This is precisely what GLYPH WHISKEY DID. They utilized this moment to target a select group of VIPS to then deliver to them specialized gifts. What better way to give back and say thinak you!
OUR ‘SURPRISE & DELIGHT’ DELIVERY CAMPAIGN PIVOT TO CAPTIVATE VIPS – Want to get your brand in front of tastemakers & VIPS? Want to send a gift to that special someone? – GLYPH WHISKEY tapped HIGHLIFE to ‘Surprise & Delight’ a select group of Tastemakers & VIPS. Since everyone is locked down in their homes we created a cocktail delivery program that brought GLYPH to a captive audience. Each delivery was accompanied by a personal ‘Thank you’ to those who have been behind their brand since the beginning. Letting them know that Glyph values their support and wants to add a little cocktail cheer to their slow quarantine days.
I wrote an article not too long ago about the the fact that there are no straight male wedding planners? How come? I believe that ultimately no bride wants to trust her “biggest” day with someone who isn’t gay or female. There are a bunch of thing wrong with what I just said. So let’s break it down a bit. “Her Day” — why in this post #metoo era is the wedding for the bride? It seems after all of the gender tropes we have overcome, the wedding is largely for the bride and the groom is expected to just sort fo show up… not really have a point of view on the floral palette, the cut or design of the gown, the flavors associated with the meal… Ultimately this is a partnership right. Then again what groom wants his wife spending those crucial planning hours with a straight male? In many respects a bride and groom can certainly plan their own wedding without a wedding planner. Sure. It’s a lot of work but it can be done. I have to say though that going thru this process with my bride was a whole lot of fun and I would encourage it for anyone getting married. So below I am going to break down 5 things I learned from doing this myself. Granted. I am an event producer. Making events happen is what I do for a living so I already had the list of vendors (my friends) to help make this all as easy and magical as possible.
Choose the venue first. The Date second.
The first thing you want to do is pick a date and a venue. That will largely inform most of your other decisions. What Lauren and I decided was that we wanted more than just a 1 day wedding. A year ago we went to a beautiful wedding in the Catskills. We arrived on a Friday, there was a great welcome dinner, checked into the hotel, woke up the next morning explored the Catskills, came back got ready for the wedding and then the next day a good bye brunch. There is something great about the 3-day wedding weekend where your guests can get away for a little while, relax, and immerse themselves in something very very special. So for us it was Stone Harbor NJ. We could have done a 1 day wedding in NYC but for a 3-day getaway the south jersey shore is perfect. Sept 14th was the date we set with our venue Stone Harbor Golf Club. I grew up in this town so all of this had a lot of meaning and was very special. Plus the weather in September down the shore is just incredible.
2. Place you money where your priorities are.
It’s no secret the best part of weddings is often the food and drinks. For us this was true and we wanted to really make that the best part. From the elaborate cocktail hour (High End Tequila Bar) to the sumptuous lobster and filet main course to the spread of local dessert treats and who could forget the custom ice cream truck at the end of the night. The catering is where our priorities were. One of the many benefits of having a wedding at a venue with full food
and beverage capabilities is that there is a full, real kitchen and bar on site. I am no knocking venues without full kitchens but sometimes that cost can then become exorbitant. Catering companies that cater at venues without their own kitchens have to rent the cooking equipment from rental companies. This cost alone can double or triple what a normal food and beverage cost would be. So this was another consideration when it came to exactly what the location of the wedding would be. Your venue or your caterer can help you choose how to serve and what to serve. From day one we wanted a lush raw bar (good thing the local cape may salt oysters) are to die for!
As a mixologoist myself, I created a couple of signature cocktails a “His or Hers” versions in addition to the full scale HighEnd Tequila Bar. Then a great variety of stations and passed canapes for the cocktail hour. The main course was a classic pairing of lobster and filet. Simple. Crowd pleaser. Finally the desserts were a spread of delicious, local, delicacies from the candy shops, fudge stores, and donut stands in town. Not to mentions the custom ice cream.
