Bar Hacks

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Top Whisky-centric Bar Hacks Episodes

Top Whisky-centric Bar Hacks Episodes

by David Klemt

Golden podcast microphone

We’ve had the privilege of speaking with dozens of industry experts on the Bar Hacks podcast, including whisky distillers, brand reps, and bartenders.

So, to inspire you to pull out all the stops for your World Whisky Day promotion, we’ve rounded up twelve whisky-centric Bar Hacks episodes for your listening delight.


Episode 12

Co-host David Klemt (that’s me) of the Bar Hacks podcast chats with Jared Boller, Canadian National Whiskey Ambassador at Proximo Spirits. Tending bar gave him the opportunity to live, work and travel around the world.

At the time of this podcast, Boller represented brands like Bushmills and Proper No. Twelve at Proximo Spirits in Canada. On episode 12, Jared discusses his journey through the world of hospitality and how operators can benefit more from working with brand ambassadors.

Episode 25

One of our favorite people in the industry—and in life in general—popped by to speak with Bar Hacks. Megan Breier is one of the most engaging, entertaining and knowledgeable educators in the hospitality and spirits industries.

In this episode, Megan explains what sets Maker’s Mark apart from other bourbons, some of the amazing activations she’s executed, Private Selection, Maker’s 101, Margie Samuels’ contributions to the brand and industry, and more. Listen now!

Episode 28

Lyre’s Spirits crafts alcohol-free spirits that masterfully mimic their full-proof counterparts. Bar Hacks co-host David Klemt sits down with Lyre’s brand ambassador, bartender and buddy Tim Rita to chat about the brand.

On episode 28 you’ll learn about one of the fastest-growing brands in one of the fastest-growing beverage categories. How is an alcohol-free brand relevant on World Whisky Day? Lyre’s makes American Malt, a zero-proof take on bourbon.

Episode 31

Ted Fleming, entrepreneur and CEO and founder of Partake Brewing, stops by to discuss the founding of the alcohol-free beer brand, the importance and growth of the non-alcohol beer category, how operators can succeed with non-alc, advice for entrepreneurs, and more.

Given the importance of low- and no-proof drink options to bar operations, Partake Brewing pairs well with brands like Lyre’s to make sober-friendly Boilermakers. Listen to this episode here.

Episode 32

Woodford Reserve brand ambassador Michael Toscano stops by to talk about the Kentucky Derby, crafting the perfect Mint Julep, maximizing the operator-brand-rep relationship, and more. Check it out now!

Episode 39

Anthony “Terry” Bohlinger, national brand ambassador for new William Grant & Sons whiskey brand Fistful of Bourbon, drops by Bar Hacks. Terry talks about launching a brand during a pandemic, representing an irreverent brand that doesn’t take itself too seriously, the hilarious videos Fistful of Bourbon created to introduce the brand, lessons learned during his journey in hospitality, and more. Listen here!

Episode 50

In our 50th episode, Travis explains the difference between a dive bar and a neighborhood bar, and notes that both Nickel City locations are “anytime bars” that welcome everyone. He also shares his hospitality journey, which saw him go from Buffalo, NY, to Florida, Las Vegas, and ultimately Texas; tips for staying on brand; hiring and retaining team members; how the hospitality industry is the entertainment industry; supporting the community during a crazy winter storm; location scouting; how there’s no better time to open a bar or restaurant than right now; and much more.

Nickel City is known for an incredible range of whiskeys, monthly whiskey specials, and specialty Boilermaker combinations. Listen to episode 50 now.

Episode 52

Lynn House, national spirits specialist and portfolio mixologist for Heaven Hill, drops by Bar Hacks to speak with host David Klemt about the second annual Old Fashioned Week.

Lynn and David also discuss bourbon, rye, hospitality, building balanced cocktails, and how trust plays a role in educating guests so you and your team can introduce them to new drinks and experiences. Listen now!

Episode 59

Whiskey expert, spirits judge, and sommelier Theo Rutherford stops by the Bar Hacks podcast to talk about Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon, a prominent addition to the Deutsch Family of wine and spirits. Rutherford shares the Bib & Tucker brand story, what sets the brand apart from other bourbons, and why the 6 Year expression appeals to all categories of whiskey drinkers. He also shares tips for tasting bourbon, including how easily Bib & Tucker wins over non-whiskey drinkers.

Listen now to learn why Theo wants you to smell everything and stop swirling your whiskey at tastings.

Episode 63

David Vitale, founder of Starward Whisky, shares his journey into whisky distillation and how craft beer brewing plays a significant role. The two also discuss Australian whisky, making inroads throughout North America, and why Starward expressions work so well with food and food programs.

In this episode you’ll also find out which Starward whisky David Vitale calls the “Swiss Army knife of whiskies,” which makes the perfect Manhattan, Starward Solera, and more.

Episode 71

Glendalough Distillery co-founder, national brand ambassador, and bottlewasher Donal O’Gallachoir comes on the podcast to explain what makes the distillery’s whiskey and gin “remarkably different.” Ever since they opened their doors, Glendalough has been on a mission to honor Irish distilling heritage and returning Irish whiskey and gin to the top of their respective spirits categories.

Donal also shares the details of Glendalough’s newest release: batch number one of 7 Years Mizunara Finish. Listen now!

