Posts Tagged ‘Julie Reiner’

BRAIN FOOD – BOOZE FOR BABES

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

Give Women What They Want. Not What You Think They Need.
By Francine Cohen

Booze for Babes cover image.jpg

Booze for Babes: The Smart Woman’s Guide to Drinking Spirit Right, and its author Kayleigh Kulp, is ready to be your agent of change if you let it/her be.

This soon to be published tome that will quickly become a must read for the Skinny Girl/whipped cream vodka set is destined to turn things around for female drinkers everywhere; much as it did for Kulp. The author began as an uninformed imbiber who admits, “I really didn’t have any preferences. I was a victim of that marketing – I would drink bottled cocktails and all the flavored vodkas that are the weird candy flavors. It was because I didn’t know enough to care.” Now, like you, she knows plenty. And she cares!

This appreciation began on a DISCUS (Distilled Spirits Council of the United States – www.discus.org) trip to visit whiskey country for a travel story she had been assigned. There, her eyes were opened. It was the first time she’d ever experienced whiskey production and she notes, “There was such an impact being able to see how it was made and see all the products. This was a whole new world of exploration that I had already done with food and wine but never the brown spirits my husband had been drinking for example.”

She continues, “I came back home and discovered my favorite whiskeys and in talking to my girlfriends about this new passion and drinking whiskey while out with them they were asking, ‘why are you drinking whiskey?’ and so I wondered why do I and my girlfriends have this issue and my husband his friends don’t?”

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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

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LADIES WHO LUNCH

Monday, July 8th, 2013

1st Annual Dame Hall of Fame Luncheon is on July 18th
By Francine Cohen

TOTC 2012 Dame Hall of Fame luncheon table set

Follow the hats on July 18th and you’ll notice that the ladies are at it again – celebrating their past accomplishments and looking towards an even brighter future that will be revealed at this year’s Dame Hall of Fame luncheon at Tales of the Cocktail 2013 (www.talesofthecocktail.com). This the day for some serious celebrating of the strides women have made in the spirits industry, and all are welcome at this celebratory luncheon held at the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel (www.omnihotels.com/FindAHotel/neworleansroyalorleans).

Returning sponsor Hollis Bulleit, World Ambassador for Bulleit Bourbon & Rye, explains why she and her brand are coming back for the sophomore year of this event that is co-sponsored by LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), “The Dame Hall of Fame means to me that I get to celebrate with my peers the breaking of another glass ceiling. It is a place for me to be proud of my accomplishments and taking the risk to add a feminine perspective and queer perspective in an industry that up until quite recently had a lot of rules on the right way to enjoy brown spirits.”

Having women lead the way on the right way to enjoy brown spirits, and spirits of every hue, is a far cry from the days when when women weren’t even allowed in bars. Now they’re shaking up the entire industry as mixologists, bar owners, ambassadors and more. It wouldn’t be possible without the ongoing dialogue and mentorship that LUPEC engenders throughout the year and, since LUPEC events are not simply brand commercials, that is why organizers decided to add an engaging educational component to this year’s luncheon via a Q&A session that will foster spirited conversation. LUPEC NYC President Lynnette Marrero notes, “It is important for LUPEC events at Tales of the Cocktail to be a chance for brands to interact with our members and to share their unique brand stories with our fan base.”

TOTC 2012 Dame Hall of Fame Lillet ladies talking

The luncheon’s supporting brands

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SUPPORT THE RACK!

Monday, May 28th, 2012

The Speed Rack Finals in New York City
By Amanda Schuster
Photos courtesy of Speed Rack

On Thursday, May 10th, Yael Vengroff (Miss Speed Rack NYC, and now a Houston, Texas resident) won the title of Miss Speed Rack 2012 to the collective rapture of what seemed like the entire US drinks community, all gathered at the Prince George Ballroom. In the final round, Vengroff narrowly beat fellow Texan Alba Huerta in a tense smackdown.

