The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 28 of 100

28  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2017 SIN CITY SNIPPETS T he power is off at Atomic Liquors, but someone is pumping tunes from their phone. Me, I'm deep in my headphones and laptop, writing and listening to Brandon Flowers of The Killers. The sun is shining momentarily in the eye of a massive dust storm that has Downtown Las Vegas whipped into a filmy frenzy as palm fronds and urban detritus swirl outside at such ferocious speed as to be both frightening and mesmerizing. For now, the kegs are holding temperature and barman Jeffrey Bennington Grindley has set out tea lights. "Ambiance . . . " he says, dropping it off with a wink. Meh—we'll muddle through; we always do. Beverage people take care of one another. That was actually the major theme for March as a whole. I started the month in Colorado, helping a former Las Vegan who had just moved to Denver to execute her brand duties at the fifth annual Après Ski Cocktail Classic in Aspen. A shameless ski bum, I eagerly traded manual labor for a chance at those posh slopes, and received so much hospitality at the event founded by Kevin Haasarud, Joe Lang and Laura Albers. At a hot toddy popup on Ajax Mountain, Haasarud shared with me that his team will bring Après at the Beach, a three-day consumer-focused cocktail festival, to Delray Beach, Florida, May 19–21 (, and they expect it to become an annual affair as well—tiki toddies, anyone?! Back in Vegas, I opted out of the year's biggest amateur night and spent St. Patrick's Day at the ultra-soft opening of the city's newest industry clubhouse, Starboard Tack. Local barmen and proprietors Bryant Jane and Lyle Cervenka have resurrected the venerable, nautical-themed 1970s video gaming joint as a rum-centric craft-cocktail bar and restaurant. Take note: A visit to the late-night spot should definitely be added to all Las Vegas bar-crawls. The second half of the month was a barrage of events that started with the raucous and riotous BarMania at Herbs & Rye, winner of the 2016 Spirited Award for Best American High-Volume Cocktail Bar. Miami Beach's Manuel Picón took the win, and the third-annual fundraiser collected more than $14,500 for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. The next night, the Nightclub & Bar Convention & Trade Show kicked off with Breakthru Beverage's annual Cocktail Clubhouse, which hit its peak with a faithful recitation of "I Am the Last Bartender Poet" from the Tom Cruise film Cocktail—I never could have imagined how many of us have it memorized! Bookending the show, Max Messier of New Orleans' Cocktail & Sons did a guest- bartending gig at Downtown whiskey bar Oak & Ivy to celebrate his line of "complex syrups for simple cocktails" being picked up by Total Wine & More in Nevada as well as a new partnership with 80-plus Ruth's Chris Steak House locations. Back Downtown, in the eye of that epic dust storm, and with a beer in one hand and our smartphones in the other, Messier and I compared notes as a storm far wetter raged in New Orleans—both threatening to keep him grounded in the Silver State. Yeah, Vegas'll do that to you, once she gets her hands on you. "Only the young can break away, break away; lost when the wind blows, on your own." —Brandon Flowers In Like a Lion BarMania 2016 winner Ulysses Vidal of Employees Only NYC returned to defend his title. BarMania 2017 winner Manuel Picón shows off his golden rooster trophy. Xania V. Woodman is a 16-year Las Vegan and veteran hos- pitality journalist who writes about the beverage industry from wherever she travels to visit distilleries or ski. Or both. Preferably both. Follow her on Instagram: @SinCitizenX. by Xania V. Woodman PHOTO: JOSE M. SALINAS PHOTO: JESSE HUDSON

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - May 2017