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Spirits Trends

Entrepreneurs & Winners

December 1, 2009 By: Jack Robertiello


Arturo A. Vera-Felicie of the R Bar & Restaurant and 1924 Main was named the winner of the 2009 Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition earlier this month. His original creation for the competition was the West Bottoms Social Club, based on pickled fig syrup. Beau Williams of Manifesto and Christopher Conastor of Justus Drugstore placed and showed.


Chicago bartender Adam Seger has created Hum, a blend of organic South American sugar-cane spirit and Chicago-area North Shore Distillery pot-still rum infused with hibiscus, ginger, cardamom and kaffir lime. Seger and his collaborator, spirits marketing vet Darrell Jursa, began playing with the mixture two years ago, testing it out on industry friends, and aim to do for craft spirits what craft brewers have done for beer.

Hum already is showing up in Chicago-area bars: At the soon-to-open Epic, the cocktail list includes the eponymous Epic, featuring equal parts Hum Liqueur and Hennessy Black, shaken with egg white and served with a lemon wheel.


Five bartenders have won the opportunity to go to Cognac, France, next summer to distill Citadelle Gin with master distiller Frederic Gilbert. The five — Enzo Lim from Minetta Tavern, New York; Brian Matthys, Izakaya Ten, New York; Eryn Reece, Louis 649, New York; Alex B. Smith, Ramblas and Thirsty Bear, San Francisco; and Max A. Solano, Emeril’s Table 10 and Delmonicos Steakhouse, Las Vegas — also have their winning recipes posted on the Citadelle and Mathilde liqueur web sites.


Bar managers and bartenders aspiring to the management track are invited to sign up for “Successful Beverage Management,” a program created by BarMedia’s Robert Plotkin with contributions from trade writer and educator Jack Robertiello, the Phoenician’s food and beverage director Mac Gregory and food and beverage authority Dr. Gail Bellamy. Details can be found here — the full day seminar will take place Jan. 12 at the Phoenecian in Scottsdale, Ariz.


Amarula Cream is challenging bartenders to enter the Amarula Experiment cocktail search. Bartenders are invited to submit their original recipes together with their photos and bios by May 31. Multiple winners will be selected and will have the opportunity to compete at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans in July for the title “Ultimate Amarula Mixologist.” Winners will also be featured in the next edition of the Amarula Mixologist Book. Submit recipes here.


Hendrick’s Gin has appointed a new brand ambassador, Jon Santer, to cover the West Coast. Jim Ryan will continue to represent the East Coast.


More than 150 New York area bartenders helped the US Bartenders’ Guild NY raise more than $1,000 for the Food Bank of New York through membership raffles and brand sponsorships at the fall Cktl Jam. The event, co-sponsored with the NY-based PipeLine Brands and Astor Center, brought out bar stars Aisha Sharpe, Junior Merino, Michael Waterhouse, Tad Carducci and Jonathan Pogash on Nov. 23.
 
Junipero Gin, Vermont Vodka, Bols Genever, Compass Box Whisky, Michter’s Rye, Domaine de Canton, Partida Tequila and Don Q Anejo Rum participated during the four-hour cocktail jam session, where more than four dozen new seasonal cocktails were created.


New spirit products worth thinking about: Powers is unveiling Powers 12 Year Old Special Reserve Irish Whiskey, a pot-still whiskey that receives extra aging in select American oak barrels, available in the U.S. in limited quantity beginning in February.


The first batch of Dulce Vida, a tequila made from organic agave, has been released in Austin, Texas. The blanco, reposado and añejo tequilas are expected to enter the San Antonio market later this year, followed by other major Texas cities and national markets in 2010. The agaves come from Nayarit and the tequilas are 100 proof, triple distilled and made with 100 percent single estate, organic blue agave. The brand expects to begin working soon with Russell Davis, bartender at Austin's Péché.


Tequila Corrido has launched in San Francisco. The entire portfolio — Cristalino (blanco), reposado, añejo and extra añejo — are now available.


In commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of Herbsaint production, the Sazerac Company will introduce a new product called Herbsaint Original this month. It’s made according to the same recipe first used when the spirit was created in 1933 and will bear the same label design that was used in the 1930s.


Xante, launched in Miami and New York in the spring of 2009, is now rolling out nationwide. A pear-infused Cognac liqueur from Sweden, Xanté has been popular in Europe for more than 10 years. Sugar content is 17 percent, half the amount of a standard liqueur and is 38 percent alcohol by volume.


Latest from Van Gogh: Van Gogh Blue vodka, made from wheat sourced from France, Germany and Holland, and Dutch Caramel, yet another in their line of 19 flavored vodkas. Even the color, coming from burned sugar, is natural.


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