Tales of the Cocktail starts next week. I am sure that anyone reading this blog knows what that is, so I won’t waste your time explaining.
But New Orleans ca be hard to get around and no one likes looking like a tourist. My long time good friend, fellow bartender, and NOLA resident Cheryl Charming has put together a little info guide to help all you bartenders, mixologists, and enthusiasts get around town. Take a look here
I am once again missing the celebration, but who knows what may happen next year.
Do you ask yourself who comes up with these days and wonder if they are actually holidays sanctioned by Congress? If they are we know why so many other things are out of whack!
But today is National Martini Day. And speaking of out of whack, the martini is probably the most abused, undermined, and bastardized drink in history. And in my usual attitude driven way I want to express a few things here. I have written extensively here and elsewhere about the Martini, and I am not going to rehash the history outside of saying that there were a few predecessors that didn’t really work out so well before the “Dry Martini” became a cocktail icon in the early 1900′s. So here we go:
The Martini is NOT:
- Everything served in a cocktail glass
- Fruit Flavored
- Without vermouth
- A cocktail or drink list
The Martini IS:
- Garnished with an olive or twist
United States Bartenders’ Guild and Diageo World Class Announce Jeff Bell as the 2013 U.S. Bartender of the Year After Live Shake Off
New York, NY – Thousands of applications were submitted. Hundreds of cocktail recipes were created. The nation’s top mixologists competed and five internationally recognized cocktail luminaries assembled to select one bartender worthy of the title of U.S. Bartender of the Year. After proving his skills during five challenges and two days of competition, the United States Bartender’s Guild (USBG) and Diageo World Class are proud to announce Jeff Bell as the 2013 U.S. Bartender of the Year.
In an unprecedented turn of events, two finalists scored equally in the competition. Jeff Bell of New York, NY and Julio Cabrera of Miami, FL tied for first place. Since the United States can send only one mixologist to the Global Finale, Jeff and Julio competed live in a “Shake Off” at the winner’s ceremony to the delight of the crowd. The competitors only had seven minutes to prepare their “perfect serve” cocktails for the five judges. After thorough deliberation Jeff was declared the winner and will represent the U.S. at the Global Finale this July. Diageo World Class remains the largest international cocktail education program and fosters a community of bartending talent that continues to elevate the art of the cocktail across the world.
“I want to thank Julio, he is an exceptional mixologist that truly deserves all the recognition in the world. I am so excited to be a part of this unbelievable program and to represent the U.S. in the Global Finale,” said Jeff. “The USBG and Diageo World Class program is an experience that elevates the art of the cocktail by pushing the limits of mixology as we proved last night. I am truly honored to be among the twenty finalists and extremely humbled that the cocktail luminaries chose my skills to represent the United States in the global competition.”
Jeff’s journey began in January 2013, as the USBG and Diageo World Class program entered its second year in the Unites States. The program invited top bartending and mixology talent to prove their skills by completing three educational modules, submitting an original cocktail recipe and creating a video about their passion for their profession. Hundreds of hopefuls completed the application, which was judged by the reigning 2012 USBG and Diageo World Class U.S. Winner, Ricky Gomez, and the Tanqueray Global Ambassador, Angus Winchester. In the end, the twenty finalists were selected to travel and prove their skills in one of the major urban epicenters of American cocktail culture, New York City.
The twenty competitors arrived in New York City to put their talent to the test from June 3-4, 2013. The challengers demonstrated their expertise, knowledge and technique by creating cocktails featuring one of the Diageo Reserve brands including Bulleit® Bourbon, CIROC® Vodka, Johnnie Walker® Blended Scotch Whisky, Ketel One® Vodka, Tanqueray No. Ten®, Tequila Don Julio® and Zacapa® Rum. As a reprise to the United States’ inaugural competition, challengers once again competed in the program’s traditional “Retro Chic,” “Food Pairing” and “Ritual Theater” challenges. However, this year, competitors also showed their skills with two new tests including “Brand Mastery,” a written exam and blind taste test for competitors to prove their palates and spirits knowledge, and “Cocktails Against the Clock,” an intense timed challenge that tested the finalists’ poise, accuracy and craftsmanship under pressure. Throughout the two-day competition, internationally acclaimed cocktail luminaries including master mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim; beverage expert, Steve Olson; award-winning bartender, Jim Meehan; James Beard Nominee, Julie Reiner; and National President of the USBG, Dave Nepove carefully critiqued and scored each drink to determine the competitor deserving of the USBG and Diageo World Class U.S. Bartender of the Year.
