Tag Archives: drinks

The Aviary

I took my wife to The Aviary as an early Christmas present. I booked the five course “Cocktails & Canapes” tasting menu dinner about two weeks in advance with a $100 deposit. The cost is $165pp, with an 18% gratuity added at the end (and tax, of course).

That’s crazy expensive, but this is truly a unique drinking and dining experience. I drank and ate things I never would have even thought about. In hindsight, five cocktails was aggressive (but awesome). I think when I go back, I will just order a la carte.

Here is the entire menu, but I will highlight what was selected for us below in the review:


The first thing to come out was an “amuse” drink – a small shot of tastiness that involved lime, rum, and mint.

A few moments later, our first round of cocktails came out with the first course of food.


Drinks: Micahlada (left – and yes, that is spelled correctly) and Zombie Panda (right)

Of these two, the Micahlada was my favorite. This is The Aviary’s take on a michelada (beer, spices and tomato juice), made with soy, coriander, Japanese whisky and Evil Twin beer. The Zombie Panda was tart from the lemon, lychee and pisco, and filled with frozen spheres of raspberry juice to sweeten it up.

Food: Pineapple Two Ways

This was a nice way to get the taste buds popping. That brown stuff at the bottom was a mole sauce. I liked it a lot, but my wife wasn’t too taken with it. The black mint garnish was tasty and went well with the watermelon radish and passion fruit.


Drinks: How Does Snoop Dog Use Lemongrass (left) and Mimosa (right)

The mimosa was nice because the fruit juice was frozen into ice cubes, so the drink becomes sweeter and more smooth as it sits.

The idea behind the Snoop drink is that Snoop Dogg ends everything with “-izzle” when he talks/raps, so there is a “swizzle” made out of lemongrass, which is used to mix the drink together:

Food: Kampachi Ceviche

This was bright, light and savory, pulling in southeast asian flavors from Thai green curry, heart of palm and coconut. I really enjoyed the briny broth and the coiled peels of red pepper for spice.


Drink: Heart of Stone

This was the best drink of the night, and you get about six glasses out of the container. That container is filled with bourbon, tea, Fresno chili, pistachio and peach. As it sits there, the flavors infuse deeply into the bourbon, so each time you refill the glass it tastes a little different. More spices come out, more sweetness too. Amazing.

Food: Pork Belly Curry

This dish was really good, but it could have been excellent with a crunch element. I think the iceberg lettuce discs were supposed to be that element, but they fell short just a bit. Perhaps a fried shrimp chip or crispy egg roll wrapper would do the trick. But the pork belly curry itself? Awesome. The banana and cashew are excellent compliments to the savory.



They’re experimenting with “all times of day” food here at The Aviary, so this is meant to be a breakfast item. It’s velvety smooth, and the smoked abalone within makes you think you’re eating bacon. The pops of flavor from the pickled huckleberries really brighten and balance this seafood porridge custard dish.


Drink: Memphis Half Step

These glasses come to the table upside down on a charred piece of oak cask, filled with smoke. The aroma is awesome. This absinthe and rye cocktail is super smooth with a hint of sweetness.

Food: A5 Miyazaki Wagyu Rib Eye

Clearly my favorite food item of the night. The meat was buttery soft, and the grilled romaine with puffed rice was a great textural pop to go with it.  That yellow sauce is a yuzu mustard. Possibly the greatest mustard ever. 10/10. Wish I had 16 more ounces of this.


Drink: Boom Goes The Dynamite

This was sweet and warm, almost like a port or brandy. It was made with rum, vanilla, violet and rooibos…  and dry ice for the smoke.

Food: Blueberry

Milk chocolate, violet and buttermilk sorbet make this dessert extra decadent. There were some more spheres of raspberry ice on the plate too, rounding out the meal with a call back to the very first cocktail (Zombie Panda). Really nice.


After dinner, our waiter Preston took us on a short tour of The Office, the speakeasy behind The Aviary bar staging area (which looks more like a kitchen than a bar).

Here’s what the inside of The Office looks like:

They have a cabinet filled with really old spirits that you can order as well. Super rare.

I will definitely be back to try this place, as well as the Aviary again. So many interesting sounding drinks and food items to try, like the “Science AF,” which looks like a chemistry set, or the “Wake & Bake,” which is a pillow filled with smoke and a drink made with orange, everything bagel, coffee and rye. I snapped a photo of it before they opened the bag filled with smoke:

Mandarin Oriental
80 Columbus Circle at 60th Street
New York, NY 10023

Scottish Punch

I call this one Scottish Punch:

  • 1 part cherry syrup
  • 2 parts orange juice
  • 3 parts peaty scotch

Shake with ice and pour over rocks. Garnish with a cherry.

Sweet balanced with smoke.

Krave’s Smoke Apple Fusion & Giveaway

This is a genius recipe. The good people at Krave Jerky contacted me about this great cocktail recipe they formulated in conjunction with Angry Orchard hard cider. And read through to the end of this post because there’s a limited-time-offer free giveaway attached to this in celebration of National Jerky Day, which is Sunday, June 12th.

What You Need:

  • 1.5oz Krave Chili Lime Beef Jerky infused reposado tequila
  • 0.5oz cinnamon infused honey syrup
  • 0.5oz lime juice
  • 4oz Angry Orchard Crisp Apple
  • smoked salt

How to Make It:

Tear up a medium sized piece of the beef jerky and add it to the tequila. Let that soak for a while, like 20-30mins, before straining off the tequila. Boom. Just like that you have your jerky-infused tequila. The honey syrup is easier to put together: just add cinnamon to a honey simple syrup if you don’t have the time or patience to let a cinnamon stick soak in the syrup.

