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Tucson's Hotel Congress Host Inaugural Cocktail Competition


For more information please contact:
Aaron Defeo at 405.5035


TUCSON, AZ (February 26, 2011) – The 1st Annual Southern Arizona Cocktail Competition will be held on Tuesday, March 29 at the landmark Hotel Congress in Tucson. The event will feature Tucson's best mixologists who will go head-to-head in a winner-takes-all battle for fame, bragging rights and a trip to a major city for two nights to complete the BarSmarts Live!

Applicants have until March 8 to apply through their Southern Wine & Spirits representatives, or through emailing a recipe to mixtucson@gmail.com. The competition is open to on-premise professionals only.
This event will coincide with efforts by local Hotel Congress mixologist Aaron DeFeo and beverage writer Robert Plotkin to begin a Tucson Chapter of the United States Bartender's Guild.

"This is the first in many steps towards establishing Tucson as a cocktail city. We hope that by providing local bartenders with a creative outlet, we will in turn see an elevation of the craft on a local—and eventually national—level," says Aaron DeFeo, club manager and chief mixologist for Maynards Market and Kitchen and Hotel Congress.

"This is the kind of event that we intend on sponsoring through a local chapter of the United States Beverage Guild," observes DeFoe. "My goal is to showcase our city and many talented bartenders in a way that we've never experienced here before."

The individual who wins first place in the competition will receive roundtrip airfare and two-night hotel accommodations and an opportunity to compete in an upcoming BarSmarts Live! event.



  1. One entry per person, please. Entries must be from active bartenders from each respective account. Each account may submit one entry per bartender. Entries will be due no later than 3-8-11. Entries can be emailed to mixtucson@gmail.com
  2. The competition will be judged by a panel of United States Bartender's Guild Professionals, including Jason Girard (USBG Phoenix Chairman) and famed London bartender Ross Simon of Beam Global.
  3. Cocktails may be of any category (aperitif, long drink, dessert).
  4. 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners will be awarded to the top three judges' selections





NC&B Bar IQ - Secrets of a Well Run Bar

Nightclub & Bar Magazine has launched an on-line newsletter—Bar IQ - Secrets of a Well Run Bar—that focuses on the nuts and bolts of running a profitable beverage operation. Edited by BarMedia’s Robert Plotkin, the free biweekly newsletter is a professional resource covering inventory control and cost management to staffing and other crucial business issues. Subscribe at nightclub.com. It's free, but the benefits to your business are priceless.





2011 Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show

For more than 20 years, the Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show has been the largest and most prestigious show of its type. This year the conference will be held from March 7th and 9th at the Las Vegas Conventional Center and will feature dozens of business oriented seminars and workshops. The event provides a platform for suppliers and more than 50,000 working professionals to connect and discover new opportunities in the food and beverage segment of the hospitality industry. For the 17th consecutive year, author and consultant Robert Plotkin will be there to present three programs at the show.

On Monday, March 7th, Robert and fellow Nightclub & Bar Magazine contributing editor Jack Robertiello will conduct a 3-hour workshop entitled, Successful Beverage Management — Proven Strategies for the On-Premise Operator. The program is designed to help operators realize significantly more profit from their bars. The workshop consists of the following modules:

• PART ONE — SAFEGUARDING EVERY OUNCE OF PROFIT — Especially in an uncertain economy, you need to protect cash flow and eliminate financial black holes behind the bar. Drawn from a combined 60+ years of hands-on experience, the program details how to avoid getting ripped off, lower their pour costs, analyze bartender productivity, implement effective cash controls and get the most bang for their labor dollars.

• PART TWO — INCREASING SALES IN A DOWN ECONOMY — This fast-paced session is loaded with proven methods for boosting revenue. Operators will learn scores of field-tested, easily implemented strategies for increasing profitability without raising drink prices, building all-important repeat business and improving the style and appeal of their beverage line-up.

On Tuesday, March 8th, Robert will moderate the panel discussion, Increase Sales Through Beverage Merchandising. Joining Robert will be industry notables Cindy Busi, Beverage Director at Hard Rock International, Tammy LaNasa, Beverage Director for Sullivan’s & Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group, Barry Gutin, CEO of Cuba Libre Restaurant & Rum Bar and Shane Young of Overtime Entertainment. The distinguished panel will discuss innovative ways any sized bar can increase sales through improved merchandising techniques. The session promises to be fast paced and filled with field-tested, revenue generating ideas.

Also on Tuesday, March 8th, Robert and Jack Robertiello will present a session entitled, Fifty Moneymaking Ideas in 50 Minutes. Considered two of the industry’s leading on-premise authorities, they’ve collected their notes and are prepared to present 50 of their favorite revenue increasing, cost-saving ideas in just 50-minutes. Think it can’t be done? Join them as they set out to accomplish the impossible.

See you in Las Vegas.





Ultimate Beverage Challenge Announces 2011 Dates
For Spirits, Cocktail and Wine Challenges
New in 2011: Ultimate Signature Cocktail Challenge!

New York, NY (November 30, 2010) – Ultimate Beverage Challenge LLC (UBC) reinvented how beverage competitions are conducted with this year inaugural trio of successful "Challenges" – Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Ultimate Cocktail Challenge and Ultimate Wine Challenge. The Challenges have been developed by three industry powerhouses – founding partners Sue Woodley, David Talbot and F. Paul Pacult – who, along with Judging Vice-Chairman Sean Ludford believe that beverage challenges better serve the market when they are based on the 100-point scale, (not ubiquitous and often meaningless medal distribution), are judged by a panel of expert judges (the top names in their industry) and use an open and transparent judging method (want to know how we judge? Just ask). More than 1,200 spirits and wines were entered in these groundbreaking 2010 Challenges and the best brands, that received the highest overall score in their category, were awarded the top honor – the Chairman’s Trophy. Based on the resounding industry support and accolades and the success of this year‟s competitions, today UBC is happy to announce the 2011 Challenge dates.


So, drum roll, please. The 2011 Ultimate Beverage Challenge dates are:

Ultimate SPIRITS Challenge – March 1-4, 2011

(entry forms available December 1, 2010; deadline is February 18, 2011)

Ultimate COCKTAIL Challenge – April 5-8, 2011

(entry forms available January 3; deadline is March 22, 2011)

Ultimate WINE Challenge– May 2-6, 2011

(entry forms available January 31; deadline is April 22, 2011)


All three Challenges will be held at Astor Center in New York City, a state-of-the art tasting facility, with all products evaluated under the most ideal conditions.

Said Pacult of UBC's immediate success, “Unlike many other competitions both in the U.S. and abroad, UBC is not a "medal factory.‟ Sean and I would never allow products that are judged inferior by UBC judging panels to be rewarded with a soft bronze or a meaningless silver medal just for entering. The beverage alcohol industry wants top quality beverages properly recognized and rewarded with justification.” 2011 Ultimate Beverage Challenge Dates Page 2

Respected consultant/educator/UBC senior judge Steve Olson calls UBC “the fairest competitions on the planet.” The criteria for the Challenges in 2011 are the same as it was in 2010, with the addition of a "signature cocktail‟ competition:

- Ultimate SPIRITS Challenge will award top honor to the best spirit in its category – i.e., best gin, best tequila, best rum, best Cognac, etc.

- Ultimate Cocktail Challenge will include two competitions (brands can choose to enter both or either):


CLASSIC COCKTAIL Challenge will award top honor to the spirit that "performs" best in a classic cocktail, i.e., best gin in a gin martini, best tequila in a margarita, best rum in a mojito, etc. There are multiple classic cocktails in each category. Each rum entered, for instance, will be judged in each of the classic rum cocktails.


NEW IN 2011! – SIGNATURE COCKTAIL Challenge! Here brands will enter their own cocktail recipe(s) and these cocktails will go head to head with all other signature cocktails in the same category – i.e., vodka cocktails will compete against all other vodka cocktails, gin vs gin cocktails, etc. Best cocktail in that category wins. The company submitting the recipe gets to choose what category it competes in.


Ultimate WINE Challenge will award top honor to the best wine in its category – i.e., best pinot noir, best riesling, best Champagne, etc.

Said Talbot, “The clear success of our first three Challenges reflects the UBC credo of Integrity-Method-Credibility. UBC‟s revolutionary methodology assures the precise and careful evaluation of every product entered.”

Added Woodley, “For 2011, we are so excited to add the UCC Signature Cocktails category, where brands can „show off‟ their best signature brand cocktails. Now, that will be an eye-opening experience for our panels of judges.”

Judges for 2011 include a veritable who‟s who of the spirits industry including: Dale DeGroff, Mary Ewing-Mulligan, gaz regan, Julie Reiner, Jennifer Simonetti-Bryan, Dave Wondrich and more. Complete list of judges can be found on the UBC website.

TasitingProduct submission fees are as follows:

- Ultimate SPIRITS Challenge: $395 per spirit submission.

- Ultimate CLASSIC COCKTAIL Challenge: $395 per spirit submission.

- Ultimate SIGNATURE COCKTAIL Challenge: $495 per recipe submission.

- Ultimate WINE Challenge: $95 per wine submission.

For more 2011 Challenges information, please visit the PHOTOS/VIDEO tab at www.ultimate-beverage.com. For 2011 submission inquiries, please call 347.878.6551 or email info@ultimate-beverage.com.

