mozzarella, as well as the Bee Sting pizza. This was basically a Margherita pie, but with additional spicy toppings such as chili flakes, chili oil, soppressata, and honey. The ingredients were incredibly fresh. And you could tell the chef had put a lot of love into these pies.

Four magicians were slated to perform throughout the night. They all performed within the old bank vault, behind closed doors. Unfortunately, the line was long the entire time we were there, so we didn’t get a chance to see one of the shows.

Cocktail Magic 2016

While I understand there was probably limited options with space, I left a bit sad that we didn’t get to experience the magical side of Cocktail Magic. It would have been wise to set up one or two of the magic shows on the main stage, so that everyone could see at least one show. All in all, every cocktail we tasted was tasty and unique, and we really enjoyed this creative and fun event! Fingers crossed Cocktail Magic comes back to the area next year, so I can snag a second round of cocktails.

Cocktail Magic 2016

Learn more about Cocktail Magic, coming soon to Washington, D.C. and Chicago!

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