“We are thrilled with the expansion of this program and are amazed by the talent showcased in the second year of USBG and Diageo World Class U.S.,” said Mark Schulte, Senior Vice President Customer Marketing of Diageo North America. “Jeff will make the United States mixology community extremely proud when he represents our country at the international competition on board the Azamara Club Cruise ship. His knowledge, creativity and passion for the principles of the American cocktail culture will truly stand out when competing against a worldwide assembly of bartenders and celebrating with World Class responsibly.”
Jeff will travel aboard the luxury Azamara Club Cruise ship from July 4-10 to compete against forty-nine worldwide bartenders. The challenges will take place while sailing along the Mediterranean coastline with stops in Nice, Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, Ibiza and Barcelona. While aboard, he will be judged by renowned international cocktail luminaries, while vying for the chance to win the global title of “Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year.”
For additional information about the program and for upcoming competitions, visit www.DiageoWorldClassUSA.com. Join the conversation by following @WorldClassUS on Twitter, use the hashtag #CocktailChallenge and visit http://www.facebook.com/WorldClassUS.
The USBG is the largest network of professional bartenders in the U.S. who come together to share the craft of mixology. With over 60 years of presence in the United States and International coverage in affiliation with the International Bartender’s Association (IBA) in over 50 countries, the United States Bartenders’ Guild is setting the standard for the profession throughout the country. With the resurgence and increasing popularity of the cocktail, there is a high demand for creative and professional bartenders. As an industry leader, the USBG is responsible for educating its members about current trends while encouraging them to start new ones. For more information, visit www.usbg.org.
Diageo is the world’s leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, beer and wine. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, JεB, Windsor, Buchanan’s and Bushmills whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Baileys, Captain Morgan, Jose Cuervo, Tanqueray and Guinness.
Diageo is a global company, with its products sold in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE). For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at Diageo.com. For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit DRINKiQ.com.
Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.
This weekend is the unofficial start to summer. The kids are out of school, the weather is warm and after a long winter it’s time to get outside.
Drinking cocktails in the sun always seem to metabolize faster than at night, and it’s pretty easy to over do it by hydrating with liquor instead of water. So while you’re at the pool, camping, or grilling this weekend opt for something a little lighter and easier on the body with a jazzed up beer or cider drink.
Michelada: This is always a hit and frequently confused with a Red Eye, Tomato Beer, or Red beer. The traditional Michelada does not have tomato juice like the aforementioned drinks however. Take a tall glass, rim it with salt, fill it with ice, 1/2 oz lime juice, a couple dashes of hot sauce and top it with your favorite Mexican lager.
(How did tomato get in the mix along the way? This is a recipe originating in Mexico and the hot sauce would have been written as ‘salsa” and we in the U.S. would assume that meant Pace Picante)
Shandy: I love this drink! Take a tall glass and combine equal parts ginger beer or ginger ale with Guinness. Yes you can use the stuff in the can. I suggest ginger beer over ginger ale as American made ginger ale is much sweeter than European Ginger ale and the best way to get a more authentic flavor is ginger beer.
Pale Ale Julep: Yes I am serious. Muddle 6-8 mint leaves in a beer glass, add a 1/2 oz of sugar and top with pale ale. Really tasty with a dash or two of orange bitters.
Out-Cider: Apple cider is the feature here and goes great especially with smoked foods. Tall glass again, add 1/2 oz lemon, 1/4 oz light agave nectar (stir) add ice and top with apple cider. I like a couple drops of Bitter End Memphis BBQ Bitters in mine (you can purchase these online at many sources)
So get outside (no box required) and please remember to hydrate as you enjoy these light and refreshing libations.