About Ultimate Beverage Challengewww.ultimate-beverage.com
Founded by award-winning journalist, author, educator and critic F. Paul Pacult, wine and spirits publishing industry veteran David Talbot, and Spirit Journal managing editor Sue Woodley, Ultimate Beverage Challenges provide both the industry and consumers with a clear and unassailable indication of beverage alcohol quality. Complete 2010 Challenge results along with photo galleries can be found at www.ultimate-beverage.com. Ultimate Beverage Challenges are the future of beverage competitions today. Follow us on Facebook: Ultimate Beverage Challenge.




Woodford Reserve and Esquire Showcase Ultimate Manhattans

Louisville, KY, January 5, 2011 – With the recent resurgence of pre-Prohibition bourbon cocktails, the classic Manhattan is making a comeback across the country. Woodford Reserve bourbon and Esquire magazine have searched the country for the nation’s ultimate well-crafted Manhattans and will feature 11 "Masters of the Manhattan" on January 10 during The Manhattan Experience Finals in New York City.

Each bartender showcased their own spin on the historic cocktail at events across the country and will present their own well-crafted Manhattan cocktails at the Woodford Reserve/Esquire Magazine Manhattan Experience. The event takes place in New York City on Monday, January 10 at 6:30 p.m. at Top of The Standard. There the bartenders' creations will be reviewed by a panel of experts, including Woodford Reserve Master Distiller Chris Morris and spirit journalist Paul Pacult.

"We have had some wonderful and creative recipes submitted during our search over the past few months, highlighting all of the flavors of Woodford Reserve," said Laura Petry, Woodford Reserve brand manager. "Along with our partners at Esquire, we look forward to showcasing the cocktail craftsmanship of some of the finest mixologists in the country."

All 11 finalists will be featured in a Woodford Reserve advertisement in the February issue of Esquire.

To celebrate the spirit of crafting the ultimate cocktail, Esquire’s resident mixologist David Wondrich has developed the Esquire Manhattan featuring Woodford Reserve. The cocktail recipe is as follows:


Esquire Manhattan
1.5 to 2 oz Woodford Reserve
1 oz Martini & Rossi red vermouth
1/2 oz Fernet Branca


DIRECTIONS: Stir well with cracked ice. Strain into chilled cocktail glass and twist swatch of thin-cut orange peel over the top.





Jerez Cocktail CompetitionFinalists of the 2010 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition Announced

NEW YORK, NY, January 4, 2011 – Among the dozens of entries from some of the best cocktail bars across the country, the field has been narrowed to 12 finalists in the 2010 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition. These 12 finalists will compete in the live finals this year at Clover Club in Brooklyn, NY, to determine who will be crowned the winner of the next Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition:

  • Brendan Dorr, B&O American Brasserie, Baltimore, MD - "The Cádizian," Oloroso Dulce
  • Reza Esmaili, Conduit Restaurant, SF – "Espana en Emerica," Pedro Ximenez
  • Brad Farran, Clover Club, Brooklyn, NY - "Midnight to Six," Palo Cortado
  • Mike Henderson, Colt & Gray, Denver, CO - "The Spaniard," Fino
  • Dean Hurst, Sidebern’s, Tampa - "Lux Cider," Dry Amontillado
  • Ted Kilgore, Taste by Niche, St. Louis, MO - "El Maestro," Oloroso
  • Franky Marshall, Clover Club, Brooklyn, NY - "Mas Que Ayer," Palo Cortado
  • Lucas Paya, Bar Centro at Bazaar, Los Angeles, CA - "Spanish Golden Ale," Amontillado
  • Stephanie Schneider, Huckleberry Bar, Brooklyn - "Perfect Lepanto," Oloroso & Moscatel
  • Kelley Slagle, Terroir, New York, NY - "Cherry Cocktail," Fino, Amontillado, Palo Cortado, Oloroso & Pedro Ximenez
  • Carlo Splendorini, Gitane Restaurant and Bar, San Francisco, CA - "Ponente," Oloroso
  • Owen Thomson, Café Atlántico, Washington, DC - "Highland Games," Pedro Ximenez

The Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition is a nationwide competition featuring bartenders/mixologists from across the country, who are challenged to create the best Sherry Cocktail in America.  It was created to showcase the incredible diversity of Sherry wine, and its remarkable ability for use in cocktails and matching with food.  The contestant’s cocktails have to be featured on a working, existing restaurant or bar cocktail program, and can be made with any style of Sherry, coming from any bodega in Jerez, Spain.

Each finalist was chosen from a pool of entries coming from all corners of the country.  During a live demonstration and presentation they will make their cocktail in front of the distinguished panel of judges, which will include Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail/Author, founding partner of BAR; David Wondrich, Writer/Author/Historian, founding partner of BAR; Julie Reiner, Proprietor, Flatiron Lounge, Clover Club and Lani Kai; Jacques Bezuidenhout, Winner, 2005 Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition; Andy Seymour, Sherry Ambassador, aka wine geek, BAR partner; and Steven Olson, aka wine geek, and founding partner in BAR.

In addition to making their drink, each finalist has to provide a written and verbal explanation of: why their cocktail is great; when is the best time to serve it, why, and how; the precise recipe, proper garnish and ideal glass; the exact preparation method and steps of assembly; and they need to describe the perfect food match, and explain why it would work so well.  

The winners will be announced immediately following the competition.  An all-expense paid trip to Jerez and a full scholarship to the BAR school are at stake!

For more information, contact Kate Burgess at kate@akawinegeek.com





Galliano Kicks Up Its Heels With Ristretto

Lucas Bols to Bring First Ristretto Liqueur to U.S.

NEW YORK, NY, December 10, 2010 – Lucas Bols, the world’s oldest distilled spirits brand, will bring Galliano Ristretto, the first and only Ristretto liqueur to the states this fall. Named for a very short and extra strong shot of espresso, Galliano Ristretto is an artisan liqueur made with 100% espresso sourced from the finest Robusta and Arabica beans.

"Galliano is a sophisticated range of Italian artisan liqueurs, offering bartenders the richest and finest tastes of Italy,” said Tal Nadari, Managing Director of Lucas Bols USA. “We are thrilled to own this first and bring the vibrantly flavored Ristretto to the U.S. to enrich the palette for American bartenders and consumers."

Ristretto is 100% natural, made without additives and is commonly consumed as a digestivo in its native Italy. It has a 60 proof ABV and offers a full body coffee flavor without the use of cream or chocolate, making it unique in the coffee liqueur category. Galliano Ristretto consists of 55% Arabica beans from Columbia and Brazil lending creamy chocolate notes combined with 45% Robusta beans from India and Kenya that provide the right touch of body and bitterness. Galliano

Ristretto can work as a pungent stand in for coffee liqueur in classics like the Black or White Russian or mixed with coffee as a winter warmer. Additional ways to imbibe Galliano Ristretto are with Coke as a pick-me-up in place of modern day Redbull, Galliano Ristretto and Cream, or as a cold shot.





Chambelli Cocktail Crowned Winner of GranGala Shakedown

CHICAGO, IL, November 2, 2010 – Beginning in July, GranGala Triple Orange Liqueur set out to find its next signature cocktail. Cocktail enthusiasts from across the country were invited to submit their most creative concoction online at TheGranGalaShakedown.com

Fast forward to the end of September and several entries later, GranGala assembled a panel of experts in Chicago to decide the best of the best!  The impressive group of judges included well-known spirits authorities, educators, journalists and local mixologists, including Robert Plotkin, Sean Ludford, Cheri Loughlin, Angie Jackson, Benjamin Schiller and Jennifer Contraveos. Each cocktail was scored based on taste, originality, ease of preparation, presentation and consumer votes from the Shakedown site.
The winning entry—Chambeli Cocktail—was created by Arturo Vera-Felicie from Kansas City, MO. According to Arturo, "The Chambeli Cocktail was inspired by a popular gin drink that tends to be a bit bitter on the finish so when adding GranGala and playing around with the other ingredients, the result was a more balanced mix with some subtle grapefruit like flavors." Along with bragging rights, Arturo receives a $5,000 American Express gift card courtesy of GranGala.

"I've judged many cocktail competitions and rarely has there been an immediate consensus as to the overall winner. In this case, the Chambeli Cocktail was clearly the best cocktail in the field," says Robert Plotkin, spirits writer and publisher of AMERICANCocktails.com. "The drink was surgically balanced such that you could easily taste all of the various ingredients. It had an engaging aroma and was thoroughly delicious."

The Chambeli Cocktail calls for:

3/4 oz. GranGala

3/4 oz. Aperol

3/4 oz. dry gin

2 dashes rhubarb bitters

3/4 oz. fresh lemon juice


DIRECTIONS: Mix all ingredients in a mixing glass, shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass garnished with an old fashioned orange twist.


Imported from Italy, GranGala Triple Orange Liqueur brings exceptional taste and smoothness to cocktails. Handpicked Tarocco, Bionda and Rossa oranges from Sicily are infused with Italian VSOP brandy to create its velvety-smooth mouthfeel and full-bodied, fruity and sweet taste.

For more information, check out www.thegrangalashakedown.com and GranGala on Facebook.





