Posts Tagged ‘Gianfranco Verga’

ANATOMY OF A DRINK MENU

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

By Effie Panagopoulos

Photo courtesy of Avua Cachaça

Photo courtesy of Avua Cachaça

*****This story sat in the INSIDE F&B vault for four years, waiting for just the right moment to see the light of day. That day is now; and once we dusted it off and took another look at it we discovered it was just as fresh and relevant today as it was back then when it was written. Of course some things have changed; Gianfranco Verga is no longer the Beverage Director at Louis 649, and the Louis 649 TNT program is currently on hiatus as it undergoes a refresh, but despite these minor things that happened as time marches on it is interesting to see that some things never change.

Read it for yourself. And then attend a seminar at Tales (www.talesofthecocktail.com) like “The Art & Science of Cocktail Menus” (www.talesofthecocktail.com/events/art-science-cocktail-menus/) or “For Profit Consumer Education? Yes!” (www.talesofthecocktail.com/events/profit-consumer-education-yes/) and see what positive changes you can make happen in your bar, all because of a finely tuned menu…

Tuesday nights have become the new industry night, spurred by almost a year full of consecutive Tuesday Night Tastings at East Village cocktail bar, Louis 649 (www.louis649.com). Pioneered by Gianfranco Verga, Beverage Director at Louis 649, and going almost a year strong every Tuesday, the TNT’s like their eponymous song, and Good Times’ Jimmy Walker –are pretty darn dyno-mite. Every week offers the chance to try a wine or spirit you’ve never tasted; learn something new about a spirit you may always drink yet never knew anything about, or like on this chance evening, get to meet a leader in the industry and find out what makes him tick. What started as a weekly gathering of an industry-only crowd, has refreshingly become an ever-changing group of imbibing enthusiasts– a feat in and of itself.

A few Tuesdays back, I rushed over to get to my 7:00 feeding, for what I assumed would be an intimate presentation by one of New York’s preeminent poster boys for all things cocktail, Jim Meehan. But “rushing” in Greek-people-time means I got there at 7:05 (5 minutes late), and to my dismay Louis was already packed to the gills for their TNT (Tuesday Night Tastings). Well, Jim was only voted American Bartender of the Year last year, and it was only fitting that the cocktail community and common folk alike came out in droves to hear the secret workings of the mastermind behind the cocktail program at neighboring watering hole, PDT www.pdtnyc.com. You could taste the anticipation in the air as Jim, and his apprentice for the evening, Pernod Ricard’s (www.pernod-ricard.com)Jamie Gordon, were scurrying about to get the amuse-bouche drink to the thirsty, ornery crowd. Jim brushes past me and I am quickly reminded why I and the roomful of people like this guy so much. Tray of drinks in hand, he smiles a quick hello to me along with everyone in a 3 foot radius. You’d never know there was an ounce of stress in his body, as he acknowledges us with the warmth and grace of Mr. Rogers welcoming you to

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YOU’RE ON A BOAT

Monday, July 5th, 2010

An INSIDE Look At One Of The Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s Most Talked About Events
By Francine Cohen Photos Courtesy of Moët Hennessy USA (unless otherwise noted)

Photo by Charles Steadman

As is often the case, we find ourselves in the right place at the right time. This time it was at Louis649 (www.louis649.com) on a sunny winter afternoon. Tippling Point partner Jason Littrell was there and eager to share what he thought was a pretty nifty idea…a plan for a boat cruise to take place during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Great idea (we thought). Sounds like fun (we said). Little did we know then what we know now – that the Three Hour Tour would become the most coveted ticket for an off-site event during the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (www.manhattancocktailclassic.com), and an event still talked about months later. Though we should have known. Thank goodness we immediately secured ourselves a ticket before the planning got underway for real.

Planning the Three Hour Tour was no small feat for Littrell and his partners Tad Carducci, Paul Tanguay, and Gianfranco Verga. Sure, this is a band of bartenders who have put together quite a number of memorable parties on their own, but not usually something like this with a handful of the nation’s best bartenders pitching in, and at sea no less. Fortunately, for all involved, their maiden voyage as a newly formed events consultantancy was smooth sailing (sorry, couldn’t help that one).

Photo courtesy of MHUSA

Littrell comments on how he first came up with the idea saying, “I knew Lesley [Townsend – Founder of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic] was putting things together and saw that there was an opportunity to have events offsite. I’ve done parties outside festivals before but I had never been to a cocktail event on a boat. The idea for the cruise just came to me. The concept was sort of like how I approach drinks; a lot of times I’ll come up with a name first and build a drink around it.”

This boat cruise around the isle of Manhattan built around a “blue sky” idea got its sea legs when Moët Hennessy USA (MHUSA – www.mhusa.com) and the Tippling Point came together. Littrell says, “We all put it together; I had this idea for this cheeky event and they had skill sets I didn’t have.” Tanguay adds, “Basically Jason came up with the idea – they approached us to see if we wanted to get involved. That’s how Tippling Point was born and now we’re running with this event side concept. Putting new parties together if you will and approaching spirits companies to partner.”

