Category Archives: Food and Beverages

Milk Punch Revival with Eamon Rockey

If you live in New York and haven’t heard of the milk punch revival yet, you may want to take note. Milk punch has been popping up as the hottest new trend in alcoholic beverages. It is a sweet, cold blend of milk and liquor that actually dates back centuries.

The drinks are made with cold ingredients that are combined with hot milk to make the milk curdle. The blend is then filtered repeatedly until the liquid actually becomes clear, which can take hours. It then rests for a day or so until served.

Where can such a dream drink be found? Play, a cocktail bar in Midtown, has a Korovazon Milk Punch that is made with pisco. And Eamon Rockey made a strong push to revive the art of milk punch production at the New York restaurant, Betony.

Eamon Rockey reports to the New York Times that he first encountered milk punch at Bar Pleaiades on the Upper East Side in 2009 and he soon adopted the idea, turning it into quite an art in the process. While the ingredients are typically combined beforehand with milk punch, Eamon Rockey’s creations have a milk punch “base” and then offer the drinker the chance to select the spirit to place into it.

As Rockey explained, “I wanted to have there be a guest-specific evolution. It’s antithetical to what the drink classically is.”

As described on Eater.com, “The whole process takes between one and five days…and exhibits Rockey’s obsession with re-inventing history and personalizing a classic recipe using flavors like Watermelon and Golden Beet & Goat’s Milk.”

New York Festivals

coffeeWe’ve heard of fashion week and film festival, but here’s one that’s relatively new to the range of New York festivals – the New York Coffee Festival.  Now in its second consecutive year, the festival – held at 69th Regiment Armory between September 16th and 18th – is designed to bring together coffee, food, music, art and charity. Sponsors include: la Marzocco, Pentair, Baileys, Detpak, Barista Series, Sanremo and more.  Events include: Latte Art Live, Coffee Masters NYC, The Lab, Competition, Coffee Music Project, The True Artisan Café, Street Food Market, The Village, Party with the Masters, The Sidewalk Café, Hydration Station, Test Your Senses, Get Your Brew On, Espresso Martini Bar, Coffee Art Project, Shop the Part, Perfect Your Pour, Sanremo Revolution, Steampunk Brew Bar and Water for Coffee Lovers.

According to the festival website the focus is to “ply local aficionados with espresso martinis and entertainment, from live music to the annual tournament.”

Going “Meatless” in New York

burgerVegetarianism has been around for years and going meatless is nothing new.  But going meatless with meat is something new and it’s happening in New York thanks to “Impossible Foods.”  The brains behind the company that “discovered that heme is the ‘magic ingredient’ that makes meat look, cook, and taste gloriously meaty,” is a team of scientists led by Patrick O. Brown, M.D., Ph.D.

And it is New York that is going to be the first beneficiary of this delicious, healthy, ecological-friendly flavor.  At Momfuku Nishi, the Impossible Burger will be on the menu attracting both meat- and vegetarian-lovers alike.

Brown began his mission due to a desire to “reduce the environmental impact from eating meat.”  Developing a composition including water, heme protein (found in animals and less so in plants), coconut oil, natural flavors and textured wheat protein, the “meat” flavor emerged.  While all ingredients are crucial to the ultimate flavor, it is the iron-containing molecule heme that is the true gem of the burger, giving it its authentic blood red color and iron-y meat-like flavor.

If it really succeeds (and at this point there’s no reason why it shouldn’t), the health results could be phenomenal.  According to the WHO, “every 50 gram portion of processed meat eaten daily increases the risk of colorectal cancer by about 18 percent.”  Not to mention the issues caused from killing cattle required to make the typical juicy blood burger.

And economically it’s already enjoying success.  At a Colorado Whole Foods market it was reported that a competitor’s burger was sold out in an hour, with, according to Evelyn M. Rusli, a taste of “somewhere between beef and turkey,” clearly indicating its popularity and hope for the future. And with the use of 95% less land, 74% less water, 87% less greenhouse gas emissions and completely zero hormones/antibiotics, everyone is a winner.