5th Annual World Margarita Championship5th Annual World Margarita Championship™ Selects Winner

TUCSON, AZ, November 2, 2010 - The Tucson Culinary Festival kicked off Thursday, October 28th with the 5th Annual World Margarita Championship™. Set against the charming Southwestern backdrop of the Historic Train Depot at Maynards Market & Kitchen, 14 bar chefs shook and stirred up the sold out event with their own unique twist on Margaritas using everything from jalepenos to limequats - sage to mesquite-smoked rosemary - crème de cassis to cucumber-infused ice. The innovative concoctions were demonstrated and presented two at a time, "Iron Chef-Style," in front of the crowd and a panel of celebrity judges, which included:

  • Jennifer English: A pioneer in culinary broadcasting, winner of both James Beard and Gracie Allen awards, a leading flavor trend expert in the country.
  • Barbara Fairchild: Editor-in-Chief for Bon Appétit Magazine, a prominent author and leader in the epicurean world, and James Beard Award winner.
  • Tony Abou-Ganim: A leader in the cocktail revolution, has released a book and DVD on Modern Mixology, has appeared on Iron Chef America with Mario Batali, as well as the Fine Living Network program "Raising the Bar: America’s Best Bar Chefs."
  • Robert Plotkin: An expert in the field of mixology and beverage management, with over 30 years of industry experience and writing for trade publications including Nightclub & Bar Magazine, Cheers, Beverage Dynamics, Restaurant Hospitality, Tasting Panel Magazine and Wine & Spirits International.

Of the 14 contenders – only two could take home the enormous salted Margarita glass trophy – winner of the People’s Choice and winner of the World’s Greatest Margarita as determined by the judges.

The World’s Greatest Margarita™ was awarded to Harold Garland of Cup Café at Hotel Congress who created the "Marguerite Nouveau" – a delightful and unique medley with a play on the traditional balanced sour recipe. Harold impressed the judges using a two-pronged approach for the orange component: orange bitters and a blood orange foam.

Created by Harold Garlend, Cup Café
2 oz. Patron Silver 100% Agave Tequila
.75 oz fresh key lime juice
.75 oz coriander-infused agave nectar
.25 oz fresh grapefruit juice
Two dashes Regan’s oranger bitters
Top with Solerno blood orange foam

DIRECTIONS: Combine ingredients in a shaker with ice and shake hard. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Fill rest of glass with a healthy layer of blood orange foam. Gently rest a sprig of cilantro on the foam for nose and color.

The People’s Choice went to Pete Hoge of Kingfisher Bar & Grill with the help of Harrison Hammeroff of Bluefin. The winning creation, the "El Reyes Del Reyes" Margarita, or "The King of Kings," seemed simple on the surface yet, resulted in a luxurious, smoky and sexy indulgence.

Created by Pete Hoge of Kingfisher Bar & Grill with Harrison Hammeroff of Bluefin
2 oz. Tequila Semental Plata 100% Agave Tequila
1 oz. Patron Citron
2 oz. fresh sour mix
Juice of 1 medium Persian lime
Smoked sea salt to rim the glass
Lime ice swizzle

DIRECTIONS: Rim glasses with smoked salt. In a mixing glass, combine ice, tequila, and sour. Shake and strain over ice and top with squeezed lime juice. Garnish with lime ice swizzle.





BarProfits Online Newsletter Names the Hottest New Spirit Prospects for 2010

TUCSON, AZ, November 2, 2010 — As they say, people drink in good times and bad. Steadily rising sales of top-shelf spirits proves again how right they are. But it’s not just the challenging economy causing Americans to take an extra tipple now and again. The fact is there are increasingly more genuinely enticing spirits on our nation’s backbars. Coupled with the resurgence of the cocktail, there has never been a better time to imbibe.

Picking the winners out of the steady stream of new entries—especially in the hotly contested categories—is key to successful backbar management. To help streamline the process, the on-line newsletter BarProfits - Building a Sustainable Bottom Line has released its annual list of the 24 hottest new spirit prospects.

"Space on American backbars is at an all-time premium. It was our intent to provide our readers with some hard Intel on what new brands to consider stocking," says Robert Plotkin, contributing editor of the BarProfits newsletter and publisher of AmericanCocktails.com. "The explosive growth in new products is further evidence that Americans are growing savvier and more discerning. As long as demand continues unabated, distillers will continue releasing small batch artisanal spirits. Keeping in step with the times necessitates changing out your backbar selections on a fairly regular basis. It helps keep the staff engaged and the guests expanding their horizons."

BarProfits hot new spirit prospects of 2010 includes:

  • ABANDONADO 100% AGAVE TEQUILA "…light-bodied, highly aromatic and eminently drinkable." (Agave, Inc.)
  • BENJAMIN PRICHARD’S DOUBLE BARRELED BOURBON "…character-rich, semisweet and luxurious. Double kudos" (Prichard’s Distillery)
  • BUFFALO TRACE EXPERIMENTAL COLLECTION "…That their so-called experiments were a success is an understatement." (Sazerac)
  • COCKSPUR 12 BAJAN CRAFTED RUM "…Ideally sipped from a snifter… a blend of the oldest rums in the distillery’s cellars." (MHW/Cockspur USA)
  • COLD RIVER GIN "…You haven’t tasted a gin like this… made in Freeport, Maine from locally sourced potatoes and spring water…" (Maine Distilleries)
  • COMBIER LIQUEUR D’ORANGE "…comparing Combier to conventional triple sec is like comparing a Monet to a kid’s finger painting." (Cadre Noir Imports)
  • DON DIEGO SANTA 100% AGAVE TEQUILA "…each expression earned a gold medal at 2010 prestigious Spirits of Mexico Competition." (Frank-lin Distillers)
  • EVAN WILLIAMS SINGLE BARREL 2000 VINTAGE BOURBON "…phenomenal bourbon…its finish is like an extended paid vacation—delightful to the very end. (Heaven Hill)
  • FLOR DE CAÑA GRAND RESERVE "…sensational… aged for no less than 7 years in the heat and humidity of Nicaragua." (SKYY Spirits)
  • HARLEM KRUIDEN LIQUEUR "…ideal for balancing the sweet, savory or acidic characteristics in a wide range of cocktails…fabulous as a shot." (Nolet Spirits USA)
  • HIGH WEST BOURYE WHISKEY "…blend of flavor-laden 12-year and 16-year old straight bourbons on a base of 10-year-old straight rye." (High West)
  • HUDSON MANHATTAN RYE "…artisanal, small batch whiskey from Tuthilltown Spirits farm distillery in the Hudson Valley… a 92-proof work of art." (Wm. Grant & Sons)
  • HUM BOTANICAL LIQUEUR "…nothing perched on your backbar remotely like it…a serious boon to mixology." (Preiss Imports)
  • THE LASH SPICED RUM "…classy Dutch import tailor-made for use in cocktails … produced on a foundation of Trinidadian rums aged 4 years." (Bacmar International)
  • L’ESPRIT DE JUNE "…delicate French liqueur handcrafted with the fragrant grapevine flower blossoms…overall effect is mesmerizing." (EWG Spirits & Wine)
  • MAKER’S 46 BOURBON "…distillery’s first new expression since the brand debuted in 1958… decidedly bigger, bolder version of itself." (Beam Global)
  • MUCHOTE REPOSADO 100% AGAVE TEQUILA "…one of the finest tequilas under $30… reposado tequila doesn’t get much more captivating than this." (Muchote Tequila)
  • NOBLEZA AZUL 100% AGAVE TEQUILA "…all three expressions are sexy and sophisticated with satiny bodies and loads of character." (Nobleza Tequila)
  • PARKER’S HERITAGE COLLECTION "…fourth in series of rare whiskeys…cask-strength bourbon distilled with wheat…grab this whiskey while you can." (Heaven Hill)
  • PIERRE FERRAND AMBRE COGNAC "…elegant yet affordable… ideal choice for use in cocktails…a steal even at twice the price." (W.J. Deutsch & Sons)
  • TEMPLETON SINGLE BARREL RYE "…classic single barrel whiskey dating back to Prohibition…brand was the backbone of Al Capone’s bootlegging syndicate." (Infinium Spirits)
  • XANTÉ "…sensual Swedish liqueur… made with sweet Belgian pears and a blend of well-aged cognacs…be prepared to be wowed." (Kindred Spirits)
  • VESICA POTATO VODKA "…This Polish potato vodka possesses all of the requisite qualities of greatness…Na zdrowie!" (Adamba Imports Int’l)
  • ZAYA GRAN RESERVA RUM "…distilled and barrel-aged no less than 12 years on the island of Trinidad… an extravaganza for the senses." (Infinium Spirits)

The full article and more in-depth can be found on BarProfits.com.

Robert Plotkin is the author of 16 books on mixology and beverage management, including his most recent, Secrets Revealed of America’s Greatest Cocktails. He is the editor of the BarProfits: Building a Sustainable Bottom Line online newsletter, publisher of AMERICANcocktails.com and a judge at the Ultimate Beverage Challenge. He can be reached at www.BarMedia.com or by e-mail at robert@barmedia.com.





Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Bourbon Named "Spirit Of The Year"

FRANKFORT, KY, October 19, 2010 – Wine and Spirits Magazine has named Pappy Van Winkle 23 Year Old Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey "Spirit of the Year" in its annual buying guide issue. There are only eight spirits of the year in the issue, and Pappy Van Winkle 23 is the only bourbon.

"We are honored to receive this recognition from Wine and Spirits, one of the most respected publications in the spirits industry," said Julian Van Winkle III. "This caps off an unbelievably successful year for the Van Winkle line as a whole, with major wins for Pappy 15 at the Los Angeles International Wine and Spirits Competition and Pappy 20 at both the International Wine and Spirits Competition and the San Francisco World Spirits Competition."

The Old Rip Van Winkle Distillery has a four-generation history. The Van Winkle family’s involvement in the bourbon industry began in the late 1800s with Julian P. "Pappy" Van Winkle, Sr. In May of 1935 at the age of 61, Pappy opened the newly completed Stitzel-Weller Distillery in South Louisville. Its prominent brands were W.L. Weller, Old Fitzgerald, Rebel Yell, and Cabin Still.

