The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

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SIPPED & SCENE Brand Masters, Beach Trips and Bar Crawls OUR SIP-ALL, SEE-ALL CORRESPONDENT HITS NYC, SF AND THE HAMPTONS by Blaine Ashley S un kissed, spent and rum'd up after a week in South Beach for Miami Rum Renaissance, I headed back to New York for another marathon at the Manhattan Cocktail Classic (aka MCC). This year I decided to pay focus to my favorite part of the multi-day affair, the Gala. Among hanging out with great friends like Bacardi Brand Master Juan Coronado and cocktail mistress Carmen Operetta Carroll, my favorite spirited encounters at the gala included the Patrón popsicles, Campari Negronis made multiple ways and the private, invite-only PDT room (taking a nod from the East Village's exclusive Please Don't Tell), serving up Plymouth Gin cocktails alongside the real PDT's infamous "haute" dogs. Onto the West Coast, where fellow spirits scriber Atlantico Sales Rep, NY-based bartender and dear friend Pamela Wiznitzer and I enjoyed a few days at the TAJ Campton Place in San Francisco. Highlights here included sunset Bacardi Brand Master Juan Coronado, Blaine Ashley and guest. Charlotte Voisey and Jim Ryan of William Grant & Sons. Cocktail mistress Carmen Operetta Carroll. drinks with Joel Teitelbaum at Harry Denton's Starlight Room, where we opted for champagne cocktails. Then we were off to a pairing dinner at The Four Seasons' Seasons Restaurant with Beverage Director Oliver Lee. The next night we delighted in dinner and drinks with Boulevard Sommelier Robert Perkins, who's also the co-owner of Skylark Wines. We couldn't get enough of the Potbelly Rosé, highly anticipated for statewide release soon. After two decadent meals, we decided to wrap up our NoCal trip with a day of casual seafood'ing at the Wharf followed by meandering through the Ferry Building Marketplace and stopping at Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant. Back to NY I was and within a week, back to busy too. I had a Jordan Vineyard & Winery 40th anniversary event uptown at Sherry Lehmann, and the same night an art 34 / the tasting panel / july 2012 William Doyle and Daddy-O owner Phil Casaceli drinking a Campari Negroni for two. show at the newly revamped White Rabbit on the Lower East Side that was sponsored by Brooklyn Gin. And I even managed to make it to Montauk over the weekend to see what Ruschmeyer's cocktail consultant Colin Asare Appaih is serving up for the season alongside industry heavy weights Michael Flannery and Philip Pepperdine. While there I bumped into Raj Nagra, Global Brand Manager of Bombay Sapphire Gin, and Gardner Dunn of Suntory Whisky. I even got a little sneak peak into the highly anticipated Montauk Beach House, slated to open right around the time you'll be reading this very piece. With Minas Kali and John Lermayer behind the cocktail program here, we can expect a lot of cool promotions, buzz, hype, a stellar scene and sips too. I've already got my three-day stay for the height of summer booked and will deliver more spirited scoop on that next time!

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