by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

5 Books to Read this Month: October 2023

5 Books to Read this Month: October 2023

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative October book selections will help you and your team transform your vision for your business into a successful story.

This month, we’re taking a good look at independent hotel operations, including checking out the wonderful guest experience a rustic lodge can deliver. We also dive into operations and brand strategy.

Oh, and we get inspiration from a company founder who turned $50 into a $30 billion-per-year, globally recognized brand.

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

Let’s jump in!

INDIE HOTEL: Why Hoteliers Are Breaking Free from Chains and Choosing Independence

I picked up INDIE HOTEL just a day or two after it was released. Written by Jeremy Wells, one of the brilliant minds behind the recently opened Ozarker Lodge, this book examines the shifting hospitality landscape.

From Amazon: “The hospitality industry is exciting and always evolving. One of the most exciting shifts in recent years is the growing popularity of independent, boutique hotels. While chains are here to stay, I believe the days of franchise domination are numbered. Traveler preferences are changing, and technology, once available only to chains, is becoming more accessible. As a result, more and more hoteliers will continue to make the leap into independence—breaking free from chains and enjoying a newfound freedom.”

Order your copy today!

Lodge: An Indoorsy Tour of America’s National Parks

We’re firm believers of looking everywhere for inspiration. Lodge may not be a how-to book for hoteliers but it speaks to the importance of the guest experience. Moreover, it shows that while midscale and luxury hotels and resorts seem to popping up all over, a rustic lodge that encourages disconnecting and recharging definitely still has its place in hospitality.

From Amazon: “Max Humphrey shines a light on 10 rustic National Park lodges in all their airy, timeworn splendor. No historic photos here; the images of the architecture and interiors are as they look today, highlighting these storied places in a fresh, alluring way. Sure, the lobbies are the main stage, but Humphrey touches on grand dining rooms, guest rooms, and rustic canteens alike. He writes about the buildings themselves in terms of the historical goings-on at the time, why they were built, and the players involved, highlighting notable architectural moments and period-specific furnishings. A smattering of pop culture history adds extra bursts of levity throughout.”

Grab it today.

Future Hospitality: Impactful Brand Experiences that Drive Sustainable Growth, Happier Guests, and Inspired Staff

Since the latest Jeremy Wells book kicks off this list, let’s take a look at his first book.

Future Hospitality drives home a simple but powerful principle that KRG shares. Put simply, hospitality is a mindset. This book also explains how an operator’s brand strategy plays a significant role in embodying that important principle.

From Amazon: “The purpose of this book is to help you understand the significance of making people feel good, and how the principles of strategic brand development can dramatically influence how you go about doing it.

“Without the core foundational component of a brand strategy in place at your business, I believe that you’ll be fighting an uphill battle that you don’t need to fight. If your business means anything to you, then you need to make it mean something to others.”

Order your copy here.

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Again, we don’t always have to look at the hospitality industry for inspiration or lessons. We can learn from businesses that appear to have nothing to do with our own.

There are several lessons we can learn from Phil Knight and his leadership of Nike. For example, the following quotes are attributed to Knight:

  • “Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.”
  • “Let everyone else call your idea crazy; just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where ‘there’ is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

From Amazon: “In 1962, fresh out of business school, Phil Knight borrowed $50 from his father and created a company with a simple mission: import high-quality, low-cost athletic shoes from Japan. Selling the shoes from the boot of his Plymouth, Knight grossed $8000 in his first year. Today, Nike’s annual sales top $30 billion. In an age of start-ups, Nike is the ne plus ultra of all start-ups, and the swoosh has become a revolutionary, globe-spanning icon, one of the most ubiquitous and recognisable symbols in the world today.”

Pick up your copy.

Bar Hacks: Developing The Fundamentals for an Epic Bar

If you have yet to read Bar Hacks, written by KRG Hospitality president and Bar Hacks podcast creator Doug Radkey, you need to pick your copy up today.

Without an understanding and appreciation of the fundamentals, long-term success is essentially an impossibility.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

KRG Hospitality. Boutique Hotels. Resorts. Properties. Consultant. Feasibility Study. Business Plan

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Drinkee: Novo Fogo x SOFI TUKKER

Introducing Drinkee, Novo Fogo x SOFI TUKKER

by David Klemt

Novo Fogo Organic Cachaça Drinkee passion fruit cachaça

A month after announcing the reformulation of their award-winning cachaça-forward RTDs, Novo Fogo is proud to announce the launch of Drinkee.

Drinkee, the first Brazilian passion fruit cachaça made for the American market, is a direct result of a new partnership.

Listeners of our Bar Hacks podcast will recall that Novo Fogo founder and CEO Dragos Axinte was our guest for episode 97. It’s on this episode that Axinte discusses Novo Fogo’s partnership with Sophie Hawley-Weld and Tucker Halpern, known globally as SOFI TUKKER.

Axinte shares his thoughts on partnerships and collaboration when talking about teaming up with Hawley-Weld and Halpern. While the partnership “felt right to both sides,” the parties still went through a “complex, long negotiation” before finalizing their deal. The Novo Fogo and SOFI TUKKER teams may have known deep down that the partnership was right but they took the time to prove that feeling was good for business and a long-term relationship.

In addition to SOFI TUKKER serving as global ambassadors for Novo Fogo, Hawley-Weld and Halpern are also co-owners of the Brazilian brand. The dance music duo was heavily involved in the development and launch of Drinkee.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by SOFI TUKKER (@sofitukker)

The newest addition to the Novo Fogo lineup is essentially Brazil in a bottle. Start with Novo Fogo Silver, infuse it with authentic Brazilian flavors, and you get Drinkee. This new expression is named for SOFI TUKKER’s debut song of the same name, and delivers notes of Brazilian passion fruit, orange peel, vanilla, pure cane sugar, and oak.

