PR%F the Magazine May 2022

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PR%F the Magazine

Volume 02. May 2022


Jim Bob Morris

El Bandido Yankee Tequila spirits. wine. potations and libations. beverage industr y news. ISBN 9788024715148 ISBN 80-247-1514-7

9 788024 715148 >


the team

PR%F the Magazine Michael Politz Publisher

Michele Tell

Founder, Executive Director

Jennifer English Editor-At-Large

Debbie Hall


RJ Dixon

Creative Director, PR%F Awards & PR%F the Magazine

Terry Hart

Director of Competitions

Colleen Banks

Director of Business Development

Contributors: Stephanie Blitz Daniel "DD" de Anda Fast Jena Domingue Marisa Finetti Jerry Hammaker

Hayley Maxwell George Manska Kirk Peterson Renée Korbel Quinn

Contributing Photographers: Vinicius "amnx" Amano Kelsey Chance Adam Jaime Angelina Kichukova Renée Korbel Quinn

Hermes Rivera Rocco's Taco's & Tequila Bar Calvin Shelwell SL The Printable Cøncept

Contact the Team at PR%F the Magazine is owned and published electronically by The Original Brand, LLC. Copyright 2019 PR%F Awards and distinctive logo are trademarks and owned by The Original Brand, LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this electronic magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of PR%F the Magazine. Requests for permission should be directed to: The information contained has been provided by such individual, even organizers or organizations. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author, organization or public relation firm.

in this issue

























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from the desk of Michele D. Tell


Dear Readers, Welcome El Bandido Yankee Tequila, which embodies the free spirit of its co-founders and the original banditos, Jim Bob Morris and Chris Chelios. The former professional athletes turned entrepreneurs are tequila fanatics who wanted to create their own tequila brand, the right way. We welcome them to PR%F Awards and PR%F Magazine. PR%F Awards is heating up with an additional competition—Bar Essentials & Gadgets. Our bar gear and gadgets reviewers for the magazine, Hayley Maxwell and Daniel “DD” de Anda Fast share three more innovative products for the hospitality industry. They are seasoned hospitality experts, buyers, and innovators in the beverage and hospitality industries who will be debuting and reviewing the latest “must-haves” behind the bar. There are more than 50 different categories to enter: barware, gadgets, wine accessories, and even more. Our entire judging staff will review all bar gadgets —beverage buyers from across the United States. Enter your bar, beverage, and wine accessory at Welcome our newest columnist Jena Domingue of UrbanVino House of Brands. She will feature insights from boutique wines, celebrities, and interesting producers of color and various backgrounds, emphasizing diversity and inclusion in the wine and spirits space. We are thrilled to welcome Stephanie Blitz, who writes about the aging of whiskey in this issue and covers a number of topics for PR%F Magazine. She is a proud #boymom, founder of Architect of Words and believes in the power of coffee, values experiences over things and recognizes the ability words have to connect people. Thank you to our guest columnists, Marisa Finetti and Kirk Peterson, award-winning color commentators of food, drink, and lifestyle. They wrote about Italian wines as an adventurous journey—no passport needed, just a great palate. Our November issue of PR%F the Magazine will highlight incredible brands that give back to a cause of their choice. If you give to a special cause or highlight a special organization as a recipient of some of your proceeds, we want to hear about you. Drop me a note at Michele@ PR%F Awards is heating up, with many, many entrants. Don’t lose the opportunity of getting your brand in front of our many judges, all beverage buyers from across the US. Enter your SKU, and you automatically go into two separate competitions—PR%F Awards Masked, the coveted double-blind tasting competition, and PR%F Awards Unmasked, the total package, where our judges taste and rate your product while evaluating your bottle, price point, look, feel and taste to see if it will be a perfect fit for their shelves. Enter today at

Cheers & Namaste!

Michele D. Tell Executive Director, PR%F the Magazine Founder, PR%F Awards

PR%F the Magazine

Photo by Kelsey Chance

drink these indigenous italian wines



Wine is a rare gift from a time and place, which is why every opportunity to enjoy it is an adventurous journey. Here are five wines to try; each comes with a bit of story time, direct from Italy.

Marisa Finetti and Kirk Peterson are award-winning color commentators of food, drink, and lifestyle. Follow at @DeuxTellMedia or

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drink these indigenous italian wines

Vietti Roero Arneis DOCG 2020 Hailing from the Piedmont region of Italy, Arneis has made a comeback after having come close to extinction. Vietti founder Alfredo Currado, considered by many to be the "father of Arneis," was the first to produce a single varietal Arneis back when the grape was being abandoned due to its difficult cultivation. Back then, Arneis was planted amongst other more desirable and marketable grapes for the very reason that birds would attack it first, saving the more popular grapes that later to mature. Plantings have spread to around 2,400 acres since the 1970s, mostly in Piedmont, and the Vietti winery continues to be regarded as one of the variety's top producers. Swirl the glass to discover citrus peel on the nose, fresh herbs, and pear. The palate is sunshine-bright, zingy with mouthwatering acidity complemented with grapefruit pith, a touch of saline minerality, and just-ripe honeydew melon. Arneis is versatile enough to be enjoyed with a variety of dishes from start to finish of a meal. Try with antipasti, cheeses, traditional Piedmontese dishes such as vitello tonnato (veal), tajarin (thin egg pasta), as well as seafood and light meats.

drink these indigenous italian wines

CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino 2016 Those who love Sangiovese adore Brunello, a wine made from the beloved Sangiovese grape, specifically from the Montalcino area. Owned by the Frescobaldi family, who has been producing wine in Tuscany for 700 years, the CastelGiocondo estate is an ancient stronghold built-in 1100 to defend the road leading from the sea to Siena. Today, it is a destination for an unforgettable hospitality experience. CastelGiocondo's unique location, with its varied exposure and terrain—galestro, clay, and Pliocene sands—offers infinite nuances to this particular bottling. Displaying a vibrant and intense red ruby color, CastelGiocondo 2016 showcases an elegant bouquet dotted with red fruit aromas, sweet spices, and a savory punch. An intense and texturally-rich sip shows dense and elegant tannins, characteristic mineral quality, and a long finish for a lasting impression. Possible pairings include meat stew, grilled lamb, steaks, and hearty porcini mushrooms risotto.