In 2002 the Van Winkles entered into a joint venture with Buffalo Trace Distillery in Franklin County, Frankfort, Ky. All of the Van Winkle’s whiskey production now takes place at Buffalo Trace Distillery under the same strict guidelines the family has always followed. For more information on the Van Winkle family of bourbon please visit www.oldripvanwinkle.com.





Tales of the Cocktail's 2010 Spirited Awards

Honors the Best in the Cocktail Industy

NEW ORLEANS, LA, August 7, 2010 – On July 24, a group of more than 600 cocktail enthusiasts from around the globe came together at The Roosevelt Hotel in New Orleans to honor the best of the cocktail industry at Tales of the Cocktail's 4th Annual Spirited Award Ceremony. The awards recognize those individuals and establishments that have shown an outstanding talent for advancing the craft of the cocktail. This year's awards show, sponsored by Pernod Ricard USA, honored 15 individuals and establishments for excellence as determined by a judging panel of 30 of the world's foremost cocktail experts.

New York's Death & Co. walked away as the ceremony's big winner grabbing awards for Best American Cocktail Bar and World's Best Cocktail Menu. Other honorees included Charlotte Voisey of William Grant & Sons as Best Brand Ambassador, Agostino Perrone from London's Connaught Bar of the Connaught Hotel as International Bartender of the Year and Brian Rea received the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award. Winners took home exclusive Riedel Crystal awards.

"Winning best brand ambassador is so special to me," said Voisey. "I owe a great deal of thanks to Tales of the Cocktail for their incredible support I have had and very generous platform Tales of the Cocktail provides to the world for mixology."

Winners included:

Bar Lebensstern in Cafe Einstein, Berlin


Death & Co., New York City


The Cocktail Bar at The Merchant Hotel, Belfast


Mayahuel, New York City


The Connaught Bar, The Connaught Hotel, London


Murray Stenson


Agostino Perrone


Vintage Spirits and Forgotten Cocktails by Ted Haigh


CLASS magazine


Celery Bitters, The Bitter Truth


Death & Co, New York City


Dale DeGroff


Charlotte Voisey, William Grant & Sons Portfolio


John Gakuru, Sagatiba


Brian Rea


Bar Lebensstern in Cafe Einstein, Berlin





Buffalo Trace Distillery Releases Latest Round in Experimental Collection

Features French Oak Barrel Aged and American Oak Chips Seasoned Whiskeys

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY, August 18, 2010 – After more than 15 years in the barrel, Buffalo Trace Distillery releases the two latest whiskeys in its highly acclaimed Experimental Collection – a French oak barrel aged whiskey and an American oak chips seasoned whiskey. This experiment explores the differences between whiskey that has been aged in a new toasted French oak barrel versus whiskey aged in a used American white oak barrel that has been seasoned with toasted oak chips. "It's incredibly exciting to see how experiments like this will turn out, and we're thrilled to offer these two whiskeys after 15 years," said Kris Comstock, brand manager for Buffalo Trace.

Both whiskeys were put up April 7, 1995 on the eighth floor of Warehouse K.  Details are as follows:

  • 1995 French Oak Barrel Aged — This barrel was filled on April 7, 1995 and bottled July 21, 2010. Buffalo Trace Rye Bourbon Mash Bill #2 was used and the product entered the barrel at 125 proof. After more than 15 years and 3 months of aging, the new toasted French Oak barrel added rich complexity and interesting flavors to this whiskey. The result is a leathery and woody whiskey that has a good depth with a dark, dry finish.
  • 1995 American Oak Chips Seasoned — This barrel was filled on April 7, 1995 with Buffalo Trace Rye Bourbon Mash Bill #2 and toasted oak chips were added. After more than 15 years and 4 months of aging, this whiskey was bottled on August 5, 2010. The whiskey in this charred American White Oak barrel derived a smoky complexity from the toasted oak chip seasoning. It is a lighter whiskey for its age and has a good flavor without being heavy.

"Our Experimental Collection always allows us the opportunity to say "what if… and then to try it and see what happens," said Harlen Wheatley, master distiller, Buffalo Trace Distillery. "It's always great to learn from these experiments and see what works and what doesn't. And the excitement from our fans as we release a new offering is always gratifying."

There are more than 1,500 experimental barrels of whiskey now aging in the warehouses of Buffalo Trace Distillery. Each of these barrels has unique characteristics making it different from all others. Some examples of these experiments include unique mash bills, type of wood, and barrel toasts. In order to further increase the scope, flexibility and range of the experimental program, an entire micro distillery complete with cookers, fermenting tanks and a state of the art micro still has been constructed within Buffalo Trace Distillery.

The Experimental Collection will be packaged in 375ml bottles. Each label will include all the pertinent information unique to that barrel of whiskey. These whiskeys will be released in August 2010 and retail for approximately $46.35 each. Each experiment is very rare and very limited. For more information on the Experimental Collection or the other products of Buffalo Trace Distillery, please contact Kris Comstock at kcomstock@buffalotrace.com.

About Buffalo Trace:

Buffalo Trace Distillery is a family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The distillery's rich distilling tradition dates back to 1787 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Malt Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky "Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year." Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotrace.com. To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit www.buffalotracemediakit.com.





Maine Distillers Launches Cold River Gin

The Only Ground-To-Glass Gin in the World

FREEPORT, ME, August 16, 2010 – Partners at Maine Distilleries, artisan producers of Maine-made Cold River Vodka and Cold River Blueberry Vodka (www.mainedistilleries.com), today announced the addition of an upscale new spirit, Cold River Gin, to its award-winning product line. Two years in the making, the gin joins Cold River Vodkas as the only all-natural, ground-to-glass, gluten-free gin and vodka products in the world.

Like Cold River Vodka, Cold River Gin is handcrafted and batch-distilled in a copper pot still in Freeport, Maine. All of the potatoes used to make the gin come from Maine Distilleries partner Donnie Thibodeau's family-owned Green Thumb Farms in Fryeburg, Maine, while the gin's water is sourced from western Maine's Cold River Aquifer, through which the Cold River runs. The gin's distillation process yields a very high-proof alcohol, which, when blended with the same water that is used in the vodka blending, results in an exceptional, ultra-smooth, traditional-style gin.

Cold River Gin is based on a 400-year-old gin recipe and is made to be sipped and savored as a stand-alone beverage, yet mixes well to create cocktails like the classic Gin and Tonic. Cold River Gin uses juniper as a pallet or base on which to create a rich, balanced flavor profile.
"We use seven traditional botanicals in Cold River Gin," noted Chris Dowe, head distiller at Maine Distilleries. "In addition to juniper berries, coriander and lemon and orange peels, we're incorporating orris root, angelica root and cardamom. While Juniper is the most dominant of the spices, it is not overpowering. It's quickly followed by lemon and orange and just a bit of cardamom to give a very smooth, warm and savory finish."

In terms of tasting notes, the gin's nose is juniper-forward, resinous, bracing and fresh, according to Dowe, who added that supporting the juniper are citrus and coriander followed by an appropriately floral earthiness. The taste perfectly balances juniper and bitter lemon with sweet orange and aromatic coriander. Juniper flavors deepen in the mid-palate and are complemented by the rich bitterness of angelica root and cardamom. The finish is long, warm, and dry, full of clean juniper flavor, earthy bitterness, and cardamom spice.

Cold River Gin is sold in 750-ml bottles with a suggested retail price of $25.99. The groundbreaking gin is available at all major retailers and at a growing number of restaurants and bars throughout Maine. The traditional gin also is hitting shelves this summer in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New York, Maryland, Georgia and Washington D.C., with additional expansion plans underway.

Bob Harkins, director of sales and marketing at Maine Distilleries, said: "Cold River Gin is very closely related to our super-premium potato vodkas, in that it offers the same quality and same level of attention to detail. We're convinced that these factors make a distinct difference in our finished products."

Indeed, since its launch in 2005, the expanding company's Cold River Vodka and Cold River Blueberry Vodka have earned an impressive variety of accolades, awards, and coverage from outlets ranging from Wine Enthusiast, CNN.com, DRAFT magazine and The Washington Post, to TIME magazine, The Boston Globe, The World Spirits Competition and History Channel's "Modern Marvels."

"Seeing the resurgence of the craft gin market, we felt it made sense to utilize our super-premium vodka experience and apply it in a different category," Harkins added. "All of us expect Cold River Gin will be a welcome addition to the gin market."

About Maine Distilleries:

Founded in 2005, Maine Distilleries, located in Freeport, Maine, is the brainchild of four talented Maine entrepreneurs: Donnie Thibodeau, who owns Green Thumb Farms in Fryeburg, ME; his brother, Lee Thibodeau, a neurosurgeon in Portland, ME; Bob Harkins, a former Sunday River ski executive from Paris, ME; and Chris Dowe, Head Distiller, from New Gloucester, ME. Known for their distinct nose and satin-smooth finish, the company's gluten-free vodkas and gin are hand-crafted and batch-distilled in a copper pot still, using water from Maine's Cold River and farm-fresh Maine potatoes. Maine Distilleries, which produces only Cold River Vodka, Cold River Wild Blueberry Vodka, and Cold River Gin, is the only "ground-to-glass" distillery in the nation, where the company controls every aspect of production from the planting of the potatoes to final bottling. The company's award-winning Classic and Wild Blueberry Vodkas currently are available at major markets, restaurants, and fine spirits retailers in 26 states, the District of Columbia, western Canada and London. Cold River Gin begins its August 2010 launch with a presence in seven northeast and southeast states and the District of Columbia.

For more information, visit www.mainedistilleries.com or call (207) 865-4828.

