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May 4, 2013

COPA JEREZ 2013 Deadline Looms – Entries due 5/7/13

Every two years, the bodegas of Jerez, Spain, join together to host the International Copa Jerez Competition, where chef and sommelier teams representing eight nations compete to see who can create the perfect food and Sherry matches.

Submissions are now being accepted from chef and sommelier teams nationwide to earn the right to represent the USA at the International Competition in Jerez, Spain, in October of 2013!

Now in its fifth year, Copa Jerez has become a world-renowned event that crowns the chef / sommelier team who create the best food and Sherry pairings. The competition attracts the best chefs and sommeliers from Spain, the United Kingdom, Holland, Germany, the United States, Denmark, Belgium, and Japan, with each participating country sending their national team to compete at the 5th International Copa Jerez Competition in October of this year.

Participants must be a chef/sommelier team from a working restaurant, who are challenged to create the perfect food and Sherry match for each of three courses — a starter, main course, and dessert. Teams may select any style of Sherry to match with each course, but no more than two wines can be from a single bodega. To enter, teams must submit the name of each dish with a detailed recipe, the specific paired wine, and an in-depth explanation for why the pairing was selected.

During the live finals, an elite judging panel with experience and expertise in Sherry, wine pairing, and the culinary arts, will evaluate the dishes based on presentation, marriage of Sherry and food, and the most articulate description and knowledgeable explanation of the match. Past judges have included Juan Mari Arzak, Juli Soler, Jancis Robinson, MW, Pontus Elofsson, Jordi Roca, Heston Blumenthal, and our own Julian Serrano, Michael Franz, and Doug Frost MS, MW.

Past sommelier /chef teams from the USA, who have competed at the highest level and made us all very proud, include: Seamus Mullen and Roger Kugler of New York, Andy Nusser and Nancy Selzer of New York, Tim Fitzgerald and Curt Hermann from Tulsa, and last year’s US National competition winners and international representatives, from the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Bertrand Bouquin and Tim Baldwin.


For more information about the competition and for the complete rules and regulations please contact Kate Burgess at



March 29, 2013

Whisky Magazine’s foremost tasting event, WHISKY LIVE, features Scotches, Ryes and Bourbons galore

Whisky Live NY 2013 logo

Whisky Live, Whisky Magazine’s grand tasting event that sells out in major cities on three continents, is coming to Chelsea Piers on Wednesday, April 3.

Master distillers, brand ambassadors and industry experts will be pouring over 250 whiskies. This is not only a prime opportunity to try premium single malt Scotches, bourbons, ryes and Irish whiskeys, but a chance to ask distillers about their work and the industry in general.

Featured brands include titans like Glenmorangie, Laphroaig, and Johnnie Walker side by side with dozens of spirits produced by smaller New York boutique distilleries, such as Breuckelen Distilling and Kings County Distillery and award-winning new world whiskies from places like India, France, Japan, and Sweden. The evening also includes a lavish bourbon-themed dinner buffet sponsored by Bourbon Country, Kentucky’s tourism alliance.

Also not to be missed…The show will feature the American debut of Dewar’s Highland Honey, a new Continue Reading…



March 22, 2013

Miami’s 5th Annual Rum Renaissance Grows Even Bigger
By Francine Cohen

Rum Renaissance 2012 banner with glasses in front

As much of the country continues to get walloped with snow and cold weather with no sign of that lion/lamb thing happening anytime soon the only way to get warm may just be to close your eyes and pretend you’re already in Miami for the 2013 Miami Rum Renaissance Festival.

This year, the festival’s fifth, is definitely worth fantasizing about as Rum Renaissance — the largest gathering of rum experts, professionals and enthusiasts in the world — spans Monday, April 15 to Sunday, April 21, 2013 at the Doubletree by Hilton Miami Airport Convention Center. Last year, more than 8,000 rum enthusiasts attended the festival with 20,000 square feet of exhibit space. The new space spans 40,000 square feet, twice the size of last year’s event. Festival organizers are preparing for 15,000 attendees. According to the event’s co-founder, Robin Burr, the Miami Rum Fest has doubled in size each year, a testament to the fact that consumer interest in sugar cane spirits is growing faster than any other category of liquor.

“We’re proud to say that our prediction of rum’s resurgence in popularity was on the money,” said Robert A. Burr, festival organizer and publisher of Rob’s Rum Guide. “An incredible range of fine rums, from casual and fun mixers to luxurious top-shelf sipping rums will be on display. There is no better opportunity for the rum enthusiast to sample such a vast selection of spirits in one place.”

