DON’T MISS – TASTEVIN

Tastevin app enters the dining room with ease
By Ben Weinberg

The servers at award-winning Panzano restaurant in Denver hand over the sleek iPad to customers with a cheerful, “Have fun. Play around with it.”

The “it” they’re referring to is their beverage menu. Panzano’s menu (www.panzano-denver.com) was created (and is regularly updated) using Tastevin; a fully customizable, iPad-based program which offers pairing suggestions for guests and, for restaurant management, keeps track of inventory (in the cloud).

The founding management team at Tastevin includes beverage and software industry vets such as John Jordan of Jordan Vineyard & Winery (www.jordanwinery.com). Their in-depth, insider knowledge thus informs all aspects of the app’s focus, which is to take the worry out of wine service by providing whatever information the diner needs at the point of sale.

Closing that sale is part of the allure of the iPad’s presence at the table. Why invest in Tastevin and make the switch from traditional printed wine/cocktail lists to this? Well, first of all, printed wine lists waste paper, ink and money. And nothing stresses diners more than a list full of names they can’t pronounce from regions they’ve never heard of. Tastevin eliminates that stress by Read the full article here »

DON’T MISS – FEVER-TREE MEDITERRANEAN TONIC

Hot for the new Fever-Tree mixer
By Francine Cohen

Our love affair with Fever-Tree’s Mediterranean tonic is, as with most love stories, a long and complicated one.

We were first introduced to this perfect for vodka pairing mixer in a clandestine way…Fever-Tree’s rep had just four bottles to share with Englishman Ben Scorah (also known as the head bartender for Chef John DeLucie’s exclusive restaurants The Lion and The Crown – www.thelionnyc.com, www.crown81.com) and lucky for us we were at the bar when the precious package was presented. Thankfully Scorah is the sharing type.

So, a few sips of deliciousness and we were hooked. The crisp bubbles! The fresh herbal notes that balanced well with quinine and made us want to order the entire left side of the menu! Vodka tonics, we finally had a reason to order you again. But alas, this elixir with its rosemary overtones wasn’t to be available in the States for over a year. Despite strong sales in the UK.

Leaving us lovelorn and suffering a stereotypical fate of begging the brand owners to make it available here. Finally, they listened. Charles Rolls, Fever-Tree’s co-founder says, “Fever-Tree Mediterranean Tonic is the next natural progression in our line of all natural premium mixers. Our goal has always been to optimally showcase premium spirits in cocktails and we recognize that certain different spirits require different flavor complements in cocktails. Our Mediterranean Tonic’s unique Read the full article here »

DON’T MISS – LILLET ROSÉ

It’s time to be a little boastful, but we can’t help it. We know a good thing when we see it. And we love when we see it first.

From our very first “before it officially launched in the US” sip of Lillet Rose we’ve been in love with this new introduction from the venerable brand that, for many, defined aperitifs.

Now it’s fully available here, and though it’s far from us to offer gambling advice, we can guarantee that it is not a lousy gamble to order this, even if you don’t already sell lots of aperitifs.

Don’t believe us? Think we’re bragging just so you’ll applaud us for getting the scoop on this way ahead of the crowd? Au contraire, mon frères; your colleagues love it too. So much so that it’s up for best new product at this Year’s Tales of the Cocktail awards.

That’s gotta say something.

What it says to us is that you’re looking for new ways to excite your guests. They may be steeped in tradition, like aperitifs, but it’s new and exciting to the folks to whom you’re serving drinks these days.

Amanda Boccato, Lillet’s Brand Ambassador (and all around aperitif champion), has this to say, “I hope to bring a bit more elegance back into everyday American culture through the art of apéritif-ing.

Through both trade and consumer education I’ve been able to unroll this European cultural staple that has often been mis-translated, in American society, as “happy hour.” With Lillet, we’ve coined a new term, “the elegant hour. Any moment can be an ‘apéritif moment’ and any hour can be an ‘elegant hour.’ I’m demonstrating this at the Lillet Tasting Room this week at the 10th Annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, where we’ve also been graciously nominated for best new product this year!”

