Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flannigan's Wake at Sweet Caroline's Theater 11-16-09

"Flanagan's Wake", is an interactive comedy which has been playing in Chicago for 16 years, as well as other cities such as Boston, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Rochester, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia, Minneapolis, and Detroit.

November 13th marked the first production in the Manhattan venue,which is now playing at the Sweet Caroline's Theater. According to the show notes, the audience is invited "to join the villagers of Grapplin, Ireland, as they mourn and grieve the passing of one of their own as only the Irish can." The New York cast includes James Houton, Mary Theresa Archbold, Pay Shay, Brett Waldon, Michael Kevin Baldwin, Mike Connell, and Abigail Gullo(my dear friend).

I absolutely enjoyed this play! It was hilarious of course and the actors was so skillfully on point with Irish dialect and mannerisms. Do yourself a favor and check this out while it's still in the city. If outside of Manhattan, check your local theater listing for a Flanagan's near you!


USBGNY Mixer at Ideya 11-16-09

Location: Ideya restaurant 349 West Broadway, NYC

Another great day in the city, and It was time to get to the Nov. mixer! Instead of Jon Pogash, president(away on business)holding the meeting, we had Allen Katz, vice president there to talk to the group about "Ethics in the Industry" and to inform us on the upcoming events. While Allen was talking Ideya had the most scrumptious appetizers flowing non-stop!

Next, we had the Rhum Clement presentation. Basically Rhum Clement is on an educational tour and enlightening everyone on the brands and how we can use the rum in new and old cocktails, which are:

Rhum Clément Premiere Canne 750ml.
Rhum Clément Premiere Canne 1 liter
Rhum Clément V.S.O.P. Rum 750ml.
Rhum Clément Creole Shrubb 750ml.
Rhum Clément Founder’s Cuvée: Homère Clément 750ml.
Rhum Clément X.O. Rum 750ml.

I like the Creole Shrubb and the X.O. the best! The X.O. is excellent for sipping. I like it neat at room temp and the Shrubb is great in an "Old Fashioned".

After the mixer, me and some of my hysterical friends walked down the street to Lusso, located at 331 West Broadway(Corner of Grand)NYC. I didn't get a chance to eat, but I had a few good lagers while hanging out with my ridiculous friends!

Next, I headed to my friend Abigail's play, "Flanagan's Wake". I was a little late, but I still got the meat of the play. Abi did a wonderful job along with her team. Check out my blog coming up next(I believe).

Lastly, me, Abigail, and some new friends we met after the play cabbed it over to the RYE house launch party. The couple that we met was in town from Ireland performing a play of their own and when we took them to the house, they had a total blast!

The cocktails at the RYE was on point and a lot of us was there from the mixer earlier. At that time, we was all in a great "happy place"!

Night Cap:

Rhum Clement, great lagers, funny Irish play, and awesome rye cocktails. Yup another hard day at the office folks!


Whisky Fest 11-10-09

Location: Marriot Marquis Hotel, NYC

Focus: Education od brands and how their whiskies are created.

What's there: @200 exhibitors, speakers, and seminars.

Pouring List:
Aberfeldy 12 yr. (VIP only)


12 yr.
16 yr.
Alaska Glacier Ice

Amrut Indian Single Malt
Peated 46%
Peated Cask Strength
Fusion Single Malt
Two Continents
anCnoc Single Malt Scotch

10 yr.
Airigh Nam Beist 1990
Supernova (VIP hour only)

Traditional Cask
30 yr. (VIP hour only)

The Arran Malt
10 yr.
Sherry Single Cask
Bourbon Single Cask
Pomerol Cask Finish
12 yr.
18 yr.
Three Wood
Balblair Single Malt Scotch
The Balvenie
12 yr. Double Wood
15 yr. Single Barrel
17 yr. Madeira Cask
21 yr. Port Wood
Bayway World of Liquor
Whiskey Peddler
Glen Grant
Beekman's Bar and Books
12 yr.
20 yr.
Single cask 804 Peated Oloroso 1994
Pedro Ximinez Finish 15 yr.
Benromach Organic
Bernheim Original
Blanton's Single Barrel
Blue Ice Vodka
Organic Wheat
Bourbon Country
12 yr.
15 yr.
18 yr.
Brandy Library
Cognac XO (VIP hour only)
Armagnac XO (VIP hour only)
Brew Dog Paradox Imperial Stout
Isle of Arran
Brugal Rum
16 yr. First Growth Series Cuvee A&B
2001 Resurrection Dram
Links Valhalla
Peated/Madeira Finish 13 yr.
Buffalo Trace
Bulleit Bourbon
12 yr.
18 yr.
25 yr. (VIP hour only)
Black Bush
10 yr.
16 yr.
1608 (VIP hour only)
Canadian Club
Classic 12 yr.
Reserve 10 yr.
Sherry Cask
12 yr.
18 yr.
Royal Salute
25 yr (VIP hour only)
Classic Malts Distiller's Edition (Various)
(VIP hour only)
Classic Blend
Single Malt
Greenore 8 yr.
Greenore 15 yr.
Connemara 80
Kilbeggan Irish Whiskey
Kilbeggan 15 (VIP hour only)

Compass Box
Oak Cross
Peat Monster
Spice Tree
Crown Royal
Cask 16
The Dalmore
12 yr.
Gran Reserva
15 yr.
King Alexander III (VIP hour only)
Deanston 12 yr. Unchill Filtered

White Label
12 yr. Special Reserve
18 yr. Founders Reserve
Dickel No. 12

Distilled Spirits Council
Duncan Taylor
Black Bull 30 yr.
Lonach Glendaroch 42 yr.
DT Royal Lochnagar 18 yr.
NC2 Ben Nevis 12 yr.

Eagle Rare

Elijah Craig
12 yr.
18 yr.
Evan Williams Single Barrel '99 Vintage
The Famous Grouse
Finest Blend
Malt 12 yr.
Malt 18 yr.
Finger Lakes Distilling
Glen Thunder Corn Whiskey
McKenzie's Rye
Seneca Drums Gin
Forty Creek
Barrel Select
Double Barrel Reserve
Four Roses
Single Barrel
Small Batch
Yellow Label
Gabriel Boudier Saffron Infused Gin
George T. Stagg
12 yr.
15 yr.
18 yr.
Batch 1 - 1992 cask 1140 16 yr.
12 yr.
15 yr.
18 yr.
21 yr.
10 yr.
15 yr. Scottish Oak
17 yr. Madeira Cask
Glenguin 16 yr. Shiraz Cask Finish
Glengyle Kilkerran
The Glenlivet
15 yr.
18 yr.
21 yr.
Nadurra 16 yr.
25 yr. (VIP hour only)
Lasanta 12 yr.
Quinta Ruban 12 yr.
Nectar D'Or 12 yr.
Astar (VIP hour only)
Select Reserve
Alba Reserve
Gordon & MacPhail
Glen Grant 12 yr.
Glenrothes 30 yr.
Caol Ila 8 yr.
Inverleven 18 yr.
Hazelburn 8 yr.
Hibiki 12 yr.
High West
Rendezvous Rye
Rocky Mountain Rye
16 yr.
21 yr.
Vodka 7000'
Highland Park
12 yr.
15 yr.
18 yr.
25 yr.
30 yr. (VIP hour only)
Irish Mist
Isle of Jura Superstition
Jack Daniels
Tennessee Whiskey
Gentleman Jack
Single Barrel
12 yr.
18 yr.
Rare Vintage (VIP hour only)

Presidential Select 17 yr.
Reserve Bourbon
Johnnie Walker
Blue (VIP hour only)
Junipero Gin
Knappogue Castle 1995
Lagavulin 16 yr.
10 yr.
18 yr.
25 yr.
Quarter Cask
Ledaig 10 yr.

