Posts Tagged ‘Jason Littrell’

BARTENDERS BATTLE IT OUT AT NOLA FISHOUSE

Friday, July 15th, 2011

Spirited dinner takes the East Coast vs. West Coast bartending styles to the dining room

By Francine Cohen

Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com) is well known for the constant imbibing that goes on (responsibly of course), but what about dining?  Contrary to popular belief, man doesn’t live on cocktails alone (though, talk to some of the bartenders there after three days and you’ll start to wonder when it was they had their last full meal).  And so, one of the favorite events of the week for many attendees is Thursday night, when all the spirited dinners take place. 

Every dinner has its merits; this year one is being filmed, one is featuring white unaged spirits and liqueurs, and one may end in a fistfight.  Or so we’re hearing.  The battle royale?  It’ll be at GW Fins (www.gwfins.com) where things are heating up in the kitchen and in the dining room when East Coast and West Coast bartenders face off course after course with competing cocktails. 

Kicking off the evening is a non-pugilistic approach as two left coast bartenders, Jackie Paterson and Anu Apte, are presenting their drinks.  Apte promises that the evening will start off right and anything heated that goes on this evening is not her fault.  She says, “When asked to do the aperitif round I looked for inspiration from my experience last year at Tales.  I attended the Tiki dinner that Martin Cate put on at GW Finns. (It was amazing!) I remember how hot, sweaty, sticky, and thirsty we all were as we arrived.  Out of sheer thirst and desire to keep our buzz going many us ordered drinks from the bar completely ignoring the fact that we had 6-8 cocktails ahead of us with dinner. Needless to say we all were smashed! One cocktail too many!

Keeping that in mind I wanted to create a cocktail that I could hand to guests as soon as they enter the restaurant.  Something light, bubbly and refreshing and also with low ABV.  I hope that feeling the cold glass, sipping a cold beverage through ice, inhaling the citrus oils and letting the bubbles tickle their noses will revive them.  The flavor profiles in Lillet (www.lillet.com), and the bitter notes of Gran Classico (www.granclassico.com) and Fever Tree’s (www.fever-tree.com) bitter lemon soda play well together. I hope enough to get people salivating and hungry for dinner.”

Chef Michael Nelson has been thinking about this dinner for a while; the request came in November for the restaurant to host it.  Quite the challenge to put together a menu that far in advance, particularly for one that updates its menu around the freshest catch of the day.  But Nelson, a veteran of the kitchen, and Nelson has the skill and expertise to put together plates that satisfy both bartender and non-bartender guests alike.  He notes, “I had to create this menu first, before the cocktails (were created) and so I created it with the thought that these dishes would be easy to pair with cocktails.  During the past several years, my experience has been that the bartenders either create a drink that is lighter and has fruit flavors, or a simple, stiff cocktail.   Each of the dishes on this menu has a sweet and sour aspect to them that works very well with either of these types of cocktails.  Examples of this are the tartness of grapefruit, acidity of tomatoes, and sweetness and spicy aspects of the Vietnamese Glaze on the Pork Belly.”  He continues, “I also felt that the bartenders would have a lot to work with playing against the different levels of fat content in each of the courses.”

There’s surely going to be some spirited play against the different levels of fat content in each course but what’s really promising to make this a rollicking evening is each of these bartenders chewing the fat (and spitting it out at their opponent).  After Anu and Jackie present their cocktails for the amuse, Richie Boccato and Jon Santer mix to the finish over a first course of Wood Grilled Octopus served with grapefruit, fennel, and avocado.  Battling over a second course entrée of Spicy Vietnamese Glazed Pork Belly that will be served with jicama relish and a cilantro coulis will be Jason Littrell and Dave Shenaut.  Next on the card are John Lermayer and Marcos Tello and who’s to say who makes the best cocktail to pair with Sumac Crusted Grouper accompanied by melted heirloom tomatoes, kalamata olives and pesto gnocchi.  The final match up places a sweet dessert course of warm roasted pineapple served with coconut sorbet between two sourly fierce competitors; Don Lee and Keith Waldbauer. 