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drink these indigenous italian wines

Zýmē "From Black to White" IGP Bianco Veneto 2018 One of the fascinating aspects of wine grapes is the existence of natural grape skin color mutations. Fundamentally speaking, there are black and white grapes (and a few in between, like Pinot Grigio) and grapes that have undergone spontaneous color changes. Zýmē "From Black to White" showcases a wild genetic mutation of the Rondinella grape from its original color of black to white. In 1999, while walking through his Valpolicella vineyards in the Veneto region of Italy, Zýmē owner and winemaker Celestino Gaspari noticed his Rondinella had produced a small number of white berries. A few years of experimentation resulted in a vineyard block of Rondinella Bianca (White Rondinella). The wine's experience is as captivating as its origin story: a blend of Rondinella Bianca, Gold Traminer, Kerner, and Incrocio Manzoni, this fragrant, savory white wine opens with aromas of lime zest, yellow stone fruit, and aromatic herbs. The voluptuously-textured palate engages the senses with Golden Delicious apple, Ruby grapefruit, apricot, and mint, giving way to a saline, persistent finish. Enjoy it with delicate fish, risotto with asparagus, shellfish, and light soups.

drink these indigenous italian wines

Alois Lageder Schiava Alto Adige DOC 2020 The Alois Lageder winery in the Alto Adige region bordering Austria and Switzerland comprises fifty-five hectares of the family's own vineyards, managed on biodynamic principles. Native to the area is Schiava, a group of grape varieties often called by the German name Vernatsch. The wine is typically a light strawberry color that exudes bright aromas and flavors of pomegranate and cranberries. Schiava is a versatile wine because it is delicate, fresh, and uncomplicated but by no means lacking in complexity. Alois Lageder began engaging in more extended skin contact during the vinification of this wine to develop a wine of depth and texture. It shows earthier notes than the typical fresh and fruity Schiava from the region. A pronounced raspberry aroma is followed by violet and white pepper. The flavors are savory, dried thyme, dried cherries, and dried apricot, yet it is juicy and refreshing. Pair it with a variety of starter courses, pizza, fish, poultry, and pork.

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drink these indigenous italian wines

Tascante “Ghiaia Nera” Etna DOC 2019 An active volcano is a seemingly unlikely place for producing quality wines but Mt. Etna's wine producers, like the Tasca d'Almertia family, don't dwell on the vicissitude of her unpredictable nature; they embrace it. "Ghiaia Nera" translates to "black gravel" and is made from Nerello Mascalese, an indigenous Sicilian grape that is perfectly suited to the volcanic soils of Mt. Etna, grown on terraces surrounded by chestnut and oak woods and rich in biodiversity. The translucent ruby color leads to a fine, balanced, and harmonious wine. Pure aromas of sour cherry and dried herbs lead to savory flavors, tart berry, crushed rock, and smoke to showcase just how the Nerello Mascalese grape has the potential to translate the terroir. "Ghiaia Nera's" freshness and drinkability make it an easy companion to many dishes, from homemade pasta to grilled meats and meatloaf, pizza, and pork chops.


summer, summer summer wine

Summer, Summer, Summer Wine by Jerry Hammaker

Photo by Calvin Shelwell

“Summer, summer, summertime. Time to sit back and unwind.” — Lyrics from "Summertime" by DJ Jazzy Jeff & the Fresh Prince


pring has FINALLY sprung in the northern hemisphere! The days are getting longer, and the temperatures are starting to rise. Whether you are "Hot in the City", "Sitting on the Dock of the Bay", or if you can be "Centerfield"… summer is coming! It’s time to start thinking about hot days full of picnics, weddings, family reunions, fishing and boating, and warm evenings around a campfire while just sitting back to unwind. So grab a refreshing beer or a convenient can of seltzer and have fun!

Wait… what about grabbing some wine? Wine can be refreshing and convenient! Many people shy away from wine in the summer. Wine can be cumbersome to transport. Who wants to carry a heavy and breakable glass bottle when they can carry a 6-pack of aluminum cans? Wine can be hard to open. You are already out on the boat and can’t find a corkscrew. Wine can be less refreshing on a hot summer day. Who wants room temperature red wine when it’s 90 degrees

summer, summer, summer wine


in the shade? My friends, I am here to help you find your wines of summer! Easy-open cans, pouches, boxes, single-serving foil topped cups, and screw-top aluminum bottles are all the rage in today’s wine industry. A big plus is that these formats tend to be more green by being lighter and less expensive to transport across oceans and over highways to get to your destination. So, how can you tell what is the good stuff and what is no better than that lake water you are boating on? My advice—go to Old World Europe, South America, South Africa, and smaller wineries from Australia and the United States. Well, visit those sections of your local wine shop or grocery store. Try to avoid the big “bulk wines” from the mega wineries with the cute labels and great marketing. Those wines with mystery additives and questionable production methods can easily lead to that summer of regret and a hot day hangover. Find the right wine region, and then choose the container that suits your summertime fun. There are some quality wines being put into these formats because the drinking public has demanded them. “You got your hair combed back and your sunglasses on, baby.” — Lyrics from "Boys of Summer" by Don Henley Now, you just need a refreshing wine to enjoy your day or relax by the fire pit. Here are some great wines of summer.

Picpoul de Pinet — The lip stinger! As crisp and refreshing as it gets in the white wine world. Head to the French wine section and look for the Languedoc-Roussillon region. The Picpoul grape is made into a wine with mouth-watering acidity and is perfect for a hot summer day. You will find a pale lemon color with aromas and flavors of citrus, green apple, and a certain salinity. It’s great to drink on its PR%F the Magazine

Photo by S L own or pair with raw oysters, sushi, or a summer fruit salad. And, you can find it in a box! Look for the La Petite Frog Picpoul in the 3-liter boxed version.

