The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 40 of 128

ALTERNATIVE BEVERAGES The new Tetra Pak cocktail mixers from Funkin are made with only fresh, natural ingredi- ents and offer flavorful, clean bases for cocktails. Flavors include Cosmopolitan, Sour Mix (bye bye, neon green!), Strawberry Woo Woo, Mojito and Strawberry Daiquiri. It's Tetra Time! FUNKIN PURÉES NOW COME IN A MORE BAR-CONVENIENT SIZE by Rachel Burkons / photos by Maria Schriber "It's T-shirt time!" may be the call to the club for the wannabe Italians on MTV's Jersey Shore, but it's Tetra time at Robert De Niro's actual Italian eatery AGO, in West Hollywood, CA, where Funkin's lineup of cocktail mixers and fruit purées keep things fresh-to-death. Abel Santillian, Beverage Manager for the AGO Group, and Funkin founder Alex Carlton enjoy some Funkin-based cock- tails; the Farmer's Market Mojito and Strawberry Martini both sing under Funkin's influence. Stepping into the elegant AGO restau- rant in West Hollywood, CA, one thing is instantly clear: This isn't the kind of place where you're going to get some artificially flavored, neon-green excuse for a cocktail. From the impeccable Italian food coming out of the kitchen, to the buzz of A-List celebs power-lunching, to the staff's ever-genteel manner, AGO is a restaurant where exceptional quality is palpable. As we all know by now, an outstanding restaurant needs an outstanding cocktail program, and at AGO, things are no differ- ent. From fine base spirits to market-fresh ingredients, the building blocks to a great AGO cocktail are simple, fresh ingredi- ents—and one brand is front and center: Funkin, now with a new Tetra Pak size for its line of cocktail mixers. "Finally," says Abel Santillian, Beverage Manager for the AGO Group, his grateful- ness audible, "there is a quality product like Funkin on the market that's in line with what we try to give the customer— 40 / the tasting panel / december 201 1 nothing but the best." Although Funkin's been winning over the industry and consumers alike for over a decade now, the just-released Tetra Pak offers added perks with its user-friendly 750-ml. packaging designed to fit the make-it-shake-it-pour-it bartender time- table. "Our bartenders love playing with them," continues Santillian. "It's so fresh and natural and easy to experiment with," and as if to prove his point, makes an on- the-spot better-than-Bellini for me using Funkin Strawberry Woo Woo, to which I can only say: "Wow! Wow! Delicious." Funkin founder Alex Carlton has become accustomed to hearing such high praise, yet he always seeks to set Funkin's (spot at the) bar higher. "All the premium, tastemaking, influencing accounts that are dedicated to offering their guests the highest experience want this product," he admits of Funkin fan fervor. "Even better is that this product allows us to sit in all accounts, from the high-volume nightclub to the high-end restaurant/bar such as AGO." Santillian nods in agreement. Enthusiastically. This is, very obviously, a product he actually likes—quite a lot, it seems. When we left, he was readying to experiment more with the new Tetra Paks we'd opened for the shoot, and we'll be back to taste the results.

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