Who comes out on top?  It’s hard to say now.  But after a quick interview with some of those about to enter the ring our money might be on Dave Shenaut if we were the betting type.  Look at all this smack he’s talking:

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MEDIA DARLINGS

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Knowing what gets you featured in the press
By Francine Cohen
All photos courtesy of Lush Life Productions

www.hannaleecommunications.com) and Alia Akkam of Beverage Media (www.bevnetwork.com) and I shared with the USBG New York Chapter members recently at a monthly meeting held at Macao Trading Company (www.macaonyc.com) as Lee introduced her PR 101 program. In short…RETURN MEDIA QUERIES!

Seriously, people. Wonder why so and so is getting all the press and you’ve worked longer or harder than they have and never get featured? Hmmm, maybe that’s because when the media calls, you don’t respond. Or maybe it’s because they don’t know how to find you. Well, that stinks. But it’s easy enough to change.

If you walk away with only two things from this story, remember this: 1) Return media queries (as noted above) and 2) Content is king.

What does this mean exactly? Well, if you want people to respect you, talk about you

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ALL HAIL THE DIRTY DOZEN

Sunday, April 10th, 2011

New York City’s best cocktail minds muddled up their best efforts at Cocktail Jam
By Francine Cohen

Cocktail Jam, the proving ground for bartenders where exploration meets the truth, kicked off the drink festival season on March 28th at Astor Place with a gathering of one dozen of New York’s most professional bartenders laying it all on the line in pursuit of the greatest prize of all…bragging rights.

They call them the dirty dozen; 12 of the city’s top bartenders who promoted their newly concocted cocktails created with the finest spirits, mixers, and garnishes, as they vied for a $2,000 Founders Day package prize that sends them to New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail (July 20-24).

The truth was revealed at this annual experimental cocktail laboratory when Justin August (British Gins), Damon Boelte (Prime Meats), Frank Cisneros (Dram), Duane Fernandez (Donatella), Rob Fuentevilla (Mayahuel), Moses Laboy (Red Rooster), James Menite (Fornino), Ivy Mix (Lani Kai), Michael Neff (Ward III, Rum House), Steve Schneider-Hadzismajlovic (Employees Only), Karin Stanley (Dutch Kills), and Hal Wolin (El Cobre)hopped behind the bar.

Originally created by PipeLine Brands in 2009, Cocktail Jam showcased the best brands on the market adeptly mixed by the hands of these dozen mixologists, and raised much needed funds for tsunami relief.

John Henry of PipeLine Brands says, “I am delighted to see President Jason Littrell and the USBG NY take our “CKTL JAM” creation to new heights–in fundraising, fun and by broadening the guild’s awareness. This is an annual tradition at Astor Center for the bartender community, run by the bartender community. May USBG membership thrive as a result. Our PipeLine Brands is a proud part of the team effort.”

The team effort to pull this event together was led by USBG NY President Jason Littrell who comments, “The USBGNY is very proud to be an organization of creative professionals with a social conscience. The Cocktail Jam represents some of the core values our organization; education and charity. With a ‘what you see is what you get’ approach to making cocktails, the level of skill required to make something delicious is pretty high, and all 12 bartenders really stepped up and blew some minds using only the provided ingredients. Without the cooperative efforts of a small army of volunteers, guest judges, spirit producers, bartenders, and especially Astor Center, none of this would have been possible.”

The participating bartenders pulled it off handily, each presenting their cocktail to the esteemed judges who possess some of New York’s most progressive cocktail minds: Giuseppe Gonzales (Painkiller), Stephanie Moreno (Astor Wines & Spirits), Phil Ward (Mayahuel), Thomas Waugh (Death & Co.), and Jim Wrigley (Santa Teresa rum). With cocktails circulating throughout the crowd during each round, every drink was also put to popular vote and, at the end of the night, Rob Feuntevilla of Mayahuel walked away with the big win and Steve Schneider of Employees Only was crowned “crowd favorite.”

