The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2012

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Page 68 of 132

SIPPED & SCENE A Spirited Start to Spring M BLAINE ASHLEY REPORTS FROM BASE CAMP: NEW YORK CITY arch arrived, and fresh off trips to Trinidad and Del Ray, it left me not a second to ease back into my Manhattan mode. Just a few days in and I had an overloaded calendar starting with a Tuesday drink date with Bacardi Brand Ambassador Juan Coronado to talk mission MCC (Manhattan Cocktail Classic), which is fast approaching. The next day, I was primed to judge the G'Vine Global Cocktail Competition with International Brand Ambassador Phil Duff and long-time Daniel restaurant mixolo- gist Xavier Herit. The crop of bartenders that participated were undoubtedly some of NYC's best—from Pamela Witnitzer at L'Oubli to James "Grandpa" Menite of Crown Bar. In the end though, Ms. Franky of both Monkey Bar and The Tippler took first, earning her the chance to win a trip to Cognac for the finals this June. The cocktail competition was tame for my fellow judges and me as we sensibly sipped through the 20-some drinks and only took second tastes of our very favorites. It was afterward that the party began, as we enjoyed post-comp revelry at new uptown haute spot JBird for Marshall Altier–made libations, and Sherry Luges that Duff is apparently doing all over town with post-consumed (aka hollowed-out) bone marrow! An experience to say the least, and I wouldn't have expected anything less from the always fun Duff. Just days later, it was the new monthly industry event, Monday Brunch at Maharlika. The East Village Filipino food–cocktail gem hosts a brunch the last Monday of every month that caters to bartenders, consultants, brand ambassadors and spirits media. March was spirited and memo- rable to say the least, and April greeted me oh so kindly too. Just days in, I attended a wine and spirits branding hotel take-over sponsored by G'Vine Gin, Excellia Tequila, flipflop wines, Filthy Food, We had a wonderful spring brunch thanks to Enzo Lim, owner and bar manager, Maharlika, New York City. Domaine de Canton, Santa Teresa Rum and Corzo, with drinks made by various guest bartenders including Justin Noel of 1534, Max Messier of Vault at Pfaffs, Justin August of DUMBO's new Gran Electrica and Jessie Dure of Dick and Jane's. Just days later, I enjoyed an impromptu wine tasting with Nathan Farley of Vine Cliff Wines and the same night hit Jordan Vineyard & Winery's fête at The Dream Hotel where they were celebrating their 40-year anniversary. Watch for more about Jordan's 40th in future issues of THE TASTING PANEL. Meanwhile, good tasting! Jordan's 40th! Members of Jordan's Ruby Jacket Society with Jordan Winery executives at the Big Bottle Big Apple 40th Anniversary Celebration held at the Dream Downtown in New York on April 5. Left to right: Tim Burns of Lauber Imports, John Jordan of Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Brett Dunne of Southern Wine & Spirits New York, Chris Avery and Courtney Cataruzolo of Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Steven Bonavita of Lauber Imports. 68 / the tasting panel / may 2012

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