Cocktails

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Sbagliato Enters the RTD Space

The Negroni Sbagliato Enters the RTD Space

by David Klemt

Via Carota Craft Cocktail sparkling ready-to-pour cocktail lineup

Ideal for high-volume bars that serve guests with discerning tastes in ready-to-drink cocktails, Via Carota Craft Cocktails is launching a new line.

You may be familiar with Via Carota’s elegant bottle design and classic ready-to-pour drinks. However, if you’re new to this brand, they have a spectacular line of classic, premium RTDs (or RTPs, if you prefer):

  • Old Fashioned
  • Signature Manhattan
  • Signature Martini
  • Espresso Martini
  • Classic Negroni
  • White Negroni

Further, if the name seems familiar to you, there’s good reason. This line of cocktails is inspired by the West Village restaurant of the same name.

Featuring a new but no-less-elegant bottle design, Via Carota is introducing a sparkling range to their portfolio. Within this range are a Spritz, French 75, and Paloma. However, it’s the other two expressions in the line that have caught my eye.

You may recall that toward the end of 2022, a variant of a classic cocktail grabbed headlines at a furious pace. It seemed as though the Negroni Sbagliato was inescapable.

Well, that drink may not be spilling ink quite as much, but guests are still ordering it. So, Via Carota is serving up not just one but two Sbagliato variants. Alongside the aforementioned Spritz, French 75, and Paloma are the Negroni Sbagliato and White Negroni Sbagliato.

To learn more, review the official press release below. Salute!

Via Carota Craft Cocktails Announces New Sparkling Range

Ready-to-serve classics with fizz include Negroni Sbagliato, White Negroni Sbagliato, Spritz, Paloma and French 75

(May 14, 2024 – New York, NY)Via Carota Craft Cocktails, the craft cocktail brand inspired by the eponymous West Village establishment, announces today a new range of single-serve, ready-to-pour sparkling cocktails.

Designed to be perfectly balanced and made for wherever life finds you, the new Sparkling Range features five refreshing, classic cocktails with lively fizz. The bubbly, bar-quality offerings are housed in stunning bespoke bottles and crafted to be enjoyed straight or served over ice – ideal for warm weather occasions, always with friends. The range includes:

  • Negroni Sbagliato: A bubbly riff on the classic Negroni, combining citrus and orange peel with herbaceous wine notes, for a long and fresh, effervescent finish.

  • White Negroni Sbagliato: A charming twist on the modern classic, this refreshing cocktail substitutes a white aperitivo in place of the traditional red, harmoniously marrying bitter and sweet for a complex cocktail.

  • Spritz: Vibrant in color, this bright, bittersweet, and zesty cocktail is approachable and full-flavored with complex herbal notes.

  • Paloma: Citrus notes and bespoke Blanco tequila combine sweet, sour and a touch of bitter for a bold cocktail with a crisp and bright finish.

  • French 75: A bright and complex classic with delectable notes of citrus and elderflower for a crisp and vibrant finish.

“We couldn’t be happier to share these sparkling expressions with consumers, just in time for summer,” said Chief Executive Officer, Bart Silvestro. “Via Carota Craft Cocktails was designed to elevate the at-home cocktail experience, and after the tremendous growth seen with the core range over the last year, this carefully crafted lineup pays homage to classic sparkling cocktails, with the bar-quality liquid that has become synonymous with our unique chef-to-shelf brand.”

The Via Carota Craft Cocktails Sparkling Range can be purchased as a 10-pack on DrinkViaCarota.com for $69, or as a 4-pack at select retailers for $24.99. Each 200ml bottle contains one sparkling cocktail at 11% ABV. The new Via Carota Craft Cocktails Sparkling Range joins the existing line of still, ready-to-serve cocktails launched in 2023, which includes Classic Negroni, White Negroni, Old Fashioned, Signature Manhattan, Espresso Martini and Signature Martini. For affiliate, visit ShareASale for 20% when joining in-network and/or via Skimlinks.

ABOUT VIA CAROTA CRAFT COCKTAILS

Elevated, classic recipes meet bar cart-worthy packaging to offer a cocktail experience like no other. Via Carota Craft Cocktails (VCCC) was created to bottle the warmth and relaxed elegance of the beloved West Village restaurant, allowing you to enjoy a perfectly balanced craft cocktail, wherever life finds you.  VCCC’s core range of craft cocktails currently includes the following: Classic Negroni, White Negroni, Old Fashioned, Signature Manhattan, Espresso Martini and Signature Martini. The Sparkling line includes the following: Negroni Sbagliato, White Negroni Sbagliato, Spritz, Paloma and French 75, with additional cocktails and formats to come.

Image: Via Carota Craft Cocktails

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

A New Empress Lays Claim to the Gin Throne

A New Empress Lays Claim to the Gin Throne

by David Klemt

The award-winning Empress 1908 Indigo Gin and Elderflower Rose Gin are welcoming a new addition to the Empress 1908 Gin portfolio, just in time for summer.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin is here to take a shot at the gin crown.

Inspired by afternoon tea, Cucumber Lemon pulls the flavor threads tighter, tying the portfolio together. Indigo, the first expression in the Empress 1908 lineup, is a balance between citrus and warm, earthy, herbal tones. This gin also made a splash due to its use of butterfly pea flower, not only imbuing the liquid with an enticing hue but shifting colors when interacting with different mixers.

Released last year, Elderflower Rose plays citrus against rich floral notes. On the palate, this expression also delivers subtle sweetness and spice.

That brings us to Cucumber Lemon. Whereas Indigo can be characterized as herbal and Elderflower Rose is floral, the newest expression is bright and energetic. Citrus is the star here, but cucumber, jasmine, and understated spice ensure the drinking experience is a balanced one.

Below, six cocktail recipes that showcase Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon’s unique flavor profile. Scroll even further to learn more from the press release announcing this new expression’s release.

Cheers!

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Cucumber & Tonic cocktail

Cucumber & Tonic

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • 3 oz. Premium tonic water
  • Thyme sprigs to garnish
  • Lemon wheels to garnish
  • Cucumber slices to garnish

Fill a copa glass with ice, add Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin and premium tonic water. Garnish with cucumber and lemon slices and thyme sprigs.​

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Jasmine Sour cocktail

Jasmine Sour

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Jasmine syrup
  • Egg white
  • Dried jasmine blossoms to garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and dry shake (without ice). Add ice to tin and shake again to chill. Double strain into cocktail glass and garnish with dried jasmine blossoms.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Gherkin Martini cocktail

Gherkin Martini

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Dry vermouth
  • 0.5 oz. Gherkin brine
  • Lemon twist to garnish
  • Gherkin to garnish

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express lemon oils over the cocktail and garnish with a twist and gherkin.​

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Lemon Spritz cocktail

Lemon Spritz

  • 1 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • 1 oz. Limoncello
  • 0.5 oz. Lemon juice
  • Dry sparkling wine to top
  • Soda water to top
  • Lemon slice to garnish

In a copa glass filled with ice, add gin, limoncello, and lemon juice, and top with sparkling wine and a splash of soda water. Give a quick stir to combine and garnish with lemon slice.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Little Saigon cocktail

Little Saigon

  • 1.5 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • ¾ oz. Lemongrass ginger syrup
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 Mint and basil leaves, each
  • 3-4 Bird’s eye chili slices (optional)
  • Lime yuzu soda to top
  • Cilantro sprig to garnish
  • Bird’s eye chili to garnish

Gently muddle basil and mint with syrup and lime juice in shaker tin. Add gin and chili slices, and shake over ice. Strain into Collins glass filled with ice, top with soda, and garnish.​

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Cantaloupe Smash cocktail

Cantaloupe Smash

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Simple syrup
  • 4 Mint leaves
  • 3 Cantaloupe cubes
  • Mint sprig to garnish
  • Cantaloupe balls to garnish

In a shaker tin, muddle cantaloupe cubes with the liquid ingredients. Add mint leaves and lightly press to express oils. Shake over ice and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig and cantaloupe balls.

EMPRESS 1908 GIN RELEASES CUCUMBER LEMON GIN

MAY7, 2024 (VICTORIA, B.C.)–Empress 1908 Gin, the fastest growing and #1 ranked ultra-premium gin in the U.S., today announces the U.S. launch of Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin. This premium, handcrafted gin is produced in small batches and distilled in copper-pot stills by Victoria Distillers, one of Canada’s oldest artisan distilleries.

