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Entries in NYC: Where to get your drink on (13)


The buzz: NYC lounges, bars, dives, and rooftops (ongoing)

The Lunch Belle's guide to boozing in NYC: here, you will find a category for your every whim, taste, and situation.  Enjoy!

Beer venues with impressive and/or local lists

Club, dancing

Decent food, too beyond 'wings and fried calamari


Happy hour

Hookah lounge

Hotel bars worth checking out even if you're not checking in

"If you've got the money, honey, I've got the timeposh, expensive cocktail menus

Live Entertainment

(Straight) Male-centric

Margaritas that don't suck


Outdoor patios/gardens 

*Jonesing for the outdoors?  NY Magazines guide for alfresco drinking & snacking

Post-work pickup joint

Restaurants w/ exceedingly delicious cocktails

Specialty venues which focus on one particular subject/theme

Sports on the tube / where to watch the game (sports bars that even chicks will dig)

Staple  a good neighborhood bar w/ strong cocktails and a relaxed scene

Tres romantique/zexy  spots to take her/him that promise a prolonged evening

Wine centric


I joined the MILE HIGH (in the sky) CLUB...at Bar 54

*This post was written by Jean Hsu and edited/formatted by The Lunch Belle.  Unless otherwise noted, all photos were captured by Jean Hsu.*

The weather in New York has finally turned and the seasonal imbiber within each of us (toasting to the glory of global warming, no doubt) is putting our pitchers of sangria aside, eager to make way for soul-warming cocktails.

Enter scene: Bar 54, the tallest rooftop lounge in NYC (at the Hyatt Times Square).  Boasting floor-to-ceiling glass windows that give way to focus on the back-lit, fully-stocked bar, you can only imagine the Instagram-worthy potential of the incredible 360-degree views (Did I mention outdoor terraces to enjoy, weather permitting?!).  Also to note, Bar 54 recently teamed up with master cocktelier, Julie Reiner (YES, of Flatiron Lounge and author of The Craft Cocktail Party), to create a brand new fall/winter line of of seasonally-inspired bevvies. 

The drinks are STRONG (Did I not use the term "soul-warming"?) and unique.  My favorite of the trio that we sampled was the "Doctor's Note," a visually triumphant cocktail.  Fruit-forward, courtesy of the notes of citrus and apple, this elixir pays homage to the wintry flavors of cider and spices while still being light and bright.

Doctor's Note: Applejack, lemon juice, ginger syrup, cinnabark syrup, bitters, and cider over crushed ice served with an apple slice and powdered cinnamon

"The Brighton Beets" is the perfect aperitif for all of your SoulCycle/juice cleanse/vegan/LA wannabe cronies.  Made with beet-infused vodka, this stiff cocktail is a force to be reckoned with!  But hey, at least its chock-full of antioxidants, right?

Brighton Beets: Beet-infused vodka, Tanqurey gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, Fonsecca ruby port, simple syrup, and muddled mint over crushed ice

Everyone needs a little bubbly in their life!  The "Colletti Royale" features a lethal blend of tequila, St. Germain (elderflower liqueur), blood orange, and rose champagne; a winning combo of citrus and, what tasted like, ONE MILLION PROOF ALCOHOL. 

Colletti Royale: Partida Reposada tequila, Cointreau, St. Germain, blood orange juice, lime juice, orange bitters, and rose champagne garnished with a blood orange wheel

And if that didn't leave you twisted enough, why not take it up a notch...or three?  WARNING: order your Uber ride - with destination input - BEFORE downing this drink)!  Enter the "Rhapsody in Rye," a sophisticated, dignified blend of rye, vermouth, amaro, and a few other liqueurs for good measure.  Whew!

Rhapsody in Rye: Bulleit rye, Dolin Dry vermouth, Ramazotti amaro, benedictine, and angostura and orange bitters garnished with an orange twist

Do not miss out on your chance to imbibe these gorgeous concoctions courtesy of the talented Ms. Reiner!  Set your next Tinder date, girls' night, or work outing at Bar 54 and prepare your shoulders for getting brushed off when everyone be like, "ERMAGERD, THIS VIEW IS LIFEEEEE!!!!!!!!"


Until we eat again,

Jean Hsu for The Lunch Belle


NYC tourist-tip of the day 

Summer is upon us even though it's only 55 degrees and rainy!  Are you in need of ideas for where to grab the city's hottest outdoor table, whether it's for drinks, snacks, or a meal?  Here are two great guides to help get you started:


Until we eat again,

The Lunch Belle


Kanon Organic Vodka tasting: a review + recipes without 'the burn'

While I was thrilled that People's Revolution invited me to attend a Kanon Organic Vodka tasting, I'd be a dirty-rotten liar if I said that I wasn't apprehensive/anxious.  "Please god, don't let me throw up," I said to myself on repeat as I made my way from the Canal Street subway station to the Grand Bar & Lounge.  When it comes to taking shots - or sometimes just a sip or smell - of hard-alcohol, I'm a gagger who ultimately morphs in to a puker/ralpher/heaver/yacker.