3. It’s all about the flowers…
Much of the design for weddings is primarily based around the flowers and having a great florist is key to having an easy yet beautiful wedding. Brenton Wolf is a friend. He does the flowers for all of our events and it was an easy call working with him to design the look and feel of the wedding floral scape and table scapes
For the most party a collaboration between your floral company and your rental company will save you time, money, and head aches. Our rental company was Broadway Party Rentals, so all of the gold ceremony chairs you see here came from the company. We wanted to introduce touches of gold into the wedding which the venue had none of, so to accomplish this we brought it in.
4. People will cancel
It’s often very hard to know how many people will actually show up at the wedding. Despite the save-the-dates, formal RSVPs, messages and more. In fact people will confirm, then cancel, then re-confirm. I was honestly shocked with how much fall out we had. The best way around this was the fact that we had some singles (no plus 1s) on hand that didn’t mind filling the gaps.
5. Ultimately its your wedding and YOUR decisions…
Too often there are too many people who have opinions about what you should be doing. I feel like this is a life lesson as well as well. While you should listen to these people you don’t have to act on what they say. You will have mothers, fathers, planners, friends all tell you what you are doing wrong… when I feel we need a little more in life people telling us what we are doing right.
Honestly I think grooms get a bad rap sometimes. Too often in today’s society the groom is not involved in the wedding planning or the preparation for the ‘Big Day’. How often do you hear “Oh she did all the work… I just showed up.” Why are weddings now considered only something a woman can come up with or a gay man can design. Maybe we underestimate straight men. Maybe we put boxes and delineations on people in general that simplify things so we don’t have to change our own perspective on how we view others. Labels. Titles. Confines. Everyone tells you, you can’t do something until you do it. Then everyone can’t believe it happened until you do it again. The only difference is those people sit around talking while we go out and do the things. Just do it. Couldn’t say it better myself.
I had the pleasure and the honor of putting together my fiancés bridal shower. We got engaged in Champagne France so I came up with the idea of a French Countryside shower with all the trappings (including a mischievous French Mime). Actually, it was the Mother-in-law who came up with the mime idea. But the mime is actually a friend of mine. The kids are a special part of all showers and we wanted to acknowledge this.
Early summer 2019 HighLife produced and designed an intimate yet whimsical French countryside bridal shower for beauty and make-up industry trendsetter Lauren Maffettone. This gilded affair was designed straight out of Champagne where the couple got engaged.
From the selection of fine French cheeses, French wines, Champagne, and tea cocktails served in quaint baroque provincial china to the ornate golden flatware and lush floral arrangements this classic country side fare was a feté for the ages.
Classic Coq Au Vin was on the menu as well as gruyere croque monsieurs, summer tartines, beetroot cured salmon, Chevé croquettes, seafood tower, pepper cress tossed salad, and an over the top dessert bar for Marie Antoinette herself.
This event hosted at the Foundry in LIC featured a custom Bossa Nova playlist, French Mime, handcrafted water color portraiture, and model staff dressed as Parisian hipsters!
Inspired by the couples engagement in champagne itself HighLife sought to bring France to NYC. Working within the budget parameters we quickly gravitated to a more rustic countryside menu and look. The ethereal decor and whimsical cocktails and setting provided the perfect back drop for a bright, fun, relaxed bridal shower fit for a queen.
Opulence was on the menu for the decked our desert bar by SO SIMPLY SWEET with many different and unique choices. Not to mention the equally lavish cheese and charcuterie table. Each element had its place and the ultimate gem was the venue itself. The Fouundry LIC is a turn of the century restored iron foundry now premiere wedding venue.
Looking back on such a lush event probably the best kept secret that I myself am the groom. The Groom and the wedding planner. LOL what a perfect combo. Can’t wait for the wedding!