While the showing on the stage was great, so were the onlookers, other participants, competitors and the audience. Suffice it to say, if there had been some sort of unspeakable catasclysmic event there, much of the country would go awfully thirsty. The biggest names in the bar business were representing as judges, barbacks, and sponsors, not to mention those who attended simply to cheer on their friends and colleagues to support the cause.

The cause goes far beyond Speed Rack’s mission of showcasing some of the best talent possessing XX chromosomes in the country, it also raises significant funds for breast cancer prevention, education and research. To date, $68,500.00. This event, which was created and executed by Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, two of the founding members of the New York chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), has built a nationwide community while doing an outstanding job of spotlighting the female bartenders who are pivotal forces behind our new golden era of cocktail culture. Without people like them, and pioneers such as bar owners and Speed Rack event judges Julie Reiner and Audrey Saunders, a lot of us would still be consuming syrupy neon sludge from a gun as our only option, and probably not having too much fun where we drink it either.

For decades, women have worked hard to achieve this level of respect in the bartending community. Physically seeing the culmination of this progress together in one place proves how integral women have been to this business. Said Reiner as the night began, “We’ve come a long way, baby! Now there’s so many of you and it’s so inspiring. [I’m] So proud of Ivy and Lynnette.”

In a relatively short amount of time, Marrero and Mix have done a tremendous job assembling this level of talent and garnering supporters. As judge Dale DeGroff pointed out during the intros, “This is the biggest thing [of its kind] in America right now.” Degroff, who is considered one of the most important mentors in the business, has often pointed out that women are key facets of creating successful bar communities with their instinctive talents for creating recipes and cultivating a welcoming atmosphere for guests.

The Speed Rack tour was a guest in 10 key cities around the country. In each town they visited local female bartenders were put to the test to determine which was the fastest and who would travel to New York to compete in the final showdown. Competitors raced head-to-head to prepare four cocktails, one for each of the judges.

Sponsored brands donated the ingredients, and also libations with which audience members sipped along with Speed Rack finale judges Reiner, Saunders, and DeGroff plus Chopped judge, and first time cocktail competition judge, Chef Amanda Freitag.

Top talents also contributed barbacking duties, including Sean Kenyon (Denver), Ricky Gomez (Portland), Jeff Bell (NYC), Dominic Venegas (NYC), Michael Neff (NYC), Toby Maloney (NYC), Steve Schneider-Hadzismajlovic and Daniel de Oliveira (Chicago) while industry instigators Simon Ford and Chris Patino, clad in all white suits, kept the proceedings, er, staying alive, as emcees.

The cocktails were randomly chosen by the judges from a list of fifty standard recipes. Speed counts, but so does flavor and technique. Saunders’ critique can be especially discerning (said of a garnish in Round One: “…it was like the sinking of the Titanic!”), which is why she announced that once the competition is over, she can revert to a more nurturing style of support and encouragement. “How this thing has grown! I’m looking forward to going easier on you. I want to see some of you ladies step up and own your own bars.”

Freitag, who originates from solely a culinary background, was a little concerned for her alcohol tolerance. “I’m honored to be here. If you see me later in the crowd and I’m tipsy, forgive me.” For the record, she was seen later in the crowd, and she held up just great.

The great were separated from the merely great in the preliminary rounds which narrowed the competition down from sixteen to eight. Even a simple Daiquiri, which is, as Degroff called it, a “naked drink,” can show certain flaws, and potentially knock someone out. There were then four qualifying rounds before the two semifinals.

Despite a long, boozy night that lasted over five hours, the crowd kept its enthusiasm burning strong, with snacks from local businesses Viktor and Spoils, Pies ‘n’ Thighs, Clover Club and Steve’s Ice Cream, and the palpable energy re-fueled by those working the sidelines. The Ladies of Lillet in particular, among them brand ambassadors Amanda Boccato and Charlotte Voisey, should get some sort of Speed Goddess achievement award for maintaining their roller derby finest (and big smiles to match) throughout the night.

The night ended with a champagne toast (of sorts) to Yael. Congratulations, Yael! And congratulations to every last person who was involved in Speed Rack nationwide. Every last one of you is a winner as it seems impossible that any other industry measures up to the bartending community’s commitment to celebrate the hearts, minds and breasts of so many.