Upon my arrival to the Grand Bar & Lounge, a handsome young host directed my attention towards the back corner of the space, where I was warmly greeted by Stefanie, the US Director of Marketing and Mixology for Gripsholm Distillery.  "Have a seat and make yourself comfortable," she said, "I'm going to prepare your tasting!"  I may have appeared eager with excitement and anticipation but, in reality, I was on the verge of a panic attack. 

I could feel the cold beads of sweat - and shear terror - slowly roll down my back as I saw Stefanie approaching my table.  "Wow," I gasped, as she presented me with an artistically-arranged beverage tray.  "This is gorgeous!"   

Kanon Organic Vodka: a tasting of the "Reverse Mojito" and the "Deconstructed Mojito""OK, so I'm going to tell you a little bit about the vodka and then you can taste it!"  Stefanie said.  "Kanon is distilled in Sweden from locally grown, organic wheat in a continuous process without the use of environmentally harmful or genetically modified additives.  While many brands believe that re-distilling creates better vodka, Kanon’s unique organic process enables such purity that multiple distilling and/or charcoal filtering is not needed.  The use of fresh spring water delivers a unique and distinctive finesse naturally, without that typical 'vodka burn.'  Instead of tasting the alcohol immediately, your palate won't be kissed by our vodka until you swallow.  It's then that you will subtly taste, and feel the delicate warming sensation, of Kanon..."  And right then, at that very moment, she had me at hello "without that typical vodka burn."  Hearing that simple, 5-word phrase was the perfect confidence kick-in-the-ass that I needed.    

The first concoction that I sampled was the 'Deconstructed Mojito.'  In the picture below, you will see a a mini wine-like glass containing a single mint leaf and a bushel of pink cotton candy.  I was instructed to pour the contents of the shot-glass (vodka, lime juice, mint-tea) over these ingredients, and watch as the bubble gum-colored pink puff disintegrated to a virtual powder at the bottom of the glass.  And with that, I took my first sip.  As I slowly allowed the beverage to make its way down my throat, I braced myself for the inevitable 'typical vodka burn.'  Nothing.  I took another sip, only this time, I swallowed a bit faster.  Again, nothing.  "This (cocktail) is incredible, Stefanie," I squealed, before finishing every last drop of my 'Deconstructed Mojito.'

Kanon Organic Vodka: tasting the "Deconstructed Mojito"My next and most favorite sample was the 'Reverse Mojito.'  Served atop a shiny silver spoon was a brownish, gelatinous glob that was dusted with what appeared to be white sugar.  I assumed that the accompanying lime wedge served as a garnish.  "Whoa," I shrieked, as my eyes became wider, "is this like some kind of a high-class jello shot, or something?"  Stefanie giggled, "Squeeze the juice from the lime wedge over the spoon.  The citrus makes the sugar sizzle.  Try it!"  Instead of swallowing the gelatin whole, as I did on so many occasions in college so as not to taste the Everclear, I delicately took a bite.  This unleashed an intense bouquet of flavors ranging from tart and tangy, to sweet and tranquil; yet void of the dreaded 'typical vodka burn.'  I was tempted to ask for a second "serving."

Kanon Organic Vodka: tasting the "Reverse Mojito"Luckily for you, dear readers, Stefanie was kind enough to give me the recipes for each of her delicious Kanon Organic Vodka creations (posted below).  Enjoy!


Reverse Mojito

Makes about 24 servings


In a bowl, add gelatin packets, lime juice, and sugar.  Stir.  Add boiling mint-tea and vodka.  Stir to dissolve.  Pour in to a 12"x12" square pan and cover.  *Note: The level of the gelatin should should measure about 1.5" in depth.  Place mixture into the freezer for approximately 30-minutes.
Once firm, slice into 1x1" squares.


Deconstructed Mojito


Serves 4

  • 2 oz. Kanon Organic Vodka
  • 2 oz. fresh mint tea (cooled to room temperature and/or chilled)
  • 1/4 oz. lime juice
  • Club soda
  • Cotton candy
  • 4 fresh mint leaves

In a pitcher, combine the first 3 ingredients.  Shake/stir well.  Evenly pour beverage in to 4 shot glasses, about 2/3 of the way full.  Top each with a splash of club soda.  Separately, fill four cocktail glasses each with a small handful of cotton candy and a fresh mint leaf.

For each guest, serve one shot glass and one cocktail glass side by side, instructing them to pour the shot over top of the cotton candy (in the cocktail glass).  The sugar from the candy melts into the drink, sweetening your mojito from the outside in.