Springbank 1965
Caol Ila 1984
Lombard Gold Label Old Blend
Longmorn 16 yr.
Longrow CV
The Macallan
Fine Oak 15 yr.
Fine Oak 17 yr.
Sherry Oak 12 yr.
Sherry Oak 18 yr.
Cask Strength (VIP hour only)
Mackillop's Choice
Tomintoul 27 yr.
Glenlivet 1979
Glenrothes 1987
Longmorn 1985
Macallan 1990
Maker's Mark

Michael Collins
Single Malt

Small Batch Bourbon
Single Barrel Rye
Unblended American Whiskey
10 yr. Single Barrel Bourbon
10 yr. Single Barrel Straight Rye
(VIP hour only)
N. Palazzi Spirits
Guillon Painturaud Grande Champagne
Hors d'Age
Paul Beau Grande Champagne Hors d'Age
Paul-Marie & Fils Grande Champagne
Guillon Painturaud Grande Champagne
Renaissance (VIP hour only)

Oban 14 yr.
Old Forester
Birthday Bourbon 2007
Old Potrero 18th Century Style
Old Pulteny Single Malt Scotch
Oro Azul Reposado Tequila
Pappy Van Winkle
15 yr.
20 yr.
23 yr.
Park Avenue Liquor Shop
Parker's Heritage Collection 27 yr.

Pierre Ferrand 100% Grande Champagne Cognac
Ambre 10 yr.
Reserve 20 yr.
Reserve des Dieux (Cigare blend) 25 yr.
Selection des Anges 30 yr.
Abel 45 yr. (VIP hour only)
Ancestrale 70 yr. (VIP hour only)
Pig's Nose
St. Andrew's Restaurant
Sam Houston
Sazerac Rye
Scapa 16 yr.
Sheep Dip
Port Ellen Cask Strength 1982
Longmorn Unchilled Filtered 1992
Dailuaine Unchilled Filtered 1997
Glen Scotia 1991
Ballechin #4 - Oloroso Sherry Cask
Single Malt Vodka
The Singleton
Speyburn Single Malt Scotch
Springbank 18 yr.
Stranahan's Straight Rocky Mountain Whiskey
Suntory Yamazaki
12 yr.
18 yr.
Talisker 10 yr.
Tobermory 15 yr.
12 yr.
15 yr.
18 yr.
25 yr.
Tullamore Dew
10 yr.
12 yr.
10 yr. Single Malt (VIP hour only)
U.S. Bartender's Guild
La Fin Du Monde
Trois Pistoles
Terrible (VIP hour only)
The Wild Geese Irish Soldiers & Heroes
Limited Edition
Single Malt

Wild Turkey
American Honey
Kentucky Spirit
Rare Breed
Tradition (VIP hour only)
Woodford Reserve
Woodford Reserve
Seasoned Oak Master's Collection
Yupper, I know what you are thinking. Did I really experience this? O yes indeedy! It was a great event and I was so happy to be able to take part in such a lovely Whisky Fest.

First of all, I had a table with my managing/partner boss Ben Scorah of Beekman Bar and Books. We poured drams as we enlightened the guest of our 3 whisky/cigar bars locations in NYC. I promoted my production company, we had people to sign up for our VIP list, and passed out our house brand cigars made from the Martinez brothers.

After awhile, I walked over to the buffet and had a couple of tasty plates. Next my friend/blogger Selena Ricks from The Dizzy Fizz walked around and visited our friends(PHOTO'S: me and Davinia Small holding the Ardbeg bottle/ Ellie Tam and Keith Allison), including the USBGNY group at their whisky tables. We met a few new people and tasted alot of great whisky!

Night cap:

It was such a wonderful time at the fest. I went home feeling like a kid leaving a candy store! I would like to thank Bar and Books for bringing me to this event and I give credit to the Malt Advocate for the pouring list information and Lush Life Productions for photo credit.


The Ardbeg Seminar with Davinia Small 11-13-09

I started my day helping my friend out and conducted a liquor promotion at Crush Wine and Spirits located at 153 E 57th Street. As I walked into the Crush, I saw the great Davinia Small, who was in town educating and promoting the Ardbeg Brand. It was great to see her face, because every time you come in contact with Davinia, she welcomes you with a warm smile and cheery attitude. She was at Crush conducting a seminar in the back seminar room.

As we set up our tables, I told her that I will be attending her next seminar, and she was delighted to know that I will be there. After my liquor promotion was complete, I headed over to Rockefeller Plaza to attend the Ardbeg tasting held at Morrells (One Rockefeller Plaza), where there was two rows of tables set up for about 15 people, and at the place settings was a plate of assorted breads, the whiskey setup, and the four brands, which was the Ardbeg ten year, Airigh Nam Beist,Uigeadail, and the NEW Corryvreckan.

At the beginning of the seminar, Davinia introduces herself, and lets everyone else introduce themselves, then she proceeds to give you a little history of Ardbeg. Even though I have already visited the distillery in Scotland, read about the brand, drink the brand on a regular basis, and feel that I am well-versed in my knowledge of Ardbeg, I know that you never stop learning! Everyday is a new day to learn something new, especially when it's about your passion in life. So, here are the few new things that I learned in her presentation of the brand, which I have to say, that I learned even more after this point.

* Single malts has ONLY 55 calories.
* It reduces the risk of heart disease, in MODERATION.
* It has 25% more peat, in comparison to Laphroaig, and 50% more peat than Lagavulin.
* FYI: In 1815, Scotland had 23 distilleries in the region of Islay, which today they have the great 8, which is a lot for a population of 3,000 people.
* In the Phylox era, which was the famine in the French vineyards, the French had to drink Scotch in stead of their sherry and wines.
* In 1815-1880, Ardbeg had 50 thriving employees in that one distillery.

Then it was time to taste the spirits, and to our delightful surprise, Davinia brought in the new make, which is their clear whiskey that hasn't been barreled or aged.

* On the nose is straight peat smoke, bacon, pear, limes, and grappa.
* On the palette, it's spicy, and when you add water, it is so so smooth.

Next is the Ardbeg 10 year. Of course, this is very smokey, peaty, and salty, but it also has the sweetness of toffee, and it goes GREAT with oysters. When you add water, it becomes a little waxy and soapy.

Next is the Airigh Nam Biest. They started barreling this in 1990 and then blended in 2006, 7, and 8. It's about 17 years old, 95% is Bourbon cask, this is the complete reverse from the ten year... beautiful sweetness up front, and a nice peaty finish. It's minty, with a little bit of chocolate, and with water, it releases more of the peat, and just like all of the versions of Ardbeg, this is non chilled filtered. So, if you want to enjoy a great Ardbeg whiskey, that's not so peaty IN YOUR FACE, I suggest this version, not only because The Biest is being sold out, as well as the Supernova, but this is going to become one of the classics from the distillery.

Next is Uigeadail (ooh-geh-doll), it has a dirty water color. They execute a special hike to the loch Uigeadail, just to produce this magnificent whiskey, and it smells like, for some reason, "Christmas on the Nose," which Davina Small said, and I agree. It has an ABV of 54.2%, and it's made from 40% sherry cask, and with water, it tastes like toffee and rum cake.

Next is the Corryvreckan, (Corry-va-reckin) this was named after a Viking prince in Scotland. The color is golden honey, strong and spicy on the nose. Something like an "oysters dip in Tabasco sauce." On the palate, you can taste black and red currants, and a definite presence of chocolate. It has a whopping ABV of 57.1%.

I absolutely enjoyed this seminar. It was relaxing, fun, entertaining, educational, and I'm really really glad to be in the presence of the great Davinia Small, after all, this wonderful woman is responsible for bringing me to the Ardbeg Distillery in August at a last minute call!!

Thank you Morrells Wine and Spirits, thank you Ardbeg, and Davinia, and also, Lush Life Productions, for bringing me to this seminar.