Episode 74

David Vitale, founder of Starward Whisky, returns from Australia and returns to the Bar Hacks podcast! The Australian whisky producer took home an incredible amount of medals from the 2022 San Francisco World Spirits Competition. David tells host David Klemt what it was like to see the final award tally, how the Starward team reacted, and dove into the mission and vision of Starward Whisky.

The two also discuss the award-winning expressions that are either already available in the US or on their way to American shores. David shares the details of the Fortis, Octave Barrels, Unexpeated, and Dolce expressions. And for the single-barrel lovers out there, David also dives into the magic behind single barrel bottlings Nos. 684, 3278, and 4539. It’s exciting to learn about the expressions joining Two-Fold, Nova, Solera, and Ginger Beer Cask #6. Listen to episode 74 here!

Image: Amr Taha™ on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC 2022 Agenda and Tickets Now Live

Tales of the Cocktail 2022 Conference Agenda and Tickets Now Available

by David Klemt

Greetings from NOLA artwork

The time is now to grab your Tales of the Cocktail tickets and plan your trip to New Orleans for the last week of July.

Not only are tickets available for purchase via this link right now, you can also check out the schedule here.

Of particular note is the amount of complimentary programming available to 20th anniversary TOTC attendees.

Free to Attend

Attendees will have access to several activations and workshops that are free to attend.

Beginning Sunday, complimentary programming is available throughout the week. For example, the Day of Service on Sunday, July 24 is free attend and a way to give back.

Also on Sunday, the 11th annual Pig & Punch Volunteer Day of Service. This is another opportunity for those in the industry to do some good in the NOLA community.

The return of Pig & Punch was mentioned by an excited Lola Thomas on episode 72 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

On Monday, all attendees can attend the keynote address; Diversity Distilled Career Fair; the Welcome to Wellness! therapeutic stretch and self-massage session; and “#FromTheBarToTheFarm” sustainability workshop.

There are several more workshops—such as “Safe Bars: Crafting a New Culture of Safety and Respect” and the immersive “Mind Full” experience—that are free to attend on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Incredible Activations

More reasons to plan your trip around an action-packed Sunday? Speed Rack Redemption, the National Tequila Day Pool Party at the Royal Sonesta, and Ode to the Bowl.

The rest of the week is absolutely packed. From workshops to seminars, cocktail tours to tasting rooms, and all manner of activations, parties, and events in between, the 20th anniversary celebration of Tales of the Cocktail will be an experience to remember.

On the subject of cocktail tours, there are eight such experiences available during this year’s Tales. For example, attendees can register and secure tickets for Hunting Down the Sazerac, Downriver: Bars Beyond the French Quarter, the Big Gay Bar Tour, and Bourbon Street and How it Got that Way.

Learn More

To be honest, there’s simply too much going on at this year’s TOTC to list here. The sheer number of workshops, seminars, and activations must be checked out online.

And that’s to say nothing of the industry icons that will be presenting seminars and workshops, and hosting activations and special events.

Simply put, there’s programming for everyone. Health and wellness? Yes. Furthering your career? Absolutely. Perfecting technique and tasting new products? Of course. Business, culture, advocacy, diversity, inclusion, equity… Check, check, check, check, check, check!

We hope to see you at Tales of the Cocktail 2022! Be sure to check out the agenda and grab your tickets today.

Image: mana5280 on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Hiring Struggles? Engage These Age Groups

Hiring Struggles? Engage These Age Groups

by David Klemt

Chef plating greens on plates

Staff turnover rates are still above pre-pandemic levels and there’s no silver bullet solution. However, two companies have some helpful advice.

Both Service Management Group and Technomic shared their tips during Restaurant Leadership Conference. Interestingly, each company has a different approach to the current hospitality industry labor problem.

In short, both SMG and Technomic advise operators to engage with vastly different age groups. However, they each have information that supports their recommendations.

Service Management Group

Jennifer Grimes, senior vice president of client services for Service Management Group, co-presented a session with Jim Thompson, COO of Chicken Salad Chick.

SMG is a software-with-a-service platform that seeks to the employee, customer, and brand experience. One crucial element of the company’s mission is the reduction of staff turnover.

During the RLC session, Grimes shared several years of hospitality turnover rates:

  • 2017: 72%
  • 2018: 75%
  • 2019: 79%
  • 2020: 130%
  • 2021: 86%

First, some context. The general consensus is that the industry’s average turnover rate has been between 70 and 80 percent for close to a decade. However, in comparison to other industries—10 to 15 percent—that’s stratospherically high.

Secondly, the turnover rate has been on rise since before the pandemic. Per some sources, the rate jumped from 66 percent in 2014 to 72 percent in 2015, a trend that continues to this day.

For SMG, the age group operators should seek to engage—generally speaking, of course—is 25 to 34 years old. Per the SWaS platform, this group was the most engaged pre-pandemic.

One reason for SMG’s suggestion is that Boomers appear to opting out of the workforce.

During the presentation by Grimes and Thompson, the latter shared that Chicken Salad Chick predicts the 2022 turnover rate to be just slightly above the 2019 rate.


Unsurprisingly, Technomic had some numbers to share during RLC 2022 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Per data provided by Joe Pawlak and Richard Shank, 70 percent of operators are still struggling with labor. Recruiting, hiring, and retaining staff doesn’t appear to be getting any easier four months into 2022.

Technomic also pointed out that the US saw the lowest population growth in its history last year: 0.1 percent.

Additionally, almost 17 percent of the country’s population is now at least 65 years old. In 2019, 48 percent of people 55 or older retired. That number is now just over 50 percent for the same age group.