Rosé in a bag? Yes! What is more conve-

nient than a bag of wine for your summer activities? Many wine producers are now offering wine-in-a-bag with a closable spout without the cardboard box. Think three liters of pure summer refreshment without the malt beverage headache. Rosé is always more popular in the summer, and it doesn’t have to be the oversweet plonk of our parent’s and grandparents’


summer, summer, summer wine

generations. Think dry, fruity, and easy to drink with summer-like aromas and flavors of red berries, white peach, honeydew, and watermelon. Look for Provence in France or the New York Finger Lakes in the US. A great example is Reserve St. Martin Rosé, a Syrah and Grenache blend from France’s Pays d’Oc region, offered in a 3-liter bag with a spout. Pair with barbecue on the grill, or just drink it while relaxing in the hammock.

Red sky at night (and red wine)… sailor’s delight! But red wine in the summer heat? Yes! Malbec from Argentina is a perfect wine to pair with grilled meats. Be the star of the summer grilling season with a box of Malbec. Don’t be afraid to chill it on ice for a bit before drinking. Malbec will hold up to a chill. You’ll see dark purple in the glass with aromas and flavors of dark fruit, plum, fig, vanilla, cocoa, and tobacco that pair perfectly with that summer campfire. A 3-liter box of Maipe Malbec from the Mendoza region of Argentina is another great choice for your wines of summer. Photo by The Printable Cøncept

Jerry Hammaker, Owner Certain Aged Ventures Wine Consultant, PR%F Awards

Photo by Angelina Kichukova


SPIRITS REVIEW EXPERTS VERSUS BS’ers By George F Manska, Corporate Strategy Officer, inventor & entrepreneur, Chief Research & Development Arsilica, Inc.


undreds of people on the internet have created wine and spirits appreciation sites, blogs, serial tasting videos, reviews, commentaries, and e-newsletters. The initial inspiration for most wannabe “experts” began in 1978 with the rise to fame of Robert Parker to becoming the world’s most famous wine critic. Dreams of easy money and hopes of emulating Parker’s success have motivated many aimlessly wandering wannabes to “re-invent” themselves as beverage experts. The glut of e-reviewers has spilled over into spirits and beer and is rife with inaccuracies, payola (review deals with manufacturers), ego trips, blatant sponsorships, and sales schemes. With the growth of all types of craft alcohol beverages, the consumer must utilize reliable, competent help to sift through and decipher mounds of products to make better choices, save time and

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money, and achieve satisfaction. Even those who have a great love of fine wine and spirits cannot buy and taste everything. The role of the expert is here to stay. The best maintain their status through hard work. Hire your own team. How do you choose experts? Many newbies in the field do their homework, utilize good evaluation practices, and perform accurate reviews. Once past the hump of success, many long-timers reprioritize their primary modus operandi from education to maximizing profits and serving themselves rather than the consumers to whom they owe their fame.


the science of spirits


the science of spirits

Read the short guide about choosing a few experts to help you spend wisely to satisfy your tastes.


Medals do mean something if the product was judged fairly, and the producer didn’t have to buy them. Know what the specific competition you follow is all about. Some are judged by buyers, some by famous personalities or industry notables. Read the About section on the competition’s web page to discover who judges, their demographic, and how they are structured. Check every year to see that they maintain a constant perspective. Panels usually award medals, and despite judging timing restrictions (say six samples each in four flights for a day’s work), most medal awards are a true panel consensus. Competitions that release their tasting notes and assign numerical ratings are probably the most honest. Too many samples/flights and too many flights/sessions are giveaways that the competition exists solely for the profits from entry fees and not for consumer education.

Bloggers and e-reviewers:

Watch out! Here you find the diesel mechanic turned whiskey expert with no real credentials and hides behind low humor or over-sophisticated behavior to disguise their ineptitude as a critic. Too much history, too many anecdotes, flowery prose, and noting obscure aromas such as “hints of eastern Kauai mango” and “dusky smell of the fetid waters of the Carolina swamp” are the types of selfenamored prose that permeate reviews, conjuring distracting visual deflections. Choose no-nonsense reviewers who have an established following of like-minded consumers (read blog comments), use common taste descriptors, and get to the point with a uniform procedure that reviews appearance, nose, taste, and finish, summarizing both detractors and attributes. Those who concentrate too much on entertainment and history without concrete tasting summaries cannot help you make intelligent choices. Above all, does the reviewer meet your idea of professionalism? Treating the poorer spirits with dignity in criticism, footnoting what his personal tastes are, and complete objectivity are clues to professionalism. After several reviews, you can discover whether they should earn the privilege to become one of your personal team of experts.

10 Best (you fill in):

Appearing in magazines, social media ads, and press releases, the “Top 10 Best (anything)” is usually not what they seem to be implying. Written mainly by roving contributing editors who sell their stories to magazines or by magazine marketing departments for a fee, these reviews are often solicited and paid for by the distiller, wine-maker, or brewer for inclusion. Many times, a higher payment gains a higher ranking. Not obvious to most consumers is the prurient profit motive here, and usable consumer information is marketing feed directly from the producer. Fuggedaboudit.

the science of spirits


Knowledgeable Acquaintances:

Once in a great while, you will run into someone at a club or store tasting who you respect and who reeks of objectivity. Make them part of your team for at least the usefulness of a second opinion.

In summary, approach the task from the standpoint of hiring a personal assistant or adding a team member. Choose experts who meet your expectations, product priorities, mastery of subject matter, uniform approach, and set procedures. You get valuable information, and in return, the reviewer gets an expanded audience. Participate, post comments, and interact to get complete information. Choose several, get familiar with medals, past reviews, and proceed cautiously to build a team that will serve you well and decreases the pain of expensive trial purchases which, after tasting, do not meet your expectations.

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George F Manska Chief of Research and Development, Arsilica, Inc., engineer, inventor of the NEAT glass, and sensory science researcher. Mission: Replace misinformation with scientific truth through consumer education. Contact Information: Phone: 702.332.7305

Email: Business mailing address:

452 Silverado Ranch Blvd, Ste #222, Las Vegas, NV, 89183.


Party at the Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino Enjoy Boombox, Barry Manilow, Cabaret Shows, Great Dining and Expansive Pool.


estgate Las Vegas is the home for Legendary Vegas Fun; with the excitement exploding in May.

