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21st Century Sevilla

Photo from Pernod Ricard, Pioneers in Mixology

Another delightful component from March’s Pioneers in Mixology program that needed a blog post all its own comes courtesy of Nick Strangeway and the amazing citrus he was able to incorporate into cocktail recipes during his presentation. A mixture of infusions, freshly squeezed juices, and syrups accompanied him up front alongside a collection of garden fresh herbs and seasonal California citrus (oh, west coast, how I miss thee!). Among the fresh produce was the Seville Orange, which falls a bit towards the ‘tart’ side of the most common oranges found in your grocery store; as it is nearing the end of its seasonal height, Nick decided to play upon that aromatic citrus with a play on the Twentieth Century cocktail.

Needless to say, I was getting pretty thirsty. And I now assume you are, too. So here is Nick’s recipe, incorporating the Seville orange.

Photo from Pernod Ricard, Pioneers in Mixology

  • 1 1/2 – 2 oz Olmeca Altos Blanco
  • 1/2 oz Lillet Blanc
  • 1/2 oz Hiram Walker Creme de Cacao
  • 1/2 oz Seville Orange Juice
  • Seville zest

Shaken with cracked ice and strained into a cocktail glass. Garnish with Seville zest on top.

Nick described this drink as being “nicely balanced”, “subtle”, and that it “takes advantage of orange”. And, sadly, I had to take his word for it. By the time the drink made its way around to me near the back, the liquid was already gone (and, hence, no photo. boo). All I had to go off was the amazing Seville aroma.

So of course I had to try and replicate, but this time around was having to opt for Hartford County’s collection of citrus that boasts nowhere near the magical tastes of California produce. The orange juice I had on hand did not balance with the spicy Olmeca Altos as I had hoped, but did manage more so when I opted to make the classic gin-version of the Twentieth Century.

I look forward to foraging for some quality citrus around these parts and giving this cocktail another go-around! In the meantime, I encourage you to give it a try yourself and let me know your personal taste test results 🙂

Cheers!
SJ

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BarSmarts Wired Now Open!

Bartending enthusiasts rejoice! BarSmarts Wired has gone viral for a third time, with the next wave of the online bartender training program starting back on July 1. And, yes, while my announcement on Cocktail Culture certainly is late, there is still plenty of time to participate – the program is live until October 31.

We’ve spoken plenty of BarSmarts programs (just click on the tag “BarSmarts” to read some of our other coverage), so here’s your nickel-and-dimed version: Pernod Ricard USA and Beverage Alcohol Resource, LLC, continue to team together to present the BarSmarts Wired and Advanced courses. Under the tutelage of the likes of DeGroff, Pacault, Wondrich, Olson, and Seymour (so almighty and powerful they don’t even need their first names listed), “students” in the program cover topics such as spirits and cocktail knowledge, tips on tasting, and industry history. But that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Much of the program also focuses on cocktail technique and best service practices for those in the bartending profession.

There are still more perks! Signing up for Wired will earn you a complimentary messenger bag and complete set of professional bar tools (as pictured above). Dually for you cocktail enthusiasts, Wired is an exciting program in that you get to learn and practice the craft from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule. It doesn’t get much more practical than this!

If you have more questions about BarSmarts Wired or Advanced, I encourage you to visit the FAQ page or feel free to leave me your questions in the comments or via email. I was given the opportunity to go through the Advanced program in April and had a wonderful experience! Plus, you get one of these nifty-looking thingies upon completing the program. That’s worthy of a toast right there…

Cheers!
SJ

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Highlights from the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala

Dan Warner hides in the dimly-lit, yet festive, Beefeater Summer Gin bar at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala.

The multi-day festival that was the 1st annual Manhattan Cocktail Classic has come and passed and I was lucky enough to participate in a sampling of the events and educational seminars that the Big Apple’s biggest cocktail party had to offer. Pernod Ricard USA invited me along for the opening gala on May 14th, for the introduction of Beefeater Summer Edition, a lighter style gin specially designed to reflect the more relaxed style of summer drinking. The bar also featured Beefeater 24 which was introduced to the market last year and has successfully launched throughout the country.

