Juiced up Supercharged cocktails at a Union Square newcomer


Move over Bloody Mary, you’ve been dethroned as the healthiest brunch drink in town.

After you pile up your bags at the Saturday morning Union Square Greenmarket, head over to Irvington and grab a seat at the bar for an amped-up cocktail.

At Irvington, chef David Nichols is in the open kitchen cooking smart new-American food with zippy Mediterranean influences. When it comes to sourcing locally, the restaurant has exactly zero excuses: It’s located catty-corner from Union Square.

The healthful touches don’t stop at the food: bartender Nico Szymanski is behind the list of super-juice cocktails boosted with Liquiteria’s cold-pressed blends.

Settle in for a Green Dream ($15) made with Crop organic cucumber vodka and Liquiteria’s All Greens blend of kale, spinach, romaine, parsley, celery and cucumber.

Grab a seat and enjoy the good food and better-for-you cocktails at Irvington.

When we pressed Nico about calling a cocktail “healthy,” he gave it to us straight up. “I’ll put it this way: They’re as healthy as you’re going to get with something that’s also loaded with alcohol,” he says. “The vast majority of calories in a cocktail come from the alcohol itself (1 ounce of an 80 proof spirit contains about 65 calories). So beyond that, the only things that you can tweak to make a drink more or less healthy are the mixers. And in this case the mixers are fresh, whole ingredients loaded with nutrients, instead of sugar. So yes, they are as healthy as possible with anything that still gives you a buzz.”

Nico’s favorite is “The Seeing Red” ($15). In it, he pairs the sharp bite of rye whiskey with the earthiness of Liquiteria’s Beets Me blend of carrots, beets, ginger, orange and pineapple—garnished with candied ginger.

Add an order of avocado and spring pea toast with pickled cage-free eggs and shaved cucumber ($15), and we’d call that a brunch of champions.

201 Park Ave. S. (inside W. Union Square)

Pomegranate Party: A Twist on the French 75 Cocktail

The Red 75

With its early-20th-century Paris roots in a spot called Harry’s New York Bar, the classic “French 75” cocktail traditionally includes cognac or gin mixed with champagne. It packs a punch, but not much nutrition.

So for our holiday toast—and a twist on that cocktail—we turned to Rouge Tomate, the Upper East Side’s Michelin-rated, seasonally inspired new-American restaurant. Wine and Beverage Director Pascaline Lepeltier gave us her refreshed version of the old-time celebratory sip: the “Red 75.” Showcasing organic gin and organic prickly pear juice (this recipe uses organic pomegranate juice for a more seasonal approach; feel free to use a juice of your choice), this drink is a festive visual tease. We also love the frothy egg mixed in.

“This is a celebration cocktail, combining the taste and the incredible vibrance of the pomegranate color to the bubbly touch of the champagne,” says Lepeltier. “This Rouge Tomate variation—by using seasonal and rich-in-nutrients ingredients—is a perfect indulgence cocktail for the holiday season.”

We’re red-y, are you?

Red 75
1 oz. organic gin (Rouge Tomate uses Farmer’s)
1½ oz. organic pomegranate juice
½ oz. organic lemon juice
½ oz. organic agave
½ oz. organic egg
¾ oz. Aperol
2 oz. organic champagne

In a mixing glass, add all ingredients but the champagne; shake with ice. Pour the champagne into a champagne coupe, then strain the cocktail and pour over it. No garnish; the drink should have a nice, white foam.

Rouge Tomate
10 E. 60th St.
646 237-8977

Long Island Vintners: Gamechangers in Sustainability


Looking for local wines that are as sustainable as can be? Have a sip of this: Several Long Island-based winegrowers have forged together to launch an ecologically mindful collective around the careful cultivation of one juicy little fruit: The grape. Long Island Sustainable Winegrowing (LISW), a not-for-profit organization and the first sustainable vineyard certification program east of the Mississippi, officially went public with their message on Earth Day of this year. Continue reading

Community Supported Alcohol: Enlightenment Wines

Wild Melaides wine

You’ve heard of Community Supported Agriculture — but what about Community Supported Alcohol?

