Eight Tales of the Cocktail Apprentices Receive Scholarships
In 2010, Tales of the Cocktail®, the world’s premier cocktail festival held annually in New Orleans, announced a new, $25,000 scholarship program developed exclusively for former cocktail apprentices. After an intensive judging process, eight former apprentices from across the country were selected to receive funding for everything from advanced bartending courses to develop a universal language for describing cocktails and spirits.
“It was inspiring to review the scholarship applications,” said Charlotte Voisey, a member of the scholarship selection committee. “We are very grateful for this opportunity to further our mission, by providing unique, educational opportunities to such talented industry professionals” said Paul G. Tuennerman.
The Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program is the latest piece of the ever-growing Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP). The program was founded in 2008 through a partnership between Tales of the Cocktail®, Cointreau and the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation (NOCCPS) to give up-and-coming cocktail professionals the opportunity to learn from the world’s most influential mixologists while at Tales of the Cocktail®.
Twenty-nine former Cocktail Apprentices submitted applications for a wide range of topics and programs across several different categories. Applications required a detailed explanation of course of study and presentation of findings, as well as a pre-established mentor in the field of study. A scholarship selection committee made up of key apprentice leaders, NOCCPS members and the Tales of the Cocktail team reviewed all the applications in a multi-step process.
The first two rounds were reviewed on a variety of criteria with absolutely no applicant information visible to reviewers. In the third round, the selection committee took into account the applicants’ credentials, places of employment and years of experience with Tales of the Cocktail. The final round was a discussion format that focused on the scores, not just within each category, but also as whole. With this, the selection committee considered the amount of potential impact each proposed project could have on the industry.
Two of the scholarship winners are members of the 2010 Cocktail Apprentice leadership team and thus on the selection committee. These two members of the selection committee were not permitted to review applications in their initial categories, had limited participation in the discussion of fund allocation in different categories and even sacrificed some of the funds available to them in order to see more applicants awarded scholarships. They also did not have advance notice of review criteria and other applications.
Applicants who did not receive scholarships this year are encouraged to apply next year, as this program is an on-going initiative of Tales of the Cocktail®. The selection committee is eager to see the results of these projects, as well as, collaborating with one of this year’s winners to choose the grants in 2011.
The 2011 Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship recipients are:
Mike Ryan (Head Bartender, Sable Bar and Restaurant – Chicago)
Class of 2009 and 2010 CAP Team Leader
$3500.00 to attend the Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) class in New York City
BAR is an independent organization comprised of six of the world’s leading spirits and cocktail authorities dedicated to educating, guiding and propagating the healthy, enlightened and responsible use of beverage alcohol products. Students study in-depth bartending techniques, base spirit production, tasting and usage as well as the history of the craft in an intensive five-day spirituous equivalent to a Master Sommelier course.
Navarro Carr (Bartender, The Sound Table – Atlanta)
Class of 2010
$1500.00 for “A Journey Into the World of Rhum Agricole”
“A Journey into the World of Rhum Agricole” is an educational excursion to Martinique-French West Indies to visit a variety of rum distilleries. The overall objective is to gain a better understanding of how Rhum Agricole is produced from sugar cane harvest to bottling. Navarro will have the rare opportunity to travel to an A.O.C. designated region and experience how terroir, cane selection, harvest methods, fermentation, distillation and maturation play a role in producing specific Rhum Agricoles. Upon returning to the states, Navarro will present his research to several bartending education organizations.
Thomas Klus (Bartender, Teardrop Cocktail Lounge – Portland)
Class of 2010
$2500.00 for “A Bridge to Islay”
Tommy will be partaking in an immersion internship primarily with Master Distiller
Jim McEwan at Bruichladdich Distillery in Islay, Scotland as well as several other regional distilleries with the goals of learning the complete distillation process as well as creating a bond between the U.S. and Islay to help preserve the traditions and culture of the island. Thomas will become an Islay Ambassador upon return, working not only to educate the U.S. on Islay, but continuing to work with the distillers there to help them understand and adapt to the needs and desires of bartenders working with their product.
Nicholas Jarrett and Brad Farran (Bartenders, Clover Club – Brooklyn)
Class of 2009 and 2010
$5,000.00 to create a green, zero-impact bar to be used in future bar designs
Working with a green industrial designer, Nicolas and Brad will develop the logistical infrastructure to assemble a functioning bar system with zero impact, one that recycles or reuses all byproducts of daily operation from materials to discarded garnish to grey water. This design will be put to the test in one of the most grueling event spaces, Burning Man 2012. From there the techniques used will be refined and made available for others to incorporate into their pop up bar setups at events throughout the world as well as into permanent bars.
Rhiannon Enlil (Bartender, Cure – New Orleans)
Class of 2008
$3,000.00 for a Cocktail Timeline Website
Rhiannon will create a web-based, visually-organized encyclopedic timeline of cocktails. This historic reference guide will start with eight key New Orleans cocktails and expand from there, giving users a single readable line with more in depth information available at their choosing depending on their desired topic of study. This site will not be a narrative, rather a user driven research tool based solely on factual references which will be archived into the site, not only making original source material easily viewable to all researchers, but also preserving it in one easily searchable location.
Don Lee (Bartender and Consultant, New York)
CAP Team Leader for Class of 2008, 2009 and 2010
$5,000.00 to study Descriptive Language of Spirits and Cocktails
Working with one of the industry’s foremost sensory analysts, Don Lee will create a collaborative project to develop a universal scientific language to describe the flavor profiles of every major spirit category and basic cocktail family. The project will start by using a series of planned blind tastings with groups across the country to amass descriptive data. Once a comprehensive language of general taste perceptions is created, a more formal panel of trained tasting experts will be selected to analyze and describe specific bottlings and cocktails with this new language. The new language will not favor or endorse any one brand but help the industry as a whole to better describe and understand spirits and cocktails in a way understood by all. All non-discriminatory, non-competitive, non-brand specific information will be shared freely on a website for the benefit of the community.
Sharon Floyd (Bartender, Iris – New Orleans)
Class of 2010
$2,500.00 to study “The Botanical Bar”
The shared histories of the apothecary, bartender and the medicinal properties of alcohol are familiar to most today, but much understanding is lacking where the specific plants are concerned. Sharon will embark with an Ayurvedic medicinal practitioner on a comprehensive study of herbs and plants most used in the cocktail world. Their research will ultimately result in a comprehensive reference work of herbal medicine as it relates to spirits and cocktail creation allowing for further creative collaboration between these two worlds.
Sudeep Rangi (Bartender, Smuggler’s Cove – San Francisco)
Class of 2010
$2,000.00 to study a “General Theory on Drunkenness”
Drawing upon his degree in Neuroscience, Behavioral Biology and Philosophy from Emory University, Sudeep will examine how we can attempt to understand drunkenness not as a temporary form of lawlessness, but as a necessary biological and social function. Expanding on the works of Mikhail Bakhtin, Sudeep will attempt to answer the question of what social function do bars and the consumption of alcohol play throughout history and across societies. He will also examine how this function is a part of the natural human condition by examining the tension between the lawlessness drunkenness produces in the mind and societies attempt to simultaneously regulate individuals. Ultimately his goal is to synthesize the work into a book and his future legal work.