Posts Tagged ‘Jim Meehan’

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

Read the rest of this entry »

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL® ANNOUNCES TOP FOUR FINALISTS FOR THE 8TH ANNUAL SPIRITED AWARDS®

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

Tales of the Cocktail 2014 Logo with New Orleans

Coming to you from a webcam in an apartment in NYC Simon Ford and Jacob Briars initiated the inaugural broadcast of the top four finalists in each category of the 2014 Spirited Awards. As Ford notes, “Millions tune in for the Oscars, and we are going the same route for bars. There are more bartenders than actors [out there].”

And speaking of more…Briars explains, “This was the biggest and most comprehensive Tales Awards nominations pool ever.” With over 2,000 individual nominations and over 50 countries being represented with at least one nominee, the 135 judges were hard pressed to whittle it down to a list of four per category. Let’s see who we’ll be cheering on Saturday night at Tales during the Black and White themed 8th Annual Spirited Awards® show (although you know you’re all winners).

AMERICAN CATEGORIES:
American Bartender of the Year
• Jeff Bell (New York)
• Marcovaldo Dionysos (San Francisco)
• Bobby Heugel (Houston)
• Sean Kenyon (Denver)

Best American Brand Ambassador
• Brooke Arthur (House Spirits)
• Chris Patino (Pernod Ricard USA Portfolio)
• Neyah White (Suntory Japanese Whiskies)
• Angus Winchester (Tanqueray Gin)

Best American Cocktail Bar
• canon (Seattle)
• The Dead Rabbit (New York)
• Smuggler’s Cove (San Francisco)
• Williams & Graham (Denver)

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar
• Employees Only (New York)
• Honeycut (Los Angeles)
• Polite Provisions (San Diego)
• Trick Dog (San Francisco)

Best American Restaurant Bar
• Clyde Common (Portland)
• Gramercy Tavern (New York)
• The NoMad (New York)
• nopa (San Francisco)

Best American Hotel Bar
• Clyde Common (Portland)
• The Hawthorne (Boston)
• Sable Kitchen & Bar (Chicago)
• The Spare Room (Los Angeles)

Read the rest of this entry »

BEARLIN CALLING

Friday, August 9th, 2013

Win the honey pot at the 4th Annual National Bärenjäger Bartender Competition
By Francine Cohen

Barenjager 1 Christian Saunders in Bar mask for competition

There are A LOT of cocktail competitions out there. One after the other, brand after brand, city after city, country after county, nice cash prize after nice cash prize. But one annual competition that deserves some special attention is the 4th Annual National Bärenjäger Bartender Competition (www.barenjagerhoney.com).

Why? Because this was the first of all the cocktail competitions to include an audience participation voting component, setting itself apart from all the rest. And, it just may be the only branded cocktail competition that welcomes amateurs as well as professional bartenders to compete.

To build awareness of the competition salespeople hand out fliers in their regions and press outlets (like this one) mention the competition in hopes of drumming up entrants who will have their recipes blindly judged by the likes of Dushan Zaric (Returning judge and founder of award-winning Employees Only and Macao Trading Co.), Jim Meehan (Managing Partner of PDT in NYC and author of The PDT Cocktail book), Sean Kenyon (Third generation barman and proprietor of Williams & Graham in Denver, CO), and Tricia Alley (Director of Mixology for South California at Southern Wine & Spirits and USBG LA Chapter President).

Kate Laufer, Director of Public Relations for Sidney Frank Importing Company, makes sure the drinks, whether they come from professional bartenders or home enthusiasts, are all presented on a level playing field. She comments, “Wholeheartedly Bärenjäger is completely blind. Judges don’t see submissions in advance. They just see the name and ingredients for the drink – nothing about where the person is. So that results in something like having Brad Farran competing with

Read the rest of this entry »

BRAIN FOOD – CRAFT COCKTAILS

Monday, July 15th, 2013

Brian Van Flandern’s Sophomore Book – Craft Cocktails – Debuts With Much Fanfare
By Francine Cohen

Photo courtesy of Assouline

Photo courtesy of Assouline

Craft. Think about that term in relation to furniture makers and you conjure up a small workshop with myriad tools; each with their own unique purpose. Each wielded by an artisan who has dedicated many years to mastering the intricate details that go into making his final product a work of art. The craft of the bartender is no different. And nothing illustrates this more beautifully than Brian Van Flandern’s second cocktail book which includes 50 of his own recipes plus 20 from the likes of Jim Meehan, James Menite, Eryn Reece, Julie Reiner, Dushan Zaric and other professionals from Clover Club, Death & Co., Employees Only, and PDT – the stunningly photographed Craft Cocktails.