The crowd of thirsty cocktailians were eager to allow the bartenders free reign to create, and rewarded that creativity, as excitement for the summer’s biggest cocktail event – Tales of the Cocktail – filled the room. Enthusiasm about drink creation and experimentation starts with the bottles on the back bar as new and favorite spirits come out to play and this year Absolut joined returning rum brand DonQ as well as Campari, Cherry Heering, Coffee Heering, Denizen rum, Dry Sack sherry, Four Roses bourbon, Fruit Lab Organic Liqueurs, Herradura tequila, Lillet, Michael Collins Irish whiskey, Nolet’s gin, Perfect Puree, Pierre Ferrand cognac, Sagatiba cachaça, St-Germain, Santa Teresa rum, Solerno, Tanqueray, and Tuthilltown whiskey, all having their bottles firmly planted on the bar and at tasting tables available throughout the evening. Uber Tools were available behind the bar, making the muddling go that much faster.

COCKTAIL JAM has done so much more than just muddled along since its debut as the brainchild of John Henry, PipeLine Brands partner. It’s become the ultimate annual battle with bragging rights as the prize and a plethora of spirits plus virtually every imaginable herb, spice, berry, fruit, and vegetable as the ammunition. Jennifer Smith, General Manager, Astor Center concludes, “What makes the Jam different and special is that it brings talent from all over the city together in one venue, for a full-bore, elbows-and-shakers swinging good time. It is equal parts creativity and competition, and results in a truly unique show for guests.”

**** Hear about Cocktail Jam from the winners’ perspective:

Rob Fuentevilla

The truth of the matter is that I didn’t treat it as a competition. Jason and the USBGNY committee had a great idea to do what we do best, and help people. I wanted to help raise money for a good cause, and just have fun with my bartending friends and family.

It’s not every day I get to work side by side with some of the best bartenders (and old friends) in New York like Damon Boelte, Steve Schneider, Frank Cisneros, Karin Stanley, Moses Laboy, James Menite, Ivy Mix and Hal Wolin. It was also a great time meeting and working for the first time (and hopefully not the last), with new friends like Michael Neff, Duane Fernandez, and Justin August. I had not worked with these three great bartenders before and they rocked it! 

It was a little hectic while getting everything ready, but most of us showed true professionalism, adapting, overcoming and helping the USBGNY team pull off another successful event.

Although, the win came as a complete surprise, truthfully I knew I had a good drink, but I was just trying not to embarrass myself in front of the esteemed judges. I knew with the caliber of bartenders there, it would be tough.

Blind Side
By Rob Fuentevilla

1.5 oz. Herradura Blanco Tequila
.50 oz. Dry Sack Sherry
.25 oz. Solerno
1 Barspoon Agave Nectar

Stir
Strain into Double Rocks Glass rinsed with Michael Collins Irish Whiskey
Lemon Twist (not dropped in)

Steve Schneider
It’s always gratifying to know that the masses have your back and are having a great time. The crowd is the pulse of any bar or event and I feed off of it. It is why this business will never get old for me. Like any event, my Employees Only comrades came in packs to support me, and for that, I am grateful. Grateful to work for a cocktail making machine with my family at EO.

I was inspired to make the Fo’selle cocktail from a dear friend and fellow EO bartender, the brilliant Robert Krueger. When you think of the ingredients, fresh grapefruit, fresh lime and hibiscus -it is a universally appealing blend. I decided to stick with my usual view of a quality cocktail which is: not too difficult to make, fast, efficient, and appealing to a wide variety of drinkers (sell! sell! sell!)

