Food and drink trends are my at the core of my existence, for anything new in the land of culinary or beverages are sure to strike a chord with my innate food critic.
I had the privilege of being invited to the International Restaurant and Food Service Show of New York at the Javits Center, and was diabolically overwhelmed with a sensory experience of what so many retailers and food creators had to offer. My rundown of my favorite items ended up being mostly drinks and beverages, owing mostly to the whimsical taste combinations and intriguing legacies of several family owned or fresh new brands. Notwithstanding the fun presentations of dessert and such that were glistening at every corner!
On a healthier front, Bruce Cost Ginger Ale took the essence of real, chopped and grated ginger, a staple in my household for flavor and digestives, and made it into a series of sumptuous drinks. Surprisingly, the sugar free one was impeccable. With a book on the obsession over this ingredient across coasts, this was a winner all the way.
Fresh off the block was Brooklyn Organics, a zingy ginger ale line with terrific packaging and zappy tastes. The fact that they chose the seasonally loved guava as one of their flavors alone made them inventors in my mind.
Immune-Schein Ginger Elixirs took the healing power of ginger to a new level by introducing strong and fresh bottles and vials of ginger mixed with other ingredients one would find in their grandmother’s kitchens. I received the cardamom and turmeric ones, owing to my Indian heritage, and would definitely stock up on these for days when I need a boost.
Of whiskeys, my favorite of drinks, Taconic Distillery had a smokey and sweet blend of maple whiskey with a detailed brewing process that preserved the essence of both without losing the strength. Perfect.
Montauk Rumrunners had a family legacy complete with vintage photographs of their three finest offerings that were handcrafted by the family’s personal tastes, in honor of families who pioneered the Montauk Fishing Village. The coconut rum had an aromatic, pirate style sensibility to it, while the honey whiskey tasted like it could be a remedy for winter nights, too.
Bossy Boots Merlot, while fairly woody and not the most elaborate of tastes, was still a sensual and strong red wine, which won me over simply because of its whimsical name and labeling. Good marketing can surely amplify the appeal of wine for enthusiasts.
Owl’s Brew was a combination of my favorite drinks: tea and cocktails. Intended as a tea crafted for cocktails, the refreshing tastes of darjeeling with beer was sure to substitute many juices over the coming summer. Paired with whimsical packaging and marketing, this was a certain winner.
Demitri’s, known for their custom salt mixes, had my favorite ingredient in their newest salt rim: pomegranate. With a sour and sweet quality coming through with a dash of pineapple, this was one that was not on the market yet, but could be easily utilized as a seasoning ingredient on salads and a plethora of dishes, too.
There were several others I found, including Grown Up Soda‘s innovative packaging for a one shot cocktail, some marzipan roses that reminded me of my times in Holland, an almond sesame Chicki by Sukhadia which whisked me back to my memories in Punjab, India, and Pre Gel frozen yoghurt with Indian curry topping sauce, another favorite of whimsical treats.
With a fresh palette of ideas and the gratitude of meeting a plethora of the city’s coolest brands, I look forward to another year of culinary adventure.