On one end of the room, strapping bartenders wearing bow ties and charming smiles are pouring drinks with names like Snowball Sling and Holiday Horchata. On the other end, two Playboy Bunny-esque reindeer with legs to their shoulders are branding guests with golden Gimme Joy temporary tats. In the corner, a vocalist in a floor length crimson gown is crooning to bluesy jazz songs, accompanied by the low strum of a standing bass. While the theme of it all isn’t exactly clear, what’s certain is that I feel miles from the gritty street one floor below on 277 Grand.
“We’re creating transporting, immersive experiences,” says Andrew Maturana, owner of Rapt, the New York-based event production company behind Gimme Joy. “The concept is pop-up style, farm-to-bar cocktail events in unassuming locations – we want them to be all-consuming.” Sure enough, there was plenty of consumption going down at Gimme Joy’s cocktail soiree on Saturday. It was no surprise that guests, including yours truly, paid multiple visits to the open bars, keen to try each of the cocktails on the menu. Simply put, drinks were delicious. Take the So My Type: a smoky, spicy mix of Herradura Silver Tequila, charred jalapeños, market-fresh carrot and lime juice, with a smoked salt rim. My food blogger dates for the evening were partial to the Holiday Horchata, a nutty, milky beverage spiked with Herradura Reposada Anejo Tequila and Hella Bitters.
“Everything is made from scratch,” Andrew tells me, as I nip at a So My Type. “All of the ingredients in the infused-alcohols, syrups and juices are fresh from the market.” Months before the event, the producers began experimenting with flavor combinations in their West Village test kitchen. The team samples each beverage multiple times to fine-tune the local, seasonal cocktail menu.They’re targeting foodie types who truly appreciate the extra efforts that go into their boozy creations.
Rapt will host these farm-to-bar events every six months, with the secret locations to be announced in the days before the parties. Stay tuned for their next cocktail soiree and brace yourself for a transporting experience. Pancakes & Whiskey will see you there.
Article: Caitlin Gunther