Nearly seven million American consumers turn 60 each year, while four million turn 70 or older.

Logically, one may assume that Technomic is saying a significant portion of the US population is leaving the workforce. So, it’s best to focus on the same age group as SMG recommends.

However, Technomic is recommending a different strategy. Per Pawlak and Shank, retirees (mostly ages 55 and up) tend to have valuable managerial skills and experience.

Obviously, those skills and all that experience can be of great benefit to operators and our industry.

Certainly, all groups should be engaged by operators seeking to recruit, hire, and develop their teams. So, as KRG Hospitality sees recruitment, operators should craft targeted, authentic messaging that appeals to each age group.

Image: Sebastian Coman Photography from Pexels

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Código 1530 Pursuing Low-waste Initiatives

Código 1530 Pursuing Low-waste Initiatives

by David Klemt

Blue Weber agave plant in Tequila, Mexico

Tequila Código 1530 is making the upcycling of the agave they use a cornerstone of the brand’s sustainability efforts.

Some agave growers and tequila producers the plant as mulch, fertilizer, and biofuel. Bagasse, the fibrous material distillers separate from agave piñas, along with the leaves, is composted and used to fertilize agave fields.

While not common, some distillers will even take other producers’ agave bagasse and leaves to compost it.

However, Código 1530 is now doing even more with their agave.

Agave Sustainability

According to some in the spirits and hospitality industries, tequila may end vodka’s dominance in the US this year. Obviously, this would be the result of an increase in consumer demand.

Well, that necessitates an increase in production. So, it follows that agave growers have motivation to grow and harvest as much mature agave as possible.

However, it takes about eight years for some agave plants to mature. Others take more than ten years. For some rarer species, maturation takes twelve years or more.

Of course, production leads to waste. In simple terms, that’s the problem producers must solve.

One definition of “sustainability” is striking an ecological balance that preserves natural resources. For tequila production in particular, this means finding ways to meet consumer demand while harvesting agave reponsibly.

While composting and mulching is a great idea, Código 1530 sees the need to take things further.

More than Mulch

We’ve probably all been given at least one drink served with a paper straw. Unfortunately, that means most of us know how quickly that experience can become less than enjoyable.

Even some of the best-made paper straws can turn soggy long before a drink is finished. On the operator side, that’s not great for the guest experience, to say nothing of the costs associated with stocking paper straws.

However, some operators and their guests are willing to stick with paper straws to be sustainable. That’s admirable but there may be a better way, and it involves agave.

“We quickly realized that after harvesting agave to distill Código 1530 Tequila, the remaining agave was only being used as mulch to top our soil for future plants or burned as a fuel source,” explains George Strait. “We are still using some of the excess agave fiber as mulch, and now have begun producing straws and cups in a sustainable and eco-friendly manner.”

Strait, as some may know, is an investor in Código 1530. A lesser-known fact is that Strait graduated Texas State University (formerly known as Southwest Texas State University) with a degree in agriculture.

“This is a lifesaving program for sea life affected by plastic pollution,” says Strait of Código 1530’s new agave sustainability efforts.

Unlike paper straws, agave straws don’t get soggy or deform. Additionally, they can be thrown out in normal trash after use as they’re biodegradable.

However, this agave initiative doesn’t end with straws. Código 1530 is also making agave fiber cups, coffee cups, cocktail shakers, and shot glasses.


To celebrate Earth Day and their sustainability efforts, Código 1530 has created the drink below.

Codigo 1530 low waste tequila cocktail

Image: Amir Shafii, Código 1530

  • 1.5 oz. Código 1530 Blanco
  • 3 oz. Bergamot tea
  • 0.75 oz. Lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Lavender simple syrup
  • Lavender sprig to garnish

Housemade simple cuts down on the waste associated with producing and shipping bottles of syrup. To make the lavender simple syrup, bring one cup of water and one cup of sugar to a boil. Add ten sprigs of lavender while water and sugar are boiling, let cool, then strain. For this low-waste cocktail build, add all ingredients and ice to a shaker. Shake, then strain into a Collins glass with ice. Garnish with a sprig of lavender.

Image: BRUNO EMMANUELLE on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC Launches New Philanthropic Committee

TOTC Launches New Philanthropic Committee

by David Klemt

New Orleans, Louisiana, architecture in the French Quarter

Continuing their growth and commitment to supporting the spirits and hospitality industries, Tales of the Cocktail announces a new committee.

Formerly known as the Grants Committee, this committee will act as an advisory board to TOTC Foundation. In this capacity, the new Philanthropy & Development Committee will guide decisions regarding the TOTCF’s portfolio of philanthropic endeavors.

In launching the Philanthropy & Development Committee, the TOTCF is responding directly to the needs of the spirits community.

Commitment to Philanthropy

Supporting the industry is a TOTCF cornerstone. This commitment was supercharged when the Solomon Group and Neal Bodenheimer, Jr. took over in 2018.

Upon purchasing the rights, the Solomon family and Bodenheimer, Jr. transformed TOTC into a non-profit. Since then, the organization has developed ways to benefit New Orleans and the spirits and hospitality industries.

One major avenue of support came by way of the TOTCF Grants Committee. Their mission was straightforward and lofty: “to support nascent or existing programs, non-profit organizations, and individuals developing a specific project that will impact the global hospitality community present day and beyond.”