Van Flandern explains how Craft Cocktails, his second book, came to life, “After the amazing success of Vintage Cocktails I wanted to release a book that would be appreciated by the multitude of fellow mixologist but still be accessible to the masses. Vintage Cocktails was released in late 2009. It won Best Cocktail Book of the Year 2010 from the Gourmand Cookbook Awards in Paris. It is now in its fifth printing and is distributed in dozens of countries throughout the world. Even though the recipes are simple classics, I was thrilled that so many industry professionals really loved the layout and design of the book. When I left Michelin Three Star Restaurant Per Se in 2007, I wanted to write a book showcasing the recipes that

Read the rest of this entry »

JAMES BEARD TURNS 25

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

By Francine Cohen and Victoria Ruvolo

“…showers bring May flowers.” And, the James Beard Awards.

Yes, it’s that time again. Time to see who steps onto the stage at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall to accept the medal that announces to the hospitality industry that he (or she) is at the top of their game.

About a month ago the 2012 James Beard award nominees were announced, leaving the food world all a buzz. And the chatter will last up until late in the evening of May 7th, when the last award has been handed out and the last morsel of food created by the country’s best chefs and the last drop of champagne has been savored by the winners.

In celebrating the 25th anniversary of the foundation, and 23 years of bestowing these awards, it is evident that the James Beard Foundation is as much a winner as any of the stellar culinary and beverage artists who got a nod. James Beard Foundation President, Susan Ungaro, notes, “This year is the 25th anniversary of the foundation. And the 23rd year of the awards. Our awards committee wanted this year’s event to celebrate 25 years of American food at its best and salute the legacy of James Beard. Most notably, after our ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall, the grand tasting will feature chefs from all over the country each creating a recipe from one of James Beard’s cookbooks. He was not only a restaurant advisor/consultant, but also a mentor to a number of great restaurant owners and chefs; many of whom went on to win.”

She continues, “We are really excited about the fact that we’re playing up James Beard’s role in the development of the food world. How prescient he was

Read the rest of this entry »

A REASON TO BRAVE TIMES SQUARE

Thursday, October 13th, 2011

Ultimate Blast discounted tickets for INSIDE F&B readers

There won’t be a ball dropping, confetti falling, or Ryan Seacrest trying to fill Dick Clark’s shoes as Auld Lang Syne plays in the background but you’ll still want to head to Times Square on Friday night.

Paul Pacult, Dale Degroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, Andy Seymour, Dave Wondrich and other industry leaders have provided us with a solid spirits education illuminating topics from pulque to punches and now it’s time to celebrate all we’ve learned. In just 48 short hours the ballroom at the Marriott Marquis will convert into NYC’s most award winning cocktail party and it’s an event no self respecting quaffer will want to miss.

Taste award winning cocktails (some made with Fever-Tree mixers) from Macchu Pisco, new cocktails from Louis Royer Cognac and LiV Vodka, international wines and champagnes that scored high in the Ultimate Beverage Challenge and all sorts of unique bottlings, wine, cocktail and spirit tastings.

The evening doesn’t have to end when you head out the door. Visit with the authors of some spirited cocktail books and take a signed copy home with you. Throughout the evening you’ll have a chance to buy their books and meet and raise a glass with the following authors:

• Ultimate Beverage Challenge/Ultimate Blast founder F. PAUL PACULT – American Still Life: The Jim Beam Story and Making the World’s #1 Bourbon; A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet Became Global Icons
• JILL DEGROFF – Lush Life 2: Portraits from Behind the Bar
• DALE DEGROFF – The Craft of the Cocktail; The Essential Cocktail
• KAREN FOLEY – The American Cocktail: 50 Recipes That Celebrate the Craft of Mixing Drinks from Coast to Coast
• JIM MEEHAN – The PDT Cocktail Book: The Complete Bartender’s Guide from the Celebrated Speakeasy
• DAVID J. REIMER SR. – Micro-Distilleries in the U.S. and Canada: 2011 Edition
• DAVID WONDRICH – Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl; Imbibe!

For a DEEP discount on this evening that promises to be one of the best parties of the fall INSIDE F&B is proud to partner with the Ultimate Blast to offer industry readers a $25 ticket. Go to the list of everything that will be available to be poured.

