Posts Tagged ‘William Grant & Sons’

CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS: A SPARKLING SUCCESS

Monday, December 29th, 2014

By Sara Kay

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With events like New York Champagne Week, which is only in its second year and has already experienced an incredible amount of notoriety, it brings to mind an important question about the future of champagne as not just a celebratory beverage on its own, but a key player in the cocktail world.

The French 75 and the Kir Royale – both cocktails that feature champagne – are staples in the classic cocktail category, but as we’ve seen from events such as this one on Nobember 4th, versatility is the name of the game.

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Champagne and cocktail lovers alike came together for the first consumer event of New York Champagne Week 2014 to see bartenders from around New York City compete for the title of best champagne cocktail. Sponsored by Nicolas Feuillatte, these competitors took over Evelyn Drinkery and created some truly outstanding tipples for people to sip on and enjoy as they talked about all things bubbly.

For Rob Bigelow, Master Sommelier and Senior Director of Wine Education and On-Premise Development for Ste Michelle Wine Estates, the future of champagne cocktails looks bright, and won’t be slowing down any time soon. He says, “It’s my opinion as a master sommelier and the opinion of most mixologists that champagne is the superior choice for sparkling wine in a cocktail, and that has to do with the quality of the grapes it comes from. At the end of the day, it’s just better.”

The competition ended with a bit of a twist; two competitors came away with the first place trophy, that trophy being a magnum bottle of Nicolas Feuillatte and the possibility of having their cocktail featured at Tales of the Cocktail 2015. Marlo Gamora of Jeepney and James Menite of The Plaza Hotel were crowned the two winners of the evening, with Micaela Piccolo of Distilled NYC coming away with the People’s Choice award.

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A tie in a cocktail competition is fairly unheard of, but it signaled something exciting that industry insiders have known for a while; that Champagne cocktails are on the rise. It also means that competitions like these are finally being seen as ways to showcase the creative use of a base spirit like Champagne, and not just for bartender bragging rights or awareness of a certain spirit brand. In a display of excellent sportsmanship, Gamera and Menite accepted their equal first place win with joy, hugging it out and congratulating each other on a job extremely well done.

Gamera’s win with his drink The Pastry War meant first taking on the job of thinking about champagne in a whole new way. He explains, “I never thought mezcal and champagne would go together, I’ve never made a mezcal champagne cocktail before and I figured, why not? Mezcal is a great spirit and champagne as well. I took a dash of absinthe to tie them both together, then added a form of Asian expression from my background into the cocktail to really balance them out.”

Menite had similar sentiment about his approach to creating his winning cocktail, the Doit Anoir, which featured Salerno Blood Orange Liqueur as the base spirit. He notes, “I wanted to do the first egg white champagne cocktail. I’d never seen it done before and I thought it would work really well with the Salerno blood orange liqueur and the Ramazzotti Amaro. I don’t know if Salerno has ever been used as a base spirit, people mostly use it as a mixer. I wanted people to see it can be used as a base spirit. I wanted to showcase the Salerno and the champagne and how well they worked together.”

Whereas most champagnes ring in with a fairly hefty price tag, making working them into a drink menu not the economical choice for using in cocktails, Bigelow believes it’s brands like Nicolas Feuillette that end up coming out on top based on the low price point and the younger and hipper personality.

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Cocktail innovation tends to be the focus for many of these competitive events, but there is also an element of education that comes in as well. Mixologists of this caliber know what makes a good cocktail great, and by discovering that champagne serves as the perfect balancing agent, it’s only a matter of time before the bubbly becomes a regularly featured ingredient in many a cocktail.

Charlotte Voisey, Brand Ambassador for William Grant & Sons, which provided all the spirits, comments, “It’s nice to see champagne in the industry getting the recognition it deserves. Champagne is a fantastic source of acidity, and that’s the key ingredient in any cocktail to balance everything out, and as we saw tonight, it goes well with every spirit category too.”

