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in the Mix

Vol. 54 Winter 2017




Vol. 52 Summer 2017

Erin King

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Marketing Director for Innovation, Food and Beverage

Anna Krone

Maggiano’s Little Italy Senior Beverage Manager


in the Mix Magazine

I Heard It Through the Grapevine … What Do We Know About the California Wine Industry? I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the California wine business as a whole, especially after the devastating fires in the iconic Napa and Sonoma wine country. Approximately 27 wineries were damaged over the 22-day period, resulting in 43 deaths. The region has more than 1,200 wineries but fortunately only about 10 were heavily damaged. So now that the rebuilding has begun and recovery efforts are in full swing, I wanted to see what the overall value of the wine business in California represents. The numbers are impressive.

First, some fascinating facts: Annual Economic Impacts • • • • • • • • • •

$67.6 billion in state economic impact $114 billion in national economic impact 325,000 jobs in California 786,000 jobs nationwide $17.2 billion in state wages $34.9 billion in U.S. wages $249 million in charitable contributions $16.2 billion paid in state and federal taxes 23.6 million tourist visits to California wine regions $7.2 billion spent by tourists in state

• The first wine grapes were grown in 1769 by Franciscan monks at Mission San Diego de Alcalá, who planted the Mission grape variety. • California makes 85 percent of all U.S. wine and is the world’s leading wine producer after France, Italy and Spain. • Wine grapes are grown in 49 of the state’s 58 counties and cover 602,000 acres, which represents only one percent of the state terrain. • By volume, Chardonnay is the leading varietal from California, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Other popular varietals are Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Moscato, Pinot Grigio and Riesling. A total of 117 varieties of wine grapes are grown in California. America has embraced the wine culture. The California wine industry continues its 40-year ascent with over 4,700 bonded wineries (doubled since 2005). And yes, technology, new drinkers and personal tastes, with continued wider selection and quality, will drive further growth into the near future. - Don Billings

“Whatever you do, pour yourself into it.” – Robert Mondavi Sources:, U.S. Tax and Trade Bureau, Silicon Valley Bank Wine Division, Wine Fall Institute 2017 •


Spring 2017 •



34 Innovate


Explore 6

in the Mix Magazine

26. 48. 74. 78.

How to Simplify Inventory and Drive Profitability by 10% in 5 Weeks – Seriously! Cover Story – An Interview with Brinker International’s Erin King, Marketing Director for Innovation, Food and Beverage at Chili’s Grill & Bar, and Anna Krone, Senior Beverage Manager of Maggiano’s Little Italy. Hospitality Executive Exchange is Creating a Buzz. CORE Chronicles – Uplifting stories from the Children of Restaurant Employees charity.

12. 14. 24. 38. 58. 66. 70.

Drinks and Dishes with Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen The Adventures of George: Hot Buttered Rum – A Big Steaming Mug of Happiness! by Tony Abou-Ganim Spotlight Interview – The Boston Beer Company Smoke Signals by Kelly Magyarics, DWS Cool Drinks for Cool Nights by Monin The Latin Flavor Explosion by Mike Kostyo The Looming Battle Between Craft and National Brands by Lou Trope

20. 30. 34.

New Openings – Showcasing some of the country’s newest properties. Take 5 Interview – Taki, distillery dog at Tito’s Handmade Vodka. Ruff! Making the Rounds With Helen Benefield Billings – Paradise Found – JW Marriott, Marco Island, Florida



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EDITOR’S LETTER Our cover story is the tale of two restaurateurs – Erin King, the Marketing Director for Innovation, Food and Beverage at Chili’s Grill & Bar, and Anna Krone, the Senior Beverage Manager at Maggiano’s Little Italy. They share their insights and innovative ideas on their roles in these famous Brinker International restaurants. We have a special “Take 5” interview with Tito’s Handmade Vodka’s distillery dog, Taki. Yes, a dog. Enjoy this lighthearted look at how Tito Beveridge has created promotions and charities to help man’s best friends. Thank you for all you do, Tito!

Our cover shot is by Mark Graham Photography, Dallas, Texas.

Enjoy. Mike Raven, Managing Editor, in the Mix Media



MARK GREENHALGH, Account Manager, IMI Agency Mark joined IMI in 2014 after working 18 years with IHG,

serving in both Hotel Operations and Brand Management. During his time in Hotel Operations, Mark spent time in South Carolina, Georgia and New York, in various Director roles ranging from Food & Beverage and Sales & Catering, to Rooms Division. Upon joining the IHG corporate team in 2010, Mark became involved in managing the Holiday Inn® brand, with focus on brand integrity, innovation and the consumer experience. The hospitality bug bit Mark at an early age. In high school, he held down part-time jobs in local restaurants and bars in the U.K. Following a highly successful career in the automotive industry, Mark decided to return to his passion – hospitality. After earning his bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management in Birmingham, U.K., he took on a series of food & beverage management positions within the Pub Division of a U.K. brewer, before joining IHG in the United States. Mark is married to his beautiful wife, Chris, and together they have three children who range in age from 8 to 15 years old. During his free time, Mark enjoys coaching kids’ soccer, attending his kids’ sporting activities and working on home improvement projects. What are your responsibilities with IMI? As an Account Manager my role is to help our clients optimize their beverage portfolio whilst leveraging resources – whether those are client resources, IMI resources (experience, creative, technological, etc.), beverage partners resources or distributor resources. I’m a great believer in getting as much information as possible; you never know when a client might go in a particular direction. My role is to know about possibilities before the client knows they want to go in that direction. I see IMI and myself as a knowledge bank. One can never have too much knowledge.


strong, the challenge is ensuring a consistent offering without adding additional bureaucratic standards, specifically around mandated alcohol products. Over 90 percent of the Holiday Inn portfolio is franchised; therefore, IHG has been reluctant to be so prescriptive as to mandate 30+ alcoholic products. However, lack of specified products leads to inconsistency across a 600+ unit portfolio. The solution is to create a platform to give franchisees a proven food & beverage program that consistently drives guest satisfaction, financial performance and, as a result, greater participation with beverage partners. What hobbies do you enjoy? Coaching soccer for the kids. It is especially gratifying when you see the development of their skills and talents. What are your favorite sports teams? The first American football game I attended was a home game at the University of Georgia. It was a fantastic experience and I have been a “Dawg” fan ever since. What is your favorite food? I’m not sure I can list only one. Fresh baked breads are my “kryptonite” and there is an Anglo-Indian dish I’m fond of called “kedgeree.” But I’m equally happy with many Asian foods (Thai, Indian, Indonesian, Malaysian, etc.). And I do miss some childhood favorites, such as Australian meat pies, Scotch eggs, Cornish pasties, pork pie, and steak and kidney pie.

What do you like best about working with IMI? The variety of daily activities. One day we are working on creative, the next I’m building a deck on regional cocktail trends or researching ice. It’s such great fun.

What is your favorite adult beverage? I’m a big wine fan, but I do enjoy some of the classics like an Old Fashioned or a martini.

Can you tell us about the C.A.S.H program you created for Holiday Inn franchise properties? The C.A.S.H. program is an enhanced food & beverage platform created for Holiday Inn. With the Holiday Inn being over 600 units

One thing you can’t live without? My family.

in the Mix Magazine

Mark with his wife Chris and their three kids, Ben (15), Sophie (11) and Jack (8).

Spring 2017 •


Contributing Writers Media

Known as “The Modern Mixologist,” Tony is an accomplished bar chef, speaker and consultant who has created several original cocktail recipes, including the Cable Car, Sunsplash and Starlight. He has recently authored his second book, Vodka Distilled (Agate Surrey, publisher).





Tony Abou-Ganim Kelly Magyarics is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator, in the Washington, D.C. area. Her writing appears in a variety of national and regional consumer and trade publications including Food Network, Liquor. com, Wine Enthusiast, Nightclub & Bar, The Tasting Panel, Cheers and now in the Mix. She has extensive wine and spirits knowledge and training, including holding the Diploma of Wine Studies (DWS) from the renowned Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET). Kelly also offers interactive, educational wine tastings and classes for private and corporate groups.

Larr y McGinn, Par tner Celeste Dinos, Par tner Don Billings, Founding Par tner


D o n B illin g s

Kelly Magyarics


Editor – Michael Raven Designed by – Kester Chau Copy Editor & Proofreader – Christine Neal Associate Editor – Celeste Dinos Associate Editor – Helen Benefield Billings A DV E RT I S I N G S AL E S , E D I TOR I A L AN D BUS IN E S S OFFIC E


Mike Kostyo

Lou Trope

Mike is par t of Datassential’s publications team, managing the company’s wide range of Trend Spotting Repor ts. He combines a passion for researching and synthesizing food trends with Datassential’s MenuTrends, Omnibus and other data-driven platforms in order to give clients a full, accurate and insightful picture of the latest trends in the foodservice industry. Mike’s early education and career in journalism, writing and political communications, as well as his recent master’s in gastronomy from Boston University, all greatly enhance his work at Datassential. He is also the founder of Chicago Food Bloggers, the city’s largest food blogger network.

Lou served as a global VP of Food and Beverage for branded, independent and luxury hotel groups as well as a successful operator in Bermuda, London, Maui, Philadelphia and San Diego. He takes this experience into his new role as the President of LJ Trope & Co. LLC. Lou works with clients to assist them in concept development, strategy and much more.

in the Mix Magazine

1 1 9 6 B u c k h e a d C ro ssi n g Wo o d s t o c k , G A 3 0 1 8 9

Helen Benefield Billings

Hospitality and travel writer, Helen Benefield Billings has been with in the Mix since its inception in 2004. Helen lives in her native childhood home of Sea Island, Ga. when not traveling or attending industry functions with her husband, Don.

P H O N E 7 7 0 - 9 2 8 - 1 9 8 0 | FA X 7 7 0 - 5 1 7 - 8 8 4 9 E M A I L m ike @ i tm m a g . co m WE B I T M m a g .c o m i n t h e M i x m a g azi n e i s p u b l i sh e d q u a r te r ly by iM i A g e n c y. Al l r i g h ts re se r ve d. No p a r t o f t h is p u b lic a ti o n m ay b e re p r i n te d o r o t h e r w is e re p ro du ce d w i th o u t w r i tte n p e r m is s io n f ro m th e p u b l i sh e r.

in the Mix is exclusively operated and owned by Incentive Marketing Inc . Submissions: Incentive Marketing Inc. assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs.


REMEMBER TO KEEP A BOTTLE OF RUMCHATA ON YOUR BACK BAR AS WELL AS IN THE COOLER — IF PEOPLE SEE RUMCHATA, THEY WILL BUY IT. RumChata®, Caribbean Rum with Real Dairy Cream, Natural and Artificial Flavors, 13.75% alc./vol. Produced and Bottled by Agave Loco Brands, Pewaukee, WI 53072. Please Enjoy Responsibly. RUMCHATA and CHATA are Registered Trademarks of Agave Loco, LLC.

