Posts Tagged ‘Simon Ford’

OH HOLY NIGHT, IT’S NOT TOO LATE

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Last minute holiday gifts that still say “I care”
By Francine Cohen

Lewis Bag Sample Pic 1 with bottle in it.jpg

People, do not despair.

Yes, Christmas is just 48 hours away, and yes that means that unless you have an in with the big guy in the red suit you’ve probably blown it in terms of getting something shipped to you to give to your loved ones this holiday. But there’s still a couple of great options for holiday gifts you can find locally as long as you get yourself to a liquor store or a book store before they close tomorrow evening.

First up (because we know you probably need a drink if you’re still out there looking for Christmas presents), the Ford’s Gin Lewis Bag. It’s snazzy, it’s handy, it’s functional, it’s a great educational gift to give and share your love of gin (and other spirits) with family and friends, AND it can be used over and over and over again for making great cocktails or just getting out some aggression.

The Lewis bag, a canvas ice crushing vessel that had a long history of use and was revived and popularized in the 1990s by the Lewis Company, is more than just a thoughtful and useful gift for the bartender in your life. It’s also good for the planet. Simon Ford shares, ” Something that upsets me is the amount of un-necesscary packaging there is in the spirits industry, especially during the holidays, so I wanted to make a VAP that was an example of something that could be reused rather than one that will most likely end up in the trash once it is opened. I have worked in liquor stores and about half of the boxes that housed bottles would end up in the trash before they had even left the store and almost every gift box that is delivered to a bar will end up in the trash. I do understand that they look nice and make for nice packaging for gifts at this time of year especially for the luxury spirits but for The 86 Co I will always try and push ourselves to come up with packaging ideas that can be reused and failing that recycled whenever possible and our first attempt at a VAP is to put Fords Gin in a Lewis bag/Canvas Wick Ice Bag.”

He continues, “The copy on the bag reads… “The Lewis Bag was a staple of 19th century bartending and remains one of the most effective ways to crush ice for your drinks at home. Simply fill the bag halfway with cubes and smash them with a wooden mallet or even a rolling pin. The canvas wicks away moisture , resulting in colder ice pieces that are less apt to water down your drink. Perfect for Juleps and Smashes.” We have also placed the recipe for a Gin Julep on the bag (and in Chicago we have had a local bartender give us a recipe for the bags that will be distributed there.)”

A Lewis bag…what a smashing gift idea!

SG book gotham 7

Next, for the readers (and eaters) in your life: Savoring Gotham: A Food Lover’s Companion to New York City. This encyclopedic history of all things food and drink that make NYC the culinary destination that it is, Savoring Gotham came together in 568 entries across 760 pages written by 174 authors (including yours truly). Want to explore the history of restaurants like Delmonico, 21 Club, and Barney Greengrass? Need to delve further into the history of bars and cocktails, charities like Citymeals on Wheels, and people like Ruth Reichl, Bob Lape, and others who have been an integral part of the city’s food & restaurant scene so that you’re the smartest foodie at your next pop-up dinner?

Take a walk to your favorite bookstore (or order here at a 30% discount if you don’t need it immediately–use code ADFLYK2 at https://global.oup.com/academic/product/savoring-gotham-9780199397020?cc=us&lang=en& ) for this delicious read.

And, for five lucky www.insidefandb.com readers, we’ve got copies of this to give away. Be the first five people to email us with the answers to the following questions: How many entries in the book? How many authors contributed? Can you name one of the authors? Where is Barney Greengrass located? Whom does Citymeals on Wheels support/what do they do? Send your answers to: francinecohen@insidefandb.com and books will be on their way to you shortly.

Best wishes for a delicious holiday season and a wonderful new year!

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)

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JUST JUICE

Monday, November 4th, 2013

How the 86 Co. Gave Bartenders Just What They Asked For
By Francine Cohen

86 Co AYLESBURY DUCK ILLUSTRATION WITH BACKGROUND

You may know them for their big win in the best new product category at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards, or (depending on whether you gained access or had drinks graciously ferried outside to you while waiting on line before being turned away) love them/hate them for their brand’s Tales debut party, The Bare Knuckle Brawl. But do you really know the 86 Co. and their line of spirits?

Unlike many other brands that start off with a product or a marketing plan, the pros behind the 86 Co. (Malte Barnekow, Simon Ford, Jason Kosmas, Kris Roth, and Dushan Zaric) started with goals and a bunch of questions. Kosmas explains, “You need to be able to get great spirits at an honest price. That’s part of the equation. We don’t want to re-teach people how to make drinks. What we did want to do when creating our spirits was to make them be plug and play and have bartenders use our spirits. We want them to be inspiring, which is why they are spirit driven.”

The focus on being spirit driven, and higher proof than some competitors, was all to make bartenders happy. Despite the reality that they’d be facing higher excise taxes, the 86 Co. team made a conscious decision to satisfy the bartender’s need for an impressive ABV number. Says Kosmas, “They think that people’s experience is based on the spirit straight out of the bottle. But it is not until you mix with it that you get the impression of what the spirit does. So we used mixed drinks as a benchmark and a we ended up with a tequila that is so full of agave, rum that is sugar cane; they are all very stereotypes and exaggerated stereotypes. And all highly viscous. It was about producing a tool for bartenders.
Creating precisely the right tools was the first order of business as Ford explains how they arrived at the profile for each brand, “We started with what we wanted the liquid to be before we went into it [production].”