The refreshing new expression is crafted with eight unique botanicals including juniper berries, lemon, jasmine, star anise, cucumber and fresh lemon zest. Inspired by traditional afternoon tea, Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin boasts lively citrus notes and bursts with extraordinary flavor.

The fusion of vibrant lemon zest and crisp garden cucumber beautifully complement the juniper, a subtle hint of cardamom spice and the delicate aroma of jasmine. Empress Cucumber Lemon Gin elevates the palate with its refined flavors, offering a delicate and refreshing finish.

“We always strive to create balanced, high-quality blends that inspire creativity and offer inviting flavors. Following the overwhelmingly positive reception of our Elderflower Rose Gin last year, we leveraged our Master Distillers’ extensive botanical expertise to introduce our next innovative flavor: Cucumber Lemon,” said Eric Dopkins, CEO and Chairman of Milestone Brands. “We are excited to see Empress Cucumber Lemon Gin support Empress Gin’s mission of creating the most distinctive cocktails.”

This new, ultra-premium expression joins the Empress portfolio ininviting consumers to join the Empress GINeration: The most distinctive gins, making the most distinctive cocktails. Other expressions include Empress 1908 Indigo Gin—the fastest growing and top ultra-premium gin in the U.S.*—and Empress 1908 Elderflower Rose Gin, which climbed to #4 in the ultra-premium gin category within just six months of its release. With the addition of Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin, the Empress portfolio expects to top 250,000 9L cases in North America this year.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin is best enjoyed in the signature Cucumber & Tonic cocktail, served with premium tonic water and garnished with a fresh cucumber slice and a lemon wheel to enhance the botanicals in the gin.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin is 42.5% ABV and is available nationwide in select retailers for a suggested retail price of $39.99 for a 750ml bottle. For more information on Empress 1908 Gin and its portfolio of products, visit www.empressgin.com and follow on social media @Empress1908Gin.

About Empress 1908 Gin

Handcrafted in small-batch copper-pot stills, the portfolio of award-winning Empress 1908 Gins are made by Victoria Distillers, one of Canada’s oldest small-batch spirits companies located in Victoria, British Columbia. Founded in 2017, the distillery has been recognized for its excellence by New York World Wine & Spirits Competition 2017, World Gin Awards 2018, Canadian Artisan Spirits Awards 2019 and Beverage Dynamics’ Spirits Growth Brand Awards in both 2021 and 2022. The Empress 1908 Gin spirits portfolio is crafted by Master Distiller Phil Lecours and comprises Empress 1908 Indigo Gin, Empress 1908 Elderflower Rose Gin and Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin. Empress 1908 Gin is the perfect combination of exquisite taste, delicate aroma, soft texture, and remarkable presentation that provides the perfect base for a new aesthetic of cocktail creation and enjoyment. Please visit www.empressgin.com for more information.

Empress 1908 Gin is a part of the family of Milestone Brands LLC, a premium spirits company based in Austin, Texas, that was founded in 2016 by two local entrepreneurs and veterans of the beverage and spirits industry, Eric Dopkins, former CEO of Deep Eddy Vodka and Chad Auler, creator of Savvy Vodka and co-founder of Deep Eddy Vodka. As a national spirits supplier, acquirer, innovator and marketer of alcohol beverage brands, Milestone’s portfolio also includes Dulce Vida Spirits, Campo Bravo Tequila, Naranja Orange Liqueur, and American Born Whiskey.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this post.

Main image: Kyla Zanardi. Recipe images: Empress 1908 Gin

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC Announces 2024 Agenda

Tales of the Cocktail Announces 2024 Agenda

by David Klemt

Tales of the Cocktail 2023 Jack Daniel's event with Julie Reiner

Tales of the Cocktail has revealed the 2024 agenda, and it’s absolutely loaded with incredible networking, health and wellness, and educational opportunities.

There’s an array of activations and special events lined up for this year. For example, the New Orleans Spirits Competition returns to Tales of the Cocktail for its third edition. To learn more about this event—including why people who want to participate need to line up early—listen to episode 115 of the Bar Hacks podcast. (Apple Podcasts link | Spotify link)

Of course, one of the biggest events is the 2024 Spirited Awards ceremony, taking place Thursday, July 25.

Truly, Tales is coming out swinging for 2024. For more information, please review the official press release below.

Cheers!

NOW LIVE: TALES OF THE COCKTAIL® 2024 CONFERENCE AGENDA AND TICKETS

TOTC returns to New Orleans from July 21-26 with an inspiring lineup of educational seminars, tasting and networking opportunities, wellness initiatives, awards programming, and much more

 

NEW ORLEANS, LA (May 13, 2024) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is pleased to announce that today, on World Cocktail Day, the Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) 2024 conference agenda and tickets are now live via the Foundation’s website. Toasting its 22-year legacy of honoring the craft, culture, and business of the global cocktail community, TOTC returns to New Orleans from July 21-26, offering an immersive experience created to “Inspire” both industry professionals and cocktail connoisseurs alike.

Beginning today, a variety of daily and weekly passes, discounted bartender passes, individual event tickets, and the all-new $10 Wellness Week Pass are available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete details about TOTC 2024 ticket options can be accessed on Tales’ ticketing platform.

“It’s an honor to unveil the 2024 Tales of the Cocktail agenda, and with it, invite the cocktail community to join us in New Orleans for the 22nd annual conference,” said TOTCF CEO Eileen Wayner. “Our dedicated team, along with the invaluable TOTCF Committees, Board of Directors, and partners have meticulously cultivated a conference agenda that’s brimming with educational programming, wellness and networking opportunities, tastings, awards celebrations, brand showcases, and more. The 2024 agenda guarantees an unparalleled week of discovery, connection, and above all, Inspiration, as we explore this year’s annual theme.”

TOTC has long been a love letter to New Orleans’ cocktail culture and a celebration of the rich tapestry of global cocktail traditions—both new and timeless. The 2024 conference lineup is no exception, featuring another stellar slate of curated educational seminars; Beyond the Bar activations; Brand-Hosted Events; Day of Service; Meet the Distillers; New Orleans Cocktail Tours; the annual Spirited Awards®; Tales Catalyst; and more.

Educational Seminars, Panels, Q&A Sessions, and More

Tales of the Cocktail will feature more than 65 educational sessions, including seminars, workshops, and tastings across Tales’ three educational streams—Business, Culture, and Beyond the Bar—which will be presented by 175 industry leaders. Chosen from more than 380 impressive proposals, the 2024 seminar lineup was hand-selected via a rigorous process by the Tales of the Cocktail Education Advisory Committee. This year, the TOTC seminar schedule is proudly led by over 48% women presenters, 30% BIPOC presenters, and over 33% international presenters from countries including the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, the UK, and more.

Highlights from this year’s seminar schedule include:

Business

  • Contemporary Employee Relations: Centering Dignity by Laura Louise Green with John B. Reyna, Andi Ryan, and Irene Shiang Li
  • More of the Same: Expanding Your Bar Concept by Meaghan Dorman with Indra Kantono, Gates Otsuji, and Laura Torres
  • Pouring Foundations: Financial Planning for Bar Upgrades and New Constructions by Matt Edgar with Hannah Cash and Johann Moonesinghe
  • Up Your Probability of Profit: Consumer Insights to Operate Smarter not Harder by Adrian Biggs with Rodrigo Leme, Nikki Hueckel, Andrew Hummel, and Simone Ventura

Culture

  • Akvavit 101 by Bex Almqvist
  • H2Know: Water in Cocktails 101 by Kate Gerwin and Martin Riese
  • Harmonies in Mixology: Exploring the Relationship between Music and Cocktails by Xavier Herit with Michael Aredes
  • In the Weeds: Wild Flavors Behind the Bar by Olivia Cerio with Danny Childs, Ektoras Binikos, and Tama Matsuoka Wong
  • What’s Cooler than Cool? Cocktails and Temperature by Jessamine McLellan with Dave Arnold, and Michael Capoferri

Beyond the Bar

  • Branding Up for Yourself: Strengthening Community and Equity in Brand Relations by Michael Holiday with Sullivan Doh, Phëlix Étienne, and Kapri Robinson
  • Flavors of Immigration by Alan Ruesga-Pelayo, Julio Cabrera, Faye Chen, Ignacio “Nacho” Jimenez, Roberto Núñez Moreno, and Eric Vanbeek
  • I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Five Cocktails Defined by Women’s Right to Booze by Nicola Nice and Greg Benson
  • Mixing Motherhood: Navigating the Cocktail of Challenges in the Drinks Industry by Vivian Pei with Paula García, Carina Soto Velasquez, and Tess Posthumus

TOTC is pleased to present the inaugural “Futures Lab” series on Tuesday, July 23, which will immerse participants in short-format, thoughtful discussions on the future of the drinks industry, and all-new, curated Networking Sessions which will take place throughout the week of TOTC.

