The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Theo Von Ungern-Sternberg A Beverage Manager, ZUMA Restaurant, Miami t six feet three inches, strapping U.K. native Theo Von Ungern- Sternberg may appear more suited for an outdoor outfi tter ad than behind the bar at Miami's ZUMA. But this enterprising fellow was at ZUMA London before he responded to an invitation to join the South Florida team. As Beverage Manager, Von Ungern-Sternberg is charged with keeping the spirits culture at ZUMA energized. ZUMA's clientele is a discriminating one: jet-setters who come by boat and land for out-of-body brunch experiences, meals that explode with fl avor and, of course, inventive cocktails. "We are fortunate here at ZUMA that our clientele are not so price-sensitive, and their choices in what they drink more often than not refl ect a refi ned and knowledgeable palate," says Von Ungern-Sternberg. "Higher end, luxury items are more the norm here, and it gives the bartenders a good range of products to be creative with." Von Ungern-Sternberg says he wants customers to have a wide range of choice but he does have limited space on the bar, requiring each spirit to merit its place on the shelf. "We have a good cross sec- tion of well recognized products for the consumer who knows what they want and plenty of small batch lesser known ones for the more adventurous drinker," he says. Theo Von Ungern-Sternberg. ZUMA also educates customers about the bar's generous shochu and saké offerings. "Shochu has become the new national drink of Japan—distilled not brewed, very different from saké, served straight up, on the rocks, warm, as a mixed drink, as the base of a cocktail or, in our case, fl avored," says Von Ungern- Sternberg. Sayoko Leto, ZUMA's licensed saké som- melier, is accredited by the Japanese Saké Sommelier Association. With nearly 100 premium sakés on ZUMA's saké list, Von Ungern-Sternberg says the ZUMA management team all are saké navigators accredited by the Saké Service Institute. "Our mixology team is equally as strong—multi-award-winning, creative, friendly people who strive to stay abreast of the most current techniques in mixology," says Von Ungern-Sternberg. He is partial to what he calls a "well-executed classic" and particularly Manhattan-style drinks. ZUMA, also a haven for oenophiles, begins bottle prices at around $40 but that can exceed the $5000 mark for a '95 Pétrus. "The bulk of our wine menu lies in the $50-$200 range and we have a good cross section representing all styles and regions at about 300 strong," says Von Ungern-Sternberg, who credits ZUMA Head Sommelier Trevor Mclachan and Jenny Wagoner for helping polish the list. —Kelly Merritt 130 / the tasting panel / october 2012 THE 1 2 3 4 5 "5" Alcohol in all its forms! The art and showmanship of making a cocktail. Working with like-minded people. Waking up every day and going to work without feeling like it's work. The anticipation of learning something new today. Theo Von Ungern-Sternberg's Five Pet Peeves 1 2 3 4 Untidy or wet bar tops. Arrogant bartenders. People who make excuses rather than take responsibility. Bar displays without correct tops, pour spouts not facing the same way, bottle labels not facing directly ahead. 5 Poorly made classics. LIST Theo Von Ungern-Sternberg's Top Five Faves PHOTO: KELLY MERRITT Taking Inventory with. . .

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