At the Beefeater bar resembling a summer garden, I had the opportunity to finally meet Dan Warner, Global Ambassador for Beefeater. We had a chance to chat across the bar about the unique flavor profile in the Summer Edition gin, which features the addition of elderflower, black currant and hibiscus botanicals. Along with Warner, Kenta Goto of Pegu Club NYC and TJ Lynch of The Breslin served punch and stirred martinis to order for the 2,500 guests in attendance. Want the recipes? You got ‘em:

Demsond Payne, Master Distiller of Beefeater Gin with a Summer Gin Punch at the MCC Gala. Photo Courtesy Pernod Ricard USA.

Summer Gin Punch

5 parts Beefeater Summer Gin
1 part St Germain
1 part Maraschino
5 parts Chilled Green Tea
1 part Lime Juice
5 parts Prosecco
Method: Add ingredients to Punch Bowl with Ice Block
Glass: Punch Bowl
Garnish: Pineapple sticks, strawberries, lemon wheel, pink grapefruit wheels, mint sprigs

How perfect does this sound for your Memorial Day festivities coming up?!

24 Martini
5 parts Beefeater 24
1 part Lillet Blanc
2 dash orange bitters
Method: Stir all ingredients until ice cold and strain into glass.
Glass: Coupe
Garnish: Grapefruit twist

Steve Raye, and I at the Gala.

Beefeater’s summer gin was certainly a hot topic throughout the gala event. But what other ground did I span over the four stories of the New York Public Library? I got to connect face-to-face with some of my awesome online cocktail friends, play “Where’s Waldo?” with others, and sample a slew of beverages (oh, and I did I mention that there were Oompa-Loompas roaming near the front entrance?!). Not a bad gig, right? Many thanks again to Pernod Ricard for letting me join in the festivities.

Cheers!
-SJ

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Today’s the Day!

It’s finally here! I’m taking my BAR exam today!

I’ve been studying for four weeks for this day to test my spirits knowledge and bartending skills at Bar Smarts, presented by Pernod Ricard USA.

So here I am in Washington, D.C. preparing for a full day of tastings, discussions, cocktail demonstrations and, of course, the ever-menacing practical exam where I will be asked to make 3 cocktails in front of one of BAR’s judges. I’m talkin’ about the big players here: Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, Doug Frost, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour, and Dave Wondrich (Have I mentioned that I’m incredibly nervous?).

A parting image – I leave you with a shot of the Blood and Sand cocktails I made during my last night of practice at the Dirty Bird. I’m still trying to perfect that Flaming Twist of DeGroff’s, sigh….

Tune back in soon, fellow readers, for a recap of my day-long adventure in bar education.

Have a great day!
-SJ

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Smarten Up!

Bar Smarts is back, baby. You may recall my mentioning this bartender education program, which is put on by both Pernod Ricard and the folks from the BAR. Last fall there were a string of Advanced live session across the U.S., as well as the launch of an online version-Bar Smarts WIRED. The program is expanding so you have another chance to take part!

Bar Smarts WIRED, which is open to the public for a registration fee of $45, is now open! Visit the Bar Smarts website to learn more and register. The system will be open for two months. Bar Smarts Advanced, which is open to bartending professionals, is visiting new cities this Spring, including Seattle (4/27), Washington DC (4/29), Orlando (5/10), and New Orleans (5/12). If you are bartender/mixologist and are interested in the program, please visit the BarSmarts site to be added to the wait list. Space is limited so be sure to sign up soon.

Participants in both WIRED and Advanced will receive a Bar Smarts bar tools kit (photo above), and Advanced students will get the chance to sling drinks for the likes of Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, Dough Frost, F Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour, and Dave Wondrich. Check out the site and smarten up!

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Tales of the Cocktail: That’s a Wrap!

IMG_5148It’s so hard to fit all of the excitement, events, booze, and news of Tales of the Cocktail into a few measly posts, but if I didn’t consolidate and summarize this all, I’d be writing about Tales year-round. And trust me, we don’t need that—they’ve already got a fine blog of their own: Tales blog.

So here’s the remainder of what I have to share with those of you who’ve taken an interest in my Tales travels—then, it’s a wrap!

Saturday was my last full day in New Orleans (I left Sunday morning at an ungodly hour) & I went out with a bang! The day started out with breakfast at Brennan’s—an amazing treat I’ve been looking forward to since…well, since last year when I had breakfast at Brennan’s. Amazing! Strawberries & cream, Eggs Portuguese, & their famous Bananas Foster. I probably didn’t have to eat another bite the whole day…but I sure did.

Later in the day I sat in on one of the funniest Tales sessions I’ve been to—The Three Amigos, with a panel that consisted of Wayne Collins, Jason Crowley, and Simon Ford (he was everywhere at Tales!). I heard fantastic things about their session last year and these boys didn’t disappoint.