In selecting recipients, the Grants Committee reviewed submissions. Recipients needed to support the TOTCF’s core pillars with a focus on diversity, representation, and inclusivity: Advancement, education, and support.

One such recipient that exemplifies the Grant Committee’s work is Turning Tables. From their website:

“Turning Tables advocates for equity in the hospitality industry by providing mentorship, educational tools, and platforms for exposure in a system of support for the black and brown communities of New Orleans.”

New Name, Bigger Mission

To be clear, the Philanthropy & Development Committee is still offering grants. However, the past two years saw the expansion of the Grants Committee’s mission.

In addition to grants, the committee:

  • provided direct relief to industry professionals;
  • entered into more non-profit partnerships;
  • boosted the number of Beyond the Bar activations;
  • engaged in advocacy and policy efforts;
  • and expanded mental health and wellness capabilities.

Given the evolution of the committee’s work, transforming to the Philanthropy & Development Committee better communicates the mission.

“I’m really excited about this new era of the committee,” says Philanthropy & Development Committee co-chair Kellie Thorn. “While grant-giving will still be a focus, we will now have the opportunity to diversify the way that we serve the drinks community as well as continue to provide thoughtful insight to the Foundation about our industry.”

Continental Drift and Drift Kitchen owner Eric Bennett co-chairs the committee alongside consultant and educator Thorn. The eleven current committee members are:

  • Tiffanie Barriere
  • Chris Cabrera
  • Claudia Cabrera
  • Samuel Jimenez
  • Nandini Khaund
  • Yisell Muxo
  • Lisa Nguyen
  • Chris Patino
  • Vivian Pei
  • Kelsey Ramage
  • Morgan Schick

To learn more about the Philanthropy & Development Committee, click here.

Image: Aya Salman on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Single Malts for International Whiskey Day

5 Single Malts for International Whiskey Day

by David Klemt

Bottles of Glendalough Distillery 7 Year Old Mizunara Finish on top of a barrel

In case it isn’t yet obvious, March is full of an array of wonderful cocktail and spirits holidays perfect for restaurants and bar promotions.

So, it’s pretty impressive that we can end this month with International Whiskey Day. Or, if you prefer, International Whisky Day.

Wondering which you should use, “whiskey” or “whisky”? Well, there’s a (mostly) accepted method for distinguishing the two.

As some spirits aficionados and historians explain it, if a country has the letter “E” in its name, so should the word “whiskey.” No “E”? Then it’s “whisky.”

Or, and this may be controversial, you can just use whichever you prefer. Or perhaps use the spelling that’s on your favorite label. Alternately, if executing a promotion with a sponsor, ask their preference and use it.

At any rate, we all get to celebrate uisce beatha (Irish) or uisge beatha (Scottish) on Sunday, March 27.

Below you’ll find some suggestions for bottles to showcase on International Whisk(e)y Day. Cheers!

American Whiskey

Obviously, there’s a glaring issue with trying to choose a single bottle of whiskey to represent the US. In short, there are dozens (at a minimum) of bottles from which to choose.

So, to make things easier (on me, I suppose), I’m limiting this list to single malts. Look, I had to draw a line somewhere.

Honestly, this doesn’t make things incredibly simple. You may find it surprising to learn that the US has the American Single Malt Whiskey Commission (ASMWC). Not only that, but the commission has nearly 100 members.

To promote and protect American single malt, the ASMWC defines this whiskey as:

  • made from 100-percent malted barley;
  • produced at one distillery;
  • mashed, distilled and matured in the US;
  • matured in 700-liter or smaller oak casks;
  • distilled to no more than 160 proof (80-percent ABV); and
  • bottled at 80 proof or more (40-percent ABV).

There are, thankfully, several dozen bottles to choose from to represent American single malt whiskey. For my list, I’m selecting Westward American Single Malt Whiskey Cask Strength.

Produced in Portland, OR, this double-gold winner is the 125-proof version of Westward’s original single malt whiskey. Bold, assertive, rich, and complex, this bottle embodies this American whiskey category.

Canadian Whisky

When it comes to whisky, Canada is known for its blends. Canada’s whiskey world is also known for bold but smooth rye.

However, there are distillers paying homage to their Scottish roots and traditions. These masters of their craft are working hard to put single-malt Canadian whiskies on the map.

In particular, craft distillers in Vancouver are producing single malts that deserve the world’s time and attention.

Now, when it comes to Canadian single malt, I’m a neophyte. However, I believe you and your guests will appreciate my selection.

Commodore Canadian Single Malt Whisky is crafted by Odd Society Spirits. The distillery is located in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Compellingly, Commodore is produced with malted barley grown in BC. Weighing in at 92 proof, expect pepper and tobacco on the palate, balanced with dark fruit and sweetness.

Irish Whiskey

Another country known for its blends is Ireland. Jameson, Bushmills, Red Breast, Powers… Each distillery produces world-famous, revered blends.

However, Ireland crafted several styles of whiskey over the course of many centuries. Single malts were certainly among them.

Of course, that style fell to wayside as the thousands of distilleries in Ireland shut down decades ago. Luckily, some modern-era distilleries are tapping into centuries of Irish distillation history.

Among these is Glendalough Distillery, our guest for episode 71 of the Bar Hacks podcast. Co-founder Donal O’Gallachoir reveals their latest expression, an Irish single malt finished in exceedingly rare Japanese mizunara casks.

So, for my Irish single malt selection, I choose Glendalough 7-Year-Old Mizunara Finished. You can learn more about this bottle and Glendalough listening to the podcast linked above or reading this article.