We, the competitors, lined up before the show and picked the brand we were going to represent out of a hat. I drew Four Roses Bourbon. We didn’t have much time, space, or supplies to create a cocktail – so we had to think fast, which was the beauty of it. I already knew I wanted to have a cocktail with crushed ice, as it’s always fun to bring out my obnoxious mallets and hammers to crush ice to a pulp. The crowd seems to dig the whole “Thor” show.
The judges, some of the most well respected men and woman in the business, were all a lot of fun to interact with. Not only do they push out a quality product at their respected establishments (Painkiller, Death and Co, etc), they know a quality one as well.

What better person to bring us a winning cocktail than Mr. Rob Fuentevilla. Rob is one of the most brilliant cocktail minds in the business, and sitting at his bar at Mayahuel is an absolute pleasure. Whenever I’m in a competition and I see his name on the card, the question isn’t “How can I win this competition?” It’s “How can I beat Rob Fuentevilla?” He delivered again and won on the judges poll with a much deserved cocktail featuring Herradura Tequila. He also was a prominent leader behind the scenes helping Jason to batch all of our cocktails for the crowd. I respect the hell out of him as a bartender and even more as a man.

All in all, I was honored to be invited to participate in this event by Jason Littrell and the USBG. After getting a chance to meet and hang out with the other competitors (most for the first time), I figured that if anyone didn’t belong with this star-studded group of bartenders, it was me. They are all amazing at what they do. Thank goodness the crowd reminded me otherwise. Voting me “crowd favorite” reminded me that I belonged amongst the top in their eyes, and in my heart! I’m glad I got the opportunity to represent Employees Only and the USBG at a spectacular fund-raising event and hope I get invited back next go-round!

Fo’selle # 2

An adaptation of the Roselle cocktail by Robert Krueger

By Steve Schneider, Employees Only

1 1/2 oz Four Roses Bourbon
1 oz Fruit Lab ‘Crism’ Organic Hibiscus Liqueur
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz fresh ruby red grapefruit juice

Shake and pour over crushed ice in an old fashioned glass, garnish with a mint crown. Drink quickly and have another.

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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Top Cocktail/Culinary Minds Pick NYC’s Best Summer Spots

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

By Kathleen Reynold/reprinted from www.kreyrecommends.com

Cheers to an amazing Manhattan Cocktail Classic (www.manhattancocktailclassic.com)! Five days and evenings of parties, seminars, tastings, luncheons, dinners…and of course, lots of cocktails. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask many of the notable bartenders, chefs, panelists and event hosts in attendance about their favorite things to do in New York City during the summertime.

Here’s what they had to say:

Eric Alperin (Co-owner, The Varnish [Los Angeles] www.thevarnishbar.comand former bartender, Milk and Honey, Little Branch): “I just love sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park www.nycgovparks.org/parks/washingtonsquarepark, relaxing and watching people as they go by. I could — and have — done this for hours. That and Mamoun’s Falafel (www.mamouns.com) add up to a great afternoon.”

Mario Batali (Celebrity Chef, Television Personality and Former James Beard Chef of the Year): “Pier 40 (www.pier40.org) . I really love going there to watch my kids play ball.” The Chef makes an excellent choice. My husband plays rec. soccer here, too, and it’s also fun (and free) to kayak through the Downtown Boathouse (www.downtownboathouse.org).

Jon Bignelli (Chef de Cuisine, wd-50 www.wd-50.com and Food Network “Chopped” Winner): “I love anywhere that lets you sit outside and enjoy an ice cold beer. Gowanus Yacht Club, for instance, or any beer garden.” When it comes to cocktails, he and others from wd-50 love PDT and Death and Co.

Richard Boccato (Proprietor, Painkiller, Co-owner, Dutch Kills): Richie offered another vote for Prospect Park, and spending a lazy afternoon relaxing there.

Francine Cohen (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Editor-in-Chief, INSIDE F&B): “Nothing beats peaceful, quiet al fresco dining. At least once a week I pack a dinner and take it over to Riverside Park where, at 88th Street and Riverside Drive, just south of theSoldiers and Sailors Monument and in full view of the Hudson River, there are two picnic tables and benches. It’s a terrific mini-getaway and there’s no bill at the end of the meal.”

