PR%F the Magazine November 2022 issue

Page 1

PR%F the Magazine

Volume 02. Nov 2022


Watkins Bitters

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

9 788024 715148 >


the team

PR%F the Magazine Michael Politz Publisher

Michele Tell

Founder, Executive Director

Jennifer English Editor-At-Large

Debbie Hall


RJ Dixon

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

Terry Hart

Director of Competitions

Colleen Banks

Director of Business Development

Contributors: Jena Domingue Jennifer English

George Manska Renée Korbel Quinn

Contributing Photographers: Cashman Photo Kracken Images Renée Korbel Quinn

Stephanie Tod Photography Annika Wischnewsky

Contact the Team at

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

in this issue



















M.E.N.U.S. 2022




PR%F the Magazine


What Our Winners

have to say... “Mr. Tequila” Juan Bonilla, CEO Juan Bonilla Imports


“I care about having high quality products and it's inspiring to me when experts recognize them. Thanks to PR%F Awards for being professionals and true experts passionate about spirits, you are a great and empowering competition.”


from the desk of Michele D. Tell


Dear Readers, We are thrilled to feature Watkins, founded in 1868, offering spices, extracts, flavors, and baking decoration, and now, 154 years later, it is introducing its line of bitters. We are pleased to announce that the PR%F Awards Spirits, Wine & Beverage competition is set to be held in Las Vegas on November 5 and 6 at the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. PR%F Awards has partnered with the college of hospitality as a platform to provide valuable education and experience to its students. PR%F Awards is the first spirits and wine competition to partner with a top-accredited college university. More than 40 students will participate behind the scene learning how to create, manage and operate the world's largest spirits competition. In addition, a senior student will provide a best-of-show tasting evaluation for tequila, whiskey, and vodka. PR%F judges and partners will also become part of the curriculum, instructing, mentoring, and working with students of the college throughout the year. We are looking forward to our fourth annual PR%F Awards spirits, wine, and beverage competition. So, again, a very special thank you to my signature partners. Food and Beverage Magazine's Publisher Michael Politz and all of the laughs we have along the way; Dave Hoemann and Brittney Chardin of Delta Sky Club; CKM and Jennifer Johnson at the Palms Casino Resort; Dean Stowe Shoemaker, Murray Mackenzie, Chris Lindsey, and Angela Ramsey at William F. Harrah College of Hospitality at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; George Manska, founder of The NEAT Glass; Debbie Hall and the staff and writers at PR%F the Magazine including Colleen Banks, Terry Hart, RJ Dixon, and Jennifer English. Thank you to Opulent Spirits & Wine for housing PR%F Awards. Our January 2023 edition will be our annual Winners Edition. We will highlight the winners, medals, and showcase our prestigious judges—all beverage buyers—and give you an up close and personal look at the US's largest combined wine, spirits, and beverage competitions. If your beverage brand gives back to a charity, we want to hear from you. Our December edition 2022 will highlight various brands that give back to a charity and focus on giving back. Email your press releases to me at We have exciting news for the expansion of PR%F Awards in 2023. And I have one word for you... Suds. We are heading into three amazing days of PR%F Awards-Masked! and Unmasked! set to happen in Las Vegas this week. Cheers, Double Golds, and Namaste! Michele D. Tell Executive Director, PR%F the Magazine Founder, PR%F Awards

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Prosecco, Sparkling Rosé & Prosecco Cocktails














What Our Winners

have to say... Matt Ellenthaw, CEO & Martha Outlaw, CMO Co-Founders Barrelsmith

“I was thrilled to learn of our Century award from PR%F, but when I found out that 70+ of the 80 judges who are experts scored us 100 points I was truly blown away. Wow, not sure I can put in words how that makes us feel about entering this business. Pair that with the honor of being interviewed by Jennifer English. Martha and I can’t express how proud this recognition from PR%F makes us feel.” PR%F MEDALS

Irresistible and Food Friendly


Photo by Kracken Images

irresistible and food friendly

By Jennifer English James Beard Award winner, Editor-at-Large of PR%F Magazine and PR%F Alcohol Free.


hanksgiving may be the most important meal of the year as well as the most collaborative. Pairing a beverage with Thanksgiving can become an afterthought. After all, how can a sip compete with grandmother’s sage stuffing or a green bean casserole? More importantly, how can a pairing be successful if there are so many stars on the stage of the Thanksgiving table? What do you pair with what—the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, or something else? The answer lies in the complexity of flavors, dishes, and traditions that do something technical to our senses. The Thanksgiving plate holds foods that deliver the sweet, sour, bitter, salty, and savory elements which trigger our tastebuds. When a bite of food delivers more elements—sweet, salty, sour, bitter, savory—the more pleasurable we experience that bite. Thanksgiving is the culinary version of the edible greatest hits album for our senses. The single biggest clue about where to begin the pairing evaluation is quite simple. In my family and at our table, we always pair the drinks with the big flavor note of each course. For the entree plate, which holds so many flavors, look to the most prominent flavors on the plate. Usually, it is the stuffing that is the star. If your tradition calls for sage, oysters, or cornbread, that is a solid place to find the perfect non-alcohol pairing. This is also a very useful guide for selecting a non-alcohol bottle or two to bring as a hostess gift. Growing up in Massachusetts, the site of the original Thanksgiving and home to prized cranberry bogs, the original Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice Cocktail was preset on the table at each place in a diminutive cordial glass as a toasting sip for all at the table, young and old. Crisp, tart, sweet, and distinctive as a representative of the time and place showcasing perfection. Today, I start Thanksgiving with this same preset pour for one and all. The welcome pour for guests also celebrates the moment of hospitality and joy of conviviality we share in gathering together. Thanksgiving calls for bubbles as the very best way to celebrate, which is the only way to celebrate in my book.

