My Cook Hall cocktail bracket is down to the Final Four

IMG_6984

Last week, I did a Sweet Sixteen bracket, not for NCAA men’s basketball, but for the cocktails at Cook Hall. The gastropub at the W Hotel asked me to judge the creations customers can make with their offered cocktail kits. You can follow them on Facebook and win stuff if you can guess the outcome.) This week, it’s time to whittle the selections down to the Final Four.

The top of the bracket is a matchup between the scotch-laced Mark Twain and the rum-based Dark & Stormy. This is one of my favorite pairings, because both provide some unexpected depth on the bench. Up against another competitor, the Mark Twain would have gone in a favorite but the winner here is the D&S.

That cocktail will take on the winner between a classic Margarita and the fruity-but-gin-soaked Gin & Sin. For me, it was barely a contest. Gin has it all over tequila when it comes to the long stretch, and the G&S bumps against the D&S in the Final Four. It’ll be a battle of the ampersands.

The Cinderella story that has been the Shandy — a beer creation with kick and fruit — continues, as it upsets one of the two bourbon drinks in the lineup, the Pit Master. It’s a terrible blow to Kentucky fans, but it wouldn’t be a tourney without some out-of-the-blue victors.

Kentucky does get represented, though, in the bottom of the bracket with its favorite son, the Mint Julep. It could have been a rum-away with the D&S already in, but the upstart Mojito caved to the wily excess of the julep.

Next week, we’ll get down to the Final Four, with the Dark & Stormy/Gin & Sin and the Shandy/Julep. But really, when you drink this much, there are no losers.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

SPOILER: ‘Project Runway’ finale

For those (like me) who sat on tenterhooks during the final innings of a heartbreaking Game 6 last night, there was another series finale of interest to the gay community last night: The Project Runway results.

In a season with more gays than usual, including a final four than included two gay men, the winner ended up being Anya, the Trinidadian designer who entered the show with only four month experience sewing.

Anya was a favorite of mine throughout the season, although when you consider what the series is supposed to be, picking a novice who probably hadn’t even seen the show a year ago seems slightly insulting to those who have labored for years honing their skills … sort of like how illiterate fitness gurus like Denise Austin get paid boatloads for “writing” exercise books while most professional writers eat soup. And gay boy Josh certain had an eye, even if he was sometime a pill. But Anya really did have a stellar season, and if a gay guy couldn’t win, well, she was a nice spoiler.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones

The Bronx says farewell

After 35 years, The Bronx Cafe closed its doors for the last time Sunday, following a busy weekend that saw finding a table harder than Final Four seats. Around 7 p.m. Sunday, everything was cycling down and the remaining staffers — including co-owner Jess Gilbert and his nonagenarian mother, seated center, posed for a final photo. It was a tearful last few days, following the announcement earlier this week that the restaurant that basically invented the gayborhood sold to the Warwick Melrose Hotel. No word yet on what will become of the space.

“We need to start a petition to keep it The Bronx!” one patron insisted to me. Of course, the Melrose probably bought it with a plan in mind we don’t know about, so I don’t know how successful such a petition would be. But it didn’t matter Sunday — everyone was choked up, but there was also joy in the air.

To read last week’s story on the Bronx closure, go here, and to see additional photos, go here.

—  Arnold Wayne Jones