BEST OF
Valentine's Day Cocktails

Whether you’re happily shackled, newly single, or reveling in that hazy period before one of you ventures the “so, what are we” conversation, you can’t deny it: Valentine’s Day is here. Loving or cloying, for most of us, Valentine’s Day means we’re gonna need extra liquid courage to get through the day and to marathon Netflix alone in drunken dignity celebrate with a little more zing.

We’re here to help you with that. Below are some of the best Valentine’s Day-themed cocktails that restaurants and bars across New York City have thought up to set the mood for you lovebirds/make you hate your single life. If you’re one of the former, then go forth and sample these love potions at their respective establishments or make them with your darling for some hands-on fun (if you know what we're saying). If you’re one of the latter, don’t be jellz, you should still make these delicious concoctions so you can drown your sorrow/notGAF. But with class (see: rose smoke).

DIPLOMATICO RUM Emily Abrams
A Look at the U.S. Final of the Diplomático Rum World Tournament

The judges have spoken. Nick Meyer of Brilliantshine in Santa Monica, California, won over the judges in the U.S. final competition of the Diplomático Rum World Tournament with his cocktail “Chimpin’ Aint Easy”. Meyer will now be the U.S. Ambassador at the World Tournament in Venezuela this upcoming April where representatives from 28 countries will compete for the title of Diplomático World Ambassador. The U.S final competition took place this past Monday, January 12th, at the Domaine Select Wine Estates headquarters in New York City.

BEST OF
Hungry for Apps?

1) Delectable

This app is for all the wine lovers dreaming of becoming wine connoisseurs. Simply snap a photo of a wine label and get ratings and other information instantaneously (#fakeittillyoumakeit). This easy to use app lets you keep track of your favorite wines and share recommendations with your friends. App users are able to see what is trending and new wines on the market. The best part of this app is users are able to buy wine right from their phones and have wine delivered anywhere you want! This app is free and is available for iPhone users.

LIQUID COURAGE
Whisky Live Returns for its 11th Anniversary to Chelsea Piers

Produced by Whisky Magazine, the annnual renowned tasting event, Whisky Live, is one of New York's most exciting evening to whisky lovers! This event is an undeniably splendid chance to sample premium single malt scotches, bourbons, ryes and Irish whiskies on Manhattan's waterfront with stunning views of the Hudson river. Not only is it a platform to taste but also to mingle with representatives from very well known distillieries like Johnnie Walker, Glenmorangie, Ardberg, The Glenlivet, Beam and Heaven Hill. Whisky Live features award-winning whiskies from producers across America and internationally (Scotland, Ireland, Australia, etc.).

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
An evening of Art, Beer & Cheese at Sugarlift

Sugarlift is a hot new art gallery founded with the mission of connecting a new generation of artists and collectors. Launched in November of 2014, this art gallery offers the best of both worlds with offerings both online and in a brick and mortar location in Bushwick.

Last week, Blake Jordan of Hops and Hocks took a group through a tasting is a craft beers paired with cheeses with Brooklyn-based cheese enthusiast and educator Pam Brewer. With each pairing Sugarlift co-founder Wright Harvey shared a work of art from a local artist.

HOW-TO
DIY Pork and Chive Dumplings

With the New Year comes hopeful resolutions motivation to learn new skills. If you're looking to up your culinary ante, give homemade dumplings a try! The secrets to fresh and flavorful Chinese dumplings are quality meat and vegetables. The best part about making homemade dumplings is that you know exactly what you’re eating, which usually can be a questionable subject when you order from a restaurant. While dumplings taste significantly better when you make the dough from scratch, a package of dumpling wrappers can be purchased at your local Chinese grocery store. Although this dumpling recipe uses pork and chives, you could easily get creative and use anything your heart desires for the dumpling filling. Also it’s completely up to you whether you want to steam, fry or boil your little works of art once they’re assembled.

HOW-TO
Three Sizzling Recipes Using Chris Santos’ New Rattler BBQ Sauce


While many of you may know him as one of the core judges on our favorite Food Network Show Chopped, Celebrity Chef Chris Santos has been an influential culinary presence in the NYC food scene ever since the opening of his unique restaurant concept with The Stanton Social in 2005. Santos blew up the culinary scene once again in 2010 with the opening of the popular upscale restaurant and lounge, Beauty and Essex on the Lower East Side, cleverly disguised as an old school Pawn shop. Santos’ newest culinary adventure is the creation of a new signature BBQ sauce, Rattler Barbeque Sauce—“Barbeque with a bite”. Santos and Steve Seabury from High River Sauces have collaborated to create this addictive combination of smokiness using Cascabel chilies, vine-ripened tomatoes, rich molasses, robust coffee and a splash of soy with honey and raisins for sweetness. This sauce works well with vegetables, pork, chicken, fish, burgers and many more of your favorite foods. We tested the Rattler BBQ sauce and have perfected three smoky and sweet recipes to try at home!

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
American Social Sizzles In Brickell

The Miami River glitters under a cascade of fairy lights that spiral around American Social’s overarching palm trees. A gentle sea breeze kisses the alfresco patio as I nurse a rich Spiced Pear Flip cocktail. This is Christmas in Miami incarnate.

Known for its mastery of the Las Olas stretch, American Social has expanded to Brickell in a sprawling 10,000 square foot domain. An exposed brick façade highlights rows of Time magazine covers, an homage to classic Americana. Massive armchairs and shaded cabanas foster an irresistible happy hour haven.

DELICIOUS DEBUTS
A Taste of Bavaria at Paulaner



Earlier this week we had the opportunity to step into a Bavarian world and taste some of the most amazing food and drink around. Paulaner is a modern take on the traditional beer hall with great food and it's conveniently located at on Bowery.

Wolfgang Ban's (also of Michelin-starred Seäsonal) latest contemporary Bavarian restaurant is located directly inside an active microbrewery. Reclaimed wood provides a warm contrast to the industrial chic of imposing copper and steel fermentation tanks. Most impressively, everything from the beer to the bread, the sausage to the schnitzel, the pretzels to the stollen, is made in-house with locally sourced ingredients.

LIQUID COURAGE
Holiday Gifts for Friends Who Love Wine

Not sure what to get for that friend who has everything, especially as your budget tightens up leading to the holidays? Fear not, we have done the legwork for you. Pick up some of these great bottles of wine for an affordable, slam dunk gift giving season. We’ve also suggested some food pairings to go along with each because, you know, we’re awesome like that.

1.) HobNob’s 2013 Wicked

We’ve written about Wicked before, and we think it’s an excellent go-to for wine drinkers of all styles and taste (except those who drink exclusively whites, that could look like you aren’t paying attention). With notes of chocolate, coffee, and bright red fruits, Wicked pairs wonderfully with meats like pork, lamb or steak, though anything on the heartier side would work.

HOW-TO
Hanukkah 2014: Simple Potato Latkes with Sweet Paprika

Hanukkah certainly brings one delicious dish to mind--potato latkes! These simple savory pancakes are not only a staple for the Jewish holiday, they are also the perfect appetizer for any occasion. Many people see potato latkes as tedious and time consuming, but let us be the first to tell you there is no need to be intimidated at all. Think of it as quick workout with the grater, and once you have the potato peeling and onions all done, you're 90% through the battle. These traditional potato latkes are even better when a little sweet paprika is added to the mix! Serve these comforting morsels with the traditional applesauce and sour cream or be a little adventurous and use whole milk Greek Yogurt, which gives a perfect cool and creamy contrast to these sizzling potato pancakes.