The cocktail industry sees its fair share of changing trends, with a particular drink being all the rage one day and yesterday’s news the next day, but when it comes to champagne cocktails, the attitude is fairly clear; they aren’t going anywhere.

“Whether it’s a cocktail or champagne straight up, it’s always going to be a good time,” says Gamera. “And, to quote Coco Chanel, she said t’here’s only two times that I drink champagne, when I’m in love or when I’m not.’ Anytime is a good time for champagne, even if you’re feeling down or feeling up. Champagne cocktails are always going to be there.”

We’ll cheers to that.

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A PASSION FOR PINEAPPLES

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Once a symbol of wealth and hospitality, the time has come to restore the pineapple to its former glory
By Dean Callan, Monkey Shoulder Global Brand Ambassador

Dean Callan pineapple Dunmore.jpg

Here’s a question for all the bartenders, bar owners, mixologists and cocktail consumers about to descend upon New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail – why don’t we see many pineapples in bars and on cocktail menus anymore? This once prized tropical fruit seems to have disappeared from view. But why is that?

This is a question that has been on my mind for some time now and one that will be answered on the opening day of this year’s Tales of the Cocktail festivities (www.talesofthecocktail.com/events/the-pineapple-a-symbol-of-hospitality/) at our seminar.

We need to restore the pineapple to its former glory. This mission, which we can discuss heartily on Wednesday, can be traced back to a trip I took to New York a few years ago. In search of cocktails, a friend and I had stumbled across Cienfuegos, a wonderfully quirky Cuban rum joint in New York’s East Village.

From an outstanding cocktail list (www.cienfuegosny.com/Cienfuegos.html), I chose the Isle of Manhattan Fizz, a rum and gin punch with coconut, lime, soda and one of my all-time favourite cocktail ingredients – pineapple.

This delicious combination got me wondering why we don’t see many pineapples in bars these days. How did this tropical fruit, once considered a symbol of wealth and hospitality, become so neglected by bartenders?

Not long after that drink was finished pineapples were once again on the topic of conversation – this time with my good friend, Jake Burger (www.talesofthecocktail.com/personality/jake-burger/). Jake shares my passion for pineapples – this is the bartender who created the infamous ‘Penis Enlarger’ cocktail, his take on the classic pineapple-inspired Piña Colada.

The seeds of our Tales of the Cocktail presentation were sown that night as

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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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LOVING A LIQUID 2013

Sunday, January 6th, 2013

What you’ll be drinking and thinking about and why, as 2013 marches on
By Francine Cohen

Argentina cars old and new

The past and the present can, and do, exist peacefully side by side. The best elements from eras past stick around to inform the future, while new innovations take their rightful place alongside of them.
Just as it is evident in automobile design, the same can be said of the beverage world. Great old drinks become classics, while new innovations and approaches are embraced with open arms. What does this have to do with drinks and the new year, versus the one just past?

Whether we’re talking about the specifics of the last months of 2012, or just in general about year end, it’s often such a pressure filled time. We’re scrambling to get all those things done we’d promised ourselves, or others, that we’d do and swearing we’ll be better next year. Which brings us to the new year; again, pressure filled, but full of hope for a brighter tomorrow, and new ideas and experiences ahead that promise to make (insert year here) the Best Year Ever.

Realistic? Probably not. We’d all be a whole lot better off, calmer, happier, and more productive if we stopped with the pressure and just focused on doing the best we could every day and finding a little joy in every new discovery instead of awaiting The Big One. Alas, that’s not realistic either.

What could work is just a little proverbial jumping up and down over the trends we’ve seen bubbling up in the drinks industry. At INSIDE F&B we’ve been hearing rumbles about a lot of things, and have the good fortune to be first out of the gate in trying on some of these ideas for size while tasting new products. There are a lot of ideas on the horizon and overall the spirits industry is booming in terms of brand explosion and job opportunities. In the category of new drink ideas some are good, some a little less than appealing; for instance, who are we to stop you from drinking chocolate wine if that’s what you want. Just don’t try and serve it to us. But if someone can make a living from this, and not really hurt anyone in the process, we’re okay with that.

