Bar, nightclub and restaurant operators, managers, bartenders and other staff members have a lot to keep tabs on. From every day operations tasks to new product releases to spirit, beer, wine, cocktail and food trends, keeping on top of bar and nightlife news each week can be a project in and of itself.
That’s where we come in. To make things that much easier for you we’ve put together a detailed rundown of what happened this week that you should know. You need to know what international products are finally being distributed throughout America, what innovations are being made in glassware and bar and kitchen products, what and when music streaming services are featuring a new album, and so much more. In life, knowledge is power. In this business, knowledge is dollars.
Fifteen bartenders entered, one bartender left…
…with the title of 2017 US Bartender of the Year. Congratulations to Chris Cardone for taking home the coveted title at the close of the 6th annual United States Bartender’s Guild World Class Sponsored by Diageo competition. Literally thousands of bartenders applied, and after a series of arduous regional competitions, the top 15 competitors emerged. The final 15 displayed their passion, skills and creativity at the national competition in San Diego, which lasted for two days. The competitors endured a series of grueling challenges:
- Lightning Round: Craft 8 well-balanced cocktails in 10 minutes or less.
- Tasting Menu: Develop palate-pleasing cocktail pairings for specialty culinary dishes.
- Market Basket: Draw inspiration from fresh, seasonal ingredients found at a local market to craft unique creations.
- Dealer’s Choice: Master the element of surprise.
- Viva Mexico: Create cocktails inspired by the culture and flavors of Mexico.
Just competing in one of those rounds would be challenging (and exciting to watch), so image going through all five.
"I'm so honored to be named the US Best Bartender of the Year. My experience in the program has helped to strengthen my abilities, knowledge and connection to the bartending community in such an impactful way and I know it will help to directly benefit the future of my career in this industry,” said Chris. “I'm thrilled to represent my country at the Global Finals in Mexico City and I am thankful that I will have the support of my colleagues and my country behind me.”
Chris Cardone, you certainly earned the title. Congratulations!
Elegance, meet modern ingenuity and theatre.
What you’re looking at is New York City’s first-ever glow-in-the-dark light bulb martini, The Illumination. Created by March 2017 Nightclub & Bar Bartender of the Month Rael Petit, The Illumination features elit Vodka and vitamin B2. The cocktail is reactive to black light and is served underneath an ice sculpture that serves not only as a truly striking presentation but as a cooling system. Petit was actually inspired by one of elit Vodka’s most famous attributes: its freeze filtration method. And just like that, a sculpture is born.
Adding to the spectacle and unique experience of The Illumination – which was created exclusively for Delilah in NYC to be served now through World Martini Day – is the manner in which this radiant cocktail is served. First, the cocktail is inserted into the ice sphere through a hole that’s created by a blow torch, because science but also because just about everyone loves it when a fire-throwing device makes an appearance behind or on the bar. Once the ice sculpture has chilled the cocktail to perfection it is safe for the guest to reach inside through the hole to and enjoy The Illumination. This is lunacy and we love it.
- 2 parts elit Vodka
- ¾ part Dolin Dry Vermouth
- ¾ part Dolin White Vermouth
- 4 drops Vitamin B2
Garnish the drink with a cocktail onion on a metal skewer. To serve, place drink into ice vessel (see below) by burning the side of the ice with a torch then place drink in the bottom. To drink, reach hand inside ice sphere and remove from ice to enjoy.
Ice vessel: Fill balloon to desired size, release air bubble from the top, tie and hang in freezer with a plate underneath. Wait until a shell is frozen. Use a blow torch in the center of the ice sculpture to make a hole. Then release the water and continue to use the blow torch to make the hole bigger. Return it to the freezer until it’s time to serve.
Are flavored spirits coming back?
Research from just-drinks and the IWSR indicates that yes, the 150-million-case flavored spirits category will see modest bounce-back from the long-term decline it has been experiencing for the past several years. Between 2011 and 2015, this category of spirits dropped 48% after losing 13 million cases globally. However, the new report predicts this decline will come to an end within the next four years. So, don’t kick those flavored spirits off of your back bar; start including them in more of your signature cocktails and drinks promotions instead.
Northern Italian vodka from California.
The ultra-premium vodka category has a new entrant: the House of Carbonadi. If that name doesn’t communicate “ultra-premium,” we don’t know what does. While the house is a California-based spirits company, Carbonadi’s origins are from the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, which borders France and Switzerland. The family-owned distillery in Piedmont boasts more than a half-century of distillation experience and sources organic wheat from the Italian Alps.
Speaking to Carbonadi’s ultra-premium status is the filtration process the brand utilizes, which results in a crisp, clean and smooth vodka with aromas of green herbs, bay leaf and dried mint. First, the mash goes through 5 distillations through active charcoal. It is then filtered through microporous black diamonds to remove impurities not captured previously. Finally, micro-oxygenation is used. This process is intended to lengthen the molecules of the liquid, which creates incredibly smooth vodka. The House of Carbonadi’s 80 proof vodka best enjoyed straight or on the rocks but can elevate any vodka cocktail.
Remember the Most Interesting Man in the World?
Of course you do – Jonathan Goldsmith is the most interesting man in the world. Have you been wondering what he’s been up to? We know we have. Well, you should know that he has partnered with San Francisco World Spirits Competition Double Gold Medal winner Astral Tequila. Remember, Goldsmith told us all on several occasions that he doesn’t always drink beer. Astral Tequila, known for its elegance, complexity, balance and smoothness, is part of the Davos Brand portfolio, which was founded by Master Sommelier Richard Betts. Be sure to view this video message from Goldsmith in which he reveals his tequila of choice.
Just in time for Father’ Day!
Acclaimed Alabama distiller Clyde May’s Whiskey has released the limited edition, 117 proof, 9-year Cask Strength whiskey. You’ll want to move fast to add this to your inventory and, if you’re so inclined, present a bottle to your father or father figure: last year’s 8-year Cask Strength offering was gone in just a few months. We expect this year’s limited edition whiskey – the second whiskey in Clyde May’s ultra-premium Cask Strength line to be snapped up just as quickly. For more information, where to locate a bottle, and recipes, visit their website.