The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2018

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Page 26 of 124

26  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2018 SIN CITY Sips A ll eyes were on Sin City during the recent Nightclub & Bar Convention and Trade Show, held at the Las Vegas Convention Center. And the show floor was exactly the spectacle you'd expect, showcasing everything from the latest in Bloody Mary mixes, hangover recovery and "precovery" aids, and spiked cold brew to acrylic glassware and reservations software. By night, the Strip's nightclubs entertained attendees, with a dozen industry honors (as well as four Vegas-specific nods) being awarded one evening at XS Nightclub in Encore Resort. But before any badges were donned or awards handed out, the action kicked off with an explosive BARMANIA 4 competition at Herbs & Rye. Proprietor Nectaly Mendoza queued up a Star Wars–esque intro video to introduce the 27 bartenders who traveled from across the nation and overseas to vie for bragging rights. Brands doled out cocktails and swag to the estimated 500-plus spectators who helped raise more than $20,000 for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. It's no surprise that Speed Rack Las Vegas 2016 champion Emily Yett took the prize with her combined speed and precision as she made eight drinks, poured a shot, and popped a beer bottle—all while dressed to slay as her alter ego "Sweaty Yeti" in a getup that screamed Jane Fonda–meets-GLOW-meets–American Gladiators. Meanwhile, back on the convention floor, BarMagic's Tobin Ellis—creator of the Tobin Ellis Signature Cocktail Station by Perlick—debuted his first line extension with the brand, a draft cocktail system that can be customized to hold either 5- or 10-gallon self-agitating, four-port Cornelius kegs. He also took to the stage to teach seminars on bar design and beverage program strategy. "The bar is the engine that drives every hospitality business; it's where the profit comes from," Ellis says. "The better the engine, the faster the business can go. And for far too long, bars have been designed by people who have no idea what real bartending is all about—so the stations are almost always wildly inefficient. I can't think of any aspect of designing or building a bar, club, hotel, or restaurant that is more important to health, happiness, or profitability than the bar. It's time bars were designed by people who actually use them." Xania V. Woodman has been writing and editing at the intersection of dining, beverage, and nightlife for 13 years. You'll either find her at the bar (and frequently behind it) or en route to her next beverage-centric travel destination. Follow her on Instagram at @SinCitizenX. by Xania V. Woodman BarMagic of Las Vegas' Tobin Ellis leads a workshop on bar design and beverage program strategy. CHARITABLE EVENTS AND COMPETITIONS DAZZLE DURING THIS YEAR'S NIGHTCLUB & BAR CONVENTION John Lermayer, Owner of Sweet Liberty in Miami, FL; Charlotte Voisey, Director of Brand Advocacy for William Grant & Sons USA; Tobin Ellis of BarMagic in Las Vegas, NV; and Ross Simon of Bitter & Twisted in Phoenix, FL. PHOTO: TE ANN LAKEOTES Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

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