Scottish Whisky

If it’s difficult to choose just one American single malt whiskey, it’s nearly impossible to land on only a single single malt Scotch.

Do I choose the highest age statement (and an immense price tag)? Is the smart move the “most accessible” bottle? A peat monster?

What about the most traditional bottle? The most experimental? In the end, I opted for a single malt whisky that falls into the latter category.

At this point, we expect to see Oloroso sherry, port, and bourbon cask finishes. What’s a bit more unusual is a rum cask finish.

So, I’m going with the Balvenie Caribbean Cask. This 14-year-old single malt spends 14 years maturing in American oak casks. Then, it’s finished in ex-rum barrels.

The result is a unique and compelling whisky with notes of banana, cocoa, brown sugar, fresh fruit, and toffee.

Australian Whisky

When he started Starward, founder David Vitale had one mission: Craft the whisky that would come to define the entire category. No pressure.

To accomplish this mission, Vitale and company aim to capture Australia’s terroir in every bottle of every expression.

Their barley is sourced in Australian. Local malt masters (malters? maltsters?) malt said barley. The yeast comes from local Australian brewers.

And it doesn’t stop there. Any ingredient used to craft Starward Whisky must be within one day’s drive of the distillery. That distillery is located in Melbourne.

Why Melbourne? Because it’s the Foodie Capital of Australia. Why does that matter? Because Starward is also meant to be enjoyed with food.

You can learn more about Starward and David Vitale on episode 63 of Bar Hacks.

So, which bottle did I choose? Starward’s very first whisky, the single malt Starward Solera. If you and your guests want to experience Australian single malt, this is where to start.

You really can’t go wrong with any of these bottles. If you’re celebrating International Whiskey Day, life is great. Enjoy!

Image: Glendalough Distillery

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Dame Hall of Fame Nominations Open!

Dame Hall of Fame Nominations Now Open!

by David Klemt

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation Dame Hall of Fame luncheon

Now in its tenth year, nominations are open for the Dame Hall of Fame, honoring individuals who have a positive impact on hospitality.

In particular, the Dame Hall of Fame recognizes people who move accessibility and intersectionality forward.

The Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) and Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC) are accepting nominations until March 30. Currently, there are 42 DHOF members.

On July 29, three inspirational and influential Dames will join their peers. These three individuals will be inducted into the DHOF at the Ritz-Carlton New Orleans.

To nominate a potential inductee, please complete this form.

“We are so proud to be entering our tenth year of Dame Hall of Fame, which has become one of the most revered recognitions of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation,” says TOTCF CEO Eileen Wayner. “The collective magnitude of the Dames is unparalleled, and it is truly our honor to gather such a talented group of individuals, while inducting newcomers who are making a lasting impact on the hospitality community.”

Co-chairs Overseeing Process

The Dame Hall of Fame was first established in 2012. Since then, nearly four dozen of the most influential individuals have been inducted.

More than just an honor, the DHOF encourages continued mentorship. DHOF members seek to further diversity, inclusivity, and equity within the cocktail and hospitality communities.

In 2022, for the first time, two members will co-chair the DHOF. They will each take on this role for a two-term, effective immediately.

Additionally, the co-chairs will oversee this year’s DHOF nomination process. Learn more about each co-chair below.

Kirsten “Kitty” Amann

Kitty has more than fifteen years of experience in the beverage industry as a brand ambassador, cocktail book author, podcaster, publicist, bartender, and spirits writer. She is the New England Market Manager for Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey and author of Drinking Like Ladies: 75 Modern Cocktails from the World’s Leading Female Bartenders.
In her roles, she is honored to share untold stories of greatness and help the truth find the light. Kitty is a founding member of the Boston chapters of Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails (LUPEC Boston) and the U.S. Bartenders Guild. As a frequent speaker on the history of women behind the bar and in the spirits industry, and has presented at Tales of the Cocktail, The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Portland Cocktail Week, San Antonio Cocktail Conference, San Francisco Cocktail Week, Speed Rack Academy, and at the Smithsonian. 
Kitty has taught yoga in Boston and around the world since 2010. She was among the first in the industry to introduce movement and breathwork to fellow bartenders, servers, and brand ambassadors to support their careers, and has presented at Tales of the Cocktail, The Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Portland Cocktail Week, and for local restaurants and USBG chapters.

Tiffanie Barriere

The bartender’s bartender, Barriere is an influencer and educator who has been awarded some of the beverage industry’s highest honors. The Bar Smart graduate, she is a Tastemakers of the South award-winner who spent seven years as the beverage director of One Flew South, the “Best Airport Bar in the World.”
As an independent bartender, she is known for creative and innovative cocktail menus for pop-dinners and bar consultancy clients, hosting mixology classes around the nation, and connecting culinary and farm culture with spirits. As a leader, she is a member of the Tales of the Cocktail Grants Committee, the James Beard Beverage Advisory Board, and a member of the Atlanta chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier.
Barriere and her cocktails have been featured in such publications as Imbibe Magazine (print and online), Forbes, Essence, The Bitter Southerner, Cherry Bomb Magazine, Washington Post, Eater, VinePair, Food Republic, and Garden & Gun.
In 2020, Tiffanie was featured on Food Network’s The Kitchen, honored as the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Dame Hall of Fame U.S. Inductee, along with the cover photo of Imbibe Magazine for the “Top 75” issue. The Louisiana-Texas native is the trustworthy mentor of some of the best bartenders and mixologists in the world. Tiffanie’s main goal is education, service and fun with every pour.

