The cocktail community is a generous and industrious one.
When it became known that esteemed Seattle barman Murray Stenson was ill and needed surgery, bars instantly began organizing fundraising events. Among these was Audrey Saunders' Pegu Club. Then, when Hurricane Sandy laid waste to the east coast, bartenders and bar owners went at it again, putting together a new slew of money-making events.
Saunders had scheduled her Murray fundraiser prior to the arrival of Sandy, choosing Nov. 11 as the date. Post-Sandy, she reconsidered, and decided that half of the money raised would go to Stenson, and half to Sandy relief. Here's the announcement I wrote in the Times:
Bartenders Pitch In for Pegu Club’s Storm Benefit
By ROBERT SIMONSON
Pegu Club, the SoHo cocktail bar, will hold a “50/50″ fund-raiser on Nov. 11 to benefit two causes. Half the money raised will go toward Hurricane Sandy relief. The rest will aid Murray Stenson, a veteran Seattle-based bartender who has a heart ailment that requires medical attention. Mr. Stenson’s plight has inspired a Web-site and fund-raisers across the country, with more to come.
To work the bar during the benefit, Pegu Club’s Audrey Saunders has drawn from the cream of the New York bartending world. Among the mixologists expected to put in shifts are Richard Boccato of Dutch Kills; Meaghan Dorman of Raines Law Room; Brian Miller, formerly of Death & Co. and Lani Kai; Ivy Mix of Clover Club; Toby Maloney of Pouring Ribbons; Del Pedro of Tooker Alley; Julie Reiner of Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge; Dushan Zaric and Steven Schneider of Employees Only; Giuseppe Gonzalez of Mother’s Ruin; the bartending legend Dale DeGroff; and Pegu Club’s own Kenta Goto, Raul Flores and Timon Kaufmann.
Each bartender is expected to offer a specialty drink. Drinks will be full price. Doors open at 5 p.m. The event runs through 1 a.m.
Ms. Saunders is also adding a new drink to the cocktail list called the Sandy Relief Cocktail. It will be priced to move ($10), and all the money it brings in will go to the Red Cross and other charitable organizations.
Post script: The event ended up raising more that $17,000, meaning more than 1,300 drinks were consumed over the evening's eight hours. That's not counting tips, of which I'm sure there were many.