In part the success of the company’s product line (Aylesbury Duck Vodka, Caña Brava Rum, Ford’s Gin, and Tequila Cabeza) has as much to do with the combined spirit wisdom and bar experience of the brand’s principles, as it does the input and needs of the greater

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FINE WINE. GANGNAM STYLE.

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

40 is a big birthday. Just ask Simon Ford who just celebrated his, James Bond style. And chronicled it here (www.foodrepublic.com/2012/12/13/column-was-written-ian-flemings-desk-jamaicas-gold) .

While someone like Simon can travel to Jamaica and bask in the aura of Ian Fleming’s inspiration at the aptly named Golden Eye Resort (www.goldeneye.com), a winery celebrating its 40th birthday is a forced to remain a bit more grounded.

Still, 40 is a big birthday. And so, in the spirit that says “go big or go home,” our friends at Jordan Winery (www.jordanwinery.com) capped off their 40th year, well…Gangnam style. Enjoy!

ROCKS STARS: PROFILES IN CUBAGE – ANN TUENNERMAN

Saturday, July 21st, 2012

By David Ransom

There’s one thing that Ann Tuennerman, aka Mrs. Cocktail, says she doesn’t do that simply makes no sense to me. Then again, her publicist roots run deep, so maybe that’s just the spin on the story that she wants us to believe… More on what it is, later.

On paper, Ann is probably the unlikeliest choice for a Rocks Star to grace this column since its inception a few years ago, as she has never actually worked in a bar, and her restaurant experience is limited to working at Wendy’s while in high school and college. Yet, at the same time, she is probably one of the most deserving recipients of that moniker, as it is she who has created and developed the most influential cocktail and bartending conference in the world, Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com), which is held each July in New Orleans, and will mark its tenth anniversary this year.

Although she was born in Louisville, Kentucky, Ann does not remember a life other than the one she’s lived in New Orleans, as she arrived in the Crescent City at the age of three months, and considers that city her true home. It is in New Orleans, that Ann grew up, went to high school and college for a marketing degree, and then started out on her professional career; first in public relations working for local legend Malcolm Ehrhardt (whose Ehrhardt Group actually donated office space to Ann to help get Tales up and running in its early years), and then working in communications for various radio and TV stations in the area, including WEZB and the WB Network.

She did leave New Orleans once, for three months, to live in New York, but that was not by choice. That was due to the arrival in town of a very angry woman named Katrina, and as soon as it was possible for her to return, Ann did just that. “New Orleans may not be in my DNA, but it’s definitely in my blood,” she says. “I can’t even think of living anywhere else.” Good for us, she wasn’t smitten by New York, as Tales of the Cocktail had only been up and running for three years when Katrina hit, and it could easily have become yet another of the tragic losses endured in the wake of that awful storm by the city that invented the cocktail.

Ann’s commitment to the New Orleans, and more importantly its historically significant thread in the fabric of the world’s culinary heritage, is what keeps her constantly striving to find ways to show off the city she loves. Along with Tales of the Cocktail, she’s also started the city’s first

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DEAR DIARY…

Saturday, May 14th, 2011

Bar Diaries with Naren Young and Simon Ford takes you behind the scenes By Francine Cohen

Oh sure, sometimes it’s glamorous; famous people coming in for your drinks, keeping the party going and being recognized as the ringleader of it all, phone numbers and propositions flying across the bar. But the truth is, you work hard for your money…long shifts with wet hands, satisfying customers who don’t know what they want but know they don’t like gin until you make them a gin drink without telling them it’s gin and they tell you it’s delicious, hours spent perfecting a cocktail recipe, planning that drink menu, batching five gallons of cocktails for a charity event that you graciously donate your time to, keeping a straight face when the liquor salesman comes in to sell you something that has absolutely no application at your bar and it’s obvious he hasn’t a clue about his product, the list goes on and on.

And it’s all chronicled in Bar Diaries with Naren Young and Simon Ford; taking you behind the glitz and glamour of tending bar.

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?

300 YEARS OF GIN

Tuesday, March 2nd, 2010

Photo by Nick McGlynn/Photo Courtesy of Pernod Ricard

Fish, Chips and Sips Celebrates Three Centuries of Gin Cocktails
By Kathleen Reynolds

New York City may have been in the midst of its most severe blizzard of 2010, but that didn’t stop bundled up imbibers from cozying up for an event at the Summit Bar www.thesummitbar.net billed as an evening of “Fish, Chips and Sips” hosted by the good folks from Plymouth www.plymouthgin.com and Beefeater Gin www.beefeatergin.com.

“We’re here to showcase the versatility of gin,” said Sarah Bessette, Director of Public Pelations for Pernod Ricard www.pernod-ricard.com. Bessete’s go-to drink: a classic Plymouth Martini. Also served were cocktails made with Beefeater,

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