RAISE A GLASS FOR THE GIRLS

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

International Women’s Day is celebrated with a wee dram once again
By Vincenza Di Maggio

Each year International Women’s Day is celebrated globally in various ways. In Italy and Russia men traditionally give women sprigs of bright yellow Mimosa blossoms to commemorate the holiday, and in China women are given the day off. Well, leave it up to New Yorkers to chicly celebrate the occasion by raising their glasses and toasting to the infinite past, present, and future accomplishments of women!

This year, at Julie Reiner’s Lani Kai cocktail lounge in SoHo, Compass Box Whisky Co, and Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails joined together for the third annual “Whisky and Women Unite” cocktail party. Women gathered at this spirited celebration to only to honor the occasion and raise money for Bottomless Closet, a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged New York City women transform their lives by helping them to become self-sufficient and thus allowing them to succeed in the work place.

Abigail Gullo, a founding member of LUPEC shares, “The LUPEC Compass Box event for International Women’s Day has always been a favorite of mine because it’s an opportunity to work with such amazing and accomplished women. It inspires me to see women in this industry come together and celebrate not only our craft, but our desire to make a difference and make the world a better place for women everywhere. I am always honored to be a part of this event and look forward to it every year.”

The fact that it is even possible for this event to exist speaks volumes about how far women have come since 1911 when the holiday was first observed. John Glaser, renowned whiskey maker and founder of Compass Box Whisky Co, comments on the event, “I love this event and I am so proud that we sponsor it. It’s something that never would have happened even ten years ago in this industry: a Scotch whisky brand sponsoring a women’s event.”

In honor of the occasion New York City’s most talented female mixologists blended together six different deliciously refreshing cocktails using Compass Box Whisky’s newly produced Great King Street, a craft blended scotch whisky.

Among the group of skilled bar tenders who participated in the event was Meaghan Dorman, of Raines Law Room and

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BE LIKE A BULGARIAN

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Celebrate International Women’s Day with Compass Box Whisky and LUPEC NYC and LUPEC SF

LUPEC NYC and LUPEC SF, the fine first ladies of liquor, know one thing for sure; whisky cocktails are a great way to celebrate achievements of women around the world. And there’s no better way to honor their accomplished sisters in arms who hit the mark with memorable “firsts” all the time than with whisky cocktails made with a brand new spirit – Compass Box Whisky Co.’s Great King Street – Artist’s Blend, a craft Blended Scotch Whisky that has a signature elegance and approachability for both whisky enthusiasts and novices. (www.compassboxwhisky.com).

This Thursday in NYC and SF women (and men, too) will unite like their counterparts in countries such as Bulgaria, China, Russia, and Vietnam where International Women’s Day is a national holiday. They’ll lift a glass or two for International Women’s Day (IWD), a day to recognize the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future.

In NYC Compass Box Whisky Co, innovator and award-winning boutique Scotch whisky maker known for breaking down barriers in a once staid category and the NYC Chapter of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC), announce their 3rd annual “Whisky & Women Unite” cocktail party to benefit Bottomless Closet NYC (www.bottomlessclosetnyc.org). Bottomless Closet is a non-profit organization that helps disadvantaged NYC women become self-sufficient through comprehensive programming and support.

Don’t miss Thursday evening’s cocktail at industry luminary Julie Reiner’s tropical-influenced craft cocktail lounge in SOHO, Lani Kai (www.lanikainy.com). The evening promises a menu of half price

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ROCKS STARS – TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2011

Friday, August 19th, 2011

A Few Of My Favorite Things
By David Ransom

Photo by Charles Steadman

Once again this past July in New Orleans, Mrs. And Mr. Cocktail (aka Ann & Paul Tuennerman) put on what those of us in the business have affectionately come to consider the triathlon of liver survival (drink-filled seminars, drink-filled tasting rooms, and drink-filled dinners and parties… not to mention the obligatory night-ending swing through Old Absinthe House on Rue Bourbon every night just to prove you didn’t expire during the course of the day) that is Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com).

