Going to Vegas for the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show? Of course you are. Where else will you taste the next great thing for your backbar or watch the top mixologists duke it out during Shake it Up!? While there, be sure to make time to check out these mixology seminars:
-->On Monday, March 7, Joe DeLuca of Beverage Resources hosts “How a Cocktail Culture Develops” from 1 to 2 p.m; International barstar and all-around Miss Congeniality Charlotte Voisey, portfolio ambassador for William Grant & Sons USA, hosts “Bar-Trending – A Look into the Future,’ at 3:30 p.m.
-->Tuesday, March 8, promises “How to Taste Spirits & Cocktails” with Phil Raimondo, master mixologist and Maria Yost, food scientist, both with Beam Global Spirits & Wine at 1:00 p.m.; “Pouring Profits with Boutique Brands,” hosted by Dave Elger of Muchote Tequila and host of TV’s “HotMixology” at 2:00 p.m.; “Make Your Hotel Bar a Major Profit Center” with Raymond Burton, regional manager - franchise food & beverage, InterContinental Hotels Group at 3:00 p.m.; and finally, “Wow ‘em back! - Second Generation Cocktail Design” with Chicago’s bar star Adam Seger, of the Hum Spirits Company at 4:00 p.m.
-->On Wednesday, look for two Southern Wine and Spirits educators, NY’s Allen Katz and Chicago’s Bridget Albert, at 1:00 p.m. for “Setting up Your Back Bar for Success;” followed by “Cocktails for Cougars,” on attracting women of a certain age to your bar, hosted by Ryan Magarian, of Liquid Relations and co-founder, Aviation Gin, at 2:00 p.m. Lastly, “Finding your Market with Entertainment Bartending,” moderated by Mark Green of Rock & Rita's and Kahonaville, with panelists from both operations including David Tuttleman, Mandi McCary, Oscar Perez and Christian Delpeche, at 3:00 p.m.
-->As if that weren't enough, drop in Monday at 2 p.m. to see me and Robert Plotkin present the short version of our Successful Beverage Management seminar, or Tuesday at 1 p.m. when we make monkey faces, er, present “Fifty Moneymaking Ideas in 50 Minutes”.
The NYC Chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC), Compass Box Whisky and Astor Center will honor International Women’s Day on March 8 with their second annual cocktail and culinary benefit. Leading female mixologists – chapter prez Lynette Marrero, Peels; Erin Williams, Hush Cocktails; Eryn Reece, Mayahuel; Jessica Gonzalez, Death & Co.; Kelley Slagle, Terroir; Meaghan Dorman, Raines Law Room; Misty Kalkofen, Drink Boston; and Yael Vengroff, Painkiller, will use the Compass Box range to create eight specialty cocktails, two matched with chocolates and two paired with artisanal cheeses.
In Washington, D.C., Jason Strich took the prize for best Pisco cocktail in the first of six regional competitions held by Macchu Pisco to select the best Pisco Sour. Strich from Rasika won with his Chica Pisco, made with purple corn and will take a trip to Peru as a result. Prizes also went to Clinton Terry from PX and Michael Saccone of Majestic Café. The regional competitions in Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York will be spread over the next five months, culminating in a grand finale the last week of July at the Peruvian Embassy in Washington D.C.
Also in D.C., The Jefferson Hotel’s head mixologist, Massimiliano Matte, will pay homage to the Academy Award-nominated Best Pictures. “Toy Story 3” gets the Nutella Manhattan - sweet vermouth, Xocolatl bitters, Angostura bitters, Nutella-infused vodka and bourbon – while the “Black Swan” gets the Black and White Margarita – a Marg made with aloe vera juice and a double salt rim of black Hawaiian and thyme-lemongrass infused licks.
New Orleans’ Danny Valdez is the new national ambassador for Zacapa Rum. Valdez has worked at Commander’s Palace and most recently Cure in NOLA, and has his own Cocktailian Nola consulting business.
A new year brings new products of note from well-known brands and suppliers: Chopin vodka now offers a variant made with rye to accompany the long-imported potato version; Knob Creek is rolling out a Single Barrel Reserve strength version, at a powerful 60% alcohol by volume; and Remy Martin is introducing in select markets Remy Martin V, a clear grape eau de vie. While on the topic of clear grape spirits, expect soon to hear about mosto verde Pisco Porton, a pisco style made with incompletely fermented grape juice, traditionally resulting in a Pisco more expensive to make and richer in grape sugars. Finally, a new luxury mezcal brand worth looking into called Pierde Almas is available in New York and a few other markets. The line-up includes mezcals made from the agave varieties tobala, espadin, dobadaan and tobaziche, as well as a wild fruit and turkey breast version of the traditional pechuga style of mezcal.