Dark Corners & Luscious Tastings: Tales Of The Cocktail 2010 – Feature – Part II
The continuation of the aspect of cocktails idealized resides in the idea and presentation in terms of the marketing of new and desired brands while balancing the tried and true ideology of the established market leaders
Tales Of The Cocktail knows its audience and industry relations to be able to bridge the incumbent of the old with the new but also allowing for a cross-section that enables new mixology intentions to shine through in the possibilities of different palettes.
As mentioned previously, attendance seem improved in terms of the overall public perception, in no small part helped by the influx of local ads. While this created a carnival atmosphere, it was in parallel unfocused with many of the attendees who were not industry-associated seemly drinking to a fault and thereby causing an imbalance of actual information formed for many of the tastings. With no true reservation system in play, many of the tastings became overrun despite badge holder intentions (which again represents the industry). Even a registration process for the general public where they select the tastings they are to attend show a more focused representation of the event and can also give brands accurate numbers in terms of the consumers coming to sample their brands which is ultimately what the outreach of this event is about. Otherwise this kind of event becomes a free-for-all which skews the necessity of what many high-end mixologists come into town for. In comparison to last year, this aspect of Tales is glaringly apparent but potentially fixable but it might be difficult in a growing event with so many moving parts.
Returning to the essence of the event, the tastings held primarily in the rather booming halls of the Hotel Monteleone resonated with a diversity that was distinctly different than in the previous year with hard liquor taking more of a front seat than the obvious artisan apertifs. Conversation dictated on this specific point discusses the evolution of the cocktail cultural which ranges within a generational versus cultural shift.
While Cachaca held a smaller portion of the ultimate impact, its identity still wanes within the structure of the general public who are unable to perceive its mix values beyond their idea of a Brazillian Rum concoction. A competition steeped in the personalities of the convening bars showed a democratization of the function process but not quite enough to educate the passerbys on the definition of what the brand was showing beyond the simple essence of its punch mix mentality.
Cointreau baited its intention with a mix-off during its tasting entangling the balance between food and cocktail brazenness which can sometimes fall prey to an overarching blast of bitter taste. Enticing with a warm goat cheese bruscetta with heirloom tomatoes topped with a cream and chicken filled endive (prepared from local culinary favorite John Besh’s Dominica inside The Roosevelt, the possibilities ranged further because the liquer itself in terms of its impact depends on the different tastes that are added.
While Cointreau’s “Bitter in Brazil” mix waned in its Cachaca infusion despite a wisp of Punt E Mes and Dashes Fee Bitters, the Framboise Martini fared exceptionally better with the distinct litheness which in no small part was due to an trifecta of adhering tastes beyond the brand including Hangar One Raspberry Vodka, fresh mint and muddled white grapes to create a light but focused cocktail.
Absolut showed its marketing savvy with the launch of the limited Brooklyn imprint which found its inspiration as a collaboration with filmmaker Spike Lee whose many films paint an ode of the borough, specifically the film “Do The Right Thing”.
Aided by a duo of Brooklyn-based cocktails lounges in the form of the highly awarded Clover Club as well as Williamsburg favorite Quarter, the tastes ranged from distinct to slightly skewed, no doubt aided by certain restructure mixes.
As professional dancers spun on the breakneck floor to sounds from Grandmaster Flash to Michael Jackson, local Lucky Dogs from Bourbon Street gave out their lusciously topped onion and chili dogs to meandering guests.
In terms of the multi-tiered cocktails, the South Slope mixing the Absolut Brooklyn with Green Chartreuse with lemon juice and simple syrup lacked the requisite smoothness to truly qualify succinctly while The Brooklyn Bee, created by David Moo from Quarter, used the exceptional element of honey along with A.B. Smeby Mole Rojo Bitters to affect a balanced but unfettered cocktail that truly finds place.
Grand Marnier, seeking to expand beyond their certain tinge of bitter-fueled drinks, moved through an essence of more tequila- fused drinks in an obvious paradox of mixology.
The Grand Margarita, more Don Julio than dark, was meant to pop with the tequila infusion but instead gave a nice twist without too much fanfare while the Grandma Crusta fared a bit better simply by the necessity of a Marashino liqeur which subdued the lemon juice to give an intensity of flavor.
Pernod, the lone Absinthe Tales survivor in court from the year prior, moved its ideal mid-Mezzanine with the French Pearl mixing its brand with the equally median Plymouth Gin which intersected the blend with simple syrup and mint sprig. However the key strength in motivating absinthe beyond its novelty progression is to take it within a completely different cocktail perception much like Ted Breaux did in creating a frappa shooter sip with his Lucid Reserve label in 2009.
Beginning the hard bent flavor anew, Michael Collins, within its tasting, requires a sweet alteration to meander beyond its simple shot roots. While the Mira Bella, which mixes Lillet Blanc with Pernod’s Hibiscus Absinthe, fails simply because the tastes paradoxically miss each other, Sweet Fiesta, created by bartender Ted Carducci, uses a slightly more exotic tinge (which benefited Absolut’s Brooklyn Bee) in bringing in Barenjager, a German-created honey liqeur than simply sings especially when accelerated by fresh mint and strawberries.
Within Bacardi’s Multi Cordials tasting encompassing the brands of Benedictine, Dewars & Disaranno, the pure base of the latter dark liqueur straight far reflects the mix of the Monte Cassino, melding Benedictine with the progress of lemon juice and rye whiskey.
Tequila, by structure, within Lunazul, tried to create a martini variation by mixing Dolin Dry Vermouth and Green Chartreuse and garnishing with celery bitters creating an almost home-enticed spritz while Saramango, also created by Phil Ward ofMayahuel in NYC, fared better by adding St. Germain’s Eldenflower Liqueur with a pinch of orange bitters providing a more specifically resolute taste.