To learn more about Novo Fogo Drinkee, please read the press release below. While we’re eager to spend time with this new bottle, we’re excited for more collaborative Novo Fogo x SOFI TUKKER products to enter the market.



Developed with SOFI TUKKER, Drinkee is the first Brazilian Passion Fruit Cachaça made for the American market

SEATTLE, WA (Aug. 21, 2023) Novo Fogo announces a new product to their lineup of USDA-certified organic Brazilian cachaças: Novo Fogo Passion Fruit Cachaça, fancifully named after SOFI TUKKER’s hit song, “Drinkee.” A first for the American market, this all-natural sugarcane spirit culminates months of product development among the Novo Fogo distillery team in Morretes, Brazil, and the multi-Grammy-nominated dance music superstars SOFI TUKKER, who are co-owners and global brand ambassadors of Novo Fogo.

The partners’ ambition was to share the beloved flavors of Brazil in a bottled, full-proof spirit that drops a beat of fresh tropical flavor into any cocktail. To achieve this, they experimented with various infusions of tropical ingredients to harmoniously complement the rainforest flavors of Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça. The resulting spirit amplifies the beloved notes of Brazilian passion fruit and fresh cane distillate, supported by background rhythms of orange peel, vanilla, pure cane sugar, and oak. Drinkee stands proudly when sipped neat or on the rocks, but it really starts to dance in cocktails of all kinds. Few things match the perfection of a Caipirinha made with the pulp of a fresh passion fruit, sipped under a backdrop of tropical birdsong and Brazilian rainforest, but a Caipirinha simply shaken with Passion Fruit Cachaça, lime, and sugar is a close second, wherever you enjoy it.

Tucker Halpern, half of the eponymous duo SOFI TUKKER, says of this cachaça: “I am beyond proud of where this product ended up. It feels surreal to have been in the Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil testing the different ingredient combinations to make the perfect Passion Fruit Cachaça. It truly tastes the way our song ‘Drinkee’ sounds, and the way Brazil makes us feel. We’re so excited for everyone to try it!” 

Novo Fogo Passion Fruit Cachaça was created to be as inclusive as SOFI TUKKER’s music: it is an approachable introduction to cachaça newcomers, and simultaneously an elegant base spirit for bartenders and enthusiasts to supercharge their cocktails with bold tropical flavors. Drinkee will pair perfectly with another upcoming Novo Fogo x SOFI TUKKER collaboration named after their song “Energia.” That future product is inspired by Sophie Hawley-Weld, who enjoys alcohol-free drinks and is passionate about Brazil’s rainforest environment and the plant-based beverages that grow therein. 

Like all Novo Fogo’s handcrafted Brazilian spirits, Passion Fruit Cachaça is an emissary of Brazilian culture and rainforest conservation, and a symbol for the shared values that connected Novo Fogo and SOFI TUKKER in the first place. The duo says of the partnership: “We have a lot in common with Novo Fogo – we share a core love of Brazil, fun, and environmentalism. Cachaça is Tuck’s favorite drink and Soph doesn’t drink alcohol, but she’s still at the same party… both having the best time. This partnership works because Novo Fogo is so much more than cachaça and spirits; they are a powerful rainforest preservation steward, and we’re enthusiastic participants in the reforestation project The Un-Endangered Forest™. So if you do decide to drink, we hope you’ll drink Novo Fogo because you’ll be planting trees in the Brazilian rainforest at the same time! We’re excited to help introduce this classic Brazilian drink to more people around the world.”

Novo Fogo Passion Fruit Cachaça is sold to distributors nationwide by 375 Park Avenue Spirits. It is now available for pre-order on www.novofogo.com.

About Novo Fogo

A passionate advocate for sustainable practices in the spirits industry, Novo Fogo is a carbon-negative company that produces USDA-certified 100% organic cachaças at its zero-waste distillery in the heart of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest. Its production methods prioritize human and environmental sustainability; the company is proud of its all-female distiller team and its legacy reforestation project, The Un-Endangered Forest, which seeks to restore 44 species of threatened native trees. Extending this ethos to its cocktail audience, Novo Fogo has been a trailblazer for sponsoring health and wellness initiatives for spirit industry members. The company’s product line intersects traditional Brazilian culture with modern cocktail trends of healthier drinking, such as low carbs, low ABV, and low calories. Seeking to build a business that can last 100 years, Novo Fogo has partnered with multi-Grammy-nominated global dance music duo SOFI TUKKER to foster increased awareness towards its brand of conscientious capitalism. Find Your Own Brazilian Zen™ by visiting https://www.novofogo.com.


SOFI TUKKER – best friends Sophie Hawley-Weld & Tucker Halpern – have a global reputation as the most vibrant, positive and community-driven dance music group out there. The duo met senior year at Brown University, where Tucker was a basketball jock and Sophie studied conflict resolution and Brazilian Portuguese. In 2015 they put out their debut single “Drinkee,” which was nominated for a GRAMMY, followed by a 2nd nomination for their debut album Treehouse. They have since earned Platinum & Gold record sales, several #1 records, over a billion streams, and campaigns for Apple (“Best Friend”), Peloton (“Purple Hat”) and Smartwater (“Wet Tennis”). 2023 saw Tucker & Sophie as the faces of colorful G-Star Raw & Baboon to the Moon collections, and the continuation of their own fashion label, WET TENNIS. Their new single “Jacaré” is a celebration of Brazil and the LGBTQ+ community, with lyrics by the Brazilian poet Chacal. SOFI TUKKER have collaborated with artists around the world, such as Amadou & Mariam, Mahmut Orhan, Bomba Estéreo & Pabllo Vittar. In the first half of 2023, the duo released “Sacrifice” with Kx5 (Kaskade & Deadmau5) and contributed two songs to the debut album from LP Giobbi. Meanwhile their versatility as a live act has them packing festival fields, selling out headline tours and returning to Vegas for their DJ residency. They debuted their immersive new live show at Coachella, followed by Governors Ball, Bonnaroo, Electric Forest, Lollapalooza, Osheaga & more. 

