Simple Shots and Simple Service a MCCas Anti-Gala 2013 Served its Purpose

Three floors, expert cocktails and interesting folks comprised the 2013 Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s popularly coveted anti-gala, hosted by Social Mixology and BarMagic. This year’s anti-gala, which intentionally opposes the ritzy and glitzy opening night Gala, which naturally donned a Great-Gatsby theme at the dazzling Fifth Avenue New York Public Library, was staged at the ever-trendy, never friendly Hotel Chantelle on the Lower East Side. To toast the third annual Classic, the three-floored closing night party really ran the gamut in terms of cocktail styles, music choices and guest vibes.

The top floor rooftop evolved into the most chill and trendy of the levels. With beer on tap and a refreshing cachaca cocktail in the mix, the preppy crowd enjoyed the popular music, city view, and flowery scenery for a lovely and low-key evening.

Down to the basement we go, where sliders were served and shots were poured – to backwards and upside down mouths of course. Freely flowing all night long, this downstairs dungeon-like feel remained bumping until the wee hours. There were other beverage options, including a cognac, but the Fernat Branca shots remained the popular pick all night.

Steven Hollenkamp creator of Qaviar

The main floor, which very much looked like an old-school library, was a bit more of an eclectic crowd, but a staple vodka and grapefruit beverage was being served as well as a classic Corzo Tequilla shot. But this was fine by me as it was floor number one of the Hotel Chantelle circa 12:30 am that I happened upon the most interesting fellow and highlight of the evening. Meet Steven Hollenkamp, creator of a caviar-like concoction, but better. It was filled with booze. Mr. Hollenkamp, clearly not a Manhattan native but who dons from the midwest, was quite shy and carried the goods, copyrighted as “Qaviar,” in a beaten up gym bag. But when he began chatting up his product, his passion and personality came to the forefront and were almost as dazzling as the product itself. In a cigar-like box, Mr. Hollenkamp revealed six different types of little liquor-filled balls that he served with small plastic caviar spoons. He explained that they could also be frozen and incorporated into cocktails so that unlike ice, the beverage can stay cool but never become deluded with melted ice. Genius!

And with that, one last mini grilled cheese was eaten and a cab home was hailed. Fittingly for the anecdote to the frivolous and fancy opening gala, this year’s anti-gala was much more about simple shots than fancy cocktails. Again, fine by me, as the atmosphere, aesthetically pleasing people, appropriate tunes and comfort-food that was served, made for a solid night of socializing and celebrating the end to the third successful Classic.


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