Next week the perfect storm. Whether you are from the south or the way south (Mexico) Derby Day and Cinco De Mayo back-to-back. The Mint Julep or the Margarita? Pick your horse and place your bets. No matted which side of the bar you are on these classic cocktails have stood the test of time for a reason.
THE MINT JULEP (MAY 4th)
The classic Mint Julep looks a little like this… beaded silver cup, crushed ice, sprig of mint and the bourbon…. Ahhh, can you hear the horses getting ready. Maybe its the excitement of the race or the festivities of the hats (oh derby hats) but a lot of ceremony surrounds one drink. The julep first got its start as a medicinal concoction used to settle the stomach. As a cocktail, it blossomed in the American South in the late 1700s, with a decidedly elite air, because not everyone had access to ice nor the silver or pewter cup in which the drink is served. Known as the unofficial drink of the South, the Mint Julep became the official drink of the Kentucky Derby in 1938. Nearly 120,000 Mint Juleps have been sold at the race every year since. That’s a lot of silver cups (which people at the race used to steal, so now they sell them instead).
So if on Saturday, you are tuning in to watch the race, enjoy Derby Day with friends be sure to have the iconic, perennial, best in breed Mint Juleps on hand for if your event/party does that you will always be sure to win, place, or show!
THE HIGHLIFE MINT JULEP
The Recipe 8 mint leaves + 1 mint sprig for garnish 1/4 ounce simple syrup (Best made ahead of time) 2 ounces bourbon, such as Rebel Yell or Ezra Brooks, Crushed ice, Mint Bitters
Gently muddle mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a julep cup, then add the bourbon and pack with ice. Swirl it all around in the cup so that it gets frosty, then add more ice to the top. Garnish with the mint sprig and dash of mint bitters.
CINCO DE MAYO — Sunday May 5th
If the all day drinking of bourbon on Derby Day didn’t wear you out then the quickly following of Cinco de Mayo certainly will. Cinco de Mayo is not a celebration of Mexico’s Independence (which is actually September 16th), but rather a celebration of Mexico’s victory in the battle at Puebla on May 5th, 1862 during the Franco-Mexican war. An unlikely victory but thank god they did or we all might be drinking French 75s instead of the classic Margarita!
One of the earliest stories is of the Margarita being invented in 1938 by Carlos “Danny” Herrera at his restaurant Rancho La Gloria, halfway between Tijuana and Rosarito, Baja California, created for customer and former Ziegfeld dancer Marjorie King, who was allergic to many spirits, but not to tequila. So its understandable that the limited ways to disguise the tequila existed. But how did the Margarita become so famous. Synonymous with spring break, Mexico, and wild nights dancing on the table. Why did the Margarita get cast into super stardom? It’s a perfectly balanced cocktail, and like the Mint Julep has its own glass! There are few other tequila cocktails as well known nor do they have as many variations. Spicy jalapeño, Cucumber, Prickly Pear, Strawberry, skinny… the variations are endless. Which is why we are going to pick just one to highlight today.
4 ounces blanco tequila
4 Ounces of homemade mix (thats lime juice, lemon juice, sugar, and water to taste) err on the side of less sweet here
2 ounces of prickly pear syrup (this is the best because it adds a level of sweetness without being cloying)
Salt for rim (optional)
Lime wedge, for garnish….
VIVA LA MEXICO
No matter which side of the border you are on. There is a cocktail for you. Next weekend is one of the most exciting times to be in NYC and one of the most delicious. So wear that sear sucker and derby hat on Saturday and drink that Mint Julep! Then get up bright and early on Sunday and celebrate with sombreros and Margaritas in the streets even if you don’t speak Spanish, we all speak the language of great cocktails.
