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August 22, 2012

By David Ransom

This year, Tales of the Cocktail celebrated its tenth birthday by doing what it does best: throwing a conference for the spirits industry that is unrivaled in its scope and size, and unmatched in its dedication to providing the bar industry with a forum to share ideas, learn from its legends, try new products, and move itself forward.

I could wax poetic about the program, which under the close supervision of founder Ann Tuennerman (aka: Mrs. Cocktail) has grown in ten years from being a one-day happy hour and dinner to a six-day extravaganza of seminars, tasting rooms, awards programs, meet and greets, parties, and more parties. But we all know that, and there are plenty of other columns that can tell you what seminars were new this year, what products were launched, and who won what award.

Instead, I’d just like to let you know what I considered to be the most interesting experiences and trends at Tales this year. So let’s get to it…

Most interesting spirits trend: Anything white. Whether it was white whiskey or moonshine, Pisco (either kind, see below), grappa, white rum, gin, or some new vodka made from a particular type of grain grown only on Mars, white spirits seems to be all the rage this year with the mixologist set, who are using it to create wonderfully crafted, clean, well thought-out cocktails. Cheers to that!

Honorable mention should go out to the liqueur category. Four wonderful products stormed Tales this year: Mandarine Napoléon was re-introduced, Cognac Ferrand’s Dry Orange Curacao, which made its debut earlier this year, won best new product at the Awards, Lillet’s delightful Lillet Rose made a big splash (and was also runner-up to Ferrand’s Dry Curacao), and Marie Brizard showcased it’s new Essence line of liqueurs during its U.S. Cocktail Competition Finals on Friday, at which, I am honored to say, I was a judge.

Marie Brizard winner Robert Montero and his Sunny Crusta

Most interesting seminar: Without a doubt, the most interesting, and also most entertaining, seminar I attended was The Pisco Wars: Peru vs. Chile since 1613. These two countries have been vying for Pisco dominance and authenticity for generations, and that all came to a head in Continue Reading…



February 20, 2012

Les Vergers Boiron Cup Competition
By Vincenza Di Maggio

When running a bar you have more than enough responsibilities weighing on your shoulders and chances are there’s not enough time, nor mental energy, to keep track of the harvest seasons so that you can stock your bar with the freshest fruit of the month and figure out what best to do with it. Fortunately, Josh Gates of Pollo Y Jarras/ Wassaka Lounge in downtown Miami (, and (, who is the winner of the recent Les Vergers Boiron Cup (, has some creative ideas.

Tapping the company’s line of 52 puree varieties to create his winning drinks Gates identified some terrific combinations that wowed the judges in Miami and are sure to please your guests. Every competitor was tasked with submitting their own original cocktail recipe that included the use of one of the Boiron Citrus Flavor components as well as the spirit/liqueur of the competitor’s choice.

Gates presented the judges with the “Boiron Supremacy,” a trio of three cocktail recipes. In his first mixture he paired Bombay Sapphire and Boiron Kalamansi (a citrus fruit widely cultivated in the Philippines). For the second cocktail he blended Bacardi Oakhart Rum, Boiron Red Pepper, and Boiron Lime. Finally, in his third creation, he fused together splashes of Bacardi Superior with Boiron Fig, and Boiron Lime.

Gates says, “The Boiron Cup was an amazing experience. Boiron is such a superb product I really wanted to use as many as I could. The competition had such a talented field of great bartenders and I was lucky to come out ahead. I would like to thank Robert Miller of Boiron for sponsoring the competition as well as Freddy Diaz of Alambiq, Isaac Grillo of Haven for hosting the competition and the judges; Ray Raymond, Gabe Urrutia, Cricket Nelson and Jerome Robin.”

Boiron Supremacy
By Josh Gates

1st drink
¾ oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
½ oz simple syrup
¼ oz Boiron Kalamansi puree

Pour ingredients into an ISI carbonizer and charge with CO2, wait approximately 5 minutes and charge a second time, chill before serving.

Fruit ceviche

Supremes of oranges, limes and Meyer lemons, 1 oz simple syrup, 3 oz Boiron Kalamansi puree, 1 oz Absolut Vanilla vodka, mint chiffonier. Allow at least 4 hours to marinate.

2nd drink

¾ oz Bacardi Oakheart Rum
¼ oz Boiron Red Pepper puree
1 slice jalapeno
¼ oz fresh cilantro
¼ oz Boiron Lime puree
½ oz agave nectar

Muddle Boiron Red Pepper puree, cilantro and jalapeno. Add Bacardi Oakheart, Boiron Lime, and agave nectar. Add ice, shake and double strain over fresh ice.

Chip & Salsa

Seeded and diced Campari Tomatoes, chopped cilantro, small diced jalapeno (no seeds), diced red onion, salt, pepper, Boiron Lime, V8 juice. Refrigerate for 8 hours. Fry tostada chip and season with blacken seasoning and salt blend.

3rd drink

¾ oz Bacardi Superior
½ oz Boiron Fig puree
¼ oz Boiron Lime
¼ oz maple syrup

Shake and strain all ingredients into martini glass

Figs and Bacon

6 oz Boiron Fig puree, 1 oz Bacardi Superior, 1 oz water whisk to make a liquid consistency. Take 120 grams of mixture and 1 gram of powder agar agar and bring to a boil. Pour into mold and refrigerate until solid.
Render 4 slices of thick cut bacon until crisp. Bring 6 oz of half and half and 1 oz of maple syrup to a simmer. Remove bacon from pan and pour half and half mixture over bacon. Allow mixture to infuse for 12 hours. Fine mesh strain mixture and pour into a whip creamer. Hollow center of “Fig” and fill with bacon cream.