New York: Top 10 Summer Cocktails

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Cold cocktails and summer go together. Whether you’re sitting by the beach or running from your office at the stroke of five to cool down at the nearest bar, the only question is: what is the most rockin,’ balls-to-the-wall, delicious, sunshine-inspired beverages out there? This list will get you started on a summer journey through NYC’s nooks and crannies, keeping your taste buds tantalized through at least October 1.

● Wailer’s Island Punch @ The Bourgeois Pig (East Village) – You don’t need to fly to Jamaica to feel like you are on an island listening to Bob Marley and his Wailers. All you need do is head to the East Village, order the Wailer’s Island Punch, and you will assuredly hear steel drums by your second glass. The muddled raspberries, Pedro Ximenez sherry, pineapple juice, lime, and Pol Roger champagne mixtures will have you jammin.’

● Beet Sangria @ Tailor (Soho) – Any chance to infuse vegetables into your liquor is healthy! I tend to even harbor the notion that I am doing some good to that bikini body by sipping on the Beet Sangria made from red wine, brandy, Triple Sec, orange juice, beet juice, and orange salt. The red of the beets brings out the red of the wine — or vice versa — and makes for a bold-colored, tasty treat. Another veggietail perfect for summer is the Bell Pepper Margarita; it’s fiery and makes you feel like you’ve traveled south of the border, or is that just the blazing sun on the Manhattan concrete? Either way, these drinks will simultaneously heat you up and cool you off.

● The Myra Breckinridge @ Death & Co (East Village) – The cocktails are crafted with such care, detail, and finesse at this cool speakeasy that you ultimately cannot choose wrong. For the piping-hot months of July, August, and I’ll throw in September for good measure, try one of the concoctions from the “Indian Summer” menu. The “Myra Breckinridge” features Laphroaig single-malt scotch, absinthe, fresh lime juice, and sugarcane syrup. And to add a little rum to your punch, try the “Gantt’s Tomb,” consisting of Goslings rum, Rittenhouse rye, El Dorado 151-proof rum, fresh pineapple, orange and lemon juice, and Allspice Dram. So many ingredients, so little time to try them all.

● Caipirinha @ Paladar (Lower East Side) – Nothing says summer like a day of sipping on caipirinhas. The mint and lime are muddled to perfection at this Latino digs on Ludlow. Drinks are half price from 4-7pm, so might I suggest starting while the sun is still shining high? Those pestering sweat beads on your brow will dissipate in no time.

● Basil 8 @ Table 8 (East Village) – The Cooper Square Hotel restaurant is aesthetically pleasing, uber-trendy and so hot right now. The “Basil 8” is made with Ketel One vodka, white grapes, basil, lime juice, and ginger ale. White grapes are a staple fruit of summer, and putting them into a cocktail will keep you stapled to the bar.

● Frozen Mojito @ Cabanas at the Maritime Hotel (Chelsea) – It’s a slushy with alcohol … need I say more? This drink embodies summer, as does the fact that you will be enjoying it on a tremendous rooftop. Stargazing is also a plus, and ya’ll know I am not talking about the stars in the sky.

● Bittersweet Mimosa @ The Stanton Social (Lower East Side) – Brings bravado to your everyday mimosa. Yes, I like to have one every day. It is composed of Moscato d’Asti, Campari, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Flavorful, refreshing, and oh-so yummy. Be careful of the midafternoon hangover. Go sleep it off on the beach; just don’t drive there.

● The Sun and Moon @ Haven (Midtown East) – Made with U’luvka vodka, fresh pineapple juice, lime juice, and muddled sage. A simple, amiable way to start drinking by day and keep right on until the moonlight. There are also $13 pitchers of a featured mixed drinks served daily during happy hour, plus burlesque parties every Thursday starting at 9pm with an open bar from 9-10pm. Summertime cocktails and nipple tassels, anyone?

● Dirty Martini @ Angel’s Share (East Village) – Tucked away above a Japanese restaurant, this “no standing allowed” lounge demands courtesy and etiquette; you’ll never find yourself cramped with a bunch of sweaty folks just off the hot streets, as you must be in a chair to drink at this establishment. No more chairs means you have to wait, but yummy cocktails come to those who do. The vodka or gin (depending on which tickles your fancy) come with the olive juice on the side, so you can dirty it up to taste. Combined with the vibe, the conversation gets better with each beverage, and so does your date’s appearance.

● Gold Cup Mint Julep @ Hotel Griffou (Greenwich Village) – OK, it’s just a mint julep served in a gold cup. But this place is so brand spanking new and trendy, and who doesn’t love a classic mint julep in the summertime? The gold cup is just a bonus.

New York Openings: Table 8, SalonTea

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Table 8 (East Village) – Small plates and house-cured meats inside the glass behemoth of the Cooper Square Hotel. ● SalonTea (Upper East Side) – Tea connoisseur Tracy Stern’s upscale tea bar to get your herb on.

New York Food & Wine Festival Tour

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imageThe Food Network is throwing a three-day party, and you’re invited. The first ever New York Food & Wine Festival debuts this weekend in the city. Held mostly in the Meatpacking District and DUMBO, this foodie festival will have mouths watering all weekend. Get your tickets here, and check out our selected three-day itinerary to figure out how and when to get in on the action.

Friday 10 p.m.-midnight: Highline Ballroom for Midnight Music & Munchies (hosted by Daily Candy). Top Chefs featured on Daily Candy make late-night treats, hot-spot bartenders make drinks, and Tom Colicchio makes music (really) with Milton.

Chefs: Govind Armstrong from Table 8, Anne Burrell of Centro Vinoteca, Scott Conant of Scarpetta, Michael Psilakis of Anthos, Harold Dieterle of Perilla, Jimmy Bradley of The Red Cat, Akhtar Nawab of Elettaria, John Frasaer of Dovetail, and Joey Campanaro of Little Owl.

Bartenders: Jim Meehan of PDT, Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club, Jason Kosmas and Dushan Zaric of Employees Only, and Julie Reiner of Flatiron Lounge and Clover Club.

Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Del Posto wine tasting seminars. … or … 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: Hotel Gansevoort wine tasting seminars. … or … 3 p.m.: Una Pizza Napoletano, pizza, pizza, and more pizza. Talk about it, learn about it, eat it. … and then … 7 p.m.: Adour, dinner hosted by Alain Ducasse. … or … 7 p.m.: Craftsteak, dinner hosted by Tom Colicchio, Jess Jackson and Alfred Portale.

Sunday 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: More Del Posto wine tasting seminars. … or … 10 a.m.-4 p.m.: And yet more Hotel Gansevoort wine tasting seminars. … then … 6-9 p.m.: Hotel Gansevoort wrap party.

Miami: Top 5 First-Date Spots

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imageMore effective than The Game, roofies, red roses, and puppies.

1. Nemo Serious atmo at work plus food you can share in a flirty way. Like dining in a secret garden — only on pavement. And in SoFi. 2. Vivi Ristorante The kind of candle-lit restaurant you’d find in New York’s theatre district, but prettier, with prettier people, and much better food. 3. Joe Allen If you’re dating the no-bullshit type (rare in these parts), go here. Cool vibe, cool people. Split the cookie desert after your meal.

4. Table 8 Unbelievably hot in a sexy way. The food, the lighting, the music. Guys with ulterior motives? Bring her here. 5. Por Fin For substantial, good conversation types, come here. Good wine, huge wrought-iron balcony for al fresco dining.