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irresistible and food friendly

The superior non-alcohol bubbles available today are Thomson & Scott’s Noughty Dealcoholized Sparkling Chardonnay and TÖST Sparkling White Tea. Cranberry & Ginger. These are my absolute go-to choices; chilled and served to welcome everyone, especially in a cocktail with seasonal flavor notes. These bottles are irresistible and can be served proudly and gifted with confidence.

The flavors of Noughty marry with a wide range of pairing foods, from turkey and all the trimmings to pumpkin pie. It offers a bright and crisp profile to pair with the rich elements of gravy or sausage stuffing. It also has a refinement which is most welcome alongside mashed potatoes or Brussels sprouts.

TÖST, found nationally and online at choiceandco. com delivers a surprisingly delicious chord of complex yet well-balanced flavors. The notes of cranberry are a wonderful way to tie the turkey and cranberry tradition together in a modern way.

For beer lovers, we just love the offerings from the Athletic Brewing Company. The Upside Dawn is crisp, delicious, and versatile. The ice-cold beverage will please even the most finicky beer drinker to accept that the non-alcohol beer world just got legit and delicious.

irresistible and food friendly


Try the recipes below and be sure to make a new tradition of toasting with ALL who are at our tables this year. Being together is worthy of our thanks and must be our most inclusive. Happy Thanksgiving.

NA Sparkling Gold Rush • • • •

2 ounces Spiritless Kentucky 74 1/2 ounce Lemon Juice 1/2 ounce honey syrup Betty Buzz Tonic

Combine first three ingredients in shaker filled with ice. Shake for at least 10 seconds to combine. Pour into old fashion glass over ice. Fill remainder of glass with Betty Buzz Tonic, which can be purchased by visiting choiceandco. com/products/tonic-water.

NA Cider Sidecar Serves 4 drinks

• • • • •

2 ounces Ocean Spray Cranberry Cocktail 1 1/2 ounces Apple Cider 1/2 ounce Lemon juice 1 1/2 ounces Orange Juice Töst Rosé

Sugar the rim of a champagne glass. I suggest orange colored sugar but not necessary. Combine first four ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake to mix. Strain cocktail shaker into champagne glass about ¼ full. Top with Töst Rosé and garnish with orange peel. Get Töst Rosé by visiting tost-rose.

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What Our Winners

have to say... Adam von Gootkin

Co-Founder/CEO Highclere Castle Gin

“With our having received so many awards from the team at PR%F, it’s obvious this panel of experts are true spirit aficionados. Highclere Castle Gin is well on its way to becoming the most awarded gin in the world due to PR%F’s commitment to recognizing authentic, well produced brands.”



the color of wine by urbanvino

The Color of Wine by UrbanVino By Jena Domingue

Creator and CEO of UrbanVino House of Brands Photos by Stephanie Tod Photography

the color of wine by urbanvino

Raymond Smith, founder and winemaker of Indigené Cellars, is the coolest guy in the business. Ray is an OG who started in wine 30 years ago on the central coast in Paso Robles, California. Born and raised in Oakland, Ray is the middle child with eight siblings and, as he tells it, the worst one growing up. He’s a well-educated, sincere, and gentle guy with the warmest of hearts.

Ray cut his teeth in wine working for an old-school Italian wine producer, learning the ins and out of the technical side of wine. He later founded a mobile bottling line on the central coast and built up his business to service hundreds of customers over the years. As he grew his base, he slowly built his knowledge of winemaking and production, building a loyal fan base—a community of wine professionals who learned to trust and rely on one another. As Raymond told his story, he shared multiple instances of his wine comrades surprising him with his first AP so he could begin creating his own wine, not just helping others. He shared how his friend in wine invited him to lunch one day. As they caught up, his friend shared that he was committing to paying Ray’s daughter’s college tuition as a gesture of appreciation and genuine kindness. These stories are not uncommon and reveal the beautiful side of being a winemaker and living in a farming community where hard-working people respect and look after one another. It is easy to project the struggle, the slights, and the inconsideration. Still, the other side of all this is a smiling and open community ready to assist and lend a hand when they see a newbie anxious to learn and contribute.

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the color of wine by urbanvino

Indigené Cellars was born in 2008 and still going strong, mostly selling direct to consumer, and recently opened a tasting room in downtown Paso Robles where wine lovers can schedule a private tasting with Ray and walk through many of the side-by-side vineyard designated wines. Ray loves to share his knowledge of the soil, terroir, growing conditions, and how he pivots each year as a winemaker to produce the optimal wine for the season. Ray really goes deep, and every session with Ray is informative and a true lesson in viticulture. Ray also just launched a fantastic Airbnb experience with a four-bedroom home in the Paso Robles golf course. The location can be curated to include a private tasting with him at the tasting room, a spa day, or 18 holes of golf and all the Indigené wine that can consume as guests of the Inndigené experience.