She continues to share the journey that brought us this product so many of you love already and explains, Read the full article here »

DON’T MISS – DALE DEGROFF’S PIMENTO AROMATIC BITTERS

By Francine Cohen

There are times in life where you’ve just got to go with your gut. Take your years of expertise and experience and knowledge and trust that you can trust your instincts. This is one of those times…

INSIDE F&B’s “Don’t Miss” column is pleased to introduce something we haven’t even had the pleasure of trying — Dale DeGroff’s Pimento Aromatic bitters. www.PimentoAromaticBitters.com

Why share something with you that we haven’t yet tasted, much less do it in this regular column in which we highlight very special things we know you’ll enjoy and want to know about? Well, because it’s new. And we know you like to know about new things. And because it’s from Dale. And Ted. And, not that they walk on water (though, if they did it would be a neat trick), but these are two guys who know what they’re doing. Plus, now we get to talk about “Dale & Ted’s Big Adventure.”

When they do come together in a joint venture like coming into the bitters category with a new entry, we at least want to give it a whirl. And we’re pretty sure you will too. Which you can, in LIMITED quantity at Tales. And then it’ll be ready for sale late summer/early fall.

But first, back to the liquid itself. What’s so great about these Pimento bitters? Well, for one, it’s on DeGroff’s list of items he’d take on a desert island – assuming said desert island was outfitted with a bar. He notes, ““If I were trapped on a desert island and had one ingredient to mix with spirits, this would be it! Locked in the heart of this single berry is the essence of cinnamon, Read the full article here »

DETOX DOWNTIME

Kusmi tea is perfect for any time of day
By Francine Cohen

The beauty of Kusmi’s Detox tea is that you don’t have to be detoxing to enjoy it.

Made from a blend of mate, green tea and lemongrass it’s very soothing and while it may not have the same “pick me up and get me going” qualities like some caffeinated teas and coffee have, it’s got something better – a bit of a respite in every bag.

Consider keeping a couple of boxes of Detox around since, as busy food & beverage professionals you put in long hours and, let’s admit it, may not eat as healthy as you should.

Having it on hands means it’s easy to reach for the Kusmi Detox tea right as you ease into your day and embrace that balance of bright refreshing notes and a soft warmth that envelopes you and helps clear your head.

And your tummy too. Relaxing in its complexity, it’s the antidote to your occupational hazards of being in the weeds and having to ingest lots of delicious food and drink before, during, and after your shift.

DON’T MISS – RUSSELL’S RESERVE

By Francine Cohen

There are bourbons that make you go, “Whoo-ee, boy! This is some damn fine bourbon. It’ll put hair on your chest!” And then there’s the kind of bourbon you’ll sip and it makes you think that despite the fact you’ve never been south of the Mason-Dixon line you’ve actually spent weekend afternoons sitting on a wide, sunny porch flanked by tall pillars, rocking back and forth and enjoying great conversation as the creek trickles softly down the hill.

Russell’s Reserve (www.wildturkeybourbon.com) is this bourbon. The bourbon that transports you from your mundane and frigid city-bound existence to something much more laid back. It’s the kind of bourbon that you could sip at 8:00 a.m. and not feel a lick of guilt about it aside from the fact that you didn’t add it to the maple syrup so your family could enjoy it too.

Russell’s Reserve is a hand-crafted bourbon born of a family business that reflects the 80-plus years of combined experience the father and son duo of Jimmy and Eddie Russell posessess. Master Distiller, Jimmy Russell has been making bourbon in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky for 56 years and has joined the ranks of the greats when it comes to his legendary craftsmanship. He collaborated with his son Eddie, a relative newcomer with 30 years under his belt, to create the acclaimed Russell’s Reserve. Jimmy Russell has worked at the distillery since 1954 and his devotion to his whiskey making comes from his family. His grandfather worked in the distilling business, as did his father before him.

Russell’s Reserve is a very special clean, rich and full bodied bourbon that’s bottled at 90 proof. Rich with notes of toffee and oak on the nose it crisply delivers the liquid with hints of sweet caramel and vanilla.

Perfect for any time of day. Or night (if you must wait).