Image: Novo Fogo Organic Cachaça

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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Double Char Bourbon Launches Nationwide

Bib & Tucker Double Char Bourbon Launches Nationwide

by David Klemt

Bib & Tucker Double Char bourbon bottle and cocktail

A smoky bourbon that draws inspiration from the savory side of the culinary world is finally, mercifully available throughout the US.

We’ve been waiting patiently, having shared the news of this new release back in June. We’re excited to be able to update that story: Everyone can finally get their hands on this unique small-batch bourbon.

Double Char is an innovative Tennessee bourbon rested for six years in new white American oak barrels that weighs in at 88 proof. And whether people to choose to snap bottles up online or off-premise, this smoky sipper from Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon is ready for action.

What this means for operators and bar teams, of course, is that the bourbon lovers and bourbon-curious among guests will expect to find Double Char on bar menus across the country.

This is great news for bar and restaurant operators who encourage collaboration between front- and back-of-house teams. Double Char has been described as “a smoky sweet BBQ in a bottle.” This culinary inspiration will allow bartenders and chefs to work together to wow guests with specialty cocktails that pair incredible well with all manner of rich, savory, smoky dishes.

I, for one, foresee mouthwatering LTO cocktails and specialty prix fixe experiences centered on Double Char on the horizon.

To learn more about Bib & Tucker Double Char, click here or review the press release below. And to learn more about Bib & Tucker, click here to listen to episode 59 of the Bar Hacks podcast.


Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon Announces Double Char Innovation

New Savory, Smoky Bourbon Inspired by the Flavor of Food Smoked on the Open Flame

STAMFORD, Conn., May 31, 2023 /PRNewswire/—Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon is proudly announcing the release of Bib & Tucker Double Char Bourbon.

Inspired by the turn of the century, when food was cooked on the open flame, this new bourbon is aged twice to create savory smoky notes and an exceptionally smooth finish. Bib & Tucker Double Char is first aged for six years in the rolling hills of Tennessee in new white American oak, followed by a minimum of five months in a second heavily charred and smoked new barrel. This unique fire-forged double char aging method creates the rich and deep flavor of Bib & Tucker Double Char.

“I can’t wait for consumers to try this delicious expression,” said Tom Steffanci, President of Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits. “Double Char spends just the right amount of time in the second heavily charred barrel, creating a savory, smoky character that adds a whole new dimension to the bourbon.”

As a Tennessee bourbon, Bib & Tucker follows the Lincoln County process unique to the state, meaning the bourbon is filtered through sugar maple charcoal before going into the barrel for aging.

For Double Char, to pay homage to the Lincoln County process, the second barrel is smoked with sugar maple before being filled with the brand’s 6-year aged bourbon. The perfect amount of time in the barrels, the char, and the sugar maple barrel smoking process delivers a bourbon with an inviting savory white smoke flavor not found in any other whiskey on the market.

Bib & Tucker Double Char Tasting Notes:

  • Nose: A touch of smoke with immediate notes of toasted oak and dulce de leche, background notes of cinnamon and clove
  • Palate: Vanilla and sugar maple surrounded with white smoke, hints of sweet corn and toasted cinnamon
  • Finish: Medium to long finish with oak, white smoke and vanilla
  • Color: Deep rich mahogany with copper undertones

The lineup of Bib & Tucker Small Batch Bourbon includes:

  • The Classic Six: 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey – SRP: $54.99; 92 proof/46% ABV
  • Double Char: 6-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey – SRP: $54.99; 88 proof/44% ABV
  • 10-Year-Old Small Batch Bourbon Whiskey – SRP: $89.99; 92 proof/46% ABV

Bib & Tucker Double Char will be available nationally, in-store and online, beginning August 2023.

Image: Bib & Tucker

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Cheers to the Spirited Awards Winners!

Cheers to the 2023 Spirited Awards Winners!

by David Klemt

Bartender presenting cocktail

A toast to the nominees and winners!

Cheers to each of the winning bars, teams, and individuals taking home awards from the 17th annual Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail 2023 in New Orleans!

Spirits educator, advocate, and bartender’s bartender Tiffanie Barriere earned the well-deserved Tales Visionary Award. Master Distiller Desmond Payne, MBE, took home the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award.

Compellingly, a number of so-called secondary and tertiary markets are taking awards back to their home cities. These include Albuquerque, Phoenix, and Portland. Nothing against primary markets like New York City and Los Angeles, but it’s wonderful to see other cities grab the spotlight and shine, make their marks, and let everyone know, “We’ve arrived—don’t sleep on us!”

Unfortunately, Canada didn’t take home any international awards from Tales this year, nor did Las Vegas. Next year, hopefully.

Barcelona, however, can boast that it’s the home of the Spirited Award winner for the World’s Best Bar.

As far as our little experiment with artificial intelligence attempting to predict Spirited Awards winners, the chatbot we selected didn’t do very well. That said, it did accurately guess six out of the 24 awards we presented to the bot for a 25-percent success rate: Best US Brand Ambassador; International Bartender of the Year; Best International Bar Mentor; Best International Restaurant Bar; Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series; and Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing.

Raise a glass and toast this year’s Spirited Awards winners. Cheers!