Is it the venue? Eh, maybe. Is it the lighting? probably not. Although, I did recently attend an event at Cipriani’s for the company “Moment Factory” and let me tell you it was definitely ABOUT THE LIGHTING. Incredible video mapping installation they have put in Cipriani’s Downtown. Back on track here. Is it the Music? Yes, possibly if you are hosting an EDM Festival, Bluegrass Concert, karaoke night music might be the most important thing but for the great majority of events out there the most important element is of course the FOOD & DRINKS.
Think about the last event you attended. What was memorable about it? The conversation, the people, you met, the laughs you shared (hoho) or how incredible the mixology was and the delightfully cute bartender. In most cases the food and the drinks are what people talk about for months after your event. This is what people come for. This is what they expect when attending an event ESPECIALLY if they guests have paid to be there. How many times have you heard people say “I’m not going if I have to buy drinks…” The importance of having solid food and drinks is probably the best investment of your money you can make. With many of our clients who are planning events here in NYC on a budget they say to me that they are spending $8,000.00 on the venue and therefore don’t have the money to spend on the catering… Here is a quick hack. In NYC the wealth of condo buildings that now come with STUNNING common rooms is overwhelming. These common rooms largely are empty 95% of the time and are FREE to the people who live there. All you have to do is inquire amongst your friends to see who has one of these common rooms in their building. Boom I just saved you $7k you can now spend on the food and drinks.
Events are a special time for friends to get together and celebrate so the food and drinks should be special too. If you want a jack & coke just go to the Irish pub on the corner. A jack & coke is not a cocktail. A cocktail consists of at least 3 ingredients. 2 ingredients is an emergency.
Yes, I will have another sustainable seared red snapper with creme fraiche in a crispy wonton taco… they are delightful.
Ahhhhhhhhh….the age old question “How to make a cocktail fit for a Queen?” a drag queen that is! HighLife Productions was selected by Kettle Agency (WeareKettle) to put together a hand crafted mixology program for their recent #digitalindrag featuring MILK (@bigandmilky) SASHA VELOUR (@sashavelour) and BIBLEGIRL (@biblegirl666) . Each queen was perfectly fitted for their own cocktail creation based on their own distinct fieeeeeerceness! boom.
A drag queen is a person, usually male, who dresses in clothing of the opposite sex and often acts with exaggerated femininity and in feminine gender roles for the purpose of entertainment or fashion. … While drag is very much associated with gay men and gay culture, there are drag artists of all sexualities and the culture spans labels and qualifications. Each queen is truly unique to their own heritage and 100% authentic which is why the marketplace and their followings are entirely over the moon about them!
A relative new-cumer to the drag scene… Branding and image are very important to Bible Girl. Using the hashtag #BibleGirlSucks, she has built an impressive following of her own, on Instagram in particular. “I had just finished a performance and was talking to a friend when I got pulled away from my conversation by this person who tells me ‘Look, you’re beautiful, you’re funny, you’re great, but don’t perform. You suck,’ and I just took it and ran with it.” In addition one of her favorite beverages is the classic La Croix. These elements matched up perfectly for what we called the “Bless You Child”
HOW TO BLESS THIS CHILD
(1) La Croix Berry Seltzer. (pour out 1/3 of the can to leave room for the most important part! The Booze.
(2) The Booze — We used a dry london gin but substitute your favorite alcohol as you please. We created a blackberry and mint infused gin syrup. Take fresh blackberries and reduce over heat adding water and sugar to sweeten into syrup. Once reduced and mashed place in food processor and strain all the little bits out. Combine with gin for your syrup. You are ready to pour.
(3) The Garnish. We had a lot of fun here as you can see we choose three different types of berries, metallic straws, and of course the miniature rosary so you can repent after all the sinning you will be doing from drinking this refreshing concoction.