To schedule an interview with Bob Harkins, Director of Sales and Marketing at Maine Distilleries, or Head Distiller Chris Dowe, contact Mary Beltrante at (207) 699-5500 ext. 103.





Van Gogh Paints New Picture for Women Drinkers New Blue Campaign Introduces Era of "Shedonism"

Van Gogh Blue Has a Message for Women: We've Got You, Unbottled

NEW YORK, NY, August 16, 2010 – In a sea of vodka brands that target male consumers, Van Gogh Triple Wheat Blue Vodka is reaching out to women through a new campaign recently launched in July of 2010. The campaign is composed of racy print advertisements supported by special events and tastings across the country, in-store and in-bar promotions, social media efforts via Face Book and Twitter, and a consumer contest for a chance to win the ultimate girls- night-in with Van Gogh Blue. Focused on the female consumer ages 25-44, Van Gogh has invested an estimated one million dollars into the new Blue campaign, which was created by Engauge, a total engagement agency based out of Columbus, Ohio.

With ads that feature illustrated "pin-up" girls enjoying cocktails and headlines like: "Better a dry spell in men than a drought of vodka" and "Women who don't wear underwear never get their panties in a bunch," it's clear Van Gogh is targeting today's modern woman with their slogan, "You, unbottled."

Over the years, other spirit brands have objectified women as sex objects, not as strong and independent females who also, by the way, like to drink. "After preliminary research, we noticed a void," said Jonathan Bleiberg, COO and President of Van Gogh Imports. "There was truly no single brand that really spoke to women."

Through focus group studies, at-home visits and in-depth research, Engauge revealed that women's attitudes towards social consumption of alcohol buck mainstream expectations and cultural traditions. Women today participate in alcohol consumption in the same fashion as, and alongside, men at the bar.
"In looking at conversations in social media about drinking in general and vodka in particular, we found they are dominated by women," says David Grzelak, Executive Director for Behavioral Brand Planning at Engauge. These findings led to the new ads that feature sexually empowered women who are free to drink just like the boys.

Van Gogh understands there is a need for women to shed their everyday roles and demonstrate there is still a feminine, dominant, sexually progressive side of their identities. "Women see going out for cocktails as a path to letting that side come out," Grzelak says.

Targeted at the woman who knows what she wants and goes after it, "this brand is not just for the ultra-chic, unrealistic people you see in other ads. It's for everyone to enjoy," says Bleiberg. Adds Michelle Evans of Engauge, "We've found a way to cut through the clutter and give women something real, something we know is going on everyday. We're relating to the modern day woman. Van Gogh Blue knows what women want and we're giving it to them."

Triple Wheat Van Gogh Blue Vodka is the first ultra-premium vodka made from three international wheat sources: central France, southern Germany and Zeeland in Holland. It is triple-distilled in the Royal Dirkzwager distillery in Schiedam, Holland by Master Distiller, Tim Vos for an exceptionally polished taste with a smooth, neutral flavor full of subtle nuances from the three European grains. Gold Medal winner of the 2010 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Triple Wheat Blue is currently being introduced to select markets across the U.S. in liters (SRP $34.99) and 750mls ($29.00).

About Van Gogh Vodka:

Van Gogh flavored vodkas (SRP $27/750ml) are crafted in small batches by Master Distiller Tim Vos at the Royal Dirkzwager distillery in Schiedam, Holland, which was given "Royal Appointment" in 2005 by Netherlands's Queen Beatrix.  The expansive Van Gogh Vodka portfolio includes 19 authentically flavored vodkas: Açai-Blueberry, Banana, Black Cherry, Citroen, Coconut, Dutch Chocolate, Double Espresso, Espresso, Grape, Mango, Melon, Mojito Mint, Oranje, Pineapple, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Vanilla, Wild Appel and the just introduced Caramel – whose pure, refined flavors are naturally infused in a six week long proprietary process.  Van Gogh also produces an exceptional Classic 80 proof vodka (SRP $27/750ml), the new Triple Wheat Van Gogh Blue Vodka (SRP $29/750ml) and a Gin (SRP $27/750) whose finishes are smooth and delicate. 




Cognac Ferrand Introduces 2010 Vintage Of Citadelle Gin Reserve

The Only Craft Distilled Gin Aged in Oak Casks and Vintage Dated

CHATEAU DU BONBONNET, ARS, FRANCE, August 15, 2010 – Alexandre Gabriel, owner and president of Cognac Ferrand, recognized as the birthplace of the artisanal spirits movement, is proud to announce the introduction of Citadelle Gin Reserve Vintage 2010, the third vintage aged gin from the company that produces award winning craft distilled spirits in Cognac, France. While this is the third year that Citadelle Gin Reserve has been created, this is the first time that the cellar master has created a gin with a specific combination of botanicals intentionally designed for oak aging – violet and iris for flower aromatics and grains of paradise for spice. For the 2010 vintage, the cellar master and owner believe they have truly found the way to make sublime aged gin.

Aging is a tried and true method of bringing out the best in a spirit, but it's virtually unheard of in the world of gin. Citadelle Gin Reserve was born from Alexandre Gabriel's thirst for knowledge about the true origins of gin—when gin was stored and transported in wood, not glass or plastic or stainless steel. Interestingly, back in 1775 two men by the names of Carpeau and Stival founded a French genievre distillery in Dunkirk in an old citadel (and where today's Citadelle recipe and name comes from). Gabriel's research has unearthed documents from that time which shows that most of the distillery's genievre production was being smuggled from France to England at night in small oak barrels and the smuggling was legally approved by the French King Louis XVI! They were transporting gin ‘under Royal Warrant' into England – mon dieu!

While the 2008 and 2009 vintages of Citadelle Gin Reserve were created from Gabriel's signature Citadelle Gin—distilled in a pot still and infused with 19 botanicals—for the 2010 vintage aged gin, Gabriel and cellar master Frederic Gilbert decided to engineer the perfect "aging" gin.

"Six generations of expertise at Cognac Ferrand in aging spirits helped us know exactly which aromatics would work best in oak casks," says Cognac Ferrand cellar master Frederic Gilbert. "By testing the aging properties of different botanicals, we were able to construct the perfect Citadelle suited for oak cask aging."

For Vintage 2010 Citadelle Gin Reserve, Gabriel and Gilbert decided to develop more flower and spices notes so during the distillation of the "special" Citadelle Gin, they emphasized notes of violet and iris for the flower aromatics, and grains of paradise for spice. They believed that the emphasis on these botanicals would create a gin with a perfect roundness, harmony and elegance. The gin was aged for 6 months in used 12-year old oak casks that had a light char. The result is a sublime gin, built on Cognac Ferrand's years of experience in cask aging.

"We now have the expertise of controlling the wood influence over Citadelle Gin," said Cognac Ferrand owner Alexandre Gabriel. "Aging in oak gives more roundness to our gin and we felt that using older casks would impart a level of elegance and finesse that we were looking for. When I tasted our 2010 vintage, the results were beyond my expectations! This is truly a gin of another era."

Citadelle Gin Reserve Vintage 2010 was bottled in June and available in market by October. Production is limited to only 11,250 numbered bottles for the entire world. There is only so much and once the bottles are gone, they are gone forever…one will have to wait for the next year's vintage. The suggested retail price for a 750ml bottle will be approximately $40.00 (44% alc/vol).

Citadelle Gin and Citadelle Gin Reserve are imported to the U.S. by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd. For more information, visit www.citadellegin.com.

Tasting Notes From Cellar Master Frederic Gilbert:

"Vintage 2010 is a beautiful pale gold color and is in the same vein as our Vintage 2009. It shows subtle and delicate floral notes revealed by the addition of violet and iris and spicy notes from the grains of paradise. It also shows flavors of flowers, cinnamon with a hint of wood and is extremely delicate through the finish. It retains the aromatic palette and the crisp vividness of Citadelle Gin that is enriched with a soft fullness. The fresh and spicy aroma of juniper, citrus and star anise are still very present in the scent as well as the taste. It shows a unique depth and finish that only cask aging can provide and gives Citadelle Gin Reserve 2010 a beautiful ‘fondu'—meaning a balance and good integration of all the botanicals used for Citadelle."




Coole Swan Superior Irish Cream Liqueur Joins Gemini Spirits & Wine

CHICAGO, IL, August 13, 2010 – Ken Kwarta, General Manager of Gemini Spirits & Wine, announced that effective September 1, 2010 the company will become the exclusive U.S. importer for Coole Swan Superior Irish Cream Liqueur.

"Coole Swan is an exceptional product with significant potential within the U.S. marketplace," noted Kwarta.  "We are honored to add it to our current portfolio of award winning brands."
Coole Swan was created by three individuals with a passion and a simple aim—to produce the most delicious cream liqueur made from the world's finest ingredients.

Imported from Ireland, Coole Swan was launched in the United States in 2007. In a short time the brand has received a number of awards and accolades. In 2009 Coole Swan elevated the category by becoming the first Irish Cream to be awarded "Best in Show Liqueur" at the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, as well as receiving a "Double Gold Medal." Coole Swan has also become highly regarded amongst many U.S. and International mixologists as one of the finest liqueurs in recent years.

Coole Swan is all-natural and created from the finest Irish Cream, Single Malt Irish Whiskey, real White Belgium Chocolate, dark rich cocoa from West Africa's Cote d'Ivoire and the finest Madagascan Bourbon Vanilla. The result is a superior liqueur with a seriously delicious taste.