Winter 2017 • 11

Winter is aglow with holiday celebrations and the drink of choice is always something bubbly. Simple and elegant, you can’t beat this Rosemary Clementine Sparkle for holiday events. With citrus in season through the winter months, there is no better time than now to showcase their bright flavors highlighted with fresh rosemary in a sparkling Vodka cocktail. Pair this drink with a classic appetizer favorite given an upscale twist with my Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs with Sour Cream and Chives. Celebrate in style. – Kathy Kathy Casey is an award winning chef and mixologist, best known as the original Bar Chef. She owns Kathy Casey Food Studios - Liquid Kitchen® a global full-service food, beverage and concept development agency. Contact: Follow: @KathyCaseyChef

Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs with Sour Cream & Chives Cold smoked salmon is ideal to these eggs. Try fine chopping in processor and mixing in the filling. rolled piece on top of each egg, nice flair.

add to a food A small adds a

Makes 48 2 dozen hard-boiled eggs Filling 6 tablespoons mayonnaise 6 tablespoons sour cream 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 2 teaspoons minced fresh garlic 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives 4 ounces (1/2 cup) minced smoked salmon Topping 6 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh chives 6 tablespoons finely minced red onion 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar (optional) Halve the eggs lengthwise and transfer the yolks to a mixing bowl. Set the egg white halves on a platter, cover and refrigerate. With an electric mixer whip the egg yolks with the mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, garlic and salt until smooth. Mix in the chives and salmon until well incorporated. Spoon the mixture into a pastry bag fitted with a large plain tip; then pipe the mixture evenly into the egg white halves. To make the topping, in a small bowl mix the chives, red onion and vinegar. Top each egg half with about 3/4 teaspoon of the mixture. Recipe adapted from D’Lish Deviled Eggs by Kathy Casey


in the Mix Magazine

All Recipes and Photos by Kathy Casey Liquid Kitchen®

For ease of service during the busy holidays or for special events, the Vodka and mixers can be pre-batched, then shaken to order and finished with bubbles. Makes 1 cocktail • 1/4 of a clementine or mandarin • 1 sprig fresh rosemary • 1 1/2 ounces TITO’S HANDMADE VODKA • 3/4 ounce fresh lemon juice • 3/4 ounce simple syrup • 2 ounces DOMAINE STE MICHELLE BRUT Sparkling Wine, chilled

Squeeze and drop clementine into a cocktail shaker. Bend rosemary and add. Measure in Vodka, lemon and simple syrup. Fill with ice, cap and shake.Strain into a large martini glass. Top with sparkling wine. Garnish with rosemary.

Winter 2017 • 13

The Adventures of George by Tony Abou-Ganim

Hot Buttered Rum – A Big Steaming Mug of Happiness! George, being a big hockey fan, was headed to Las Vegas to watch the city’s first-ever professional sports team, the Vegas Golden Knights, play the Detroit Red Wings. He was able to secure a ticket for the sold-out game and made his way to the beautiful new T-Mobile Arena. After finding the suite level, George was directed to his seat in the lodge section across from the Goose Island Lounge. He got settled and was taking in his amazing view of the ice, but sensing the slight chill in the arena, he felt the need for some liquid fortification so he headed to the bar. “Good evening and welcome to Goose Island. What can I get for you?” the bartender inquired. George, taking a quick peek at the bartender’s name tag, quickly responded, “Well Tim, I’m a little frosty – can you recommend something to warm me up?” “You should try our Hot Buttered Rum. It’s guaranteed to take away the chill and put a smile on your face. It’s like a blanket for your insides,” Tim suggested. “Sounds fantastic! I’ll try one, for sure,” he ordered. George returned to his seat with his steaming mug of Hot Buttered Rum just as the puck was dropped to begin the game. Taking his first sip, he found the tipple 14

in the Mix Magazine

to not only be piping hot temperature-wise, but also the potent Rum warmed and fortified him. The drink developed with a richness from the creamy butter and brown sugar, followed by the baking spices and opulent Rum finish. George soon found himself in a very happy place. By the end of the first period, he was ready for another cup of Tim’s yummy warm brew. “Hey Tim, that was delicious,” George declared, as he approached the bar. “The last time I had a Hot Buttered Rum was years ago at the Bellagio.” “Great! Let me fix you another one,” Tim replied. “We use the same recipe the Bellagio used featuring TAG’s homemade batter, but we substitute Pyrat XO Rum in place of Mount Gay Eclipse. So glad you like it!” Returning to his seat and taking a large slug from his second mug of Hot Buttered Rum, George quickly noticed that the earlier chill he experienced had now completely disappeared. His toes were tingling and his heart was merry. With the Golden Knights up 3–2 at the end of the second period, George decided to pay Tim one last visit at Goose Island for a final final. “One more?” Tim inquired as he saw George approaching his bar. “What is it with these things? They truly do

warm the soul and are very addictive,” he replied. “What’s the story on their history anyway?” “Well, Hot Buttered Rum dates as far back as George Washington’s time when, according to the American Heritage Cookbook, the drink ‘found its way into domestic politics.’ Candidates would provide generous quantities to constituents in order to influence the vote,” Tim answered. “The drink has its origins in Europe where hot, spicy alcoholic tipples have been used to warm souls against bitter cold winters for centuries.” Tim illuminated that in the 1650s, Jamaica began exporting molasses to Colonial America, where New Englanders started distilling it and utilizing Rum in cold weather beverages such as hot toddies. They then added butter and spices to enrich the beverage, thus creating the Hot Buttered Rum. But not everyone was a fan of the steaming beverage, Tim went on to explain. Even cocktail enthusiast David Embury wrote in his 1948 book, The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks, that it was “the worst” hot concoction. He described it like this: “The lump of butter is the final insult. It blends with the hot Rum just about as satisfactorily as warm olive oil blends with Champagne! I believe that the drinking of Hot Buttered Rum should be permitted only in the Northwest Passage and, even there, only by highly imaginative and overenthusiastic novelists.” “The key to a great Hot Buttered Rum is preparing it with a batter that has been made in advance, to give the

spices, butter and brown sugar an opportunity to come together and get acquainted,” Tim continued. “Can I make you one more for the last period?” “Absolutely!” George answered, anticipating that warming glow of comfort-in-amug! Well, unfortunately the Red Wings owned the third period and defeated the Vegas Golden Knights 6–3, but George could not have been happier as he saw a great game in a great new arena and got reintroduced to a fantastic cold weather libation. On his way out, he made a point of stopping at Goose Island Lounge to thank Tim for his amazing hospitality. “Hey Tim, I just wanted to say thanks for the amazing Hot Buttered Rum and making my time here at T-Mobile Arena a treat,” George acknowledged. “My pleasure. And by the way, January 17th is National Hot Buttered Rum Day, in case you want to celebrate,” Tim explained. “You can even buy premade Hot Buttered Rum batter from Trader Vic’s, but I wrote down the recipe for TAG’s homemade batter for you so you can make our recipe at home.” George left the arena with the recipe in hand, a big smile on his face and a warm, happy feeling coming from inside! Happiness! Winter 2017 • 15


in the Mix Magazine

Spring 2017 •


TAG’s Hot Buttered Rum Batter • • • • • •

1 lb light brown sugar ½ lb unsalted butter (softened) 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg ½ teaspoon ground allspice 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a mixing bowl beat together softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract and spices until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight reusable container for up to a month, or place in your freezer until ready to use. To make Tony’s Hot Buttered Rum: In a pre-heated coffee mug, combine 2 heaping tablespoons batter with 1 ½ ounces Pyrat XO Rum. Top with boiling water and stir well to mix. Serve with a spoon. Hint: It is best to make the batter in advance so the spices have an opportunity to mingle. Be sure to remove batter from the refrigerator at least six hours prior to serving, to allow it to soften.


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TWO DAYS OF Exhibitions / Tastings Conference Sessions / Master Classes Business Meetings & More!

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Spring 2017 •


New Openings

(above) InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown – 73 stories high, rising 1,100 feet above street level.

Los Angeles Downtown 900 Wilshire Boulevard Los Angeles, CA 90017


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(top) La Boucherie restaurant on 71. (bottom) Spire 73 is the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. Photos by Wonho Frank Lee.

Opened this past June, the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown offers breathtaking visuals of Los Angeles from the tallest building west of Chicago. At 73 stories high, it rises 1,100 feet above street level. The hotel was designed to capture the Southern California lifestyle at its finest – sophisticated, edgy and metropolitan. Interactive art and design features stretch from the 31st floor, where the hotel begins, to the 73rd floor. La Boucherie on the 71st floor is an elegant steakhouse with a French twist. French classics, premium steaks and seafood, a cheese atelier, charcuterie cave and an intense 1,200 bottle wine list are among the stars of the show – along with the view, of course. Perched atop InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown’s 73rd floor is Spire 73, the tallest open-air bar in the Western Hemisphere. This rooftop lounge offers breathtaking views of the entire city, chic fire pits, signature cocktails and a wide selection of whiskey, as well as culinary expressions to rival the view.

5325 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217

Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club, an Autograph Collection® hotel, opened this past fall on Anna Maria Island, Florida. Waterline will feature 37 stylish guest rooms and suites with gourmet kitchens; a 50-slip marina offering a variety of water activities; 2,000 square feet of meeting space; signature restaurant and bar; and a resort-style swimming pool with oversized sun deck extending into the marina. Waterline’s separate Beach Club will offer exclusive beach access, kayaks, lounge chairs, umbrellas and beach toys. Through a partnership with Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch & Shorebird Monitoring, the resort will support efforts to maintain a suitable habitat for sea turtles, shorebirds and the island ecosystem through special guest programs, promotions and messaging.

(right) Artist’s rendering of the new Waterline Marina Resort & Beach Club.

Winter 2017 •


(above) The Kimpton Aertson in Midtown Nashville.

2021 Broadway Nashville, TN 37203


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(top) Seasonal pool and terrace. (bottom) Henley, an American brasserie restaurant and bar.

Nashville’s newest boutique hotel, the Kimpton Aertson, opened this past June in Midtown Nashville across from Vanderbilt University. The hotel is central to Music Row and thriving neighborhoods offering one-of-a-kind boutiques, coffee houses, shops and bars. The luxury hotel features 180 rooms and 12 suites and is the first venture in Nashville for Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, now part of InterContinental Hotels Group. The hotel also features Henley, a Kimptonoperated American brasserie restaurant and bar, run by James Beard Award-winning Chef RJ Cooper. Named as homage to the iconic shirt made popular at the turn of the century, Henley features communal dining and craft cocktails.

(top) The Woven & Bound restaurant and bar.

2121 S Prairie Ave Chicago, IL 60616


Transcend the ordinary at the all-new, fourstar Marriott Marquis Chicago. Making its grand debut this past September, the hotel spans 40 stories overlooking the world-class setting of Lake Michigan, downtown Chicago and South Loop. The luxury hotel features 1,205 stylish guest rooms and suites, with over 93,000 square feet of elegant event space, including two 25,000-square-foot ballrooms. Connected by covered sky bridge to McCormick Place Convention Center, this hotel offers everything you need to conduct business on the cutting edge. Located just two blocks from the Green Line “L” stop, our hotel offers easy access to major airports and Chicago attractions, including Millennium Park and Soldier Field. Feast on American cuisine in our Great Room Bar and Restaurant or enjoy a quick but savory meal in our Grab ‘n Go or the Market Place food court. Relax. Explore. Entertain guests in style.

Winter 2017 •


Spotlight on the BOSTON BEER COMPANY We sat down with Samuel Adams’ nano-brewer, Megan Parisi, and Angry Orchard head cider maker, Ryan Burk, to learn about new beers and ciders hitting shelves in 2018 and gain insight on industry trends.

the pineapple and grapefruit hop character, without being overly bitter. At 6.8% ABV and a low 35 IBUs, the unfiltered brew leaves drinkers wanting another sip.

What beers should drinkers expect from Sam Adams in 2018?

Sam ’76 – we came up with the concept by experimenting with both lager and ale, to deliver a distinct flavor that showcases the flavor of an ale with the balanced refreshment of a lager. You just have to try it for yourself to understand how easy to drink this beer really is, while still being flavorful and aromatic. Feedback from drinkers who’ve had a chance to sample this beer at our brewery in Boston has been overwhelmingly positive, and we can’t wait for this beer to be available to drinkers across the country early next year.