The original idea for the cruise was based on a Gilligan’s Island theme, but partnering with one of the most prestigious spirits companies changed the tone of the event as Littrell reflects, “It’s hard to get dollars from a luxury brand to do something down market. We wanted to put something cohesive together

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BOOZE 2.0: BEYOND SLINGING DRINKS

Sunday, April 25th, 2010

The finer points of running a successful bar (and a free ticket to the MCC Gala)
By Francine Cohen

You’ve toiled in the front of the house for how many years now, listening to management and biting your tongue as you know that that paycheck means eventual freedom and you just need to mark time until you can open your own place and do it right?

But can you? Do you have what it takes? Do you even know what it takes to run a profitable bar and avoid the pitfalls and traps that cause a high percentage of new bar businesses to fail within the first 18 months?

Hedge your bets and join us for Booze 2.0: Beyond Slinging Drinks (5/17, 11:30 a.m.) – The Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s insightful panel discussion with some of this country’s most successful bar owners and managers. For ticket information and to purchase yours for the event please click here!

In a discussion moderated by INSIDE F&B Editor in Chief Francine Cohen (aka yours truly) Jason Littrell (Death & Company www.deathandcompany.com, Dram www.drambar.com), James Moreland (Bombay Sapphire www.bombaysapphire.com) , Gianfranco Verga (Louis 649 www.louis649.com), and Dushan Zaric (Employees Only www.employeesonlynyc.com, Macao Trading Company www.macaonyc.com) will tell you how to get liquor on the shelves, put butts in seats, and keep engaged, and enthusiastic bartenders behind the bar.

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SERVICE WITHOUT A SMIRK

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

The Importance of Good Service in the Restaurant & Bar Business

By Patrick O’Neill

Photo courtesy of Ritz-Carlton

Customers love your food and drinks. Your atmosphere is inviting. Your prices are decent. So why aren’t people breaking down your doors every night? And why don’t you see more familiar faces at the tables or bar?

Duh! Maybe your service leaves a lot to be desired? Many restaurateurs and bar managers inexplicably forget the first rule of the business: great service lures customers and bad service scares them away.

Ming Tsai, chef/owner of Blue Ginger (www.ming.com) in Boston and host of the TV show “Simply Ming,” estimates that at least 70 percent of a great dining experience is due to the service, “As a chef, it’s hard to admit. Food is extremely important, of course, but you can have the most delicious food on the planet and if the service is inattentive or arrogant, it won’t matter. Those people won’t be coming back.”

Photo by Anthony Trieuli

“Service comes into play long before the customer arrives,” says Ming. “The person taking phone reservations sets the tone three weeks ahead.

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GILLIGAN COULDN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH OF THE MANHATTAN COCKTAIL CLASSIC THREE HOUR TOUR

Friday, April 16th, 2010

The Skipper and Mary Ann were just a warm up act for this boat cruise taking you around the world in five cocktails.
By Francine Cohen

On May 16th, from 6-9 pm. The Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s Three Hour Cruise is sure to be a once in a lifetime seaborne event where guests have the opportunity to see the world through five cocktails.

Presented by Moët Hennessy USA www.mhusa.com, and the Tippling Point, The Three Hour Tour was created by noted NYC bartenders, Jason Littrell of Death & Company and Dram, and Louis 649 bartender/manager Gianfranco Verga on a boat that sets sail for a sunset cruise tailored expressly for this country’s committed drinkerati.

While the ship is running on diesel, this party will be fueled by stunning cocktails from some of the nation’s most accomplished bartenders including:
Richard Boccato (Painkiller/Dutch Kills, NYC)
John Lermayer (The Florida Room, Miami)
Jacqueline Patterson (Heaven’s Dog, San Francisco)

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A Passel of Patrons Pouring

Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Introducing the first ever Louis 649 ANYONE CAN BE A MIXOLOGIST Consumer Cocktail Competition

“Anyone can cook!” said Remy and Chef Gusteau in Ratatouille.

While we don’t welcome rats behind our bar, we do welcome our guests since we believe at Louis 649 (www.louis649.com) that, “Anyone can be a mixologist!” And we’re letting you put this theory to the test in our first ever Louis 649 Consumer Cocktail competition.

This is your chance to shine. Anyone and everyone who sits on the other side of the bar is encouraged to tap into their little bar chef within and submit a delicious cocktail recipe. Bartenders need not apply; this contest is strictly for you loyal bar patrons.

It is of course a competition, and with all competitions come a prize! The winning cocktail of Louis 649’s first “Anyone Can Be A Mixologist” Consumer Cocktail Competition will be highlighted on our upcoming Spring Menu and credited to you. The winner will also receive a much coveted Plymouth Gin Bartending Kit (www.plymouthgin.com), a 1-Year Subscription to Imbibe Magazine (www.imbibemagazine.com) and a $100 Gift Card to your friendly neighborhood Louis 649.

Recipe Submission Guidelines:
1) Submission DEADLINE is April 18th
2) Send all recipes to anyone@louis649.com
3) With submission, please include a detailed recipe with measurements, the type of glass to be used, whether the drink should be served “up” or over ice, whether it is meant to be stirred or shaken, your full name, email address, phone number, current city, and your occupation.
4) Be creative, but not over the top. Please remember, we have to make this cocktail all Spring.

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