Nomination Criteria

In 2022, the three inductees will receive individual awards. There will be a United States inductee, an international inductee, and a Pioneer Award inductee.

Woodford Reserve will present the first two inductees, while The Blend will present the Pioneer Award.

The criteria for nominations is below, provided by the TOTCF:

DHOF US and International Inductees Presented by Woodford Reserve:

In addition to being a woman, non-binary or trans individual, to be considered to be inducted into the US DHOF, nominees must:

  • be a person whose professional and personal accomplishments have shaped the beverage landscape and provide visible models of achievement for tomorrow’s leaders;
  • serve as a leader and mentor; and
  • reside in the United States of America.

In addition to being a woman, non-binary or trans individual, to be considered to be inducted into the International DHOF, nominees must:

  • be a person whose professional and personal accomplishments have shaped the beverage landscape and provide visible models of achievement for tomorrow’s leaders;
  • serve as a leader and mentor; and
  • reside outside of the United States of America.

The Pioneer Award by The Blend:

This award recognizes an individual who has encouraged mentorship and contributed to making the hospitality industry equitable and inclusive by working to remove barriers as it pertains to gender identity, race, religion, and socioeconomic status.

The Pioneer Award, which was named for hospitality trailblazer and New Orleanian Ruth Fertel, will be announced on June 21 in conjunction with the TOTCF Spirited Awards. The recipient of the Pioneer Award will also be inducted into the DHOF during the July 29 Induction Ceremony.

Click here to nominate an individual today!

Image: Corey James Photo

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

8 Glendalough Distillery Cocktail Recipes

8 Glendalough Distillery Cocktail Recipes

by David Klemt

Glendalough Distillery Wild Gin Irish gin

Offer your guests something different for your St. Patrick’s Day promotion with Glendalough Distillery cocktail recipes.

Without a doubt, you should have plenty of the expected Irish whiskeys on hand. However, Glendalough Distillery Double Barrel, Pot Still, Wild Gin, and Rose Gin are extraordinary Irish whiskeys and gins.

Each spirit the distillery crafts honors the art of Irish distillation, a craft that stretches back centuries. What’s more, each whiskey Glendalough crafts is single malt—there are no light-bodied blends in their lineup.

To learn more, check out episode 71 of the Bar Hacks podcast with Glendalough Distillery co-founder and national brand ambassador Donal O’Gallachoir.


Glendalough Distillery Double Barrel Single Malt Irish Whiskey

The Lough Inn

This highball is made with Glendalough Double Barrel, a single-grain Irish whiskey aged in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in Oloroso sherry casks.

  • 2 oz. Glendalough Double Barrel Single Grain Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz. Spiced honey syrup (see note)
  • 1 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • Soda to top
  • Lemon wheel or slice to garnish
  • Mint leaf to garnish
  • 1 cup Honey for spiced honey syrup
  • 0.5 cup Water for spiced honey syrup
  • 4 Cinnamon sticks for spiced honey syrup
  • 1 pod Star anise for spiced honey syrup

Add ice to a highball glass, then add first three ingredients. Top with soda water. Garnish with lemon wheel or slice and freshly torn mint leaf.

For spiced honey syrup: Add honey, water, cinnamon sticks, and star anise to pot. Bring to a boil, then stir. Strain into container.

Glendalough Distillery Pot Still single malt Irish whiskey

Pot Still Highball

Deceptively simple to build, this cocktail highlights the terroir of the land surrounding Glendalough Distillery.

  • 1.5 oz. Glendalough Pot Still
  • Soda to top
  • Grapefruit peel to garnish
  • Mint leaf to garnish (freshly torn and slapped, of course)

Prepare a highball glass with an ice shard, spear or cylinder. Pour in Glendalough Pot Still whiskey, then top with soda. Glendalough Distillery recommends a 1:2 ratio, Pot Still to soda. Garnish with mint leaf.

Glendalough Distillery Wild Gin Negroni cocktail

Glendalough Negroni

The foraged botanicals in Glendalough Wild Gin add even more complexity and depth to the classic Negroni. In fact, the flavors work so well this recipe maintains the Negroni’s crucial 1:1:1 ratio.

Prepare an Old Fashioned with ice. Add first three ingredients to glass in the above order. Add more ice if necessary. Stir, express orange peel, and place as garnish.

Glendalough Distillery Wild Gin Irish gin

Glendalough Wicklow 75

Bubbles make everything better and everyone happier.

Add all ingredients to shaker. Add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into Champagne flute, top with Prosecco, and garnish with lemon twist.

Glendalough Distillery Rose Gin Irish gin and cocktails

Glendalough Rose G&T

This simple classic receives a huge visual and aromatic boost from Glendalough Rose Gin.

  • 2 oz. Glendalough Rose Gin
  • Tonic to top (the higher the quality, the better)
  • Lime slice
  • Mint leaves

Add ice to glass, then add Rose Gin. Top with tonic, and garnish with lime slice and mint leaves.

Glendalough Distillery Rose Gin Fizz

Glendalough Rose Gin Fizz

One way to elevate the highball is to use a striking pink-hued Irish gin.

  • 1.5 oz. Glendalough Rose Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Elderflower liqueur
  • Raspberry & Lime sparkling water to top
  • Lime wheel to garnish

Add ice (spear, shard or cylinder for impact), Rose Gin, and liqueur to highball glass. Stir, then add sparkling water to top. Garnish with lime wheel.


