Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Brass Buck!

This titillating cocktail uses the New Jim Beam Red Stag. A Black Cherry infused bourbon that is excellent by itself or in a classic cocktail such as the Manhattan.

The Brass Buck:

3 parts Jim Beam Red Stag
4 parts Gingerale
Lime Wedge

Pour over ice in a high ball glass and get ready to buck.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Drew's Pumpkin Spiced Eggnog

I am sure that everyone has at least one childhood memory of this frothy beverage. Eggnog has long been a winter Holiday tradition for hundreds of years; yet the history of eggnog has been under debate for nearly as long. It is said to have originated in or around England in the 17th century and was traditionally made with eggs, sugar, nutmeg and milk.

The closest form the the eggnog we know today is from American colonial times where a egg based beverage was mixed with "grog" a term widely used for rum. this "egg-n-grog" eventually became the eggnog that we can now find stocking our refrigerators as soon as the thermometer drops.

Here is a recipe courtesy of Wirtz's Beverages master mixologist Drew Levinson...

Pumpkin Spice Eggnog

1 oz. Spiced Rum (Kilo Kai or Sailor Jerry)

½ oz. Courvoisier Exclusif Cognac (VS or VSOP works)

5 oz. Old Fashioned Eggnog, recipe follows

Dash Ground Pumpkin Spice (or Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur)

Shake ingredients with ice, and strain into a chilled Wine Glass.

Garnish with freshly grated nutmeg on top.

Eggnog can be purchased at the grocery store or if you are feeling ambitious you can make your own fresh version!

Eggnog from scratch

12 jumbo eggs

½ lb. granulated sugar

1 qt. whole milk

1 qt. heavy cream lightly whipped

1 tsp. vanilla extract

½ tsp. cream of tartar

Separate egg yolks from egg whites. Beat yolks in a large bowl. Gradually add sugar. Beat until mixture thickens; stir in milk, & lightly whipped cream. Cover and chill for 3-4 hours. In a separate bowl, beat egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Fold whites into chilled mixture.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Diageo is recognized as an eco-friendly producer

Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines were recognized for eco-friendly practices at four of their facilities. These include Beaulieu Vineyard, Sterling Vineyards, the DC&E Wines Carneros Bottling, and DC&E Paicines Operations. The four were honored by California’s Waste Reduction Awards Program (WRAP) for implementing various practices to reduce their carbon footprint. Practices include a water reuse program at Beaulieu Vineyard and waste reduction efforts that have kept thousands of tons of waste out of landfills.

Diageo is no stranger to the WRAP award, as Beaulieu has received the award 17 times in the past. Here is an article from BrandsTell which breaks down these accomplishments and gives more specific numbers to show the power of Diageo Chateau & Estate Wines’ efforts.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The new flavor from 3-0lives Vodka is……TANG!

3-Olives Vodka announced an exciting new flavor of vodka and the “Name the Flavor” contest winner in Las Vegas. There were certainly some interesting response’s, including savory suggestions such as beef jerky and blue cheese (not surprising with a bacon vodka on the market) and some sweet suggestions like marshmallow and butterscotch.

The new flavor, described as a “collision” of Orange and Tangerine flavors (75% / 25%). Will hit the shelves in Las Vegas and around the country and the beginning of the New Year. Be on the look out for this fusion or citrus excitement.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Are grapes finally going "Green"?

In recent times a debate has been waged on the bio dynamic, sustainable and organic nature of Grape growing and wine making. To some, it may seem as if it is just a craze of frou frou fluff that some marketer came up with. Yet, after diving deeper into the topic it is obvious that there are significant differences from these "green" methods compared to the now "traditional" methods of pesticides, machines and genetic modifications.

I say the word "traditional" in a very light sense; seeing that the true traditional wine making methods were sustainable before the dawn of the industrial revolution and especially after the second World War.

Today, however, many consumers are beginning to struggle on what these "green" terms truly mean. This is where Wirtz Beverage's Master Sommelier Thomas Burke began to help define these for a better understanding of just what is going on in the "new" production methods of wine.