David Phelan, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Coole Swan, commented, "We are thrilled to partner with Gemini Spirits & Wine.  An organization such as theirs offers us enormous opportunities and focused resources to build on our successes and expand Coole Swan's presence in the United States."
For more information about Coole Swan Superior Irish Cream Liqueur, visit www.cooleswan.com.

About Gemini Spirits & Wine:

Gemini Spirits & Wine is the fastest growing spirits and specialty brand development company in the United States. Gemini is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Sazerac company and is headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Gemini operates as an autonomous company and is focused on nurturing its portfolio of brands. The company will be further expanding its portfolio with additional announcements scheduled for later in the year. For more information, visit www.geminispiritswine.com




Buffalo Trace Distillery Whiskeys Win Top Honors

Pappy Van Winkle 15 Year Old Wins Best of Show

FRANKFORT, FRANKLIN COUNTY, KY, June 29, 2010 – The whiskeys from Buffalo Trace Distillery continue to rack up awards with the latest honors from The 2010 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition (LAIWSC) including Best of Show, Best Whiskey for Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year Old Bourbon.

The LAIWSC winners included:

• Best of Show, Best Whiskey – Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year Old Bourbon

• Gold Medal – Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey, Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon, George T. Stagg Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, and Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 15 Year Old

• Silver Medal – Benchmark Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Blanton’s Single Barrel Bourbon, and Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Bourbon

• Bronze Medal – Caribou Crossing Single Barrel Canadian Whiskey, 1792 Ridgemont Reserve Small Batch Bourbon, and Pappy Van Winkle Family Reserve 20 Year Old Bourbon

• Bronze Packaging Awards – Sazerac Straight Rye Whiskey, Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon and Eagle Rare 17 Year Old Bourbon


“To enter and win so many awards is quite an honor,” said Master Distiller Harlen Wheatley. “This is a very prestigious competition and our brands did really well. I couldn’t be happier.”

For a complete list of LAIWSC winners go to lawinecomp.com

About Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace Distillery is a family-owned company based in Frankfort, Franklin County, Kentucky. The distillery's rich distilling tradition dates back to 1787 and includes such legends as E.H. Taylor, Jr., George T. Stagg, Albert B. Blanton, Orville Schupp, and Elmer T. Lee. Buffalo Trace Distillery is a fully operational distillery producing bourbon, rye and vodka on site and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Distillery has won seven distillery titles since 2000 from such notable publications as Whisky Magazine, Malt Advocate Magazine and Wine Enthusiast Magazine. It was named Whisky Magazine 2010 World Icons of Whisky “Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year.” Buffalo Trace Distillery has also garnered more than 200 awards for its wide range of premium whiskies. To learn more about Buffalo Trace Distillery visit BuffaloTrace.com. To download images from Buffalo Trace Distillery visit BuffaloTraceMediaKit.com.






CÎROC Ultra Premium Vodka and Sean "Diddy" Combs 'Give Away Miami' With Summer Cabana Contest

"Official Vodka of Summer" and Entertainment Mogul Launch Twitter Contest to Give Lucky Winner Lavish Labor Day Weekend in Summer's Favorite City

NEW YORK, NY, June 15, 2010 – To help ring in the summer in style, CÎROC Ultra Premium Vodka, the “Official Vodka of Summer,” and Sean “Diddy” Combs today announced the nationwide launch of a luxurious, first-class cabana contest on Twitter. The contest, which debuted first to thousands of CIROC Twitter followers on June 6, 2010, invites adult consumers to submit 140-character tweets about a variety of summer-related topics for the chance to win a sophisticated Labor Day weekend getaway to Miami from September 4 through September 7.

As part of the contest, the winner and his or her guests will be treated to round-trip airfare to Miami, lodging at a premium South Beach hotel, $4,000 in spending, a private yacht complete with gourmet chef, spa treatments, passes to CÎROC-sponsored events, and of course, a private poolside cabana on Labor Day at a prominent venue.

“As the ‘Official Vodka of Summer,’ CÎROC Vodka and I want to provide loyal CÎROC fans the chance to take over the sexy city of Miami and live like a celebrity this Labor Day weekend,” said Combs, who entered into a strategic marketing alliance with the spirits brand more than two years ago. “We know our consumers deserve the best—and we’re excited to provide them with experiences they can only get from CÎROC Vodka.”

To enter The CÎROC Cabana Contest, adult consumers must submit weekly now through July 30 their 140-character tweets on a variety of summer-related topics that will be announced on the official CÎROC Twitter page, twitter.com/OfficialCiroc. Weekly promotional prizes will be awarded to consumers three times a week, and the grand prizewinner will be announced on August 9.

To support the contest, the CÎROC brand will have marketing support through cabana-themed point-of-sale materials in select spirits retailers throughout the country. Consumers and CÎROC fans can find out more information on the brand’s Twitter page or at fine retailers across the country.

For more information, visit www.ciroc.com or the CÎROC Facebook page. Fans can also follow the brand on Twitter (@OfficialCIROC) to stay in the know all summer long.

No matter what way you decide to celebrate this summer, the makers of CÎROC Vodka remind you to celebrate life responsibly and always use a designated a driver.

About CÎROC Vodka
CÎROC Vodka is made using French Mauzac Blanc and Ugni Blanc grapes, which are distilled five times, providing a crisp, clean taste and citrus nose. This ultra-premium vodka launched nationwide in September 2003. In October 2007, Diageo —the world's largest spirits, wine and beer company—made spirits history by entering into a strategic alliance with entertainment entrepreneur Sean “Diddy” Combs, in which Combs and Sean Combs Enterprises will take the lead on all brand management activities for the CÎROC brand. CÎROC, 40% alc/vol (80 proof), is imported by Diageo. Celebrate Life Responsibly.




Strawberry Mud Cocktail Wins The New York Cocktail Competition

NEW YORK, NY, June 30, 2010 – Seventeen bartenders and mixologists from around the country battled it out in The New York Cocktail Competition, sponsored by the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac and the EU, at this year’s New York Bar & Wine Show (June 20-21). The competition was the show’s main attraction, challenging participants to create innovative new cocktails using Cognac. After a close battle, Christopher James of Ashes Cigar Club in Red Bank, NJ, took home First Place for his “Strawberry Mud” cocktail, combining Cognac with strawberry puree, chocolate liqueur, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice (see recipe below).

Each participant presented their creation in front of a live audience to a panel of judges including star mixologist Junior Merino (the liquid chef), Ethan Kelly (head spirit sommelier and the beverage director for NYC's Brandy Library) and Michael Waterhouse (founder of Drink Tank and mixologist at Dylan Prime). The Second Place prize was awarded to Victoria D’Amato-Moran, who owns a consulting and catering business, for her “French Slipper,” and Third Place went to Dimitrios Zahariadis of The Hills in Waterbury, CT for his “Curios George” (see recipes below). $2,000, $750 and $250 were awarded to the First, Second and Third Place winners, respectively.

During the show, the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac also sponsored an educational booth and lounge (which was awarded “Best Booth” of the show), where visitors could learn about Cognac as well as taste Cognac cocktails made by renowned mixologists such as Tim Cooper of Goldbar in NYC. Other Cognac events included the “Discovering Le Cognac” seminar—an exploration and tasting of Cognac led by “King of Cocktails” Dale Degroff, cocktail historian David Wondrich, and leading spirits journalists Steve Olson and F. Paul Pacult.

Specialty of Christopher James
2 oz Cognac
1/2 oz. dark chocolate liqueur
1/2 oz. strawberry puree
1/4 oz. 22-year-old balsamic vinegar
1 lemon wedge, squeezed
Shake together all of the ingredients and strain into a chilled cocktail/martini glass. Garnish with a crystallized strawberry fan.

Specialty of Victoria D’Amato-Moran
1 1/2 oz. Cognac
3/4 oz. Ruby Port
1 oz. pineapple juice
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1 organic egg white
1 oz. strawberry syrup (made using ripe strawberries and organic sugar)
Dry shake the egg white hard for 50 shakes. Add the remaining ingredients along with ice, and shake hard for 50 shakes. Strain into a prepared coupe cocktail class. Garnish with small white or light pine rose petal sprinkled with gold flakes.

Specialty of Dimitrios Zahariadis
1 1/2 oz. VSOP Cognac
3/4 oz. Benedictine
1 1/2 oz. Banana White Chocolate Cordial
Thin slices of banana
Brown sugar for dusting
Cocoa powder for dusting
Shake the together the Cognac, Benedictine and Banana White Chocolate Cordial. Strain into a coupe glass. Dust the banana slices with brown sugar and cocoa powder, and place them on the foam of the cocktail. Brulée the bananas using a kitchen torch.

For further press information, please contact:
Jean-Louis Carbonnier
Cognac USA / c/o Carbonnier Communications
Tel : 212-216-9671 / Email : cognac@carbonniercommunications.com





Pernod Ricard and Bar Announce The Next Wave of "BarSmarts Wired"

"Wave 3" Online Training Program Goes Live July 1, 2010

New York, NY, (July 1, 2010) – Pernod Ricard USA, the premium spirits and wine supplier in the U.S., and Beverage Alcohol Resource, LLC, announce the next wave of their comprehensive online bartender training program—BarSmarts WIRED. The program is the 100% online and a more broadly reaching phase of the partnership’s highly successful BarSmarts Advanced Program — a comprehensive bartender training, education and certification program. BarSmarts WIRED “Waves 1 & 2” drew online participation from hundreds of bartending enthusiasts nationally. BarSmarts WIRED Wave 3 goes live from July 1 through October 31, 2010.