**** As a final twist at the very end we added a spec of dry ice to the can so it smokes and bubbles delighting the senses and perfect for the photography
Sasha Velour is best known as the winner of Rupaul’s Drag Race Season 9. She is the creative director of Velour: The Drag Magazine, and produces the critically-acclaimed monthly drag show Nightgowns. Sasha’s visual art has been featured in Posture, QU33R, Cicada, The Nib, InkBRICK, Comics Workbook Magazine, as well as in several solo gallery shows. Often decked in pink, more delicate tones we created a floral inspired tequila based cocktail that still had a lot of muscle.
HOW TO SASH-AAAAAAAAY
(1) step one we infused a simple reposado tequila (Herradura) with rose watermelon juice and fresh agave.
(2) Fresh watermelon juice best as is with out alot of fuss. In a shake mix you reposado tequila, watermelon juice, hint of lime juice, and a whisper of agave. Shake vigorously until nice and frothy.
(3) Pout out over a cut crystal 2inch clear ice cube and garnish with edible pansy (hey who you calling a pansy) and gold glitter for that added touch of sparkle to say “Hey handsome. Over here 😉
Milk is the stage name of Daniel Donigan, an American figure skater and drag performer. He is best known for being a contestant on Season 6 of RuPaul’s Drag Race.He was a competitive figure skater, for like, ever.
Dan joined the Marc Jacobs International family in 2009. He loves clothes, like any teenage girl. Duh. He was the Merchandising Manager at Marc Jacobs in NYC. MILK can be seen tackling models at every “Marc” runway show.
Dan breast-formed a drag group called “The Dairy Queens” which is cream-based on the East Coast. The members are: MILK, Skim Burley (MILK’s Drag Daughter), Yoohoo, Linda Lakes, & Juggz.
Obviously no one likes a MILKY COCKTAIL EVER — — except maybe a pina colada or maybe coconut milk….. annnnnnnyyyyyyywayyyyyy!!!! We were able to do a nice little work around.
MILK & HONEY
(1) This lychee inspired vodka based cocktail is infused with fresh lemon juice, lychee pure-hey! and topped with a creamy white espuma (Vegan)
(2) a bit more complicated than the rest because of the espuma but here is your at home hack to make it happen. Dry shake 3 ounces of egg-white, Pour 4 ounces of citron vodka into your shaker with 2 ouces of lychee puree and 1 dash of lemon. Add lemon bitters and shake like a polaroid picture. Upon pouring into your glass you will have a supple viscous foam gently sitting on top! (non-vega)
A Bridal Shower is an important tradition filled with excitement and fun. An excuse to get together with all of your besties and throw down. Here our chef RAPT took things to a whole nother level with some innovative farm-to-bar cocktails and delicious eats. A tropical themed escape in NYC that featured a Fig & Honey infused coconut water rum cocktail served in a coconut, a watermelon and vodka collins with grilled rose petals and finally the “Bea-llini” with sparkling rose’, green market peach, and lavender. Delish.
But most importantly here are 5 tips and tricks from the pros on how you can have a killer bridal shower without breaking the bank
LADIES ONLY — this is a time to celebrate and tell debaucherous stories from the bachelorette party. This is a time to gather with a small group of friends during the day-preferably Sunday and relax. This is not a time to throw on the heavy EDM music, do tequila shots and take that last chance at flirting as your single life comes to a close. Fresh food and drinks are a requirement and if you are inviting 30 of your closest friends and family — don’t forget the mother of the groom! Then it’s important to keep it classy San Diego.
2. Decor and Design- The best events are those that you can call your own. This does not include renting out the back room of the local irish pub where the normal brunch crowd sips bellini’s and mimosa. FIND A PRIVATE SPACE. There are tons of great, effective, inexpensive ways to do this. Splacer.co is a great resource as well as peerspace.com and breather. All of these online space sharing/finding sites are like airbnb but for the hour. Hell! We have even done pop-up parties IN airbnb’s just go online and reserve the place for the day. Another fantastic resource would be a friends building with an event space. Like the one pictured here. If you have a wonderful space you won’t need need much in the way of decor. A few classy balloons. Some fun bridal toys and you are set!