Futures Lab

  • The Future of A.I. and Hospitality – Gary Gruver, Director of Global Beverage Operations, Marriott International
  • The Future of Drinking the Planet Better – Stephanie Jordan, Avallen Spirits & Drinking Out Loud, Founder
  • The Future of Food & Beverage – Kat Kinsman, Food and Wine, Executive Features Editor and Host of Tinfoil Swans Podcast
  • The Future of the Industry – Matt Molino, Chief Strategy Officer Partner, NVE Experience Agency
  • The Future of Ingredients – Monica Berg, Tayer + Elementary, Muyu Liqueurs, Director, Owner
  • The Future of THC Beverages – Rachel Burkons, Smoke Sip Savor, Feast & Flower, Founder

Networking Sessions

  • First-time Tales Attendees
  • Journalists and Bartenders, Presented by Stray Dog Wild Gin
  • Meet in the Middle – Lessons in Distribution for Producers and Buyers, Presented by Independent Distributor Network
  • Parenting in the Industry

Marquee Programming: Brand-Hosted Events, Meet the Distillers, New Orleans Cocktail Tours, New Orleans Spirits Competition, Pig & Punch, Speed Rack Championship, Spirited Awards®, Tales Catalyst, Toast to Tales, and TOTCF Day of Service.

  • Brand Hosted Events: TOTCF’s brand partners are back in New Orleans dazzling guests with their legendary parties and activations in venues across the city and at the host hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. Inviting guests to be awed and inspired by the creativity and festivity of some of the world’s leading brands, TOTC 2024 will feature more than 240 brand events across an array of Tastings, Happy Hours, Guest Shifts, Day Events, headlining Night Events, etc. Spirited Dining & Drinking events will feature partner brands immersed with New Orleans’ renowned food and beverage scene, highlighting local talent and guest bartenders.
  • Meet The Distillers: TOTCF’s signature trade show, Meet the Distillers (MTD), offers guests an up close and personal experience with their favorite spirits brands. Attendees will taste samples, meet the makers, and get a firsthand account of more than 20 distillations from across the globe. This year, MTD will be held on Thursday, July 25 from 10am-5pm, and is available to all with a Thursday Tasting Room wristband.
  • New Orleans Cocktail Tours: In collaboration with Wayne Curtis, the New Orleans Cocktail Tour series offers attendees a series of eight educational walking tours that provide a wealth of knowledge and keen insight into the city’s history and cocktail scene. Enlisting special guests to help guide the tours, Wayne (Author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails and frequent spirits contributor for The Atlantic, Imbibe Magazine, PUNCH, The Daily Beast, and Garden & Gun) and co. will lead a series of tours, including:
    • Absinthe Tour
    • Bourbon St. & How it Got that Way
    • Hunting Down the Sazerac
    • The Big Gay Bar Tour
  • New Orleans Spirits Competition (NOSC): The New Orleans Spirits Competition, an international spirits competition bringing wider recognition to fine spirits from top-flight producers across the globe, is presented in partnership with TOTCF, with nearly three dozen prominent members of the spirits community serving as judges to determine a suite of awards categories, including Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals, Best of Category, Whiskey of the Year, Brandy of the Year, Gin of the Year, Baijiu of the Year, Vodka of the Year, Agave Spirit of the Year, Specialty Spirit of the Year, Liqueur of the Year, Best New Product, Best Craft Spirit, Packaging Excellence, and Distillery of the Year.
  • Pig & Punch: The 13th annual Pig & Punch presented by The Bon Vivants is thrilled to be heading back to New Orleans for a one-of-a-kind party for charity to close out Tales of the Cocktail! New Orleans holds a special place in the heart of Pig & Punch, infusing the event with its distinct brand of fun and energy. This year, TOTC is excited to bring the party to a fresh venue, The Broadside, promising an unparalleled experience. True to the spirit of Tales of the Cocktail, The Bon Vivants reaffirm their dedication to giving back. Proceeds will support New Orleans KIPP Charter Schools, The Bon Vivants Scholarship aiding first-generation college students in San Francisco, Hogs for the Cause, and the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. This party is all about community and camaraderie!
  • Speed Rack Season 12 National Finals: In partnership with Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, TOTC will host the high-speed, high-octane Speed Rack Season 12 National Finals on Sunday, July 21 from 3pm-7pm at Republic NOLA. This vibrant competition raises funds and awareness for breast cancer, all while promoting equity in the spirits industry. The finals will be a can’t-miss event as the 20 women+ semi-finalists from across the country come together to compete in a timed, tournament-style cocktail-making event. 100% of proceeds from the event are donated to national breast cancer philanthropies.
  • Spirited Awards®: Established in 2007 to honor excellence in the drinks industry, the Spirited Awards® has grown into one of the most internationally prestigious recognitions, celebrating individuals, products, establishments, media, and industry luminaries from around the world who continue to inspire the global cocktail community. Guests are invited to get dressed to the nines and celebrate the 18th annual Spirited Awards® winners at the Fillmore Theater in New Orleans on Thursday, July 25.
    • *The Top 4 Spirited Awards Nominees will be announced and Spirited Awards Ceremony tickets will go on sale on June 17.
  • Tales Catalyst: Tales Catalyst (formerly Catalyst Luncheon) will be held on Tuesday, July 23 to celebrate this year’s Tales Catalysts Honorees–a title that recognizes those who are working for the accessibility and equity of the drinks industry. This year, TOTCF transitioned the Tales Catalyst program to a presentation-format, TED-Talk-style event to give the Catalyst Honorees a unique platform to speak to an engaged audience. This ticketed event invites guests to join in celebrating the two 2024 Tales Catalyst Honorees and enjoy refreshments along with awe-inspiring speeches.
  • Toast to Tales: Join the TOTCF Board of Directors and leadership team to kickstart Tales of the Cocktail® 2024 with a toast, live brass band, and remarks from TOTCF leaders! Taking place at 10 am on Monday, July 22 in the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans courtyard, all attendees are invited to toast to another spirited year of Tales.
  • TOTCF Day of Service: TOTCF and Edrington welcome participants to the annual Day of Service on Sunday, July 21 in partnership with Green Light New Orleans and The Water Collaborative. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s sustainability initiatives, the history of water and justice in New Orleans, and paint rain barrels that will be distributed to bars throughout the city. The TOTCF Day of Service will take place from 9am-1pm, and those who are interested in participating may sign up here. This is a free, community event that’s open to all TOTC attendees.

Beyond the Bar®

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is proud to share the continued expansion of its health and wellness sector, Beyond the Bar® (BTB). Beyond the Bar® is the physical and creative space for Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s global community to explore themes beyond traditional spirits education. Created in 2018, BTB provides a platform to address challenges and opportunities within the global drinks industry including mental and physical health, intersectionality, substance use, sexual harassment, diversity, equity, and sustainability.

Beginning this year, select BTB programming is included in the $10 Wellness Week Pass, which includes access to 20 onsite workshops, networking sessions, and fitness classes, in addition to the daily Beyond the Bar® Lounge presented by Lyre’s. Proceeds from the Wellness Week Pass will help fund year-round Beyond the Bar® programming, including grants, scholarships, policy initiatives, and education. The Wellness Week Pass is included in all ticket types or may be purchased individually.

