Shaking side by side and building a better bar community

They say the best way to get to Carnegie Hall is to practice, practice, practice and that’s probably true for any profession – bassoonist and bartender alike. But in a life behind the stick, there’s often not time to practice if the bar is six deep and your bar back is nowhere to be found. CKTL Jam, created by PipeLine Brands (a street-based, grass roots brand building team who grooms sales from the ground up), is your unbridled opportunity to play around, concoct new drinks and practice your favorites on willing and expert tasters. Pipeline Partner, John Henry, explains, “PipeLine began the CKTL JAM series as a “non-denominational” way to get bartenders together to play and create artisanal hand crafted cocktails of the season. A sort of seasonal cocktail “open mike night” combined with “pot luck.”

The first CKTL Jam of 2009 took place at Cabrito in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village this past summer. (Watch the video here) Packing the Mexican restaurant were drink aficionados happy to nibble on house made guacamole and other tempting menu items while waiting for a sip of the sample cocktails created by the city’s best known bartenders. Brands such Cabana Cachaça, POM Wonderful Juice, Don Q Rum, Bluecoat Gin, Square One Vodka and Q Tonic supported this event and were incorporated into many of the cocktails. Eryn Reece of Louis 649 was awarded the POM Bar Knife set for her overall performance and contributions to the night along with her fine and classic Clement Daiquiris created.

On November 23, 2009 Pipeline moved CKTL Jam to The Lounge at Astor Center. The site of this second drink filled evening has become the home base for what will hopefully be a quarterly event bringing this country’s top bartending talent and top brands together for a night of creative mixology and liquid experimentation. Guests first tasted fine spirits like Junipero Gin, Vermont Vodka, Bols Genever, Compass Box Whiskies, Michter’s Rye, Domaine de Canton, Partida and Don Q Añejo in the CKTL JAM Tasting Room; then they proceeded over to the JAM BAR and worked their liquid, seasonal fruit and herb magic. In all, during the four hour JAM session, over four dozen new seasonal cocktails were created. Many will go on lists back at the home venues for fall and winter.

The buzz surrounding this event was definitely felt by Aisha Sharpe (Contemporary Cocktails), Junior Merino (The Liquid Chef), Michael Waterhouse (Drink Tank), Tad Carducci (Tippling Bros), Jonathan Pogash (Cocktail Guru) and other top national bar talent who led a bevy of new bar stars in the first in-residence fall CKTL JAM. In all, over 150 bartenders and industry insiders jammed on new fall and winter cocktail creations with some of the best artisanal spirits and seasonal ingredients. The event was co-sponsored by the NY Metro based PipeLine Brands, The Astor Center and the US Bartenders Guild NY Chapter (USBGNY).

The USBGNY raised over a thousand dollars for the FOOD BANK OF NEW YORK through USBG Membership raffles and brand sponsorships. Top prize was a personal portrait by noted bar artist, Jill DeGroff.

Henry concludes, “”The top bartenders are the biggest fans of the JAMS and loyally come to jam and schmooze with brand owners and fellow bartenders. Our motto at PipeLine has always been to ‘Let it Flow’. That was certainly in evidence here tonight and with this program.”


Presented at CKTL JAM by creator Shannon Sullivan, Bartender – David Burke –

    Equal parts Junipero Gin, St-Germain and lemon juice
    ½ part Wild Hibiscus syrup
    Shake above with ice and strain into martini glass. Top with Cantine Maschio Prosecco. Garnish with wild hibiscus flower skewered onto lemon “lily pad.”


*****Get in on the action! The next spring CKTL JAM at Astor Center is scheduled for Monday might, March 29, 2010. PipeLine Brands is proud to be developing a Fellowship Program where select local talent will be cited for their work at each future CKTL JAM and earn small endowments for further bar studies.