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Glendalough Rose Collins

Boost the classic Collins with Glendalough’s striking rose-petal gin.

  • 1.5 oz. of Glendalough Rose Gin
  • 1 oz. of Lemon juice (freshly squeezed)
  • 0.5 oz. of Sugar syrup (1:1 ratio, hot water to sugar)
  • Soda to top
  • Lemon peel to garnish
  • Cherry to garnish

Combine first three ingredients in a shaker with a cup of ice. Place an ice shard, spear or cylinder to a highball glass. Shake until well chilled, then strain into glass. Top with soda, and garnish with lemon peel and cherry.

Glendalough Distillery Rose Gin Hibiscus Rose

Glendalough Hibiscus Rose

Refreshing and flavorful, the hibiscus tea syrup plays incredibly well with Glendalough Rose Gin.

  • 1.5 oz. Glendalough Rose Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Hibiscus tea syrup (see note)
  • 0.5 oz. Lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
  • Prosecco to top
  • Dehydrated lemon wheel to garnish
  • Rose petals to garnish
  • 33 oz. Water for hibiscus tea syrup
  • 16 oz. Sugar for hibiscus tea syrup

Add first three ingredients and ice to a shaker. Shake until well chilled and double strain into a coupe.  Top with Prosecco, and garnish with dehydrated lemon wheel and rose petals.

For the hibiscus tea syrup: Steep seven hibiscus tea bags in 33 ounces of water for 15 minutes. Add 16 ounces of sugar.

Images & Recipes: Glendalough Distillery

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Heritage & Innovation: Glendalough

Heritage & Innovation: Glendalough Distillery

by David Klemt

Glendalough Distillery 7 Years Mizunara single malt Irish whiskey and glasses

Glendalough Distillery’s five founders are on a mission to honor Ireland’s rich distilling history and heritage.

As Bar Hacks guest Donal O’Gallachoir describes them, the whiskeys Glendalough crafts are remarkably different. O’Gallachoir, co-founder, national brand ambassador, and cheeky bottlewasher, aims to elevate Irish spirits.

More accurately, Glendalough’s founders want to return Irish whiskey to its rightful, historic place. That place? Among the top whiskeys in the world.

As you’ll learn, Glendalough will elevate your St. Patrick’s Day menu. In fact, these whiskeys and gins will elevate your entire menu, period.

Centuries of History

On episode 71 of Bar Hacks, O’Gallachoir briefly but compellingly shares Irish whiskey’s story. As he tells it, it was once estimated Irish whiskey accounted for up to 90 percent of world whiskey consumption.

That’s easy to believe when you factor in how Irish whiskey production can be traced back to at least the sixth century. There’s also the fact that Irish distillers were crafting, as O’Gallachoir puts it, “a wealth of styles.”

Unfortunately, a terrible string of wars—literal and economic—all but eradicated Ireland’s distilleries. When I say eradicated, I mean that when Glendalough Distillery opened in 2011, it became the fourth or fifth distillery in the country.

There used to be 200 licensed distilleries in the country, along with around 1,800 unlicensed distilleries. For decades of the 20th century, there were only two to three licensed distilleries in operation.

So, it makes sense that consumers outside of Ireland think the country produces only one style of whiskey: Irish. Meaning, light-bodied, sweet, and meant to be thrown back as a shot.

O’Gallachoir is well aware of the compelling paradox of modern Irish distillation. If the blended style of Irish whiskey most people know today hadn’t kept the industry alive, Glendalough and its expressions may not exist today.

Distillation Innovation

All Glendalough whiskeys are single malt and chill filtered. This stands in stark contrast to blended Irish whiskeys, the current dominant (modern) style.

Glendalough is, to oversimplify it, honoring centuries of Irish whiskey production. Single-malt Irish whiskey was what we would now label super- or ultra-premium. The difference between Irish and Scotch whiskey was the latter’s smoked, peated profile. The former was once preferred worldwide.

Glendalough is dedicated to crafting super-premium Irish whiskey. Doing so means they don’t make things easy on themselves.

Glendalough Distillery Double Barrel single grain Irish whiskey

Let’s start with Glendalough’s Double Barrel expression.

As the name suggests, this whiskey is finished twice. First, it’s aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Second, it’s matured in Oloroso sherry casks. Eschewing blends, Glendalough studies the science of different types of barrels to craft its styles.

Glendalough Distillery Pot Still single malt Irish whiskey

Of course, they also honor Irish distilling heritage through another expression: Glendalough Pot Still. To say no other style of whiskey embodies Irish production like pot still doesn’t do this distillation method justice.

In fact, Irish pot still whiskey is geographically protected; it can only be crafted in Ireland. However, when it comes to honoring Ireland, Pot Still doesn’t end there.

Glendalough initially ages Pot Still in ex-bourbon barrels. However, it’s finished in Irish oak. Truly, this expression captures the terroir of the mountainous region Glendalough calls home.

In other words, Pot Still is a super-premium taste of Ireland in a bottle.

And then there’s the distillery’s newest expression.

The Red String of Fate

About two weeks ago, Glendalough released their latest innovation: 7-Year-Old Single Malt Mizunara Finish.

7-Year-Old Single Malt Mizunara Finish in Wicklow, Ireland

Whiskey aficionados will recognize mizunara instantly and begin scheming to add this bottle to their collections.