Here’s what we expect to see more of in 2013:
1) Savory. No, don’t expect salt in every cocktail (although a bartender worth his/her salt knows the impact it’ll have to add a scant pinch); but do know that as the bar and kitchen become more comfortable partners food flavors are going to start creeping into our cocktail glasses more often than they have in the past.
2) Texture. Yep, back to the kitchen again. While we’re not sure that chunky bits in our cocktails are what we’re looking for on a regular basis, the judicious use of ice, garnishes, and understanding that ingredients impact mouth feel will enhance the cocktail experience.
3) Sour. Vinegars were popping for a hot minute. We don’t think we’ve seen the end of this. Especially as more bartenders start substituting vinegars for other acid in drinks.
4) International sugar and salt options. Want to use Brazilian rapadura

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ROCKS STARS: TOASTING TALES AT TEN

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

By David Ransom

This year, Tales of the Cocktail celebrated its tenth birthday by doing what it does best: throwing a conference for the spirits industry that is unrivaled in its scope and size, and unmatched in its dedication to providing the bar industry with a forum to share ideas, learn from its legends, try new products, and move itself forward.

I could wax poetic about the program, which under the close supervision of founder Ann Tuennerman (aka: Mrs. Cocktail) has grown in ten years from being a one-day happy hour and dinner to a six-day extravaganza of seminars, tasting rooms, awards programs, meet and greets, parties, and more parties. But we all know that, and there are plenty of other columns that can tell you what seminars were new this year, what products were launched, and who won what award.

Instead, I’d just like to let you know what I considered to be the most interesting experiences and trends at Tales this year. So let’s get to it…

Most interesting spirits trend: Anything white. Whether it was white whiskey or moonshine, Pisco (either kind, see below), grappa, white rum, gin, or some new vodka made from a particular type of grain grown only on Mars, white spirits seems to be all the rage this year with the mixologist set, who are using it to create wonderfully crafted, clean, well thought-out cocktails. Cheers to that!

Honorable mention should go out to the liqueur category. Four wonderful products stormed Tales this year: Mandarine Napoléon was re-introduced, Cognac Ferrand’s Dry Orange Curacao, which made its debut earlier this year, won best new product at the Awards, Lillet’s delightful Lillet Rose made a big splash (and was also runner-up to Ferrand’s Dry Curacao), and Marie Brizard showcased it’s new Essence line of liqueurs during its U.S. Cocktail Competition Finals on Friday, at which, I am honored to say, I was a judge.

Marie Brizard winner Robert Montero and his Sunny Crusta

Most interesting seminar: Without a doubt, the most interesting, and also most entertaining, seminar I attended was The Pisco Wars: Peru vs. Chile since 1613. These two countries have been vying for Pisco dominance and authenticity for generations, and that all came to a head in

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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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SUNDAY FUNDAY GETS WET

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

Because we’re gung-ho on competitions that aren’t just the same old same old, we’ve got two fun ones coming up for you.

Part I – Waterlogged
If you’re going to be in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com) 10th anniversary installment of this memorable (well, most things you do you’ll want to remember) annual event, you’re going to want to stick around at least until midday on Sunday when Solerno unveils the Mr. Solerno Swimsuit Competition:This One’s for the Ladies. (www.grantusa.com/index.php?q=brands/innovation/solerno)

Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur just may have you blushing at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail and talking about the raucous event that will be sure to go down in Tales of the Cocktail history. Solerno has asked (ahem, yes, occasionally coerced) a group of the industry’s funniest, most outrageous and courageous male bartenders to battle it out in a competition that will combine quick wit, cocktail skills, costumes, shenanigans (perhaps a bit of interpretive dance?) and … yes …. your favorite boys in their bathing suits, naming one winner “Mr. Solerno 2012.”

