The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2013

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WHO'S WHO Keeping "Hotlanta" Fired Up OUR WHISKEY WRITER LEARNS ATLANTA IS A WHISKEY TOWN . . . GO FIGURE W story and portraits by Fred Minnick elcome to Atlanta, where the whiskey flows and average bartenders shake better than many other cities' best. Talent just spills out of the Atlanta's cocktail glasses. So I booked a quick plane ride from Louisville to investigate the Who's Who of Atlanta food and beverage. Space restrictions mean many worthy talents were omitted on this round— but don't worry, we'll be back! Eric Simpkins – General Manager, The Lawrence When Eric Simpkins moved back to Atlanta from New York in 2006, the city's cocktail scene equaled vodka and cranberry juice. Now, thanks to Eric Simpkins. Simpkins, the Atlanta cocktail scene boasts barrel-aged cocktails and knowledgeable bartenders who buy up popular whiskeys, like Rittenhouse, before the allocation sets in. Simpkins was named a Rising Star Bar Chef by and his Rangoon Gin Fizz was the 2011 Tales of the Cocktail Official Cocktail. But a humble Simpkins shies away from talking about his own successes: "I just like seeing the bartenders I trained opening their own bars." Gabe Pilato – Founder, Old 4th Distillery With four partners, Gabe Pilato is starting Atlanta's first distillery since Prohibition. And, hold the presses, the start-up distillery is not selling a white Gabe Pilato. whiskey, white dog, moonshine or whatever you want to call it. "Nobody asks for a white dog cocktail," says Pilato, a veteran bartender. Old 4th will sell vodka and juniperforward London dry gin. Pilato says bottles hit Georgia-only shelves in September. Matt Bradford – Sommelier, Canoe 1 10  /  the tasting panel  /  april 2013 When the city's top-rated restaurant flooded in 2009, Sommelier Matt Bradford rushed to Canoe and started rescuing bottles. Then the power came Matt Bradford. on, and he decided saving Cabernet wasn't worth electrocution. Four years later, Bradford's wine program remains one of the city's best. But he admits being in Georgia hurts his chances of winning a major wine list award—a blue laws state, Georgia just legalized Sunday alcohol sales. "We can't buy at auction or on consignment," Bradford says. "Our inventory relies on our distributors, but Canoe keeps its list fresh and interesting."

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