Again, it was a case of excellent accents matched with interesting content. They covered who they consider to be the three most IMG_5261important bartenders of the 19th century—Jerry Thomas, Harry Johnson, and The Only William-William Schmidt, paying particular attention to the bartenders’ varying personalities, service styles, cocktails, and mustaches. Best of all, this session had some of my favorite freebies of the week. Two reprints from Mud Puddle Books & a new bar spoon. Nice!

The Spirit Awards, sponsored by Pernod Ricard, were later that evening at Harrah’s Casino—and it was a great way to end a week of worshipping cocktails. I was lucky enough to be seated at a great table this year (with Robert Hess and Dave Wondrich to name-drop a few) and thus got a wonderful view of the many deserved winners. Here’s the list of 2009 Tales of the Cocktail Spirit Award winners:

World’s Best Drinks Selection: Merchant Hotel, Belfast

Best American Cocktail Bar: Pegu Club, NYC

World’s Best Cocktail Bar: PDT, NYC

World’s Best New Cocktail Bar: Clover Club, Brooklyn

World’s Best Hotel Bar: Merchant Hotel, Belfast

American Bartender of the Year: Jim Meehan, PDT

International Bartender of the Year: Tony Conigliaro

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book: The Essential Cocktail by Dale DeGroff

Best Cocktail Writing: Dave Wondrich

Best New Product: Bols Genever

IMG_5236World’s Best Cocktail Menu: Merchant Hotel, Belfast

Best American Brand Ambassador: Simon Ford, Plymouth Gin & Pernod Ricard

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award: Peter Dorelli

Congratulations to all the winners!

Most celebrated afterward, at the Plymouth-sponsored Bartender’s Breakfast. The event, held at the remarkable LaTrobe’s on Royal, was packed with a line out the door! There were at least a dozen bars throughout the venue serving up quality cocktails to sleep-deprived cocktailians determined to stay up until their 7 AM flight. Again, it was a great party and a wonderful way to give one last toast to Tales. I had a fantastic time this year and I’m sure next year will bring more surprises, sessions, parties, friends and of course, cocktails. Cheers!

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British Invasion! Beefeater 24 Arrives in the States!

beefeater_24_bottle-shotEarlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the official launch party for Beefeater 24 gin. For many cocktail writers, mixologist, bartenders, and enthusiasts, the “tea party” at Ella in New York was their first opportunity to try the product. Little secret here (ok, maybe not since I’m blogging it): it was my first chance to try it as well. Biased though I may be, I’ve got to tell you it’s fantastic! But you don’t have to believe me…take a look around online and you’ll see many others are raving about it as well.

So what is Beefeater 24 and what makes it different from the regular Beefeater Dry Gin? Created by Beefeater’s master distiller Desmond Payne, Beefeater 24 was inspired by the fact that Beefeater’s founder, James Burrough, was a prominent tea merchant. Though Beefeater 24 is made from many of the same botanicals (steeped for 24 hours—get it? 24) featured in the original, the addition of Chinese Green Tea and Japanese Sencha Tea makes for a totally different gin.

So, how about a few recipes? Here’s what they were serving up at the party:

Triple Citrus 24 by Dan Warner:cimg3119

1 ½ oz. Beefeater 24
3 oz. Q Tonic Water

Build in an ice-filled Collins or highball glass. Garnish with a lemon wheel, lime wheel, and orange wheel.

cimg312124 Martini by Dan Warner:

2 oz. Beefeater 24
1/3 oz. Lillet
3 dashes Regan’s orange bitters

Stir all ingredients until ice cold. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a grapefruit twist.

The shifting Sands by Sasha Petraske:

cimg31001 ½ oz. Beefeater 24
½ oz. Maraschino Liqueur
¾ oz. grapefruit juice
½ oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
Dash of simple syrup
Top with soda water

Shake first five ingredients. Strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with a grapefruit wedge.

cimg3104The launch party brought out the likes of Gary Reagan, Audrey Saunders, Simon Ford, and Charlotte Voisey, among many others. Dan Warner, brand ambassador for Beefeater, chatted up the crowd while Desmond Payne served as the honorary Mad Hatter. Check out the bartenders in their fab top-hats. It was so much fun and the drinks are so tasty—perfect for warmer weather!

Next week we’ll be examining the product even closer and creating more great cocktails so stay tuned! Chip chip cheerio!

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