The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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THE MESSAGE Brief Encounters Whether The Tasting Panel goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world's most influential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it's in the publication, we deem it noteworthy. —Meridith May, Publisher & Editorial Director 14  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2016 I rvine, CA, may sound like an odd destination for a cool, shape-shifting cocktail lounge. Yet the city's notoriously milquetoast status actually makes it an ideal locale for YNK, the Ellis Adams Group's spot in the Irvine Marriott. The concept, whose fleshed-out name, "You Never Know," is one that's built on the premise of surprise—a cozy, colorful joint semi- hidden behind nondescript doors in a straight-laced business hotel. "It's not set up to be a speakeasy per se," explains Chris Adams, principle at Ellis Adams Group. "But its location lends itself to that type of environment, where people stumble upon it organically." When they hosted a media preview on June 17, the space carried a New Orleans motif, marked with Louis Armstrong's gruff staccato, giant TVs beaming a live feed of Bourbon Street and YNK Beverage Director Ravin Buzzell assembling perfectly thick- headed Ramos Gin Fizzes. The vibe's days were already numbered; two weeks after the preview, the theme was set to switch to South American for the rest of the summer, which means people may be gathering here to watch the Rio Olympics, Paloma in hand, while Sergio Mendes and Brasil '66 sambas in the background. According to Buzzell, YNK's evolv- ing themes connect locals and travelers alike with a surprising inner sense of self-discovery. "We're just giving customers an experience they didn't know they wanted." —Rich Manning Change Is Good Chris Adams, principle at Ellis Adams Group, the company behind YNK in Irvine, CA. Chris Adams, principle at Ellis Adams Group, the

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