Combine equal parts The Great Gatsby, Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More and Club Pacha, shake well, and you start to get an idea of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s 2011 Open Gala. Spanning three floors (and several half floors, stairwells, side rooms and assorted alcoves) of the New York Public library, the event transformed the mild-mannered tomb of research into a mélange of cocktials, dancing, live bands, and even more cocktails.
In the basement, a full-fledge dance party erupted complete with disco ball, women dancing on speakers, and a swing harnessed to the hundred-year-old ceiling. On the second floor, a vintage game room bathed in red light housed some of the finer Scotches available to taste. And even an obscure half-floor stairwell paired Pat LaFrieda steak tartar and an unassuming opera singer and a fantastic Byzantine Julip made with apple brandy, date molasses, mint sprigs, and a tincture of green coriander.
With world class mixologists filling every tiny nook available it was easy to stumble upon your new favorite cocktail. Standouts included Bootlegger’s Vodka’s Lindy Hop, a mix of vodka, marachino liquor, green grape sour mix and lemon sour mix, as well as Lillet’s refreshing Cul Du Sabion, combining Lillet Blank, Lillet Rouge, Solerno Blood Orange Liquor, Gran Classico Bitter and Fever Tree Bitter Lemon. For a more detailed breakdown on the Gala’s best sips, check out Maggie Hoffman’s recap over on Serious Eats:Drinks or click through to view the full photo gallery.
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