Highlights include:

  • Beyond the Bar® Wellness Workshops
    • Career Readiness Workshop by Alex Jump
    • Promoting Wellness in the Workplace: Addressing Addiction and Supporting Employee Success Workshop by Mickey Bakst
    • Road to 2030 Sustainable Bar Workshop by Sean Finter and Ali Fitzpatrick
  • Beyond the Bar® Fitness Activations
    • Bartender Bodyshop with The Healthtender by Amie Ward
    • Longevity Behind the Stick: Breath and Mobility Workshop by Allie Phifer and Hai Nguyen

The Beyond the Bar space will host additional programming throughout the conference for attendees to enjoy, including:

  • Beyond the Bar Lounge: The Beyond the Bar Lounge presented by Lyre’s will be located in Baronne and available for attendees to sample N/A beverages, enjoy respite with the cozy lounge furniture, access phone chargers, and rest in between sessions.
  • Ben’s Friends: Ben’s Friends is a community of chefs, bartenders, line cooks, servers, sommeliers, hosts and hostesses, GMs, and owners who have found or are seeking sobriety. Their mission is to offer community, hope, and a path forward for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. At its core, Ben’s Friends are hospitality workers who have found connection and the tools to seek and maintain sobriety while managing careers and lives in a sane and purposeful way. Ben’s Friends will host private meetings in the Beyond the Bar Space on Monday and Tuesday from 4:30 pm-6:00 pm.

A special thanks…

Tales Partners

TOTCF would like to recognize the generous partners who help bring a premier experience to New Orleans and beyond. TOTCF is pleased to present the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation 2024 Medallion and Diamond Tier Partners: Bacardi USA, Brown-Forman, Campari, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Rémy-Cointreau, William Grant & Sons, and the TOTC2024 Official Water Partner: Perrier.

Tales Media Partners

TOTCF is proud to partner with esteemed media outlets to share the stories of our beloved cocktail community. This year, Tales is pleased to partner with Food & Wine, Forbes, Imbibe, Pre Shift, Provi, The Advocate, The Spill, and Wine Enthusiast.

ABOUT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL FOUNDATION:

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. This year, TOTCF hosts its 22nd Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference in New Orleans from July 21-26, 2024, and celebrates the theme Inspire.

Image: Cory Fontenot

Bar, Pub, Nightclub, Nightlife, Feasibility Study

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Reinvigorate Your Menu with Revivalist Gin

Reinvigorate Your Menu with Revivalist Garden Gin

by David Klemt

 

A bottle of Revivalist Garden Gin next to a cocktail, surrounded by flowers and lemon wedges

Earth Day may be over but we’re still celebrating Earth Month, so I want to put the intriguing Revivalist Garden Gin on your radar.

Created by Brendan Bartley, bar director and general manager at the acclaimed Baththub Gin in New York City, this gin brand is focused heavily on responsible and sustainable production methods.

Notably, Revivalist Garden Gin uses water recycling during the distillation process. According to the brand, this innovation saves around 30,000 gallons monthly.

Further sustainable practices include giving spent grains to farmers to feed their cattle and hogs, reducing waste.

However, the sourcing of the botanicals used to craft this super-premium gin deserve praise.

If the term “ethnobotany” is new to you, you’re not alone. Bartley and the Revivalist team are committed to using only ethically sourced national and international ingredients. Moreover, the ingredients are selected to craft an authentic flavor profile free of additives, artificial flavors, preservatives, or doses of sugar.

Compellingly, the brand goes deeper. Ethnobotany’s practitioners seek cultural understanding when considering the relationship between humans and plants. So, rather than simply creating a flavor profile and then sourcing the ingredients in the most affordable and convenient way, the Revivalist team approaches the selection of each botanical with purpose.

On the palate, citrus comes from lemon verbena leaf, while an earthy counterpoint is introduced via ashwagandha. Rose hips and plum add floral and sweet notes, respectively, further balancing this enticing gin. In what may prove to be an unexpected twist for some drinkers, hemp adds a nutty note that guarantees Revivalist will stand out from its peers.

Below, six cocktails featuring this Earth-friendly, carefully considered gin. Cheers!

Revivalist Garden Gin Negroni Cocktail

Negroni

  • 1.5 oz. Revivaist Garden Gin
  • 0.75 oz. Aperol
  • 0.75 oz. Dolin Sweet Vermouth
  • Grapefruit twist to garnish

Add Revivalist, Aperol, and sweet vermouth to a mixing glass, and stir. Pour into a rocks glass over ice, and garnish.

Revivalist Garden Gin Garden Punch cocktail

Garden Punch

  • 2 oz. Revivalist Garden Gin
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz. Simple syrup
  • 1–2 oz. Chamomile tea
  • Lemon wheel to garnish
  • Mint sprig to garnish (optional)
  • Lavender sprig to garnish (optional)

Prepare a rocks glass by adding a large ice cube or sphere. Add all liquid ingredients to a shaker with ice, and shake well. Strain into the prepared rocks glass, then garnish.

Revivalist Garden Gin Easy Beesy cocktail

Easy Beesy

  • 2 oz. Revivalist Garden Gin
  • 1.0 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.75 oz. Honey ginger syrup
  • 2 Small sprigs of rosemary to garnish (optional)
  • Lemon twist to garnish (optional)

Combine ice and the first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker. Shake hard for about 10 seconds, then double strain into a coupe. Garnish with rosemary sprigs or a lemon twist.

Revivalist Garden Gin Chester County Breakfast cocktail

Chester County Breakfast

  • 1.5 oz. Revivalist Garden Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Grand Marnier
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 1 bar spoon Strawberry jam
  • 1 bar spoon Simple syrup
  • Strawberry slice or raspberries to garnish

Add all ingredients except for garnish to a shaker. You may need to break up the jam with a quick stir with a bar spoon. Next, add ice to the shaker, and shake well. Double strain into a coupe, then garnish.

Revivalist Garden Gin Full Monty cocktail

The Full Monty

  • 1.25 oz. Revivalist Garden Gin
  • 0.75 oz. Triple sec
  • 0.75 oz. Aperol
  • 0.75 oz. Dry vermouth
  • Expressed orange peel to garnish

Fill a mixing glass three-quarters of the way with ice, then add all four liquid ingredients. Stir for one minute, then double strain into a Nick & Nora glass. Garnish with an expressed orange peel.

Revivalist Garden Gin Flower Bed cocktail

Flower Bed

  • 1 oz. Revivalist Garden Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Elderflower syrup
  • 4 oz. Chilled Champagne
  • Lemon twist to garnish

Add the gin, lemon juice, syrup, and ice to a shaker, and shake hard. Next, double strain into a chilled Champagne flute. Finally, garnish and serve.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this post.

Images: Revivalist Garden Gin

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

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5 Books to Read this Month: April 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: April 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative April book selections will help you improve operations, refresh and streamline F&B programming, and learn more about coffee.

This month, we look at books covering an array of topics: overcoming dysfunctions within teams; stepping outside of comfort zones; cocktail and Irish dish recipes; and repurposing existing buildings.

To review the book recommendations from March 2024, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Roundbuilding

Perhaps unsurprisingly, it seems like most cocktail books target home bartenders. In a refreshing change of pace, Roundbuilding is specifically for working bartenders. In case the name doesn’t give it away, this book is about crafting and serving consistent rounds of cocktails and ensuring a high standard of service.

From Amazon:Roundbuiding is a practical guide to mixing cocktails, aimed at the working bartender. This is a book about ensuring that, for every round you serve, every drink is made to a consistently high standard, and that first sip always makes an impression. It’s the nuts and bolts of mixing drinks.”

Buy it today!

The World Atlas of Coffee (2nd Edition)

This bestseller enjoys a 4.8-star rating on Amazon with nearly 4,000 reviews on the platform. The World Atlas of Coffee also boasts a score of 4.4 on Goodreads.

Written by World Barista Champion James Hoffman (who’s also the co-founder of a successful coffee roaster operating out of London), this book will provide the reader with just about everything they need to know about coffee. The rise in popularity of cocktails like the Carajillo and the near-constant chatter about the Espresso Martini got me thinking: I should probably include a coffee book in one of these roundups.

From Amazon: “Coffee has never been better, or more interesting, than it is today. Coffee producers have access to more varieties and techniques than ever before and we, as consumers, can share in that expertise to make sure the coffee we drink is the best we can find. Where coffee comes from, how it was harvested, the roasting process and the water used to make the brew are just a few of the factors that influence the taste of what we drink. Champion barista and coffee expert James Hoffmann examines these key factors, looking at varieties of coffee, the influence of terroir, how it is harvested and processed, the roasting methods used, through to the way in which the beans are brewed.”