US Categories

US Bartender of the Year presented by Pernod Ricard USA

Christine Wiseman, Marygold’s Brasserie / Broken Shaker (Miami, Florida)

Best US Bar Mentor presented BarSmarts

Chris Patino

Best US Brand Ambassador presented Libbey

Vance Henderson (Hendrick’s Gin)*

Best US Bar Team presented by William Grant & Sons

Happy Accidents (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

Best US Cocktail Bar presented by Absolut Vodka

Century Grand (Phoenix, Arizona)

Best US Hotel Bar presented by Grey Goose

Hey Love at The Jupiter (Portland, Oregon)

Best US Restaurant Bar presented by Amaro Montenegro and Select Aperitivo

Café La Trova (Miami, Florida)

Best New US Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Martiny’s (New York, New York)

Timeless US Award

Tiki-Ti (Los Angeles, California)

International Categories

International Bartender of the Year presented by The Busker

Giorgio Bargiani, Connaught Bar (London, England, United Kingdom)*

Best International Bar Mentor presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Agostino Perrone*

Best International Brand Ambassador presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Nicola Riske (The Macallan)

Best International Bar Team presented by Angostura Caribbean Rum

ALQUÍMICO (Cartagena, Colombia)

Best International Cocktail Bar presented by Patr​​ón Tequila

SIPS (Barcelona, Spain)

Best International Hotel Bar presented by Perrier

Jigger & Pony at the Amara Hotel (Singapore)

Best International Restaurant Bar presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Analogue Initiative (Singapore)*

Best New International Cocktail Bar presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Line Athens (Athens, Greece)

Timeless International Award

Long Bar at the Raffles Hotel (Singapore)

Global Categories

Tales Visionary Award

Tiffanie Barriere

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award

Desmond Payne, MBE

World’s Best Bar

SIPS (Barcelona, Spain)

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient presented by Lyre’s Non-Alcoholic

Martini & Rossi Floreale Non Alcoholic Aperitivo

World’s Best Cocktail Menu presented by Diageo Bar Academy

Double Chicken Please (New York, New York)

World’s Best Spirits Selection presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Raised by Wolves (San Diego, California)

Writing & Media Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation


Best Broadcast, Podcast, or Online Video Series presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

The Speakeasy Podcast*

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writing presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

The Great Mezcal Heist” by Emma Janzen, for Eater*

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

The Bartender’s Manifesto by Toby Maloney with Emma Janzen

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History, or Spirits presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation

Modern Caribbean Rum: A Contemporary Reference to the Region’s Essential Spirit by Matt Pietrek and Carrie Smith

Congratulations to each of the venues, teams, and individual winners! Cheers!

Bar Hacks Guests

The following Spirited Awards presenters, winners, and TOTC team have appeared on the Bar Hacks podcast. Give these episodes a listen to learn more about these amazing people!

Vance Henderson (episode 20)

Episode 48, Episode 65, and the Hurricane Ida Emergency Episode with Eileen Wayner

Lynn House (episode 52)

Kellie Thorn and Lola Thomas (episode 72)

Roberta Mariani (episode 84)

* Denotes an accurate prediction by DeepAI‘s AI Chat chatbot.

Image: Christian Fridell on Pexels

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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

The Year of Pineau des Charentes?

The Year of Pineau des Charentes?

by David Klemt

A dock and door in the Charente-Maritime department of France

A pier and door in the Charente-Maritime department of France, home of Pineau des Charentes.

Take Cognac’s eponymous and legendary brandy, add grape juice or grape must, mature the blend, and you get Pineau des Charentes.

Pineau, a less unwieldy name for this vin de liqueur, comes in white, red, and rosé styles. Unfortunately, owing to Pineau not being as famous as Cognac, these fortified wines aren’t very well known to the general public.

However, bartenders and bar owners are trying to turn that around. In fact, the iconic Ivy Mix theorized last week that 2023 could become the Year of Pineau.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Ivy Mix (@ivymix)

Toward the bottom of her post, Mix says it’s “[t]time to [p]lay with Pineau!” She also includes a recipe for a Pineau-led version of the Saturn cocktail.

Pineau is excellent for hot summer days, and it plays well in tiki or nautical drinks and other cocktails.

Of course, Mix’s post got me thinking: Do enough people know about Pineau to help guide their guests in discovering it and adding it to their beverage rotation?

So, below you’ll get a crash course in Pineau des Charentes, your and your guests’ new favorite fortified wine.

Mix has been a guest of the Bar Hacks podcast, featuring on episode 54 and episode 58 if you’d like to learn more about her approach to hospitality.

A Happy Accident?

If you know anything about me, you know I love a good drink origin story. This is mainly due to the fact that there are either disputes or we’re simply perpetuating a guess or theory.

Well, Pineau des Charentes has a bit of a “foggy” origin itself.

From what I can find, this vin de liqueur traces its roots back to a winemaker in the late 1500s—supposedly. Rumor has it that he put grape must—freshly crushed grape juice—into what he mistook for an empty barrel. In reality, the barrel, which was put to rest for a few years, contained Cognac.

Bippity, boppity, booze, Pineau was born. In 1921, a winemaker in Burie, a commune in Charente-Maritime, commercialized Pineau.

How it’s Made

Production, while controlled, is straightforward.

In most cases, a single house handles production on their own. They grow the grapes that become brandy, they make the juice by pressing more grapes, and they add the juice to the eau de vie.

For the curious, the grapes most often used in the production of Pineau are:

  • Cabernet Franc
  • Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Colombard
  • Folle Blanche
  • Jurancon
  • Merlot
  • Merlot Blanc
  • Meslier St Francois
  • Montils
  • Sauvignon Blanc
  • Semillon
  • Ugni Blanc

Many people are probably familiar with the term for blending eau de vie with juice: assemblage. However, they may be less familiar with the result of assemblage: mutage. This step simply stops the fermentation process.