For anyone stopping by to meet Ray, be sure to ask Ray about the meaning of his very unique label and enjoy the different cabernets, syrahs, champagne, and white wines offered. One can almost taste all the hard work and care put into bringing these wines to life. Raymond says his approach to winemaking is more like artistry. It perfectly combines science, art, and creativity, and Raymond is on the move. Keep an eye out for his new high-end collection coming to market soon and an expanded champagne collaboration. This local gem is for sure a rockstar of winemaking. Visit or Apple Podcasts to listen to the UrbanVino Podcast, and visit YouTube for the video version. Connect with Jena on LinkedIn @ Jena Domingue and Instagram @ urbanvino.

Jena Domingue is the creator and CEO of UrbanVino House of Brands and Senior Vice President of Sales and Talent and Culture at WineDirect. She is also US Ambassador (California) for Liquid Icons, a global agency working with ultra-premium wine brands worldwide, offering scholarships and apprenticeships specifically geared to promote diversity and inclusion in wine education and hospitality.

IRRESISTIBLE without alcohol

$20 off $100 with code SAVE20



don't feed the cravings

Don't Feed the Cravings... Kick the Cravings with Krave Kicker


unctional beverage award-winning experts at Power Brands just helped the Krave Kicker brand blend a new Extra Strength formula of Krave Kicker beverage that's more than twice as powerful and effective as the original formula. The food scientists at Power Brands maintained the wonderful flavors of pomegranate and lemon-lime while increasing the dopamine boost and infusing vitamin B12 as methylcobalamin. All Krave Kicker beverages are made with organic juices plus natural ingredients and are FREE from nicotine, caffeine, sugar, alcohol, GMOs, artificial ingredients, synthetic sweeteners, soy, gluten, nuts, and dairy. This provides a much more potent boost for smokers and those who vape, so those

nagging nicotine cravings are exting uished for up to four hours. Now those looking to substitute something quite healthy for their nicotine crutch can grab a 12-pack of Extra Strength Krave Kicker and end the addiction in four days or less. Krave Kicker is the world's first and only natural nicotine alternative that kicks nicotine cravings for up to four hours without any nicotine, caffeine, or sugar. Krave Kicker is a 2.5-ounce beverage shot that's a blend of superfoods and supplements. Krave Kicker is sustainable, effective, and the cleanest, best nicotine alternative on the market. Millions of smokers have tried the nicotine patch and/or nicotine gum but remain

don't feed the cravings

addicted to nicotine for months or even years, spending thousands of dollars on the habit. This is a chance to escape the shackles once and for all and do it naturally. Krave Kicker is non-addictive, so there's no crash or withdrawal. Always consult a physician before taking supplements. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, prevent, or mitigate any medical conditions.

For more info, visit and follow on Facebook and Instagram.

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Clean Functional Ingredients Only 9 grams Organic Cane Sugar No Artificial Sweeteners Added


the wine industry's new guard of collectors

Blending Wine & Music

Photo by Annika Wischnewsky

The Aesthetics of Music and Wine brings the experience to the classroom at UNLV By Debbie Hall

blending wine & music


“Music and Wine are one.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson, poet and philosopher


he Aesthetics of Music and Wine explores the pairing of wine with different music. Restauranteurs and managers in the hospitality industry are always looking for ways to stay on the industry’s cutting edge—to create elevated experiences for their clientele. In this course, students learn how to combine music and wine to enhance the senses and create a more satisfying overall experience using innovative tools and technology. The course was crafted by associate professor Dr. Murray Mackenzie from the William F. Harrah College of Hospitality and associate professor Dr. Timothy Jones from the College of Fine Arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Dr. Timothy Jones

Mackenzie, who trained as a chef and worked in the hospitality industry worldwide for over 20 years, holds his Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) and Bordeaux wine instructor qualification. Mackenzie’s research is focused on food and beverage management, corporate social responsibility (CSR), and wine education and marketing. He teaches hospitality event management and food and beverage operational management courses. Dr. Jones is an associate professor at the School of Music, the coordinator of percussion studies, and the division of rock music studies. A native of South Australia, Jones grew up in the famous wine regions of McLaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills. With co-instructors Mackenzie and Jones at the helm, this interdisciplinary course delves

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Dr. Murray Mackenzie


blending wine & music

into the bond wine and music share. Certain types of music can elevate or detract from the bouquet and taste of wine. The mood, visual aspects, temperature, and energy of space also will drastically affect the overall experience. “We want our students to learn how styles of wine and music selections and genres work together to establish a desired mood and ambiance,” says Mackenzie. “For example, why a good pinot noir might become more vibrant while listening to Mozart’s ‘Eine Kleine Nachtmusik.’ An oaked Chardonnay may dance on the palette to Ella Fitzgerald’s ‘St. Louis Blues.’ A California Cabernet Sauvignon is boldly complemented by Jimi Hendrix’s ‘All Along the Watchtower.’ Folk music transports guests to the same country or region of the wine they are sipping.” Classroom discussions focus on how the complexities of the wine, including the palate, body, acidity, and tannin, are changed by listening to different music. Students also get a cross-cultural understanding of how music affects the taste and feel of wine. “For example, when we studied Argentina, we explored particular grape varietals that are part of the region, especially Malbec. Then we paired these wines with different genres of music composed in Argentina, including folk music, like the tango, classical music, jazz, and pop rock,” explains Mackenzie.