Mamajuana NY Launch Party 11-12-09

Location: Mamajuana Cafe, 247 Dyckman Street Bronx, NY

History and the brand:

Hispaniola Mamajuana
rum has a lovely scarlet color, and contains a lovely balance of many flavors and aromas, including menthol, honey, herbal bark, and pink peppercorn. The body of it is dry, yet fruity, and contains a balance of clove notes, ginger, camphor, wintergreen and allspice. The finish of it is mildly bitter with an astringent fade with herb notes, and cherry blossom.

According to the Mas Spirits Importers, Mamajuana has been known as being a Taino Indian recipe with medicinal and mood enhancing powers, made of endemic herbs, roots, and spices. It has been developed by Mardi S.A., producers of rum based spirits out of the Dominican Republic. Their collection also includes Hispaniola Anejo, and Hispaniola Gran Anejo, and Mardi S.A is now in partnership with Mas Spirits and The Import Group. Erick Annexis Caceres, who is the Principal of Chief Marketing at Mas Spirits, claims that his mission is to bring a piece of Taino Indian history to the liquor consumers around the world, and it was made to put the old and new world of alcohol together.

Now you know a little bit more of this brand, let me tell you about the NY launch party.
I entered into this lovely large cafe that specializes in Dominican cuisine. It is beautifully decorated and the staff is professional and kind. I had a chance to sit down and have dinner at the cafe and I can honestly say that I'll return to the BX for some more DR specialties!

After dinner, I returned to the other side of the cafe, where the event was held and it was an electrifying event! It was great live music, alot of cocktails flowing and people dancing their hearts out! It was a joyous occasion that everyone was proud to be a part of.

The cocktails:

"Mama Guava"
3 parts of Hispaniola Mamajuana
4 parts guava juice
1/4 fresh lime juice

"Mama Mojito"
2 parts of Hispaniola Mamajuana
1 part of Hispaniola Anejo
4 parts of tamarind juice
6 mint leaves
1/4 fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon of brown sugar

3 parts Hispaniola Mamajuana
2 parts mango juice
1/4 fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
pinch of red pepper
served extremely chilled

**I wasn't able to see how the libations was prepared, therefore I can't tell you the steps**

Night Cap:

I'm so excited that this rum that I felled in love with a year ago has finally made it out of the Dominican communities to a liquor store near you and me! Now go and "stir up some romance" with Mamajuana and find out how this new rum is a must have for your bar! I need to go get my hands on some more.............


Whiskey on the Hudson

Good day to all, this is one of the best events in New York City for whiskey lovers like myself. I woke up this day with a smile on my face, ready to learn and pour some whiskey, as well as receive. I met Adriana Daci, Ben Scorah, and Jake Sher at Hudson Bar and Books. We loaded up the company truck, and headed over to the Chelsea Piers.

The Whiskey on the Hudson is an annual event that has all of the great whisky and Bourbon brands that novices can purchase a ticket for and sample from all of the great brands there that you might have already known, and some you haven't heard of at all. There were three levels on the boat. At the bottom was the buffet, dining, and bar. On the main floor was the majority of the Scottish whiskeys, including Hudson Bar and Books (a smoking and whiskey lounge with 3 locations in the city-Lexington Bar and Books located on 73rd and Lex, Beekman Bar and Books 50th and 1st). We organized our bar with the Glenmorangie/Ardbeg wing where Dr. Bill Lumsden conducted a tasting seminar for the novices. where they learn a whole lot about the brand history.

Bar and Books created the classic Blood and Sand cocktail made with Cherry Herring, orange juice, sweet vermouth, and Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. It was a hit! Between our blood and sand, the Glenmorangie Ardbeg samples, the guests had such a wonderful time. In addition to the blood and sand cocktail, we also brought in the house hand cigar rollers, by the Martinez brothers, who gave out free Coronas and Torpedo's. Everyone took the cigars outside, and watched the beautiful view of the city as we drifted along the Hudson.

At this point, I took a break, and went to the two levels of whiskies. I recognized many of my friends and their brands, talking to them, joking around, having a good time. And then, meeting new people, new whiskies, that I haven't had before. I went downstairs, had dinner, the food was great, I came back upstairs, they were having a raffle giveaway. The guests who won were so excited, so happy, it was a great feeling all around. I went back to our wing, finished the night off, and enjoyed my Whiskey Day on the Hudson.

Night Cap:

After we unloaded the items back at the Hudson location, we drove over to the Beekman Bar and Books, where the after party was held, stayed for a bit, and had great cocktails. Then a few friends and I went to the Indochine's 25th celebration party, where I earned my bartending stripes back when I use to bartend. The party was great, I mingled with my old friends/ employees from the restaurant, then I went home and went to bed, so happy, a little tired, but satisfied with how the day went.


Amarula Launch at the Soho Mews, NYC

Since 2009, Master Mixologist Alex Ott has been the Brand Ambassador for Amarula Cream. Ott has traveled to all continents, creating cocktail lists in acclaimed arenas, and taking in exotic tastes and cultures, and incorporating them onto his original cocktail creations.

In 1998, Ott was one of 45 survivors in a Thai Airways plane crash which killed 101 passengers, which exponentially fueled his drive to succeed. For three consecutive years, he was awarded the title of "Bartender of the Year" by Time Out New York, and was also awarded "Best Mixologist in America" in Las Vegas in 2001. Ott claims, "Amarula cocktails will persuade a whole new audience, as well as cocktail enthusiasts around the world, that it's not just another cream liqueur."

The Press Release:

At the press release, Alex Ott gave a little information about the product details, and why this delicate cream liqueur has to be well executed to receive 100% satisfaction. The Maurla is an African fruit that looks similar to a really tiny lemon, and hard, which is located in the Frost Free regions of the sub equatorial Africa. It's very rich in Vitamin C, and would be a great addition to your Sunday brunch cocktail. It is known in Africa that the elephants devour this fruit, which is why they call the tree "The Elephant Tree." You can pour it into coffee, or on the rocks, and the color is light brown to caramel. It has a well rounded taste, it has a full and creamy Marula fruit taste, which is very distinctive. Round and soft, and contains 17% ABV, and can last about 18-24 months when you store it in a refrigerator between 15-20 degrees C. They also recommend to completely finish the bottle within six months.

At the tasting, Alex created several cocktails, and my favorite one was the tobacco vanilla, which has an ounce of Amurula cream, an 1 oz of Sandalwood syrup, an ounce of tobacco infused liquified hone, 1 oz of lime juice, and 1 oz of light rum. Combine the ingredients in an ice filled shaker, shake hard for 40 seconds, and pour over a big chunk of ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with a tobacco leaf, or I'll suggest, a lime wheel.
* In order to make the Tobacco Infused Liquefied Honey Recipe, you'll have to dissolve two parts of Manuka honey/acacia honey and 1 part hot water, stir till dissolved, and let cool, store honey in refrigerator, burn organic tobacco, guide it through a punctured straw through honey solution for about a minute.

The Location:

The SoHo Mews, the Esquire Bachelor Penthouse. This is a 9,200 square foot glass walled Penthouse, with amenities as a at home studio, equipped with Gibson guitars, it's wrapped around balconies with home spas overlooking the Manhattan skyline, and billiard tables with built in flat screens. It is custom designed by the south African designer Geoffrey Bradfield, who created the Amurula Cream Bar, which is "a floating" bar made of makassar ebony, and mirror along with Steuben crystal bar wear, which is a sight to see.

As you can see, this Penthouse is like no other penthouse. If you have the opportunity to book this room for an event, or a really special occasion, you will be ultimately satisfied from the Great Room, the Amurula Cream Bar, the Master Bedroom, home Music studio, the lounge, home office, the Woodford reserve bar, Poker room, living room, kitchen, along with several other kitchen and baths, the terrace, the beautiful art of Esquire SoHo, the well stocked bar, and all of the digital resources it has to offer.