Westgate is home to great entertainment with Barry Manilow, Boombox! Westgate Cabaret shows, including Soul of Motown, The Bronx Wanderers, and The Magic of Jen Kramer. Barry Manilow returns to the Westgate with MANILOW: LAS VEGAS – The Hits Come Home! The GRAMMY®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and musician will perform at the Westgate International Theater May 5-7, and May 26-28.

Looking to travel back in time? Get ready to experience Boombox! — ‘80s and ‘90s Hip-Hop concert. Party to the greatest songs in a show hosted by hip-hop house partiers Kid 'N Play. This throwback

party features CeeLo Green, Treach from Naughty By Nature, J.J. Fad, and Snap! performing their biggest hits. Show dates are May 11-15, and May 18-22.

Soul of Motown celebrates doo-wop and Motown as its music enveloped the entire world. Audiences will enjoy the music of The Temptations, The Platters, The Drifters, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Sam Cooke, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, The O’Jays, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Aretha Franklin The Bronx Wanderers, the father-and-son duo with their top-notch band, pair powerful vocals and musical flair with enthusiasm and genuine love for the music they perform. The Bronx Wanderers recreate the magic of the era and build an energetic bond with their audience while transporting their audiences to the past of legendary music.

The Magic of Jen Kramer turns the impossible into the impossible-to-ignore, wowing audiences with her contagious smile and world-class sleight-ofhand. Guests are always amazed at Jen’s jaw-dropping illusions; her show is full of unforgettable magic and Fun with a capital F.

Westgate Las Vegas provides a range of culinary adventures. Fresco Italiano tempts with the perfect blend of menu options that highlight its Italian culinary range and skill. Enjoy Italian-style cuisine defined by freshness and simplicity, like hand-crafted flatbreads baked in a stone-fired pizza oven, produced with imported Italian flour and family recipes. Create custom dishes matching favorite pasta with fresh sauces. Choose from entrées featuring Osso Buco, Frutti di Mare, or Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Chicken, slowly cooked in natural juices and enhanced with fresh herbs and garden vegetables.

Benihana is a unique culinary adventure. As guests walk into the restaurant, they are transported into another world with lush Japanese gardens, flowing ponds, exotic statuary, and an authentic Torri Arch. The exhibition-style Japanese cuisine features hibachi tables with master chefs preparing a full range of unique and traditional teppanyaki dishes. Tasty entrees tantalize with hibachi chicken, teriyaki steak, and filet mignon. Enjoying a colorful signature drink at the bar surrounded by the exotic décor makes the drink that much more special. Edge Steakhouse offers a dining experience close to perfection. Guests can savor an extensive menu that combines American steakhouse favorites with delicious specialty appetizers, creative entrées, and innovative side dishes. Top quality wet and dry-aged Prime cuts, domestic Wagyu beef, and fresh seafood are some of its specialties. Toast with selections from the double Wine Spectator Award-winning PRwith %F pairing the Magazine wine list options available.

westgate las vegas resort & casino


What’s more relaxing than laying by the pool, taking a refreshing dip, or enjoying a favorite cocktail under a cabana by the tranquil waters? This is the perfect mix of rest and relaxation. Featuring luxurious pool cabanas and daybeds, the newly renovated pool deck at Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino provides the perfect mix of rest, relaxation, sun, and fun. The pool also features a 15-seat hot tub, a bar, a retail store and a grill.

The SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas™ features over 30,000 square feet of heart-racing action with a massive 220-foot-by-18-foot 4,000 video wall with over 350 seats. With the exciting sporting events coming up, guests can experience high-action entertainment at the best and largest Race & Sports Book in a smoke-free environment in Las Vegas. This iconic world-class destination and the home of Legendary Vegas Fun offers a unique blend of amenities and excitement with all your favorite table games, hottest slots on the market, and more than 225,000 square feet of meeting space.

For more information or to book the Las Vegas hotel, call toll-free at (702) 732-7117 or log on to






so smooth it is criminal

So Smooth it is Criminal

El Bandido Yankee Tequila embodies a free spirit.

By Debbie Hall


Bandido Yankee Tequila embodies the free spirit of its co-founders and the original banditos, Jim Bob Morris and Chris Chelios. The former professional athletes turned entrepreneurs are tequila fanatics who wanted to create their own tequila brand, the right way—pure and free of any additives.

“We were drinking one of our competitor’s tequilas, and I didn’t really care for it. As an entrepreneur who owns several food companies, I could taste the adulteration in the tequilas that were available on the market, and I told Chris we needed to produce our own,” explains Morris.

The story behind the El Bandido Yankee is serendipitous.

As for the name, “Chris asked me if I remembered the movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and I said I had seen it about

so smooth it is criminal

a thousand times. In the movie, there is a line after they rob a bank in Bolivia, and the Bolivian colonial yells ‘El Bandido Yankees.’ Chris asked me if that should be the name of our brand and I said I liked it. “Then the serendipity came in. We were in Chicago on business when this conversation took place. I drove home the next day, and when I walked in the door, my television was on and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid happened to be playing. Seriously. I sat down to watch it without even putting down my briefcase or overnight bag. Almost immediately, the next scene was the bank robbery with the ’El Bandido Yankees’ line and I started on the project that day.”

The El Bandido Yankee character came from the imagination of Morris, who owned a vast comic book collection as a kid, particularly western comics, such as Rawhide Kid. El Bandido Yankee represents an American in Mexico who is fun-loving and playful, but has been known to skirt the law. He demonstrates the maverick spirit of working hard and celebrating with a Bandido spirit. El Bandido Yankee discovers the tequila and describes it as ‘So Smooth it


is Criminal,’ and decides to take the tequila to the U.S. Morris and Chelios’ research, combined with their passion and dedication to their brand, led to the creation of some of the most authentic, additive-free, non-adulterated ultra-premium tequila on the market. “I have to admit; it’s very hard work to create a delicious-tasting tequila that stays on people’s minds. I hope everyone who takes that first sip decides that El Bandido Yankee is their tequila of choice and becomes life-long customers of the brand,” says Morris. El Bandido Yankee Tequila is handcrafted at the historic El Viejito Distillery in Atotonilco El Alto, using the traditions of the region that fully supports the local small farms and agave sustainability efforts. The brand uses mature blue weber agave plants from the highlands, which produces citrus flavor notes. Behind succulent leaves, piñas are hand-chopped and slow-roasted for 40 hours in traditional stone hornos to caramelize the flavors, then are twice distilled and fully oxygenated. This centuries-old process delivers a full-bodied taste that ignites one’s passion for tequila.

