August Round Table: Hosted by LePho and Lucid Absinthe

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This month, our USBGLV members had the opportunity to dive into a magnificent presentation on all things Absinthe. Our hosts Milo Rodriguez and Ted Breaux of Lucid Absinthe were more than generous with their knowledge.

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Ted Breaux of Lucid Absinthe

Lucid Absinthe was the first Absinthe to become legal in the US following the hundred year ban, and they were the perfect ambassadors to expound on the Absinthe revival. As with all of our chapter’s events, members soaked up both the knowledge and the product!

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They shared with us the legend of green fairy, as well as highlighting it’s recent revival. Ted Breaux who is the master distiller of Lucid, discussed how Absinthe gained popularity among the French troops during the early 1800’s. One of their favorite methods of consumption was to make “Absinthe soup.” It was believed that by adding Absinthe to their canteens, they could sterilize the water and fend off dysentery. Win, Win!

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It is no secret that some of legend and lore surrounding Absinthe are bolstered by the rituals of it’s consumption. There are many ways to enjoy this spirit and a delicious amount of paraphernalia that can accompany the experience.

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At the seminar we were “shown the way” as we discussed proper serving and tasting techniques (glasses, spoons and saucers), along with the drip methods, and beautiful vessels. As with many of our USBG events, there was much to learn and experience.

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Thank you USBG & Lucid for an amazing seminar and to Le Pho for providing a beautiful space and bringing stellar Vietnamese cuisine to Downtown Las Vegas!

Salute!

 

(Article & photos by Tricia McLeod, Edited by Adam Rains)

 

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Some of Lucid’s other classically awesome  products

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Garrison Brothers Bourbon Seminar

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On July 29th, the Las Vegas Chapter of the USBG and Southern Glaziers Wine & Spirits hosted the Garrison Brothers Bourbon seminar.

In the SWS Academy Room, members enjoyed delicious cocktails created by Max Solano and mixed by guild members Adam Carol & Manny Garcia. There was an extremely quaffable winter-spiced version of an Old Fashioned and a very zippy Whiskey Shandy (both went down too easy)!

IMG_2645-1 “Lone Star Shandy”

Some of the best things in life are, laughter, good times and good whiskey. Charlie Garrison brought them all. He is one of the owners of Garrison Brothers; along with his brother Dan Garrison, they make a Texas style artisan bourbon that is receiving a lot of attention in the bourbon world.

Charlie had us riveted, as we listened to tales of the 1st legal distillery in Texas. His stories of lobbying Texas legislature and mitigating the crazy genius of his partner & brother Dan Garrison were one of a kind. It is apparent that there is much soul and life in his distillery.

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But what mattered most, was in the glass! The table was sat with the 2015 vintage of Garrison Brothers as well as the single barrel. It was a freestyle tasting; Mr Garrison invited us to sip and take our own conclusions.

He emphasized the effect of the micro-climate in Texas where the temperature swing is often 40 degrees in one day. Also the treatment of the barrels; they in fact, need to be “dry-aged” in order to withstand the unique climate and avoid bursting. The interaction between the barrel and the juice is very unique.

They also use food-grade organic white-winter wheat and panhandle white corn, which are both very expensive. But they do show sense of place along with the rainwater used for dilution. All make a great base for this one-of-a kind bourbon.

There has even been interest from the boys from Kentucky. Bourbon god, Booker Noe has taken interest in this bourbon microclimate. There is much to be said about the unique limestone aquifer which has a very hight mineral content. So much so, the water has an odor to it. As Charlie says, “you can’t shower in it, but it makes great whiskey!”

At the end of seminar, we had the chance to sample over 20 different single barrels and purchase the barrel of our choice! Dangerous for many of us whiskey lovers! But then again, most bartenders live for this kind of delicious danger!

Garrison Brothers, thank you so much. We will see you at the bar!

Salute!

Garrisonbrothers

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Meanwhile at the last Underground Bar Brawl….