3. FOOD & DRINK — As this is mainly a brunch type event the food should be light not filling. This is not considered a full sit down meal. But an opportunity to get together with friends and enjoy some company. The same goes for the drinks. they should be seasonal and light. NO LONG ISLAND ICE TEA’s. As much as you like them, now is not the time. Save that for the bachelor party. Pictured below one of our cocktails served in a coconut. FUN RIGHT!
4. THE FUN — Games and toasts and gifts. Bridal showers are perfect opportunities for gift giving and for games that involve the bride and the baby to come and all the fun of getting married. This is precisely the time to make it happen! The best stories come out between friends with cocktails!
5. THE BRIDE — At the end of the afternoon this whole shebang is all about the bride. This is where you need a dedicated team of bridesmaids to swing into action and take the burden of decorating, hiring the caterer, finding the venue, and deciding on the menus and games. Here is where the bridesmaids step up and take control.
Message us on Instagram or hit us up via email and we can give you more tips and tricks to help make sure this ever important event goes off just right 🙂
HighLife was tapped by Rock Barnes x Cashmere 360 to cultivate the food and beverage program for the launch of the Rocky Barnes collaboration with Cashmere 360 during the NYFW launch of their Soho pop-up in 2019. Talum inspired bites like the marinated red snapper tacos, grilled ripe mango tajin, and homemade blue corn masa empanadas were on the menu while guests sipped on spicy/smoky prickly pear margaritas and luxe pineapple agua frescas.
The Nation’s First and Only Sustainable Seafood Festival, Aquarius, Returned to the Foundry in Long Island City on January 26.
The 2nd Annual arctic-chic Aquarius festival, highlighting sustainable seafood and cocktails took place at The Foundry in Long Island City on Saturday, January 26th. The fully restored 19th Century building, which boasts 3,000 sprawling square feet of space and offers up stunning views of the Manhattan skyline along with a gorgeous indoor Greenhouse, played host to this year’s sold-out event. The stunning space was filled with delicacies from the sea that were perfectly paired with complimentary spirits. Aquarius comes to life each year courtesy of the talented producers of Secret Summer, Tyler Hollinger of HighLife Productions, Andrew Maturana of RAPT and Allison du Val of The Foundry.
Sustainable seafood offerings were as vast as the ocean. MF EVENTS had a raw bar filled with oysters served three ways. Midtown Greek hotspot Kellari Taverna,CA’PISCI in Williamsburg, Crazy Taco Mex, Neapolitan Express and My/Mo Mochi Ice Cream all offered up delicious snacks as well. Awe-inspiring accessories were available to purchase from Nuun Watch Official and Penelope Traveling Boutique. Guests commemorated the magical evening with photo shoots in the 4Five Photo Booth. Immersive experiences took shape throughout the night with Winter Burlesque from Karina and two all-star performances from Hudson Horns that brought down the house. The night’s soundtrack was provided by DJ Sasha Hart with guitarist Neon Jesus in the main room and DJ Ryan Vandal in the Albra Room. Revelers were able to warm up inside or outside by lit firepits. World class brands were also brought on board for this exclusive party. Coney Island Brewery provided craft beer and hard sodas. Barr Hill Gin & Caledonia Spirits, Tanteo Tequila, Spring 44 Distillery and The Finnish Long Drink and Ketel One served up their premium spirits. Ardbeg & Oysters offered guests Ardbeg 10YO Bloody Marys and the 10YO Long Islay paired neat with Oysters for purchase from MF Events. Polar Seltzer Water and Töst and Harmless Harvest Coconut Water ensured guests stayed hydrated all night long. Guests were also able to sample ginger beers from Fentimans Botanical, and sparkling probiotic drinks from KeVita.
Secret Summer, the country’s only farm-to-bar cocktail festival, will return to The Foundry on August 4th. For more information, please visit: http://secretsummernyc.com