I have to admit; it’s very hard work to create a delicioustasting tequila that stays on people’s minds. I hope everyone who takes that first sip decides that El Bandido Yankee is their tequila of choice and becomes life-long customers of the brand."


so smooth it is criminal

“The process we use is the same process used for fine tequilas, and I learned that these processes are also applied to fine wines, good cigars, as well as great scotch and bourbons.” El Bandido Yankee Tequila was launched during the beginning of the pandemic with the El Bandido character wearing a mask, but the brand’s development began in 2019. “Our goal is for people drinking our tequila to enjoy outrageously good times responsibly. The pandemic brought the opportunity for people to try new spirits and create their own cocktails at home.” Morris played professional football in the NFL. as a safety for the Green Bay Packers and also played in the USFL for three years. Chelios was a professional ice hockey defenseman and was one of the longest-tenured players in the National Hockey League and a three-time Stanley

Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens and Detroit Red Wings. He is also in the NFL Hall of Fame. “We became friends when Chris was a big superstar, and my career was starting to wind down. In fact, once we were together and we were introduced as ‘former NFL star Jim Bob Morris and NHL superstar Chris Chelios,’ my kids told me that I was not a star. I had to laugh. Then Chris and I became friends, and I met many people through him at events. He introduced me to premium tequila, and he greatly influenced my outlook on the industry.” Along with their tequila brand, Morris and Chelios are passionate about the not-for-profit S.A.C.R.E.D., which stands for Saving Agave for Culture, Recreation, Education, and Development. The goal of S.A.C.R.E.D is to improve the quality of life in rural Mexico by building soccer fields to encourage the kids to stay active, fit,

so smooth it is criminal

and in school. For more info, visit El Bandido Yankee brings tequila lovers an ultra-premium bit of heaven at a great price point, and the brand continues to thrive. “The popularity of tequila continues to grow, with females now purchasing 80 percent of tequila on the market. El Bandido Yankee is expanding distribution, and right now we are available in 10,000 locations across the US, and will reach 30 states by the end of the year, with plans to release our Añejo tequila using a double casket. There will also be many exciting events coming up for the brand, and we are thrilled to be a part of this growing industry,” says Morris. “We are incredibly proud of this brand, our team, and we will always stick to our values.”


To learn more about El Bandido Yankee Tequila, visit and follow on: Facebook @ elbandidoyankee Instagram @ elbandidoyankee Twitter @ elbandidoyankee



El Bandido Yankee Tequila dreamed of a velvety, clean tequila and here it is. A criminally smooth sipping spirit that’s tasty on the rocks, neat or as a welcome addition to an infusion or craft cocktail.

Aged perfectly in American Oak bourbon barrels that have been stripped and recharred to enhance flavors. Its sophisticated Reposado has a complex profile intended to linger over.

• • • •

100% Blue Weber Agave 100% Additive-Free 750 Ml, 40% ABV Nom: 1107

Produced: El Viejito Distillery, Jalisco, Mexico Tasting Notes Refreshing and elegantly crisp finish in this purest expression of agave. Slight hints of citrus, pepper and vanilla with a buttery profile.

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• • • •

100% Blue Weber Agave 100% Additive-Free 750 Ml, 40% ABV Nom: 1107

Produced: El Viejito Distillery, Jalisco, Mexico Tasting Notes A warm agave presence meets delicious hints of toasted oak. Refined structure that glides over your palate with herbal and vanilla notes.

Two Competitions. One Price.



The coveted double-blind tasting competition

The total package competition

Century Award

Perfect. To receive a Century Award is to be defined as perfect. It is a 100-point perfect score, unanimously, from all judges present at the awards tasting program. Unanimous. Only a selection of these brands makes it to the prestigious level. It is the ultimate accolade and the utmost level of achievement in a spirits and wine brand. Unparalleled.

Double Gold Award

Outstanding. Spirits and wine awarded a Double Gold are beyond industry standards and celebrated with prominent elegance in their respected categories. These brands define finesse and make a palate dance with superiority. When you achieve this award, your brand defies gravity.

Gold Award

Great and distinguished with high praise and worthy of celebration. Our Gold award is a high merit of achievement. These are the brands that set the bar beyond standard heights and reach it — at all costs and are classified as some of the best brands in the arena. Hue, Taste, Texture, Power, Length, and Echo all balance to create a superb flavor and moment.

Silver Award

Rated as good and recommended for the public, our Silver award recipients demonstrate a noticeable well-balanced presence between flavor and complexity, taste and finish. Many of our Silver recipients can be found nationally in stores, restaurants, bars, and online.

Bronze Award

Our Bronze award recognizes these brands to be fair, well-crafted, attractive to nose, taste, and finish—worthy of recognition.

Enter your brand today.




meet the judge: abe taylor


Abe Taylor of the DHG Group Downtown Hospitality Group (DHG) is a team of multi-disciplinary hospitality experts with deep restaurant, bar, lounge, and nightclub experience. Our concepts originate in the downtowns of major metropolitan areas. One of the founding partners, Abe Taylor, serves as a judge for the PR%F Awards and recently shared the story of DHG and its successes in the food and beverage industry.

We were able to agree to a deal with the original ownership group to take an equity stake in the business. From there, DHG took off. Today DHG has 18bin in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Sky Lounge connected to Amway in Orlando, with more being added to our portfolio. As our operations have expanded, we added two other partners, Daniel Mihai, our Creative Director; Daniel Guerrero, our operating partner; Doug Rotondi, our Director of Restaurants; and Rose Aharonian, Director of Sales.

HOW DID DHG BEGIN? The story of Downtown Hospitality Group began in 2020. There are three founding partners, Michael Perry, Greg Costello, and myself. In August 2020, shortly after the pandemic started, we found 18bin. Since March, it had been closed, and we knew we wanted to open it back up.