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Meanwhile at the last Underground Bar Brawl Club…

Drinks were pouring, cocktail shakers shaking, laughs & good times were flowing. It was another Las Vegas community cocktail-bash meant to strengthen and unify our brotherhood of bartenders (including sisters, of course!). Yes, it was a great success.

From experienced competitors to first-timers, it was collaboration of some of our best and an expression of what we can be. Held at Off the Strip at the Linq, this not-for-profit competition was started by local barmen; this particular episode was sponsored by A Hardy and it’s Armagnac de Montal. This “spirit of the musketeers” was used in a number of delightful libations, all centered on the classic Cognac cocktail, the Side Car.

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Competitors brought their A-games with a number of playful variations. From Blood Orange Marmalade, to Ancho Chile, the drinks were tantalizing to all of the senses. With the bartenders going head to head and sharing the same well, it fostered a number of interesting interactions. Most notably the now famous “piggy-back” bartending style invented by Kinson Lau and Jason Hughes. As well as the salacious co-ed “shake off” between Ramon Ordoñez and Shauna Cordova.

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The second round was “freestyle” and used an atypical creamy liqueur made by Cinnabon. The competitors came out swinging while utilizing this challenging ingredient. The judges, myself included, were very surprised at the inventive and varied “a la minute” cocktails using this unique spirit.

By the time the judges calculations were complete, it was too close to call. The competition ended with a tie for 1st and 2nd place. Of course the UBBC, could not finish like that. So what came next…?

A FIZZ OFF!!! The final challenge continued with a variation of the Fizz, between Eric Hobbie and Jessica Lee Westergom. A “no-garnish allowed” Armagnac Fizz using only Lemon, Sugar, Armagnac and Cointreau.

It was a very interesting challenge because it showed the subtleties of the simplest ratios. A textbook demonstration of the all-important minutia which are vital to masterful drink-making. Keeping in mind the dilution via ice, how hard to shake or to stir, down to the the temperature of the seltzer, were all important and vital. A good lesson to all.

In the end, the winner became apparent. Jessica took it home with her vibrant rendition of the Armagnac Fizz! A superb end to an amazing night!

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Congrats to Jessica, all of the contestants, A Hardy, and to you Vegas! Salute!

1st Place -Jessica Lee Westergom of the Sand Dollar
2nd Place -Eric Hobbie of Giadas
3rd Place -Ramon Ordoñez of Gordon Ramsay Pub

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All hail the Underground Bar Brawl Club! See you again
shortly!

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Negroni Week at Echo and Rig

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When in Summerlin, Echo and Rig is “the place” for good food, wine & drink. Equipped with a top of the line butcher shop, a restaurant with impeccable plating & ingredients, and a bonafide bar program, is always at the top of the list.

It should be no surprise that for this year’s Negroni Week, it is a mecca for the Negroni. Beverage Director, Robert Jacob-Wank is providing a Negroni with a delicious twist. His “Charred Oak Negroni” harnesses the magic that happens in the barrel with the charred oak infused Bulldog gin. To counterbalance the richness of the infused gin, he chose the elegant and floral, Carpano Bianco, and the bittersweet rhubarb darling, Aperol.

Come once… come often… come drink one for a good cause!

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Negroni Week -Places you must go! Ferraro’s

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Ferraro’s Italian Restaurant has long been a Las Vegas staple for delicious Italian food, wine & spirits. And for the upcoming Negroni Week, it is a perfect fit.

For the week of June 6-12 you can drink the most iconic aperativo and do it for charity! Ferraro’s is featuring a Negroni with the complex & citrus-forward, Tanquerey Ten, classically bitter Campari, and the Cocchi’s Barolo Chinato.

Many are familiar with the classic vermouth, Cocchi Americano, but the Chinato is cut from different cloth. Chinato is the Italian word for Quinine which makes up a good part of the flavor profile of this high end and rare aromatized wine. It fetches a high price, partly due to its use of the “King of Italian Reds” which is Barolo. This powerful, earthy and tannic red makes up the backbone of the Chinato and bolsters an already savory and delicious cocktail.