So now that you know about the man who is mixing up great cocktails from Amarula, the brand itself, the SoHo Mews, I can say that they have done an excellent job, and created something very very unique for liqueurs, and I'm absolutely happy that we finally received it in the USA.

Night Cap:

This was a lovely evening, because after the press release, the launch party started, and a lot of my colleagues was there, and we had fun playing pool (well some of us), drinking cocktails, catching up on each others lives, and relaxing. We headed over to Brooklyn for our fellow friend, TJ's birthday party at the Brooklyn Bowling Alley, where me and my teammates tried to kick some major Bartenders booty, but we did not succeed. After the match, I had to get back home, and get rested for the new libation day. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, and it was a good one today.


Beam Global Portfolio tasting 11-02-09

Location: Rivington Hotel Penthouse, NYC

It was a fairly cool and comfortable autumn evening for the Beam Global Portfolio Party. This was a delightful event. They were serving up great cocktails, and one of my favorites, Laphroaig, with the US ambassador on the top roof, Simon Brooking, chatting away with a freshly rolled cigar in his hand. Of course, I joined him with Laphroaig in the other. The energy, I might say, was very high and delightful, despite all of the events that was almost back to back in the recent days. We had to come out and support Beam Global Portfolio, because their premium spirits has been a part of the alcohol industry for several centuries.

The History of the Beam:

Jim Beam is their first brand, which originates back to 1795, and they feature premium brands from Europe, Canada, Mexico, the US, Puerto Rico, Russia, Scotland, and Spain. Beam Global is the fourth largest premium spirits company in the world, and they have eight of the worlds top 100 premium spirits from their portfolio. Two major brands that I love are Jim Beam, the #1 Selling Bourbon in the world, Laphroaig, the #1 single malt- Islay Scotch Whiskey in the world.

Beam Global's vision and strategy, as they state is "Building brands people want to talk about." Also, they fulfill their vision by "empowering our employees and our business partners, and associates to be creative and innovative too. We encourage bold thinking and actions that inspire conversations about our brands."

So there you have it, the vision and strategy, the history, and a few brands from the Beam. I suggest you go to your local liquor store, and pick yourself up a bottle.

For myself, I walked around a bit more and talked to my friends, but I finally began to feel the overwhelming tiredness and a little bit under the influence and had to make my exit!

I went home and had a good long sleep. Boy did I needed it!


Liquid Lab by Junior Merino 11-01-09

As I arrived to the Liquid Lab venue, I walked into this corridor that was discretely tucked away in the River dale community of the Bronx. The building had no numerical address on it and you would never imagine what was lying behind those secret doors. Upon entry, your warmly greeted by the host Heidi Merino, which she then introduces you to the staff and asks if you can fill out the paperwork to register with the program.

Next, Junior gives you a tour of the mixing lab where you can find everything you'll ever need to make a cocktail! Seriously, I believe he has about 90+% of every puree's, juice's, liqueurs,syrups(including his own brand), herbs, and fruits that's in season and on the market today. Junior explains each herb, spice, and every liquor available to the program. It was just amazing to work with such a massive selection of products! I was a bit overwhelmed and intimidated at first, because you have to create cocktails with 2 different variations from each department.

After the introduction period, you will go into the blind tasting room and watch a presentation by the brands and then sample about 4 different versions. For example, If it's vodka, you would probably have something from Heavy Water, and some brands that you might not have heard of before that's new to the market.

Junior will then ask you about the tasting notes and educate you about how to properly identify what you are nosing and tasting. If your senses are a bit missing(like myself) Junior will help you identify it.

I am an "in-your-face", bold, spicy, peaty smokey whiskey type of woman, with sinus issues, and it has always been very difficult for me to smell anything properly.

There was people there who could pick up on 20 different things, while I can barely pick up 1, 2, or 3 items! When we was in the first few sessions of the blind tastings, I was quiet as a mouse. Trying to understand and figure out what was going on, I struggled to accomplish a sensory awareness.

After that portion, you would go back into the mixing lab and create 2 cocktails using the some of the brands sampled in the tasting room with a couple of recommended products. You will have to make a sample for each participant, including Junior. Now Junior was so very kind, because me and the other participants started out with some "interesting" cocktails that he probably thought was unbalanced, color wasn't on point, and probably didn't taste right!

Good old Junior never said a bad word about anything, but when something was great, he would say in a quiet tone, "Oh, this is good," or "This is great," or "I really like this." Once he says any of those three things, you know you are on the right track.

After 4-5 sessions, you will break for lunch. The staff will prepare you an amazing meal that is cooked with alcohol and about 95% of the dishes contains some libation inspiration(as well as the breakfast snack). When the belly's are full, It is time to finish the session's and then fill out a critique sheet and receive a great goody bag filled with the industry's magazine's, sample bottle's, Juniors trademark gifts , and etc!

After the LAB was completed, Junior and a few others had a opportunity to talk to him about his path in the industry. And what I know for sure about Junior, he is a young, intelligent, gifted, and humble man. He's soft spoken, and respectful. He taught me many things that day. He taught me how in general, to conduct my business.

He told me about how you should treat people and the brands. Also, Junior does not belong to anyone. He would use any brand at his own choosing, as he sees fit. Saying all of that, the conversation we shared together will help me make the right decisions for my journey in this libation world. This conversation was golden, and highly regarded. I will keep that in my heart and in my mind, and never forget anything he taught me. In this 12 hour lab, not only did he teach me to smell again, he also taught me great ethics from his point of view that I will hold deep in my heart, and will never forget him.

Last, the Liquid Lab will take you out to dinner as another awesome thank you gift, which was a great night cap to end the perfect day for anyone in the industry. The whole purpose in creating this lab, is to educate the new and veteran bartender(and affiliates). It's about the opportunity that you would not get from anywhere else. Junior has put together an outstanding program that will elevate your knowledge of the cocktail and expand your knowledge of lesser known items that you wouldn't get a chance to acquire.

The Liquid Lab is the best creation for the community and it is well done by the Merino's!

Here are the CrAzy recipe's I concocted at the Lab:

Vodka Category:
  • 2 oz vodka
The Liquid Chef Hibiscus Syrup
¾ oz Combier
muddled Koppert Cress Shiso Cress
Pisco Category:
  • splash The Liquid Chef Pineapple Passion Mixer
½ oz Vita Coco coconut water
1 ½ oz Macchu Pisco infused with coco leaf
muddled black cardamom
  • ¾ oz Castries
3 drizzles honey
¾ oz Domaine de Canton
1 oz Macchu Pisco
1 oz Hudson Whiskey
Cachaca Category:
  • 2 ½ oz Leblon infused with kaffir lime leaves and green cardamom
½ oz St. Germain
2 wedges muddled sweet lemons
2 oz coco lopez
splash lime juice
  • 2 oz Leblon infused with black cumin, fenugreek leaves, and golden raisins
splash gomme syrup
¾ oz Scorpion Blanco
¾ oz Combier
Koppert Cress Sechuan Buttons, muddled
Rum Category:
  • 2 oz Chairmans
muddled orange
3 dashes orange bitters
splash The Liquid Chef Rose Syrup
1 ½ oz Combier
  • 2 oz Chairmans
muddled blood orange
½ oz blood orange bitters
1 oz house made blood orange syrup
1 oz pineapple juice
1 oz lime juice
Tequila Category:
  • muddled raspberries & sweet limes
3-5 orange slices
1 oz Boiron Lychee puree
2 oz ginger infused Siembra Azul
1 oz lemon juice
splash gomme syrup
Mezcal Category:
  • ½ oz Laphroaig
¾ oz lemon juice
¾ oz Scorpion Mezcal
¾ oz Royal Combier
splash Maraschino Liqueur
3 drops mesquite oil

Night Cap:

This lab day brought people from the industry, that the majority did not know. I met great bartenders that I don't frequently see, I learned from them and laughed with them. We mixed together in the Lab, and now I have them as me new friends and colleagues. As we speak, some of us are working together, and helping each other business endeavors.