YOUR GROUP REOPENED 18BIN IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PANDEMIC, AND YOU STILL KEPT IT OPEN. LET’S TALK ABOUT IT. We reopened 18bin in September 2020. The venue saw some business flow but was still slow

meet the judge: abe taylor From left: Daniel Mihai, Greg Costello, and Abe Taylor


they stay posting and tagging us, so we are constantly current and new on social media. Having our business driven by social media has made us a tourist location, where servers now identify tables with guests from all 50 states and other countries. Being a tourist location is excellent for business. Still, it makes for unpredictability in business flow. We can randomly become swamped on Wednesday for lunch because of a conference in town, and people see our venue online, so with the growth has come challenges in finding ways to staff our venues adequately.

during peak Covid times. Looking for ways to drive business to the venue in October 2020, we added our popular bottomless mimosa brunch on Saturday and Sunday, with a DJ on both days. Sunday is our Deep House Brunch, which was primarily a local-based crowd in the Art District. In March 2021, a Tik Tok influencer posted our brunch, and we got to experience firsthand the power of social media. We quickly began seeing fully booked brunches that sent the business and us into overdrive on how to keep up with the new demand.

HOW HAS SOCIAL MEDIA HELPED WITH YOUR SUCCESS STORY? We had done a lot of the online marketing through Yelp, Google, and other digital marketing platforms but had not seen the drive to the business that Tik Tok brought us. Tik Tok merges the review and the referral aspect of other marketing sites, making it our number one point of reference when asking guests how they heard of our restaurant. Since experiencing this, we now work with influencers to invite them to our venues during events so that they can highlight our venue on their platform. We keep our venues trending and post current when searching us on social media through influencers and other guests whom we encourage to post and tag us online. We also work to keep areas of our venue photo-ready for guests to ensure

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WHAT FUTURE PLANS DO YOU HAVE WITH DHG? DHG is growing and has a 24-hour restaurant experience coming to Downtown Las Vegas. The venue has already brought growth to our team as we are all learning the needs of a 24hour venue. One key factor we will be taking to our new location is the power of the social media influencer. For more info on DHG, visit Follow on Facebook @ Downtown-Hospitality-Group, and Instagram @ downtownhospitality.


the color of wine by urbanvino

The Color of Wine by UrbanVino By Jena Domingue Creator and CEO of UrbanVino House of Brands

Welcome our newest columnist Jena Domingue of UrbanVino House of Brands. She will feature insights from boutique wines, celebrities, and interesting producers of color and various backgrounds, emphasizing diversity and inclusion in the wine and spirits space. PR%F Magazine spoke with Jena about her background and what readers can look forward to in her column.

How was the concept for UrbanVino developed, and why is it so important now? UrbanVino was launched 10 years ago. The impetus was a long conversation I had with a girlfriend at an East Bay winery that sadly no longer exists. We were enjoying wine and expressing some of the frustration we felt by not being visible or accepted in some wine spaces. As two accomplished women of color in the North Bay Area (very close to Napa County) who enjoy wine and having a good time, we frequently would look for social wine events. I like to say we often “did not feel invited to the party.” That day, I began looking at minority-owned wine brands and consumer behavior data. I made a pitch to the CEO of WineDirect, a DTC powerhouse based in Napa Valley, and he said yes, we will back your

Photo by Hermes Rivera idea, and will you come work for me? I agreed, and the rest was history. While I continued to advocate and assist brands and producers of color, I was never able to launch UrbanVIno fully. I have decided it is time to give it the attention it deserves, and there are so many phenomenal brands that need support, resources, and an outlet.

What is UrbanVino? We are a multi-faceted outlet with deep ties to the wine industry. Our purpose is to highlight and bring attention to wine producers of color, celebrity brands, female wine entrepreneurs, also small and seemingly difficult to access wine brands on the market. Most brands produce less than 5,000 cases annually. This means they typically have small inhouse teams and limited budgets to get their wine to market and into the hands of fans and consumers. The wine industry is heavily regulated (in fact, I can ship ammunition easier than I can a bottle of wine

the color of wine by urbanvino

across state lines in many cases), and barriers are high. With my background and access to the best resources, the idea is to hold the door open for those bright business minds looking to make a play and offer some turnkey services that make entering and thriving here much easier. What services does UrbanVino offer? We can build a brand from start to finish, concept, packaging, source the wine, or partner a celebrity with a winery that matches their vibe.


We also work with brands already in the market to offer DTC services and distribution if needed. UrbanVino takes care of the proper licensing and compliance. For consumers, we have plans to roll out an online wine marketplace soon where you can find specialty wines with a seasonal approach. We have amazing wine partners to source the best wines and brands for an eclectic vibe. Most importantly, we are an advocate with an ear to the ground and will be sure brands in our portfolio are at the forefront of major events and can be found and acquired by fans in the US and abroad. What can readers look forward to reading about in your column? Pure and simple fun. I promise to deliver inspiration from winemakers that readers may now know exist, like Nana Merriweather (Miss USA 2012), who has a lovely flower-based wine. Others include Cedric the Entertainer, Bri, and Nikki Bella, Post Malone, Dwayne Wade, and Mary J. Blige. I have a lot to talk about, so I will offer a spotlight and let everyone know how to acquire these wines. How can we keep up with you and happenings in the industry? The UrbanVino podcast will be released this month. Follow on Facebook @luxebuytheglas and Instagram @sip.hustle.repeat. Also visit or email at Jena Domingue is the creator and CEO of UrbanVino House of Brands and Senior Vice President of Sales and Talent and Culture at WineDirect. She is also US Ambassador (California) for Liquid Icons, a global agency working with ultra-premium wine brands worldwide, offering scholarships and apprenticeships specifically geared to promote diversity and inclusion in wine education and hospitality.

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spirited inspiration

Spirited Inspiration


By Renée Korbel Quinn Photo of Mexican Old Fashioned courtesy of Rocco's Taco's & Tequila Bar Photos by Renée Korbel Quinn

Shaking Up the Old Fashioned Meet David Ortiz, Hospitality Influencer, passionate father, husband and true friend.

He is the Corporate Beverage Director at Rocco's Taco's & Tequila Bar offering some amazing cocktails. I met David years ago, when he took me under his wing and taught me about cocktails. Always a text or phone call away, he is there to guide and answer my plethora of questions.

