Who Let Dave Arnold Throw This Party? We Did!

BOOKER AND DAX Dave Arnold, the fast-talking baby-faced mad scientist behind New York’s most exciting new cocktail bar BOOKER AND DAX, gets fired up just talking about hosting the LUCKYRICE Festival's kickoff event, the Epicurean Cocktail Feast featuring seven bars he hand selected for having stellar cocktail programs and equally excellent food menus.

“We didn’t pick anybody we didn’t think was great,” he says of the selection process that consisted of “sitting around at a bar with a bunch of bartenders  talking about the places we all like to go to.”

The final list of participating bars includes a diverse list of standouts: Acme, An Choi, JBird, Macao Trading Co., The Beagle and Madam Geneva. The party goes down on Tuesday, May 1 at the Bowery Hotel. Limited tickets are still available. (See sidebar for our ticket promotion - good for the first 50 tickets purchased until 5pm on April 5th only.)

LUCKYRICE asks each bar to serve two cocktails and a dish that best represents them. It also showcases how Asian ingredients can be creatively incorporated into mixology. Arnold, who runs the popular bar adjacent to Momofuku Ssäm Bar and has served as Director of Culinary Technology at the French Culinary Institute, jumps at the opportunity to concoct a drink using Asian produce and Bombay Sapphire EAST, which is sponsoring the event.

“I have somebody in California who can get me some crazy citrus,” he says before rattling off his ideas for incorporating bergamot or natsudaidai oranges. “Natsudaidai could be used to make something similar to a bitter lemon. We’d probably clarify it and carbonate it. We want it to be refreshing.”

The only thing is, brilliant as they may be, these are just fragments of ideas swirling around Arnold’s brain. He won’t know exactly what he’s making for weeks, partially due to the seasonality of produce and partially due to his creative process.  “It kind of freaks event planners out because I wait until the last second to decide. By May, we’re going to have some really cool things to work with. I just can’t commit now.”

Marshall Altier, Co-Beverage Director at Upper East Side lounge JBird,will not be waiting to see what the new season brings. He’s serving a variation of the gin martini (the classic Tuxedo #2 to be specific), adding absinthe, curacao, maraschino liqueur and bitters. “The drink is rounded out with the addition of Asian teas steeped into each ingredient. We call it the Silk Tuxedo,” he says.

Altier has traveled to Asia a number of times and excitedly describes the craft cocktail scene there as emerging. “It's vastly different from city to city—Japan's cocktail scene speaks for itself, but the real interest is in places like Hong Kong and Singapore that have grown exponentially and have a real desire for Western items like craft cocktails.”

Other drinks being served at the Epicurean Cocktail Feast include The Beagle’s complex Miso Honey (Bombay Sapphire East, honey, miso, fresh yuzu, hops bitters and Singha) and their cleverly named Ponzu Scheme (tequila, ponzu, curacao, Campari, curry powder and szechuan pepper).

Macao Trading Co. will serve the Drunken Dragon's Milk, a pan-Asian blend of green tea vodka, coconut puree, lime juice, pandam leaf syrup, Thai basil leaves and homemade Macao five spice bitters. By our count, that’s five cultural references in one glass.

And when Arnold figures out what he’s serving, LUCKYRICE will be sure to send it out on Twitter. We have full confidence in his abilities—and connections in the black market citrus trade.

–Matt Rodbard


Epicurean Cocktail Feast Tuesday May 1 The Bowery Hotel 7:00 to 9:00 pm VIP Hour 6:00 to 7:00 pm


BOOKER AND DAX Dave Arnold's omakase cocktail

Paired with Chicharonne Jacks

JBIRD Silk Tuxedo Japanese cherry blossom tea infused Bombay Sapphire EAST, Yunnan Pu'er tea infused Martini dry vermouth, Mae Solong Thai jasmine green tea infused Triple Sec, Taiwanese rose tea maraschino mix, Peychaud's bitters, Regan's orange bitters

Paired with Umami burger slider with house-smoked tamari soy sauce, spicy pickle, citrus daikon slaw

The Beagle Miso Honey Bombay Sapphire EAST, honey, miso, fresh yuzu, hops bitters, Singha, nori and bonito flake salad garnish

Ponzu Scheme Tequila, ponzu, curacao, Campari, curry powder, Szechuan pepper

Paired with Spiced Boar Chili with Shrimp Chips

Macao Trading Co.  The Bashful Maiden Bombay Sapphire EAST, Velvet Falernum, elderflower liqueur, lemon juice, cantaloupe melon puree, mint

Drunken Dragon's Milk Green tea vodka, young coconut puree, lime juice, pandam leaf syrup, Thai basil leaves, homemade Macao five spice bitters

Paired with Peri-Peri braised shortribs, African-spiced peanut sauce