Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Wine, Dine & Spirits Events Around the World

Some very interesting events are coming up for wine, spirits and food lovers.  I certainly hope I will be able to squeeze some into the schedule.  Here’s what I suggest you check out…

Hollywood & Wine
July 1-23
If you’ve thought about visiting Phoenix, now’s the time and what better place to stay than the Arizona Biltmore. In July, this Waldorf Astoria Resort will have wine and foodie flicks to pair them with, like Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Chocolat and Bottle Shock. On Friday nights, movies will be shown with free tastings presented by a celebrity winemaker. On Saturday’s, you can watch a film during a four course wine pairing dinner ($55 per person). To make it even more tempting, special room rates will start at ust $109. To reserve your room and get ready to taste, go to http://www.arizonabiltmorehollywoodandwine.com

Walla Walla Tennis & Wine Camp
July 21-24, 2011
Two of my favorite subjects with one of my favorite coaches in one of my favorite places. How I wish I wasn’t already booked! I certainly recommend this camp, led by Boise State Tennis Coach Greg Patton, Whitman’s Jeff Northam and John Heim. You will get a great mix of top notch tennis instruction in the morning followed by wine tastings and special dinners in the evenings. Camp size is limited to 24 (over 21 only) and the cost is $795 for all the events. For more information, visit http://www.whitman.edu/content/tenniscamps, or contact GPatton@boisestate.edu or Coach@Whitman.edu.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse Seattle Tuesday Tastings
Through August, 2011
Another Washington event that you should try is in Seattle. If you can get there, this is something you shouldn’t miss.  I’m a big fan of Washington Wines and Sullivan’s has a great way to check them out. For only $10, you can participate in their wine education tasting, which includes small bites from their dinner menu. The series will continue throughout the summer. Visit http://www.sullivansteakhouse.com/seattle-details.php for hours and directions.

Los Angeles Times and Food & Wine’s The Taste
September 2-5, 2011

This is the first time this event is taking place and it looks like it will be a winner. Celebrity wine and foodies will include Giada De Laurentis, Art Smith, Claire Robinson and Debbie Mazur. It’s being produced by the same people that brought in Taste of Beverly Hills and will include demonstrations, culinary events, wine tastings and seminars. Best of all, it’s for a good cause, with a portion of proceeds benefiting local charities. For details, visit http://www.latimes.com/THETASTE.

Reims Cathedral 800th Anniversary
Through October, 2011
What better place to celebrate anything than in Champagne, where there is certainly no shortage of bubbly. I loved my time in Reims and was certainly impressed by the Cathedral. It’s been fully restored (partially with donations that came from the Rockefellers) and is ready to celebrate its 800th anniversary. Check out the concerts, exhibitions and daily light show in the Cathedral’s honor. Get the full schedule at http://www.ville-reims.fr.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bombay Sapphire Birthday Celebration for the Queen

It’s Queen Elizabeth’s birthday and the celebration has extended to the spirits and cruise world thanks to Bombay Sapphire Gin

Cunard Cruise Line

The London gin is paying homage to one of its own by putting Her Majesty on their Bombay Sapphire Blue bottle, as the spirit celebrates its 250thanniversary. In recognition of these two occasions, as well as the royal wedding, they have also joined with Cunard Cruise Line to introduce some exclusive cocktails that are being served on the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth cruise ships. They have even shared the recipes. Though I have to admit that I’ve always been a bit more of a Tanqueray girl, I may have to give Bombay another try!

The Queen’s Bouquet
1.5oz Bombay Sapphire gin
4 mint leaves
3 basil leaves
4 blackberries
½ oz honey syrup
Muddle ingredients together with cracked ice in a stemmed rocks glass.  Garnish with a blackberry and sprig of basil.

Sapphire® English Tea
1.5oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
½ oz Earl Grey-infused honey syrup
Dash of angostura bitters
Orange zest
Muddle orange zest and stir with ice in a Boston glass.  Serve over one large ice cube in a tea cup.  Garnish with a wedge of lemon.

The Middleton Fizz
1.5oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
¼ oz Benedictine liqueur
1 teaspoon of sugar substitute
½ oz fresh lime juice
Splash of Prosecco
4 blueberries
3 raspberries
Mint sprig
Put gin, Benedictine, sugar substitute and lime juice in a shaker and shake with ice. Serve in a Collins glass over ice and top with Prosecco.  Garnish with berries and mint.

The Royal Sapphire®
1oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
½ oz elder flower cordial or liqueur
½ oz lemon juice
4 mint leaves
Splash of Prosecco
Shake together gin, liqueur, mint and lemon juice with ice and double strain into a champagne flute.  Top with Prosecco.  Garnish with an edible flower.

The Windsor Tonic
1.5oz Bombay Sapphire Gin
½ oz Martini and Rossi Rosso
3 freshly cut slices of orange
Tonic Water
Orange twist
Build ingredients in a rocks glass with ice.  Garnish with an orange twist.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Best of the Best in the Wine & Cocktail World

Awards have been given out lately to some deserving folks and it’s only fitting I recognize their accomplishments. Hat’s off to:

Alexander LaPratt (pictured right), who works for New York’s db Bistro Moderne, was the winner of the 2011 Best Sommelier in America title. The competition judged 30 candidates from 12 states over a two-day period. Contestants needed to prove they had a deep understanding of wine theory, excel in table service and be cigar knowledgeable. Detroit natie LaPratt’s resume includes a two year stint as the Cellar Sommelier at Napa’s famed French Laundry before moving to Daniel Boulud’s New York restaurant. For more information on the competition, visit the American Sommelier website.

Dante LoPresti of Mercadito Chicago’s Double A was the winner of the second annual Star of the Bar competition at the 2011 International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event. The contest, held in conjunction with the National Restaurant Show. It was hosted by Tom Colicchio, Bravo’s Top Chef judge and raised funds for the show’s educational foundation’s ProStart program which helps 90,000 students around the country prepare for careers in the restaurant industry.

The only requirement of the competition was that contestants use at least one Bacardi product in their drinks as Bacardi is the sponsor of the competition. It was LoPresti’s “Pink Lion” cocktail that won him the competition, a mixture of Cazadores Blanco tequila, Hibiscus liquer, Lillet blanc and simple syrup.

More than 100 students, under the direction of department dean Mike Hampton, logged in over 30,000 hours at the Food Network South Beach Food and Wine Festival to help raise more than two million dollars for the Florida International University School of Hospitality and Tourism. The annual event, held in February, is a fundraiser for money that is immediately reinvested in programs to enhance the school’s infrastructure and scholarships from students.

Three bartenders have won the Experience Cognac contest, a part of the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac’s new E-Learning platform, produced in conjunction with the Beverage Alcohol Research (BAR). The contest included a Q&A about cognac, followed by six short personal essay questions about the spirit. The winners were: First Prize-Chicago’s Carol Donovan, a mixologist and consultant and the owner of Intoxicatingly Fun Cocktails, who won an all-expenses paid trip to the 2012 International Cognac Summit in January; Second Prize- Katie Stipe, a mixologist at Manhattan’s Vandaag Bar; and Peter Vestino of Prospect in San Francisco. Both Stipe and Vestino received a scholarship to the five day BAR.