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spirited inspiration

Twist on a Classic: Mexican Old Fashioned Ingredients: 2 ounces Herradura Tequila ½ ounce Agave syrup, 4 dashes of orange bitters, 4 dashes Chocolate syrup.

Instructions: In a mixing glass, add all the ingredients, then stir (20) rotations. Strain into an old fashioned rocks glass with one large ice sphere. Garnish with an orange peel and a piece of 70/30 Cacao pinned on its side. Photo courtesy of Rocco's Taco's & Tequila Bar

spirited inspiration

What’s the best cocktail you’ve created this year? Dos Homb-Rise made with Dos hombres Mezcal, pineapple, agave, lime and pomegranate What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Opening a restaurant with sweat equity Who is your role model? Role model my Dad (RIP) What’s your best advice to home bartenders? Google recipe and use a jigger What does success look like for you? Fatherhood


What’s in your home bar? Everything you need to make a margarita. What music complements your cocktail style? Puerto Rican Salsa Favorites: • Spirit: Grand Marnier • Bar Tool: Dave Woodridge mixing glass • Quote: Get it done! Son! • Classic Cocktail: Any Daisy template Nickname: Lil Papi IG: @davidomiami

David’s Perspective: A sophisticated blend of bourbon, bitters, soda, and sugar, the Old Fashioned cocktail has roots that go all the way back to the 1800s! The name comes from the way it is made, with people heading to cocktail bars and requesting for their drink to be created in the “old fashioned way.” Traditionally it was made with rye rather than bourbon. This cocktail was single handedly brought back and made it fashionable to drink classic cocktails, leading to the modern cocktail/mixology movement.

Renée Korbel Quinn

My twist on the Old Fashioned is Mexican. The template I use is the traditional bitters, water, sugar, and spirits. It uses Anejo Tequila instead of a brown whiskey. Agave syrup for the sweetener instead of sugar or simple syrup. For bitters, we are using Orange and Chocolate to complement the Anejo Tequila. @SpiritedSFL #getspiritedsouthflorida

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Spirited South Florida


bar gear, gadgets and beyond

Bar Gear, Gadgets and Beyond

Our experts share some of the best ones found.

Hayley Maxwell, General Manager at a Local Gaming Bar in Las Vegas; Marketing, Sales, and Buying Hayley Maxwell works in the hospitality industry and really understands the bar business. People love gadgets, with new ones being invented, manufactured, and marketed every day for those in the food and beverage industry. Hayley is one of the experts who will share her unique perspective on gadgets. Daniel “DD” de Anda Fast, Bar & Nightlife Consultant Daniel “DD” de Anda Fast offers more than two decades of hospitality experience having opened more than 30 venues during that time including bars, restaurants, pool experiences, nightclubs and more. Daniel has created craft cocktail menus on the Las Vegas Strip, worked as corporate mixologist for American Beverage Ventures(ABV) and is one of a select group of lead judges for PR%F Awards.

Shot Caller Visit for more info.

What our experts have to say: Hayley: The Shot Caller multi-shot dispenser is a really fun and creative product. It is very easy to use, and you can just have shots ready for a busy bar. I tried this out at my local bar here in Las Vegas, and my bartenders and I really loved it! We made green tea shots which are very popular Jameson shots right now, and it was so convenient to just grab the Shot Caller and tap the tip to the side of a shot glass to pour out the shot. The tip allows the bartender to

bar gear, gadgets and beyond control the flow of the liquid—no spilling and no waste from overpouring into a tin. The creators of the Shot Caller suggest using it for Jell-O shots to avoid the mess of pouring, and I think that is a great idea too! I make lots of Jell-O shots for parties and birthdays at my bar, which will really help save me time.


Handheld Milk Frother Several varieties are available online.

What our experts have to say:

Daniel: I think it would have saved hours of my life that have been devoted to making green tea shots. Hayley: I totally agree. Last night at my bar, I used it, and it was so easy to use! DD: It truly lives up to its name. If there is a shot people are calling for, just load this up and let them rip. Hayley: The design is very simple and easy for anyone to use; there are no spills; just tap the tip to the side of the shot glass. Lemon drops. Kamikaze shots. I might need a few more of these to keep on hand at the bar! DD: Plus, having a 20-ounce reservoir is nice. I know how it can get annoying making 10 shots at a time on two tins… problem solved Hayley: Absolutely! Do you think you would use it at home too? I know the creators mentioned using it to make Jell-O shots. DD: Definitely. Shots are an in-home activity as much as when you’re out. Hayley: Yes! And with summer coming up, it would be fun to make some shots for friends at home. I think the Shot Caller would really impress everyone at a pool party. DD: I’m all in on that.

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Hayley: The handheld milk frother by Maison Sucasa was an easy tool to use at home or in the bar. Traditional cocktails made with egg whites are making a comeback and gaining popularity in the bar and restaurant scene! This frothing tool makes it simple to whip up egg whites for a cocktail or just for a mixed drink. I like the simple design and that it is handheld, making it small and easy to keep and store behind the bar or in a drawer at home. DD: The handheld milk frother is not a traditional bar tool but is it innovation, laziness, or a bit of both? Hayley: I would have to say… a bit of both. I really like how convenient it is behind the bar because it’s small and can just be put into a drawer when it’s not being used. Old school cocktails are truly making a comeback; would you agree? Egg white cocktails in particular? DD: Yeah, I’d say it’s not fit every bar, but if you are messing with classics or molecular mixology, this thing is worth its weight in gold. Is there anything better than that silky kiss of that velvet cloud sitting atop your sour? Aquafaba or egg white, it volumizes them in seconds. I only wish it had a low speed so it could be used to stir spiritforward cocktails.


bar gear, gadgets and beyond

Hayley: Delicious! I’ve become a big fan more recently because the bars and restaurants are starting to offer more cocktails with the egg white classic foam on top of their specialty drinks menu. At home, you could even use the handheld Frother to mix up drinks in a cup if you didn’t have a shaker.

