Chapter News

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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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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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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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.”


13313880_1175807169117416_1351817386_o   G.M. Jason Gordon



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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.”


Be a part of history! #NEGRONIWEEK

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Another great USBGLV event! Eddie Russell of Wild Turkey and Chef Rick Moonen of Las Vegas (and the world) brought us their love and passion of Bourbon.

There was an excitement in the air as our chapter members sat in front of American Whiskey Royalty, Eddie Russell. He is a link to bourbon’s past present & future, and been distilling for Wild Turkey for over 35 years. Eddie brought his expertise, down-home sensibility and graciousness to the table at this USBGLV event.

“To be able to be in front of the USBG where ever I’m at is great. We just want to say thank you.”  -Eddie Russell


After an impassioned intro by Chef Rick Moonen of RM Seafood, RX Boiler Room and Top Chef Masters. Eddie spoke of the journey American Whiskey. He started by speaking of George Washington & Rye, all of the way to Elijah Craig, the man credited to starting Bourbon.

IMG_9694 Chef Rick Moonen

Eddie also illustrated a portion of his own personal journey and how he got started. “Well my dad has been doing it since 1964 and I didn’t think that I was going to get into it but when I tasted some whiskey right out of the barrel and I was like Dorothy, I clicked my heels and knew that I was home. We now are one of the only father and son master distillers in America.”

Talking about the origins of Wild Turkey, “An Irish family in 1869 by an Irish family can be credited to starting our distillery. During Prohibition it was shut down except for a little bit for medicine.”

Eddie mentioned that before prohibition the market was still pretty Rye heavy and then continued, “After Prohibition Bourbon to ok over. Booker Noe from Jim Beam, Elmer T Lee Ancient Age, Parker Beam from Heavan Hill. Those were making nearly all the bourbon for the country.”

As time passed and the changing of the American palate, “Most started taking Rye out of the mash-bill and aging less, and lowering the proof (most were 80).” Wild Turkey stayed the course and he continued, “I thought Jimmy Russell was crazy not wanting to change anything. I’m glad he didn’t!”

We were then led through a tasting. Wild Turkey 101, Russell’s Reserve, Rick Moonen’s Private Barrell (available at RX Boiler Room) and the new Master’s Keep. All of these whiskey’s showed the best in what bourbon can be. From the most flavor for value, the 8 year aged Wild Turkey 101 to the ultra limited releases of the 17 year aged Master’s Keep.

Even after tasting, the entire group of seasoned bartenders were hanging on every word as Eddie gave us some more insights on more little known facts, “Russel’s are still tasting, white dog, barrels, my dad is 82 years old and keeps working out of love. We are a non GMO facility, one of only 2 in Kentucky. I’m proud of it. Some export countries require it. Back to the roots and we retain the same recipe for bourbon and one for rye. All with one mother yeast strain.”

We then went  upstairs for a cocktail competition and good time. Chef Rick Moonen made a Kentucky specialty called a  Bergoo which he playfully described as “critters in a cauldron.” It was delicious and rich and truly unique.



All of the cocktails were pleasantly quaffable  and did not disappoint. Joe Pereira of Herbs & Rye took home the prize with a delicious spirit forward cocktail  made with Wild Turkey 101. All that attended were delighted to be a part of such a special event.



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Event Preview

February 11th: Food Truck Cocktail Wars -Competitor Spotlight


Ryan Clark


“I can’t wait for the event! It’s something new and exciting for me. I’ve worked in restaurants and pubs before but have mainly worked in high volume night clubs for the past 20 years. What brought me to Las Vegas from Canada was flair bartending, which I have been doing for 10 years. I am very used to being on stage and having a great time with an audience or guests.”

What is your game plan for the event?

“On my side of things, I plan to make a great cocktail that goes down easy, smells great and pairs perfectly with the food. I am doing something simple in order to get it out fast and easy but isn’t boring. I will definitely use all the tools in my bag to get as many crowd favorite chips as we can.”

What do you enjoy about food & cocktail pairings?

“The best part for me is that moment you find a new flavor that wasn’t in the cocktail or dish before having them together.”

Tell us about the spirit that you will be using?

“I get the privilege of using Tito’s handmade Vodka from Texas. I am excited to make a great cocktail in a spirit category that most mixologists want overlook.”

And your Chef partner?

“My new chef is Mell “Boots ” Johnson from Yardbird.”

For more information:

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December 1st: Last Slinger Standing Qualifier

With some near misses in the last couple of years at  Arizona Cocktail Week, Las Vegas intends to have a strong presence for 2016. Tuesday, December 1st the Las Vegas qualifier for the upcoming Last Slinger Standing competition was held at Herbs & Rye.

IMG_0018All of the competitors brought their A-games with each heat being head to head format. Every round included a number of possible choices that could be made by the bartender but were held with in the parameters of a base spirit and secret ingredient.  The action was fast, and the competitors were full of inventive uses of ingredients such as Chamomile all of the way to Ballast Point’s Indra Kunindra. IMG_0017

IMG_0019In the end, Eric Hobbie of Giada’s came out on top with an amazing performance.  Alex Peñalosa, Philip Dow and Jessica Lee Westergom also rocked it out and will be joining him in Arizona to represent Vegas! Wish them luck and come and support them at the AZ Cocktail Week!

For more information go to





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