The facts:
Date: Friday, October 14, 2011
Address: Marriott Marquis Hotel, 1535 Broadway @ 45th St., NYC, Broadway Ballroom
VIP Tickets: $122.50 before 9/15; $175.00 after; 5:30 – 9:30pm
General Tickets: $87.50 before 9/15; $125.00 after; 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Purchase Tickets here: www.ultimate-beverage.com/blast-info

DON’T MISS – BANKS 5 ISLAND RUM

Friday, March 11th, 2011

Rum, inherently, brings back all sorts of things. Close your eyes and sip some on a cold winter afternoon and in your mind you’re right back on that beach in Jamaica or Trinidad, the one that had the steel drums playing at the beach bar and the sun beating on your shoulders. Take another sip and you’re transported to the Florida Keys or to Pamplona; wherever it is that you went recently to sip Hemingway Daiquiris and channel your inner Papa.

Banks 5 Island Rum might just be the rum that brings Hemingway back to life. And, 50 years after the anniversary of his death, that would be a neat trick. Though we know it’s unlikely this corpse revival will actually transpire, we think Banks rum is really that inspiring.

Light reflects off the glossy white liquid with a metallic sheen that belies beautiful banana, coconut cream, white peach, pink peppercorn and absorbingly gentle floral aromas that end in a fresh and staccato finish.

And this rum, the first one on the market that blends the rum making styles from five different regions (light Trinidadian rum layered with complex pot-stilled Jamaican rum, zesty Guyanese rum, flavorful Barbados rum and earthy Indonesian Batavia arrack), is a standalone white spirit that’s been an award winner from the start. The experts at the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge who awarded this a Chairman’s Trophy worth of a 96 rating and the accolade that it’s their “ultimate recommendation,” and the knowledgeable judges at the Rum Fest UK who bestowed a Golden Barrel Award upon Banks know that Banks 5 Island Rum creates a Hemingway Daiquiri (or any other rum based cocktail) unlike any other.

Try it yourself and put Banks to the test as you mix up a daiquiri with Banks, and another with your current favorite white rum. You’ll quickly see the delicious difference and agree that without a doubt, Banks 5 Island Rum can raise your drinking pleasure, even if it’s not raising the dead.

The suggested retail price is $27.99, though please contact your local rep through www.banksrum.com for on- and off-premise pricing.

Kew Garden
By Jim Meehan
2 oz. Banks 5 Island Rum
.75 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
.5 oz. Simple Syrup (1 part sugar to 1 part water)
.5 oz. St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur
8 Mint Leaves, plus 1 sprig for garnish
3 Cucumber Slices, plus 1 for garnish
Add 8 mint leaves, 3 cucumber slices and the simple syrup to a mixing glass and muddle.
Add the rest of the ingredients and ice.
Shake and strain into a Collins glass filled with ice.
Top with club soda.
Garnish with a mint sprig poked through a cucumber wheel.

A GRAND TASTE OF A CITY

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Raises Funds to Fight Childhood Hunger
By Sharon Festinger

Photo by Karen Wise

The granddaddy of charity food fests, Share Our Strength’s Taste of the Nation, had hundreds of people swarming the Grand Hyatt in New York on a recent cool spring evening. The guests filled the ballroom, joining the annual mass of the city’s top chefs and mixologists who support this event, all united for one goal: to end childhood hunger.

Fifty-four restaurants sent staff to share their food love and 10 bartenders worked their liquid magic while representatives from 28 wine distributors poured their product. It was a grand effort to entice attendees who aren’t going hungry every day to generously donate money to those who are.

This popular event netted more than $150,000 last year and the expectation is that the organization is well on its way to reaching its goals with the addition of this year’s monies. “The event has raised much-needed funds to support Share Our Strength’s work to end childhood hunger in the US by 2015,” says Jenny Dirksen, the organization’s NYC Director.

Helping to reach those goals is hard work for many of the folks behind the scenes at the gala who spend quite a bit of time prepping for the evening’s event. All came together in time for the guests to be wowed with such unique offerings as:

Photo by Karen Wise


Felidia’s red quinoa with spring vegetables and truffle sauce. Felidia’s quinoa dish balanced creamy truffle sauce nicely with crunchy peas.

L’Ecole’s smoked trout with cashew nut puree, pickled rhubarb, trout roe and rhubarb-infused tequila from Chef Nils Noren.

Union Square Café’s short rib ravioli (which one taster proclaimed the best thing she’d had).

