February 21’s Good Spirits represents the second Edible magazine event I’ve had the chance to attend, the fourth time they’e done this particular event, and for my money they put on one of the best and best-organized food and drink events in the city. This year’s event was held at 82 Mercer, and only twice in my preparation did I pause and stupidly ask myself what their address was. It’s a nice space with two cavernous rooms which, for this event, were lined with tables staffed by some of New York’s most interesting food, spirits, and cocktail makers. It’s almost overwhelming the amount of food and drink available for the sampling, but Edible organizes their events in such a way that, even with a large crowd and a lot of vendors, it’s easy to both gauge what you want and actually get to it. A lot of food and drink events are circus disasters, oversold, jammed too full of attendees, and impossible to move around during. Not so here. I know talking about crowd control and logistics isn’t terribly exciting, but when you’ve been to enough events that don’t have these things down, you suddenly realize how important it is and how much more enjoyable it makes an event.
The theme is simple enough: New York restaurants bring a food item, and it is paired with a (not always local) spirit or cocktail. Because I am a dedicated professional, I hit every table, ate every morsel, and drank about 95% of the drinks — all for you. There were no lowlights. Everything was, at the worst, quite good. Several things were outstanding. I even got to try a few spirits that had been on my list but remained as yet unsipped. I can’t really pick out highlights, mostly because I took terrible (as in, no) notes, having to choose as I did between notes or photos and eventually settling on the visual. After all, it’s not that much fun to read about a food. Supplies began to run low at the end of the night, but what can you do when jerks like me occasionally sneak by disguised in a fake moustache and take seconds of the BBQ rabbit or that pork that tasted like smoked maple syrup?
I really enjoy Good Spirits. I think it’s a fun idea, well executed, and with a lot of great stuff to eat and drink. I generally walk out with a list of places I want to eat, and that list is usually everyone who was there that I have not eaten at before. If you get a chance to attend an Edible event, they’re among the few food and drink events that I think get it right on every level. Well worth the money spent.