One person that sticks out in my mind the most was Melanie from Macchu Pisco. She has such a vibrant zest for life, very charming, sweet, and kind. From that day, I met her mother Elizabeth, the founder, and her sister Lizzy, the US Ambassador. Now the opportunities for our business will be endless because of the Merinos.

Thank you so much Junior and Heidi! You are greatly appreciated!!

Carmen Operetta

The Zacapa Luncheon, 10-22-09

The Zacapa luncheon: Hotel Rivington, NYC

In the lower east side of Manhattan, is this great artsy hotel that that seems like it just came out from no where! In the middle of this edgy community,poof- here is this funky but classy, art-deco hotel. As I entered the main entrance I walked pass the lounge and towards the bar where I was greeted with my colleagues. I brought for the first industry event, Mrs. Farhana Starrah, my new C.O.O.

After I introduced her to everyone, we had a great cocktail made with 2 oz of Zacapa, 1/2 oz of lime juice, 1/2 oz of steamed honey syrup, 2 oz of Angostura bitters, shaken for about 20 seconds, poured into a highball glass, and topped off with Ginger beer (Regatta). The color had a very interesting appeal. On the nose, it was spicy, fresh, and it tasted like a updated version of the Dark and Stormy cocktail with additional body, and aromatic flavors. I gave it about 4 stars. Unfortunately, the bartender didn't give me a name for the cocktail, but I'll call it the DS #2.

Day Cap:

After everyone arrived, we went to the back of the restaurant, and there was a bar set up for us to create our own drinks, with everything from fresh fruit, bitters, and so on. Then, the three course lunch started. And everyone basically came together, chatted about business ventures, what's going on in the industry, and small chat about our personal lives. It was a great lunch, Zacapa treated us well, and I'd like to thank Lynnette Morrero, for putting this together, and inviting me for this beautiful gathering.

Gratefully yours,
Carmen Operetta

The USBGNY Mixer at Pranna 10-26-09

It was that time again - the monthly mixer for the USBGNY Chapter, and this time it was being held at Pranna, at 79 Madison Avenue, NYC. Jonathan Pogash had invited 2 special guests for the mixer. First up was Robin Robinson from Compass Box, and as you know if you've been reading my previous blogs, I've been seeing a lot of Robin lately, as Compass Box is on a huge educational tour across the United States, and since it's such a beautiful blended whiskey brand, me and him seem to stay in the same circle, twirling around at the same events.
Robin conducted a similar presentation as I have seen at the other two events, but it was still exciting and entertaining, which he revved the crowd out for the next guest speaker who was Brian van Flandern (BVF). BVF bartended for 18 years in NYC and was the head mixologist for Per Se, which was his most recent bartending job until he established the Creative Cocktail Consultants, a consulting firm that he created in organizing edgy cocktail lists and training talented bartenders in the art of mixology.

BVF has been featured/mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, Food Arts Magazine, New York Magazine, The Washington Post, Gourmet Magazine, and The New York Times. His accomplishments/accolades first was from Cheers Magazine, he was listed as Americas Top Shelf Bartender. He was second place in the 2006 BOLLS 200 MASTERS INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP. He ranked #2 in the National Sherry Cocktail Competition in 2006, he ranked #1 in the USBG Iron Bar Chef Competition in 2007, he was amongst the top 10 bartenders in the world by Tanqueray in 2008.

He was ranked one of the Top Ten Hotel Bartenders in the World by Travel and Leisure Magazine in 2008, he became the Global Ambassador for Don Julio (Tequila) in 2008, and then he wrote his first book this year, Vintage Cocktails, which is why he was at the mixer promoting his book, and giving great insiders information about networking and possibly creating and publishing your own book.

After he was finished speaking to the crowd, I walked over to him to speak to him about my goals, and he gave great information and tips about what he has already spoken about to the crowd, and I appreciated and paid close attention to every word that he spoke to me. BVF, from the brief moments that I encountered and had the opportunity to speak to, is a very very young and talented man with a great personality, and is very laid back and personable, which I could see that he would be a joy to work for and/or with.

Day Cap:

It was a great day out in the city. I had a great meet up with the USBGNY group. I went downstairs to the bar and had a lager with my C.O.O. and mentor and then went home.

Until next time.....
Slaandjivaa !

Louis 649 Review "Smoke on the Water" 10-13-09

After the Don Roberto tasting, we all walked on foot to one of our favorite bars called Louis 649, located on the East Village, NYC. It's call that because a second name for that community is Louisaida, and the numerical address is 649. This is my first time at this bar, while everyone else has been there numerous times. For some reason, I was never able to make it there. But I'm glad that I finally made it that night, and experienced my NEW favorite whiskey cocktail, executed by the one and only Eryn Reece.

The cocktail is called "Smoke on the Water." This lovely libation is make of equal 3/4oz parts of Ardbeg Ten Year, fresh lemon juice, Maraschino liqueur, and Yellow Chartreuse. Eryn shook the shaker until it was so cold, the outside of the shaker looked like an igloo. She poured it into a classic cocktail glass, with no garnish, which it didn't need anyway. When I smelled this cocktail, it was like heaven. My first sip on this cocktail put me in bliss. I started thinking about the Laphroaig Ten Year whiskey sour that was made for me at THE LAB in London, which was my favorite cocktail previously. No disrespect to the bartender there, but Eryn, you are now my #1. Thank you... thank you thank you thank you!!

After Louis 649, we headed off to a sake bar for our friend, Julie Compton's birthday, and then we headed off to the Randolph bar, where everybody in the industry was drinking and drinking and drinking..... Everyone was there, from brand ambassadors, bartenders, liquor distributors, media, educators of the industry. Next thing I knew, I was taking chartreuse shots, then pickle backs, then Laphroaig shots, then after that it was time for me to get into the cab.

Night Cap:

Big drinking night and boy o boy did I have fun!!!!!!


Don Roberto US Launch 10-13-09

Don Roberto Orendain was a founding father of the tequila industry. He founded his first distillery in 1924, and in 1995, Don Roberto Jr. and his sons opened La Purisma, the largest most state of the art distillery in the region, and the launch of Don Roberto Tequila. La Purisma produces 140,000 litre/110 proof per day of the finest tequila. The Orendain family owns 2,500 acres of blue agave planted in the volcanic soil of the region. The family presses the juice of the pina, and it's distilled through a proprietary process after being placed into fermentation tanks. Now you know the background of the Don Roberto Tequila family, now it is time for the presentation by Junior Merino (The Liquid Chef-of the Liquid Lab).

As Junior started speaking about the brand and giving us history of the family, the appetizers came out in an efficient manner all throughout the tasting and the presentation. First up was the Plata (Silver) the Volcanic grounds makes this version spicy, and will give off cinnamon and oregano on the nose, and tastes like pineapples in my opinion. Next is the reposado (rested) which is from 100% blue agave, aged six months in white barrels. On the nose, it has vanilla, orange peel, and pumpkin. Next is the anejo (aged or vintage.) This version is my favorite of all the Don Roberto. It has a buttery yellow color, a lot of earthiness to it, peanut, pepper, leathery wood, citrus, and cocoa. This is a very complex tequila, very versatile, you can create a lot of cocktails, and I recommend it if you are searching for a new anejo.