Picholine’s hamachi cru from Chef Terrance Brennan. The hamachi was marinated in a citrus-soy sauce and was topped with radish sprouts and a sesame powder (made by heating sesame oil and maltodextrin until it coagulates).

The octopus salad with lemon chickpea puree from Chef Lynn Bound’s Café 2 and Terrace 5 @ MoMA. Cafe 2’s dish was devoured by an initially reluctant octopus eater. The meat was a good texture; tender, not rubbery. Its strong grilled flavor came through and was complemented by the chickpea puree. Kalamata olives and micro-arugula sprouts rounded it out.

Chef Floyd Cardoz’s Tabla presented a flavorful rock shrimp balchao with cucumber-coconut raita. Chef Cardoz tweaked the traditional Goan dish slightly. A bit of cilantro gave it a nice bite in addition to other spices present, and the creamy yogurt tempered the heat.

Pure Food and Wine’s hazelnut crostini with crimini mushrooms, caper béarnaise, and caraway sauerkraut,

Hudson Yards’ cheese-stuffed mushroom with bacon aioli.

Rouge Tomate highlighted its first gift from the spring chicken with its spring vegetable panzanella and poached farm egg. The crispy croutons nicely balanced the runny egg.

Snacks included Rick’s Picks’ pickled beet crostini and artisan pretzels from Sigmund Pretzelshop. There were inventive combinations including a gruyere-smoked paprika mini-pretzel with honey mustard and a caraway mini-pretzel with horseradish-beet mayonnaise.

Photo by Karen Wise

Moving on to the liquids, we started off with a Woodford Reserve Old Fashioned from Dutch Kills. It was devoid of fruit save for the lemon twist, as it should be. Perfect. Though wishing to savor, we gulped it down as there was work to do. The old fashioned was quickly followed by the Suffering Bastard from the newborn Painkiller. A refreshing concoction said to have been created back in 1942 “for the bastard in all of us.” (Though, further investigation finds that Trader Vic may well have been the originator.) Not all the drinks sampled were as storied but at least they were as good. Pegu’s Audrey Saunders offered a crisp vodka Mojito gussied up with a pansy, Clover Club had a Hendrick’s gin cocktail with lemon juice, Campari, grapefruit juice, Benedictine, pomegranate molasses, soda and a grapefruit twist that was pleasingly tart. Mad scientist Eben Freeman of the former Tailor shared not a cocktail per se but a tincture (and some bacon bourbon). The mole rum tincture had powerful flavor (though, like bitters, not meant to be drunk on its own) and is an important component of his rum-based South Central.

Photo by Karen Wise


Asa Scott of Harlem pioneer 67 Orange Street offered an impressive quad. We gave it our best effort and sampled two: The Estate Affair with Appleton Estate Reserve Rum, grapefruit juice, simple syrup, mint and aromatic bitters; and the Brazilian Jig with Leblon Cachaça, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice and muddled ginger. Cienfuegos from the DeRossi/Ward powerhouse poured a rum punch with Ron Zacapa, Leblon Cachaça, Domaine de Canton, guava and lime juice, simple syrup, soda splash, mint and strawberry garnish. Stalwart Little Branch served the Stone Fence with Woodford Reserve Bourbon, pimento dram, apple cider, ginger, clove and a cinnamon stick garnish. Finally, PDT’s Jim Meehan and Lindsay Nader batched up the Resting Point with reposado tequila (from where the name the resting point comes), Punt e Mes, yellow Chartreuse, lemon juice, agave nectar and muddled strawberries. (Wineries were well represented but we stuck with hard liquor.)

Balancing the sheer amount of food and drink was difficult (we’re not complaining) but we managed to reserve a bit of room for dessert.

Eleven Madison Park offered “variations of flavors and textures of milk and chocolate.” The extensive component list: Dulche de Leche, dehydrated chocolate mousse, aerated chocolate, Maldon salt, crème fraiche foam, caramelized white chocolate panna cotta, dehydrated milk foam. Frozen ingredients normally used were swapped out for their solid counterparts, presenting a variation on the variations. Even still, it just may have been best in show.

Whew! That was a mouthful.

Many other American cities have their own Taste of the Nation, albeit on a scale much smaller than NYC’s. Many dates have passed but there are still some to come. San Diego, Napa Valley, Denver, Chicago, Miami and Portland (Maine), we’re looking at you. Share Our Strength sponsors such other worthy events as the Great American Dine Out, A Tasteful Pursuit, and Operation Frontline. Go here for more info: www.strength.org.