Browsing Tag

Paul Pacult



October 1, 2012

Louis Royer “Force 53” High Proof Cognac Competition concludes
By Francine Cohen

Many entered, but only three stood victorious when the judges had finished their tastings and tallies. Tim Cooper of Gold Bar, Franky Marshall of The Tippler and Monkey Bar, and Lynnette Marrero of Astor Room took the top first, second and third prizes respectively. Interestingly, they were all from New York City.

Is it something in the water that made these three New Yorkers the top winners of the Louis Royer “Show Me The Force!” competition? Well, it works for bagels, so why not cocktail creators?

It could have been the fact that they all used sherry as one of the five ingredients allowed in the recipe featuring Louis Royer high proof cognac and showed off seasonal inspiration. But then again a number of other contestants also included sherry, so that may not be the answer.

The truth is it’s the force of high proof cognac that makes a cocktail extra special; that’s what brought these three their victory. Cooper comments, “I entered because I genuinely like cognac and think its one of the more underappreciated spirits in terms of cocktail use. Hence, if I won, I’d like to think I could help bring some attention to the category.”

The category was already a favorite with Marshall, but in entering this competition her appreciation grew as she explains, “I really do love cognac! I like to drink it and mix with it – often at the same time. Secondly, when I tasted The Force and started experimenting, I was very excited with the results. This cognac has an elegance that one might not expect at 53% ABV.”

She continues, “This competition was about showing The Force’s seasonal versatility, and I Continue Reading…



October 13, 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:



August 24, 2011

The end of the spirits competition as youth soccer league
By Francine Cohen

Photo by Keith Long

Summer is coming to a close which means in a few more weeks covers will start getting back up to their pre-summer levels, brands will kick off their 2012 marketing budgets, and kids go back to school and their fall soccer leagues.

While it might not seem as if underage soccer enthusiasts have anything to do with spirits and spirit competitions, they do. Think back to when you were running around on that soccer field and how much you loved the game, the team’s camaraderie, and winning.

But is it really winning when almost every spirit gets a medal the same way every kid on the team gets a medal for showing up? The new breed of cocktail competitions doesn’t think so. In fact, Paul Pacult, founder of the Ultimate Beverage Competition, was quoted in an earlier story (’re-the-best-2/) as saying, “We’re differentiating ourselves from just about all other competitions which issue medals like peanuts at the circus.”

The aversion to the “every kid in the class gets a Valentine” mentality and the blind judging by spirits buyers who evaluate spirits by pricing bands within each category is also what sets the New York International Spirits Competition (NYISC, ) apart from existing competitions. Continue Reading…



July 21, 2011

Ultimate Beverage Challenge awards double as a sales tool
By Francine Cohen
All photos by Daniel Krieger

WINNING! It’s not just Charlie Sheen’s popular catch phrase (or Giuseppe Gonzalez’s favorite too, if his Facebook page is any indication), but it’s why you enter your brand in competitions. For the guts and the glory. For the admiration from your peers, appreciation from consumers, attention at Tales of the Cocktail ( and a boost in sales. But really, how much glory is there in being the brand that won the double secret probation double gold medal? Why do competitions need “double” medals? One in each category is good enough for the Olympics; and it should be enough for spirit competitions.

That, in part, is why Paul Pacult and his band of merry mixology experts including Jacques Bezuidenhout, Dale DeGroff, Jim Meehan, Gaz Regan, Steve Olson, Audrey Saunders, Marcos Tello, David Wondrich, and more boldfaced names you know, love and respect, were hard at work judging cocktails and the spirits that go into them this past spring. In its second year, the Ultimate Beverage Challenge (aka UBC, actually a series of three competitions: Ultimate Spirits, Ultimate Cocktails, Ultimate Wine), continues to lead the way towards enlightened spirits recommendations and turns the competition game on its head. Pacult comments, “I just think it’s simple. When you put together the best mixology, the best cocktailians in the world, authors, journalists, bartenders, and consultants then we set up a situation where not only do we have the leading efforts, we have the methodology. And those two things bring credibility.”

And that credibility, and clarity, is so important. Particularly when you find yourself somewhere like the Publix grocery store on Glades Road in Boca Raton, Florida, awash in a sea of wines and spirits, many of which are proudly displaying neck tags touting their many medals won from some unknown judging body. What do those medals really mean? Is the tennis playing soccer mom who lives in the gated community down the road going to understand what those medals stand for? And why are they valid? Who knows.

It’s a question for the ages. And the skeptical. Pacult notes, “The fact that we don’t give medals really works in our favor. We’re differentiating ourselves from just about all other competitions which issue medals like peanuts at the circus. Continue Reading…



October 14, 2010

Sip Your Way Through the Ultimate Cocktails, Spirits & Wine Blast

Cocktail and Photo by Charles Steadman

Friday nights are time to unwind. This Friday, do it the ultimate way.

Two lucky readers can find themselves at the Ultimate Cocktails, Spirits & Wine Blast sipping world-class spirits, cocktails, and wines that have been declared winners of the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Ultimate Cocktail Challenge, and Ultimate Wine Challenge (

Spend the evening enjoying award winning Palomas (like the one pictured above), and more, along with celebrity book signings, insightful and entertaining educational seminars, non-Challenge spirits, cocktails and wines; food and music.

The first two readers to correctly answer the questions below, and send the answers to us via Twitter ( or email (, will be awarded their own golden ticket *(aka VIP access) to this spirited event.

1) Who are the three founders of the Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Ultimate Cocktail Challenge and
Ultimate Wine Challenge
2) In the Gin & Genever category what brand was awarded with the Chairman’s Trophy?
3) What brand of tequila makes the Ultimate Paloma?
4) What 10 year old tawny port should you be investing about $30 in next time you stock your liquor cabinet?

Event details: Friday, October 15, 2010. New York City. Marriott Marquis Hotel (Times Square) in the Broadway Ballroom. VIP entrance 5:00 p.m., General Admission 6:30 – 10:00. For more information, and to purchase

*The Golden Ticket



July 15, 2010

Insights into becoming a happier and healthier bartender
By Francine Cohen

You’ve copiously studied recipes from the patron saint of cocktail recipes, Jerry Thomas ; Tony Abou-Ganim, Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, Paul Pacult, Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders, Andy Seymour, and Dave Wondrich, have taught you valuable lessons in technique, ingredients, and tasting and now, at Tales of the Cocktail 2011 it is time to learn how to become the master of your own domain.

This seminar asks: Ever wonder how some nights when you worked so hard – you were at the end of the night physically tired but in good spirits and appeared not to have lost a lot of energy? Remember also the nights when at the end you were not only physically tired and exhausted but also emotionally drained and “heavy?” If you can answer “yes”, even if it’s just for one shift, then you need to be in this room on Saturday afternoon.

Join Dushan Zaric (Employees Only, Macao Trading Company and Aisha Sharpe (Contemporary Cocktails for a journey into yourself that results in better bartending. And a better, more peaceful, productive, and profitable you that you’ll get to after understanding how to look at service as an art, maintain balance and sense of self and, essentially, break down the bartender.

Zaric explains why he’s bringing this seminar to Tales after offering it to bartenders around the world. He says, “There are a lot of bartenders who are very well versed in mixing cocktails, knows history, when it comes to service and help themselves that’s where they are not well equipped, and don’t have the tools.”

He continues, “I’m doing this to make people’s lives easier. It breaks my heart to see Continue Reading…