While Junior was giving the presentation, 3 different cocktails from the versions were being given out with each portion of the presentation. For the plata, they served us a yummy Guadalajara Silver, then the Don Roberto Refresher, and the tasty Charrita Margarita with 1 1/2 oz Don Roberto Tequila Anejo, 1/2 oz agave nectar, 3/4 oz orange liqueur (I would suggest Combier) 1 1/4 oz fresh lime juice, and 1/2 oz of water. Fill the shaker with ice, and shake vigorously with 40 seconds, rim the glass with salt, then pour into the margarita glass, and garnish with an orange, or lime wheel. This is simple, but elegant and absolutely a classic Mexican margarita.

Night Cap:

After the tasting was over, my night wasn't done. There was more celebration to do, which will be continued on the next blog. But I have to thank Heidi and Junior Merino,the Rayhuel Restaurant and staff for hosting such an educational tasting for Don Roberto.

Great job,

Gary Regans Book Launch, "The Bartenders Gin Compendium" 10-3-09

Location: Crosby Street Hotel, NYC

This is an affiliated hotel from the Firmdale Hotel Group in London, the art deco and the whole layout is very contemporary, very eclectic, breezy, simplified, but with a very classic style to it. Of course, I was one of the first people to arrive, with my camera in tote, shooting great shots, doing small interviews, and getting my book signed by Gary Regan, Simon Ford, and Dan Warner. Everyone was there to come out and support him. Beefeater 24 was endorsed, serving up beautiful cocktails from the basic Beef and Tonic to the warm and fuzzy fall editions. Gary's books will be reviewed later on, but at this point, I can definitely tell you that inside will give you everything you need to know about it, the history, recipes, and the breakdown of every question you'll ever have about gin.

To give a little history about Gary Regan, at the age of 14, he started bartending in British pubs, moved to NYC in 1973, and bartended in various bars in NYC for two decades. Then he started writing about drinking on a full-time basis, which he published "The Bartenders Bible," and thereafter, he continued his writing career, in creating the "Book of Bourbon and Other Fine American Whiskey," "The Bourbon Companion," "New Classic Cocktails," "The Martini Companion," and "The Joy of Mixology."

On a regular basis, Gary writes for "The Cocktalian," The Malt Advocate," "Nations Restaurant News," "Chairs Magazine," and "The Wine Enthusiast." He has also created works throughout Europe, Russia, and Australia, and he has also conducted a two-day workshop for bartending, which keeps him busy in his most successful career. Gary also publishes a free online newsletter from "Ardent Spirits"

Gary Regan is a living legend in the alcohol industry, and I am honored that I have met him more than once, and had the opportunity to speak to him, but not in a detailed conversation about whiskey and gin as I would love to. I look forward to one day having the privilege to speak with him more in depth.

Salute to Gary Regan!

The Manhattan Cocktail Classic Gala 10-4-09

As I attempted to get enough sleep from the previous awesomeness, I prepared myself to transform into the 20's-40's era, to fit the theme of the gala. I slicked my hair down in Josephine Baker like waves. Put on my black flapper dress with fringes, and my stiletto heels. My eye makeup was smoky, and my lips were red. I was ready to go, but before the gala was the pre-toast at Laren Spirer's apartment downtown.

There was everyone from the media that we closely knew, one way or the other. Laren had a tub full of champagne for us, which no one really needed, because this was the weekend of huge huge events from the Gary Regan book release party, to all of the Food and Wine Festival events. It was embarrassing to say that we barely cracked open 3 bottles of champagne, and there was 15 of us, and you could get 4 glasses out of a champagne bottle, and we only opened 3-4 bottles with a tub full left, how embarrassing!

Laren was very nervous, because she didn't think she could accommodate us. She was worried, but I said "if you don't tell, I won't tell, that we couldn't finish the tub of champagne"! As the time drew nearer, we all hopped in our cabs, and made our way to the New York Public Library on 42nd street, which held this fantastic gathering. When we walked out of the cab, you could see all of these beautiful people. People we didn't know, because it was open to the public, and people from all walks of life were in attendance. Everyone dressed to the nines, and supported the theme. There was so much cheerfulness in the air, and people were ready to drink and dance.

When we walked in, my first impression was "crap this library is huge... over 73 miles of shelves with books"! There was Kettle One Vodka, Crop Organic Vodka, Hendricks Gin, Solerno, Makers Mark, Absolut Vodka, Don Q, Bombay Dry Gin, Bacardi Gold, Grand Marnier, Tanqueray/Tanqueray 10. As you walk up the endless steps to the balcony, there was Zacapa, Bulleit Bourbon, Aperol, and the great Don Julio. So as you can see in the Astor Hall, it was filled with great family, friends, people outside of the industry enjoying the creative libations from the top mixologists in the industry. Everyone was there from contemporary cocktails, along with Ben Scorah, the great Dale DeGroff, Charlotte Voisey, James Menite, John Herring, Lynnette Marrero, Charles Hardwick, Eryn Reece, Franky Marshall, Estaban Ordanez, Kenta Goto, and John Lermeyer to name a few.

One of my favorite cocktails of course, was the Manhattan with Michters rye, Martini and Rossi sweet vermouth, with a few dashes of Angostura bitters. Outside of whiskey and bourbon, my other great love, is gin. I want to give five stars to Charlotte Voisey for shaking up the awesome Del Monico cocktail using Hendricks Gin, Solerno Liqueur, Lillet Blanc, and Lillet Rouge. She also made a slammin Florodora with the Hendricks gin, raspberry, limejuice, and ginger beer. The Del Monico was ABSOLUTELY OUTSTANDING. At this point in my drinking career, that was the best dang gin cocktail I have ever had in my life, because, first of all, it's gin, second, she used both of the Lillets, and I absolutely love Lillet, and she added Solerno Liqueur, which gave it a perfect twist. Thanks Charlotte!!

Next was the Brooklyn Nite, where James Menite created the Don Q anejo rum with fresh lime juice, honey, and Angostura bitters. And then, the main event- I had a great opportunity to have the classic cosmopolitan by Mr. Dale DeGroff- THE COCKTAIL KING, and of course, we know this recipe, but he used Absolute, Cointreau, fresh lime and cranberry juice. It was perfectly balanced, had a beautiful color, and the presentation of the pour was exquisite, and I absolutely felt honored to be in his presence while he was wearing his Rainbow Room attire from the olden days, with him mixing up great cocktails.

Just to let you know how the environment was, the MCC had a live big jazz band, people were swinging around dancing, cocktails flowing, interviews around, everyone dressed to the nines, having pure fun. I'm so happy that contemporary cocktails has brought an event like this to NYC, because every year, us New Yorkers go to New Orleans (TOTC) for Tales of the Cocktail Festival to attend or to present seminars, go to tastings, parties, competitions, and then the great end of the spirit awards followed by the bartenders breakfast, which is a lovely convention to attend every year, but I have to say that 60-70% of the attendees of this is New Yorkers, and it's about time that we have something like this at our home base. Thank you Aisha and Willy. Well done.

Night cap:

I couldn't ask for anything better, I had so much fun, I met a lot of new people from outside the industry, or semi-related, while I was imbibing and enjoying the great buffet they had decked out from the Oyster Bar to the cheese and meat tray, and the sweets buffet. Amazing. So there, everything you wanted, and I can't wait to see how Contemporary Cocktails Classic do it again! The C.C. Classic has a 5 day event in May 2010 and I can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves!


Barenjager Competition 9-15-09

Before I get to the competition, I just wanted to mention the full day I had already. First was the DSWE portfolio tasting that I missed, but made it to the cocktail hour. Me and my friend Francine had a little lunch and went to a Caribbean travel convention and had a few glasses of wine and a light fare. After wards, we caught a cab and let the games begin!

Just a brief comment on my experience at this competition, which was a private event that was held at an un- disclosed location, where several bartenders came together to compete with the Barenjager brand. Bärenjager is a German honey-flavoured liqueur based on vodka and the six bartenders were Kevin Dedrich, Gerry Corcoran, Neil Grosscup, Meaghan Dorman, Jonathan Pogash, and Bradley W. Farran.