With a selection this big it’s important to remember that Rum Renaissance is a marathon, not a sprint. In addition to a week-long series of VIP parties, tasting sessions and celebrity seminars, the rum festival brings together members of the esteemed International Rum Expert Panel (RumXPs) for their annual tasting competition.

And, new this year, an exclusive Trade Tasting Day; a half-day exhibit session exclusively for the beverage trade on Friday, April 19. Liquor store buyers, food and beverage managers, bartenders Continue Reading…



December 7, 2012

December in southeast Florida. It’s cold elsewhere in the country, sending lots of snowbirds to their winter homes where they settle in and re-establish their weekly golf game, as the arty set flocks to Miami to oogle paintings and one another. But the really smart ones are those who are headed for Palm Beach for the fifth annual Palm Beach Food & Wine Fest (

This boutique food and wine festival that’s as charming as the town in which it is set has grown from a single evening event offering a grand tasting of the island’s best restaurants’ dishes and drinks to a five-night, five-DAY affair. From December 7‐11, 2012, residents and visitors will experience it all as master chefs, premium wines, world‐class golf and genuine philanthropy come together in an unmatched resort destination under the Florida sun. Though the 2012 Festival has doubled in size by increasing to a five‐day, five‐night format and now offers close to a dozen events, each event, in classic Palm Beach fashion, remains intimate and sophisticated.

This year Palm Beach Food & Wine Festival welcomes more than 25 nationally renowned chefs/personalities/wine experts in quintessential Palm Beach locations like The Breakers Resort and The Breakers Rees Jones Golf Course, Four Seasons Resort, 150 Worth, and Swank farm (situated about 15 minutes outside of town and the go-to resource for lots of local chefs’ produce needs). Whether they have a restaurant presence in Palm Beach, nearby, or not at all, legends like Daniel Boulud, David Burke and the Le Cirque family, Food Network stars like Marc Summers, Robert Irvine and Marc Murphy, and other local and nationally recognized talent such as chefs Jacques Torres, Stephanie Izard, Chris Hastings, Steve Stryjewski, Continue Reading…



November 14, 2012

The Cocktail Guru and WNBC Anchor Contessa Brewer bring you Bloody Marys to help the hurricane hangover
By Francine Cohen

Thank goodness it’s not often that a storm of Sandy’s magnitude bears down on the NY region like it did, leaving destruction and chaos in its midst. But when it does it is nice to know that there is a game plan in place and a delicious way to help your neighbors get back on their feet.

It’s also nice to know that the hospitality industry and our local media care as much about their guests and viewers as they do about their own friends & family. It is why, before the storm even hit, Jeffrey and Jonathan Pogash of The Cocktail Guru ( collaborated with Contessa Brewer of WNBC and member of the Centennial Circle of the American Red Cross Greater New York Region to create a fundraising luncheon titled, “Variations on a Bloody Mary.”

Jeffrey Pogash notes, “Many of our fellow citizens of the Greater New York Region have suffered devastation to their homes and desperately need food, water and clothing. Jonathan, Contessa Brewer and I, organized this Red Cross benefit prior to the disaster, but have asked the American Red Cross to direct the proceeds from the sale of tickets to Hurricane Sandy relief (

The event, to be held this Sunday, November 18th, from noon-2 PM at the Empire Room in the Empire State Building (350 Fifth Avenue –, offers a fine luncheon, a selection of three Bloody Marys and the knowledge that your $35 ticket price goes directly where it is most needed right now.

Jonathan Pogash concludes, “Our Bloody Mary Brunch to benefit the American Red Cross NY region is of particular significance now that Hurricane Sandy reliefs are under way across NYC. We’ve ensured that 100% of the proceeds will go directly to the hurricane relief efforts. As hospitality industry professionals, we know how important community and support is within the city, so we are hoping to do whatever it is that we can to help those in need during these hard times.”

Won’t you join them for a Bloody Mary? Tickets are available at



November 5, 2012

Top Chef Alums unite in NYC to raise money for Hurricane Sandy Disaster Relief
By Francine Cohen

Back in 1971 in Washington, DC a soup kitchen opened its doors to neighborhood homeless people. Called So Others Might Eat (SOME) this non-profit organization was incorporated to help deal with poverty in our nation’s capital and provide food, clothing, and health-care services to the poor and homeless. In addition, SOME provides job training, counseling, and low-cost housing, and other services to “break the cycle of homelessness.”

41 years later, thanks to Hurricane Sandy, New York and New Jersey residents may find themselves in the same sort of dire circumstances for which SOME was founded.