Alex Day (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Traveling Bartender Extraordinaire): “Right at the height of summer, say mid-August, when the sweltering humidity declares victory on any semblance of sweat-less dignity, there’s little I love more than getting on the B61 bus until it dead-ends in Red Hook, walking to the pier and sitting with an ice cold lemonade and a decent book. Even with the ridiculous heat, there’s always a breeze that makes it all bearable and allows this Oregon boy to enjoy the outdoors. In those moments, a NY summer is tolerable. Most the rest of the time, it just ain’t.”

Meaghan Dorman (Head Bartender, Raines Law Room): “My favorite thing to do in the city in the summer is to feel like I’m not in the city at all. I love Prospect Park late afternoon, on a blanket with my pug and a couple of friends.”

Simon Ford (Industry Visionary and International Ambassador): “I like to wander the streets of Dumbo on sunny Sundays. The art galleries, coffee shops, waterfront, book stores,Jacque Torres chocolate shop, flea market and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory all make me happy. Also, nothing beats a good pub garden. This summer I will be seeking places out that are showing the World Cup!”

Lindsey Johnson (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Founder/CEO, Lush Life Productions, Blogger, Brown, Bitter and Stirred): “I spend mornings in Prospect Park, then swing into Joyce for an iced red eye. Next I head towards Brooklyn Flea to find trinkets (including vintage cocktail gear) and some of that delicious street cart lunch. I usually end the day cranking out emails on my deck.”

Jason Littrell (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Bartender, Dram and Organizer, The Three Hour Tour): Jason knew his pick right away. “The beer garden in Astoria. Amazing!”

Michael McIlroy (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Bartender, Milk and Honey, Little Branch): Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, Michael always enjoys paying homage to his heritage. And what’s the best way to do that? “Drink at McSorley’s,” he says (the renowned Irish pub dating back to 1854).

Sasha Petraske (Proprietor, Milk and Honey, Little Branch, White Star, Dutch Kills, The Varnish [Los Angeles] and cocktail consultant): Sasha honed in on a classic New York City spot: “Grand Central Station or honestly, a cab to JFK” (admitting to another trend among New Yorkers who escape to avoid the city heat). He also enjoys strolling the semi-deserted streets of the Financial District post-closing bell. As a former Battery Park resident, I tend to agree — it feels like the city is all yours after Wall Streeters and tourists head out of town.

Selena Ricks (Blogger, The Dizzy Fizz and Organizer, The Dizzy Fizz Tastemaker’s Punch): “Wake up early and take the LIRR to Long Beach and be one of the first people on the beach. It’s just the early risers and the surfers, and I sprawl out on my blanket and enjoy the calm before the throngs of beach-goers arrive. It’s nice to know that a 45-minute train ride can get me to a clean beach where I feel miles from the city.”

Audrey Saunders (Founder, Pegu Club): Although Audrey is known for her killer gin cocktails, when it comes to Summer activities, she prefers good old H20: “I like chilling in a body of water, whether it be beach, lake, or pool. I can float for hours. If there’s a stream, I like to kick my shoes off and stick my feet in.”

Lesley Townsend (Founder, Manhattan Cocktail Classic): “I love bringing my dog during off-leash hours to Prospect Park.” Lesley also noted the stellar picnic potential. “To avoid using plastic cups, I bring Reidel stemless glassware and a bottle of champagne” (so she doesn’t have to worry about a wine corkscrew).

Phil Ward (Proprietor, Mayahuel): Phil didn’t name one spot or activity in particular, but discussed how he loved the freedom of spending more time outside and meandering around the city’s streets.

My pick? For me, it’s all about the private rooftop. I admittedly tend to cringe when friends suggest visiting public roof bars, only because they’re usually packed and come with poor drink quality plus high prices. Of course, having your own outdoor space is ideal, but you can become an honorary deck guest with just about anyone by bringing quality drinks and / or tasty foods if you’re ever invited over (please note, I enjoy bubbly and chocolate covered-strawberries).