Add all ingredients into a shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a low ball glass with ice and a smoked salt rim. Garnish with a piece of Krave Chili Lime Beef Jerky.


Giveaway Instructions

Okay so here’s how to enter the giveaway: Simply go to my Facebook page, Twitter feed or Instagram gallery, follow, and use the tag #jerkylove in a comment related to this post or the picture above. Do that so I know that you are actively entering this contest. Pretty simple. Tell your friends to enter, and use the tag on all three of my social media accounts to increase your odds of winning.

On Sunday, June 12th, which is National Jerky Day, I will select a winner at random and first I, and then Krave, will contact you regarding the prize. What’s the prize, you ask? An assortment of Krave jerky as seen below!


Krave is giving away over 25,000 bags of its delicious, artisanal jerky across the US!

Let me tell you: their product is top notch. I’ve sampled pretty much every flavor they offer, and they are all fantastic. You can see my review of all their jerky flavors HERE.

Good luck, drink up, and eat up!!!

Rusty Screwdriver

This is a quick and dirty mash-up of the classic screwdriver and rusty nail cocktails:

– Scotch & Orange Juice –

Essentially, it’s a poor-man’s Germain Scotsman. I love the combination of smokey scotch and orange juice with a hit of that elderflower flavor, but sometimes you just want to cut costs at a bar. And they may not have the right scotch or the elderflower liqueur, either. So this is a cheap substitute.

MexiCali Sunset

This refreshing cocktail is super easy to make. Here’s what you need to make it:

  • 1 freshly squeezed clementine (or substitute with orange)
  • 1 packet sugar in the raw
  • 1 bottle of spicy ginger beer
  • mezcal (or substitute with tequila, sotol)

Add all ingredients except the ginger beer into a shaker with ice, and shake it the fuck up. Put as much mezcal in as you want! Pour over ice in a low ball glass. Fill it up between half and three quarters full. Then add ginger beer and stir before serving. Garnish with clementine rind to add a pop of bitter into the otherwise sweet drink, and rub the rind around the rim of the glass to get those citrus oils popping with each sip.

White Mexican

You’ve all heard of the drink known as the “White Russian,” which was reincarnated by “The Dude” in The Big Lebowski. Essentially it is vodka, Kahlua and milk/cream.

My twist on the drink swaps out the vodka and Kahlua for Patron Cafe, a coffee and dark chocolate flavored tequila (hence the Mexican element). You can still use the milk or cream for the “white” element, but if you want to add a nutty flavor you can go with almond milk and then hit it with a dash of sweetened condensed milk for thickness.

Steak Sauce Martini

I came across an amazing drink that Chef Admir from Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse whipped up for the holiday season. It’s called the Steak Sauce Martini.



  • 1oz Bourbon
  • 1oz Eggnog
  • 1oz White Chocolate Liqueur
  • 1oz Frangelico
  • 1/4 teaspoon Steak Sauce
  • 1 Strip of Bacon (for stirring)


  1. Smear the steak sauce on the inside of a chilled martini glass.
  2. In a shaker with ice, add bourbon, eggnog, white chocolate liqueur and Frangelico.
  3. Shake and pour into a martini glass. Garnish with strip of bacon.

If its too much work for you to make at home, then take a trip over to Ben & Jacks to try it out.

Winter is Coming

It’s really simple:

  • 1 part Amaretto
  • 1 part Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey Whiskey
  • 1 part Kahlua

Shake up with ice and pour over some rocks. It starts out looking cloudy and light brown, but then it darkens up as it settles. A riff on this if it is too strong is to mix in a little bit of milk, but then the whole dynamic changes.

These were a smash hit on Thanksgiving. I must’ve made a half dozen of them for family members that took a sip of mine and then wanted their own. To me, it tasted like liquid brown sugar. My sister said it tasted like chocolate covered black cherries. My wife said it was a very “Fall/Autumn” drink.

Sweet Cactus

Adding to my repertoire of cocktails made with aloe drink, I went a little deeper into that family of aloe/cactus plant lineage with this mezcal-based drink:

  • 1 part aged mezcal
  • 2 parts aloe drink
  • 1 teapoon agave syrup
  • 1 packet of sugar in the raw
  • a squirt of lime juice

Shake with ice, and serve on ice. Very refreshing.


Aloe Guvna

Over the last few weeks I’ve been trying to make a dent in some booze that I haven’t touched for a while in the liquor cabinet. I offered to make my wife a cocktail and she said “surprise me,” so I figured I would concoct something new and unique.

I have a LOT of scotch, so that was the first ingredient I picked. I took the lemon juice out, and grabbed a packet of sugar in the raw. But it needed something else. I opened the fridge and saw some aloe drinks. Perfect! It has a lychee-ish, grape-ish, elderflower-ish flavor to it, and a bit sweet but refreshing at the same time.


So I threw one part scotch, two or three parts aloe drink, lemon juice and sugar into the shaker with some ice and went to work shakin’ that shit. The result was a foggy yellow colored drink that was absolutely incredible!

Strong, sweet, refreshing and unique. You can swap the lemon for lime if you want, and you could add a dash of spicy ginger beer if you have it, or perhaps a splash of cherry juice. I garnished with a cherry.