Having just completed its ninth year, Tales has grown from a tiny industry-focused event that brought the nation’s top bartenders together for a few days of camaraderie, events, and parties, into a truly international symposium, complete with a “Spirited Awards” program (like the movie industry’s Oscars) that hands out honors to establishments and industry leaders from around the world, and now brings in professionals and consumers from all over the globe to celebrate the world of cocktails in the city that created them.

Rocks Stars and I feel honored to be given the chance to attend each year, and as always, I’m thrilled to be able to share some of my experiences…now that I have recovered enough to be able to write again…

So without further ado, here are a few of my favorite things from this year’s Tales, both good and bad, but really all good, as nothing that includes having a well-crafted drink could ever really be bad… and in no particular order:

Best Hosts Under Pressure: Ann & Paul Tuennerman. Nine years into it, Tales could probably have run itself, but Ann and Paul were everywhere. Every event. Every day. Every night. What amazes me about this is that Paul was recovering from a health scare and had just spent time in the hospital. I have to tip my hat to these two intrepid souls for not staying in the background and recuperating at home while “their baby” was staged. Quite to the contrary, they were all over the place from Tuesday’s Media Welcome Party at Arnaud’s French 75 bar (beautifully run by Chris Hannah, one of NOLA’s finest drinks-smiths – www.arnaudsrestaurant.com),to the final Sunday Brunch with Mr. & Mrs. Cocktail, and everywhere in between. I even ran into Paul solo, visibly tired yet surely on the mend, at the Suntory Suite (www.suntory.com) one afternoon where we chatted on the balcony overlooking Bourbon Street while enjoying a glass of Japan’s finest single malt.

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ROCKS STARS

Monday, October 11th, 2010

Julie Reiner
By David Ransom

Julie Reiner’s favorite spirit is not what you probably think it is. As she’s a native of Hawaii, one would think that Julie’s dream drink would include exotic ingredients like pineapple, star fruit, and rum, and inspire visions of far off places like the north shore of Kauai or the white sand beaches of Fiji. However, while she does show a deft hand at creating masterful libations reminiscent of Gauguin’s South Pacific, her personal go-to drink is far more mainland than that. But rather than let the cat out of the bag in my own words, I think it may be best to let Julie tell us in hers…later.

As one of the world’s most accomplished and respected mixologists, Julie has helped define an industry, and along the way, built herself a mini empire of trendsetting cocktail bars that have been emulated countless times around the world. Strange as it may seem, while growing up the last thing Julie ever thought was that she’d end up in the business she’s in, or that she’d play such a major role in pioneering what we now call the world’s “cocktail culture.” Yet that’s what she’s done, and it may have been inadvertently due to the fact that she gets bored easily.

Spend some time with her, and one almost immediately notices that Julie has a somewhat restless spirit, visibly apparent in her mannerisms and constant need to out-do her last success and not rest on her laurels. So, it may not be such a stretch to say that boredom played a key role in making her who she is today, as lack of inspiration invariably leads one to want to change a situation to the way they feel it should be. And this is certainly true in Julie.

Like many young people first starting out in the job world, she was first drawn to the hospitality industry for the benefits it offered; like flexible hours, excitement, and quick money. Her first job, as a cocktail waitress at the Hotrod Café on Honolulu’s famed Waikiki Beach, was the perfect vehicle for this, and she did well there, but never dreamed of actually pursuing it as a career path. However, life has a strange way of dictating to us what we are born to do; and we are powerless to change it, no matter how hard we try. Calvin called it predestination, Aristotle and Taylor called it fatalism, and luckily for us, Julie’s experience at Hotrod Café lit an internal spark that remained burning no matter how hard she tried to extinguish it. And it kept coming back to life until she finally gave in and let it blaze the path to her future.

After the Hotrod Café, college was in her immediate future and, having spent her formative years on Oahu, and feeling there was lots more world to see, she decided to go to school as far from Hawaii

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