Pick your copy up now.

The Complete Recipe Writing Guide: Mastering Recipe Development, Writing, Testing, Nutrition Analysis, and Food Styling

This book isn’t even a year old but has already made waves. In fact, it was listed as one of Chef Eric Ripert‘s (Le Bernardin in New York City) books of the month just a couple of months after publication.

From Amazon:The Complete Recipe Writing Guide shows you how to create professional recipe content from development to publication. Raeanne Sarazen, a registered dietitian and chef, shares her expertise from over 20 years of working with recipes as a test kitchen professional, recipe developer, food writer, and editor, along with insider tips from top industry professionals. Like a master class on recipes, this comprehensive resource guides you through the variety of skills needed to create and share successful recipes.”

Get your copy here.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

This informative and conversational book written by KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations! If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you.

Pick up the paperback from Amazon today!

Hacking the New Normal: Hitting the Reset Button on the Hospitality Industry

Doug’s followup book to Bar Hacks! The world around us has changed. The food and beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? Will perhaps the restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry come out even stronger? With the right changes to the previous status quo, it is possible. There’s no question, resets are major undertakings, but a major reset will provide us with a clean start and that’s what this industry needs.

Pick up KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey’s second book today! Click here.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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6 Sips for National Cocktail Day

6 Sophisticated Sips for National Cocktail Day

by David Klemt

The Rémy Sidecar cocktail in landscape orientation

Our friends at Cointreau, Mount Gay, Rémy Martin, St-Rémy Signature, Belle de Brillet, and METAXA want us to share some recipes with you.

And why do these purveyors of fine spirits want you to have these drink recipes? To inspire you and your team to craft a sophisticated National Cocktail Day menu, of course.

Now, you and your team are likely very familiar with Cointreau, Mount Gay, and Rémy Martin. After all, each are among the most well-known liqueurs, rums, and Cognacs on the planet.

However, you may be less familiar with some of the other spirits below. So, I’m going to provide a brief overview. Naturally, I’ll also encourage you to contact your reps so they can taste you and your team on each.

Let’s kick things of with METAXA. If your guests like brandy, they’re probably going to love METAXA. In particular, METAXA 7 Star is a Greek spirit that consists of Muscat wine, wine distillates, and Mediterranean aromatics and botanicals, aged in oak barrels. This is a truly unique spirit; your guests have likely never tasted anything quite like it.

Now, let’s look at Belle de Brillet. This is a French liqueur made with fine Brillet Cognac eau-de-vie and Poire Williams (Williams pears). Really, this is an elegant way to enjoy terroir via two fruits: pears and grapes. From what I can find, it takes 20 Williams pears to produce each bottle of Belle de Brillet.

That brings us to St-Rémy Signature. Also from France, St-Rémy Signature is the marriage of tradition and modern production techniques. For example, Signature undergoes a double-maturation process, unlike many fine brandies. When it comes to terroir, Signature takes people on a tour, as it’s made with dozens of grapes from all over France.

Whether you decide to create an LTO menu with the recipes below or put your spins on these drinks, your guests will thank you for helping them celebrate National Cocktail Day.

Cheers!

The Rémy Sidecar cocktail

The Rémy Sidecar

Fill a shaker with ice, then add first three ingredients. Shake well. Strain into a coupette, and garnish with a lemon peel.

The Original Margarita by Cointreau

The Original Margarita by Cointreau

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. Blanco tequila
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • Lime wheel to garnish

Prepare a glass by rimming it with salt. Add all ingredients except for garnish to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with lime wheel.

Mount Gay Orange Eclipse cocktail

Mount Gay Orange Eclipse

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay Eclipse
  • 1 oz. Fresh blood orange juice
  • 0.6 oz. Sweet vermouth
  • 4 dashes of Angostura Bitters
  • Orange peel to garnish

Prepare a coupe by filling it with ice and setting it aside. Alternatively, keep some coupes in a fridge to have chilled glassware on hand. Fill a shaker with ice, then add first four ingredients. Shake until well chilled, then strain into prepared coupe. Garnish with orange peel.

METAXA Greek Spritz cocktail

METAXA Greek Spritz

  • 1.4 oz METAXA 7 Stars
  • 1.4 oz Prosecco (or other sparkling wine)
  • 0.7 oz Splash of tonic
  • 3 Dashes of peach bitters or fresh peach juice
  • Peach wedge to garnish

Pour METAXA 7 Stars into a wine glass. Add ice, tonic, and bitters or juice to glass, then stir. Top with Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Garnish with peach wedge.

Belle de Brillet Belle Pamplemousse cocktail

Belle de Brillet Belle Pamplemousse

  • 1.75 oz. Belle de Brillet
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh lemon juice (optional)
  • 3.5 oz. Grapefruit soda
  • 1 oz. Prosecco
  • Slice of grapefruit to garnish

Add ice to a glass, then add all liquid ingredients. Stir, then garnish with grapefruit slice.

St-Rémy Signature Rose cocktail

St-Rémy Signature Rose

  • 1 oz. St-Rémy Signature
  • 0.7 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.3 oz. Grenadine syrup
  • 0.3 oz. Hibiscus syrup
  • 1 Egg white
  • Edible flower to garnish

Add ice and first five ingredients to a shaker. Shake well, then strain into a stemmed or footed glass. Garnish with an edible flower.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this post.

Images provided by LaFORCE

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

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Update Your Margs with Mezcal and Sotol

Update Your Margaritas with Mezcal, Sotol, and More!

by David Klemt

Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal bottle on a drinks tray

We all know how to make a classic Margarita, so for this National Margarita Day we want to put some new recipes and ingredients on your radar.

The cocktail recipes below swap out the tequila for mezcal and sotol.

For a quick refresher, all tequila is mezcal in a technical sense. Mezcal is made with agave plants. Tequila producers use a specific agave plant, Blue Weber. Further, tequila must be produced in one of five Mexican states: Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michoacan, Nayarit, or Tamaulipas.

Then we have sotol. You may have seen sotol thrown in with agave spirits on cocktail or spirits roundups. To clarify, however, sotol is a typo of shrub known as the desert spoon, and it’s not an agave plant.

So, all tequila is mezcal, mezcal is agave, and sotol is…sotol.

Swap Out the Tequila

Being National Margarita Day, you certainly need to have a classic Margarita on your menu. It’s all the better if your bar team makes them so well and so consistently that really, your top-selling Marg is one of your signature cocktails.

That said, it’s also a good idea to play with classics to give your guests new drinks to discover. The two recipes below are two great examples of riffs on the classic Margarita that should get your and your bar team’s creative wheels turning.

Allow me to introduce you to Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal and Nocheluna Sotol, if you’re not already acquainted.

Contraluz lays claim to the title of “world’s first cristalino mezcal.” Made from 100 percent espadín agave, this is a crystal-clear, small-batch reposado mezcal. On the nose, expect aromas of agave, along with citrus and floral notes. You may also detect smoke, cedar, and honey. In terms of flavor, Contraluz delivers notes of vanilla, clove, cacao, and cooked agave, with a sweet, long finish.

The second cocktail below is made with Nocheluna Sotol, which is crafted using 100-percent wild sotol from Chihuahuan desert. This particular sotol is the result of a collaboration between a fourth-generation master vintner, and a master distiller.

A unique spirit, Nocheluna delivers a delicate balance of sweet, herbal, dried fruit, and mineral notes. These notes come through via both the aroma and taste, although you may detect oak and smoke as well. Interestingly, Nocheluna says the finish may include a taste of pecan wood, along with wet earth.

 

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A post shared by Nocheluna Sotol (@nochelunasotol)

But Wait, There’s More!

Along with Contraluz and Nocheluna, you’ll see three bottles that may be new to you below. The Light and Soul cocktail calls for Alma Finca Orange Liqueur, Nixta Licor de Elote, and HAGAVE Spiced Nectar.

The first is an orange liqueur produced by the same company that makes Montelobos Mezcal. The second liqueur, Nixta Elote, is essentially liquid elote seasoning, and it comes in a fantastic corn-shaped bottle. Finally, HAGAVE is exactly what it says on the label: a premium, spiced agave mixer.