The most exceptional tasting which in an overall sense rang of professionalism and texture was that of Jameson, containing its outreach within their wide brand of aged labels. Helped in no small part by Buddy Crockett, Jameson’s master distiller, the technique and history parlayed understands itself because only through this process does the exceptional taste of a few specific reserve structures makes themselves known.
In sampling a cross-section of nine whiskey lines from reserve to standard, the beauty resides in the subtleties. Only in sampling the regular Jameson standard against Aged Reserve can the smooth contours truly be appreciated. However in overall structure, it was the lesser known imbibes from the company that truly amazed.
Green Spot, brief and wistful, relished the palette in both smell and taste swooning a female Austin bartender in rapture once sniffed simply because the fig references glided through the nostils with almost magical properties. Following in tandem with slightly more defiant notes but with an exceptional tangent of both bourbon and oak overtones (due to the aging within white barrels), the Red Breast 15 year follows a close second with the notes exceptional rising the bar.
In quick succession, using its base mechanism as a weapon of choice, both Firefly Bourbon & Russian Standard Vodkaunderstand that mixing does not at times beget the necessity of cocktailing. Granted ultimately consumer leaders work in congruence when their product can stand on its own two feet (as evidence by others in the later “On The Rocks” progression). Standard, undeniably smooth, though repeals the idea of the harsh Russian aftermath, while Firefly’s Bourbon takes a key from Maker’s Mark in understanding that flavor infused brands within this corner of distilling have their own sectors as well.
In an interlude of basic sun baked texture, Pama Gin snaked the idea of a pool party approaching the personality of undeterred tropical favorites in the Lava Flow and Mai Tai. While the latter fared better, the Lava Flow’s unrelenting taste undermines its approach to a mostly rum corner market despite an admirable but ultimately flailing preparation.
The “On The Rocks” Event combined many different distillers into one progression of noted diversity in much the same way as Absinthe Green Hour did the year before in attempting to show industry leaders along with the new distillers on the block looking to make their wares.
Casa Noble’s Anejo Tequila attempted to highlight its texture within a dark blend which, while noted, failed to differentiate itself while Maker’s Mark in unleashing its Maker 46 brand excels to market with a release that caters to a less sweet-loving demographic.
Four Roses, long reserved as a quieter lament in the Kentucky Bourbon trade, rates exceptional because it knows its brand which permeates through and through, immensely so when compared with a new brand like 4 Orange Vodka which, despite a distinct infusion, lacks a certain zeal to exist on its own.
The most exceptional new entry to the mix and stand-alone sector comes in the form of Coole Swan, a new diary liqueur built independently from minds once associated with Baileys and Bombay Sapphire. Built as a mix of love to create a new vision of the chocolate market, Coole heightens the drink in notes that make it ideal for many different enticements.
Helped along by Shawn Muldoon and The Bar At Merchant Hotel, who served as co-advisors on the brand, the aspect of mixing as shown at a later tasting showed a hit/miss potential with a Ramos Fizz falling prey while a Grasshopper soothed the Louisiana-bred taste buds of a drink lover with the entire room clamoring for more of the pure, signifying a wide market appeal.
Sazerac, proclaimed as New Orleans’ resident drink by officials moving in more sentimental circles, suffers the same progression as absinthe but with a distinction that sometimes works in reverse. While the Herbsaint Frappe mixing sugar and soda within the fray just dilutes the process, the Tomat adding a tinge of Grenadine with a chill makes the taste much more acidic while retaining a slightly sweet tangent.
Sailor Jerry, upon which rabid fans swirl, succeeds from certain elements in that rum has many ways in which to both enthrall and abhor an audience. With the Stormin’ Norman at the Elks Mansion VIP party suffered a setback, the intension would be to stay away from more bitter laments within the mixing process.
Within Jerry’s lexicon, Old Ironsides, which comes off inherently schitzophrenic with its blend of cognac, Cherry Herring and Benedictine creating a largely paradoxical taste tends to move against the grain, the Hotel Street Tea, despite a misleading title, works succinctly with a mix of Earl Grey Rye, Agave Nectar and one whole egg shaken giving an off-center but consistent taste.
Tastings inherently depend on the palette of the consumer though the resolute consensus is that a crowd usually knows what they want and their inherent favorites will rise to the top.
While Michael Collins & Sailor Rum inherently knowing their strengths as evidenced by a mix of shooters and cocktails, certain new highlights like the German honey liquer Benenjager and the resolutely popular Coole Swan show that specific market tastes have possibility in this already saturated sector.
As the inherent flux between hard liquors and artisan spirits fluctuate year to year, only the truly high end lounges can afford to encapsulate those super-super premium brands like the Green Spot. However, in creating diversity, the cocktail industry can hope to cater to the open minded at least for the foreseeable future.
Tales Of The Cocktail understands and provides the structure for understanding these progressions but ultimately the consumer versus mixologist perception revolve around the options of supply versus demand.
Posted on August 16, 2010, in Arts Travel & Culture Features and tagged 4 Orange Vodka, Absolut, Absolut Brooklyn, Benedictine, Buddy Crockett, Clover Club, Cointreau, Coole Swan, Dewars, Dominica, Firefly Bourbon, Four Roses, Grand Marnier, inside reel, Jameson, John Besh, Lunazul, Mayahuel, Michael Collins, New Orleans, Pama Gin, Pernod, Quarter, Russian Standard Vodka, Sailor Jerry, Sazerac, Shawn Muldoon, Sirk TV, Tales Of The Cocktail, The Bar At Merchant Hotel, The Roosevelt, tim wassberg. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.