Pile up the party times everyone! Spring is here and it is time to dust off the grill, clean up the deck, gather your friends and makes some drinks.
For the Kentucky Derby, the Mint Julep is the drink of choice. But they are time consuming and if you are not comfortable with your mixing prowess, The Horse’s Neck is a great alternative to celebrate Derby Day:
The Horse’s Neck.
Cut a long lemon peel over the top of a Collins Glass. And I mean LOOOOONG. This sucker needs to swivel from the bottom to the top of your glass. Now fill your glass with ice which will hold the lemon twist in place. Now add a shot of your favorite bourbon and top with ginger ale. That simple.
Sunday marks Cinco De Mayo, and believe it or not I am going to spare the history of this celebration and focus on what is has become which is a celebration of one of the many cultures that have influenced the American way of life. And of course when thinking of Cinco De Mayo, the Margarita pops into mind as the ‘comfort cocktail’ for the occasion. I again offer you an alternative to the most popular drink in Mexico: The Paloma
- 1 1/2 oz Blanco Tequila
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 3-4 oz Squirt grapefruit soda
Build in a Collins glass over ice and garnish with lime slice.
Now me being me I can’t let this fly without jazzing it up to a craft cocktail so here ya go:
- 1 1/2 oz blanco tequila (organic like Casa Noble, Republic, or Dulce Vida)
- 1/2 oz fresh lime juice
- 1 1/2 oz fresh pressed organic grapefruit juice
- 1 1/2 oz sparkling water
- 1/4-1/2 oz organic agave syrup
Combine all ingredients in a Collins glass filled with ice and garnish with lime slcie. This can also be made in batch; just multiply by the number of drinks you want to make.
Happy Spring everyone!
9th April 2013: The semi-finalists for Bols Around the World, the prestigious world bartending championship organised by Bols, have now been selected from the most extensive pool of high-level entries the contest has ever seen. Bols Around the World, which is now in its seventh year, seeks out the best and most charismatic bartenders from 66 countries and will culminate in the spectacular Grand Final held in Amsterdam on 7th May 2013 where one talented bartender will be crowned Bols Bartending World Champion 2013.
This year the team of judges, headed by The Bols Bartending Academy, was impressed by the unsurpassed level of creativity and originality which came not only from bartenders in leading cocktail cities like London and New York, but across all 66 participating countries.
In total, 21 bartenders from around the world go to the semi-finals in Amsterdam on 1st May, where only 12 will make it through to the Grand Final on 7th May to compete for the winning spot. In order to select the 21 semi-finalists, 16 regions worldwide judged their competing regional entries and each selected a regional winner. Five Young Talents, selected from a pool of 500 young talents scouted across the globe by the Bols Bartending Academy, have also been added to the semi-finalists.
Today, the names of 18 semi-finalists have been released, having been put through their paces during the first three competition stages since 1st December 2012. The semi-finalists include 14 regional winners who will compete in Amsterdam to become one of the 11 finalists, and 4 Young Talents. From the Young Talents only one can make it to the final to take on the 11 other experienced bartenders. This Young Talent finalist will receive additional training at the Bols Bartending Academy to compete on par with the other 11 bartenders.