Live musicians are incorporated into classroom demonstrations. The course launches with a welcome event that is deconstructed and analyzed by students throughout the semester. Students then rebuild the event as a culminating experience for a final project. Students will learn to appreciate wine and music and find suitable pairings for all types of events, ranging from a small social gathering of friends to a large corporate events. For more info, visit





the science of spirits


CONVERSATIONS: Truth or Myth? By George Manska, CSO, CR&D, Arsilica, Inc., sensory researcher, inventor, entrepreneur


onversations between beverage industry members and consumers are opportunities to build loyalty and educate. During those conversations, we may find the other party harbors gross misconceptions about spirits or wine, or worse; we may become acutely aware of our own lack of knowledge. Misinformation and myth regarding spirits and wine abound, and discovering them in conversation brings us to a decision point; discuss it in more detail or let it slide? Only each individual person can decide how to approach (or avoid) what needs to be said, but we can explore a few common misconceptions and provide enough information to help you confidently choose your battle against misinformation. Wine was first produced as early as 6000 BCE and distilled spirits since the 13th century AD. That evaluation of these products to determine the quality and check for attributes and flaws has not yet been subject to an industry-wide technical discipline is truly amazing.

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the science of spirits

The vast majority of tasters and evaluators are individuals or panels who are highly subjective and opinionated judges. Most (but not all) have no sensory training and little knowledge of the science employed in the creation of spirits, wines, and beer. Procedures vary widely, glassware varies, and personal likes and dislikes abound, clouding information useful to the public. Distilling, fermentation, and brewing have for centuries been regarded as skilled artisan crafts, and perhaps many believe these are secret, “black box” arts with no applicable science.

When myths and misinformation are spread and never challenged, they become the “truth” to many drinkers who are just looking for the facts. Ironically, the worst offenders are members of the industry, the brand ambassadors, educators, bartenders, and industry executives themselves, who never fact-check and repeatedly pitch the same old misinformation.

Indifference to the fact: 1. Assumes the audience is uneducated. 2. Glosses over truth.

3. Fails to build loyalty through education. 4. Deflects issues to hide ignorance.

the science of spirits


Our job is to hasten the acclimation to science by calling out the BS and explaining how things work. In previous articles, we have corrected a few misconceptions through science: ÎLegs or tears in wine and spirits do not indicate body, complexity, or sweetness. ÎTiny convergent rim glasses do not concentrate aromas; they concentrate ethanol, masking character aromas and compromising smell-ability. ÎAdding water does not open whiskey; it shuts down evaporation. ÎScotch blenders do not blend spirits the way drinkers drink. Following the experts has gone awry. ÎPungent ethanol is not a measure of quality, nor does it contribute to character aroma. ÎAll tongue areas taste all five basic tastes. Glass manufacturers use the tongue map lie to sell the product.

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ÎWashing with soap/surfactants destroys aromas. ÎBlenders who support tulip glasses were forced to adopt complicated tasting procedures to decrease pungent, olfactory ethanol, and the problem remains 1. Acclimating by wafting or gradual approach does not alleviate ethanol effects on smell. 2. Swirling enhances aromas, “don’t swirl” decreases aromas. 3. Breathing through the mouth and nose simultaneously significantly reduces all aromas. 4. Ethanol can be separated from other aromas with a glass neck and controlled rim flare. Graham’s law proves ethanol can be separated/ diverted from character aromas.


the science of spirits

In the coming months, we will challenge more misconceptions and further explore these: » What terroir really means, and does it exist in spirits » Salty sea air tastes and aromas in scotch made near the coast? Really? » Aging underwater in glass? Really? » Classification of spirits by geographic region or political boundaries – a bad idea


» Cask strength spirits – marketing gimmick? » The dangers of using flowery prose descriptors – the need for standardization of terms » Designing glassware to enhance aroma detection » Never fill to the top – why headspace is necessary » Getting the most from nosing, tasting, and evaluation » Older is not necessarily better » Weird smells in spirits » Weird smells in wine » Competitions/medals as buying recommendations

Bad information is much worse than no information at all because it sends us down a rabbit hole away from the truth. Everyone deserves honest, factual answers. Every professional in the industry must accept that responsibility and fact check, source check, and educate the public to dispel misinformation. The industry moves forward and gains valuable credibility through truth and fact.

George F Manska Chief of Research and Development, Arsilica, Inc., engineer, inventor of the NEAT glass, and sensory science researcher. Mission: Replace misinformation with scientific truth through consumer education. Contact Information: Phone: 702.332.7305 Email: Business mailing address: 452 Silverado Ranch Blvd, Ste #222, Las Vegas, NV, 89183.