With assemblage completed—the ratios are highly controlled—the blend is matured. A white Pineau must spend 18 months maturing, 12 of those months in an oak barrel. For a red Pineau, those numbers are 12 months and eight months.

Then, the Pineau is bottled. As mentioned at the start of this section, Pineau is controlled; it’s subject to the rules of the vin de liqueur Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée, or AOC. So, Pineau must be bottled within its AOC region.

Types of Pineau des Charentes

At the top of this article I mention that there are white, red, and rosé Pineaus. In other words, there will be a familiarity with Pineau from the wine drinkers amongst guests. This can, of course, make it easier to introduce it to them.

White Pineau, the most widely known style, is broken down into:

  • blanc, minimum aging (18 months, 12 in oak barrels);
  • vieux blanc, spending at least five years in oak casks; and
  • très vieux blanc, resting for at least 10 years in oak.

That brings us to red Pineau and its age breakdown:

  • rouge, minimum aging (12 months, eight in oak casks);
  • vieux rouge, resting for a minimum of five years in oak; and
  • très vieux rouge, spending at least 10 years in oak barrels.

Red is the most popular style of Pineau in its home region.

Now, when it comes to rosé Pineau, the aging is very similar to red or rouge. However, the line of separation, based upon maceration time, is quite thin.

Speaking of familiarity, by the way, many well-known Cognac houses also produce Pineau. This means guests should recognize names like Rémy Martin, Pierre Ferrand, and Hardy.

How it Tastes

All of this leads us to the big question that will be on your bar team and guests’ minds: What does Pineau taste like?

Generally speaking, Pineau is sweet. However, it’s not sweet in an overwhelming way. Rather, your guest-facing team members can explain that Pineau is described as having a natural sweetness. Older styles also tend to deliver more complex profiles, including flavors such as honey and nuts.

Of course, the best way to know how to describe a given Pineau in your inventory is to taste your team on each expression.

Pineau is most often enjoyed chilled and served in a tulip-shaped glass. However, as Mix and other bartenders will tell you, Pineau performs very well as a base or modifier in cocktails.

And at 16- to 22-percent ABV (most often 17 percent), Pineau is similar in proof to Sherry and Port. In fact, I recommend creating a fortified wine flight (premium price for premium products and a premium experience) that allows guests to compare Sherry, Port, and Pineau.

To get things started, Mix’s Pineau-based Saturn recipe is below. Cheers!

Venus’s Point

  • 1.5 oz. Pineau de Charentes White ​(Mix uses Pierre Ferrand in the Instagram post above)
  • 0.5 oz Agricole Rhum (Mix uses JM in the Instagram post above)​
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice​
  • 0.25 oz. Passionfruit syrup​
  • 0.25 oz. Orgeat​
  • Lemon wheel​ to garnish

Simply shake, strain, serve up, and garnish.

Image: Les Argonautes on Unsplash

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

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Novo Fogo Reformulates Brazilian RTDs

Novo Fogo Reformulates and Redesigns Brazilian RTDs

by David Klemt

Redesigned and reformulated Novo Fogo ready-to-drink canned cocktails

Just before Tales of the Cocktail kicks off, Novo Fogo Organic Cachaça announces the reformulation of their award-winning ready-to-drink cocktail line.

As founder and CEO Dragos Axinte reveals on episode 97 of the Bar Hacks podcast, the RTD series now features key changes.

For example, the RTDs now come in 12-ounce slim cans rather than their original eight-ounce cans. As you can see, the design is also much more colorful and eye-catching.

Of course, the changes aren’t simply cosmetic. Inside the can, each expression represents a new recipe. The last iteration of Novo Fogo RTDs was delicious and showcased their Silver Cachaça brilliantly. However, the new formulation offers even more robust flavor and drops the sweetness a bit.


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A post shared by Dragoș Axinte (@treerestrial)

Most importantly, the new RTDs are truly a pioneering beverage. Novo Fogo’s new canned cocktails are the first RTDs made with Brazilian cachaça ever to achieve USDA Organic certification.

This means that Novo Fogo’s entire lineup, from core expressions to special releases, is USDA-certified 100-percent organic. That’s a huge win for the company, for operators who feature their products, and for operators’ guests.

Operators will be able to introduce these new 12-ounce, nine-percent ABV RTDs to their guests shortly. They’re perfect as a refreshing summer cocktail, served on ice in buckets with limes for garnish.


RTD Line Sets Industry Standard as the First-Ever USDA-Certified Organic Canned Cocktail Made with Brazilian Cachaça

SEATTLE, WANovo Fogo Organic Cachaça today announces that they have completely redesigned and reformulated their popular line of award-winning Brazilian canned cocktails, offering consumers a fresh way to experience their carbonated twist on Brazil’s national cocktail, the Caipirinha. Novo Fogo Brazilian Organic Cocktails come in three tropical flavors and are USDA-certified organic.

The award-winning, sustainability-oriented cachaça producer makes handcrafted cachaça from estate-grown sugarcane in Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest and is a pioneer in spirit-based ready-to-drink (RTD) beverages. For over six years, Novo Fogo’s canned cocktails have introduced North American drinkers to Brazilian cachaça in an approachable, convenient, and delicious format. The current product evolution represents a giant leap forward in organic ingredient certification, packaging design, and flavor.