BarSmarts Wired is open twice a year in two to four month intervals. Unlike “invitation only” BarSmarts Advanced, BarSmarts WIRED offers any bartender with interest in the craft, an opportunity to participate and become certified through a password-protected web-based platform. Interested candidates are directed to register at BarSmarts.com where, once registered, they can download content, complete assignments, take exams and gain certification within the time frame specified. The online program covers topics including Spirits Knowledge & Tasting, Industry History, Cocktail Knowledge & Technique, Bartending for Career Advancement, and Service & Profit. The cost to participants is $65 and includes a BarSmarts messenger bag and complete set of professional bar tools, which are mailed upon registration. Individuals 21 and older interested in taking the online course can learn more by visiting the BarSmarts website.

“Like BarSmarts Advanced, BarSmarts WIRED is a very challenging program, but it offers the bartender enthusiast the opportunity to learn the craft in the comfort of their home on their own schedule,” said Suzanne Freedman, Director, On-Premise & BarSmarts, Pernod Ricard USA. “The response to the first two waves was huge. Hundreds of interested bartenders participated online, from new bar enthusiasts to mixology professionals looking to stay on top of their field. We continue to enhance the program with several upgrades this season, and are looking forward to getting wave 3 underway.”

BarSmarts has been designed exclusively for Pernod Ricard USA by BAR, LLC based largely on their award winning BAR 5-day Certification Program. BAR, LLC is a partnership of six of the most highly respected spirits authorities/educators in the U.S. including Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, Doug Frost, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich.

About Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard USA is the premium spirits and wine company in the U.S., and the largest subsidiary of Paris, France-based Pernod Ricard SA. Pernod Ricard USA’s leading brands include such prestigious spirits as ABSOLUT Vodka, The Glenlivet Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Chivas Regal Scotch Whisky, Jameson Irish Whiskey, Seagram’s Extra Dry Gin, Beefeater Gin, Plymouth Gin, Martell Cognac, Malibu Kahlúa Liqueur, Hiram Walker Liqueurs, Pernod and Ricard. The company is based in Purchase, New York and has roughly 1,000 employees across the country.

Begun in 2005, Beverage Alcohol Resource, LLC was established by beverage alcohol industry authors/journalists/consultants/educators Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich to introduce a new higher standard of spirits and mixology training. In 2007, BAR was honored as the “Industry Innovator of the Year – 2007” at the annual Cheers Conference for their innovative approaches to teaching all levels of spirits and cocktail education. BAR’s 5-Day Certification Program, held twice a year in New York City, has risen to legendary status, just after three years. Their roster of graduates from this single program is a “who’s who” of celebrity bartenders, mixologists and spirits experts.




Las Vegas Mixologist Max Solano Winner of Paris Bartender Competition

Competition Held at Famed Parisian Cocktail Lounge, The Curio Parlor

CHATEAU DE BOBONNET, ARS, June 24, 2010 — Cognac Ferrand, the founder of the artisanal spirits movement more than twenty years ago, and producer of Citadelle Gin and Mathilde Liqueurs announces that Las Vegas mixologist Max Solano from Emeril Lagasse’s Table 10 and Delmonico Steakhouse has won the top prize at the first Citadelle Gin and Mathilde Liqueurs Bartender Competition. The grande finale took place on June 9 at famed Parisian cocktail lounge The Curio Parlor where Solano competed against three fellow USA semi-finalists. All four had won the trip to Paris and Cognac to visit the Cognac Ferrand distillery, participate in the Citadelle Gin distillation and meet president and owner Alexandre Gabriel.

Max Solano’s winning recipe is Eau de Perfection and it was indeed, perfection! Solano said about his cocktail, “This cocktail is a twist on two of my all-time favorite summer drinks—The French 75 and a traditional Gin Collins—and these spirits honor them both beautifully.” The Eau de Perfection is currently on the specialty cocktail menu at Emeril Lagasse’s Table 10.

Specialty of Max Solano
1 1/2 oz. Citadelle Gin
1 1/4 oz. Mathilde Poire Liqueur
1 1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice (strained)
1 oz. homemade four-spiced infused simple syrup (cinnamon, nutmeg, clove, vanilla bean)
1/3 tsp. fresh ginger puree
1 oz. rosé Champagne of choice
Take the Collins glass and fill with ice and set the glass aside. Take each one of the ingredients except for the Champagne and place them into a pint or mixing glass. Add a generous scoop of ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Double-strain (fine strain) contents into the Collins glass. Lastly, top off the cocktail with the Champagne. Garnish with a slice of Bartlett pear and a fresh mint sprig.


At the Curio Parlor, Max Solano competed against some of the best and brightest mixologists in the U.S. including: Brian Matthys from Izakaya Ten in New York City; Eryn Reece from Mayahuel in New York City and Alex B. Smith from Ramblas and Thirsty Bear in San Francisco, CA.

Paris is certainly one of the global epicenters when it comes to gourmet food and wine but it falls a bit short when you start talking about cocktails. Cocktail culture is quite a U.S. phenomenon with bartenders becoming bar chefs and creating cocktails that excite and surprise the palate, that beget conversation and inspire new creations. Based on the finest ingredients including fresh juices, homemade syrups and the best of the best spirits, today’s U.S. mixologists are at the forefront of a decidedly powerful new industry.

As Cognac Ferrand’s president and owner Alexandre Gabriel says, “It is a wonderful thing to see that young American mixologists share our passion for fine spirits. We make the Stradivarius violin and they play it.”

At the Cognac Ferrand estate, the bartenders saw the noble pot stills that create Pierre Ferrand Cognac, which can only produce Cognac from November through March (per strict French AOC laws). Beginning in June the pot stills produce Citadelle Gin.

The first round of cocktail recipes were reviewed blind and judged by an esteemed group of cocktail experts that included: Bridget Albert, Allen Katz, Francesco LaFranconi, Fred Minnick, David Nepove and Liza Weisstuch. The cocktails at Curio Parlor were judged by: Carina Soto-Velasquez (from the Experimental Cocktail Club), Alexandre Vingtier (La Maison du Whisky), Romee De Goriainoff (owner Curio Parlor, Experimental Cocktail Club) and Fernando Castelon (Bar Expertisse). The competition was open to all U.S. bartenders that worked in an establishment that carried Citadelle Gin and/or Mathilde Liqueurs. The cocktail had to contain both Citadelle Gin and one of the Mathilde flavors. The judges reviewed the cocktail submissions based on originality, creativity, balance and simplicity.

About Citadelle Gin

Citadelle Gin is made with 19 botanicals from a centuries old recipe. Few gins are produced in pot stills and Citadelle is the only gin distilled in a Cognac pot still with a naked flame. Thanks to its unique distillation method, it is elegant, soft and smooth on the palate, with a long aftertaste that expresses its aromatic complexity. It has a subtle bouquet with aromas of juniper and citrus. The suggested retail price is approximately $24.99 for a 750ml bottle. Citadelle Gin and Citadelle Gin Reserve (Reserve is aged in oak casks) are imported to the U.S. by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd. For more information, visit CitadelleGin.com.

About Mathilde Liqueur

Mathilde Liqueurs are the result of a more than 100-year-old French recipe made from only the freshest and finest fruits and are all natural, using no stabilizers or preservatives. Mathilde comes in five flavors: Cassis, Peche, Poire, Framboise and Orange. It is available nationwide in retail liquor stores and restaurants, bars and clubs. The suggested retail price is approximately $16.99 for a 375ml bottle and approximately $27.99 for a 750ml bottle. The Mathilde Liqueur portfolio is imported to the U. S. by W.J. Deutsch & Sons, Ltd. For unique cocktails and more information, visit MathildLiqueur.com.





The United States Bartenders' Guild Debuts Master Accreditation Program

The profession of bartending has undergone a remarkable resurgence over the past decade. As a result the on-premise industry has been clamoring for a means of distinguishing individuals for their talent and product knowledge. For example, what qualifies someone as a mixologist or a master mixologist for that matter?

In response, the United States Bartenders' Guild has created the USBG Master Accreditation Program in an effort to establish standards and remove any ambiguity. The program is challenging beverage professionals around the country to prove their merit by studying for and passing their battery of exams. The USBG Master Accreditation Program is a testing system with three tiers of achievement as listed below.

1. USBG SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL (WRITTEN OR ON-LINE EXAM) — Passing this test qualifies the candidate as a USBG Spirits Professional. The title ensures employers and colleagues that he or she is knowledgeable in all spirit categories, as well as sake, beer, wine, service, history of cocktails and drink making techniques.

TEST FEE: The first time level 1 is taken it is free for USBG members, any subsequent tests are $50 for USBG Members & $175 for Non-Members

2. USBG ADVANCED BARTENDER (WRITTEN OR ON-LINE EXAM & LIVE PRACTICAL EVALUATION) — Passing both of the advanced tests—written and practical—validates that the on-premise professional is knowledgeable about the craft of bartending, has an advanced level of product knowledge and a clear understanding of beverage management. Candidates must pass a rigorous practical evaluation testing their professionalism behind the bar and proving their working knowledge of cocktails and mixology.

TEST FEE: $100 for USBG Members & $300 for Non-Members

3. USBG MASTER MIXOLOGIST ™ (THESIS) — Candidates must submit a thesis to the Master Mixologist Board on a relevant beverage industry related topic of their choice for review and approval. They must also successfully pass a panel interview regarding their thesis after the Board has researched, reviewed and checked all references on the thesis. Once approved, their thesis will then be added to the USBG Master Mixologist Journal for reference and record.

TEST FEE: $150 for USBG Members & $450 for Non-USBG Members

More information regarding the various aspects of the USBG Master Accreditation Program, as well as a calendar of scheduled "live" testing events throughout the year for both written and practical tests is available on at USBG.org.




