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Hey American bartenders! You have two months to sign up for Diageo's World Class global bartending competition. As there are educational modules, tests, and a video to complete, you won't want to let it wait until the last second. Sign up at DiageoWorldClassUSA.com or download the World Class app. The past three years' final competitions have taken place in Athens, New Delhi, and Rio de Janiero, but this year's global finals will be in many places, taking a cruise ship in between them. Sail along the French Riviera in Nice and Monte Carlo. The voyage will include stopovers in some... Read more →

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Last week near Cognac, France I helped judge the first international Grey Goose 10 cocktail competition. My co-judges were Dimi Lezinska, Global Brand Ambassador for Grey Goose, and Francois Thibault, the Maitre de Chai (basically, the dude in charge of production) of the brand. This year the ten bartenders from around the globe were hand-picked by their local brand teams. Many of them have worked with Bacardi in some capacity in the past. Next year, I believe the plans is to hold regional cocktail competitions to choose the 10. The competition took place poolside at the Logis du Fresne, an... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

As you read this, I should be arriving in Cognac, France with Grey Goose vodka. I'm here to learn about the product (as well as Bacardi's new D'USSE cognac) and to help judge a cocktail contest: The Grey Goose Ten. Bartenders from ten countries are competing. They are: France - Joseph Biolatto (Bar Le Forum, Paris) Brazil - Marcelo Serrano (Brasserie des Arts, Sao Paulo) Canada - Jay Jones (Shangri-La Hotel, Vancouver) China - Yao Lu (The Alchemist, Shanghai) India - Nitin Tewari (Bar Consultant, New Delhi) Israel - Moshe Budnik (Social Club, Tel Aviv) Mexico - Felipe Guajardo Silva... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

Tuesday night I helped judge the Tahona Society Cocktail Competition here in Arandas, Mexico. The competition (and the Tahona Society in general) was sponsored by Olmeca Altos tequila. My co-judges were Henry Bessant, who helped develop the Olmeca Altos brand, Charles Joly, winner of last year's competition and bar manager at The Aviary in Chicago, and Tomas Estes, owner of the Cafe Pacifico restaurants and Ocho tequila. Eighteen bartenders from eleven countries competed in the event. What I liked was that nearly every competitor brought an ingredient from their home country to make their cocktails, from a smoky Ukrainian dried... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

When I was in Rio last month covering the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Finals, I had all of half a day to go out and see Rio. I only did the two things I felt were the most essential: had a Caipirinha on the beach... and went to the Academia da Cachaca. The Academia da Cachaca I'll call Rio's most famous cachaca bar, but that's partially because it's the only bar I can name there. It is located several blocks back from Leblon beach and quite a cab ride from Copacabana where we were staying. The place itself doesn't... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

California's Wine Country is a big place: some contestants in this year's Wine Country Cocktail Competition drove an hour and a half to get there. I helped judge the competition along with a panel that included Brian Kropf of Mutineer Magazine and radio host and party person Ziggy the Wine Gal. The competition was sponsored by the Perfect Puree of Napa Valley, Charbay Distillery & Winery, and Glace Luxury Ice. It was run Iron Chef style, with a secret ingredient announced at the competition. That ingredient was a selection of summer berries. Each contestant also had to include a Charbay... Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

I'm helping judge the Wine Country Cocktail Competition in Napa Valley on Monday, August 6th. Tickets are still available to the event, which is sponsored by Charbay Distillery & Winery and Perfect Puree of Napa Valley. Tickets are available here. Come say hello! Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.

I'm helping judge the third annual Wine Country Cocktail Competition, sponsored by Charbay and Perfect Puree. (That would be California's wine country, in case you were wondering.) Please see the info in the flier below for contact information to sign up. Hope to see you there! Read more →

Camper's Book: Tonic Water AKA G&T WTF is now available for sale.