Enlightenment Wines — which prides itself on “Putting the Alchemy back in Alcohol” — offers a Cult Wine and Mead CSA, where the “A” stands for “Alcohol.” I sat down with wine-, potion- and mead-maker Raphael Lyon to talk fermented flowers, the path to Enlightenment and what’s on tap for 2012. Below is an edited transcript of our discussion.

(Note: Lyon is providing wine pairings for an intimate tasting dinner at Eat on January 29th; contact him for details.) Continue reading

“Drink with Purpose” with The Barman’s Fund


Your next cocktail purchase could be your next good deed.

Established in April 2011 by Brian Floyd, bartender at The Vanderbilt in Brooklyn, The Barman’s Fund is simple in nature, but huge in impact: good-willed bartenders throughout New York City pledge select shifts each month and donate every penny they make to various charities. Hence, the tagline: “Drink with Purpose.”

So far, The Barman’s Fund has raised just shy of $30,000 for a range of local charities. Continue reading

Organic Sparkling Wine Picks for New Year’s Eve


Whether the first moments of 2012 find you dancing under bright lights, hiding away at the beach or cozy at home, chances are there will be sparkles. Make a toast to your health and the environment by choosing something natural.

The Natural Wine Company (211 N 11th Street, Brooklyn) has a range of sparking wine options, all made from organically grown grapes.  Here are a few of their favorites: Continue reading

In Season NY: Local Pumpkin Beer

This fall, why not skip the Jack (Daniels) in favor of some tasty, fermented Jack O’Lantern? We’ve rounded up a list of local pumpkin beers; enjoy knowing that your dollars are supporting a local producer while you savor a delicious seasonal brew. (Note, breweries marked with a [t] offer tours – check their websites for details.)

First up is Wolavers, our favorite for being local (regional, at least) and brewers of the nation’s first certified organic beer: Continue reading

Where To Head For Craft Beer Week

More than 200 beer-centric venues (bars, restaurants, breweries and beer shops) have convened for the fourth NYC Craft Beer Week, which runs until September 25th. This means that now you not only have an easy list to tag for future beer finds; you’ll also be treated to some great pairing dinners and demos throughout the week. The main event: a corralling of the city’s 20 best brewers—and city beer sages Jimmy Carbone, Garrett Oliver (of the Brooklyn Brewery) and Dave Brodrick (Blind Tiger Ale House)—for a dinner of their favorite foods and brews at City Winery on the 22nd.

But we also wanted to point you to a few of our favorite places. Below, find things like crispy oysters, corn ravioli and a Berkshire pork rack to line the belly for the city’s best suds.

Brickyard Gastropub

Ommegang lovers, sign up for the $49.95 all-Ommegang prix-fixe pairing menu here. First course: “crispy oysters” (panko-breaded with jicama slaw and wasabi aioli) paired with the brewery’s Hennepin. Their Abby Ale comes with steak frites—pan-seared hanger steak, white truffle and parmesan frites with an au poivre sauce for dipping. Then, mussels with fennel, shallots, garlic, saffron and the Witte from Ommegang; and finish with kobe beef sliders and Rare Vos.

Jimmy’s No. 43

Home to pastured pig meat and local oysters, there’ll be lots on offer throughout the week here, from a Small Brewery Dinner with Civilization of Beer-founder Sam Merritt on Monday at 7—where you’ll sample truly lesser-known breweries (“nano,” even) like Blind Bat and Wandering Star, alongside a four-course pairing dinner (tickets: $55)—to a Cigar City Brewery & Oyster Party on Wednesday, where shucking and beer will continue to flow from 6-10 p.m. in the back room.

Colicchio & Sons

There are two events to note here: a Brewmaster’s Series with Pennsylvania-based Victoria Brewing on the 20th—that includes five-course pairing—and a dinner with Sixpoint on the 21st. There, the Red Hook, Brooklyn-based brewery will pour never-released bottles for a seasonal dinner.

