The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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Page 16 of 132

THE MESSAGE Whether THE TASTING PANEL goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world's most infl uential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. Brief Encounters We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it's in the publication, we deem it noteworthy —Meridith May, Publisher & Executive Editor W San Diego Steps up to the Cocktail Plate hen we fi rst spoke with Adam Stemler, co-founder of San Diego mixology consult- ing group Blind Tiger Cocktails, it was to congratulate him on his win as the San Diego fi nalist for the Hangar One cocktail competition. But Stemler and his business partner Dustin Haarstad are up to more than just winning competitions—they're currently in the process of elevating San Diego's cocktail culture. "San Diego is a beer town," admits Stemler, "but it's a cocktail town in the making." With Blind Tiger Cocktails focusing on high-volume accounts, the duo encourage bar staff to learn the art of a well- crafted drink. "At the end of the day, cocktails don't have to be super complex," explains Stemler. "Blind Tiger is instrumental in getting a great cocktail and spirit education at bars that are, on the surface, a neighborhood bar. We're proud to get accurate information to our customers, who then pass it along to theirs." Adam Stemler and Dustin Haarstad. 16 / the tasting panel / july 2012 While Stemler focuses on the fundamentals for those he says "aren't looking to be career bartend- ers," he's equally involved in the upper echelon of the trade with a series of distillery tours South of the Border designed to put mixologists in the heartland of tequila. Stemler and Haarstad will be leading a fi ve-distillery tour in Jalisco, designed to impart a sense of place to the category and ultimately, the cocktail. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K PHOTO: LEIGH CASTELLI

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