What are your favorite NYC Summer picks?

Turning Japanese

Friday, May 14th, 2010

East Meets West At The Bar With Uyeda-San
By Jason Littrell
All photos courtesy of Lush Life Productions

Over the course of two days I was side by side with some of the greatest cocktail minds in the country who sat quietly in the Hiro Ballroom in the Maritime Hotel (www.themaritimehotel.com). These bartenders, mixologists, writers, scientists and all around mega-nerds surrounding me all came to check out the cocktail master himself, Kazuo Uyeda from Ginza, Japan, owner of the Tender Bar, and learn the famed Hard Shake from the man who had created it.

Uyeda-san’s visit to New York, courtesy of Greg Boehm’s Cocktail Kingdom (www.cocktailkingdom.com), Beefeater Gin (www.beefeatergin.com), Suntory Whiskeys (www.suntory.com) and Smirnoff Vodka (www.smirnoff.com), drew this collection of America’s brightest drinks practitioners together in anticipation of learning the precise ways of Japanese bartending from this internationally known cocktail-zilla who has spent the last 45 years behind the bar perfecting the art of cocktail deliciousness – his ultimate goal. We didn’t know it then, but an eye-opening cultural exchange was about to take place.

Over those two days we sat listened, percolated, drank, and laughed with this man who has spent the last four decades perfecting his craft. The style he taught us was as specific, detailed, exacting and considerate as the Japanese tea ceremony or the hand-crafted Samurai sword. To the drop, and in absolute detail, he explained the minutiae of every element of his cocktail execution.

That first morning I was introduced to Uyeda-san’s concept of executing cocktail perfection. He discussed the intrinsic and philosophical elements of his style that are embodied by drink after drink being delivered with the same stance, same shake, same pour, and same snapping wrist motion that releases the last drop from the shaker. His decades of research and experimentation have been driven towards a singular goal: the pursuit of perfection and deliciousness.

He first discussed the “Japanese Mindset” which introduced me to the idea of putting your mind into your cocktail. This was interesting in the respect that the process was the product. The concept of creating the anticipation with your guest was something I tried to picture myself doing, with little immediate success. This, he explained takes time and “training yourself to concentrate.” He went on to explain that one’s technique and performance are a direct expression of one’s self. Now, I always knew

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PROMOTION. AT WHAT PRICE?

Wednesday, May 12th, 2010

Debating A Consulting Conundrum
By Jason Littrell

Photo by Jennifer Mitchell

As far as editorial integrity goes, how far is too far when working with brands?

I was recently offered an opportunity to work with an awesome chef in DC to pair cocktails for a five-course meal, on-camera, for a relatively high-profile online magazine. Now, the deal was (so I thought) that as an editorial piece it meant I can make whatever I want; for better or for worse.

This is where things get sticky. Turns out the entire video is sponsored by a brand. Can something deemed ‘editorial’ be sponsored by a brand? Yes. Apparently it can. At least according to the brand. And this on-line magazine.

Now, this brand isn’t something I would readily attach my name to (for free), but it also isn’t so repulsive that I’d refuse to use it. My real conundrum is that I’m getting not subtle nudging from the magazine to not only use this product in my cocktails, but that I actually have to be seen holding the bottle AND I’ll be expected to use this particular product (and its variations) in the cocktails…all of them.

Me, being a right, upstanding gentleman, said, “Fine. I will incorporate this brand and we’ll all laugh and have a good time, but you can’t have the recipes.” My logic behind this was that sure, we can inch towards exposing my intellectual property, but you can’t have it without a reasonable fee. After all, I’m a professional cocktail maker, not an actor waiting for a callback.

This was agreed on temporarily and we booked travel arrangements and everything was cool. THEN I get an email giving me more rigid guidelines on what they would like on the menu and how they would like BRAND X served; including one of the courses being paired with the sponsor spirit neat. NEAT!!?? Whaaaaat?

My questions were many. Among them

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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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