Gramercy Tavern

In the Tavern Room, a four-course pairing ($75) starts with St. Bernardus Wit from Belgium next to grilled and marinated scallops with heirloom tomatoes and charentais melon. Then: Germany’s Schlenkerla Helles Lager with corn ravioli with artichokes, lima beans and scallions. Next it’s onto the main event: a Berkshire pork rack with belly bacon, grilled apricots and sweet bell peppers, alongside Germany’s Uerige Altbier. Finish with a dizzying Chocolate Blackout Cake with cacoa nib ice cream, salted hazelnut crumbs and a Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout.

Birreria at Eataly

We’ve all heard about the Dogfish Head oasis at the rooftop bar, Birreria—co-led by its brewmaster Sam Calagione—but there are other great brews on offer at the megamarket. The plan, after all, was to showcase the best of American and Italian beers. So look for Moretti (a golden bottom-fermented oldie from the 1800s), Baladin (Italy’s first microbrewery), and Del Borgo, a newbie from Borgorose.

Whole Foods

Or while you’re stopping in here to celebrate beer pairing of your own at home, pick up a Breckenridge from Denver, sold here.

7 Cocktail Spots for Summer

We’re in the midst of the inaugural NYC Cocktail Week (like Restaurant Week), and while we’re sure there are plenty of great spots on the lineup, we have a few trusted standbys of our own. When ordering drinks, one can easily find cheap sticky sugars and not-so-fresh concoctions that are far from the original components that make cocktails so great—medicinal gin and tonics heavy on the high fructose corn syrup and artificial quinine, for one such ugly truth. But not on our bar tab.

With the likes of rhubarb pureés, organic vodka and a sangria with upstate rosé, we hope we’ve found some safe havens for you real-deal drinkers this summer. If so, we wouldn’t mind hearing a toast across the room.

This wooden sky-lit space serves as a resting place for a similarly simple, light drink with a fitting name: The Luna. Organic Cucumber Vodka lines a glass of lemon, simple syrup and St. Germain elderflower liqueur that’d be a good match for the whole-roasted branzino or appetizers of octopus or Yellowfin crudo, we think.

Rouge Tomate
Those pink stalks of spring, rhubarb, get pureéd and bubbly-drunk in a Rhubarb Bellini with organic prosecco here, or added to house-smoked rum, lemon and prosecco for the Rhubarb Crisp. Prickly pear, Champagne, lemon verbena and biodynamic elderflower syrup make up a seasonal Spring 75. See also: blood orange, blueberry, and Thai basil-based cocktails. That’s because this spot is dedicated to sustainable practices, which carry through to the menu and wine list.

This home of vegetarian bistro wares and biodynamic wines serves sustainable cocktails, too—ones made with premium Rain vodka from 100% organic white corn. Choose from Married In A Fever (red wine-poached pear nectar, smoked pear-infused vodka), Angry Lesbian (tarragon-infused vodka with framboise and orange nectar) or the Up All Night: espresso bean, cocoa and vanilla-infused vodka rimmed with chocolate fudge.

Hundred Acres
Farmer’s Organic Gin is the base for a Grapefruit Cooler here with elderflower and lime. We’d also suggest the Dirty Tomato Martini with Organic Tomato Vodka, basil and olive for something like a liquored-up gazpacho.

This Greenwich Village locale enlists its locally sourced cocktail program with the likes of Hudson Baby Bourbon and Finger Lakes wine. Order The Cornelia (named for the restaurant’s street address) for a mix of Finger Lakes Distilling’s Seneca Drums gin, aperol, sparkling wine and fresh orange. The Village Fizz is a martini glass of Texas-based Titos Vodka (made from agave), pureéd apricot jam and lemon juice. Then there’s the Rosé Sangria with Finger Lakes-based Lakewood Vineyard rosé, fresh fruit (orange, lemon, lime, green apple) and a shot of tequila (optional).