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7 Seals, WW-Award, Karten, 45x49, 1b.indd 1





16.03.20 14:32




What Our Winners

have to say... Anna Scott

Owner/Founder Anna’s Kitchen Shrub

“The PR%F Awards is a true competition designed to elevate worthy brands. The professionalism of the organizers and the extensive exposure of my brand has far exceeded my expectations.” PR%F MEDALS

spirited inspiration

Spirited Inspiration


Written and Photos by: Renée Korbel Quinn @SpiritedSFL Additional Photos courtesty of Rocco Mangel

ROCCO’S TACOS & TEQUILA BAR Dia De Los Muertos Celebration, Cocktails & More! Join Renée for an exclusive behindthe-scenes look during her recent visit with Rocco Mangel and Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar.

I joined festive guests celebrating Dia De Los Muertos in style, and we indulged in “all-you-can-eat tacos,” cocktail specials, face painting, live music, and more! Known for their handcrafted and refreshing cocktails, we sipped Rocco’s specialty Rosa Rita cocktail, crafted with Hampton Water Rosé and Hornitos Plata Tequila.

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spirited inspiration

Rocco's Corporate Beverage Director, David Ortiz, mixes a Rosa Rita Cocktail

spirited inspiration


MEET THE ENGAGING ROCCO MANGEL He’s the visionary behind one of South Florida’s most beloved staples for authentic Mexican cuisine serving over 400 varieties of tequila, Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar. After 15 years and countless trips to Mexico, Rocco sits atop Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar empire with eight restaurants throughout Florida and New York. Rocco’s commitment to success extends beyond his restaurants and the communities they serve. He is also a devoted father and a successful philanthropist, and in 2017, he announced that he was living with multiple sclerosis. By publicly sharing his diagnosis, Rocco hopes

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to inform people that his life, and the life of others with MS, can continue to thrive and prosper. Serving as a voice for MS, Rocco has raised $500,000 for the National MS Society and is the recipient of the MS Hope Award in 2018. Before his work with the society, Rocco raised $200,000 for breast cancer research. He has contributed his time and philanthropic efforts to several other organizations, including the ALS Association, LLS - Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Toys for Tots, Tri-County Humane Society, March of Dimes, Palm Beach Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and more.


spirited inspiration

A SPECTACULAR ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION IS IN THE WORKS! December 7 marks the buzzing Mexican restaurant’s 15th anniversary, and Rocco Mangel hasn’t looked back. Rocco’s is planning a big festival celebrating its anniversary in January 2023, with live music, tequila tastings, delicious Mexican food, and guest celebrity appearances.

Here are a few key Rocco’s Tacos highlights from over the years: •

Rocco’s has opened eight locations, with the ninth on its way to Sarasota, Florida.

Mangel has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to various charities near his heart, including the National MS Society, Toys for Tots, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and Glam-A-THON™ with me and our #CocktailRs.

Rocco serves as a beacon of hope for those suffering from MS and other health conditions

Renée Korbel Quinn Spirited South Florida @SpiritedSFL #getspiritedsouthflorida




he Best Cocktail


the best cocktail



itters have been flavoring cocktails since the word “cocktail” was first used in the 1803 volume of Farmer’s Cabinet. With the introduction of its new line of Bitters, The Watkins Co. is taking its 154 years of flavoring expertise into the cocktail space. Known for their extracts, flavorings, spices, and more, The Watkins Co. has crafted flavor profiles in their bitters that will take favorite cocktails from ordinary to extraordinary. “We consider ourselves experts in the extract category; when you look at the dynamics of bitters, it is the same in terms of product development. We combined different herbs, essence, and oils and steeped them in alcohol and water to develop a high flavor profile. The makeup of bitters is not that different from an extract, and we saw the opportunity to provide a unique position under the Watkins brand,” explained J.R. Rigley, president of Watkins. “We brought our natural flavor expertise to the bitters category.” Over the years, consumers and partners have been requesting the development of bitters for spirits by Watkins. “Given our flavor expertise, it felt like a natural fit,” says Rigley.

Watkins’ Aromatic Bitters offer a distinct, warm sweetness thanks to the addition of the brand’s pure vanilla, which is further accented by flavors derived from natural ingredients like dried tart cherries, hibiscus flowers and quassia bark. On the other hand, Watkins’ Orange Bitters bring together the zest of all-natural orange with clove and cardamom to add a sweet and savory enhancement to any recipe. Both Watkins Aromatic Bitters and Orange Bitters are available in 4 fl. ounces (MSRP $8.99) and 11 fl. ounces (MSRP $14.99) glass amber bottles with beautifully designed labels and are available nationwide, and online. The analogy, bitters is to cocktails as salt is to food, is fitting since bitters dramatically enhance the flavor of any cocktail. An Old Fashioned is typically made with aromatic bitters but orange bitters can also be added to bring together an herbal essence with a sweeter flavor profile. Think of a martini or Rob Roy with orange bitters added to bring that sweet essence of the cocktail forward. Manhattan, Rob Roy, or champagne cocktails with aromatic bitters added will bring that hint of herbal essence forward. Bitters give cocktails a unique taste without changing the core of the cocktail. “As we continue to learn more about the consumer, we are discovering that they want a deeper and richer flavor profile added to their cocktail,” states Rigley.