We’re constantly experimenting in our nano-brewery in Boston with unique ingredients and brewing techniques, in order to continue to bring beer lovers new and innovative beers. In 2018, we’re excited for drinkers to experience two brand new unique beers – Sam ’76 and New England IPA. Sam ’76 delivers an unmatched combination of refreshment, flavor and aroma, by using a unique brewing method that includes both lager and ale. At just 4.7% ABV, Sam ‘76 is perfect for sessionable occasions without compromising on flavor or aroma. Born inside our nano-brewery and previously only available to sample within the walls of our Boston Brewery, our New England IPA will now be made available to drinkers across the country in early 2018. It is a medium-bodied, hazy brew featuring a big punch of citrus juiciness. The slight sweetness is perfectly balanced by 24

in the Mix Magazine

How is Sam ’76 different than any other beer brewed by Sam Adams?

In today’s crowded craft beer market, how do you make sure Sam Adams stands out? Sam Adams stands out because of our passion and drive for ongoing experimentation and innovation. As the brewer in our nano-brewery in Boston, I have the amazing job of coming up with new and interesting beers and bringing a kernel of an idea to life in a delicious beer. The beauty of being a brewer is that if

we think it, we can brew it! Additionally, our Bier Keller gives us space for experimentation with non-sour barrel-aged beers and ages a variety of beers including Triple Bock, Double Bock and Cinder Bock in spent Utopias barrels. We have more ideas than we have hours in the day to brew, which is the biggest challenge for us! That continued focus on innovation coupled with our focus on and obsession with freshness has helped us to stand apart for the past 34 years. What new ciders is Angry Orchard launching in 2018? One cider we’re especially excited about is the new Angry Orchard Rosé. It’s a bright, apple-forward cider with light tannins, similar to a semi-dry wine. To achieve its pink color, we use natural ingredients including rare red-fleshed apples from France. We’ve been working on a version of this cider at our cider house for the past couple of years, which is where we develop all of our recipes and drive innovation, and we’re really looking forward to having drinkers try it. How has the cider category evolved in recent years? As the category leader, what do you see as the biggest opportunity for cider? Despite the recent growth of hard cider in the U.S., cider is still small and being discovered by more and more people each day. For example, cider in the U.K. is about 15 percent of beer, and here

in the U.S. it’s only about 1 percent, so there’s a lot of room for growth. We find ourselves in an educational phase right now, where we need to teach drinkers what cider is and what it is made of. Through education and awareness building, we have a great opportunity to establish a robust cider culture for all cider makers, not just as an “alternative to wine” but giving it its own place at Photo the Ally Mauro Winter 2017 • 25

L’Auberge Del Mar, one of Destination Hotels’ signature properties with multiple outlets, recently brought in Partender to improve their inventory process. The problem? The property’s abundant selection of nearly 800 beverages (most being wine) meant that just counting inventory required as many as 6 people and would take 4 days to complete. After counting, the hotel’s Food and Beverage Manager, Patrick McLennan, would often have to wait up to two weeks to get final cost numbers back from accounting. To tackle the problem, McLennan brought in the National Accounts team at Partender. To his surprise and under their on-site guidance, Partender was fully implemented in just two days. It ended with McLennan’s team fully trained and able to bring a multi-week inventory, ordering and accounting process down to just 3 hours. At the same time, McLennan now receives his beverage cost instantly. With speed, accuracy and consistency on their side, and in less than five weeks after their first Partender inventory, L’Auberge was able to decrease its beverage cost from upwards of 28% to 18.1% – adding 10% gross profit to the bottom line. The savings continued the following month, proving out an immediate and transparent ROI on Partender.

How to

Simplify Inventory and Drive Profitability

By 10% in 5 Weeks – Seriously!

How Two Roads, Sodexo and United Airlines are Getting Ahead by Utilizing Real-Time Consumer Insights to Improve the Guest Experience, Maximize Profits and Increase Employee Quality of Life. 26

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“It’s impressive to see the impact Partender can make in streamlining our inventory operations in such a short amount of time. I’m looking forward to seeing how much more we can improve profitability in the coming months and beyond, with the help of Partender,” says McLennan. Partender has been making headlines on Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue” and in publications like Forbes, which named sibling founders Anjali and Nik Kundra in its “30-Under-30” for their innovations in food and drink. The duo’s simpleto-use yet powerful technology transforms managers and bartenders, burdened with the arduous task of bar inventory, into efficient operators with more time to spend with customers and staff. As brands like United, Kimpton, Mellow Mushroom, Melting Pot and Marriott continue to choose Partender to streamline their inventory, top restaurant chains, cruise lines and influential cocktail bars are taking notice.

United Airlines – what one year of using Partender did for the third largest airline in the world

A little over a year ago, Sodexo, one of the world’s leading facilities management organizations, acquired the United Airlines partnership and led strategic changes to worldwide operations. One of the focal points was the introduction of Partender to elevate their beverage program and gain a tactical advantage to operate at the highest level of efficiency. Prior to adopting Partender, Sodexomanaged United Clubs utilized the aged sheetto-shelf inventory process, manually counting bottles 1-3x daily using paper/pen, as well as end-of-month, and without deep insights. “As you can imagine,” says Dave Hatcher, Vice President of Operations Global Aviation Sodexo Sports & Leisure, “our inventory process was antiquated, time-consuming and allowed for a wide margin of error. The ability to speed up this process and manage from the top down and

Angel Gabriel, Bar Supervisor at SFO for Sodexo. Winter 2017 • 27

See how Grey Goose is doing against Belvedere for real-time consumer insights on brand-by-brand performance comparisons.

by site was welcomed and effective.” Now, United does full inventory just twice a week – once for ordering and once for closing out the books – and understands exactly what’s being consumed and what’s trending inside their clubs. Those values were only achievable by Sodexo’s implementation of Partender, which dramatically increased speed, consistency and accuracy across the board, even at United’s most complicated operations. San Francisco International Airport is one of the largest hubs within the United network, with Sodexo managing 5 lounge locations. Angel Gabriel, the Bar Supervisor at SFO, embraced the opportunity to optimize operations. By reducing inventory time from hours to a few minutes, he was able to start managing inventory, orders and financial reporting for all 5 clubs on his own. “Partender has given me control over my operations, and having full control and a true understanding of what’s going on in your establishment is a powerful thing. Especially since it now takes me longer to walk between clubs than to do my inventory (10 minutes), I get to spend more time taking care of our guests and less time on paperwork. Finally, we’re able to focus on what we’re here for – hospitality.” 28

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As Sodexo continued to roll out Partender across the country, it saw new values emerge daily: Increase in Workforce with No Added Cost “It used to take us at least an hour to do full inventory, and we didn’t even count open bottles. Now, it only takes 15 minutes! Getting your time back to prioritize bigger projects is amazing.” – Amanda Klimzack, General Manager at United Club in Philadelphia. Clear, Simple, Actionable Financial Reporting “I didn’t have any access to previous inventory data and calculation methods before Sodexo. But Partender made it easy and far better than paper/pen since anyone can use it and come up with the same, consistent numbers.” – Robin Fields, General Manager at United Club Phoenix. “The ability to control fluctuations and foresee your inventory needs was almost impossible before Partender. Now, it’s more consistent with Partender and faster. The best win is the consistency,

which we can see in our COGS.” – Marja Wallace, General Manager at United Club in Austin. 360° Transparency on Orders, Costs, Price Fluctuations and Invoices “Because of the transparency provided by Partender’s user-friendly purchasing portal, I can have one person do inventory, another person place orders, and then know exactly what should and shouldn’t be delivered or received the following day, and at which price. We’re constantly communicating with Partender.” – Amanda Klimzack, General Manager at United Club in Philadelphia. Smarter Ordering and Eliminating Dead Stock with Real-Time Depletion Trends “With our District Manager, we used Partender’s usage data to analyze what we really needed. We realized we could decrease par levels on Gin and Rum, but we needed to increase our pars for Vodka (to meet our guests’ needs). Now, we’re more efficient and we know our top movers are Smirnoff, Tito’s and Grey Goose.” – Stacy Tanskley, General Manager at United Club Houston. With these real-time consumer insights being aggregated at the corporate level to build buying power and leverage discounts, it’s clear that Partender’s unique and patented design can lead to numerous cost-saving and revenue-boosting results. And it all starts with speed. (top) Excel report showing value on hand or “balance sheet” in wholesale and retail dollars. (center) Generate, edit, place, and mark your orders as received on (bottom) Partender Beverage Cost template in Excel. Winter 2017 •


Taki, Tito’s Handmade Vodka’s official distillery dog.

by Mike Raven

As an owner of four rescue dogs, I hear a lot about what the team at Tito’s Handmade Vodka does to help dogs in distress. When the opportunity was presented to interview Tito’s distillery dog, Taki, I jumped at the chance. 30

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Tito and his crew have an inherent connection with their canine counterparts. Since the beginning, they have been committed to the animals that have come into their lives and others. Strays that come on to the property are cared for and made available for adoption. They call them “distillery dogs” and that makes them popular with potential adopters. Many of them stay and thrive alongside the crew at their distillery and office. Here are the questions I had for Taki. (I speak “Dog.”) Mike: Taki, you and Tito’s coworkers sponsor Yappy Hours all around the country. Can you tell us a little about these and how our dogloving F&B readers can be involved? Taki: Ruff ! Of course – this is one of my favorite topics! A Yappy Hour is a happy hour that both

humans and pets can enjoy. Furry or not, we all like to let our hair (and fur) down. Tito’s Yappy Hours are special because they give back a portion of proceeds to a local pet nonprofit in need of some extra bones. Yappy Hours are only part of how we help our four-legged friends; we have a whole program called Vodka for Dog People. The program helps pet nonprofits through events like Yappy Hours, matching donations and an online shop. Each year we help about 1,000 animal welfare nonprofits in over seven countries, partnering on over 700 events. From Austin Pets Alive and Emancipet right in our own backyard, to the ASPCA, we partner with many organizations to help pets in a variety of ways!

belly rubs, long runs around the distillery and lots of kisses from our humans. Many of us come to the office with our humans, so sometimes every week feels like National Dog Week for us! Mike: How many other dogs hang around the distillery with you and what does a typical day consist of for a “distillery dog”? Below: An adorable pup manning the kissing booth at a Yappy Hour.

I love to hear about dog-loving F&B readers! If you are looking for partners for a Yappy Hour, check out our donation link for more information. Mike: On your website, Vodka for Dog People, I see you have all kinds of swag available: toys, t-shirts, leashes, bowls and more. Can you tell us about how it helps various organizations such as CORE and Emancipet, among others? Taki: Bark! Boy, I love talking about swag! The chew toy is my personal favorite, but we have lots of goodies for pets and their humans. The best part is that net proceeds from sales of all the swag on our website go to Emancipet, a nonprofit whose mission is to make veterinary care affordable and accessible to all pet owners. I’m a hound for the holidays so I am extra excited to share that exclusively for the season, we have limited-edition Tito’s Holiday Sweaters for both pets and their humans. The net proceeds from the sweaters (priced at $15-25) go straight to a selection of Tito’s nonprofit partners, and the buyer selects the nonprofit, including CORE, they’d like to support this holiday season. So not only will you look festive but you’ll also be helping others, and we think that’s pawsome. Mike: National Dog Week was this past September; Will Judy, editor and publisher of Dog World magazine, started it in 1928. How was it celebrated at the distillery? Taki: Woof ! A huge part of National Dog Week is celebrating pups by showing us kindness and respect and spreading that message of care. Through our Vodka for Dog People program, we work on that year round. This year we celebrated with the usual: 31

Taki: Howl! I’m the one and only official distillery dog at the moment, but usually employees bring in their pups so I get to play with about three or four dogs at the distillery each day. We also have cows here! The distillery has also been a home for horses and cats, and we are looking to add some alpacas and sheep. We are very excited for these new friends. We also have pets over at the marketing office.

jobs like security or greeter. But we always make time to run around and help humans take some breaks. Between the dog jobs, having playmates and being with our people, we all have a good time!