Harvest Walnut Old Fashioned
Created by James Moreland


3 bar spoons Harvest Song Walnut Syrup
2 oz. Russell’s Reserve
3 Kingston Cubes (or 1 regular sugar cube)
Lemon peel
1 Harvest Song Walnut

Muddle lemon, cube(s), syrup
Add bourbon and stir
Add ice and stir
Slice walnut in half and place in glas
Pour in drink and garnish with lemon peel and serve with a spoon

(For more information: Kingston cubes – www.kingstoncubes.com; Harvest Song – www.harvestsongventures.com)

DON’T MISS: BLACKBERRY FARM MUSHROOM SPREAD

By Francine Cohen
Photo courtesy of Blackberry Farm

Blackberry Farm mushroom spread jar

Condiments. One of the best concepts in the food world. An excuse to add an additional flavor and/or texture component to a dish that completes it. Like the perfect garnish on a cocktail. Or your favorite accessory that finishes an outfit when you’re all revved up for a great night out. These little extras are what sets you, and your cooking and drink making apart from all others.

For food producers being set apart from all others courtesy of the recognition that comes with a James Beard nod is nice. So too are recommendations and accolades from Condé Nast Traveler, Travel & Leisure, Food Network and Wine Spectator. But what really capitulates a condiment (and its creator) into the stratosphere is umami- that indescribably delicious taste that forces you to crave more, more, more!

That’s the kind of praise we’d like to heap upon Blackberry Farm’s (www.blackberryfarm.com) mushroom spread. Chef Joseph Lenn, Executive Chef at this award-winning and highly sought after Tennessee destination, does an exquisite job of marrying local mushrooms with just a hint of tang to produce an earthy and hearty spread you’ll want to indulge in at every meal. Fortunately mushrooms, much like pork, have a place in a multitude of dishes.

Lenn explains, “This spread was born at The Barn’s dining room as a healthy alternative to butter, and is the result of finding stunning fungi in the hills on-site. It’s delicious on a baguette, or mixed into polenta, risotto or pasta.”

He continues, “Here are simple and easy tips on how to use this new condiment.

• Start your morning off right with simply mixing the mushroom spread into scrambled eggs, the flavors give the eggs a perfect earthiness.
• Mix into a hot risotto or fresh pasta
• Toss with roasted beets and olive oil for a southern summer salad
• Put in a pie shell with your favorite fresh cheese and make a savory Read the full article here »

DON’T MISS – MOZO

The gift that just keeps giving
By Francine Cohen

This holiday season there are plenty of gifts exchanged; some awful that you can’t re-gift them fast enough, and others so perfect only you could have picked them out yourself.

MOZO shoes are that one gift you’ll be glad you gave yourself; so stylish and comfy that nobody else (but another chef/bartender/server/manager) would understand the bliss you feel knowing you’ve stopped the pain in your back and your feet before it even had a chance to flare up.

MOZO brand President, Stuart Jenkins, explains why his team of shoe designers and engineers from the Deckers Outdoors (www.deckers.com – the parent company who also brought us TEVA and UGG) partnered with chefs Chris Consentino, Macus Samuelsson, and Aaron Sanchez to design these new shoes for those who spend their working hours in the back and front of house. He says, “Why is it that someone should be spending 8-10 hours a day on their feet without having the benefits of comfort and sustainability of comfort? We would like to think we can make any 8 hour shift better than it has been in the past.”

He continues, “Our shoes feature The Uniframe design which includes MOZO’s trademark gel insoles and slip-resistant outsoles, as well as side vents that aid in moisture and heat management. MOZO offers durability in cushioning, traction, support and craftsmanship and has certified slip-resistant outsoles through a unique Spider Traction™ compound. The exclusive TripleFit System™ lets users customize the volume inside their shoe by a half size, larger or smaller. The one thing this line of product brings to the industry is that they are extremely light weight while offering proper cushioning and insoles and construction. MOZO gets people out of sneakers and puts them into traction for safety.”

With the intent of creating shoes that are made to mold to the foot and let it breathe, a critical element during active and lengthy shifts, Jenkins and his team set out to make a shoe that is not only functional but also fashionable and fits the lifestyle. He explains why, “When I watched through the trade shows and looked at the shoe exhibits I saw what people were making and you had two choices, black or white. It seemed to me that the product the shoe industry was offering was out of touch and there was a huge misstep between the market and the products it was being offered. There was no real choice, no sense of performance, no artisanship, no inventiveness. Yet when you talk to the chefs and observe their culinary style you realize that they are athletes, creators, and perfomers, and they do all this under tremendous pressure.”

Chris Consentino of Incanto (www.incanto.biz), Boccalone (www.boccalone.com) and Offal Good (www.offalgood.com) knows a little something about pressure Read the full article here »