A Sunburnt Melons cocktail sounds fun, and it is: Tanteo Jalapeño Tequila (made from 100% agave), fresh watermelon and ginger pureés, lime juice and agave nectar. We’d take it with the bar’s half-shelled oysters or ceviche of octopus, scallops and peppers.

Five Points
Alongside some local wines and microbrews sits the Montauk Fizz: pureéd ginger root, fresh lime, gin and seltzer. We’d advise sending this one up in the air—perhaps over a plate of country-style paté—for a toast of some of the best bottoms-up this side of New Orleans.

Photo via Joel Olives, Flickr

Beginner’s Guide to Juicing in NYC

Drinking more fresh-pressed, veggie-filled juice (ideally using organic and locally grown produce) is a great way to get lots of nutrients and help your body clear out built-up toxins—if done correctly.

Overindulgence has become synonymous with the holidays, and after this excess, the next step is naturally to want to get healthier. We wine, we dine, we feast, and now we cleanse.

The juice cleansing craze stretches from daily home use kits to juice bars, raw food stops, and professionally-monitored cleansing clinics. With so much hype and different products out there, it’s important to be informed before you decide to commit to a cleanse.

So Why Juice?
Juicing is a great way to infuse your body with a large amount of nutrients while simultaneously giving it a break from all the hard work of the digestive process. And by juicing we don’t mean store bought cranberry or orange juice. We’re talking greens-based drinks loaded with tons of vegetables like kale, spinach and broccoli with carrot, pineapple or apple to sweeten them. The liquid nutrients you’ll find in these juices are a treat for your body; unlike those received from most meals, they are easily absorbed and quickly broken down.

OK, Then How Do I Juice?
There are many ways to introduce juice into your diet, such as simply adding a juice in as a snack a few times a week, making it a daily meal replacement or doing a full-juice cleanse/fast. However, it is important to understand that a juice fast is not for everyone. If this turns out to be you, don’t fret! You can introduce better nutrients into your body and allow yourself a chance to cleanse by eliminating certain foods such as gluten, sugar, dairy and meats and replacing them with “cleaner” foods with higher density nutrients such as vegetables, fruits, beans and, of course, fresh-pressed veggie juices.

I’m Ready To Do A Juice Fast. What Happens Next?
The benefit of doing a full fast is that you give your body a break from digesting whole foods, and you eliminate the toxins that are part of the modern day diet so that the body can relax, restore and heal. A typical juice fast/cleanse lasts between three to ten days, but before you choose from the various juice cleansing/fasting options, you may need to consult with a medical professional, doctor or nutritionist (our own founder of Clean Plates, resident nutritionist Jared Koch, is happy to help). Please understand that juice cleansing/fasting is only effective and safe when done correctly and according to your individual needs.

There are a few key things to think about when embarking on a juice fast. Before the cleanse you will need to reduce (or even better, eliminate) certain foods from your diet including wheat, dairy, sugar, caffeine and meat. During the fast you should rest and relax so that your body optimizes the energy necessary to cleanse. Post-cleanse you will want to slowly ease back into a very clean food plan limiting harder to digest and processed foods at first and, ideally, never returning to poor quality fare.

Below you will find some great options in and around Manhattan to satisfy your juice fix and kick start your New Year’s Reso’Juicin.

Juice Stops in Manhattan:

Liquiteria (East Village) (212) 358-0300 liquiteria.com

Pick up some juice, kick-back and relax at this staple East Village juice bar catering to locals, NYU students and celebrities alike. Liquiteria offers pressed juices, smoothies, liquid remedies and fresh squeezed juice, as well as some light nibbles: breakfast options, sandwiches, wraps and soups. They deliver locally (between Houston and 23rd and Avenue D and Fourth Avenue) and also ship nationally. In addition, Liquiteria is now offering a cleanse at home program, uniquely tailored to fit your lifestyle. Call for details.