We have so much fun at the distillery! I like to start my day collecting belly rubs around the office and visiting my fellow co-woofers. Some of the other dogs take work seriously and have assigned themselves

Taki: Wags and smiles! Me and the other distillery dogs would love to say “thanks a million” for all that you do! The distillery is a home to us and we’re so proud of all the amazing work they’ve done for our furry friends all over the country and beyond! I’d also like to urge all your dog-loving F&B readers to get involved – whether it’s attending a Yappy Hour, volunteering at a local shelter or buying some swag to support pet nonprofits, it all adds up.

Mike: What would you like to say to Tito and his wonderful staff for all they have done for you and your pals in need across the country?

Left: One of Taki’s friends looking good in the new seasonal sweater. All proceeds of the sales go to charity. Below: Taki playing with some of her friends.


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Summer 2017 •



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MAKING THE ROUNDS by Helen Benefield Billings

Paradise Found

– JW MARRIOTT Marco Island, Florida

Kane, a Balinese-inspired beachfront grill and tiki bar.

Spring 2017 •


This heavenly property, right on a sugar sand beach with a fantastic tropical vibe and spot-on service by an enthusiastic team, delighted attendees at HEE East’s 2017 conference in early November. Four on-site restaurants – ARIO, Quinn’s on the Beach, Korals and Kane – all presented impressive beverage menus to suit every taste and style. “Like no other resort in Southwest Florida, JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort is the perfect island-within-an-island escape. At this idyllic paradise, the Food & Beverage operations are an integral part of the guest experience, providing unmatched offerings to delight the senses. The resort is so unique in that a visitor can enjoy a tikistyle Rum drink with their toes in the sand in the afternoon, followed by imbibing a selection of fine wines from around the world at a gourmet, chefdriven restaurant that same evening. The resort effortlessly blurs the lines when it comes to their varied beverage experiences, delivering unique twists on classics – all with a taste of the local, tropical ambience. Recently, the property has undergone a Food & Beverage overhaul, courtesy of Dalio Calado, Director of Restaurants. Originally from Portugal, Calado brings with him more than 15 years of F&B experience with a strong beverage background. He studied his craft in France and traveled the world before landing in New York City, where his first venture with the Marriott brand was at the iconic JW Marriott Essex House. There he honed his talents and now brings with him an innovative edge and refined flair that is evident in all projects he touches at the resort.” – Copy courtesy of JW Marriott

(top right) Korals Sushi & Cocktail Lobby Bar features a Bourbon menu, martinis, sake martinis, mojitos and a large variety of wines. (bottom right) ARIO has world-class beverage service with an extensive wine selection and handcrafted cocktails. (top left) Strawberry Ginger Margarita (center left) Smoked Manhattan

(bottom left) Elderflower Mojito 36

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Spring 2017 •


Smoke Signals By Kelly Magyarics, DWS

Follow the trail from the kitchen to the shaker and char your bar with these smoky, savory sips.


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Cocktails don’t always need to be all sweetness and light. Sometimes you crave something a bit more dark and brooding. These creative drinks make use of inherently smoky base spirits like Mezcal and peated Scotch, infuse syrups with wood chips and even light planks on fire to fill rocks glasses with the whiff of a smoldering campfire. Burn, baby, burn

Call Me Snake (left) Recipe courtesy of Sarah Mengoni

Lead Bartender, Double Take

This libation makes use of a Smoking Gun Food Smoker, which draws the smoky air from lit cedar chips into a rocks glass. The glass is then covered with a coaster that looks like a New York City manhole cover – a reference to the movie “Escape from New York” that inspired the drink’s name. “The short amount of time that it takes to carry the drink to the guest is enough time for the flavor of the smoke to really become integrated with the spirits, providing a smoky flavor with every sip,” Mengoni says. • 2 oz Bulleit Bourbon • ½ oz Cynar • ½ oz Velvet Falernum • Dash walnut bitters • Smoking Gun and cedar chips, for smoking Fill a flameproof bowl with cedar chips and set aside. Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail glass, add ice, stir until well chilled and strain into a rocks glass. Turn on the Smoking Gun and put the hose in the filled rocks glass. Use a lighter to get the cedar chips in the bowl burning. Put the suction part of the Smoking Gun near the bowl, filling the glass with smoke. Turn off the gun, remove the hose from the glass and quickly cover with a coaster to retain the smoke. Remove the coaster right when you serve the drink.

Winter 2017 • 39

Manhattan Cocktail

Recipe courtesy of Garrett Kaneshiro Director of Food & Beverage Hershel’s at The Stella Hotel

It’s only fitting at a property whose signature restaurant is named Campfire to have a smoked version of a Manhattan. “It brings back memories of sitting outdoors around the fire with friends and family, gazing at a star-filled sky,” Kaneshiro says. “The smoky element is a natural pairing to the subtle sweetness and spicy character of the Rye.” Serves 2 40

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• 4 oz Rye Whiskey • 2 oz Sweet Vermouth • 2 oz Imperial Stout (Kaneshiro uses Bishop Barrel #7 from St. Arnold’s Brewing Company) • 3 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters • 3 dashes Angostura Bitters • Applewood plank and kitchen torch, for smoking • 2 Luxardo cherries, for garnish Add the first five ingredients to a chilled cocktail shaker, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a large vessel and set aside. Use a kitchen torch to singe the applewood plank; then set two rocks glasses upside down on top of the smoking plank for one minute to capture the smoke. Divide the drink between the two glasses and garnish each with a cherry.

The Looking Glass

Recipe courtesy of Hinoki & The Bird This Whiskey Sour riff gets the flavor of crisp apples from both apple Brandy and caramel apple syrup. But it’s the garnish – a dehydrated apple slice that’s skewered with Hinoki wood, a species of cypress native to Japan, then lit to smoke the glass – that’s the real showstopper. • 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon • ½ oz Laird’s Apple Brandy • 2 drops saline solution • ¼ oz lemon juice • ¾ oz caramel apple syrup (see note) • 1 oz soda water • Flaming dehydrated apple slice for garnish (see note) Add the first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a Collins glass, top with soda water and add ice to fill 80 percent of the glass. Stick a thin piece of Hinoki or cedar through the center of a dehydrated apple slice, light the wood, set on top of the drink and serve. For the caramel apple syrup: Combine 3 ½ cups juiced Honeycrisp apples, 2 cups white sugar, 1 cup brown sugar and 1 vanilla bean (sliced open) in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove it from the heat, let cool and store in the refrigerator for up to a week. For the dehydrated apple slices: Thinly slice Honeycrisp apples, dip into simple syrup and bake on a baking pan for 60–90 minutes at 200 degrees, until transluscent.

Gin Joint

Recipe adapted from Amin Seddiq Bar Manager, Del Campo Seddiq riffed on the classic combination of Gin, grapefruit and lime with the presence of smoke and char. “Introducing smoke into the cocktail allows you to bring together ingredients you wouldn’t think would typically mesh well,” he notes. “Grilling cut grapefruit halves adds dimension to the drink that you just wouldn’t get with regular juice.” • 1 ½ oz gin • 1 oz charred grapefruit juice (see note) • ¾ oz lime juice • ¾ oz smoked simple syrup (see note) • 4 mint leaves Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a coupe glass. For the charred grapefruit juice: Cut ruby red grapefruits in half horizontally. Place cut side down on a grill on medium heat, and grill until charred. Juice the grapefruits; then strain out solids using a mesh strainer or chinois. For the smoked simple syrup: Combine equal parts sugar and water in a saucepan and simmer until sugar dissolves. Transfer saucepan to a grill on medium heat that contains a smoker box filled with applewood chips. Cover and let smoke for 30 minutes.

Fall 2017 •



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Smoke Stack Sazerac

Recipe adapted from Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whisky There are so many flavors going on in this cocktail – smoke, fruit, anise and the distinctive herbal taste of Peychaud’s Bitters. Prepare the peach slices by grilling them over medium heat or cooking them in a sauté pan. If fresh ones aren’t in season, high-quality canned or jarred fruit will work. • 1 ½ oz Monkey Shoulder Blended Scotch Whisky • 1/5 oz simple syrup • Dash Peychaud’s Bitters • Dash Absinthe • Smoking Gun and grilled peach slices, for garnish Place charred peach slices in a flameproof bowl. Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass. Turn on the Smoking Gun and put the hose in the filled rocks glass. Use a lighter to get the peach slices burning and put the suction part of the Smoking Gun near the bowl, filling the glass with smoke. Serve immediately.

Blood & Smoke

Recipe courtesy of Cody Blaylock Bartender, Bacchus Bar This drink is a mashup between the Blood & Sand cocktail and an Orange Sour. “The tartness of the blood orange goes well with the peatiness of the Scotch,” Blaylock says. “Be sure to use a Scotch that is nicely peated, such as an expression from Talisker, Ardbeg or Laphroaig, or Compass Box Peat Monster.” • 1 ½ oz peated Scotch • ½ oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur • 1 oz lemon juice • ¾ oz simple syrup • Egg white • ½ oz blood orange puree Add first five ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake without ice to emulsify. Add ice and shake again until well chilled. Pour the blood orange puree into a rocks glass; then strain the cocktail on top.

Fall 2017 •


Ry Ry

Recipe courtesy of Justin Winfield Bartender, Red’s Table Owner Ryan Tracy’s mom calls him “Ry Ry,” so the bar team thought naming a drink after his nickname would be funny. Spicy Rye Whiskey is balanced by a muddled date, honey and housemade smoked maple syrup. • 1 ½ oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey • ¼ oz smoked maple syrup (see note) • ½ oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and hot water, stirred to combine) • Dash Angostura Bitters • 1 date • Brandied cherry, for garnish Remove the seed from the date if it’s not pitted; then muddle it in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add the Rye, smoked maple syrup, honey syrup and bitters; add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the brandied cherry. For the smoked maple syrup: Pour 2 cups maple syrup into a saucepan, then place the saucepan in a smoker filled with wood chips for 15–20 minutes. Remove, let cool and pour into a Mason jar. Store the syrup at room temperature.

Hombre Sin Nombre

Recipe courtesy of Megan Barnes Beverage Director, Espita Mezcaleria “My inspiration for this cocktail was my favorite thing about the fall: the smell of dried leaves littering the sidewalks,” explains the Beverage Director for the Mezcal-focused Oaxacan restaurant. “I wanted to translate that smell into a flavor: a smoke and gentian potpourri.” • 1 oz Espadin Mezcal • ½ oz Cocchi Americano • ½ oz pear liqueur • ½ oz Suze • ½ oz verjus • Lemon peel, for garnish Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass and garnish with a lemon peel. 44

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Recipe courtesy of Tracy Fabricante Head Bartender, P.S. Kitchen Fabricante was originally going to make this drink with Mezcal, but the French spirit worked incredibly well with the beet juice. “The combination of beet juice and smoked whisky provides the drink with more depth and earthiness,” Fabricante says. “Using vegetables in cocktails is great because they bring out certain tasting notes that many fruits don’t have.” • 2 oz Rozelieures Smoked Single Malt Whisky • 2 oz freshly pressed beet juice • 1 oz orange juice • ¾ oz Bourbon-barrel aged maple syrup (Wood’s Vermont Syrup Company or another)

• 2–3 dashes citrus bitters

(The Bitter Truth Orange Bitters or another)

• 4 raspberries • Flamed orange peel, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the raspberries. Add the remaining ingredients (except garnish), add ice and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with a flamed orange peel.

Constructed in 1905

Recipe courtesy of Sonny Wallace Beverage Director The Well Bar at The Collector Luxury Inn & Gardens

This drink is named for the year that St. Augustine’s historic ice plant was built, now the site of St. Augustine Distillery. “I wanted to build something spicy, something savory and something bright – all components lend to achieving these flavor profiles,” Wallace explains. A splash of Lagavulin Scotch lends smokiness, while spicy Vodka gives it liptingling heat.