This year’s Bols Around The World 2013 Semi Finalists are:
Region 1 Canada: Jenner Cormier (The Middle Spoon, Noble)
Region 2 USA: Tom Richter (The Beagle – NYC)
Region 3 Central America & Caribbean- Curacao: Luuk Gerritsen (Vegas 360 Curacao)
Region 4 Argentina: To be announced on 17th April at the BATW national final in Buenos Aires
Region 5: UK: Rusty Cerven – (The Connaught Bar, London)
Region 6 Scandinavia – Denmark: Leszek Stachura (The Union, Copenhagen)
Region 7 Germany: André Pintz (Steigenberger Grandhotel Handelshof Leipzig)
Region 8 Italy: Tiziana Borreani (cafè del mar – Savona)
Region 9 Western Europe-The Netherlands: Ciro de Georgio (Dvars, Amsterdam)
Region 10 Eastern Europe-Romania: Alexandru Tudor (Barmania Bucharest)
Region 11 Russia – To be announced on 12th April at the BATW national final in St Petersburg
Region 12 Poland: Mateusz Szuchnik-(Pies Czy Suka Pure Bar, Pogorzel)
Region 13 Japan: Michie Nishida-(Bar Open Door B2 Osaka)
Region 14 Middle East & Africa-Dubai: Jimmy Barrat (Zuma, Dubai)
Region 15 Asia-South Korea: Seongha Lee (Kap Bar & Dining, Seoul)
Region 16 Australia & New Zealand: Australia, Benjamin Tua (Mechanics Institute, Perth)
Young Talent Holland: Stefan van Zuijlen (Jersey, Goes)
Young Talent Europe: Hungary Fanni Lajkó (Boutiq’ Bar, Budapest)
Young Talent Americas: Brazil: José Kennedy Nascimento (MyNYbar, Sao Paolo)
Young Talent Australasia & Africa: Hong Kong: Nokoy Mak (Quinary, Hong Kong)
The winner will be crowned Bols Bartending World Champion 2013 and will go on an all-expenses paid eight-day bar tour ‘Around the World’ to four cocktail cities of his/her choice and will also win a trip to Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans this summer. All 21 semi-finalists will become Bols Brand Ambassadors and win a second trip to Amsterdam for a unique training programme at the Bols Bartending Academy
This year the global panel of judges across both the finals and semi-finals will be headed by Malika Saidi, head trainer Bols Bartending Academy and includes:
Anistatia Miller & Jared Brown, Directors of Mixellany Limited
Hidetsugu Ueno, owner and bartender of Bar High Five Tokyo and master of Japanese bartending
Jeff (Beachbum) Berry, one of Imbibe magazine’s ‘25 Most Influential Cocktail Personalities of the Past Century’ and Global Tiki Expert
Ago Perrone, Global Brand Ambassador Galliano and Head Mixologist Connaught Bar
Gabor Onufer, Bols Bartending World Champion 2012
The Grand Final of Bols Around the World on May 7th in Amsterdam is a spectacular event in which the world’s best 12 bartenders compete and showcase their skills and creativity, while 1100 guests enjoy Bols Cocktails and shows from DJ’s, singers and the World Champions Tandem Flair: Tomek & Marek. The event is unique allowing all 1100 guests to taste the finalists cocktails and award their own public winner.
When I started tending bar, there were two Irish whiskers available in the states: the big two that jokingly are referred to as Catholic and Protestant. Nowadays there is a plethora of choices when it comes to the water of life imported from the Green Isle. I am fortunate enough this St Patrick’s Day to be spending a wee bit of time in Ireland!
One recent favorite of mine is Concannon Irish Whiskey. You may know Concannon as a winery based in California, and yes it’s the same family. James Concannon was an Irish immigrant and pioneer of California wine making who open the Concannon Winery in 1883.
Concannon (Gaelic for ’wisdom without compromise) has partnered with the Cooley Distillery in County Louth to create a unique 4 year blended whiskey that starts it’s aging in old bourbon barrels and then is finished in Concannon wine barrels. When I first opened my bottle and nosed my glass, I took a guess at the grape varietal before I had done any reading about this whiskey. The nose was very distinctive of petite syrah, and I was right.
The mash is made from traditionally malted barley that is harvested in the spring, then double distilled in small long neck copper stills. The aging begins in bourbon barrels (Beam to be exact since they own the Cooley Distillery) the transferred to petite syrah barrels for final aging.
Concannon has the standard notes of honey and citrus distinctive to all Irish whiskies, with an added depth that can only come from a heavy grape like petite syrah ( one of my favorites by the way) which adds a longer finish of vanilla, berry fruits and spice.
Concannon is available nationwide and retails for about $25 and is a great alternative to the big boys of Ireland. I would especially recommend this to bourbon who find Irish whiskey to be too light for their palates as well as to wine drinkers, because….well, you should enjoy some whiskey every now and then.
Slante! Catch you cats in April