Novo Fogo’s Brazilian Organic Cocktails highlight three traditional Brazilian flavors—Lime, Passion Fruit, and Mango—that complement the base spirit of Novo Fogo Silver Cachaça, beloved by bartenders across the globe. The 100% natural ingredients have been reformulated to create a cocktail that is now certified organic by the USDA, a first for any cachaça-based RTD and a big win for Mother Earth. This breakthrough now makes Novo Fogo’s entire product line USDA-certified organic.

The colorful design of the 12 oz sleek cans evokes Novo Fogo’s origins in the Brazilian rainforest and emerged in collaboration with multi-Grammy-nominated dance music duo, SOFI TUKKER, who became co-owners and global ambassadors of Novo Fogo in October 2022. SOFI TUKKER’s vibrant, inclusive, and global perspective on electronic music has attracted legions of adoring fans worldwide, and Novo Fogo’s Brazilian Organic Cocktails are poised to accompany SOFI TUKKER’s music as the perfect concert cocktail.

Novo Fogo Brazilian Organic Cocktails feature new recipes that are full-flavored and not too sweet, each at 9% ABV with 150 calories and 12 grams of carbohydrates per serving. The aluminum cans have grown to 12 oz in volume, with 1.8 proper cocktail servings per can. Although they are new in every way, these updated cocktails continue to combine freshness, deliciousness, and shelf stability by virtue of their organic-certified ingredients that harmonize as balanced, carbonated drinks. Drink ‘em how you like ‘em, as long as they’re cold: straight from the chilled can, over ice in a glass, and with or without an extra squeeze of lime.

Novo Fogo is an award-winning Brazilian cachaça producer that handcrafts their spirits at their zero-waste distillery at the edge of the Atlantic Forest in Brazil’s southern state of Paraná. The purest representation of USDA-certified 100% organic sugarcane, Novo Fogo’s Silver Cachaça is the result of single pot distillation in small batches to maximize the flavors of local terroir in the finished spirit. Silver Cachaça is the base spirit for all three Brazilian Organic Cocktails.

“We have always been committed to genuinely reflect Brazilian culture in our brand persona, while also observing and respecting North American consumer trends. These new organic cocktails are a natural evolution of our understanding of the world and incorporate the positive, colorful, and vivid inspiration that SOFI TUKKER brought to the brand. As with everything we do these days, our new Brazilian Organic Cocktails represent the intersection of integrity and joy,” says Novo Fogo’s founder and CEO, Dragos Axinte.

Novo Fogo Brazilian canned cocktails are sold to distributors nationwide by 375 Park Avenue Spirits and online with a suggested retail price of $3.75 per can and $14.99 for a four-pack. To learn more about Novo Fogo products, please visit www.novofogo.com.

About Novo Fogo

A passionate advocate for sustainable practices in the spirits industry, Novo Fogo is a carbon-negative company that produces USDA-certified 100% organic cachaças at its zero-waste distillery in the heart of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest. Its production methods prioritize human and environmental sustainability; the company is proud of its all-female distiller team and its legacy reforestation project, The Un-Endangered Forest, which seeks to restore 44 species of threatened native trees. Extending this ethos to its cocktail audience, Novo Fogo has been a trailblazer for sponsoring health and wellness initiatives for spirit industry members. The company’s product line intersects traditional Brazilian culture with modern cocktail trends of healthier drinking, such as low carbs, low ABV, and low calories. Seeking to build a business that can last 100 years, Novo Fogo has partnered with multi-Grammy-nominated global dance music duo SOFI TUKKER to foster increased awareness towards its brand of conscientious capitalism. Find Your Own Brazilian Zen™ by visiting https://www.novofogo.com.

About 375 Park Avenue Spirits

375 Park Avenue Spirits specializes in the premium- to luxury-spirit categories and their portfolio includes numerous expressions from leading international producers.  Founded as Luctor International, LLC in 1981, 375 Park Avenue Spirits joined the Sazerac Company in early 2015 to act as an independent, yet fully integrated sales and marketing affiliate. The company is known today for creating an environment of growth for supplier partners in the domestic market for renown brands like Van Gogh Vodka from Holland, Sobieski Vodka from Poland, Cutty Sark Blended Scotch, J.P. Wiser’s Canadian Whisky, Paul John Single Malt Whisky from India, Scapegrace Gin from New Zealand, Novo Fogo Cachaça and many others. For more information on 375 Park Avenue Spirits, please visit www.375park.com.

Images courtesy of Novo Fogo Organic Cachaça

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2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

2023 Reveal: The World’s 50 Best Hotels

by David Klemt

Waves crashing on beach

The World’s 50 Best Hotels launches this year, completing the hospitality puzzle as it joins the World’s 50 Best Bars and the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Mark Sansom, content director for the World’s 50 Best Bars, shares details of the new list on episode 90 of the Bar Hacks podcast. To learn more about Mark and the World’s 50 Best Bars, you can also listen to episode 82 of Bar Hacks.

This is huge news for the hospitality, travel, and accommodation sectors. Sansom and the team go to great lengths when it comes to every detail of the World’s 50 Best Bars. Indeed, the awards ceremony is truly the Oscars of the bar world. Just take a look at the video below:

In fact, it’s likely a bit more fun than the Oscars. A room full of the best bar teams and industry professionals? You know it’s a nonstop party.

I say to say this: I expect the Oscars of the hotel world for the inaugural 50 Best Hotels ceremony. And I’m confident the team will deliver on that expectation.

To see the World’s 50 Best Bars for 2022, click here. For the World’s 50 Best Restaurants of 2022, follow this link.

Who Decides?

You’re probably wondering how all of this “works.” Just who decides, among all the hotels throughout the world, which are the 50 best?

As Sansom explains on the Bar Hacks podcast, hundreds of people decide.