• 1 ½ oz St. Augustine Vodka • 2 barspoons Lagavulin 16 Year Single Malt Scotch Whisky • 1 barspoon spicy Vodka (Absolut Peppar, Stoli Hot Jalapeno or another) • ½ oz agave nectar • ½ oz lemon juice • 2 barspoons Sallie’s Best Fig Sweet Onion and Rosemary Jam (or substitute another) • Edible flowers, for garnish

Add all ingredients except garnish to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Double strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with the edible flowers. Spring 2017 • 45

Smoked Tomatillo Bloody Mary

Recipe courtesy of Dan Rook Head Bartender, South Water Kitchen Commercial Bloody Mary mix gets a makeover with the addition of a smoked tomatillo puree. Feel free to substitute Mezcal or peated Scotch for the Vodka to ramp up the smokiness even more. • 2 oz Vodka • 1 ½ oz smoked tomatillo puree (see note) • Bloody Mary mix, to fill (Zing Zang or another) • Lime wedge and celery stalk, for garnish

Add the first three ingredients to a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until well chilled. Strain into a pint glass over fresh ice, and garnish with the celery stalk and lime wedge. For the smoked tomatillo puree: Clean tomatillos; place in smoker set at 225 degrees and filled with applewood chips, for 25 minutes. Allow to cool. Place in blender and puree. (Alternatively, roast the tomatillos and add a few drops of liquid smoke.)

Smoky Negroni

Recipe courtesy of Henry Avila Head Bartender, Salvation Taco “This drink plays off of a traditional Negroni but is made with one of our favorite spirits, Mezcal,” Avila points out. “We present the cocktail by lighting a cedar plank and capturing the smoke in the glass, adding an element of surprise to the experience.” Makes 2 cocktails • 2 oz Aperol • 2 oz Carpano Sweet Vermouth • 2 oz Banhez Mezcal • 8 drops Bittermens Hellfire Habanero Shrub • Cedar plank, for smoking • 2 orange twists, for garnish Add the first four ingredients to a cocktail glass, add ice and stir until well chilled. Strain into a flask and keep chilled. With a kitchen torch, light two spots on the cedar plank until they are smoking; then cover the spots with two rocks glasses to capture the smoke. Pour the chilled cocktail into the smoked glasses and garnish each with an orange twist.


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Kelly Magyarics, DWS, is a wine, spirits and lifestyle writer, and wine educator in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, or on Twitter and Instagram @kmagyarics.



MATURED TO PERFECTION IN BOURBON CASKS An exceptionally smooth whiskey from Ireland’s oldest distillery, Red Bush is triple-distilled and aged for a minimum of three years to create a well-rounded whiskey that is as versatile as it is balanced.

Fall 2017 •



Chili’s Grill & Bar, Danvers, Mass

Cover story interview with Erin King of Chili’s Grill & Bar and Anna Krone of Maggiano’s Little Italy By Mike Raven, live at Brinker International, Dallas, Texas. November 1, 2017

The original Chili’s, circa 1975.


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Maggiano’s Little Italy® and Chili’s® Grill & Bar are recognized as two of the most successful restaurant brands in the country. Erin King is the Marketing Director for Innovation, Food and Beverage at Chili’s. Anna is the Senior Beverage Manager at Maggiano’s Little Italy. In 1975, people were waiting in a line that wrapped around the corner of Greenville Avenue and Meadow Road in Dallas, to sample the food and casual atmosphere of a funky, new burger joint called Chili’s. Chili’s welcomes guests in more than 1,600 restaurants in all 50 states and across the world in 31 countries and two territories. Chili’s serves more than 135,000 gallons of Presidente Margaritas® every year – that is one gallon every 15 minutes for the entire year and is enough

Maggiano’s St. Louis

to fill 13 swimming pools. With more than one million guests served daily, Chili’s could feed the entire population of New York City 35 times in a year! Maggiano’s opened its first location on the corner of Clark Street and Grand Avenue in Chicago, on November 11, 1991. Maggiano’s serves guests at 52 locations in 24 states and the District of Columbia. Maggiano’s menu features both classic and contemporary Italian-American recipes, accompanied by a large selection of wines from acclaimed vintners and its own private wine label, Salute Amico by Ruffino. The food is made from scratch when ordered, and is available family style or as individual entrees. Dallas-based Brinker International, Inc., a recognized leader in casual dining, owns both restaurant chains. Brinker owns, operates or franchises more than 1,600 restaurants under the names Chili’s® Grill & Bar and Maggiano’s Little Italy®. Winter 2017 •


Mike (to both): What are your respective roles with Chili’s and Maggiano’s?

Mike: Do you make the decisions for every Maggiano’s in the country?

Erin: My job consists of all things innovation. Everyday is an adventure! It’s the best job in the world when you get to think about burgers, ribs, fajitas and margaritas all day. My job is to help figure out how Chili’s can continue to push the envelope within these categories. These are core equities that guests know and love us for.

Erin: Everything is fair game when your job is innovation! We are constantly looking at new trends and new flavors that might lead us to what the next hottest margarita could be. The key is to filter all of those trends and ask ourselves if this make sense for Chili’s and will this delight the Chili’s guest.

Anna: What I do is capture industry data, guest data and team feedback. I manage supplier partner relationships. It all helps me come up with ideas to present to leadership. No drink is ever put on our list without the involvement of several different people. We have our team in the restaurant that helps test the drinks and make sure they taste great; then, we put it in front of leadership and they make sure it aligns with the direction we are going. But mainly from a beverage perspective, what we’re looking to do is to align our beverages with the focus of our brand. A great example of that is brunch. We added brunch to the Maggiano’s menu in February and that’s been a big focus for us. To align, we launched the brunch beverage program shortly after, with all sparkling-based cocktails outside of the Bloody Mary.

Mike: So you do food, wine and liquor?

Mike: Tell us about the Bloody Mary.

Erin: Yep, all food and beverages.

Anna: We definitely look for ways to be unique and distinguish ourselves, while leaning into our heritage. For instance, in our Whiskey Bloody Mary, we use a maple syrup, bacon and brown sugar rim and stuff our olives with Calabrian pepper whipped blue cheese to bring on an Italian feel. We look for ways for our beverages to complement the rest of the experience.

Mike: What are you innovating?

Anna: Being the Senior Beverage Manager means I own everything beverage. From iced tea, coffee and soda all the way through cocktails, beer and wine. Essentially, anything a guest drinks in a Maggiano’s, I get to have a say in.

Anna Krone of Maggiano’s Little Italy


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Mike: You mention leadership often. Would you describe that tier of the company?

respective restaurants? There’s a big difference in the cuisine you two are matching.

Anna: When speaking about leadership, I’m talking about our Chief Operating Officer and Chief Concept Officer, and all the way through to our Area Directors, our General Managers and Executive Chefs in our restaurants. I try to have a touch point with all different levels of leadership because they’re all going to bring a different perspective. By doing this, we make sure the idea will have as many legs as it can and buy-in from all levels.

Anna: Hands down, wine. Red wine dominates the mix and our alcohol sales. With traditional varieties like Merlot, Chianti and Cabernet, wine is king at Maggiano’s.

Mike: It sounds like an idea may take a while to pass “congress.” Anna: No, it’s not as slow as you would think! We’re a small concept – 52 restaurants – and we move quickly and respond quickly, so it’s not as long as you would think. Mike: Erin, how many restaurants do you oversee? Erin: In the U.S., there’re more than 1,250 Chili’s restaurants. That includes corporate and franchise; 937 are corporate. We work very closely with our franchise partners – I believe we work very well together. They participate in many of our beverage programs, including new food and drink innovation. Mike: What is the most successful single beverage at your

Erin: That’s easy. You know it’s going to be a margarita, right? And yes, it’s the Presidente, by far. Margaritas are core to our menu and it’s what our guests know and love us for. We sell quite a bit of them. Mike: What is the up-and-coming cocktail or wine in your restaurants? Anna: We have a couple of things that are really exciting. The Signature Barrel-Aged Cocktail is something we just launched in all of our restaurants on October 24. The reason it is called the Signature Barrel-Aged Cocktail is because we are being very deliberate in telling our guests exactly what we want them to know about this cocktail. This cocktail is the signature cocktail of Maggiano’s – it is mixed and barrel-aged in-house, which makes it unique. It’s truly a start-to-finish scratch cocktail. Erin: Seasonal is fun to innovate with and our guests like it as well. In October, we launched our new Black Cherry Margarita featuring Hornito’s Black Barrel Tequila. For a couple of years

Erin King of Chili’s Grill & Bar


Anna with husband Ryan and daughters Olivia (5) and Adelaide (2).

Anna, in wine country.

now, we have been presented with all kinds of data related to Whiskey. While I don’t disagree it’s a trend, we need to make sure it’s the right trend for our guests. Hornito’s Black Barrel was a great option for us to leverage the Whiskey trend but we wanted to “Chili-ize” it so that it makes sense for the brand. It’s the best of both worlds – Tequila aged in Whiskey barrels. So far, so good. It’s been a great seasonal addition to our beverage lineup.

Erin: Being on the innovation team, we have access to all kinds of data and trends. It’s great information to have, but we have to make sure those trends don’t make us stray from our strategy and what the brand is known for. For beverage, Whiskey was a great example of that – we are always looking at how to take a current trend and make it our own. But I will say, as much as we are margarita experts and we will always be considered the margarita place, we also know that a large portion of our liquor mix comes from non-Tequila-based drinks because not everyone drinks Tequila (not sure how that is even possible!). So, because of that, we look at other top trending spirits like Vodka and Rum. We have a handcrafted cocktail list and they all do very well. But for us, our focus will always be centered around what the next big ‘rita could be.

Mike: Are you looking at any new trends or new implementations for the year ahead, 2018? Anna: For Maggiano’s we look at industry trends and I think those are very important, but we have a very unique guest so we line that data up with what our guests tell us. We ask our guests and our team to give us feedback on the trends they’re seeing or would like to see. I think that gives us a little more depth than just depending solely on industry data. This method of looking at data helped us decide to lean into Bourbon cocktails and ultimately a barrel-aged cocktail. We also know that guests in our restaurant drink wine. That is why we just introduced the Coravin wine preservation system in all our restaurants. It allows us to offer every single one of our still wines by the glass. 52

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Mike: What age group would you like to see more involved with your restaurants? Anna: Well, the easy answer is I want them all in our restaurants. Our core guest is in the Gen X to baby-boomer age range. The beauty of that is the boomers are bringing in their millennial kids,

Jeff and Erin King

Erin and her daughter Ava.

so we are getting more exposure to them. And there’s kind of a throwback feel that is trending with the speakeasy and mixology groups. With our Frank Sinatra culture, I think there’s an automatic tie to that. We’re seeing things like our monthly features and our barrel-aged cocktails are bringing in millennials, and they’re finding things that really resonate with them.

Mike to Anna: Anna, great job on your handcrafted classic cocktail list. I see a new version just came out this past October. How often do you change it?

Erin: It’s hard to give a specific age group. We did what a lot of brands did and chased the “ultimate” millennial for a while. Although millennials are important to us, the focus for us is going back to our heritage – going back to the people who know us and love us, the people who remember visiting us as kids and having that Old-Timer with cheese. Now maybe they are married, in their 30s and have kids of their own. It’s about bringing back the people who love the brand and the heritage behind it. You can get caught up in chasing one particular group, so it’s really more of a mindset for us versus an age. It may be a Chili’s lover from years past or maybe guests who haven’t been in a while. It’s all about getting them back into the restaurant and showing them we’re the same Chili’s but with a stronger focus on our core equities (burgers, ribs, fajitas and ‘ritas).