To help make sure this doesn’t happen to your neighbors, consider joining these Top Chef chefs for a benefit dinner this evening.

Host chef, Angelo Sosa of Anejo ((@AngeloASosa – comments, “The devastation from this storm is heart-wrenching and we are passionate about helping those affected in the tri-state area and beyond, We are trying to do our part by helping with relief efforts the best way we know how, through food and community support.”

Sosa and his Top Chef alums Dale Talde (@DaleTalde and, Kevin Sbraga (@KSbraga and and Jennifer Carroll (@ChefJenCarroll) are joining forces this Monday night at Sosa’s restaurant Añejo Tequileria in Hell’s Kitchen to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims. Tickets are $100 and all proceeds go straight to the Red Cross.

Each chef will create a unique dish in true Top Chef style in a four-course tasting menu with cocktail accompaniment. Additional specialty cocktails will also be available for sale at the event to raise funds for relief efforts. Spirits will be donated by Herradura Tequila (, Riazul (, and local producer, Jack from Brooklyn (

There will be two available seating times at 6pm and 8pm. Alternately, you can just drop in throughout the night and belly up to the bar for a cocktail. 100% of the proceeds from each cocktail will also go to the American Red Cross.

Reservations can be made by calling Añejo at 212-920-4770, visiting the website’s reservation page at, or emailing Añejo is located at 668 10th Ave. (at 47th St.) in NYC.

Quick details:

WHAT: Bravo TV’s TOP CHEF Alumnus Angelo Sosa, Dale Talde, Kevin Sbraga, and Jennifer Carroll present a four course cocktail-paired meal to raise funds in NYC for Hurricane Sandy relief

WHERE: Continue Reading…



October 20, 2012

Or what you need to know about produce to win a cocktail competition
By Francine Cohen

Your mother always made you finish your vegetables and the fruit she set out for dessert before she’d let you leave the dinner table. You hated that, remember? Well, maybe it’s time to pick up the phone and thank dear old mom because the woman who birthed you and loved you unknowingly also prepared you to enter the upcoming Les Vergers Boiron Cup (

at 5:00 p.m. on November 12th at The Tippler ( New York City’s most creative bartenders will have a chance to show off their sweet and savory sides by utilizing one of the over 50 Boiron fruit and vegetable expressions in a cocktail.

Whether you think your fellow bartenders are talented or unsavory hacks you’ll beat with one hand tied behind your back you’ll want to be there. So, to get more information and enter, reach out to

Do that and you’ll have a shot at a trip to Bermuda, an iPad, bar tools and more.



July 16, 2012

Embrace an icy cold refreshing jump into a pool to raise funds for the Museum of the American Cocktail
By Francine Cohen

You’ve been known to prattle on about ice and the various merits of its size, shape and quality. You can wax poetic about pellet ice, clear 1 x 1 cubes, crushed, avoiding bubbles, hand chipped ice, etc. and will, when given the chance. Now, at 4:00 PM on July 26th during Tales of the Cocktail, you can channel your inner polar bear and put your money where your mouth is, all by taking part in the Macallan Ice Ball Plunge — a refreshing way to raise some much needed funds for The Museum of the American Cocktail (MOTAC –

Why jump into a cold pool in the name of scotch and a museum? Well, besides the fact that it’s going to be warm in New Orleans and a quick dip will sure feel nice, you’ll be doing some good for the cocktail community and culinary history aficionados everywhere. MOTAC, which is currently housed within the Southern Food and Beverage Museum ( in New Orleans’ Riverwalk complex, is about to move to a more permanent home and needs your help to do so.

Laura McMillian, Managing Director, Museum of the American Cocktail explains, “The museum has to move December 2012 to a new location. The fundraising is to finance the move itself and the build out. The Southern Food and Beverage Museum, our partner, has purchased a historically significant building in the Faubourg Lafayette which was the old Dryades Market. The new museum will be on the corner of Oretha Castle Haley and Martin Luther King Blvd in a 39,000 square feet facility. This area will be the Culinary Corridor of New Orleans and it is only three blocks off of the St. Charles streetcar line. It is in one of the four corridors New Orleans has slated for growth and federal funding and grants.”

While the federal government is contributing some funding to assist in MOTAC’s development they won’t underwrite everything, thereby giving you a hands-on chance to support a piece of American history and help rebuild a city. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity you’ll cherish; hopefully as much as we cherish the memory of our private tour of the museum just a week before it officially opened in Continue Reading…