I would have to say that all of the bartenders did an excellent job creating their cocktails, but I have to give a special acknowledgement to Meaghan and Jonathan. Meaghan made the "Five in the Hive," while Jonathan was stirring the "Bee Sting," which consisted of the Barenjager, Laphroaig, Tenure Fernet-Branca, egg white, tangerine juice, and peychaud bitters. Even though neither one of them won (which I think either one of them should have) they executed a new and exciting libation that was four star worthy!!

Afterwards, I was headed for trouble when we left for the Randolph bar. O my goodness! It was a wrap for me that night! It was shots coming from everywhere, pickle backs getting slammed down, and a bottle of my favorite whiskies landed in my purse! More shots started to pour out and the rest of the night is history....................

What a blast of a day/night,

"On the Rocks" by Absolut 9-8-09

On this pleasantly warm fall evening, I headed over to the Hudson Terrace, located at Hells Kitchen on 46th between 11th and 12th avenue. When I arrived to the top, Absolut had created an excellent set up for the celebration of the second season with a full bar, with cocktails specially made with Absolut, along with a photography bar/studio, therefore you could take home your own snapshot of this fantastic night. The terrace was filled with all of our peers and the bartenders were filling the moment as they began to flare behind the bar, and everyone was joyfully taking it all in.

To give you some information about "On the Rocks," it is in confluence with LX.TV and NBC Local Media, it's an online reality series about mixologists, displaying their personal style and skills at the bar for 12 episodes. They will have to show their education, dexterity, fleetness, and knack in the competition against their fellow bartenders and their thirsty imbibers. The judges will select the winner, and eliminate a contestant each week, which would bring it down to the finale and the winner will receive $100,000 and the ABSOLUT TOP BARTENDER status.

This is on the road to becoming an exciting bar competition TV show for the industry, I wish it all the best of luck, and I can't wait to see who is the next Absolut Next Top Bartender!

Great work!

The Return of the Spice Tree with Compass Box Meet-up Part 2, October 19th

Photo credits: Lush Life Productions

The Return of the Spice Tree with Compass Box- Part 2

Location: Beekman Bar and Books, NYC

Back at Beekman, Mr. John Glaser has come to join us in the explanation in The Return of the Compass Box to tell us what that exactly means.

Asyla, this is a blended scotch whisky, which is sweet, delicate, smooth on the palate, with flavors of vanilla cream, cereals, and sweet oakiness. They blend from the distilleries of Elgen, Longmorn, and Ballindalloch. It's a single grain whisky from Fife, and all of them ate 10-12 years old. And it's 40% non chilled filtered with natural color.

Oak Cross has a soft palate of pure apples, with notes of clove and vanilla, malty and subtle. It's 100% from the Highlands of Single Moss from the villages of Alness, Brora, Carron, and they are all 10-12 years old. They're made from American and French oaks, bottled at, 43% with natural color non chilled.

The Peat Monster is full on the palate. Rich and loaded with smokiness, peat maltiness, and hints of fruit and spice. The majority of the whiskys are from Port Askaig, and the Speyeside village of Kennethont, and they are all between 10-15 years old. It's a mix of first filled, and refilled American oak.

Hedonism is one of Scotlands rare bottlings of 100% grain whiskey. Elegant flavors of vanilla cream, toffee, and coconut. Typically, the source is from Cameron Bridge, and Cambus. All these whiskeys are 12-25 years old, 100% first filled American oak barrels were rejuvenated American Oak Hogs Head. It is bottled at 43%.

Spice Tree has a little story they would like to share with world. I will sum it up in the most simplest way that you can understand it though! It was first launched in 2005, but was forced to close down, due to the (SWA) Scotch Whisky Association. SWA felt that whisky could not use french oak inner staves in the barrel. Compass Box didn't agree but had to stop the production!

This is what it's about and why it's not permitted. French oak staves is very spicy and most people would agree that this is the best wood to use and is very costly. It's about $2-300 and is considered very high end in the whisky making process!

The SWA said that you cannot put anything in the barrels when aging, but John Glaser (Compass Box whisky maker)figured it out and started to put the staves in the top and bottom of the barrels! What a smart guy-huh!

Within the past 3 years
, John Glaser created this similar process/method that the SWA finally approved of, which he can now produce his 100% malt whisky in peace!

The break down: 46% ABV, has a natural color, non chill filtered, 10-12 years aged, and it is distilled from the Clynelish distillery.

Spice Tree in my opinion, is a malty and rich whisky that would pair very well with most cheeses and desserts, such as a rum cake, spice cake, gingerbread cake, cheesecake, and possibly flan! Also, I would use this whisky in an egg nog cocktail and a hot toddy, due to the tasting and nosing notes that I've experienced. They are hints of vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves.

I guess you can now see why I love this brand and why I had such a great time tasting these great whiskies from one of the master minds/whisky maker, Mr. John Glaser. I thank you!!


The Return of The Spice Tree with Compass Box Meet-up October 14th

The Return of The Spice Tree with Compass Box Meetup
The Harbor Restaurant- October 14th.

So, in my drinking history, I was never really a fan, or any type of a fan of blended whiskys. Even though the men in my family absolutely loved it, and I grew up seeing them drinking all types of Chivas Regal, and all types of Canadian blended whiskys, my palate did not acquire it. Until one day I tasted a whiskey from the Yamazaki distillery, but we will get into that later.

Saying all that, I discovered the Compass Box, founded by Mr. John Glaser. In 2000, he started the company in his kitchen, and now, today, he is respected as one of the best whiskey makers of his generation. He is respected in Scotland, he has access to distillers there, his job is to blend, not to distill, and he takes it to his London studio to test and blend. His artisan approach has constructed these great whiskey blends such as, The Asyla, which they would call something made for a Sunday afternoon. It is suggested to use a couple of ice cubes, non chilled filtered. The cogeners has compounds that holds the flavors. We would call this a gateway whiskey. It has no caramel coloring added, 50% grain, another 50% is made from 3 single malts of Scotland.

Compass Box holds regular meet ups for people who are learning about whiskey, or blended whiskey, and all types of novices alike. There, Robin Robinson, the brand educator, teaches you a brief history of the distillation process, and explains to you how Mr. Glaser came up with all of his brands, why one brand was banned, and why Compass tastes so darn good. Compass Box has the Asyla, the Oak cross, the Peat Monster, Hedonism, La Orange, in the new Spice tree. At this location, I found that the novices ask great questions, and a few, I found, a bit timid about blended whiskey in particular.

The Oak Cross is similar to Clynelish, is made out of French Oak Barrels (with a French oak on the top, and bottom of the barrel) that's toasted, not charred, which makes it more aromatic. The Peat Monster, which is my favorite whiskey from The Compass Box. If you have ever been afraid to drink a Islay whisky, the Peat Monster should be your first start. It is blended with Laphroaig, Coal lla, and Ardmore 14 year. If you're asking yourself, how could it be called the Peat Monster with them using one whisky outside of Islay, it's because the Ardmore 14 year is a bit peaty from the highlands, and to my knowledge, it is the only whiskey with a bit of peatiness to it, which is why I love it so much. Next is the Hedonism, it has a limited release, is 100% grain, just like Bourbons and Ryes, such as oaks, barley, wheat, and corn.

The Harbor Restaurant passed out great hor d orves, and I had a splended time. I was hoping to meet Mr. Glaser that night, but he was away on business, and I was informed he will be in the next Compass Box event. So this story has to be continued.


The 64th Opici Annual Portfolio Tasting

The 64th Opici Annual Portfolio Tasting
Location: The Buddha Bar,NYC

As I walked into the venue, I was affected with great wonder. I encountered this huge event filled with rolls and rolls of tables filled with dozens of wine representatives presenting their brands and hundreds of buyers tasting the products in interest to purchase for their liquor stores, lounges, bars, restaurants, and etc. Also, being a lickerish woman that I am, I loved the great spread of buffets offered for the thirsty patrons!

