The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2017

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 32 of 128

32  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2017 SIN CITY SIPS I f you squint just a little, the colorful single- and double-shotgun houses of New Orleans' French Quarter resemble the patrons at a bar sometime around last call: a tad wilted and gently leaning into one another as if to make a toast. This—among so many other things—endears the city to this beverage writer. Like the humidity, the generous, convivial spirit of the Big Easy gets under your skin and seeps into your soul. Last month was my ninth time attending Tales of the Cocktail, the indus- try's premier gathering of beverage professionals. Las Vegas annually comes out in force to support its sister city NOLA, but never more so than this year, when roughly 75 of our city's bartenders, proprietors, ambassadors, suppli- ers and educators descended upon the Gulf Coast to participate. Kicking off Tales' auspicious 15th anniversary with a flourish on July 18 was Las Vegas' own "Modern Mixologist" Tony Abou-Ganim (Libertine Social, Mandalay Bay) and "King Cocktail" himself, Dale DeGroff. Invited guests were treated to a Peruvian immersion that included a pisco tasting, DIY ceviche class and a spirited brunch. The two godfathers of cocktail culture collaborated on a recipe, which they created for the Trade Commission of Peru in Miami, dubbed Alliance. The dynamic duo also teamed up for a tasting room called "What Would Pisco Do?" to celebrate the year-round drinkability of Peruvian pisco, a spirit for all seasons. The culmination of the week was the 11th Annual Spirited Awards cer- emony, which recognizes excellence in the beverage industry. As guests arrived at the July 22 cocktail reception, they were greeted with cocktails by Dominick DeMartino and Johnny Hernandez (Bound, The Cromwell), as well as Jason Wilt (Montecristo Cigar Bar, Caesars Palace). "It's really important that we do this, because everybody [in the industry] is here," said Jay Lattimer, Vice President of Food & Beverage at the Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, who has overseen the award's show welcome wagon for Caesars Entertainment for three years. "It's so cool to see [the attend- ees] blown away by what we're doing here." A week later, when the dust had settled, I sat down with Tales of the Cocktail founder Ann Tuennerman to discuss Tales' 15th year, which featured the event's first Sustainability Summit and Diversity Council meeting, a new "bar in-depth" series and a seminar on violence pre- vention in the workplace. "The industry is curating the content, so it's relevant to now and to what they're interested in," Tuennerman said. "I think we've always been concerned about those things and now that we have the resources to pull people together . . . we just have to start talking about these things and empowering people with ways to handle these situations. If we don't ever talk about it, nothing is going to change." Of course, I couldn't help asking Tuennerman for her thoughts on where my fair city fits into the big picture. "Vegas is really doing some amazing things," she said. "The scale on which Vegas operates blows my mind, the fact that it's constantly reinventing itself—Vegas is definitely on the map." Needless to say, I couldn't agree more. Meeting of the cocktail titans: "Modern Mixologist" Tony Abou-Ganim and "King Cocktail" Dale DeGroff at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Did Someone Say 'Cocktails'? LAS VEGAS SENDS ITS LARGEST CONTINGENT YET TO TALES OF THE COCKTAIL'S 15TH ANNIVERSARY IN NEW ORLEANS by Xania V. Woodman PHOTO: ANDREW KIST The Alliance features mosto verde pisco, lime juice, ginger syrup, strawberry- lychee puree and Champagne.

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - September 2017