Anna: We change it about twice a year to align with the season. We have a seasonal Sangria, which is a great selling cocktail for us; Sangrias in general sell well. We want to stay on top of seasonality. We also use the seasonal changes as a time to re-evaluate our list and ask our guests and our team about what is working and what is not. Mike to Anna: I see you use Knob Creek Rye in your Old Fashioned and Manhattan. You are keeping with a truly classic Rye-styled cocktail. Do your guests notice? Anna: Yes, I think we do get credit for it. We launched our handcrafted cocktail program about three and a half years ago and we saw rejuvenation from our team and our guests in excitement around cocktails. So, we really want to take those classic cocktails from the pre-Prohibition era and put a little twist on them to make them in our own Maggiano’s style. We do try and take the classic and find one or two ways to make it different. Winter 2017 •


(below) Erin and Jeff with Ava and Conner.

(above) Anna with top performers at Demptos Cooperage in Napa Valley. Mike to Anna: What’s the best seller on the cocktail list? Anna: It’s hard to say; it does switch back and forth. I will say our Old Fashioned is one of our top sellers, which was just one more reason to lean into the barrel-aged cocktails. We have things that you would not necessarily think would be super popular in an Italian restaurant, like our Primo Margarita and our Moscato Mojito; but again, those are things we put an Italian twist on that are industry-wide popular cocktails. Mike to Anna: What category or type of wine would you like to see added? It’s a well thoughtout list and it obviously has to be contained in size. Anna: I’m a wine lover and I want everyone to love wine, whether it’s a $5 glass or a $50 glass, dry or sweet. I constantly challenge myself with finding discovery wines – things that are maybe not known as widely, but still have that craveability and the lushness that we know our guests love. So last year we put on a Barbara and a Lambrusco. We’ve seen that guests who normally order Italian wines like Chianti have been excited about finding something new that they didn’t know they would love, in the Italian wine family. We are able to bring in these fun wines like Barbara and Lambrusco that not a lot of people know or haven’t tried lately. Little moves like that will build


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to a day when we might put on a Garganega, but today is not the day. We’re building towards finding great wines that people don’t know. I want people to come in and discover a wine they’ve never heard of and fall in love with it. Mike to Anna: Let’s talk about Lambrusco. It’s been around a long time. A lot of Lambrusco drinkers started with Riunite and moved on to something else, maybe White Zinfandel or whatever. Do they love it? It’s a fun wine; you just need to have the right one. Anna: Yes, it is fun. Here’s a wine that pairs beautifully with food because of the high acidity. It’s got that sweetness that you crave from the style that it’s made in. I really enjoy reintroducing this wine to people who haven’t tried it in a long time, or to someone who loves sparkling sweet wine like Moscato and had no idea that this wine existed. Sparkling wine is on fire. It kind of fits everything that we know people love, so sometimes you just have to give them a taste and it will bridge that gap. The younger generations love Moscato so we know they love things that are a little sweet and a little effervescent. I think it is all in the way you position it; we find our guests are really enjoying it. We also put it in one of our brunch cocktails, Sparkling Sangria. Mike to Erin: Margaritas are king at Chili’s. The Presidente Margarita is the best seller, according to the impressive sales claim on your website of 135,000 gallons a year. What other big movers do you have?

taps are consistent across the nation, but our restaurants have the flexibility to pick the rest. It’s a great way for them to have ownership and autonomy for their draft beer lineup. It’s very cool when I travel around the country and get a chance to experience the local lineup and the different brands restaurants choose to bring in. Since implementing the 12-tap lineup, we have seen category growth. Mike to Erin: Your wine list is very limited, understandably, but is there a varietal you would like to add? Erin: Honestly, no and we’re okay with that. Wine is a small percentage of our mix. What we’ve learned with beverage is we can’t be everything to everyone. We focus on the ‘ritas because that’s what we are known for when it comes to beverage. We do, however, have wine drinkers so because of that, we will always be sure to have a few good selections of reds and whites. We’re probably due to look at our wine selection to see if there’s anything we need to change or add to the lineup. I get asked all the time if we are going to bring in a Rosé or a sparkling. At the end of the day, it’s not our focus. Mike to Erin: How often do you add new cocktails, such as the new Coconut State of Mind with Blue Chair Bay Coconut Spiced Rum? It’s up in the corner as a special. Is it something that’s added to the list or is it seasonal?

Erin: Nothing sells like the Presidente ‘rita but there are other strong sellers on our list, too. The Patron Margarita does very well; our guests know Patron and they love it. They know its quality and they will pay for that quality and brand love. We also have a Blueberry Pineapple Infused Margarita that’s been on our menu for a couple of years. It came out as a seasonal and stuck as a top-three seller. There’s a freshness cue that our guests love with the Tequila being infused in-house for 48 hours. Who wouldn’t love that?

Erin: We are getting much better as a brand in getting new beverages to our menu quickly. Beverage innovation to menu is very different from food, where it typically takes longer. What I absolutely love about beverage is that you can get to market fast with very little risk. The Coconut State of Mind is an example of that. It was a perfect cocktail for summer, the guests loved it and it’s a newer brand in the Rum category, so we put it out there and so far it has earned its spot on the menu. There are things we bring in that are truly seasonal, like the Black Cherry or Watermelon, and then depending on how it does through that season helps determine whether it will come back next year. The Watermelon ‘Rita is one we’ve had (seasonally) three or four years now and it’s a true guest favorite – so it’s a no-brainer to bring it back every summer. Guests look forward to it and start asking for it when spring starts to come around.

Mike to Erin: Even though margaritas are king at Chili’s, how is the Tito’s Punch doing, not being a Tequila-based drink?

Mike to both: You have a new relationship with in the Mix’s parent company, IMI Agency. How has that helped your ability to manage the beverage business in your respective restaurants?

Erin: It is one of our best selling drinks. It’s pretty much a tropical vacation in glass.

Erin: On the Chili’s side, selfishly I’ll say, IMI has made my life a whole lot easier. They’re experts in what they do, there’s no doubt. Our partnership is new – new is always good and you’re kind of in that honeymoon phase, but we really try to treat our partners as if they are family and not just a vendor to us. In the few months we’ve been with them, they have added tremendous value. For example, we know because of having more than 1,250 restaurants across the country, that liquor laws and happy hour laws change all the time. So there are all these crazy things we deal with and it’s so nice to go to IMI as a partner and say, “Hey, I want to do something in Georgia, a one-day promo. Can I run it?” Within fifteen minutes they can get back to me and let me know if I’m covered. It’s so awesome to be able to reach out to them as a trusted resource.

Mike to Erin: Beer, I presume, is a large part of your beverage sales. Erin: It’s our second biggest category. Mike: How many beers do you carry? Erin: Well, last year we installed 12 taps in every restaurant across the brand (corporate). It was really a way for us to expand and offer local craft beer. There will always be a demand for the domestic favorites and some of the larger national crafts, but being able to offer something smaller and unique to our guests can be very appealing. On average, 50–60 percent of the

Anna: We’re really pushing the boundaries of innovation as far as what we’ve done and how we’ve done it in the past. So having a Winter 2017 •


Mike Raven, Managing Editor of in the Mix, with Erin and Anna. partner like IMI, who can give us guidance on things such as legal parameters and the like, I think is super helpful. And beyond that, they help us manage relationships. It’s just so helpful to have our representative, who already has relationships with so many of the supplier partners, to be there to lean on and help us bridge some of those conversations. Mike to both: Paybev is a new way of supporting your relationships with suppliers. Has it helped simplify supplier relations for you? Erin: The way we leverage PayBev is that we can have real-time reports and access. I can go in at any time and know what’s been paid and what’s pending. That’s big because we have a lot of transactions going in and out. Our finance guys love it; they have full visibility. Anna: The only thing I would add to it is just how easy the interface is to use. When you’re dealing with so many transactions, it can be cumbersome. The system makes it very clear and very easy. When you’re looking for quick information, it’s right there at your fingertips. Mike to both: What would you like people to know about your restaurants? Erin: For the Chili’s brand, what’s important for us to get through is our culture. When you think about the original Chili’s on Greenville Avenue, the reality is we’re a 42-year-old brand that started in 1975. When you go back to who started the brand, we tag it as the 56

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“hamburger hippies” – it was just a fun time of burgers and margaritas. So, it is really about going back to our roots for us. The culture of Chili’s is very fun and focused on making our guests feel special when in our restaurants. We want to make sure that comes across loud and clear. From a core equity perspective, we’re never going to be everything to everyone. We just did a drastic menu cut this past October, removing 40 percent of items. It’s all about burgers, ribs, fajitas and margaritas for us. Anna: I would say for Maggiano’s, we really want people to know that we are unlike a lot of restaurants out there because we have real chefs in our kitchen. They’re culinary trained and make sauces and desserts from scratch, for example, our cheesecake that takes 12 hours to make. We really want to reinforce the chef-driven, scratch-kitchen culture because we know a lot of our guests don’t know that about us. We look for opportunities to put our chefs out in the dining room. We get credit for accommodating allergies better than anyone in the industry. Special occasions are big with us; people come in and celebrate their anniversaries, birthdays and mitzvahs. We are that special occasion place and we are great at it. We also want people to come in on a Tuesday because they don’t want to cook. From a beverage prospective, we really look for opportunities to enhance our guests’ experience no matter what the occasion is, by offering a beverage that pairs with it.

“Excellent choice.” Savor the acclaimed taste of Paso Robles, captured in our Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon, a dining favorite from the limited-production, artisan

© 2017 J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, San Jose, CA

wines of J. Lohr Vineyard Series.

vineyard-driven | passionately made j. lohr vineyard series


Cool Drinks for Cool

Nights by

When it comes to original recipes, in the Mix relies on its go-to partner, Monin. With four full-time Beverage Innovators led by Darren Loscalzo, Monin is constantly creating new, trendy and classic recipes for you to add to your drink lists. Along with the confidence in using their recipes comes the reassurance of the quality of the Monin product, and the peace of mind that you are serving your guests the best in the world. ITM has picked out some winter seasonal recipes for you to try. Enjoy!


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Chocolate Cherry Brandy Alexander (pictured left) • • • • •

1 oz 1 oz 1 oz 1 scoop 1 cup

Monin® Chocolate Cherry Syrup Brandy dark crème de cacao vanilla ice cream ice

1. Combine ingredients in a blender. 2. Blend until smooth. 3. Spoon into chilled martini glass. 4. Garnish.

Vanilla Bean Pistachio Martini • • • • • •

1 ¼ oz ½ oz ½ oz ½ oz 2 oz Ice

Cruzan® Aged Light Rum Cointreau® Liqueur Monin® Vanilla Bean Sauce Monin® Pistachio Syrup half & half

1. Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. 2. Cap and shake vigorously. 3. Strain into chilled serving glass. 4. Garnish with whipped cream.

Winter 2017 • 59

Blood Orange Old Fashioned • • • • • •

3 ½ oz ½ oz 2 oz 3 dashes 1 splash

maraschino cherries Monin Blood Orange Fruit Purée Monin Pure Cane Syrup premium Bourbon bitters club soda

1. Muddle fruit and Monin products in serving glass. 2. Add remaining ingredients. 3. Stir gently and garnish with a Blood Orange slice and a cherry.

Rum Cake Martini • • • •

1 oz 1 oz 1 oz ½ oz

• •

1 ½ oz Ice

dark Rum coconut Rum cold brewed coffee Monin® Swiss Chocolate Syrup half & half

1. Combine ingredients in shaker. 2. Shake vigorously. 3. Strain into serving glass and garnish.


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Salted Caramel Espresso Martini • • • • •

1 ½ oz ¾ oz 1 oz ½ oz ice

Grey Goose® Vodka Monin® Salted Caramel Syrup liquid vanilla ice cream Monin® Iced Coffee Concentrate

1. Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. 2. Cap and shake vigorously. 3. Strain into chilled serving glass. 4. Garnish.

