While Studio 54 and its dizzyingly hedonic celebrations are barely more than a fever dream to all but a few fabled characters — a symbol of glitzy, debauched days gone by — the disco scene will be resurrected for one night only at this year’s New York City Wine & Food Festival (NYCWFF).
We New Yorkers love limited editions, so clear your calendars, grab your favorite drinking buddies, and head to Murray Hill’s Center415 on Friday, Oct. 14 for drinking, dining, and dancing under the shimmering disco ball as a DJ spins throwbacks into the early morning hours.
Disco and Drinks: A Night of Classic Cocktails promises to be one of the four-day festival’s hottest. Hosted by Ben Soffer, a.k.a. Boy with No Job and founder of the canned sparkling cocktail company Spritz Society, the party features a bevy of classic cocktails and fresh spins on old favorites, along with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits bringing the best offerings from over 25 spirit brands to the party.
Pulled from Southern’s craft spirits collection, the bash’s featured cocktails “represent some of the most innovative brands at the forefront of artisanal spirits from New York and around the world,” says Allen Katz, director of mixology and spirits education for Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits of New York. “Whether you enjoy classic cocktails or contemporary creations, every spirit category will be represented.”
Once going all out on the dance floor amps up your appetite, prepare to indulge in the finest of fare. Guests will nosh on decadent small plates and high-class bar food creations dreamed up by executive chefs from across the five boroughs: Diana Tandia from Berber Street Food, David Perez from Jacob’s Pickles, Maison Pickle, and Tiki Chick, and more.
“Disco and Drinks is gathering the best variety of spirits to showcase the diversity and creativity in cocktail-making in this great city. There is no place like New York,” Soffer says of the city he calls home and Spritz Society’s headquarters. With his new label garnering impressive media attention and the street cred to match, Soffer is elated to pour cans of Spritz for everyone to enjoy at the disco party. “This will be my first year at the festival, and I can’t think of a better way to get involved for both me and Spritz Society.”
The modern spritz maker is focused on ready-to-drink (RTD) canned beverages made from natural ingredients, blended with wine made from California grapes that are infused into recipes created by renowned mixologists. Launched in August 2021, the label is already one of the fastest-growing lines of sparkling cocktails on the market, with awards affirming the already huge hype. At the 2021 San Francisco International Wine Competition, their Grapefruit beverage was voted No. 1in the Premixed Wine Cocktail category.
More exciting for Soffer and Spritz Society is the line’s upcoming New York launch, slated for October, ensuring guests can easily find their favorite flavors in stores across the five boroughs. Just visiting the city for the festival? Don’t worry. “We’re rapidly expanding to other states, and you can also visit [our website] to purchase online and get it shipped directly to you,” Soffer adds.
Better than the beverages and bites featured at the festival’s more than 80 events, is the hope generated through NYCWFF’s partnership with God’s Love We Deliver, the largest organization dedicated to supplying life-sustaining meals to the many New Yorkers affected by severe illness.
“The main purpose of the weekend is not only to eat and drink but to raise awareness for our charity partner, God’s Love We Deliver, who work tirelessly to provide life-sustaining meals and nutrition counseling to New Yorkers affected by severe illness,” says Lee Schrager, the festival’s founder and director. Since its inception, NYCWFF has raised over $14 million for charitable partners.
Whether you’re an annual attendee or first-time guest, Schrager recommends sampling as many selections as your appetite allows. “Try and sprinkle in a bit of everything — happy hour, brunch, dinner, and one of our signature events — it’s the best way to spend the weekend,” Schrager says. “Just remember to pace yourself!”
Katz seconds this notion. “Coming out of the pandemic has only increased the sense of New York’s global spirits and bartending community. Most of all, our sensibility and pride in history and hospitality translates to one heck of a party! Let the disco ball and bell bottoms spin!”
This article is sponsored by the New York City Wine & Food Festival.