I don’t know about you, but I definitely plan to get my hands on each of these bottles. Just imagine what you can do to engage with your guests by introducing them to a crystal-clear, artisanal mezcal, an expertly crafted sotol, and liquid elote in a corn bottle.

Cheers!

Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal, Light and Soul cocktail

Light and Soul

  • 2.0 oz. Contraluz Cristalino Mezcal
  • 0.5 oz. Alma Finca Orange Liqueur (or a triple sec or different orange liqueur if unavailable)
  • 0.5 oz. Nixta Licor de Elote
  • 1 oz. Lime cordial
  • 0.5 oz. HAGAVE Spiced Nectar

Place a large ice cube or sphere in a rocks glass. Add all liquid ingredients to a shaker filled with ice. Shake well, and strain into the prepared rocks glass. Garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel.

Nocheluna Sotol cocktail, the Sotolita

Sotolita

  • 1.5 oz. Nocheluna Sotol
  • 1.0 oz. Triple sec
  • 1.0 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1.5 oz. Apple juice
  • Apple slices to garnish
  • Chiltepin salt for rim (sea salt blend with chiltepin peppers)

Prepare a rocks glass by adding quality ice and rimming it with chiltepin salt. Add ice to a shaker, then add all liquid ingredients. Shake well, then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with an apple-slice fan.

Images provided by LaFORCE

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Life is Peachy with These Cocktails

Life is Peachy with These Pantone-inspired Cocktails

by David Klemt

Greek Spritzer drink

According to Pantone, the 2024 Color of the Year is Peach Fuzz, which communicates warmth, community, collaboration, and a sense of welcoming.

There’s a lot that operators can do with Pantone’s annual announcement.

For those who are curious, the 2023 Color of the Year was Viva Magenta, a bold, purplish shade of red. And in 2022, the color was Very Peri, a dynamic shade of blue.

If an operator is looking for a complete venue refresh, Peach Fuzz may be an effective choice. For example, people can leverage the 2024 Color of the Year with feature walls, seating, tablecloths, and physical menus.

Of course, not every operator is looking to undergo a redesign. In this case, there’s still plenty of opportunity to splash Peach Fuzz throughout a bar or restaurant. One simple and effective way is through the drink menu.

Below are three peach-forward cocktail recipes. They’re visually appealing, which is helpful since we tend to “drink” with our eyes first. And with peach brandy, puree, or bitters, they impart more than just color: peach fans will appreciate the flavor.

You’ll also find a recipe for the Cosmopolitan, the famous cocktail created by Toby Cecchini. It turns out Aubrey Plaza, the modern face of the Margarita, is also the spokesperson for the Cosmo. Just like they say there’s no Negroni without Campari, there’s no Cosmo without Cointreau.

Cheers!

Frankly, My Dear cocktail

Frankly, My Dear

  • 0.75 oz. Cointreau
  • 0.75 oz. Tequila
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Peach puree
  • 3 oz. Prosecco to top
  • Peach wedge to garnish

Prepare a Collins glass by filling it with ice. Add all ingredients except for the Prosecco and garnish to a shaker with ice. Shake well, then strain into Collins glass. Top with Prosecco, garnish with a peach wedge, and serve.

Fish House Punch cocktail

Fish House Punch

Add ice to a rocks, Collins, or other glass. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add all ingredients except for garnish. Shake well, strain, garnish with lemon zest, and serve.

Peach Spritzer cocktail, also known as Greek Spritzer

METAXA Peach Spritzer

  • 1.5 oz. METAXA 7 Stars
  • 1.5 oz. Prosecco or other sparkling wine
  • 0.75 oz. Tonic
  • 3 dashes Peach bitters
  • Peach wedge to garnish
  • For winter: Star anise and tree leaf to garnish
  • For spring: Jasmine flower to garnish

For this cocktail, start by selecting a red wine glass. Add METAXA 7 Stars, then add bitters and ice. Stir, add tonic, then top with Prosecco or other sparkling wine. Garnish with a peach wedge.

Cointreau Cosmopolitan cocktails

Cointreau Cosmo

  • 1 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • 1 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. Cranberry juice
  • Orange twist to garnish

Your bartenders probably know how to make a Cosmo. But just in case, start by preparing a coupe or cocktail glass by chilling it. Add all the liquid ingredients and ice to a cocktail shaker. Shake well, then strain into the prepared glass. Garnish and serve.

Images belong to their respective brands.

KRG Hospitality. Bar Consultant. Nightclub. Lounge. Mixology. Cocktails.

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: January 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative January book selections will help you and your team transform your operations and F&B programming.

This month, we look at books covering an array of topics: becoming a great boss; gaining perspective when analyzing your business; and more.

To review the book recommendations from December 2023, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Single AF Cocktails: Drinks for Bad B*tches

You may roll your eyes at the title of this cocktail book but there’s no denying it has your attention. In that way, it’s much like a well-curated, themed cocktail menu split into cleverly named sections. In fact, this book is separated into sections that match its overall theme. For example, Honeymoon Phase, Betrayal, Devastation, and Resilience. If you have reality show fans among your guests, they’ll likely know author Ariana Madix from Vanderpump Rules and Dancing with the Stars. So, they’ll probably dig these drinks.

From Amazon: “The newly solo Ariana serves up her own recipes and perspective in a unique exploration of the stages of a doomed relationship. In her own words, Ariana takes back the narrative of her very public breakup while inspiring others to find inner strength in their own troubles. Each drink tells part of the story from her point of view, from when she first met her ex, through the insidious affair and its painful aftermath, and to her present state, coming out the other side, stronger than before.”

Grab it today!

How to Be a Great Boss

Entrepreneurs, when working with a team, need to be leaders. That means being a great boss. However, that doesn’t mean being a tyrant. If you want to earn buy-in from your team, if you want to get the most out of each person, you need to get them excited and engaged.

From Amazon: “Studies have repeatedly shown that the majority of employees are disengaged at work. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Often, the difference between a group of indifferent employees and a fully engaged team comes down to one simple thing: —a great boss.

“In How to Be a Great Boss, Gino Wickman and René Boer present a straightforward, practical approach to help bosses at all levels of an organization get the most from their people. They share time-tested tools that have worked for more than 30,000 bosses in every industry. You can learn to be a great boss—and dramatically improve both your organization’s performance and your team’s excitement about their work.”

Pick up the hardcover today.

Same as Ever: A Guide to What Never Changes

As a business owner, it’s smart to see what’s changing. However, it’s also crucial to identify what’s not changing to gain perspective and understand the whole picture.

From Amazon: “With his usual elan, Morgan Housel presents a master class on optimizing risk, seizing opportunity, and living your best life. Through a sequence of engaging stories and pithy examples, he shows how we can use our newfound grasp of the unchanging to see around corners, not by squinting harder through the uncertain landscape of the future, but by looking backwards, being more broad-sighted, and focusing instead on what is permanently true.

“By doing so, we may better anticipate the big stuff, and achieve the greatest success, not merely financial comforts, but most importantly, a life well lived.”

Click here for the hardcover, or here for the paperback.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

This informative and conversational book written by KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey is the perfect read for aspiring or seasoned bar, pub, lounge, or even restaurant owners, operators, and managers looking for that competitive edge in operations! If you’re looking for both fundamental and in-depth planning methods, strategies, and industry focused insight to either start or grow a scalable, sustainable, memorable, profitable, and consistent venue in today’s cut-throat industry, Bar Hacks is written just for you.

Pick up the paperback from Amazon today!

Hacking the New Normal: Hitting the Reset Button on the Hospitality Industry

Doug’s followup book to Bar Hacks! The world around us has changed. The food and beverage industry has changed. The hospitality industry has changed. But will some ways of life change for the better? Will perhaps the restaurant, bar, and hospitality industry come out even stronger? With the right changes to the previous status quo, it is possible. There’s no question, resets are major undertakings, but a major reset will provide us with a clean start and that’s what this industry needs.

Pick up KRG Hospitality president Doug Radkey’s second book today! Click here.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

Business Plan for Boutique Hotel Motel Resort Property

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 F&B Articles

2023 KRG Recap: Top 8 F&B Articles

by David Klemt

Closeup of eight ball on pool table

For the second entry into our annual year-in-review article roundup we’re revealing the top eight food, beverage, and menu development articles of 2023.