Bourbon Pecan Pie Martini • • • • • •

½ oz ½ oz 1 ½ oz ½ oz 3 dashes 2 oz

Monin® Vanilla Bean Sauce Monin® Butter Pecan Syrup premium Bourbon Kahlua® Coffee Liqueur Fee Brothers Black Walnut Bitters half & half

1. Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. 2. Cap and shake vigorously. 3. Strain into chilled serving glass. 4. Garnish.


Island Gingerbread Martini • • • • •

1 ¼ oz 1 oz ½ oz 1 ½ oz ice

dark Rum Sherry Monin® Gingerbread Syrup fresh orange juice

1. Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. 2. Cap and shake vigorously. 3. Strain into chilled serving glass. 4. Garnish.

Hawaiian Island Mule • • • • •

1 ¼ oz ½ oz ½ oz 2 ½ oz ice

Belvedere® Vodka Monin® Hawaiian Island Syrup fresh lime juice ginger beer

1. Combine ingredients, except sparkling beverage, in serving glass. 2. Stir well to combine. 3. Top with sparkling beverage. 4. Garnish.


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S’Mores Martini • • • • • • •

1 oz ½ oz 1 oz ½ oz ½ oz ½ oz Ice

Vodka Irish cream liqueur Monin True Brewed Espresso Concentrate Monin Toasted Marshmallow Syrup Monin Dark Chocolate Sauce half & half

1. Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. 2. Cap and shake vigorously. 3. Strain into chilled serving glass. 4. Garnish.

Champagne Countdown • • •

¼ oz ½ oz 4 oz

Monin® Strawberry Syrup Monin® Pomegranate Syrup Champagne

1. Add ingredients to chilled serving glass. 2. Fill with Champagne and stir gently. 3. Garnish.

Winter 2017 •


Cranberry Pomegranate Martini • • • • •

2 oz ¾ oz 3 oz 1 wedge ice

cranberry Vodka Monin® Pomegranate Syrup cranberry juice lime

1. Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. 2. Cap and shake vigorously. 3. Strain into chilled serving glass. 4. Garnish.

Carrot Cake Cocktail • • • • • • •

¼ oz 1 oz 1 oz ½ oz ½ oz 4 oz ice

spiced Rum 2% milk condensed milk Monin® French Hazelnut Syrup Monin® Gingerbread Syrup carrot juice

1. Combine ingredients in shaker in the order listed. 2. Cap and shake vigorously. 3. Pour into serving glass. 4. Garnish with nutmeg.


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FLAVOR By Mike Kostyo

America Diversifies When describing the diversity of the country’s population, we frequently turn to food metaphors. The “melting pot” metaphor entered popular use in the 18th century and was revived in the early 1900s when a play by the same name was first performed. Then another phrase hit the scene – America was a “salad bowl,” with multiple cultures contributing different flavors and ingredients to society. Whatever your preferred metaphor, it’s perhaps not surprising that we use food to symbolize this diversity. For many, food is often their first introduction to another culture. In 1944, The New York Times introduced readers to pizza and three years later they predicted that it “could be as popular a snack as the hamburger if Americans only knew more about it.” Today pizza is America’s favorite food according to Datassential’s FLAVOR database, which tracks thousands of foods, flavors and ingredients. And America continues to become even more diverse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the Hispanic population of the United States – the country’s largest ethnic or racial minority – reached 57.5 million last year and it’s expected to reach 119 million by 2060. In states like New Mexico and California, Hispanics are already the largest ethnic group. These demographic changes have wide-ranging impacts on how we eat and drink, no matter our ethnic background. Latin flavors and ingredients are growing across menus and becoming far more available at retail. For many younger consumers, “Latin cuisine” isn’t ethnic cuisine at all – it’s simply what they eat and drink. In fact, you can see many of these changes showing up on drink menus already. 66

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Explosion The Growth of Latin Beers Two years ago, financial news organization 24/7 Wall Street made headlines when they crunched the numbers on the fastest-growing beer brands in the U.S. and reported that the top two brands were both Mexican beers: Dos Equis and Modelo Especial. The organization said that Modelo’s growth reflected the growing power of the Hispanic market, noting that the brand “released hardly any English-language advertising.” Many craft beer brands are taking notice. In Florida, Boricua Beer is brewing craft beers specifically aimed at the Hispanic market. In San Diego, the new $80 million Mercado del Barrio complex will be home to Attitude Brewing Co., which plans to source Mexico-grown hops and eventually distribute to Mexico. Southern California

is also home to SoCal Cerveceros, a homebrewing club dedicated to supporting Latino brewers. Earlier this year Chicago Reader called Pilsen, recognized as Chicago’s center of Latin culture, the city’s new “brewing capital of the South Side.” The neighborhood is home to breweries like Moody Tongue, which is known for its Caramelized Chocolate Churro Baltic Porter. Also in Chicago, last year celebrity chef Rick Bayless opened his Cruz Blanca Brewery & Taqueria with brewmaster Jacon Sembrano at the helm. Sembrano’s creations include options like the Tocayo, a white ale brewed with hominy, and the Gringo Honeymoon, a hibiscus lager.

Latin Flavor Inspiration Churro, hominy, hibiscus – flavors that are common in Latin cuisine – continue to show up on the bar menu. There are now multiple breweries in the country combining flavors like guava, passion fruit and mango, with gose, which is one of the topgrowing beer varieties on menus. The resulting saltyand-sour/sweet flavor combination is common in Mexican candies and snacks. Cinnamon/ chocolate combos are also trending. Copper Kettle Brewing Company, based in Denver, Colorado, has brewed its Mexican Chocolate Stout since 2011, made with cinnamon, cacao nibs and chile peppers. Spicy flavors are generally a “hot” trend on drink menus today. In fact, ancho pepper was the fastest-growing flavor on alcoholic drink menus in the past four years (namely due to Ancho Reyes liqueur), while sriracha was the fourth fastestgrowing flavor. And it’s not

all Bloody Marys. At Movie Tavern, the 22-location movie and dining chain, the signature margarita is a Sriracha Rimmed Strawberry Margarita. Jalapeno margaritas grew an astonishing 260 percent on U.S. menus in just the past four years. Micheladas have nearly doubled their menu presence in the past four years, forcing bartenders to get creative in order to stand out. At Amelia’s Exquisite Mexican Fine Dining based in Oregon, the Habanero Michelada features habanero sauce, orange, lime, beer and Tajin, the spicy-tangy seasoning. At Galaxy Taco in La Jolla, California, the michelada even inspires an appetizer, Michelada Steamed Mussels. Horchata, meanwhile, is becoming more common in multiple segments, introducing more consumers to this cinnamon-and-vanilla-flavored drink. Starbucks, Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf and even convenience store brands like ampm have all offered horchata drinks on the menu. Both house-made horchata and RumChata continue to grow on bar menus year over year.

Winter 2017 •


Mezcal and Beyond Of course, the popularity of Latin flavors has also driven one of the fastest-growing spirits on bar menus in recent years – Mezcal. Ten years ago Mezcal was hard to find, showing up on less than one percent of U.S. menus. Today it can be found on one out of every 10 bar menus, and twice the number of fine dining menus. There are now multiple bars in the U.S. that specialize in Mezcal. Interest in Mezcal is driving interest in next-level Latin spirits and flavors. In 2014, public radio agency PRI said pulque was “what Mexico’s hipsters are drinking right now,” so it was only a matter of time before cool urbanites in the U.S. began seeking out the drink. Pulque, the fermented sap from the agave plant, is on the menu at the hip Pulqueria in New York. Customers can order it straight; in cocktails like the Tijuana Flashback with pulque, Mezcal, tomatillo, cilantro, habanero and lime; or even in menu items like the tacos served with pulque salsa. Peruvian Cachaça has also been growing on menus, up 38 percent in the past four years. While it’s integral to the caipirinha, it’s starting to show up in a far wider range of cocktails. At the Michelin-starred Le Bernardin in New York, the Autumn Leaves cocktail includes Cachaça, Cardamaro, pumpkin, chai spice and egg white. In so many ways, Latin cuisine is American cuisine today. As demographics change, there are more opportunities for all consumers to discover Latin flavors and ingredients. Latin beers, spirits and cocktails should definitely be on your radar – and your menu.


in theMaguey Mix Magazine plants

used to produce Mezcal, Oaxaca, Mexico.

This article has been provided by Mike Kostyo, Senior Publications Manager at Datassential, a leading consulting firm and supplier of trends analysis and concept testing for the food industry.

The American Beverage Institute (ABI) is the only organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the responsible onpremise consumption of adult beverages. ABI members enjoy unique access to a variety of benefits—such as industry education materials, biannual member meetings, and research on emerging threats to the industry. Through aggressive media engagement and legislative expertise, ABI is able to protect ABIONLINE.ORG

the American dining experience by uniting restaurants with beer, wine, and spirits producers. Fall 2017 •


Looming Battle


Between CRAFT and National Brands By Lou Trope

It cannot be denied – the craft movement that is upon us is setting up some uncomfortable conversations, as both craft and national brands battle over placements on menus, back bars, tap handles and national programs. Over the past years, there has been a mix of frustration and jubilation as national brands have found themselves getting bumped out for the new “hot” regional spirit or craft beer. On the bright side, it has brought a sense of excitement and innovation to the industry that has helped spur interest in creating a high quality beverage program. The craft movement has been great for the industry, sparking a renewed energy in seeking out quality products, refining technique and understanding the unique nuances 70

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of different spirits and beers. The American Craft Spirits Association (ACSA) in their 2017 Craft Spirits Data Project states that the craft spirit segment grew by 18.5 percent in 2016 with over $3 billion in sales. Now these are impressive numbers for any emerging segment but it is equally important to recognize that this growth still only represents 2.6 percent in market share. However, with approximately 1,580 active distillers, this is a growing segment of the industry that will continue to carve out their share. In contrast, according to The Brewers Association’s 2017 mid-year report, the craft beer segment is approaching market stabilization with 5 percent growth in 2017. However, with over 5,560 active breweries and another 2,700+ in

different stages of development, the beer segment will continue to be highly competitive for the foreseeable future. Unlike the distillers, who see most of their growth coming from distillery and tasting room sales, the craft beer segment has benefited greatly from on-premise placements. So what is an operator to do with all these choices flooding the market? First and foremost, it starts and ends with the concept and understanding the target customer. A strong and successful concept should always be the true north for any

would have a carefully curated selection of spirits behind the bar, aligning with the concept and style. While in this concept, the mix may be heavier in craft distillers and premium national brands, it goes without saying that in order to execute a program at such a high technical skill level, the craftsmen behind the bar would take it upon themselves to be well informed experts on all products within their mixology arsenal. On the other hand, hotel groups or large restaurant brands with deep guest loyalty may engage

decision regarding the operation, from back bar selection to music play list. Running blindly after the latest craft distiller or regional microbrewery is not a wise strategy. It is if your strategy is to fill up the storeroom with unwanted product that doesn’t move. This approach does not work for anyone. Everyone from supplier to server wants to sell more and keep selling. It is imperative to always align the restaurant or bar concept with the beverage program so they enhance each other toward the overall memorable guest experience. In addition, a firm understanding of the guest demographics and psychographics will lead to the right decision. It would be expected that a very trendy bar with a strong local following and a dynamic mixology program

in a decision-making process that can be quite different. Consumer loyalty to “their” spirit brand is a very interesting phenomenon. Just as people will have a strong emotional connection to the brand of car they drive, the same holds true for the spirit they choose. This is not something to be taken lightly as the wrong selections can have a negative impact on reputation and business. So in these cases, there must be a balance in determining how the national brands and craft suppliers integrate to meet their target market’s expectations and brand positioning. In these cases there may be more of an allegiance to national brands with a sampling of regional or craft selections for the more adventurous guest. Winter 2017 • 71