The Best Cocktail

“We brought our natural flavor expertise to the bitters category.”


the best cocktail

Watkins’ bitters are manufactured in the USA at the brand’s production facility in Winona, Minnesota, a facility where they’ve made their products for over 137 years. Watkins leverages deep relationships from around the world to source premium, all natural ingredients, free from artificial flavors and colors. Unlike other brands, Watkins Bitters contain no artificial colors or flavors, are gluten-free, and OK Kosher Certified. Such quality ingredients, manufacturing control and heritage have helped shape the authentic brand that Watkins is today. “The value of having our products manufactured in the US is so important to us and is something our retail partners have come to value in the Watkins brand,” explains Rigley. “This leads to greater authenticity across our entire range of products, and is something well-received with our new bitters as well.” Watkins was founded in Plainview, Minnesota in 1868 and moved to the current Winona, Minnesota location in 1885. Watkins incorporates its rich heritage, roots, and value into the company. Focusing on baking needs in the flavor profile for the consumer, some of its top products include vanilla extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Watkins, found in major retail outlets, continues to be one of the fastest-growing flavor companies in the retail space. Watkins also gives back to the community, focusing on Feeding America (, which operates over 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries across the country. Watkins products are donated to that organization to help those at risk. The company also works with World Central Kitchen (wck. org), which assists on the front lines, such as

Ukraine and Florida, in the aftermath of disasters such as the recent hurricane which devastated the state. As for the future, bitters are the first step forward for Watkins in the spirits category. They are developing a cinnamon apple and spiced orange bourbon, with an anticipated launch in 2023. “One of the fastest growing trends in bourbons is flavored bourbon, and we will again be leaning into our flavoring expertise and working alongside Prestige Beverage Group out of Minneapolis, to bring this product to market,” says Rigley. “We are very excited about this new venture as we continue to innovate in flavor.”

For more info, visit: Follow on Facebook @ Watkins1868, Instagram @ watkins.1868 and Twitter @ Watkins1868.

The Best Cocktail

Flavor Every Moment Made with a hint of Watkins Vanilla to lend a rich and warm dash of flavor to your favorite cocktail. Superior flavors derived from real ingredients like fruits, spices and vanilla.

What Our Winners

have to say... Bénédicte Hardy Brand Embassador Hardy Cognac

“Winning the perfect score Century Award and Best of Show in 2020 - in the middle of COVID was like a breath of fresh air. PR%F Awards opened big doors that were once closed for Hardy like providing an introduction for Hardy Legend 1863 to be on the shelves of Delta Airlines Delta SkyClub lounges. It was such an opportunity for our brand! ”

PR%F MEDALS Best of Show


THE PREMIUM OLD TOM GIN MADE IN FVG: VINTAGE SOUL, MODERN SPIRIT. GINTERIOR is the Premium Old Tom Gin Made in FVG, which emphasizes FVG’s interiority by highlighting the quite unique quality, nature and purity of the FVG Region. GINTERIOR is the vintage soul spirit which reflects the Victorian tradition: its delicacy gets a modern key review thanks to the skillful mixing of various natural botanicals with some excellences of our territory, such as the Fiumicello City’s Peaches, “Crambe Tataria‘s” seeds, as present in the Pordenone‘s Area dry grasslands «I Magredi», Marasca’s Cherry Honey of the Karst Area, the Dandelion Infusion, typical of the Carnic Valleys.GINTERIOR is an all generis drink: a unique blend, dry and pervasive, as an harmonious perceptive symphony of elements never combined together before. - The ingredients making up Ginterior are responsibly created by selected suppliers and plant nurseries, preserving the biodiversity of the Regional environment.


introducing el cristiano

introducing el cristiano, Ultra-Premium Award-Winning Tequila THE FINEST JALISCO HIGHLANDS BLUE WEBER AGED AGAVE


Cristiano has been introduced as the world’s finest and additive-free ultra-premium tequila, made by third-generation master tequila makers from the finest Jalisco Highlands Blue Agave. El Cristiano is dedicated to producing the purist tequila with no additives (85% of tequila today has sugars and thickeners added). El Cristiano focuses on harvesting only mature agave aged at least five years and specific sizing through sustainable agriculture practices. By establishing this process, they have eliminated the need for additives which would change the true essence of 100% Highlands Blue Weber Agave.

Created at the Casa Tequilera Aceves. Nom 1499, their foundation and premium flavor profiles, ranging from Silver, Reposado, and Anejo to Aged Anejo, Extra Aged Anejos, and Extra Aged Reposados, El Cristiano also introduces an entirely new flavor category with their 11-month barrel aged Extra Reposado. Using a distillation method of traditional distill pots with copper and aging in American Oak barrels, their tequila is always additive-free and gluten-free, using sustainable practices. “We believe the premium tequila drinker has been searching for ultra-aged options that hold true

introducing el cristiano varietal characteristics of the blue agave grown in the Jalisco region without additives. Being sourced from the finest Jalisco Highlands, and through our proprietary distillation and aging processes, giving our tequila delicious and pure taste, without sacrificing the quality and ingredients,” says the Founding Team, El Cristiano Conceived by an intimate group of friends with a passion for tequila and Mexico, the creators behind El Cristiano have over four decades of combined experience in the tequila industry. With their expertise in collaboration with agave and tequila masters, they set on a journey to create world-class tequila.