Cointreau Introduces Bartender Education Program

Featuring Industry Icons Dale DeGroff and F. Paul Pacult

NEW YORK, NY, June 1, 2010 — Cointreau announced a partnership with world renowned beverage and spirits experts Dale DeGroff and F. Paul Pacult to launch an unprecedented, bartender education program. The tandem is initially scheduled to present the educational program in San Francisco, Dallas, New York City, Miami/Ft. Lauderdale and Chicago.

Beginning in June 2010, DeGroff and Pacult will travel to each market and teach local distributors about the importance of using only fresh and premium products in cocktails, how to conduct a competitive tasting and demonstrate examples of creative and unique cocktails using Cointreau. In addition, DeGroff and Pacult will talk about Cointreau's attributes and superiority, including the brand's history as the original Triple Sec, its unsurpassed quality and inceptive role in scores of classic cocktails, such as the Margarita, Sidecar, Cosmopolitan and White Lady.

Participating distributors will receive an educational bartender's toolkit to be used throughout the program. DeGroff and Pacult will train distributors so that they are prepared to educate bartenders and wait staff that they've learned about mixology, bartending and the laudable qualities of Cointreau.

"We're very excited to be working with such distinguished experts in the spirits industry on this national bartenders' educational program," says Alejandra Peña, Vice President, Marketing for Cointreau. "We are confident that Dale DeGroff and Paul Pacult will conduct intensive and engaging training sessions for distributors nationwide to underscore and reinforce the brand's superior selling points, while emphasizing the benefits of using Cointreau to create quality cocktails."

"One of our primary goals in educating distributors about Cointreau is to create excitement and buzz behind the brand so that they an impart this knowledge to bartenders in key accounts across the country," explains Paul Pacult. "Cointreau is the best orange liqueur on the market as it offers the perfect balance of bitter and sweet."

Upon completion of the training, bartenders will be invited to enter the on‐line Cointreau cocktail competition, sponsored by Saveur magazine, beginning May 5, 2010 and ending on June 25, 2010. Four finalists will be selected to compete in a "mix‐off" event at Tales of the Cocktail held in New Orleans in July 2010. Each of the four finalists will be paired with a master mixologist who will serve as an advisor. The winner of the event will receive an educational trip for two to Paris and Angers, France in September 2010.




Flo WoodardThe Flo Woodard Memorial Bartending Scholarship
New Scholarship Honors New Orleans Bartending Legend

NEW ORLEANS, LA, June 1, 2010 — The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society and Crescent City School of Bartending have partnered to create a bartending scholarship in honor of Flo Woodard, the longtime bartender at the Court of Two Sisters. The Flo Woodward Memorial Bartending Scholarship will annually select a bartending professional to attend the Bartending/Beverage Management Course, which is a 12-week program taught by Daniel Victory at the Crescent City School of Bartending in New Orleans and valued at $3000.00.

   Floria Woodard, also known as Ms. Flo, passed away on Tuesday, March 16, 2010 at the age of 71. In addition to being a loving wife and mother, Ms. Flo was a bartender at the Court of Two Sisters for over 30 years. A self-taught bartender, Ms. Flo began her career behind the bar at the Court of Two Sisters in the late 1970's, a time when there were very few female bartenders in New Orleans.

   Ms. Flo was an award-winning bartender and placed at the Tales of the Cocktail official cocktail competition in 2007 with her Crescent City Cooler, which is still on the menu at the Court of Two Sisters. But Ms. Flo was revered by customers for more than what she put in their glass. Her affable personality and zest for sharing stories brought scores of loyal bar patrons including actor, director, producer and New Orleans native, Tyler Perry who would always stop by for a drink when in town. 

In July of 2009, Ms. Flo was interviewed by the Times-Picayune and asked what makes a good bartender and what makes a good drink. She replied, "A good bartender must have the personality of an ambassador, the attitude of a leader and the ability to be a great listener. That is the winning combination. And, of course, you must love people and talking to them." 

The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society will begin taking applications for the Flo Woodward Memorial Bartending Scholarship shortly. Those interested should contact flowoodardbarscholarship@crescentschools.com. The Crescent City School of Bartending will handle the criteria and selection of the scholarship winner.




U.S. Drinks Conference Returns to New York
Beverage Industry Execs to Gather for 4th Annual Confab

NEW YORK, NY, May 6, 2010 — The U.S. Drinks Conference returns to New York City on October 12th and 13th with a focus on the practical information spirit, wine and beer suppliers need to be successful in penetrating the American market. The global gathering brings owners, entrepreneurs, exporters, importers, marketers and distributors together to share case histories and lessons learned from successful brands.

While the U.S. Drinks market is one of the largest in the world, it can be one of the most difficult markets to enter. The complex "three-tier-system" is becoming even more challenging to navigate in the face of consolidation at the supplier and distributor levels. For anyone new to the beverage alcohol industry this is a must-attend event...in two days speakers will share lifetimes of lessons learned.

"The networking opportunities are outstanding. This is a conference attended by the ‘right' people to meet to help strategically plan our brand introduction in the U.S." said Richard van den Akker of Winetracks International in the Netherlands. Added Johnny Schuler of Pisco Portón in Lima Peru, "The panel discussions were filled with practical insights from lessons learned and offered valuable information regarding pricing, budgeting and market structure."

This year's speakers include a diverse group of key industry executives representing all areas of the trade from distributors, importers and suppliers to regulatory agencies from key states and the TTB. Attendees last year hailed from 11 countries on four continents.

Panel discussion subjects include a detailed look at regulatory issues affecting new brands, finding an importer, allocating marketing budgets, and how distributors support new brands. A detailed agenda, roster of speakers and registration and hotel information for this exciting and informational 2-day event can be found at www.USDrinksconference.com

The U.S. Drinks Conference is organized by MHW Ltd., Next Level Marketing and Brand Action Team.




Inaugural Ultimate Cocktail Challenge Announce Winners

NEW YORK, NY, April 26, 2010 — The first ever Ultimate Cocktail Challenge was held at Astor Center in New York City on April 12-14. Founded by F. Paul Pacult, David Talbot and Sue Woodley, the groundbreaking event was established to independently assess how well individual spirits performed in classic cocktails.

Expert judges evaluated how, for example, different gins perform in five classic gin cocktails like the Dry Martini, Gin & Tonic, Aviation, Tom Collins and Negroni. Judges included world-renowned mixology superstars Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Julie Reiner, Steve Olson, Audrey Saunders, Tad Carducci, Doug Frost, Andy Seymour, Don Lee, Jim Meehan and Sean Ludford, Assistant Judging Chairman.

The judges did not know the identity of any of the entered spirits in order to promote a completely level playing field. Cocktails were mixed by handpicked, highly experienced New York City bartenders, specifically Willy Shine, Aisha Sharpe, Lindsay Nader and Sean Hoard who carefully followed specific recipes chosen by Judging Chairman F. Paul Pacult and UCC advisors Dale DeGroff and David Wondrich.

Said Pacult of the first Ultimate Cocktail Challenge, "With Ultimate Beverage Challenge's emphasis on integrity, method and credibility, coupled with the enormous experience of the world-class judges, we've created an innovative, exciting and authentic way for spirits and wines to be assessed in the fastest growing drinks arena in the world: cocktails. Ultimate Cocktail Challenge is like no other cocktail competition in the world. In my eyes, it's the truest test, the most accurate measurement of spirits in cocktails because it evaluates the actual performance in cocktails."

Ultimate Beverage Challenge (UBC) provides the industry and consumers with clear and unassailable evaluations of beverage alcohol quality, in terms that are readily accessible. The three Challenges take place at Astor Center, NYC and include: Ultimate Spirits Challenge, Ultimate Cocktail Challenge and the upcoming Ultimate Wine Challenge (June 7–11).

Spirits were judged on the 100-point rating system in multiple rounds. The highest scoring spirit in each cocktail was awarded the coveted Ultimate Cocktail Challenge Chairman's Trophy. For the complete list of all Ultimate Cocktail Challenge results, go to www.ultimate-beverage.com/.


2010 Ultimate Cocktail Challenge Chairman's Trophy Winners


BEST GIN featured in a…

  • Aviation — TANQUERAY NO. 10
  • Gin & Tonic — PLYMOUTH


BEST VODKA featured in a…

  • Bloody Mary — VERMONT WHITE
  • Cosmopolitan — CHOPIN
  • Vodka Martini — ORZEL
  • Vodka & Tonic — TITO'S HANDMADE


BEST TEQUILA featured in a…

  • Margarita w/Cointreau — MILAGRO REPOSADO
  • Tequila Sunrise — TRES AGAVES BLANCO


BEST RUM featured in a…

  • Daiquiri — BANKS 5 ISLAND
  • Mojito — DON Q CRISTAL


BEST COGNAC/BRANDY featured in a…

  • Brandy Alexander — MARTELL CORDON BLEU
  • Brandy Julep — MARTELL CORDON BLEU
  • Sidecar — REMY MARTIN VSOP
  • Stinger — REMY MARTIN VS


BEST SCOTCH WHISKY featured in a…

  • Blood & Sand — HIGHLAND PARK 12
  • Rob Roy — MACALLAN FINE OAK 10
  • Rusty Nail — MACALLAN FINE OAK 10
  • Scotch Sour — HIGHLAND PARK 12





BEST ORANGE LIQUEUR featured in a…

  • Cosmopolitan — COINTREAU
  • Margarita — COINTREAU




Coming Soon: The New American Mixologist

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