The Tasting Panel magazine

April 2012

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Tequila TWELEVE TOP ARTISAN TEQUILA BRANDS (AND ONE MEZCAL!) AIM FOR A STRIKE WITH A DECONSTRUCTED MARGARITA THAT PUTS THE SPIRIT FIRST A photos by Christine Merson t bars like Aidan Demarest's Neat in Glendale, CA, straight spirits have snagged the spotlight. There, cocktails are broken down into the two-ounce pour, served side-by-side with a complementary chaser. This unique concept puts the spirit front and center, and the cocktail is the icing on the cake. We took a page out of Demarest's deconstructed book and invited thirteen unique agave spirits to rethink the drink at Hollywood's coolest bowling alley/bar, The Spare Room. There, each brand hit the lanes and presented its take on the "deconstructed Margarita" to our panel of esteemed buyers and decision-makers from across Los Angeles. First, the panel was tasted on the tequila straight; then, per the instructions of the brand's representatives, the all-star team explored their unique take on the classic cocktail. The panelists' scorecard offers straight spirit tasting notes, and frame-by-frame, the results were innovative and exciting. Strikes all-around! At The Spare Room, Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Los Angeles 102 / the tasting panel / april 2012 Our Panel (left-right): David Othenin-Girard, Spirits Buyer, K &L Wine Merchants; Bill Hennigan, Director of Food and Beverage, Kyoto Grand Hotel and Gardens; Naomi Schimek, Beverage Director, The Spare Room; Aidan Demarest, owner, Neat Bar, Glendale; Dana Farner, Beverage Director, CUT Beverly Hills; Anthony Dias Blue, Editor-in-Chief, THE TASTING PANEL; John Moraytis, Business-to-Business Director, Vinturi Wine and Spirit Aerators; Rachel Burkons, Senior Editor, THE TASTING PANEL; Blake Donaldson, The Drink Chef; Cole Apodaca, Beverage Director, Shangri-La Hotel, Santa Monica.

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