There is no doubt that it is important to keep your beverage offerings fresh and on trend in any market. However, just by putting the latest craft Gin or Whiskey on the back bar or coolest micro-regional double IPA on draft isn’t going to make sales happen by some omnipresent force. Just like with any consumer product, guests must be guided through the five phases of the purchase decision. First, they come into your establishment because they would like a drink – this is Phase 1, recognition of a need. Second, they look to see what you are offering – this is Phase 2, gathering information. Now, in Phase 3 they are evaluating their options. This is where training and interaction with the guest come into play. Unless the bartender or server is fully trained on the regional or craft products, they may or may not be able to “sell” that guest on giving up their preferred brand to try a new unknown product. Without consistent and effective training of bar staff, the likelihood of the guest trying a new brand without some influence is low. At this point hopefully the training has paid off, the guests have made it successfully to Phase 4 and they have purchased the newly recommended item over their usual brand. Congrats! You made the sale! But the real test is in Phase 5, which is the post purchase behavior. Did the guest reluctantly fight through that double IPA and then order a light beer? Or did they thank the server for such a great recommendation? The follow up is crucial to determine if the products chosen are the right fit for the concept and are they being prepared in the best possible manner. As you can see, training is critical and cannot be overlooked. The more product brought into the establishment, the more training that is required. This is where the national brands have a distinct advantage over the craft suppliers. In many cases, the large national brands are equipped with certified trainers, have online training capabilities and can build training programs to meet the operation’s needs. Their craft counterparts are typically working on a much smaller scale and may not have the resources to provide such a level of training, although in some instances they may have local resources available. Regardless of your concept’s direction, it is a fruitless effort to bring any product into a beverage program without properly training the service team. There is a constant tension between the craft and national brand worlds. The craft segment will always be known for pushing innovation, although many of the national brands are quite innovative as well. There will always be critics of the national brands, regardless of quality. However, it is critical for an operator to build relationships with both craft and national brands. It is never a wise idea to turn your back on a relationship because they are not the “cool kid” on the block anymore. National brands have deep resources to assist in training, menu development and educational activities, which can be very beneficial to any operation. Craft suppliers can be more nimble to provide regional access to events and experiences. It should be very clear that both are valuable relationships to be nurtured and valued. You never know – that little craft distiller you are working with today may end up being the next big brand to take the market by storm. In the end, it comes down to what is in the bottle. 72

in the Mix Magazine

With over 1,580 active distillers and 5,560 active breweries, it is not all going to be amazing quality. The same goes for national brands. It should always come down to quality – don’t get romanced by a pretty bottle, an expensive dinner meeting or a celebrity brand ambassador. When making choices for any beverage program, quality should always be the lead influencer. Bring the team in to do a blind tastings with like brands; this quickly separates the good from the bad. Second, once the best in quality has been agreed upon, take into consideration brand equity, reputation, target market and price. In the end, it needs to be profitable and within a competitive price point or, again, it is just filling the back bar with pretty bottles. Before making any radical decisions, it’s best to look at the numbers. Try this simple test. Write down your top five selling beer brands. Now look at the latest sales report. Odds are they don’t match. Most operators underestimate the value and volume that national brands generate. Likewise, they are shocked at how little share some of their darling craft products produce. By having a clear understanding of the menu abstracts, one can thoughtfully build a balanced beverage program that takes into account national brand strength and craft interest. Training efforts can also be refocused to get the desired results that support the concept direction. The numbers cannot be overlooked. If the goal is to project a specific narrative that aligns with the concept direction, pay special attention to the brands – either craft or national – that are being used in signature cocktails. This also can help drive customer purchase patterns. Any beverage program will be lost without a strong and consistent training program. Placing the “cool” bottle on the back shelf is useless unless the server or bartender can persuade the guest to “take a chance” on something new. Developing a beverage program in a vacuum that does not take into consideration the right balance, based on sales, concept, training needs and target market, can easily leave thousands of dollars on the table. The battle between craft and national brands should not be a battle at all. It should be a strategic collaboration among operators, suppliers and distributors that builds balanced programs to enhance the restaurant or bar concept. Such balanced programs will meet the expectations of the guests and provide the operation a competitive advantage, while delivering strong bottom line results. Yes, it is a very competitive business but it is also an invigorating time to be in the restaurant business. Innovation and change are happening all around – this is why it is more important than ever to make smart business decisions and utilize all the resources available. There are great products coming from local startups and long established brands. Let yourself be open to the possibilities. Lou Trope is President of LJ Trope & Co. LLC, an independent consultant working with the hotel industry to provide innovative restaurant concepts, operational assessments and b2b beverage strategies.




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ospitality Executive Exchange (HEE) created another intimate and dynamic opportunity for key food & beverage professionals and select supplier partners to exchange insights, ideas and information during HEE East in Florida, at the beautiful JW Marriott Marco Island Beach Resort. HEE East was held November 1–4, 2017 with more than 120 participants engaging in candid conversations, open dialogue and interactive sessions, all geared to help elevate beverage strategies and partnerships. Jen Robinson, CEO/Duchess of The Pineapple Group, which owns and manages HEE, stated, “We are overwhelmed with gratitude at the positive response to the program we have created with The Exchange. It has resonated with both supplier partners and multi-unit operators because it is small and intimate, yet very impactful. HEE is a dynamic vehicle with a focus on conversations in

who shared industry insights from a 30-year career and his current passion for online training; Mezcal My Way featuring Chef Danny Mena; and finally a Tricks of the Trade session with Kim Haasarud and Philip Raimondo, which was interactive, engaging and introduced the HEE family to some amazing ideas for the coming year. A special award was created to celebrate and honor Teddy McAleer, who was the chairman of the HEE Advisory Council and a huge advocate of the program. The Teddy Mac Award will be given out once a year during HEE East to an individual who exemplifies all of the qualities that Teddy represented in the industry. Nominations were received from May until August and a committee determined the ultimate winner. The recipient of the 2017 Teddy Mac Award is Beth Borkosky of Blue Chair Bay Rum. HEE continues to be one of the most

Hospitality Executive Exchange East is every part of our agenda. We have built a unique opportunity that is relaxed and laid back but extremely productive for all of the participants.” The Exchange is known for being out-of-the box and fresh, and HEE East did not disappoint. It was the most successful program to date, creating a buzz that will provide great inspiration for Robinson as she begins planning for 2018. HEE East kicked off with an Amazing Race that focused on pit stops, detours and roadblocks that we all face in the industry, while also engaging participants in unique team-building tasks. Michael Waltrip, two-time Daytona 500 winner, was the welcome kick-off speaker. He addressed the group with humor and a story that left the HEE family standing with applause. The Duchess Pop-up was one of the favorites of the program; it was a one-of-akind mixer with unique libations and conversations for all. Other highlights of the program were the one-on-one meetings; Cocktails and Culinary of Tomorrow presented by Breakthru Beverages; a family-style breakfast with Wolfgang Lindlbauer, Magazine 74 in the Mix

Creating a Buzz

talked-about programs in the industry with its unique format focusing on face-to-face meetings, education and networking. Stuart Melia, Co-Chairman of the HEE Advisory Council shared, “There is not another program in the industry that feels like a family, where every conversation matters. HEE shines with a format that allows all participants to have immediate resources and connections, not only with their vendor partners but also with their peers. It has become the ‘it’ conference in the industry.” Next year, The Pineapple Group will celebrate its 10-year anniversary, a milestone that Robinson shares with all of her industry colleagues. The next Hospitality Executive Exchange will be held on the West Coast on April 29–May 2, 2018 at the Coeur d’Alene Resort in beautiful Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Space is extremely limited, so for any supplier partner or multi-unit operator interested in attending, please email Jen Robinson, for more information today, or visit the website, www. for details of the program.

WTR - ITM - pg 59 edit

(top left) Wolfgang Lindlbauer, Lobster Ink (left) and Paul Wilson, Nestle Waters North America. (top right) Jen Robinson, The Pineapple Group LLC, and Michael Waltrip, two-time Daytona 500 winner. (left) Don Billings, Publisher of in the Mix magazine, with Smoke Wallin, CEO of Taliera, a brand accelerator company. (bottom left) Beth Borkosky of Blue Chair Bay Rum was the recipient of the 2017 Teddy Mac Award. (bottom right) Stuart Melia, Craftworks Restaurants, and HEE Co-Chairman of the Advisory Board, Robyn Long, O’Charley’s.


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Vol. 54 Winter 2017




Vol. 52 Summer

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2017 Now more mobile-friendly!

Erin King

Chili’s Grill & Bar

Marketing Director for Innovation, Food and Beverage

Anna Krone

Maggiano’s Little Italy Senior Beverage Manager

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Food and Beverage Service Industry Nonprofit CORE Surpasses Goal in 2017 Nashville-based organization sees growth this year, helping even more families NASHVILLE, Tenn.— CORE (Children of Restaurant Employees), a Nashvillebased nonprofit organization with nationwide reach, has already exceeded their goal of support for 2017, helping more than 100 families across the country this year thus far. CORE, which grants support to children of food and beverage service employees navigating life-altering circumstances, has cared for recipients in more than 30 states, raised almost $3 million and supported almost 300 families since their inception in 2004. Most recently the organization has jumped in to offer support to the food and beverage service industry employees affected by the hurricanes, raising funds to help with the devastating aftermath they have been left to navigate. Comprised of past and present food and beverage service members, CORE and their team bring support, joy and a sense of caring to the families of those who work in the food and beverage service industry during times of emotional and financial strain caused by a death in the family, injury, medical condition diagnosis, loss of home or other sudden or extreme circumstance.

CORE aims to help even more families through the rest of 2017 and beyond. Through their corporate partnerships, monthly Bear-a-Factor individual donor program and volunteer ambassadors across the country, the organization seeks to make a true difference in the lives of this underserved community, bettering their circumstances one industry family at a time. For more information on the organization, visit

“We are so thrilled to have been able to make a difference in the lives of more than 100 families this year through the help of our partners and supporters,” said Lauren LaViola, Executive Director of CORE. “The food and beverage service industry is a giant family that spends its days serving others, and we are honored to continue giving back to our own.”


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Modern Mixologist BAR TOOLS Cocktail Art, Empowered Tony Abou-Ganim has turned cocktail making into an art form. Moving beyond the simple “how-to” of mixed drinks, he has inspired bar professionals across the globe to become more daring in their creations. Steelite International is proud to announce a partnership with Tony that introduces the tools every artist needs to create a masterpiece. Tony has taken classic barware and given it a modern, streamlined feel. These tools are designed to not mode only work perfectly together but also complement each other’s look and feel. These are tools for the professional bartender, and crafting great cocktails begins with the right tools. The Modern Mixologist barware line has everything the professional bartender needs to artfully prepare virtually any handcrafted libation. To begin with, the Boston shaker set is flawlessly sculpted for preparing any cocktail that is crafted by either shaking or stirring. The strainers (Hawthorne and julep) are designed with the perfect fit to work seamlessly with the Boston tin and mixing glass. The versatile, tightly crafted hand citrus juicer extracts juice with precision. The martini beaker, paired with the twisted long handled bar spoon, is an elegant and sexy way to prepare any stirred cocktail. All around, these tools liberate in the Mix Magazine and empower the mixologist to become an artist. 82 creativity

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in the Mix Winter edition 2017  
in the Mix Winter edition 2017  

Our cover story is on two of Brinker International's stars - Erin King of Chili's Grill and Bar and Anna Krone of Maggiano's Little Italy. A...