When you stop in, ask for chapter member Brege Reilly to stir you up some magic!

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Negroni Week: Featured Venue -Oak&Ivy

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Mmm… Wake up and smell the Negroni!

During Negroni WeekOak & Ivy is not to be missed. Located in one of the newer and most unique sections of Las Vegas, the Container Park, it is a vital component of East Fremont Street which has become a the new cultural heartbeat of Las Vegas.

Since the bar’s inception, it has been a flag holder for the art of the craft and will forever be intertwined with Las Vegas bar culture. It is not surprising that Oak & Ivy will be participating in Negroni Week with a very tasty selection.

At Oak & Ivy, you’ll find the “Spanish Roast Negroni” ready for service. It contains the wonderfully aromatic Yzaguirre Bianco Vermouth, with the Yerba Matte infused Apostole Gin, and classic Campari; the is all dripped through Cafe Bustelo using a Japanese slow drip coffee infuser.

So come down to Oak & Ivy June 14-17 to sip and savor your newest favorite “morning” Negroni.

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Negroni Week: Venue Spotlight -Oscar’s Steakhouse

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Oh Negroni Week… Another stellar reason to drink the world’s perfect cocktail!

This year’s weeklong charity event is continuing to expand venues and proliferate palates all over the city. What is your best bet on the Fremont experience? Oscar’s Steakhouse. The Downtown neo-classic not only features one Negroni but has an entire Negroni menu!

The one to look out for is the Popeye Doyle’s Negroni. The bright bitterness of Campari is offset by Bordeaux’s favorite aromatized wine, floral and delicate, Lillet Blanc. It is all combined with dry and triumphant bubbles; the champagne whose effervescence acts as an enticing flavor accelerator.

As it says on the menu, Popeye Doyle’s Negroni, “If you are on a train, being chased through France, this is the cocktail you want on your side.”

 

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Negroni Week: Venue Spotlight -Tacos & Beer

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Oh yeah! Negroni Week!!!!

Its again time to raise money for charity by drinking your favorite cocktail, the Negroni! Now in it’s 4th year, it is expanding its repertoire of venues and flavor profiles.

Tacos & Beer is well known for fresh, vibrant & rustic comida mexicana, craft beer and good-times o’plenty, but not necessarily for a classic Italian cocktail.

But this year you will have take a closer look, you will find a beautiful surprise.

Katie Cruz has brought together equal parts of the classically delicate Plymouth Gin, along the sponsor Campari and the French vermouth, Dolin Rouge. To add further complexity to the world’s perfect drink, she has put these three heavenly ingredients in a barrel that once contained Xicaru Mezcal.

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Can’t wait to go and visit! Salud! #USBGLV #NEGRONIWEEK

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Negroni Week: Featured Venue -The Sand Dollar

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The time is almost here for Negroni Week.

Now in it’s 4th year, #NegroniWeek features venues world-wide, with multiple variations of the ubër-cocktail. All in the name of charity, it is a dam good time. The USBG has again partnered with  Campari & Imbibe Magazine to make this glorious week happen, and in 2015, helped raise over $350,000.

This year, Las Vegas has a plethora of choices when it comes to flavor and locales to enjoy the week. The first one that we would like to feature is the Sand Dollar. Located on Polaris and Spring Mt, it is a favorite of industry professionals and civilians alike. It is the perfect place to imbibe for a cause!

 

Lead Bartender and USBGLV Member, Jessica Westergom:

“We kept our featured Negroni super classic with the exception of adding a barrel aged element to it. We used a spiced Amaro to season our American Oak barrel before adding Campari, Tanqueray Gin, and Carpano Antica Vermouth- all equal parts. We stir and prefer to serve over one large rock with a fresh orange swath, but if a guest prefers it up, we’d be happy to serve it that way also. We chose Shade Tree as our charity of choice for Negroni week.”

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Be a part of history! #NEGRONIWEEK

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