I think everyone has heard that we, Americans especially, have become an extremely wasteful culture over the past few decades. CO2 emissions are on the center stage of a world debate along with trash consumption, chemical absorptions in the soil and water concerns throughout the country; this is where wine producers are beginning to take a stand.

It is surprising to learn that New Zealand is now at the forefront of the sustainability movement and the pressure comes from their internal wine industry and vineyards such as Craggy Range and not the government! There are now similar organizations set up throughout the wine industries of the United states ranging from Lodi, California all the way to Washington State. Yet, there is little government regulation to be found and it is unlikely in the near future.

So what are the differences between organic, bio dynamic and sustainability. Obviously, they are all closely related and intertwined. Organic is defined here by the USDA, basically no chemicals or additives are allowed in the agricultural process and in the wine process there are some limitations as well including the amount of sulfites to be used. Sustainably take this organic process one step further. The idea is to have the vineyard function as a whole, meaning no outside materials are needed for the production and maintenance of the farm. This may mean producing energy on site, using composting as a valuable fertilizer technique and a number of other methods.

Bio Dynamic viticulture uses the same ideals or organic viticulture. The seperation is the belief of using nature's harmonious relationships to help maintain the vineyard as a whole. from plant to plant and plant to animal relations. These relationships and ideals are further demonstrated in this pyramid...

The main questions consumers have is "Will this make my wine taste better?" This isn't necessarily the fact, but I can bet the environment will feel better.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

WBN Alchemy room jumps off to a fantastic start!

The “Alchemy Room” the new training and education facility located inside the Wirtz Beverage Nevada offices is proving to be an extraordinary asset to the Las Vegas operations.

In the first 6 weeks since the kickoff, the Alchemy Room has played host to numerous trainings and events including 5 cocktail and sake trainings for the new Mandarin Oriental Hotel food and beverage team, 3 cocktail and spirit trainings for the new Aria hotel and casino (City Center), 6 brand kickoffs, and several other presentations for new accounts including the “Cabo Wabo Cantina”, “Munch” restaurant at Caesars Palace, and the highly anticipated “Smokin’ Aces” nightclub at the Venetian.

The room has received praise from industry professionals from all over the country. This is the first of it's kind and we are excited to see the dramatic impact it will have on our staff and the Las Vegas industry as a whole.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Domaine De Canton Bartender Contest

Domaine de Canton held the semi-finals of their national cocktail competition last week at the Alchemy Room inside the Wirtz Beverage Nevada offices. The eight semi-finalists represent some of the best mixologists in Las Vegas with entrants from across the city including Bellagio, Wynn, Venetian, Emeril‟s, Noir Bar and Nora‟s Cuisine. The three celebrity judges included Xania Woodman, the nightlife editor for Las Vegas Weekly, Crystal Fa-nale, Director of Sales for Domaine de Canton, and Tobin Elis founder of Bar Magic. The winner of the competition received an all expense paid trip for two to St. Martin in the Virgin Islands to compete in the National Finals and a chance to win $10,000!
Over 60 spectators filled the Alchemy Room to cheer on their favorite mixologists and enjoy great food and specialty cocktails created by Patricia Richards, Master Mixologist for Wynn & Encore. Drew Levinson of Wirtz Beverage Nevada organized the competition and assumed the role of Master of Ceremonies for the event. Drew entertained the crowd and described the specifics of the cocktails and processes utilized by the mixologists as they created their drinks.
When the dust settled, the three judges unanimously picked the “Canton Crusta” created by Noir Bar‟s Andrew Pollard. The cocktail is a variation on the classic Brandy Crusta cocktail, (see his recipe below). Antonio Trillo from Nora‟s Bar, (and the son of WBN‟s Nacho Trillo) took second place with his cocktail the “Ginger Basil Drop”. The overall feedback from those in attendance was extremely positive.

This is the first competition in the Alchemy Room and with its great success we see yet another application for, what many believe is, the best training bar in Las Vegas and the United States.
Congratulations and future good luck to Andrew Pollard!

Classic Cocktail Series: The Pear Martini