The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2010

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Page 107 of 112

TRENDS Shots Up! THE TASTING PANEL DIVES INTO THE UNIQUE CULTURE OF THE TWO-OUNCE POUR Steve Phalor of RipTides in St. Pete Beach, FL. pler—direction: shots. There’s a purity about the simple shot that appeals to connoisseurs of fi ne spirits, while bartenders love creating new two-ounce concoctions that can be set up and enjoyed with a sociable toast—or savored slowly among friends. Pull up a stool as we explore the classic haunt of the shot: the American dive bar. W A Swell of Shots RipTides, on Florida’s Gulf Coast, may appear ancient, but has actually been open less than a year. Owned by Steve Phalor and his business partner Terri Gileo, RipTides on St. Pete Beach is into its shot culture. RipTides’ Florida fl air enlisted hurricane shutters and palm trees on its sidewalks to give it a beachy look. “We opened it up and brought the outside in,” says Phalor, who looks at his dive bar as “whimsical.” Steering away from food service, Phalor concentrates on drinks to parlay the shot culture that motivates the hang-out scene. “We purposefully made this place look old, but certainly not one that is dirty and smelly, which some people may associate with a dive bar. Some dive bars are lucky to have bathrooms cleaned once a week,” he com- ments. “We spend extra money to look old, but stay extremely clean. When someone asks if RipTides has been here forever, I take that as a compliment.” As far as the perception of the shot scene, Phalor says that for RipTides, the day of the shot and wash [of beer] is never going to come. september 2010 / the tasting panel / 107 hile the cocktail craze shows no sign of abating, it’s defi nitely taking a turn in a new—and sim- PHOTO: SHERI KENDRICK

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