1/9/2017 Roundtable,  by Wendy Hodges & Adam Rains, photos by Tricia McLeod

It was a great way to start the year…

We began our first Roundtable with opening statements from the new council. Each member introduced themselves and told the members a little about where their background lies, where they work, and what their goals are in their roles.


Raul then discussed the different committees and their roles. In addition to the council’s elected roles, each member is also responsible for certain committees.

Raul Faria- President- Health and Wellness Committee
* Currently looking for 2 members to run this committee
* They will plan BiAnnual events for the members

Mike Doyle- Vice President- Education Committee
* Currently looking for 2 members to run this committee
* Plan non branded educational events for the chapter

Wendy Hodges-Secretary- Membership Engagement Committee
* Caio Fuganholi is the chairperson and we need one more person to assist
* Responsible for recruitment of new mixers, engage with current members, and plan new member mixer

Jason Gordon- Treasurer- Fundraising Committee
*Lillian Hargrove is the chairperson and we need one more person to assist.

Raul then discussed the different committees and their roles. In addition to the council’s elected roles, each member is also responsible for certain committees.

Raul Faria- President- Health and Wellness Committee
* Currently looking for 2 members to run this committee
* They will plan BiAnnual events for the members

Mike Doyle- Vice President- Education Committee
* Currently looking for 2 members to run this committee
* Plan non branded educational events for the chapter

Wendy Hodges-Secretary- Membership Engagement Committee
* Caio Fuganholi is the chairperson and we need one more person to assist
* Responsible for recruitment of new mixers, engage with current members, and plan new member mixer

Jason Gordon- Treasurer- Fundraising Committee
*Lillian Hargrove is the chairperson and we need one more person to assist.

Addition committees: Social Media Committee headed by Adam Rains and Tricia Mcleod
Opportunities Committee headed by Xania Woodman. We need one more person to assist her. Great opportunity to intern and learn from Xania


~Raul told the attending members about the USBGLV Cocktail Competition.
– 3 heats
*1st round Blind judging of online submissions. Cocktail based on “What does Vegas mean to you”
*2nd round Groups of 3 put together randomly for team rounds
*3rd round IBA Technical judging and 1 hour of actual bartending for 10-15 people. During technical the contestant will make the submitted cocktail and during the hospitality round the will create a menu based on the portfolio provided. The menu
must contain one of each: aperitif, long drink, spirit forward, dessert, and dealers choice.

~Arizona Cocktail Week!!!
*We are doing the Road To Slinger party bus down to Arizona Cocktail week. The whole slinger team and a few extra members will be provided transportation. When / If extra seats become available, the chapter will be informed and seats will be released
on a first come first serve basis.
*ALL members are welcome and encouraged to attend. Each member is responsible for their own transportation, lodging and food.
*ALL seminars and sponsored events during Arizona Cocktail Week are FREE.
*DATES: Friday, February 17th – Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

~Introduced Brown Forman Representative Jackie Brod. She is your go to person for all things whiskey!!!

~RAFFLE to support Opportunity Village
*We raised a total of $430 during our first roundtable of the year! Great start for our new charity Opportunity Village!



Woodford Reserve:

In 1797, Elijah Pepper began making whiskey in The WoodFord County Courthouse utilizing the pure limestone rich water of Glenn’s Creek. This was considered the “cradle of Bourbon” and is where the “sour mash” technique was perfected and the benefits of using charred oak barrels for aging were celebrated.

2003 the newly named Woodford Reserve Distillery is where the magic  happens and is where there three Scottish-Made copper stills reside.

Being completely forthwith in the world of whiskey is not only a given, but the people at Woodford are very willing to share their process. We learned the secrets of their mash bill which contains, 72%  CORN  |  18%
The amount of time and method of fermentation was also discussed (5 to 7 days in small cypress wood tanks).

The distillery uses  three 16ft stills that are heated by steam injections until it reaches 79% ABV (just 1% under the legal limit). The spirit then goes into medium charred oak barrels and is diluted to 55% ABV.


Within the limestone warehouse, the spirit is aged (6-7 years) and bottled at 45.2% ABV.

All that attended where happy to enjoy the knowledge as well as the cocktails served by our vice-president, Micheal Doyle!


The Woodford’s Reserve Manhattan Experience is coming. Get in your entries ASAP and see our official Facebook page for more details.


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On November 4th, we celebrated the founding of our chapter with the Salute to 15! Many of our newer members, former counsel, along with the founding fathers looked at the history of our the Las Vegas USBG chapter. The now legendary original members, Livio Lauro, Bobby Gleason, and Tony Abou-Ganim helped bring us back to the beginning of the chapter and while gazing toward the future!

In the scope of human history, 15 years may not be a lot, but for the local F&B scene it has meant worlds of change. Vegas has long been a beverage epicenter where mass quantities have been consumed. It is a 24 hour no-holds-barred town and a party capital with a vast infrastructure built to get people booze fast.

