Notes from NYC: Liquid Inspiration

Ernest Hemingway famously may or may not have said, "Write drunk, edit sober." And regardless whether or not this is actually a Hemingway quote, an actual study by actual studiers found it's actually true. (Thanks, Fast Company!) With that in mind, it would seem irresponsible of me not to drink everything in sight while I'm on my writer's retreat. 

Fortunately, this is New York City, and there are plenty of drinks in sight.

Here are a few boozy highlights that have been giving me my summer author superpowers so far:

Cheeky Negroni

Last week was Negroni Week, which is a pretty cool concept from Imbibe Magazine. Basically, a bunch of bars create their own special Negroni-only cocktail menus for the week, and for every Negroni you order, $1 goes to a charity of the bar's choice. Last year alone, Negroni Week raised $400,000 for charity. 

Mmmm. Tastes like altruism.

Erin and I decided to kick things off by making our own Negronis at home. Traditionally, a Negroni is gin, Campari, and vermouth, but we didn't have any Campari, so we took to the intertubes to find a variation we could make with what we had on hand. What we settled on was called the cheeky Negroni, and shut up, I can make drinks with the word "cheeky" in the name if I want.

Cheeky Negroni

  • 1 part Gin
  • 1 part Aperol
  • 1 part Lillet Blanc
  • Garnished with an orange peel twist

Let me tell you. It did not suck. And every cocktail in the world is made 87x more fun when you mix it into the fun rocks glasses Erin picked up at MoMA some years back. Mustache and glasses! Oh my God! The fun of it!!!

And don't worry, we didn't make Negronis at home to avoid the charitable donation. We enjoyed our cocktails while making a donation to Inwood House, and you should absolutely check them out, and probably give them some money, too.

mahoney negroni and motorcycle diaries.jpg

Mahoney Negroni and Motorcycle Diaries

Forest Hills Station House

Negroni Week continued! We hit up this cool little cocktail bar in Queens before heading to Forest Hills Stadium to see the New York Pops perform an evening of John Williams music (Jurassic Park and Indiana Jones and Star Wars, GOOD GRACIOUS, WHAT A NIGHT!), and we did our part for charity by getting a lovely little gin buzz on, because we are very good and giving people. We also ordered a the Motorcycle Diaries cocktail, because there were two of us, and we needed two drinks, 'cause that's just math.

By the way, pay close attention to the fact that the Motorcycle Diaries had raw egg white in it. That's right. I braved salmonella for this shit. I'm hard AF.

Mahoney Negroni

  • Bols Genever Gin
  • Carpano Antica
  • Campari
  • Creme de Fraise
  • Walnut Bitters

*A donation from the purchase of every Negroni was made to

Motorcycle Diaries

  • Lavender infused Macchu Pisco
  • Honey
  • Lemon
  • Raw Egg White
  • Orange Bitters
  • Basil Blossom
  • Olive Oil

Beach Bonfire and Drinking at the Gym

Huckleberry Bar

Boy, I'll tell you what. People in Manhattan do NOT like going to Brooklyn. And people in Brooklyn do NOT like going to Manhattan. Turf wars are weird.

Anyway, Erin and I ventured out to Brooklyn, borough battles be damned, to meet a couple friends for dinner. We headed out a little early and stopped in at Huckleberry Bar for a drink on the way. We split a Beach Bonfire and a Drinking at the Gym, and now I sort of wish Brooklyn weren't so off-limits, because I really want to go back for more. 

Ugh. Turf wars. 

Shoutout to the bartender whose name I definitely forget, but who was VERY knowledgeable about the various amaros and amaris, of which this place had a pretty great selection. He even let us try a glass of his favorite for free. DON'T TELL THE MANAGER! 

Beach Bonfire

  • Batavia Arrack
  • Denizen Rum
  • Lapsang Souchong Syrup
  • Amaro CioCiaro
  • Lime Juice
  • BBQ Bitters

Drinking at the Gym

  • Medley Bros. Bourbon
  • Lemon Juice
  • Bell Pepper Syrup
  • Honey Syrup
  • Peychaud's Bitters
  • Tapatio Hot Sauce

Mezcal Southside

The Vine

Percy, the Beverage Director at The Vine, is an old friend of mine from high school, so I like to do him the very great honor of stopping into his bar when I'm in town and allowing him to give me free drinks. (You're welcome, Percy! This is what friends are for.)

Fun fact! Percy was also the co-author and one of the stars of Death and McCootie, my play that premiered at the 2013 New York International Fringe Festival!

Anyway. On to his drinks. I hate to admit it, but Percy has somehow managed to become supremely talented at dreaming up fun, delicious twists on great, classic cocktails. The Vine offers a really great and unique Negroni, and a wet gin martini that packs a punch. But this time around, we opted for the possibly-racially-insensitively-named Mezcal Southside. (Look, I'm sorry, Percy, it's true.) As you may have noticed from the picture, it is green. It looks like Ecto Cooler in a rocks glass. But it is not Ecto Cooler in a rocks glass. It is, somehow, tastier than that. 

Mezcal Southside

  • Del Maguey Vida Mezcal
  • Cucumber
  • Lovage
  • Lemon

Editor's Note: What is lovage? I do not know. 

Okay, but, like, what are you writing?

Ah! This, I am almost ready to reveal. Check back later this week for a full rundown of the five--yes, that's right, FIVE--projects I've been tackling since I got to New York! CAN YOU EVEN STAND THE SUSPENSE?!

I'll also share more of what I've been drinking next week! If you'd like any further details on the cocktails above, or on the bars where you can find them, let me know! Find me on social media (@Claytonsaurus on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) or shoot me an email by filling out the form below! 

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