Peggy Nadramia: Writer, Editor, Publisher, Tikiphile and Cocktailian

Peggy Nadramia: Writer, Editor, Publisher, Tikiphile and Cocktailian

My interest in cocktails began in my childhood, watching my Grandma Helen entertain lavishly in her Hell’s Kitchen apartment. She was determined and powerful as she whirred Brandy Alexanders for the holidays and stirred giant pots of Tom Collinses out on the summer streets of New York. Surely this was a lovely way to make people happy.

A good friend threw me a copy of Bernard Devoto’s “The Hour” back in the Nineties and my obsession with vintage cocktails began. I started collecting and devouring books of recipes and searching for equipment and glassware. I visited the emerging cocktailian bars in New York City, sampling drinks made by the new gurus in the field and learning what I liked and what I thought worked. My interest branched out into tropical drinks and I made pilgrimages to what Polynesian palaces remained, just so I could see how terrible most Tiki drinks had become and get ideas about how to reverse that unfortunate trend. I made the Cocktail Hour an important part of my life and in so doing, I started to evolve an idea of the value of true hospitality, and the very real magic I could bestow upon others with that beautiful, frosted glass.

A couple of years ago I began collaborating in my home lab with Joe Netherworld. His culinary skills and wild imagination lent a whole new reach to what I was doing. With his background as an artist and sculptor, he brought a different eye and a talented pair of hands to our garnishes and presentation. We started inviting our local Vulture Squadron to sample our wares. When two snarky know-it-alls decide their drinks are as good as anyone else’s, what’s to stop them? And here we are: the Cocktail Vultures.

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