For 2023, the World’s 50 Best Hotels is split into nine regions. That’s likely to grow (50 Best Bars and Restaurants each have 28 regions) but for now, that’s the breakdown.

Each of those regions is headed by an Academy Chair. The global Academy Chairs hand select voters. In this case, a mix of 580 travel journalists, educators, hospitality professionals, hoteliers, and luxury travelers. The voters are tasked with highlighting their top seven hotel experiences from the past two years.

A small board of directors isn’t deciding which hotels will make the list. There’s no small group choosing the ranking. Instead, hundreds of industry pros and hotel guests will determine the best of the best.

How do They Decide?

This is one of my favorite details. When it comes to criteria…there isn’t any.

I like this for several reasons, one of which is that nothing arbitrary is limiting these awards. Don’t have a pool? That’s fine. No steam shower in the en suite? Okay.

By eschewing criteria, no concept is left out—no property is excluded. As Sansom says on episode 90 of Bar Hacks, imposing criteria means people could miss out on experiencing stunning twelve-room boutique hotel.

Therefore, this list isn’t the exclusive domain of multi-unit, multi-concept hotel groups. Certainly there will be chain properties up for consideration. However, they’ll be mixing it up with boutique and solo, independent hotels.

Sansom also reveals what’s driving them to launch the World’s 50 Best Hotels. Far from a vanity project, this list is about helping the industry.

Like hospitality, travel and accommodation are recovering from a global pandemic. Highlighting the best hotels in the world should inspire people to get back to leisure travel.

The list will be revealed in September of this year. Make sure to watch this space and connect with the World’s 50 Best Hotels for more details, including the awards ceremony host city.

Follow the 50 Best Hotels on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. To learn more, visit their website.

Image: Shifaaz shamoon on Unsplash

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KRG Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Makes First Addition to Team for 2023

KRG Hospitality Licensing Program logo

Jared Boller joins the KRG Hospitality team, serving as the agency’s in-house beverage educator, trainer, and menu developer.

TORONTO, ONTARIO—Today, KRG Hospitality is delighted to announce a new addition to their team. Jared Boller, a professional mixologist with two decades of experience, will be available to the agency’s clients for beverage menu development and training. He’ll serve as KRG’s master mixologist for North America.

Boller’s creativity, passion, and humility as a professional mixologist have led him on a journey around the globe. He has established himself as an industry leader, developing award-winning beverage programs in restaurants, bars, hotels, and casinos in several markets, including Denver, New York, Florida, Toronto. Throughout his career, Boller has won several cocktail competitions, educated teams for brands and industry organizations, and appeared in numerous publications.

“Restaurants, bars, hotels, and hospitality are in dire need of not only great employees but educated employees who can execute an owner’s vision,” says Boller. “I look forward to the next stage of my hospitality career with KRG, helping to inspire the future generations in everything related to beverage. My life’s journey has led me to the perfect opportunity with the team at KRG to collectively build future and existing brands.”

Additionally, he was the featured guest on episode 12 of the Bar Hacks podcast. People curious to learn more about Boller can listen to his Bar Hacks episode on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and Google Podcasts.

With a growing list of accolades and numerous publications to his name, Boller most recently spent three years as the national whiskey ambassador for Proximo spirits. He prides himself on educating consumers and future bartenders on artistry behind the bar and providing history lessons to everyone that will listen. Boller is eager to share his extensive knowledge of spirits, cocktails, menu development, beverage innovation, and service.

“It’s an exciting time for KRG Hospitality, adding to the team just days into 2023,” says David Klemt, director of business development at KRG. “With Jared on the team our beverage programming, menu development and curation, training, and consulting will be even stronger. I know we’re all looking forward to our clients having the opportunity to work with Jared.”

About KRG Hospitality

KRG Hospitality is a storied and respected agency with proven success over the past decade, delivering exceptional and award-winning concepts throughout a variety of markets found within Canada, the United States, and abroad since 2009. Specializing in startups, KRG is known for originality and innovation, rejecting cookie-cutter approaches to client projects. The agency provides clients with a clear framework tailored to their specific projects, helping to realize their vision for a scalable, sustainable, profitable, memorable, and consistent business. Learn more at KRGHospitality.com. Connect with KRG Hospitality and the Bar Hacks podcast on social: KRG Twitter, Bar Hacks Twitter, KRG Media Twitter, KRG LinkedIn.

Image: KRG Hospitality

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

7 Days Until Old Fashioned Week!

7 Days Until Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week!

by David Klemt

Old Fashioned cocktail on table

In just seven days operators, their front-of-house teams and guests will have the opportunity to participate in Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

Those who choose to join in on the fun will help generate funds for crucial cause. Further, participation means joining forces with some revered heavy hitters in the industry.

For example, Broken Shaker’s Chicago and Miami locations are taking part, as is Cure in New Orleans. Birdie G’s in Los Angeles, the Denver outpost of Death & Co., and Houston’s Julep are also participating. And then there’s LA Jackson from Nashville, the legendary Leyenda in Brooklyn, DC’s Silver Lyan, and Philly’s R&D all joining the cause.

A Great Cause

As stated, this is more than a cocktail promotion. Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week supports an important cause and fantastic organization.

The cause is providing F&B professionals who are struggling with financial assistance, and the aide comes from the Southern Smoke Foundation.

Since 2015, Southern Smoke has been dedicated to raising funds to help individuals in the F&B space. The non-profit organization strives to help our industry peers in need persevere through crises.

From raising funds for the MS Society, establishing the Emergency Relief Fund, and providing free mental healthcare, Southern Smoke consistently proves themselves a trustworthy industry partner. By 2021, Southern Smoke had donated more than $5 million in financial aid to industry workers affected by Covid-19.