While we had all of those things and including one of the most prolific flair scenes anywhere, there was something missing. The beverage renaissance that had been well under way in other cities had not quite taken hold here. We just needed a spark.

Then entered the USBG…
Along with the prevolent cultural shifts, the United States Bartenders Guild was a key factor in helping spawn our beverage movement. After its inception in 1948, it has spread all over the country with the tenant of reinvigorating our profession. In Las Vegas, it has done just that.

Kristen Schaefer is a longtime bartender & USBG member, current Absolut Elyx ambassador, and the President of our Las Vegas. She is a consummate advocate to the benefits of the guild and she explained “From a social standpoint  It looks like many of our members have met new lifetime friends thanks to the guild. From a hospitality standpoint the guild is a motivator for its members and therefore raises the bar.”

The event was there to celebrate that spark. It was held at the new location of Nora’s, which has long been a beacon for finely made drinks and food. Being there, we were all reminded of how far we have come and where we can go.

Many of the founding fathers that have helped shape and inspire us, were there to revel in the moment. Our new USBGLV logo was unveiled, showing the iconic skyline & our new motto, “hospitality first” and members had the opportunity to purchase pins, shirts & the now infamous  Fernet coin.

The culmination of the event was a toast and the burying of our first ever Time Capsule! The Time Capsule was buried in the front of Nora’s and will remain underground until November 1, 2031 (15 years). The time capsule contained our current member list, a copy of the very first minutes from the first meeting, photos, cocktail menus, love notes and work cards.

In 15 years, we will rejoin with past and then current 2031 members to unveil what was encapsulated. There will be many cocktails, a lot of food and even more stories to be had; it will be a part of USBG history!

Kristen Schaefer, our now outgoing president, spoke to it’s significance, “It was little surreal. I didn’t quite realize the magnitude of what was happening until it was happening. We made history that day. For all of us, it was pretty powerful.

Looking ahead we have much to be excited about. We have more products, access to knowledge and desire to do it right, then we ever have. Our city is at the precipice but we must keep moving forward.

Founding father, Livio Laurio had this to say, “We will continue to set the bar for the nation. The hospitality of our bartender members and the service provided to guests are just as good as any other major city; but Vegas displays an unmatched level of humility and positive attitude.”

Kristen expounded on this point, “I am proud of our city and the camaraderie it has built over the past few years. We still have a ways to go, but as someone who travels a lot, there is no city in the world that compares to Las Vegas when it comes to passion, encouragement of each other and a yearning to be the best! I have no doubt that the fire has been sparked and the new council will continue to feed the flame. They are already proving that with their plans for AZCW and Slinger. I am excited to see what comes next!”

While it was a truly amazing day and it was a great chance to look back at where we were and where we are going. It gave us a chance to reflect and give thanks, pay homage to our forefathers.

With the sun shining in the Western sky, we could feel the connection to the great lineage. The founding members, former and current counsels have all been an inspiration to us. I want to thank all of the members for making our chapter great and especially for the council who have given their blood, sweat and tears to the guild and to our profession. Kristen, Raul, Cody and Adam have made us all proud! And cheers to all members past, current and future, and to the passion that lies within! We will see you at the Holiday party!



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Dear USBGLV Members,

We’re riding on October 31 in Las Vegas to support all the strong women and their families who are fighting breast cancer. The Las Vegas ride will start at 11am and finish at Honey Salt In Summerlin and take you for an amazing ride through Red Rock. Everybody is welcome to join, so get your friends and family to join you on the ride! Support The Helen David Relief Fund and the riders here: www.crowdrise.com/TAGrides. https://lnkd.in/emya6-


Tony Abou-Ganim

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Tim Lieuw  recently joined the Bartenders Guild and tends bar at the Monte Carlo. We had the chance to speak at the latest USBGLV new member mixer where his enthusiasm and love for the craft were abundant.

What is your approach to bartending?

“I see bartending as an artist combined with a chef. The beauty of our creation along with the complex flavor combinations keeps me loving the craft more and more as I learn.”

What do you want to gain from the joining the USBG?

“I been in the shadows learning on my own, I believe it is time to meet more people with the same passion and push me to another level. I hope I get to meet everyone in the USBG!”

What is your go to cocktail?

“My favorite cocktail to make for myself is a negroni or a gimlet.”

Be sure to say hi to Tim at the next USBGLV event or behind the bar at the Monte Carlo.


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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.


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!


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.


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.


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!



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



Some of Lucid’s other classically awesome  products

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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.

IMG_2646Charlie Garrison

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!



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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.


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.

IMG_2087 (Jason and Kinson enjoying the evening)

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!



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


All hail the Underground Bar Brawl Club! See you again

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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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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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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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