Friday on the Fly

CIMG3633First of all, apologies for the break in writing here. I know I’ve got plenty more to cover as far as Tales of the Cocktail is concerned, but things have been a little crazy. It’s been non-stop for 11 days straight now, and for at least two weeks I haven’t gone grocery shopping, done any laundry, or even washed any dishes. My life is in temporary disarray, but have no fear—I’m back and ready to spill more Tales details!

The Cocktails that Made Gin Famous

Let me tell you what I love about working with gin brands—the accents. I’m just a sucker for a British accent. It’s smart, it’s sexy, it’s hilarious & charming! No one ever says that about “American accents.” Anyway, the accents were a huge plus in The Cocktails that Made Gin Famous session, but the content was also key. The panel featured Tal Nadori of Genever, Angus Winchester of Tanqueray, Dan Warner of Beefeater, and Simon Ford of Plymouth.

One after another, they presented the history and progression of the gin category (starting with Tal and Genever, of course) and the cocktails that made the spirit shine along the way. My personal favorite was the White Lady, presented by Dan. He mentioned there’s a “perfect” version of the cocktail that subs Peach Brandy in for Cointreau. Sounds delish!

On the Fly Competition

What a great idea for a competition! The brainchild of Jeffrey Morgenthaler,  this event pulled together great mixologists and spirits writers from across the country and challenged them to make the best cocktail they could using the ingredients from their Swag Bag! CIMG3643Ingredients included everything from Tea Forte to BBQ sauce, and the only other catch was that they had to use ½ oz. of either Grand Marnier or Navan. They had thirty minutes to do their work, which left some of the audience wishing Alton Brown was there to give us the play-by-play and show different camera angles of the bartenders in action.

I need more details on the winning cocktail, but I can say it was crafted by Giuseppe Gonzales of New York City. Other participants included:

Todd Thrasher-Washington, DC

Eric Alperin-Los Angeles (see Mohawk above)

Dave Wondrich-NYC

Neyah White-San Fran

Misty Kalkofen-Boston

Paul Clarke-Seattle

Ricky Gomez-New Orleans

CIMG3645 Caipirinha Competition

After the On The Fly competition, Steve & I headed over the Leblon Caipirinha Competition, which was really more of a party than a competition. The venue featured approx. 25 booths with USBG bartenders fixing up their “Caipirinha” submissions. I never got a clear read on who the winner was, but I think it might have me—because I love Cachaça & every cocktail I tried was fabulous.

One favorite of the night was Chris Stanley’s Ipanema Beachcomber. You’ll have to go bug him on his blog for the details, but I know it had Leblon, Herbsaint, Cinnamon Syrup, Angostura bitters, pineapple, and grapefruit. Yum!

We finished up the night with a Pimm’s Cup and a Sazerac at Napoleon House, a famous and historical watering hole that eluded us half a dozen times last year at Tales. Success!

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