From ChatGPT and advice from Chef Brian Duffy to articles from KRG Hospitality chef-consultant Nathen Dubé and mindset coach Jennifer Radkey, the articles below cover a wide range of F&B topics.

There’s even a look at Chef Duffy’s time on Food Network’s show BBQ Brawl with barbecue tips from our favorite pit master. It’s one of our favorite articles of the year, as well.

Cheers!

Closeup of keyboard

Can ChatGPT Write Food and Drink Menus?

After my “conversation” last month with ChatGPT about AI, I had another conversation during which I asked it to write me four menus.

Of course, I did this to prove a point. And upon reviewing the ChatGPT menus, you’ll likely reach the same conclusion.

Curious about how creative the AI-powered chatbot could be, I asked for four specific menus. As you’ll see, two are cocktail specific, one focuses on food, and one is a 20-item F&B menu for a specific event.

So, yes, ChatGPT can write food and drink menus. But there’s a caveat. I could leave you in suspense but that’s not very nice. Let’s jump in.

Write me a cocktail menu using the most popular cocktails from 2022.

Cocktail Menu

  1. Aperol Spritz – Aperol, Prosecco, and soda water, garnished with an orange slice
  2. Old Fashioned – Bourbon, sugar, bitters, and a citrus peel
  3. Margarita – Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and salt rim
  4. Daiquiri – Rum, lime juice, and simple syrup
  5. Moscow Mule – Vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice
  6. Paloma – Tequila, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and soda water
  7. Pina Colada – Rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and a cherry garnish
  8. Whiskey Sour – Bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  9. French 75 – Gin, Champagne, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  10. Mai Tai – Rum, orange liqueur, lime juice, and orgeat syrup

*All cocktails are served over ice, unless otherwise requested.

Write me a cocktail menu using the most popular spirits and alcohol types of 2022.

Cocktail Menu

  1. Gin and Tonic – Gin, tonic water, and a lime wedge
  2. Vodka Martini – Vodka, dry vermouth, and an olive garnish
  3. Bourbon Manhattan – Bourbon, sweet vermouth, and bitters
  4. Tequila Sunrise – Tequila, orange juice, and grenadine syrup
  5. Rum Runner – Rum, blackberry liqueur, orange juice, pineapple juice, and grenadine
  6. Whiskey Sour – Bourbon, lemon juice, and simple syrup
  7. Margarita – Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, and salt rim
  8. Daiquiri – Rum, lime juice, and simple syrup
  9. Long Island Iced Tea – Vodka, gin, rum, tequila, triple sec, lemon juice, and cola
  10. Pina Colada – Rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and a cherry garnish

*All cocktails are served over ice, unless otherwise requested.

Click here to keep reading.

Lynn House making Old Fashioned cocktails for Elijah Craig

Prepare Now for Old Fashioned Week

It may be nearly two months away but it’s not too early to register your bar and team for Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

This year’s event, the fourth annual Old Fashioned Week, will take place from Friday, October 13 to Sunday, October 22.

As was the case in 2022, the Southern Smoke Foundation will be this year’s beneficiary. In 2020 and 2021, Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week raised a combined $200,000 for the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation.

Just last year, to add context, Old Fashioned Week helped make it possible for Southern Smoke to provide nearly $110,000 in relief grants to food and beverage workers.

Those interested in participating this year can register their venue for free via this link. Create an Old Fashioned LTO menu—or simply make standard Old Fashioneds with Elijah Craig bourbon—and Elijah Craig will donate $1 for every Old Fashioned sold (up to $100,000).

There really couldn’t be a simpler way to deliver a fantastic, classic cocktail experience to guests while supporting a great cause.

Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Cocktail Contest

There’s more to Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week. You and your bartenders have the opportunity to participate in a cocktail contest, too.

From now until October 31, anyone who wants to throw their hat in the ring can submit their recipe for their own signature Old Fashioned.

The winner of the Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Cocktail Contest will win $5,000. They’ll also have their winning recipe included in Elijah Craig’s 2024 cocktail recipe book.

Recipes can be submitted through this link. For contest rules and judging criteria, please click here.

To learn more about Elijah Craig and the Old Fashioned, check out episode 52 of the Bar Hacks podcast with special guest Lynn House.

Continue reading here.

Tortilla with beans, cotija cheese and egg

Canadian Trends 2023: Technomic

Restaurant, bar, and hotel operators will find this year’s data-driven trend predictions from Technomic for 2023 insightful.

Interestingly but perhaps not surprisingly, some operators may be looking beyond North America for inspiration.

Per Technomic, Central and South American cuisines could influence menus in Canada this year. Other food trends that might take hold are “retro” health items, and all manner of pickled foods.

Of course, not every Canadian trend prediction involves F&B. According to Technomic, tech and the guest experience will play important roles.

To review last year’s Technomic predictions, click here. Now, let’s jump into Technomic’s 2023 predictions.

Guest Experience

Certainly, the guest experience should always be top of mind for operators, their leadership teams, and their staff.

In this instance, Technomic isn’t suggesting that the guest experience in general will be a trend. Obviously, with as important as it is to the success of any business, it’s a cornerstone.

Rather, Technomic predicts that guests will continue to feel the need to rein in their spending due to ricing costs and prices. However, the foodservice research firm also believes there’s still heavy desire for social interaction.

So, both those financial and social influences translate to the following: overdelivery.

Operators and their teams must ensure they position their brands well; make guests feel special every visit; and really dial in the guest experience. Specifically, Technomic suggests focusing on younger generations and menus with at least a couple specialty items that aren’t easy for a guest to replicate at home.

In other words, do whatever it takes to entice guests with memorable experience and quality menu items, and keep them coming back for more.

Follow this link to continue reading.

Carrots, celery and onions

Kitchen Doctrine: The Holy Trinity

To some, the Holy Trinity refers to the Christian doctrine of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But what’s the Cajun Holy Trinity?

Well, that’s a whole different story with which some people may not be as familiar. However, it carries equal weight in certain kitchens of the world.

Lending its name from religious credo, the Cajun Holy Trinity was developed in the state of Louisiana in the southern United States. Chef Paul Prudhomme gets the credit for introducing the term in 1981, along its popularization.

Cajun or Creole cuisine evolved from French, Spanish, and West African immigrants. French traditions blended into a melting pot of West African, Spanish, and Native American cuisines. The French and the Acadians (French colonists deported from Acadia in what is now Nova Scotia, Canada) both influenced Louisiana’s cuisine. The Acadians became known as Cajuns to English speakers, and thus Cajun cooking grew out of necessity in Louisiana.

Mirepoix 101

The French contributed two staples directly to Cajun and Creole cooking: roux-based cooking and the trinity of mirepoix, or onions, celery, and carrots. In Louisiana, however, carrots didn’t grow as easily as bell peppers. So, bell peppers, typically the more bitter green version, replaced them.

Some cooks were so bold as to add garlic to the Holy Trinity, referring to it as the Pope. Other variants use garlic, parsley, or shallots in addition to the three Trinity ingredients. Unlike the elaborate French dishes using mirepoix, the Holy Trinity is more symbolic of rustic, family-style meals.

These ingredients are the first to go into the pot or skillet, creating a flavorful foundation for gumbo, jambalaya, crawfish étouffée, and more. Often, by adding a bit of flour and whisking, a roux is built right on top of these sweet and colorful aromatics to form a thicker base.

The ratio is also overturned from the traditional mirepoix of two parts onion, one part celery, one part carrot, with three parts onions to two parts celery to one part bell pepper.

To learn more, click here.

Aubrey Plaza holding a Margarita made with Cointreau

Cointreau Wants to Know: Are You Making MargaRights?

Temperatures are rising and people are socializing, so Cointreau wants to make sure you and your team make Margaritas right.

In fact, they’re so serious about Margarita specs that they’re partnering with Aubrey Plaza educate the public. To celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Margarita, the iconic brand is launching the MargaRight campaign.

Challengers come and go but so far, the Margarita is the top cocktail in the US. This has been the case for many, many years. Of course, it’s also a popular cocktail around the world and has been number one in other countries as well.