Pepsi: Eat, Drink and Be Merry

PepsiPepsi has always been known for its beverages. But sometime soon it might start getting a reputation for food as well. Why not? Historically it has been drink and food that makes one merry, and so maybe this is the case for business as well…least for the business of Pepsi.

Kola House will soon take residence in Chelsea (right by Milk Studios) in what has become known as the “ultra-hip meatpacking district.” It is hoped that it will grow into a “social hub and testing ground for new products [offering customers] a premium experience.”

That’s what it will be. What it won’t be is a marketing ploy for Pepsi, for example, the beverage’s logo won’t be plastered around the venue. Indeed, what will be pushed is the kola nut – a “bitter fruit that contains caffeine and gives cola beverages their name.” So the ultimate aim is for Pepsi to “market its product without marketing its product.”

New York: Food is the New Fashion

foodWe reported in last week’s post that the fashion industry in New York is suffering due to unseasonably high temperatures, rendering winter clothing less attractive. So what – if anything – is replacing this? What are consumers spending their money on in the Big Apple now?

It seems food is becoming the next best thing, or, at least, it’s trying to be. Food entrepreneurs in Queens are trying to get their organic recipes to become household names. At the Organic Food Incubator (and other such places), gluten free bread, hot sauces, and various tonics are being created and bought to cafeteria’s like those at Facebook’s HQ, located just south of Manhattan.

Indeed, one might even go so far as to say that “food is as hot as tech right now,” which were the words that came from the mouth of Organic Food Incubator’s founder, Richard Madonna. He developed this institute to help food entrepreneurs get their start in the business.

Last year, it was documented in NYC that there was a total of 1,078 food manufacturing companies employing 16,356 workers. This was an increase from figures in 2008 in which there were 940 companies and 14,284 workers.

Empire State Building Deliveries

starbucksStarbucks is going to be making deliveries from downstairs to upstairs…at the Empire State Building. If you happen to be one of the 12,000 individuals who works in the Empire State Building, and don’t want to make the trip down to the lobby (where there is a Starbucks in operation), you can order “takeout” and they will deliver it to you…for a fee of $2.

That fee may seem quite high but the time it takes to get an elevator, make your way down to the lobby and line up for a cuppa Joe might just make it financially viable. In addition, the fee is the same for up to 15 different items (so the fee for a group order really comes out quite cheaply when divided equally between all the customers).

Starbucks is making a commitment also in this case to ensure that the beverage or food one orders will be delivered within a half an hour to a drop-off area, like the reception desk where one works.

Starbucks Corporation said that it is making this service available in conjunction with its business model of trying to make things as convenient as possible for its customers.

NYC: Making a Business out of Coffee

coffeeTruthfully, with the right smarts and the perfect timing, and perhaps a bit of financial backing, one can make a successful business out of anything. And perhaps that is why Cups is thriving.

Everyone loves coffee, right? That is what Gilead Rotem, co-founder and CMO of the firm, figured when he launched Cups back in September 2012. CUPS is basically a subscription-based coffee app that allows independent coffee shops to compete with the big bucks, aka, Starbucks, etc. to get coffee rewards.

This is particularly good for a city such as New York City. Today New York lovers of coffee are not just restricted to Starbucks for their cuppa joe. No, indeed, thanks to CUPS their cup is overflowing with possibilities as it were. Nitro brews, mochas with artisanal chocolate, pour-overs and matcha lattes to name but a few can be found at a whole array of coffee stores in the city that work with the app so one does not need to break the bank while sipping their drink of choice.

In terms of business, CUPS is actually representative of a valuable marketing platform. As Rotem noted, “it’s a chance to get discovered in the city, and get more customers coming in,” based on experience of CUPS that’s user base has quadrupled over the past three months. Today it has tens of thousands of customers.

CUPS pays the coffee store a percentage of the listed price on every beverage ordered. So while store owners may lose a very small margin on sales, the added amount of customers make up for it…and more.

CUPS is based on a similar model to ClassPass. ClassPass – first called DabbleNYC – originated in New York in 2014. Initially a startup with seed funding of $2m, today it is valued at over $200m.