The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 148

THE MESSAGE The Drink Avengers he Orange County Bartender's Cabinet (OCBC) is not unlike a guild of superheroes. Armed with a catchy, historically reverent name—the moniker loosely references the first publication to print a cocktail recipe back in 1803—they are a passionate collective of former and current mixologists who gather on a monthly basis in order to uphold truth, justice, and craft cocktail culture in one of California's finickiest markets. The rules of joining the OCBC are simple enough: All a prospective member needs to be is a mixologist with a deep appreciation for the history of cocktails and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Of course, like any other crusading organization, with great power comes great responsibility. For example, being an advocate for proper cocktail culture occasionally involves gently recalibrating the public's post-Prohibition perception Members of the Orange County Bartender's Cabinet (left on mixed drinks in a way that comes off as educational to right): Rebecca Schiffer, Co-Owner/Hostess, 320 Main in and not highbrow snobbery. Seal Beach, CA; Chris Dion, Craft Spirits Specialist, Young's "Part of our challenge is to correct 70 years of misMarket Orange County; Gabrielle Dion, Bar Manager, takes," explains OCBC member Jason Shaffer, co-owner Broadway by Amar Santana in Laguna Beach, CA (with and bartender of the Seal Beach, CA restaurant 320 daughter Bijou); Jason Schiffer, co-owner/bartender of Main. "However, it's not always easy to pour a drink 320 Main in Seal Beach, CA; mixologist Ricky Yarnall; and and tell people, 'This is how it should be made,' so it's a independent spirits specialist Forrest Cokely. delicate process." "We work hard to dispel the stereotype that mixologists are elitist," adds OCBC member Christian Dion, Craft Spirits Specialist at Young's Market Orange County. "We want to be a group that's inclusive, not exclusive." They also want it to be known that Orange County's cocktail scene is much more than mere filler between two other, more celebrated Southern California regions. "We are at the level of L.A. and San Diego," states spirits specialist Forrest Cokely. "In fact, bartenders from those areas have been seeking advice from us for quite some time." It's a goal that might not be on par with thwarting the Joker, but it's pretty close. —Rich Manning PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG Timeless K Mike Chelini of Stony Hill. 18 / the tasting panel / may 2013 nown for his unwavering pursuit of a wine style that has never been out of fashion, winemaker Mike Chelini has crafted pristine, age-worthy Chardonnays (and miniscule amounts of hugely expressive dry Riesling and Gewürztraminer) at Stony Hill for more than forty years. When asked about the effect that the string of La Niña years has had on the Spring Mountain estate, Chelini observed, "2011 was as bad as 1972"—the second year of his long career at the winery. For a winery that seems almost fixed in time, change is afoot at Stony Hill with the release of the winery's first '09 estate Cabernet Sauvignon from vines planted in 2004 on the northwestern exposures of Spring Mountain. Chelini's approach is evident with complex aromas and resolved tannins encased in a tight jacket of black cherry fruit. Barrel samples of the 2012 from both French and American oak trials show more structure and darker fruit from what was certainly a warmer year. The 2012 Chardonnay from barrel was youthful with pineapple notes and soft edges. Chelini notes its resemblance to the winery's current 2010 release and even to 2001, with delicate chamomile, pure lemon, toast and hazelnut amplified by a sheer intensity that has become the winery's hallmark. —D.P.W. PHOTO: ANNE WATSON T

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - May 2013