Take Part

Elijah Craig, the storied small-batch bourbon and rye producer in the Heaven Hill Distillery portfolio, makes participating simple and fun.

Unsurprisingly, we at KRG Hospitality love an activation and promotion that’s easy to execute and fun for everyone in the building. This year, Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week takes place from October 14 through October 23.

To help raise money for Southern Smoke’s crisis management mission, encourage your bar team and guests to post pictures of their Old Fashioneds to social media. All one has to do is include tag @ElijahCraig and the hashtag #OldFashioned Week. Elijah Craig will take it from there, donating $5 for every post up to $100,000.

I’m confident that over the course of ten days we can all come together and flood social media with 20,000 images of delicious, well-crafted Old Fashioneds.

To learn more about last year’s Old Fashioned week, listen to Bar Hacks episode 52. Our very special guest on this episode is Lynn House, the 2022 Best US Brand Ambassador Spirited Award winner.

Get Creative

Now, I’d normally include the particular drink recipe here but I think—I believe—we all know how to make an Old Fashioned by now. So, I’m going to encourage all participating operators and their bar teams to create a small, signature Old Fashioned LTO menu or Elijah Craig Old Fashioned Week.

Also, to get those creative juices flowing, here’s the recipe for the Elijah Craig Rosemary Old Fashioned:

  • Craft rosemary cinnamon syrup by combining 1 cup of water with 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 rosemary sprigs, and 1 medium navel orange in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, add one cup of Demerara sugar and stir until it dissolves. Strain into a clean, sanitized bottle.
  • Combine 2.5 oz. of Elijah Craig Small Batch Bourbon, a half-ounce of housemade rosemary cinnamon syrup, and three dashes of orange bitters in a mixing glass with ice.
  • Stir and strain into rocks glass over a large ice cube, then garnish with a Maraschino cherry on a rosemary-sprig skewer. If you so choose, light the sprig on fire for a moment to generate some rosemary smoke.

Image: CHUTTERSNAP on Unsplash

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

2022 World’s 50 Best Bars: 51-100

2022 World’s 50 Best Bars: 51-100

by David Klemt

Closeup of bartender's hand pouring shot

As we approach the ceremony to announce the 2022 World’s 50 Best Bars we now know which bars across the globe are on the 51 to 100 list.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that these are 50 of the most impressive bars not just in the US, not just in Canada, and not just in North America. Rather, these are among the absolute best bars in the world.

Of particular note, Singapore continues to prove itself as a dominant cocktail destination. There are eight bars on the 2022 51 to 100 list, and I predict that at least three more from Singapore will appear on the 1 to 50 list.

Also, the UK and Cape Town each claim four spots among the best 51 to 100 bars, and Paris boasts three. Operators, bar professionals, and tourists should keep their eyes on Cape Town as it continues to transform into a cocktail hot spot.

Among the 51 to 100 list, four are from the US and, sadly, none are in Canada. Overall, 15 bars on this list are new entries, as are five of the cities represented.

1 to 50: One Week Away

Of course, this leaves us all with a few important questions.

When will we find out about bars 1 through 50? Which bars are on that list? And which bar will be number one this year?

Well, I can answer one of those questions for you. A week from now, October 4, the World’s 50 Best Bars will announce the top 50 bars in the world during a ceremony in Barcelona, Spain.

To learn more about the World’s 50 Best Bars and this year’s ceremony, listen to Bar Hacks episode 82 with Mark Sansom. Also, make sure you’re following the World’s 50 Best Bars on Twitter and Instagram.

For now, scroll down to check out bars 51 to 100. Congratulations to the bars below!

The World’s 50 Best Bars 2022: 100 to 51

  1. Sin + Tax (Johannesburg)
  2. Tesouro (Goa)
  3. Zapote Bar (Playa del Carmen)
  4. Tag (Kraków)
  5. The Dead Rabbit (New York)
  6. The Bamboo Bar (Bangkok)
  7. Sweet Liberty (Miami)
  8. Mace (New York)
  9. The House of Machines (Cape Town)
  10. Antique American Bar (Bratislava)
  11. Republic (Singapore)
  12. Donovan Bar (London)
  13. Art of Duplicity (Cape Town)
  14. Re (Sydney)
  15. Freni e Frizioni (Rome)
  16. Danico (Paris)
  17. Le Syndicat (Paris)
  18. Bar Goto (New York)
  19. Indulge Experimental Bistro (Taipei)
  20. Lost & Found (Nicosia)
  21. Dead End Paradise (Beirut)
  22. Vesper (Bangkok)
  23. Röda Huset (Stockholm)
  24. The Court (Rome)
  25. Candelaria (Paris)
  26. Side Hustle (London)
  27. Nutmeg & Clove (Singapore)
  28. Camparino in Galleria (Milan)
  29. Three Sheets (London)
  30. Tjoget (Stockholm)
  31. La Sala de Laura (Bogotá)
  32. No Sleep Club (Singapore)
  33. Hero Bar (Nairobi)
  34. Atlas (Singapore)
  35. El Barón (Cartagena)
  36. Analogue (Singapore)
  37. Brujas (Mexico City)
  38. The SG Club (Tokyo)
  39. Tan Tan (São Paulo)
  40. Presidente (Buenos Aires)
  41. Caretaker’s Cottage (Melbourne)
  42. Schofield’s (Manchester)
  43. Mimi Kakushi (Dubai)
  44.  MO Bar (Singapore)
  45. Quinary (Hong Kong)
  46. 28 HongKong Street (Singapore)
  47. La Factoría (Old San Juan)
  48. Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen (Cape Town)
  49. Barro Negro (Athens)
  50. Sago House (Singapore)

Image: Louis Hansel on Unsplash