Buffalo Fashion Week just wrapped up. As the culmination of an action packed week-long event, a VIP Meet and Greet was held at the Mike A's Lounge @ Hotel Lafayette. I sort of came in at the tail end of this event, but as you can see, the fashion community was still out in force. As for the lounge, one of the latest hip hotspots to open in Buffalo, I absolutely loved the Art Deco touches - Buffalo's own little South Beach.
Mike Andrzejewski, creator of the lounge as well as the fine dining restaurant Mike A's @ Hotel Lafayette (across the hall), told me that he recruited Tony Rials (who he calls his "Drink Chef" not just mixologist) to run the show at the lounge. As with any good bartender, Tony changes the wine and cocktail list somewhat frequently based on the seasons, his palette as well as myriad other reasons. Tony learned his trade in Western New York, then with the Court of Master Sommeliers, and later interned in New York City. After stints in Rochester and Chicago, Mike tracked down Tony to come work with him at the hotel. And so another star returns to Buffalo.
The sponsors of the Meet and Greet had a cool edge - along with Mercedes Benz (sponsor of the Fashion Week), one of the big surprises of the night was the co-sponsorship by ONE ROQ Vodka - a soon-to-be hometown favorite.
So what exactly is ONE ROQ Vodka?
Buffalonian Founder and CEO Garrett Green told me that it was invented in Buffalo, but is currently being distilled, bottled and distributed out of town (for various logistical reasons). While Garrett hopes to one day manufacture ONE ROQ in Buffalo, we are fortunate that at this point the vodka is making its way into the local market. ONE ROQ is being branded as the World's First & Finest Premium-American Vodka. I love to see entrepreneurial spirit grow in this city.
The three ONE ROQ Vodka flavors are Reserve (sipping), Standard (mixing) and Raspberry (dessert).
During the Meet & Greet, Tony created two signature ONE ROQ cocktails just for the event. First came "Roq'd", which was made with ONE ROQ Vodka, St. Germain, Oolong tea, Aperol and Sparkling Pear.
Drink number two was called "Smashed but not Hammered". It consisted of ONE ROQ Raspberry Vodka, Cochi Americano, Chartreuse and Absinthe. There was an orchid inside each ice cube! How cool is that?
I think that it's pretty exciting to have the creator and CEO of ONE ROQ living here. Hopefully that means that we'll be seeing a lot more of the brand in the area. The vodka tastes great, the bottles look classy, and the Made in America message is timely, as more people are gravitating towards products that are made closer to home. Any time that I can head to a local establishment and find a product such as this that has a tie to Buffalo, it's both reassuring and welcoming.