October 13, 2014

Cocktail 101 with CitizenM New York Times Square Cloud Bar

This may be non-beauty related but let's have a break from all the makeup and skincare talk for a moment here and learn some alcohol basics! Why not?!? Even if you do not drink alcohol, I do hope you still keep reading as I have learned some great cocktail101 information that I want to share with you.
Thank you to CitizenM New York Times Square Hotel for hosting this great Cocktail Mixology Event at their rooftop Cloud Bar. The hotel is located at 218 West 50th Street, NY. It is right in the heart of Times Square and Theatre District. They opened earlier this year and this is the very first CitizenM hotel in the United States! It gives you the comfort of home, free wifi and movies at an affordable price. I will talk more about the hotel and share you more pictures of their lobby, room and other amenities next time. You can also head to their website for more information: 

Cloud Bar
The Cloud Bar is for hotel guests only but for this private event, they have invited select NYC bloggers to join them. Mike, our cocktail mixologist will be teaching and giving  making us drinks to taste throughout the 2-hour Mixology Class.
*I have plenty of pictures here to share with you my experience so hope you have your cocktail or coffee or tea on hand as you read this!

Before we started on our Mixology lesson, Cloud Bar had provided an array of delicious, beautiful hors d'oeuvres for us. We mingled and enjoyed the beautiful view from their outdoor area. The view overlooks midtown Manhattan, 50th street from East to West! Yes their outdoor area goes around the building so you can get a 360 degree view of the city! The weather was great that day a bit breezy and chilly as the sun was setting.
Image taken from CitizenM.com
We started with one of their signature Summer cocktails, Calmer than Chamomile - a shaken drink that is made of chamomile grappa, brandy, agave, lime and bitters on a tall glass. Our mixologist has mentioned, Summer drinks are mostly served on tall glasses.

There are two different ways of making cocktails: shaken and stirred. These two ways gives you two different type of textures on your drink. All cocktails starts off with the following:
  • base: which are your alcohols- vodka, gin, whiskey and so on.
  • acid: lemon or lime
  • sweet: sugar, agave or honey 
Sugar + Gin + Lemon (aka Tom Collins) is what he called the building blocks for cocktails.  Play with this and add other fruit juices to your tall iced drink! To master the art of shaking, he suggested to get the metal cups instead of the glass one for better grip and better shaking. 
Fill your cup with ice, the more the better as lesser ice the faster the ice will melt. We basically just want to quickly chill our drink and give it that nice "bubbly, light" texture as we shake it. Add your ingredients to the cup and shake that drink until you see condensation from the chilled drink on your cup. Get your strainer and pour it on your tall glass! 

We also got to try out one of their signature Winter drink cocktails that will be available in Cloud Bar in the next week or two, which they call the "Cider House Rules". This is their version of an Irish Coffee cocktail. This is a hot drink made with whiskey, steeped tea with spices and a pumpkin spice flavoring. Whipped cream (optional) is added on top. This ones my favorite! I am not a fan of whiskey but it's actually just strong enough to warm you up inside. The flavors blends well and does not get overpowered by the whiskey, and the cream helps as well to balance the bitterness from the alcohol and steeped tea.

Cider House Rules cocktail

*I don't have exact ingredients for you here as these are signature drinks of the hotel. I try to remember and write (with the notebook and pen they have provided) as much as I can but...the cocktails were flowing now, you know what I mean?!? But I do hope you get the gist of what's in a cocktail!

Some of us were able to go behind the bar and make our own cocktail! I requested to make my drink which is a Dirty Martini (stirred). Stirring by the way is not as easy as he does it with that long spoon. So the glass is again filled to the brim with ice and we also added my 3 shots of vodka, vermouth and olive juice before we started the art of stirring. 

The trick here is to keep the back of the spoon on the glass. You spin the spoon as well as you stir so the back of the spoon keeps touching the glass (*Try saying that ten times fast!). I hope that made sense! A stirred drink has a smoother texture and if this martini was shaken, my glass would be more opaque than the picture below.

my masterpiece!
There is definitely more than to mixing your alcohols! And speaking of mixing alcohols, we did have a few drinks that day BUT the great news here is - mixing your cocktails is okay but not if you will be drinking wine or other spirits before or after. Never mix your cocktails with wine, basically. 
I grabbed coffee after the event to wake me up a bit. Once I got home, I drank as much water that night to hydrate and avoid any hangover the next day. I continued drinking water all day the next day since my skin at the time was already dry and alcohol surely does not help. My skin reacted right away and I had a bit of a break out last week which is now slowly going away (thank goodness!) by overly moisturizing at night and changing my face wash to a gentler cleaner, I went back to using my Simple face wash.

Again thank you so, so much for CitizenM New York Times Square Hotel for having me and teaching us the basics of a cocktail! I had lots of fun with my fellow bloggers at your bar and cannot wait to come back! 

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