I said to myself, "O boy this going to be a good one"! At that point, I had to construct a game plan to work my way through this herculean of an event. I then notice the spirits section and simply knew that was my starting point.

This portfolio tasting is for people of the industry to sample every brand that is to offer within the portfolio. For Opici, they have an extended collection of wines to offer. They have about 83 wines, and luxury spirits to choose from. My favorite of them all was Table 76 the Speyside, Scotland collection, which also includes Macallan, Glenlivet, Auchentoshan, and Caol Ila.

Table 63, U'Luvka was in the house, which is one of my favorite vodka's. The Bunnahabhain table, which was in the Cognac section of the tasting room, made a grand appearance. There, after I walked over to the buffet, had a lot of delicious food, coated my belly, and was ready to go back in.

I started to move along to the wines and discovered one of the best reds I tasted all afternoon. Can you guess what It was? Well without being obnoxious, it was the Carmenet 2007(car-men-ay). This is a great American Pinot Noir from the Sonoma county created by the winemaker John Albaugh. The vineyard has taken on a Burgundy style that traces back to the region of Bordeaux, France. This beautiful red has peppery, tobacco and a tinge of fruit on the palate and I absolutely recommend this wine to pair with a beautiful spicy beef dish and/or natural rinded cow's milk cheese.

I would also like to mentioned the Naked Earth Rouge 2008, which is 50% Merlot and 50% Grenache that has a dark and rich hue of crimson. On the nose, it has a cinnamon and smokiness to it that I love. On the palate, it had alot of strawberries and blueberries initially and then moved to a long spicy chocolate and espresso finish-YUM!

It was a great four hours of imbibing seeing my friends at their table, working for their brands, and learning about new products. After wards, I had to head back home, and rest up for the next libation day.

So long folks, and cheers!

Buddha Bar info:

U'Luvka info:

Naked Earth info:

Glenlivet info:

Islay whisky/ Coal Ila info:

http://www.islaywhiskysociety.com/caol_ila/oal ila

Macallan info:

Bunnahabhain info:

Auchentoshan info:

The USBGNY Mixer at Innoteca October 5th

The USBGNY Mixer at Innoteca on October 5th
with Charlotte Voisey

The USGBNY stands for the United States Bartender Guild of New York. This is a nonprofit group which brings together people of the Alcohol industry, particularly bartenders, mixologists, and molecular mixologists. Although people that are related in the industry, such as bar managers, servers, or any affiliate of any kind are more than welcome to join, the dues are ridiculously cheap, and every month is a mixer which educates you about a brand, you get to network with your colleagues, and you are given food, sometimes 3 course meals or appetizer's, which is based on the venue and what they see fit. Also, the USBGNY holds several events that you can volunteer to bartend in, and/or just participate by your attendance, such as conventions, tastings, competitions, fund raisers, and so on. I really do recommend joining any chapter that's available in your hometown, because it is worth every penny, if not more.

So, as the blood orange cocktails were given out, brought to us by Solerno, which is an Italian blood orange liqueur. We began to enjoy the 3 course meals that was given out and Charlotte started to speak more about the brand and how the bartenders can create lovely libations at their bar, such as blood orange cosmo's.

After the lovely lunch and the education of Solerno, I highly recommend this brand! As a possible substitute for any orange based liqueur that you might want to use in your cocktail creations.

After the mixer, USBGNY had three vans to escort us to Queens, for the L' Original Combier Portfolio tasting, at Dutch Kills. Combier is now launched in the US, and in their portfolio, they have the Combier, the Royal Combier, and the Roi Rene Rouge Sherry Liqueur. Combier was the first orange liqueur, known as the Triple Sec. It was created by Jean Baptiste Combier, and his wife, in 1834, from sweet and bitter orange peels in the West Indies, local spices from the South, alcohol from the north, and a family secret from the Loire Valley. And there, I present to you, the worlds first Triple Sec.

In my opinion, Combier is an excellent Triple Sec to have behind your bar, and at your home bar. I think it is another great orange based liqueor along with Solerno, you can make the most exotic and creative cocktails. A couple of cocktails that I will suggest with Combier: The Bijou, which is equal parts of 1 oz Gin, 1 oz Combier Liqueur, D' Orange, 1 oz of French Vermouth. Shake all ingredients with ice, pour into chilled martini glass, and garnish with a maraschino cherry, or an orange zest; The Deshler Cocktail, which is 1 1/2 oz of Red Dubonnet, 1 1/2 oz of Rye whiskey 1/4 oz Combier Liquors D' orange, and a dash of Angostura bitters, then you will shake and strain into a cocktail glass, and garnish with an orange peel.

So after meeting (owner/master distiller) Franck Choisne and (president) Scott Goldman, and learning about this great brand, it was time for the USBGNY vans to drop us off at our next venue for the 2009 Ministry of Rum fest. At the festival, it was every rum you could think of! It was open to the public (with their purchased tickets), plus the industry of course. I was quite familiar with all the brands, and especially excited to see the Mamajuana table. I met Nelcy Feliz, from Mamajuana Hispaniola rum, which I will blog about in the near future. They informed me of the NY launch of the brand will be coming up in November, and of course, the lovely ladies invited me to the event. And then, I went on down, table after table! The great Zacapa table was there, had an awesome conversation with the representatives of the brand, and then I saw my friend, Dave Catania, which he endorses Castries Peanut Rum Cream.

Castries is creamy, seductive, sensual, and pure. With this rum cream, you can use several different types of liquors for this delicate product. I like the Lift Ticket, which is 2 1/2 oz of Castries, 1/2 oz of premium espresso vodka, or tequila. You shake it over ice, strain into cocktail glass, top it with chocolate covered espresso beans (or you can use regular espresso beans,) or chocolate stirrers, or substitute it with coffee liqueur. And that was the end of a great night from Solerno, to Combier, to the Ministry of Rum. I was exhausted, and learned so much that day.

Cheers !!

Legalize Chacaca Hits New York September 14

"Legalize Cachaca Hits New York"
September 14, 2009
At the Highbar Rooftop

In attendance of legalizing cachaca awareness is to educate and inform the public outside of Brazil, cachaca is not categorized as 'cachaca.' In Brazil, they call it a light rum, which it should be 3 categories, rum, light rum, and cachaca. Cachaca should not be in the rum family, but it is related because, unlike the rum, it is made out of 100% sugarcane juice, which differentiates itself from the others.

Leblon, in my opinion, is one of the best chacaca that I have ever tasted. It is distilled in Minas Gerais, Brazil, it is aged 3 months, in a XO cognac cask, which makes it lighter, and has a very delicate sweet taste on the palate. Leblon could be used for many tropical cocktails, which the standard is of course the Caipirinha.

At the High Bar, it was a happy and celebratory environment. Photographs were taken, memorabilia was given out, cocktails were flowing, and everyone had such a great time. The whole idea of this event was to sign your name on a petition to legalize Cachaca, and have it stand in its own category.

It was time for me to head on over to Beekman Bar and Books, for the Glenmorangie tasting, given by Dr. Bill Lumsden, who is the head distiller for Glenmorangie, where they gave out several cocktails, different variations of the Glenmorangie products. The Blood and Sand, which is one of the most popular classic whiskey cocktails, which consists of sweet vermouth, orange juice, cherry herring, and of course, the Glenmorangie Quinta Ruban. After the cocktail hour, we had a tasting of all brands, and education by Dr. Lumsden.

Dr. Lumsden was very informative and educational, and a bit humorous, with his teaching methods of the brand. I had a really good time, I learned a little bit more about the brand, and enjoyed the opportunity to finally meet the great distiller of Glenmorangie.

Slaandjivaa !!