Cocktails in London and San Francisco and the Return of Finger LimesSeptember 20, 2011 By: Jack Robertiello
PAMA Liqueur announces “Beyond The Glass Bartender Search,” created in partnership with the U.S. Bartenders' Guild (USBG). Beyond The Glass seeks a bartender who exemplifies the qualities that make the profession great, beyond creating delectable drinks. The winning bartender will receive $4,500. The online talent search, which runs until Oct. 31 at 5 p.m. PST, asks bartenders to nominate themselves by submitting a video through PAMAPros.com showcasing personal style (how they dress, shake, stir and serve), garnishing skills (how they create the powerful finishing touch to a cocktail) and commitment to their community (how they contribute to the local bartending profession and use their bartending skills for the benefit of good causes). Judges — members of the USBG executive board — will award points for each section of the submission, and 10 runners up will have their annual USBG dues paid.
San Francisco Cocktail Week is just kicking off. The events of Sept. 20 include a gin-focused dinner at Bar Agricole with bartenders and owners Eric Johnson and Thad Vogler, Chef Brandon Jew and St. George Spirits Distiller Lance Winters; an Iberian-inspired feast with Distillery 209 pairings at Gitane; and Kimpton Hotel barman Jacques Bezuidenhout whipping up drinks made with Anchor Distilling Company’s portfolio of spirits, including No. 3 London Dry Gin, The King’s Ginger Liqueur, Chinaco Tequila and Luxardo Liqueurs. Later during the week, Absinthe’s Chef Adam Keough, bar manager Carlos Yturria and Southern Wine & Spirits Francesco Lafranconi have concocted a punch and cocktail party with Grand Marnier; Charbay Spirits and Perfect Purée of Napa Valley team up for a Mexican dinner from Executive Chef Kelvin Ott, starting with the “El Diablito” (Charbay Blanco tequila, creme yvette, absinthe, fresh lime, ginger beer). Master Distiller Marko Karakasevic also will be on hand.
London Cocktail Week is near, and the website is now live. Running Oct. 7-16, the city-wide event includes bus-driven cocktail tours; more than 100 special ticketed events from book signings, product launches and geeky discussions to heated debates and tutored tastings with global drinks experts; CLASS Magazine Bar Awards and more. Go to www.londoncocktailweek.com for details.
Look out for the Tampa Left Coast Bar Guild’s Repeal Day Party in Ybor City, Fla., on Dec. 4. The fundraising event will celebrate the repeal of Prohibition with food, music, entertainment and drinks covering more than 100 years of mixology from the 1850s onward, with five different bars creating, for example, pre-Prohibition-era cocktails and expatriate rum drinks from the islands. Tickets may be purchased online at brownpapertickets.com or through authorized guild members. A portion of all ticket sales benefits the Museum of the American Cocktail in New Orleans, La. Participants include Douglas Coe of 220 East, Ryan Pines of Bernini’s, Dean Hurst, Robert Jefferson, Brian Rogalski of SideBern’s — and many more area drink slingers.
The Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition, the largest competition of its kind in the Midwest, named Valdez Campos of The Rieger/Manifesto in Kansas City, Mo., as the Midwest’s best in late August. Campos took home $1,000 for his drink, Rick’s Fizz. Second Place went to Justin Richardson of The American Restaurant in Kansas City, and Third Place went to Chad Michael George of Demun Oyster Bar in St. Louis. The fan favorite award went for the third year running to Anthony Beyer of Benton’s Prime Chop House in Kansas City. The competition pit 13 finalists against each other in front of a panel of judges and a live audience; finalists were selected to compete after submission of their original cocktail recipes. Founders announced that next year they intend to expand the scope of the event to be the "Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival," a multi-day event featuring cocktail culture in the Midwest.
For the fifth year in a row, New Orleans residents voted the Carousel Bar in the 125-year-old Hotel Monteleone as the “Best Hotel Bar” in the city according to the “Best of New Orleans 2011” reader’s poll conducted annually by Gambit Weekly, a weekly entertainment newspaper in New Orleans. Because of its popularity, the Carousel Bar currently is undergoing an expansion and will boast more windows along Royal Street as well as an additional bar area when it’s complete.
What’s a finger lime? It’s a micro citrus not technically part of the lemon or lime family discovered in the Australian bush and domesticated about 30 years ago. The interior provides individually contained juice vesicles commonly referred to as citrus caviar. The pulp looks like caviar, a taste similar to that of a lemon or lime and can be light green, pink or red inside. Shanley Farm's trees produced their first commercial-sized crop in the fall of 2010; now the fruits are back in limited supply. Shanley Farms Finger Limes are being sold to select retailers, food service distributors and wholesalers nationally. Shanley Farms Finger Limes also can be found for sale on the company website, www.shanleyfarms.com.