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The Plaza Unveils 100-Mile Signature Cocktail

Drink debuts at NBC’s “TODAY Throws a Wedding” reception

NEW YORK (July 15, 2009) – The Plaza will unveil its new signature drink, the POMONA, during the 10th annual TODAY Throws a Wedding contest reception today. The drink will be served to Leigh Daniel and Nick Cordes and their guests in support of The Plaza’s 100-Mile Menu. It will also be used to celebrate the wedding of the former Olympic hopefuls who captured the hearts of viewers during this year’s contest.

The POMONA is made from ingredients that hail from the 100-mile area around New York City, including American Fruits’ Black Currant Cordial, Lieb Family Cellars Blanc de Blancs, New York sparkling wine and local honey. The beverage was commissioned by CPS Events, the partnership entrusted with the hotel’s famed Grand Ballroom, and designed by mixologist Brittany Chardin of Atlanta’s iMi Agency.
“Creating a signature drink for The Plaza was both an honor and a challenge,” said Chardin. “At the onset of the project, CPS Events required the drink be developed utilizing ingredients produced within a 100-mile radius of the city. I was thrilled and surprised by the interesting array of amazing products produced in New York City and the 100 miles that surround it. The enthusiasm of the local distilleries and producers to work on this project was infectious. I know guests will truly celebrate in a memorable way with this drink.”
The signature drink was fittingly named the POMONA for the Roman goddess of abundance and orchards. A statue of POMONA adorns the fountain outside The Plaza’s main entrance.
Set on 60 acres of pristine orchards and farmland just 50 miles from Manhattan, Warwick Valley Wine Co. is the operator of New York’s first fruit micro-distillery: American Fruits. American Fruits’ Black Currant Cordial is an infusion of locally grown organic black currants and their own distilled grape spirit. The resulting liqueur has fresh, supple currant, honey and jam notes. According to Chardin, “Black currants are very much associated with the state of New York. Until recently, it was illegal to plant the black currant bush anywhere in the country. A New York man named Greg Quinn spearheaded a campaign to have the law repealed and now makes a line of terrific currant juices in the Hudson River Valley area that have great color, flavor and health benefits. This beautiful fruit has made its way into locally produced liqueurs that are the perfect match for the Plaza’s POMONA.”
The Lieb Vineyard is widely recognized for producing a stellar line of still wines. This multiple award-winning bottling was named one of America’s Best Sparkling wines by Wine Spectator and will be the main ingredient for the POMONA. This hand-crafted Blanc de Blancs made (not from Chardonnay as in France) from locally grown old-vine Pinot Blanc, planted in 1983, spends three years on its lees and is disgorged in small lots to assure a fresh crisp and vibrant finish with apple, honey and citrus flavors. “Leib Vineyard and CPS Events are a natural fit for one another because of our strong commitment to local, sustainable products. Bringing sustainability to the catering industry is important and I’m thrilled to be working with CPS Events at The Plaza to help redefine the catering experience at the legendary Plaza hotel,” said Gary Madden, general manager, Lieb Family Cellars.
Hand-gathered Local Honey Syrup will complete the drink with the sweet and complex flavors of the Hudson Valley. For more than 20 years, Ray Tousey of Clermont, N.Y. has been producing unique honey and beeswax products on his family’s 50-acre Hudson Valley Farm, formally an apple orchard. Tousey now dedicates his time to honey production, growing black currants and blending these two ingredients to distill an estate-bottled Cassis.
The 100-Mile Menu is a culinary movement that marries seasonal fare with elegant style. “The bridal market’s shift toward an interest in sustainable, green weddings inspires catering that is seasonal, local and always delicious. With fresh, organic ingredients, the 100-Mile Menu is the synthesis of robust flavor and modern dining and we’re thrilled to complement our menu with this new cocktail. Pomona, the Goddess of Orchards and Abundance, is surely pleased,” said Liz Neumark, CEO, Great Performances and partner, CPS Events at The Plaza.
Click here to view the behind-the-scenes footage.