Even though I've been to the Edison's Radio Room several times, I've always been a bit hesitant to blog about the event since they're single-event affairs, and the performances, the guest bartenders and drinks made that night may not ever make an appearance again. But every time I go, I've been amazed by the cocktails du jour and the knowledgeable-yet-friendly bartends (even when juggling a nonstop frenzy of orders for most of the night) so I figure it's high time to officially endorse this monthly soiree, which I was fortunate enough to be invited to by their PR (though from how popular the event turned out, they probably don't need another plug from me!)
In its latest incarnation earlier this week, the Radio Room decided to showcase the drink-making skills of its incoming director of spirits, Joseph Brooke (who has been tending at Copa d'Oro and was the season 2 winner of LX.TV's "On the Rocks" bartending competition,) Brian Miller from NYC's Death & Company and Erick Castro of San Francisco's Bourbon & Branch and Rickhouse.
Between these three talented crafters, the drink menu of seven was a whimsical mix that really ran the gamut, covering quite a range of spirits and showcasing a broad spectrum of flavor profiles, from the fruity (but only mildly sweet) Kentucky Buck with strawberry puree, to the spicier Hispaniola with tea-infused rum and a sugarcane-ginger syrup, and a light, fizzy, refreshing (yet deceptively potent) Miss Behavin' with apple and pear brandies topped with a little bubbly!
The most memorable of the night for me, though, was the Porco Rosso; not only does the name remind me of my favorite anime legend, the drink itself (made with High West Rye, Aperol, Carpano Antica, bitters, citrus) was delightfully fragrant with sweet spices and orange, a rich, warming mouthfeel, and a velvety-smooth finish. A wonderful sleight-of-hand twist from the Rye Manhattan, and since this was Joe's creation -- I hope it'll make it onto the permanent drink list at the Edison, or at least him not minding a do-over when I return.
The entertainment of the night (which also changes with the Radio Room) was Portland's Vagabond Opera; since I'm even less adept to describe music than I am with food and drinks, I'll turn that over to my friend Hey Hey Scenesters! My brief take in a sentence: a rambuctious fusion of big band, cabaret and Monty Python's Spamalot -- not exactly danceable but it does get crowds riled up!
Speaking of getting excited, I was definitely thrilled to see seafood specialist Christophe Happillon happily shucking and serving up British Columbian Fanny Bay oysters near the back bar of the Edison. It was great to meet the famous Oyster Gourmet in person, listen to his excitement over the bivalve, and of course, sampling one of those delights (absolutely delicious on its own: sweet and meaty, with clean, briny liqueur!)
And while I do miss the earlier days of the Radio Room, a more intimate setting in the back bar when everyone can get a seat with a view of the show and a drink in their hand in a few minutes, this bigger version has an interesting, if different than original, vibe for it too, particularly the fresh infusion of energy and creativity from the guest bartenders and performers. So I'll still be back to check it out, and if mobs and potentially long waits are not your thing, try to come very early (half-hour before start time) or very late (45 minutes before end time.) Oh, and take mental notes of Caroline's observations and ordering advice.
Few more photos on flickr here
The Radio Room at The Edison (next one is on March 30th, with March 4th Marching Band performing)
108 W 2nd Street