Rabbit Wine Preserver For more info, visit stainless-steel-wine-preserver

What our experts have to say: Hayley: The Rabbit Wine Preserver vacuum pump is a great way to save your wine! My local bar wastes a lot of opened wine that just has the cork put back in to close it. By vacuum sealing your wine with the Rabbit, you’re removing the oxygen out of the bottle with a few pumps from the device. Then, when you take the stopper out to pour your next glass of wine, you can hear the seal pop open, and you know it’s kept your wine fresher longer. Ok, let’s talk wine and wine storage. At home and parties, I don’t see a lot of half-empty bottles of wine; I usually see them empty. But at work, sometimes a customer will have just a glass of a higher-end wine, and then when I go back to get another glass a day or two later, the wine has gone bad, and I have to toss it. DD: Yeah, spoilage is always a concern. Oxidation rates can increase with temperature shifts so minimizing external contamination is key. Hayley: When we tried out the Rabbit, I thought it was small, well priced, and very

simple to use. Put the stopper in and give it maybe two pumps, and it gives the wine bottle a quick and tight seal. How much wine do you think goes to waste in some bars and restaurants? It should be a crime. I know personally at my local bar; we waste a lot of wine that has spoiled. DD: Agreed, that’s one of the reasons that so many venues go with an unimaginative selection for wine by the glass. Certain brands and price points are safe because of that exact issue. If we can use a brilliant product like this, we can see more Chateau Le Somethings and fewer table wines. Where I work, we flip corks and stuff them in, date bottles and throw them out after three days. This is not what all those brave grapes gave their lives for but for us to enjoy drinking them.






what's in a number?

What’s in a Number? The age of whiskey creates its unique profile and taste. By Stephanie Blitz The Architect of Words

Photo by Vinicius "amnx" Amano

what's in a number?

Age. It’s a sensitive subject among humans. A personal question we sometimes prefer not to answer. But in the world of whiskey, age is an attribute that speaks to the sophistication and enhanced flavors of this beloved spirit. Many people believe the older the whiskey, the better it tastes and the more valuable it is. However, it is not that simple.

What’s in a number?

Whiskey’s age is based on how long the distiller has kept it in a barrel—typically one made of charred oak. Each barrel contains a variety of whiskeys and, according to the law, must be given an age based on the youngest whiskey in the mix. It’s important to note the whiskey’s age does not change once it is bottled. Before being sealed into its cleverly designed glass vessel, whiskey undergoes a complex process that includes malting, mashing, fermentation, distilling, and maturation. This final step plays the most important role in defining how whiskey gets its age. At the maturation stage, the distiller will introduce the spirit to a barrel. The type of wood, the location of the storage facility, and the ideal age of the whiskey will all depend on the variety of whiskey. Many types of whiskey aim to reach the minimum aging requirement of two to three years, while others soak in their barrels for nearly a decade. The age range is wide, as are the flavor profiles produced by the maturation process.

Making the connection between age and taste

Aging whiskey is a long process that directly impacts the taste and the color of the spirit. Technically, the whiskey is ready to drink after spending just a few days inside

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of a barrel, but the end product will not possess the smokey, rich flavors whiskey enthusiasts have come to know and love. The darker hue and sophisticated palate will only be present among an older, more mature whiskey. Let’s take a moment to consider a whiskey timeline:

A WHISKEY TIMELINE In the beginning, the immature spirit will be clear in color and have little to no flavor.

After 2 to 3 years, the color is deeper, and the flavor becomes smoother as it subtly acquires some of the wooden barrel’s attributes.

After 5 to 10 years, the whiskey will have an amber hue, while the cask’s influence on the spirit’s flavor will be obvious.

After half a century, the color will continue to darken while the whiskey will acquire a taste that is almost completely representative of the wooden barrel.


what's in a number?

Photo by Adam Jaime

While most liquor connoisseurs stand by the unwritten rule that “older is better,” the over-aging of whisky risks losing the flavor of the original ingredients. However, when given the choice to consume underage whiskey versus an extremely mature whiskey, the latter wins almost every time.

Whiskey in the age of higher demand

Keeping up with the demand of consumers and investors is no easy task. As whiskey sales increase by double-digit percentages year over year, companies have been trying to find ways to speed up the dis-

tilling process. Despite their admirable efforts, critics continue to dismiss them for the most part. The whiskey industry is built upon a foundation of tradition and prestige. There is room for innovation, but it must be done within the confines of a deep-rooted aging process. One that involves letting the ebbs and flows of seasonal temperatures play a pivotal role. As the whiskey gets pushed in and out of the barrel’s wood, sophisticated flavor and color are slowly percolating over the course of a few years to a few decades. It is truly an art form that can be appreciated by the general public and all the more so by whiskey enthusiasts.

what's in a number?


Traditional meets unconventional

There are those who continue to respect the tried and true way of aging whiskey while experimenting with other variables within the distilling process. One such whiskey is Glendalough. They are the first Irish whiskey aged in highly sought-after Mizunara-oak. This type of creativity involved going far off the beaten path but led to a vibrant and floral liquid with a smooth mouthfeel and notes of dark chocolate, orange, and sandalwood. Glendalough has been aged for a total of seven years, making it clear no shortcuts were taken here. There’s a quote by Maza-Dohta that states, “We age not by years, but by stories.” It seems that whisky possesses both attributes. The years themselves are part of a maturing process that yields hues, flavors, and aromas that innately tell their own tale. Ultimately, we would be doing this historic liquor a disservice by trying to speed things up. Don’t get caught drinking underage whiskey. Life is fast-paced enough already. When you get the chance to slow down and savor something—do it. It’s a lesson we could all learn from the aging of whiskey.

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Stephanie Blitz was born and raised in Milwaukee and currently resides in Las Vegas with her husband and two children. She is a proud #boymom and the founder of Architect Of Words. Stephanie is a freelance writer and marketing maven who believes in the power of coffee, values experiences over things and recognizes the ability words have to connect people.



The PR%F Awards 2021


reat spirits flowed together in camaraderie and unique tastings when spirit industry leaders gathered to judge the PR%F Awards 2021. Officially named the world’s largest spirits and wine competition in the US, PR%F Awards 2021 encompassed innovation with judging. PR%F Awards 2021 launched a new dual adult beverage competition format including two competitions in one—PR%F Awards-Masked, The Double-Blind Tasting, and PR%F Awards-Unmasked, The Total Package.

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