Their focus is also to give back to the communities that enable this delicious-tasting tequila. Their focus with the brand is to give back to those less fortunate in these communities; the children of Arandas and the Jalisco Highlands. A percentage of every bottle is donated toward the Arandas’ orphanage, public school system, and local soccer club. El Cristiano begins with mature agaves (five years and over) that combine with their proprietary yeast in the fermentation process to develop earthy, yet sweet cooked agave notes that blend with the fruity, citrus notes inherent in Los Altos agaves. This traditional process gives El Cristiano a naturally balanced and clean profile, with notes of caramelized agave and fruits such as pear and citrus. “85% OF ALL TEQUILA BRANDS ADD EITHER SUGAR, FLAVOR, COLOR, OR ALL OF THESE ELEMENTS TO MAKE THEIR TEQUILA TASTE BETTER TO THE CUSTOMER. OUR TRADITIONAL PROCESS IS ONE THAT HAS BEEN PERFECTED OVER GENERATIONS WITH ZERO ADDITIVES AND ABSOLUTELY NO COMPROMISE OR SHORTCUT, WITH A COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE. WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT OUR DIFFERENTIATION PROCESS WILL RESONATE CLEARLY WITH THE CONSUMER BOTH IN TASTE AND QUALITY.”

Founding Team, El Cristiano

El Cristiano takes pride in their unique, unmatched collection offerings and tasting notes.

The Foundation varietals collection includes their signature SILVER, REPOSADO, and ANEJO offerings.



El Cristiano Silver, its foundation, boasts unrivaled complexity and depth with coil copper stills imparting a pure, clean taste and full mouth roundness. A full body with bright, silver hues and defined legs. Subtly sweet cooked agave aromas with hints of butter, notes of mature fruit, and spicy hints of Bay Leaf and Rosemary.


El Cristiano Reposado is six months barrel aged. By aging their Silver batches in American Oak casks for six months, their Reposado develops a subtle layer of whiskey-like oaky flavors, aromas, and complexities.


El Cristiano Anejo is 18 months barrel aged in American Oak casks to add to the flavor of dark chocolate roast coffee beans and exotic savory spices, combining with its flavors and aromas, resulting in a complex sipping tequila.


introducing el cristiano


Their premium-aged offerings initially include EXTRA REPOSADO 11 months barrel aged (El Cristiano XR), and EXTRA ANEJO, three years barrel aged (El Cristiano Black).

EL CRISTIANO XR: CLASE EXTRA REPOSADO TEQUILA El Cristiano extra-aged reposado, 11 months barrel aged, creates an entirely new category. Their XR blends 11-month Reposado with their eight-year Extra Anejo to appeal to those that love the flavor profile of Reposado but want a little more complexity and sweetness.


El Cristiano extra aged Anejo, three years barrel aged in American Oak barrels to create a luxurious sipping tequila of unrivaled complexity.

“El Cristiano has created a full range of handselected, hand-crafted tequilas from the Highlands of Jalisco near The Village of Arandas, the finest Jalisco Highlands Blue Agave. We create this magical elixir at The Casa Tequilera Aceves and invite you to savor the world’s most delicious tequila, made by third-generation tequila makers, together with a small group of close friends and tequila lovers,” says Founding Team, El Cristiano El Cristiano has already developed a loyal following amongst top, well-respected Los Angeles-based restaurants and globally respected dining establishments such as SoHo House (all doors), Spago, Delilah, and Raspoutine, as well as the highly coveted Wally’s Beverly Hills, Resorts World Las Vegas, Hotel Ziggy, Montrose Beverly Hills, San Vicente Bungalows, and many more.

With tequila set to overtake vodka in total volume in North America by 2030, according to ISWR, tequila is the region’s fastest-growing drinks category. El Cristiano is set to innovate the ultra-premium tequila market, officially launched in Southern California (Los Angeles, San Diego) and Las Vegas markets, with distribution by Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits across Nevada and Wine Warehouse across California offering ultra-premium products at unparalleled pricing.

Visit El Cristiano at and follow on social media platforms @ ElCristianoTequila

introducing el cristiano



Casa Aceves is a family-owned and operated company combining three generations of expertise with deep academic and field experience producing award-winning ultra-premium tequilas. As Maestros Tequileros, the brothers are the authorities in the agave selection and production of additive-free Highlands Tequila for El Cristiano.


Brothers and lifelong entrepreneur partners offer well-respected success across consumer products, mobile tech, and cannabis, founders of Kali-Mata. com Investment Group. El Cristiano is their latest venture and brainchild. Their passion for the product, the brand, and Mexico shines through in every single aspect of El Cristiano.


Referred to by The New York Times as the “wine therapist to the stars,” Navarro is one of the world’s most iconic and influential leaders in the wine and spirits industry. Navarro is the principal and president for Wally’s Beverly Hills and serves as Global Brand Ambassador for luxury brands such as Christie’s, Delta Airlines, and The Four Seasons. Navarro has contributed significantly to the taste, design, and production of El Cristiano.