The first annual “Mr. Solerno Swimsuit Competition!” will be hosted by your emcee for the day – Miss Jackie Patterson, the National Ambassador for Solerno on Sunday, July 29th from 12pm to 2pm at the Hotel Monteleone pool, as a precursor to the now legendary Milagro Pool Party.

Each gentleman competing will be coached and hosted by a proud “Pageant Mom.” The Pageant Mothers, likewise, are a collective of the industry’s best and brightest female bartenders. These ladies will coach their wards to rock the catwalk and answer the judges scintillating interview questions, while each Mama creates a Solerno-based, frozen blender cocktail. This is a poolside competition after all.

The judging panel consists of four of the industry’s most discerning minds in male physique and frozen blender mixology (Yeah, we have no idea what that means either. Just go with it) who will quiz, comment, sip, judge and ultimately add a few surprises of their own before determining a winner. This is an afternoon that promises to be filled with hard bodies, tan beer guts, frozen drinks, Solerno (obviously), a feather boa or 12 and an absurd amount of fun.

Don’t miss it!

To enter, follow this link
THE RULES
1. The team with the most “likes” on their entry is guaranteed a place in the competition.

2. Both competitors must already be attending Tales of the Cocktail 2012 in New Orleans and be present on Sunday, July 29th, 2012.

3. The frozen Solerno cocktail must contain no more than 7 ingredients, and may not include any homemade ingredients, that includes syrups, tinctures, bitters or liqueurs.

4. The frozen cocktail must contain at least 1 ounce of Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur.

5. When considering other ingredients for the frozen cocktail, please be mindful of the William Grant & Sons portfolio of premium spirits: Hendrick’s Gin, Milagro Tequila, Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum, Glenfiddich, The Balvenie, Lillet, Tullamore Dew, Stolichnaya, Reyka Vodka, Art in the Age Liqueurs, Hudson Whiskey.

6. We are looking for the most delicious, frozen, Solerno focused, poolside beverage.

7. Please do not post any nude photographs, keep it classy my friends.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS
Eligibility
1.This Contest is organized and conducted by William Grant & Sons (“the Organiser”).

2.This contest commences at 3:00pm on 8 June 2012 and ends at 12:00am on 6 July 2012, running for a period of 5 weeks.

3. Participants will submit one photo & recipe.

4. Grand final judging will be announced the week of July 9th.

6. Eight people will be entitled to win once.

7.This contest is only open to all residents of The United States (“Eligible Entrants”). Employees and the immediate families of William Grant & Sons (“the Organiser”), are ineligible to enter or claim a reward.
Contest Prize

Conduct of This Contest
9. Winners are determined by Willima Grant & Son’s’s discretion (100%).

10. Winners will be notified on the Facebook wall.

11. The prize is non-refundable, non-transferable, and not exchangeable for cash, credit or any other item. All winners shall accept prizes as they are and subject to any terms and conditions to the prizes. William Grant & Son’s makes no representation, warranty or undertaking whatsoever as to any implied terms and conditions with respect to the prizes in this Contest. William Grant & Son’s assumes no liability or responsibility whatsoever in respect to defect or deficiency of the prizes or the nature/consumption of the prizes and will not entertain any direct correspondence with anyone in this regard.

12. Any prize not won or unclaimed by July 9th will be forfeited. The winner whose prize has been forfeited or unclaimed is not entitled to any payment or compensation from William Grant & Son’s not withstanding non-receipt of notification that he/she is a winner.

General
14. The decision of William Grant & Son’s on all matters relating to or in connection with this Contest (including selection of the winners) will be final and binding on all parties concerned.

15. William Grant & Son’s may, at any time at its sole discretion and without prior notice, vary, modify, delete or add to these Terms and Conditions and may also withdraw or discontinue this Contest at any time without notice or liability to any party.

