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June 12, 2013

The Liquid Father’s Day Phenomenon I Never Had
By Francine Cohen

Photo courtesy of Rum Renaissance

Photo courtesy of Rum Renaissance

The phone rang today as I stood in the greeting card aisle of the drugstore. It was an industry pal on the end of the line, calling with a potential opportunity to work together. Normally, I’d be all business and, when asked the standard beginning of a phone call “Hi, how are you?” question would respond with the universally acceptable, “Great, how are you?” but this time I couldn’t. I was too moved by the fact that here I was, standing in front of all of these Father’s Day cards decorated with images of tools and cars and liquor bottles and sports paraphernalia and littered with sentiments such as “you’re the glue that held our family together” and “I always admired you and am glad to know you more each day” and none of them seemed right for the situation, which was picking out a Father’s Day card for my father-in-law who has little interest in sports and cars or liquor or fixing things. Frankly, I was flummoxed. And said so.

Of course the situation was probably compounded by the fact that my own father died when I was little and my memories of him are minimal and mostly tied to food and entertaining. So today’s shopping expedition was a double whammy – I had absolutely no point of reference for those made for television movie fathers who toss a ball around in the yard and teach you how to drink scotch neat. Those are skills I learned on my own with a little help from my high school boyfriend and men’s magazines.

That’s not to say I didn’t have a great role model in my stepfather, who came along during my teenage years. I credit him with instilling great, strong character traits which I rely upon this day and I value his love and respect greatly. But, much like my father-in-law, he’s not a drinker. Though he is VERY handy around the house.

So, after finally finding just the right card for my father-in-law that shared a warm sentiment but didn’t Continue Reading…



June 28, 2010

By Ted Henwood Photos courtesy of Leblon

A last-minute email inspired me to purchase a ticket to the inaugural Gourmet Latino Festival that kicked off June in New York, offering a slew of experiences in Latin-inspired foodie-fun. Over the course of the weekend long festival 40 gifted chefs and a horde of highly regarded drink-makers huddled together to celebrate the culture and gastronomy of Latin America. Levantameurtos (awaken the dead) Foods & Cocktails, a brunch celebrating regional Mexican dishes paired with morning cocktails, was my first choice (morning drinks — right on). It was such a delight that it inspired me to stick around and poke my greedy snout into the next room for a tasting seminar on Brazilian food and cocktails.

Upon entering, my nose was struck by the wafting scent of culinary delights that author and chef Leticia Moreino-Schwartz had created to entice us. The most amazing was her Pão de Queijo, which I might shamefully describe as a cheesy, delicate, chewy, non-greasy, tiny-and-cute Hushpuppy. An apparent staple in Brazil, this little bun has been obviously perfected by her.

The seminar commenced with speaker Olie Berlic, the un-official Ambassador of Brazilian Rum, as he fired on all cylinders raging about his favorite white liquor. His commitment to leave a permanent impression and convert many to his devotion for this Latin spirit was truly infectious.

And thus, armed with Olie’s inspired spiel and a belly full Leticia’s Pão de Queijo, I now stand ready to talk Brazilian Rum…and what first must be declared: Brazilian rum does not exist!

Ok, “Brazilian Rum” exists, but merely as a legal term created by the American government to categorize a South American spirit. Well, maybe another government somewhere on our globe makes the same gaffe, but, according to Olie, Brazilian Rum does not exist in Brazil. Why? Because in South America’s largest country (and the only Portuguese speaking country in all the Americas) the spirit that is distilled purely from the fermented juice of fresh pressed cane is called — Cachaça!

And Brazil loves its Cachaça. Loves it so darn much, that it ranks Continue Reading…