The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

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the world since May to educate trade and consumers on the unique qualities of this Icelandic vodka. "Reyka is one of many interesting spirits coming out of Iceland," comments Daniel. "The environment of Iceland makes Reyka totally unique to vodkas because we are able to use the pristine natural resources that Iceland is known for. Reyka is crafted in a remote fishing village, Borgarnes, located in southwest Iceland. The distillery sits right on the spring we use as our water source, some of the purist in the world. Then lava rocks from right next to the spring are used to filter Reyka, once-distilled in our Carter Head still, the only Carter Head used to make vodka, and one of only six in the world. Daniel's passion for travel makes his job a veritable dream come true. "I genuinely believe that travel expands the mind, and while I don't necessarily proselytize on behalf of the brand, I love that I get to spread the word about this product and how it's being used in bars all over the world. I get to see the world's greatest bars and meet the world's greatest bartenders. It doesn't get any better than that." Although winging it to faraway lands is well within Daniel's comfort zone, New York has always been home base. "I live a block away from where I was raised on the Upper West Side," says Daniel, who studied industrial engineering in school before going on to work in finance (a field he does not miss "in the least," but who can blame him for that?). Eventually, Daniel began working the NYC nightclub circuit, then making his way to the prestigious Cornell School of Hospitality, and on to work in several of the Big Apple's top bars and craft cocktail restaurants. Despite a varied and strongly academic background, Daniel felt most at ease behind the stick: "It's the only job where you have the ability to take someone's bad day and make it better," he explains—but he's quick to mention there's one career path he likes even more: "I love being a Brand Ambassador. I'm very fortunate to be in this position." When he's not traveling far and wide on Reyka's behalf, discovering "very cool" markets like Raleigh and Reyka Brings the U.S. to Iceland In late October, Reyka brought two U.S. bands to Iceland to participate in the Icelandic Airwaves Music festival, held in Reykjavík amid the glaciers, lava rock and towering waterfalls that are also part of the brand's unique terroir-driven story. Small batch–produced and lava rock–filtered, Reyka is made from the purest glacial spring water in Iceland. Visit www.Facebook. com/ReykaVodka to learn more about the bands who competed to enter this year's Icelandic Airwaves contest. Reyka Vodka Brand Ambassador Daniel Brancusi enjoys The Helka cocktails with Gwynnett St. bartender Adam Jimenez. 110  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_109-156.indd 110 10/24/13 9:16 AM

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