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Having helped craft ultra-premium tequilas for Patron, among others, Chris is one of the world’s foremost experts in agave selection, production oversight, and marketing of tequila in the fine luxury space. He spends much of his time dedicated to El Cristiano in The Highlands of Jalisco to ensure every drop and every bottle is pure, perfect, and delicious.


One of the most experienced tequila industry executives worldwide, having spent over 20 years at Patron, retiring as its CXO. Shaffer holds invaluable knowledge of agave and tequila and deep-rooted relationships with spirit industry leaders in Mexico, the U.S., and internationally. or TF: 1.877.572.0296 101-1885 Boxwood Rd. Nanaimo, BC Canada V9S 5X9

Coming Soon Make your fine dining customer’s experience even more memorable with our luxuriously crafted 750mL Oak Cultured Tisane! A calming blend of 14 herbs and spices, this non-alcoholic, noncaffeinated, oak vessel fermented beverage is not only sublime and sophisticated in taste and mouthfeel, but also packed with nutritional and functional benefits for digestive and overall well being. Our elegant frosted bottle with textured permanent decal overlay is a pleasure to behold and is guaranteed to be a real conversation piece. We know the challenges you are facing right now to revive your traffic flow as a restaurateur, hotel & resort owner, spa owner, caterer, or event planner. We have given a great deal of thought as to how we can help you not only entice former customers to re-engage, but also to charmingly invite new visitors to your fine establishments. You and your guests will not be disappointed when you chose to showcase our one-of-a-kind specialty elixir on your menu.

We are pre-launch for pilot phase-1 and gearing up for placement of 6 x 3000L Garbellotto Italian Crafted Oak tanks in our boutique factory setting in beautiful Nanaimo, British Columbia Canada. Be sure to contact us with your anticipated needs so that we can aim to accommodate you quickly when we roll out. This exceptional product will be in high demand. We invite you to make your inquiries and reservations today!

Brewed With Devotion

Two Competitions. One Price.



The coveted double-blind tasting competition

The total package competition

Century Award

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

Double Gold Award

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

Gold Award

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

Silver Award

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

Bronze Award

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

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What Our Winners

have to say... Stuart Cutler

CEO/President Snowy River Cocktails

“PR%F Awards provides up-and-coming brands the opportunity to be seen and tested by industry peers and leaders. This awareness & the contacts it brings opens new doors to build sustainable business relationships for years to come.”



CASABLANCA: A NIGHT DRESSED IN WHITE Food, beverage, entertainment and the community comes to benefit Epicurean Charitable Foundation By Debbie Hall Photos by Cashman Photo

m.e.n.u.s. 2022


A Night Dressed in White, the dine-around event of the season, showcased the tastings from participating restaurants and delicious drinks from participating bars. The festive outdoor event was held at AZILO Ultra Lounge/Ultra Pool at the Sahara Las Vegas on Oct. 7. M.E.N.U.S. 2022 is the largest fundraiser for the Epicurean Charitable Foundation. Big Bad Voodoo Daddy was the featured performer, and the Meruelo family was honored. Epicurean Charitable Foundation (ECF) is comprised of top food and beverage and hospitality executives dedicated to enriching the lives of deserving local students passionate about a career in hospitality or culinary arts. Through scholarships and mentorship opportunities, these gifted but often financially underprivileged students are provided with the means to pursue their dreams and become future leaders of the Las Vegas hospitality industry. The Foundation's primary charitable endeavor is the establishment of annual scholarship awards for Clark County high school students seeking careers in the culinary and hospitality industries. ECF selects its scholarship recipients based on academic ability, extracurricular achievements, personal background, and financial need. ECF awards numerous academic scholarships annually to Clark County high school graduates. Scholarship recipients receive financial support of up to $48,000 that goes toward tuition, books, and other fees. Students also benefit from the guidance and support of the Future Leaders of Hospitality

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m.e.n.u.s. 2022

Program, which pairs a student and board member together for the duration of the student's education. The mentor provides guidance, support, and assistance with job and internship placement upon graduation. Meruelo Group provides consulting and business support services to a diversified group of client companies across various industries. This includes construction, engineering, hospitality, gaming, television, radio, real estate, food services, financial services, and private equity. The Meruelo Family Scholarship was established to provide financial support for the dependents of team members working at Sahara Las Vegas and Grand Sierra Resort. Alex Meruelo, the owner, embraces the importance of mentorship and education and continues to implement programs that exemplify these values.

For more information, visit



A bold, thick full-flavored mix that won’t water down in your glass. No MSG or high fructose corn syrup.

Setting a new standard of excellence in the industry!

Our handcrafted small batch mix made from a unique blend of natural ingredients providing World Class Taste!



The PR%F Awards


reat spirits flowed together in camaraderie and unique tastings when spirit industry leaders gathered to judge the PR%F Awards 2021, 2020, and 2019. Officially named the world’s largest spirits and wine competition in the US, PR%F Awards 2021 encompassed innovation with judging. PR%F Awards 2021 launched a new dual adult beverage competition format including two competitions in one—PR%F Awards-Masked, The DoubleBlind Tasting, and PR%F Awards-Unmasked, The Total Package. It has been three years of incredible tastings, new partnerships and the fun of Las Vegas with more to come.

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