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FROM THE PRINCIPAL PUBLISHER SeniorMoment Two of THE TASTING PANEL’S major goals are to educate and entertain our readers. But what gives us even more satisfac- tion is to create a stage—properly designed and On The Rocks… Just Got Better TM brilliantly lit—upon which brands can showcase their attributes. This year, we have added a new kind of platform for the brands that are the lifeblood of THE TASTING PANEL. To begin, we posed ourselves these questions: Which brands were stand-outs over the past year? Which do we believe will be “Most Likely to Succeed”? Which have already reached other superlative heights? Our editorial team, now a stable of globally-based journalists and experts, covers thousands of wines and spirits each year, so re-read- ing our many reviews and editorial mentions of brands was both a challenge and a joy. Now, for the first time, we want to congratulate our first “graduating class”—the more than 200 “Seniors” that we consider the magazine’s most outstanding picks from January through November. We are presenting them in our CLASS of 2010 YEARBOOK. Turn to pages 35–49 to feel the glow as our graduates receive THE TASTING PANEL’s coveted diploma as an acknowledgment of merit. Can You Re-Define a Classic? There are a multitude of options for showing off your brand in Gläce Ice’s Mariko sphere THE TASTING PANEL. Our monthly Speed Tastings bring brand ambassadors together with top buyers and journalists, on- and off- premise, for brief overviews, bottle beauty shots and personalized tasting notes. In this issue, we recap two of these unique events: our Rum Rush at Hi-Time Wine Cellars in Costa Mesa, CA (p. 68) and our tasting of creative Seasonal Winter Cocktails, all presented, prepared and poured in a ten-minute window for our prestigious panel at Zengo in Santa Monica (p. 76). Stay tuned for details on our March 21 Cocktail Speed Tasting: A Twist on the Classics. There’s something to be said for the art of taking a classic and re-envisioning, repackaging or remodeling it. But it’s not always easy to rethink something that’s been tried and true—especially a classic cocktail that’s been a palate-pleaser for generations. That’s where THE TASTING PANEL’s latest challenge comes in: Take a classic cocktail and put your own twist on it, while using one of Funkin’s fresh purées. Interested? We have a limited number of spots, so contact me by email at or respond to your personal email invitation. Along with Anthony Dias Blue and our entire staff, I wish you the best for the Holidays and into the New Year!

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