The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 115 of 132

THE SPIRIT OF SPIRITS Thursday night was a magical evening of Spirited Dinners, where an intimate setting provided the perfect backdrop to celebrate and elevate the spirit. From the "Pink Pigeon Picnic," hosted at the legendary Degas House, where Brand Liaison Kate Grutman served up Ju-Ju Hurricanes to perfectly complement Creole food. SpeedRack founder/bartender Lynette Marrero's cocktail That Voodoo That You Do really put Pink Pigeon Rum on a pedestal. TALENTED To celebrate the 40th birthday of Sidney Frank, Sidney Frank Importing Company's Todd Richman (left) joined swizzles with NYC bartender Ivy Mix, Colorado 'tender Sean Kenyon and Portland's Sean Hoard. While Disaronno took over the New Orleans Wax Museum and brought in Love Boat bartender Isaac Washington to entertain the crowds, Sidney Frank ushered in its fourth decade of outstanding service with an intimate dinner that showcased the best of the portfolio. On Tales' final evening, the industry was honored at the sixth annual Spirited Awards, where Hendrick's Gin Brand Ambassador Jim Ryan was named "Best American Brand Ambassador," while L.A. hotspot The Varnish was voted "Best American Cocktail Bar" and Pierre Ferrand 1849 Original Formula Cognac was chosen "Best New Product," among other honors. TEAMWORK Tales is, if anything, a whirlwind of activity. With several events hap- pening concurrently in a variety of venues around the city, it takes some serious teamwork to make Tales tick. This is where the Tales Cocktail Apprentices come in: Following a rigorous application process, nearly 60 Apprentices, mostly bartenders in their non-Tales time, descend on New Orleans to do some serious behind-the-scenes work. From setting up and breaking down seminars, to batching cocktails and general show-running, the Cocktail Apprentice program is designed to TALES OF THE NON-COCKTAIL Although spirits are certainly front-and-center at Tales of the Cocktail, sig- nificant attention is paid to the variety of garnishes, mixers, bitters, bar tools and other cocktail components that help make your drink the best it can be. With seminars dedicated to bitters and syrups, purées and pickled products at every corner, Tales has definitely gone outside of the (alcohol) box. "There's been a massive renaissance in the cocktail industry, and that's been so apparent in the new spirit products we're seeing," said Daniel Singer, founder of Filthy Food, an ever- expanding garnish line that sponsored Tales because "everyone is there." "But for so long," continues Daniel, "garnish was left Daniel "Filthy" Singer and his Filthy lineup. behind. Everything was made for salads or desserts. But we're pioneering a new category that responds to what the industry wants, and although our products are great on their own, ultimately, they complement the spirit." Cari Hah, of L.A.'s Neat, and Jaymee Mandeville of Downtown L.A.'s Drago Centro, loved their Cocktail Apprentice experience. This photo was quickly snapped after they worked the "Dame Hall of Fame" lunch, en route to their next event. give participants hands-on experi- ence and behind-the-scenes access to the magic of Tales. "It's a whirlwind, yes," explains Cari Hah, Cocktail Apprentice who's behind the stick at L.A.'s Neat when she's not at Tales, "but it's worth it." Apprentice applications are due six months in advance, so stay tuned to for your chance to participate in the 2013 program. september 2012 / the tasting panel / 115 PHOTO: RACHEL BURKONS PHOTO: LUSHLIFE PRODUCTIONS PHOTO: RACHEL BURKONS

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