Posts Tagged ‘Lillet’

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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DON’T MISS – JEAN DE LILLET 2009

Thursday, May 16th, 2013

Open Up Your Palate and Mind to the Pleasures of the Aperitif
By Francine Cohen

Jean De Lillet 2009 vintage

Starting a conversation with “I’m sorry…” is usually the domain of errant boyfriends and husbands, naughty children, and dirty politicians at press conferences. Now, add to that list, very fortunate (yet guilty) editors.

You must know, we mean it. We really are feeling a little guilty about spending an entire “Don’t Miss” column telling you about a product you’ll possibly never taste because it was produced in such a limited quantity that only 1,000 bottles total made it to the US.

But we can’t help it. Why? Because, even if you can’t find it at your favorite bar or track down one of the bottles still on liquor store shelves in NYC and CA you need to know about the existence of the deliciousness that is Jean De Lillet 2009; the vintage aperitif made from grapes ripened in what was a very good year in Bordeaux.

The juice, which was aged in French oak, offers up a lot of the wood on the nose, producing a slightly more bitter product than the traditional Lillet blanc. The extra aging process results in additional variances from its blanc cousin, such as a fuller and richer mouthfeel thanks to extra viscosity. The expected bittersweet and floral notes do come through on this golden hued Jean de Lillet 2009 just as they do on the blanc.

Tempting, right? We hope you’ll find it somewhere. If you can’t, at least you may want to understand why…Lillet’s brand ambassador, Amanda Boccato, comments on the limited supply limited and what to do if

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DON’T MISS – LILLET ROSÉ

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

It’s time to be a little boastful, but we can’t help it. We know a good thing when we see it. And we love when we see it first.

From our very first “before it officially launched in the US” sip of Lillet Rose we’ve been in love with this new introduction from the venerable brand that, for many, defined aperitifs.

Now it’s fully available here, and though it’s far from us to offer gambling advice, we can guarantee that it is not a lousy gamble to order this, even if you don’t already sell lots of aperitifs.

Don’t believe us? Think we’re bragging just so you’ll applaud us for getting the scoop on this way ahead of the crowd? Au contraire, mon frères; your colleagues love it too. So much so that it’s up for best new product at this Year’s Tales of the Cocktail awards.

That’s gotta say something.

What it says to us is that you’re looking for new ways to excite your guests. They may be steeped in tradition, like aperitifs, but it’s new and exciting to the folks to whom you’re serving drinks these days.

Amanda Boccato, Lillet’s Brand Ambassador (and all around aperitif champion), has this to say, “I hope to bring a bit more elegance back into everyday American culture through the art of apéritif-ing.

Through both trade and consumer education I’ve been able to unroll this European cultural staple that has often been mis-translated, in American society, as “happy hour.” With Lillet, we’ve coined a new term, “the elegant hour. Any moment can be an ‘apéritif moment’ and any hour can be an ‘elegant hour.’ I’m demonstrating this at the Lillet Tasting Room this week at the 10th Annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, where we’ve also been graciously nominated for best new product this year!”

She continues to share the journey that brought us this product so many of you love already and explains,

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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.

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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HUNGER NO MORE

Friday, May 20th, 2011

Chefs and Mixologists Collaborate on Taste of the Nation NY – Monday, May 23rd
By Francine Cohen

What did you have for breakfast this morning? For lunch? For dinner? What was that midnight snack you scarfed down with some cocktails or a post-shift beer? Well, whatever it was its likely more food ingested at one meal than many underprivileged kids eat in a day.

Did you think about this fact as you slurped down those oysters, chomped on that bacon, or twirled the other end of your French fry in ketchup? Probably not. And, while we’re not here to make you feel guilty for enjoying the food you can afford to put in front of you, we’d love to have you think about what you can do to help put food in front of 17 million American children who are at risk of going hungry every day.

On Monday, May 23rd, join us for Taste of the Nation NY 2011 and put your ticket purchase to work towards an end to childhood hunger in America so that hungry children grow up to be well-fed productive members of society.

Maybe next year you’ll even join us by participating in the event, but first, we’d just love to see you there Monday night.

Here are some facts to consider:
Nearly one in four kids in America can’t count on having enough to eat. Their bodies may not be rail thin, nor their bellies bloated like their counterparts in other countries, but they’re at risk of hunger all the same. They lack the energy to learn, grow and thrive.
• More than 17 million kids in America are at risk of hunger. That’s nearly 1 in 4.
• 15.5 million kids in America live in poverty.
• 20.1 million children benefit from SNAP (food stamps).
• 19 million kids get a free or reduced-price school lunch on an average school day.
• Only 9.4 million kids get a free or reduced-price school breakfast on an average school day.
• Just 1 in 6 eligible kids get free summer meals.
Sources: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture; U.S. Census Bureau; Food Research and Action Center.

And here’s why your fellow chefs get involved:
Daniel Humm (Eleven Madison Park www.elevenmadisonpark.com), supporter since 2006, presenting the Humm Dog paired with a spicy michelada created by Jeff Bell of PDT, says, ‘There are so many opportunities in New York to work with countless charities. For me, Taste of the Nation is a chance for chefs and foodies to come together to raise money to end childhood hunger. It’s such a rewarding evening for everyone, I’m honored to be a part.”

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