16. William Grant & Sons shall not be responsible for any breaches of contract or any actions or omissions on the part of suppliers nor be liable in any way to any party for any loss or damage arising in connection with this Contest, for any reason whatsoever, including but not limited to any delay in processing of applications, error in computing, any breakdown or malfunction in any computer system or equipment and any notice which is misdirected or lost in post.

These Terms and Conditions are governed by USA law.

PORTRAITS FROM THE BAR: MIGUEL CALVO

Friday, June 29th, 2012

Illustration by Jill DeGroff, Story by Miguel Calvo

Wandering about the Loisada, marveling at the transformation of the neighborhood. I lived there thirty years ago, in a 5th floor walk up for which I paid $135 a month. Back in the day when Yerba Buena was something you surreptitiously procured on the street, lit up, and passed around to your buddies on the stoop.

I kept hearing about a wonderful little bar called Mayahuel and knew I must visit. Just as I was about to cross the street, I saw a familiar face. It was Miguel Calvo. I explain to Miguel my mission: I’ll take you there! says he.

So we walked up 6th street and entered this gorgeous little grotto of a bar, enveloped in exquisitely carved wood and mosaic tiled designs. Miguel ordered us two Palomas from the very capable bartender, Jose Mena, and they were sublime. He then began to tell me about his father, a story so richly woven, it could have been lifted from a Carlos Castaneda novel.

During the 1960’s, Miguel’s father, Wilfredo Calvo Bono, was an architect in Cuba who designed schools and hospitals. When he refused to join the Communist party, the government required that he work in the fields cutting sugar cane for two years. Finally permission was granted for him to leave the country. By this time his mother was seven months pregnant and would not have been allowed on the plane, so she wrapped herself in a girdle to hide her belly. Miguel was born prematurely soon afterwards. His parents immediately sought refuge with his aunt, “Auntie Doctura” a doctor who lived in Madrid. She took them in and there they lived for several years. During this time his dad, with no other means to support his family, began to make paintings to sell on the street. He painted one thing only and hundreds of them… mushrooms. Every single species of mushrooms that had ever been categorized –which he carefully rendered from a scientific volume he had procured. The paintings were small enough to fit into a suitcase. Tourists loved them and they sold extremely well.
By the time Miguel turned seven, they moved to Ohio, where his dad worked as an architect for many years. Now in his later years, his father has embarked on a most unusual project after receiving a grant from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation – creating Mondrian-like designs chalked onto football fields by tractor, then photographed from above in a plane!

Miguel has been working in the hospitality and design industry for most of his life, from owning his first place, Global 33, to designing Stephen Starr’s first restaurant: The Continental Martini Bar.
If you were lucky enough to have attended the incredible William Grant & Sons party at the World War II Museum last year during Tales of the Cocktail, you’ll understand that Miguel creates multi dimensional events that are nothing short of spectacular. “I love the soul of an event and dreaming them up.” He tells me. “I create events where the marriage of drink, food, and design galvanize peoples’ senses.”

While completing this profile, I learned that Miguel is setting off to Colombia to work with the Wayu Indians to develop designs that have been accepted for the furniture store, West Elm. It is evident that from a creative and adventurous father came a son who not only followed suit, but continues to expand the medium- and possibly even change some lives.

Favorite Drink: the Papa Doble. “While building the rum bar at Cienfuegos, I had the great fortune to hear Charlotte Voisey explain rums in great detail. She reintroduced me to the Hemingway Daiquiri and rums in general.”

Papa Doble

2 oz White Rum
½ oz Maraschino Liqueur
1/2 oz Simple Syrup
1 oz Grapefruit
1 oz Lime

Combine ingredients and shake well. Strain into chilled stemmed glass.
Garnish with a Marasca cherry and lime wheel on a pick.

Jill DeGroff is the author and illustrator of “Lush Life; Portraits from the Bar”. To see more portraits from the bar, visit her online Rogues Gallery at www.saloonartist.com