New York City has long been known for its abundant talent in the way of both chefs and mixologists. In the city that never sleeps, the vibrant energy is an inspiration for culinary creations from fast food holes-in-the-wall to the finest in craft cocktail bars. While Houston has seen some chefs make the move south, bringing their distinct vision to our constantly-evolving foodie city, the best way to get a taste of something fabulous and unique straight from the Big Apple is at a good, old-fashioned pop-up.
On Monday, Nov. 9, craft cocktail innovator Michael Neff heads to Houston for a one-night-only event at downtown whiskey bar Reserve 101. Neff, who led the recent revitalization of the Holiday Cocktail Lounge in New York's East Village—a gem frequented by the likes of Madonna, Keith Richards and Frank Sinatra—will team up with Reserve 101 owner Mike Raymond for an exclusive "holiday pop-up." Featuring $8 cocktails from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. made with Knob Creek Bourbon, Knob Creek Rye, Basil Hayden Bourbon, Makers 46, 10-year Laphroaig and Hibiki Harmony, a portion of each drink sold throughout the course of the evening will go to Lucky Dog Rescue.
Having built cocktail programs at Ward III in Tribeca (one of GQ’s “Ten Best Whiskey Bars” in America in 2013) and Rum House near Times Square (one of Esquire’s “Best Bars in America” in 2011), Neff is hailed as one of the best at his craft. Currently, he serves as beverage director at Holiday in NYC, where the cocktail program incorporates hyper-local ingredients from purveyors within walking distance from the bar. This will be the first trip to Houston for Neff, though his relationship with Reserve 101 goes back to 2009, when he and Raymond became friends after meeting at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in 2009.
With over 340 specialty whiskeys from around the globe, Reserve 101 is Houston's premiere whiskey bar, and no doubt one of downtown's most intriguing destinations. Raymond's broad knowledge of the spirit, which extends to stocking exclusive whiskeys that can't be found anywhere else in the country, combined with the warm, welcoming vibe of the bar itself make it a favorite among whiskey enthusiasts of all stripes. The collaboration between two powerhouses like Neff and Raymond is a golden opportunity for Houstonians to not only get a taste of samplings from a successful New York cocktail lounge, but it is one that can be enjoyed in the charming setting of one of Houston's best bars.
Reserve 101, 1201 Caroline St., reserve101.com