Mizunara, Japanese oak, is renowned for several reasons. The wood imparts incredible flavors unlike those from other barrels. But, like all things rare and magical, mizunara is also incredibly challenging.

The challenges begin with the trees themselves, which can take hundreds of years to grow fully. This oak doesn’t grow straight, so crafting even one stave can be difficult.

Then there’s the water content. Mizunara translates to “water oak,” and it’s not an ironic nickname. The water content of mizunara is sky high, and it’s also highly porous.

It takes fantastic skill and experience for coopers to craft mizunara barrels that don’t crack or leak. To learn more, please click here to hear O’Gallachoir tell the story of Glendalough traveling to Hokkaido in Japan to form a relationship with an independent cooperage to craft Mizunara Finish casks.

Incredibly, the latest Glendalough expression isn’t a limited-edition release. Rather, this joins the core lineup and will be released twice per year. Be on the lookout for batch 001.

It seems that Glendalough whiskey and mizunara barrel coopers were fated to find one another. In fact, the red thread on each bottle of Mizunara Finish pays homage to the Japanese legend of the red thread of fate.

An invisible red thread connects those who are destined to find one another. It grows shorter and shorter as their paths collide.

Going Wild

You may recall that I said Glendalough doesn’t make things easy on themselves. This is evidenced by their gin.

Unlike other distilleries, Glendalough started with whiskey distillation and later pursued gin production.

Glendalough Distillery Wild Gin Irish gin

They also forage for the ingredients used to craft their Wild Gin. If it’s not within ten miles of the distillery and growing wild, it’s not in the bottle.

According to O’Gallachoir, it takes a year to produce one bottle of this gin. Rejecting easier methods of production like automation, each batch of Wild Gin is crafted by taste and aroma.

Glendalough Distillery Rose Gin Irish gin and cocktails

Then there’s the visually and aromatically impactful Rose Gin. Crafted to honor Glendalough’s head distiller’s mother Rose, this is a rose-petal gin.

Now, you may assume it’s like drinking a bottle of decades-old, overpowering, rose-scented perfume. However, O’Gallachoir assures me this is absolutely not the case.

Instead, this striking bottle is intensely floral but balanced, and undeniably unique. O’Gallachoir suggests trying it in a Bee’s Knees.

In just over a decade, Glendalough has elevated Irish craft spirits. There are more innovations to come and I can’t wait to try them.

To learn more about O’Gallachoir and Glendalough Distillery, please listen to episode 71 of the Bar Hacks podcast.

Image: Glendalough Distillery

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: March 2022

5 Books to Read this Month: March 2022

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

This month’s engaging and informative book selections will help you develop next-level culinary, beverage and marketing skills throughout 2022.

To review February’s book recommendations, click here.

Let’s jump in!

We Are All the Same Age Now: Valuegraphics, The End of Demographic Stereotypes

David Allison, founder of the Valuegraphics Project and author of this book, has been a guest on the Bar Hacks podcast twice. First, on episode 46, and again on episode 67. During both appearances, David explained the power of understanding people based on their values. What people have in common is far more powerful and effective than focusing on what divides us. Rather than continuing to point to harmful demographic stereotypes, the Valuegraphics Project focuses on values, psychographics, and standard demographics.

Pick up We Are All the Same Age Now to learn more and change your mindset.

Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ

When I visited South Carolina last year, I had a short list of restaurants I wanted to visit. Bar Hacks guest Brooks Quinn recommended pitmaster Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ in Charleston so I could try South Carolina barbecue. I’m glad I asked Brooks because the food was incredible. So incredible, in fact, that I overate and had to to do my best to walk off my resulting food coma.

Those who want to learn the art of South Carolina barbecue—or just great barbecue in general—need Rodney Scott’s World of BBQ book in their lives.

Smoked Cocktails

Beyond imparting wonderful flavor, we all know one of the greatest benefits of smoking a cocktail: Everyone who sees and smells the process is going to want to order one. While Smoked Cocktails is aimed at the home bartender, there’s plenty of useful information for operators, managers, and bar staff. Author Frank Marino shares the steps for smoking cocktails; identifies “cocktail families”; details more than 100 recipes; and more.

Everyone’s Table: Global Recipes for Modern Health

Chef Gregory Gourdet is the chef/owner behind Kann, a restaurant in Portland, OR, set to open its doors this year. The live-fire concept marries Haitian cuisine, ingredients sourced in Oregon, seasonality, and sustainability. When the Top Chef finalist went sober, he sought a healthier lifestyle. As a chef, he pursued that lifestyle in part through cooking. Everyone’s Table focuses on global cuisine that feature superfoods and high nutrient density while delivering delicious, decadent flavors. The 200 recipes in this book may not contain gluten, dairy, soy, legumes or grains but they’re still mouthwatering.

Rum Curious: The Indispensable Tasting Guide to the World’s Spirit

For the past several years now, several spirits experts and rum aficionados have made the same hopeful claim: This will be rum’s year. Finally, they say, rum will get the respect its due and topple vodka, tequila, and whiskey to grab the top spot. However, that has yet to happen. Well, yet to happen in North America, anyway.

Rum was once the world’s spirit, and maybe this year will be its year. In Rum Curious, revered spirits author Fred Minnick shares not only the story of rum but also his tips for conducting an effective rum tasting. With guests more curious than ever, engaging rum tastings may help springboard rum to the top of the spirits list.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash