The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 20 of 132

Tales Talk Proving Port At Tales of the Cocktail, it's no surprise that spirit brands are on full display. But snagging its share of the spotlight was Sandeman Port, which proved that port's more than just an after- dinner sipper by getting the mixology treatment in a series of cocktails served at legendary Bourbon Street eatery Galatoire's. "You can make great cocktails with Sandeman Port, and we want the world to know that," said George George Sandeman and David Gooch, Manager of Galatoire's New Orleans. Sandeman, seventh generation director of the venerable house, before leading a Sandeman Don tour, complete with cape-and-hat-wearing revelers, through the French Quarter. Bill York, Owner of Bitter End Bitters. Bitters Bliss With so many hot cocktails calling for bitters these days, the bitters business is booming. Offering their own unique and spicy take on bitters is The Bitter End Bitters, created by Bill York, who explains the inspiration for his flavorful line by saying, "I just like really intense flavors." From Mexican Mole and Jamaican Jerk, to Memphis BBQ, which is made from one pound of chipotle peppers per 80-or-so bottles, Bitter End bitters are substan- tial—and value- driven. "Because the flavors are so intense, you only need a tiny amount to add flavor," says York, who says that unlike other bitters, precise measurements are important—no "dashes" here! 20 / the tasting panel / september 2012 TALES OF THE COCKTAIL IS THE INDUSTRY'S MEETINGPLACE. HERE ARE SOME OF THE FACES WE CAUGHT UP WITH—AND HAD A COCKTAIL WITH—IN THE CRESCENT CITY story and photos by Rachel Burkons A Feverish Favorite Ask any bartender what their favorite tonic is, and there's an epidemic favor for the Fever— Fever-Tree premium mixers, that is! We caught up with Charles Rolls, co-founder of the brand, at Tales, where he told us that the cocktail revolution has highlighted the importance of a quality tonic. "There are all these fantastic gins, amazing whiskies, fantastic rums, and all of the spirit companies are hoping to have a mixer that can stand up. Three-quarters of the Charles Rolls co-founder of Fever-Tree. drink is the mixer—so you'd better have a good one." Good is an understatement with Fever-Tree: From the amazing things Bitter Lemon does for a quality gin, to the Ivory Coast–sourced Ginger Beer made from fresh green ginger, self-described "plant hunter" Rolls is on a mission to make your cocktail experience more pleasurable. Vying for Vodka While vodka producers continue to roll out flavor innovations to keep them- selves relevant, there is a segment of the vodka category that is focused on pure, unadulterated vodka. At the forefront of the luxury vodka market is Akvinta, a Croatian- made vodka that's Jeff Becker, President of Akvinta vodka. making big inroads in the U.S. We caught up with Jeff Becker, President of Akvinta USA, who tells us that the trade is definitely voting for vodka. "The industry has proven that vodka remains relevant," says Becker, "and being here meeting face-to-face with the trade shows that we are worthy of consid- eration at the bar—and the bartenders agree." See Rachel's complete Tales report on page 116.

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