The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2011

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EDUCATION Following the Fellows T by Jenny Adams / photos by Jenn Farrington THE BAR FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM BLOOMED BEHIND THE SCENES AT THIS YEAR’S MANHATTAN COCKTAIL CLASSIC he Manhattan Cocktail Classic was a head-on blur, with the world’s elite in bartending shaking at a frenzied pace, while consumers and enthusiasts swapped business cards and effusive ideas learned from fi ve days of seminars. Behind the scenes it was twice as hectic, yet equally as organized. The controlled chaos in the back of the house was due to a fresh addition in this year’s event—the Bar Fellowship Program. “Like everything, it evolved out of many long, winding conversa- tions between me, Simon Weston [President of Bamboo London] and some of our advisory board members,” says Founder and Director Lesley Townsend. “The vision was to create a mentor program that allowed them a chance to work and learn from the best, attend fantastic educational seminars presented by the fi nest, provide them with a coveted opportunity to spend time with Industry experts,” adds Karlyn Monroe, Trade Outreach and Program Development Manager for Rémy Cointreau USA. Cointreau stepped in as a large sponsor, alongside Belvedere, Pyrat, Milagro and the New York International Spirit Awards. The resulting “Fellows” were a group of 18 men and women who kept The Classic afl oat with cocktails. Painstakingly selected via a lengthy application process that included a video submission, these men and women batched thousands of cocktails over the event’s fi ve-day span. What’s to Come “I’m sure we’ll be changing just about everything next year,” Townsend admits. “I think it all came together amazingly well, given the circum- stances, but there’s just so much more we can do. We’re all just in awe of the effort they put in. But this really is just the beginning of what the program can be.” Naomi Schimek of The Spare Room in Los Angeles. The sponsors wholeheartedly agree. “It helped to have someone closely connected with the event organizers in terms of improved execution and coordination,” says Chenoa Johnson, New York Area Manager for Patrón Spirits, sponsoring Naomi Schimek of The Spare Room in Los Angeles. “Having a Bar Fellow representing our brands was especially impactful through the interactions among her peers and other Manhattan Cocktail Classic participants. I think there were strong takeaways that will last beyond the events—from our side in terms of the cocktail concepts and from the fellows’ side as we all developed a great relationship that will certainly produce new opportunities.” july 201 1 / the tasting panel / 111 PHOTOS: MARIA SCHRIBER

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