Now that we’re a week away from the “official” start of summer, it’s paramount to make sure your Margaritas are MargaRight. For one thing, it’s the perfect summer sipper. For another, people are eager to socialize in restaurants and bars, and the Margarita is sure to join groups of friends as they hang out together.

But there’s another reason to ensure your Margs are on point: The wrath of Aubrey Plaza. More accurately, avoiding incurring Plaza’s wrath for putting MargaWrongs across your bar.

Margarita mix? Anger. No Cointreau? Fury.

To borrow a refrain from fanatics of another classic cocktail, it’s safe to say that Plaza would agree with, “No Margarita without Cointreau.”

The Original Margarita

Some, including Cointreau, support the belief that the Margarita’s creation traces back to 1948. For this origin story, Dallas socialite Margarita Sames is either the inventor of the Margarita or asked for a signature cocktail for a party she was hosting at her Acapulco home. Going further, another claim is that Tommy Hilton was a party guest and brought the recipe to Hilton properties, helping to make it famous.

Another claim is that the Margarita is simply a logical evolution of the Daisy. The mid-1800s tipple has a cocktail family named after it, and the Margarita, Sidecar, Cosmopolitan, and Daiquiri sprang forth from it.

Regardless of what origin story you choose to believe, Cointreau champions the original recipe: Cointreau, blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, and a lime wheel to garnish. It’s this classic recipe that Cointreau and Plaza are adamant about for the MargaRight campaign.

Click here to keep reading.

Chef Brian Duffy biting into a sandwich

BBQ Brawl: ‘Cue Tips from Chef Brian Duffy

Friend of the Bar Hacks podcast and KRG Hospitality Chef Brian Duffy is rocking it on season four of Food Network‘s BBQ Brawl.

And he’s dropping barbecue and cooking jewels while killing it on multiple styles of grill.

When we meet Chef Duffy on episode one of BBQ Brawl, he’s introduced as “The Renowned Restaurateur.” This makes sense given the fact that he has helped open more than 100 restaurants throughout his career.

Regarding grilling and barbecuing, Chef Duffy will use elements of whatever style he thinks will work best for a given situation. As he explains it, his barbecue “isn’t bound by the rules of any one style.”

I also want to point out that there’s what appears to be a 1950s-era Dodge Power Wagon, perhaps a Series 1 or Series 2 model, on Star Hill Farm, where this show was filmed. This isn’t relevant in any way to cooking, grilling, or barbecue. I’m just a Car and Motorcyle Guy® and I noticed the Power Wagon immediately.

Also, be sure to check out episode 33 and episode 53 of the Bar Hacks podcast to hear from the chef himself.

Alright, let’s check out some tips and tricks from Chef Duffy that he has shared on season four of BBQ Brawl. Like he said to the camera in the first moments of episode one, “Students, meet your pit master.”

Episode 1

If you want your food to be charred, you need to commit.

“You’ve gotta let it sit. Don’t move it,” says Chef Duffy. “Let that char happen.”

It’s just that simple. Patience is a cooking technique.

Dishes

Signature Tacos

  • Mulita, a Mexican street taco made by dipping a tortilla in birria broth.
  • Togorashi- and ancho-chili-smoked red Snapper taco with “a fun little slaw.”

Team Challenge: “California Smoke” menu (Fire delivery: Santa Maria grill)

  • Cabbage, kale, Swiss chard medley with beans
  • Scallops and smoked crab salad with preserved lemon gremolata and avocado (collaboration with Chef Larissa Da Costa; Chef Duffy prepared the smoked crab salad)

For much more, keep reading here.

Chef Brian Duffy holding a plate with a plant-based shrimp po' boy sandwich on it

The New Wave of Plant-based Foods

A key takeaway from the 2023 National Restaurant Association Show is this: a new wave of plant-based foods has made landfall.

In fact, given how many booths had plant-based items on offer, more waves will be crashing ashore. Plant-based items had a presence inside every building at McCormick Place in Chicago. For those who haven’t attended to show, McCormick Place has well more than two-million square feet in exhibit space.

There were, of course, the plant-based standards to which we’ve all grown accustomed. Burger patties, breakfast sausages, “chicken” nuggets, “pepperoni” pizzas… However, we now know there’s more innovation on the way.

Years ago, F&B experts declared seafood alternatives as the “holy grail” of plant-based foods. The race has been on to “crack the code” and offer seafood alternatives that look, cook, and taste like their animal counterparts.

One brand that appears to have reached their goal? New Wave Foods. And their staunchest culinary supporter? The revered and iconic Chef Brian Duffy.

Seismic but Sensible Shift

Those who are familiar with Chef Duffy know he’s unafraid to share his views on all things culinary, service, operations, and hospitality. The same people also know that he’s demanding when it comes to ingredients, distributors, and partners.

I say that to say this: Some people are shocked Chef Duffy is championing a plant-based food. However, I don’t share that reaction. Chef Duffy has never been anti-plant-based—he has been waiting for plant-based items to rise to his high standards.

During his 2023 NRA Show demo, the acclaimed and in-demand chef made shrimp-fried rice. Of course, he replaced shrimp with a plant-based alternative produced using mung bean and seaweed. That product is New Wave Foods Shrimp.

The demo proved so engaging that Chef Duffy was asked to repeat it on the final day of the show. I, for one, am not surprised—Chef Duffy is an incredible speaker and chef.

This seismic shift—not just in Chef Duffy’s embrace of plant-based foods but also throughout the industry—is sensible when you consider something said during the demo.

Boiling it down to the basics, Chef Duffy asked why operators wouldn’t want to offer high-quality plant-based items to their guests. It’s simple: Increasingly, this is what guests want. So…give it to them.

Continue reading here.

Chef pouring espagnole or brown sauce

Say Hi to Your Mother Sauces for Me

A well-crafted sauce can elevate a dish, tying all the elements together, adding richness, texture, and colour to almost any recipe.

French cuisine in particular is renowned for its liberal use of flavorful sauces. Developed in the 19th century by French chef Auguste Escoffier, the five mother sauces are basic recipes that serve as the foundation for any number of secondary sauce variations. Each mother sauce is categorized primarily according to its unique base and thickener.

The five French mother sauces are: béchamel, velouté, espagnole, hollandaise, and tomato. Historically, Chef Escoffier originally designated only four mother sauces, and mayonnaise as a cold mother sauce, with Hollandaise below that.

Interestingly, when his book was translated to English, mayonnaise was forgotten or omitted; Hollandaise was listed as the fifth mother sauce.

Beginning culinary students and experienced cooks alike commit these five sauces to memory. They learn that by tweaking their basic formulas, all manner of great sauces can be crafted.

Please meet the five mother sauces below. I explain: how each is made; their basic uses; and some secondary sauces you can make from them.

1. Béchamel

Béchamel, or white sauce, is a simple milk-based sauce made from butter, flour, and milk.

You know béchamel as the white sauce that gives chicken pot pie its texture, or as the vehicle of cheesy goodness and binding agent in delicious mac ‘n’ cheese creations. The sauce can be found in everything from scalloped potatoes and lasagne to gravy iterations.

In classical cuisine, béchamel was poured over fish, eggs, or steamed chicken. While béchamel has a generally neutral taste on its own, the classic mother sauce adds a unique creamy texture that is both hearty and comforting.

My personal favorite base recipe is Joel Robuchon’s equation of one liter of milk, 60 grams of butter, and 60 grams of flour. It works perfectly every time.

To make béchamel, start by cooking butter and flour in a saucepan until it forms a substance called a roux. The roux is responsible for thickening the sauce. To remove the floury taste, cook the roux over medium heat for a few minutes.

When the roux is ready, slowly whisk in warm milk and simmer until it forms a creamy sauce. Strain the liquid after it thickens to get rid of any sediment, then add salt and pepper. (You can add other ingredients as well, such as bay leaves, nutmeg, onion, clove, or even cheese.)

With the addition of a few extra seasonings like salt, pepper, and cloves, béchamel is complete — though it may be used as a base for many other sauces.

Béchamel sauces include:

  • Mornay: onion, cloves, Gruyère, and Parmesan cheese
  • Alfredo: garlic with heavy cream
  • Soubise: butter and caramelized onions
  • Cheddar sauce (used for mac ‘n’ cheese or nacho-style sauces): whole milk and cheddar cheese

For more sauces and insights, click here.

Image: Alex Lion on Unsplash

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