When Danielle Chang started Luckyrice, the annual event series exploring Asian culture through a foodie lens, she wanted to make cocktails part of the conversation, too.
“Cocktails have become such an integral part of the dining experience, in every type of cuisine,” she explains. “There's a direct line of communication between the kitchen and the bar.”
Sept. 16 will mark the seventh year of Luckyrice’s Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, taking place on the outdoor patio of the Bowery Hotel. It’s an important celebration in China and Vietnam “all about family and friends gathering to toast a successful harvest.” Chang not only partners with Bombay Sapphire for Luckyrice’s events, she’s also created her own special gin to complement the flavors these events highlight.
“Gin pairs well with the assertive flavors of Asian cooking, and the peppercorn and lemongrass botanicals in Bombay Sapphire East make it even more appropriate,” she explains. “And then creative mixologists add their own twists. At the festival you'll see things like candied hibiscus flower and Aleppo pepper in cocktails from Seaborne in Red Hook or the powerful Chinese spirit baijiu providing the kick for drinks from Lumos in Soho.”
When she’s not gathering her favorite bars and restaurants to her events, we asked the 25-year NYC resident where she likes to go.
Where to take out-of-town guests: So many things. The classics are the classics for a reason: MoMA, the Met, a Broadway play. But I'm more likely to take them to the greenmarket on a Saturday morning (unless they're from California!) or for a walk through Chinatown, stopping at an Asian market.
Favorite under $10 meal: Right now it's the oxtail hand-ripped noodles in soup at Xi'an Famous Foods on Kenmare. 68 Kenmare St., Nolita
Best late night spot: Karaoke at Baby Grand, the adorable little bar on Lafayette Street. 161 Lafayette St., SoHo
Hidden gem: Located in the heart of SoHo, Lumos is a cozy bar devoted to baijiu, a widely popular Chinese liquor. Delicious cocktails and fusion small plates — perfect for date night! 90 W. Houston St., Greenwich Village
Favorite bar: One of my favorite late night bars as of late is Mother of Pearl, an East Village hot spot that serves sophisticated tiki cocktails and Hawaiian-inspired plates. Everything from its island-inspired interior to the music reminds me of vacationing on a tropical beach. 95 Ave. A, East Village