FreeFoods (Midtown West/Times Square) (212) 302-7195 freefoodsnyc.com

Offering organic and market-driven food crafted for vegans and carnivores alike, this Midtown West outpost caters to the bustling streets of business people and shoppers during the day and late-workers and locals at night. Stop in for juice or a smoothie, take home some organic bakery goods, including vegan and gluten free-items, or munch on an organic burrito or free-range chicken Caesar salad. You’ll be sure to leave happy and your body will thank you.

One Lucky Duck (Gramercy) (212) 477-7151 oneluckyduck.com

A takeaway spot located next to their sister restaurant, Pure Food and Wine, One Lucky Duck is a great stop in Gramercy for all things juice and raw food. From taco salad and lasagna to ice cream and moon pies, each dish is made with clean, organic, vegan ingredients, raw and never cooked beyond 118 degrees. If you happen to find yourself on the West side instead, One Lucky Duck recently opened a new Chelsea location in the Chelsea Market. Also, One Lucky Duck just debuted the Not-Just-Juice Cleanse, allowing for anyone from juice fasting pro’s to particularly gluttonous eaters to give their bodies a rest and get some clean nutrients through juices and raw food. Each cleanse starts on Mondays, so call for the particulars.

The Juice Press (East Village) (212) 777-0034 thejuicepressonline.com

The Juice Press is committed to clean eating and is a one stop shop for this mantra, offering everything organic including juice, smoothies, salads, sandwiches, raw foods and dessert. With a wide variety and a wealth of knowledge on clean foods, you’ll be sure to leave The Juice Press satisfied. They also offer an at-home cleanse consisting of three different levels, based on your ailments and experience with juice cleansing. Stop in or call for more information.

B.Y.O.J. – Cleanse at Home:

Blue Print Cleanse (212) 414-5741 blueprintcleanse.com

Rated the “best juice cleanse” by New York Magazine and “the cleanse for foodies” by Food and Wine, the Blue Print Cleanse is a user-friendly cleanse that allows each client to choose their fast based on their individual needs and history. Whether it’s just juice or juice and food, call BPC to consult on what is best for you. The cleanse can be picked up from various locations around the city or simply have it delivered straight to your door in no time.

Cooler Cleanse (212) 531-1110 coolercleanse.com

Backed by Salma Hayek, who specifically requested a cleanse that would be “as effective and enjoyable as possible,” this cleanse “is so good, you’ll never know it’s Vegan,” according to the Daily Candy. Offering a variety of cleanses including three-day, five-day, custom cleanses or juice and food delivered nation-wide, this organic cleanse is sure to fit your criteria for taste, ease and squeaky-clean feeling insides.

Organic Avenue (212) 358-0500organicavenue.com

The food of “LOVE”: Live Organic Vegan Experience. All the food and juice contained in these cleanses are raw and unheated, have no added chemicals, and contain no animal by-products. The idea is to “nourish the body and spirit” and Organic Avenue has five programs available that do just that. Stop in to one of their three locations in Manhattan or call them on the phone and find out what is best for you.

Escape to a Juicy Retreat:

American Yogini (866) 964-4649 americanyogini.com

The Hohm juice cleanse retreat and the Hohm juice cleanse delivered are the signature detox rituals American Yogini offers. They have a variety of cleansing options to best suit your needs; whether it’s a few days stay on the East End of Long Island where you can escape the bustling city streets, practice yoga from 9:30-10:30 a.m. daily and cleanse on your own time or attend a workshop weekend of cleansing and yoga. Or you can opt to Hohm at home with their juice cleanse delivery program. American Yogini offers private raw food coaching and raw juice fasting for individuals or groups.

The Juicy Naam (212) 876-6000 thejuicynaam.com

Begun by a worn-out Wall Street Yogi turned wellness-guru, The Juicy Naam is a juice bar and healing center that, along with using local organic produce from neighboring farms, provides an outlet for cleansing, yoga and healing bodywork treatments from June-October. In addition to two Long Island locations, The Juicy Naam has a store in The Hotel Wales in Manhattan.

This article was updated in January 2012 to reflect the new location and phone number  The Juicy Naam.