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here’s what’s shakin’ 11

Bone Breaker to Game Shaker: Lou Palatella By Mark C. Anderson

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Google This: Brett Hogan gives up tech for making wine By John Sammon

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Bar Backstory: Lindsay Eshleman By Otis Conklin

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Delicious & Simple: Penne ala vodka By Heidi Licata

Mixing It Up: Sardine Factory By Manny Espinoza

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Works of Art: Beer Labels we Love

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Sweet Swing: Topgolf Las Vegas By Robert Spuhler

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Bar Cart Cocktail: Pot of Gold By Katie Blandin Shea

Cover Story: Unbelievably, Authentically Bill By J. Rappa

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Making Moves: MoBe bar service sets the standard By Xania Woodman

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A Few Slices of Heaven: Elevating the Sonoma Valley Wine Experience By Christine Fife

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Court to Cork with Class: Hannah Harden weaves fashion and wine By Scott Brown

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Bar Backstory: Josh Perry By Otis Conklin

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Next Level: Lia Gilles schemes master plan By Andrew Call

Their Vegas is Showing: Seeking authenticity in Sin City By Xania Woodman

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Tastes, Tidbits and Trends: A round of liquor insights By Juanita Rose

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Cheers to the Educators: A behind the scenes look at wine enlightenment

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the idea • distilled to stir curiosity around a booming industry and the personalities that make it shake.

Publisher Ryan Sanchez Art Director Manny Espinoza Photography Omar El-Takrori, Manny Espinoza, Alexander Rubin, Patrice Ward Contributing Writers Mark C. Anderson, Otis Conklin, Christine Fife, Andrew Call, Liz Jeter, Joey Rappa, Juanita Rose, John Sammon, Robert Spuhler, Xania V. Woodman

opening toast Maybe it was something in the water fountains at Carmel High. Today my classmate Brett Hogan is making clever wines. David Bernahl, who was a year behind us, runs a food-and-drink dynasty-of-sorts with Restaurant 1833, Cannery Row Brewing Company, Pebble Beach Food & Wine and L.A. Food & Wine. I have a tequila brand called El Jefe. Each of us is enjoying the ride and digging involvement in the spirits industry, which makes sense. It’s filled with people with big personalities and bigger hearts. It’s great to give them a platform. It’s also nice to be involved in a new way, and to receive all the enthusiastic feedback and thirst for more. But we’re just on issue two here, doing our best to spotlight interesting professionals in Napa, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, the Bay Area and Monterey Peninsula. PBFW will return for its tenth year of endless tastings, Michelin dinners and grand tastings in a luxury tent the size of Rhode Island on April 20 (p. 69). That deserves a cheers. Another 10-year anniversary is upon us. It’s been about a decade since Bill Murray (p. 37) starred in Lost in Translation. Maybe it’s a coincidence that Japanese whiskey—which his character was promoting in the movie as he was a little in real life—is so popular it’s selling out worldwide (p. 69). But don’t ask me. I just work here.

Account Executive Jenni Devine SHAKERS MAGAZINE 831-277-6013 | www.shakersmag.com P.O. Box 1752 Monterey, CA 93942

Ryan Sanchez, publisher

SHAKERS > INSPIRING SPIRITS


THE PEGASUS COLLECTION Scott Lawerence Jacobs

Scott uses an explosion of arbitrary colors expressing the myriad moods of humanity. Cover inspired by Scott Lawerence Jacobs

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OCEAN & LINCOLN | 831.383.0930 | THEPEGASUSCOLLECTION.COM | CARMEL-BY-THE-SEA


Shakers is excited to announce that some of our client advertisements are enhanced with augmented reality. Download the app, blipp the page and watch it come to life! Look for the interactive advert icon on each ad.

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AT FR FE INCDI S OENTATDE O R San Francisco

“I’m gonna tell you a story, it’ll solve all your problems.” 11


BONEBREAKER to Game Shaker

How an upstart 49ers lineman helped change the world-class San Francisco liquor trade.

By Mark C. Anderson | Photos by Manny Espinoza

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amily and friends use certain words to describe one Louis M. Palatella, including “cantankerous,” “salty” and “quite a character.”

Those friends and family know what they’re talking about. Over the course of a two-and-a-half-hour lunch with Shakers, Palatella’s hand motions—and his pronouncements—are relentless. One moment his arms are spread wide, the next they’re pointed at his listener. The accompanying commentary is just as lively, and squarely under his control. When asked an eager question, he says, “Listen, I’ll get there.” When a similar query comes, he adds, “Let me tell you one story before that.” Later he says, “I’m gonna give you an insight very few people know about or even believe.” He also adds, “Don’t you quote me in that fucking article” and “I’m gonna tell you a story, it’ll solve all your problems.” Dude drips personality and panache. But there are myriad other ways to describe Palatella than the ways his loved ones do, like pioneering, hilarious and brimming with wisdom. Plus there’s the life insight that comes with trailblazing professional football with the San Francisco 49ers in the 1950s and wholesale alcohol sales for the wild West Coast for more than a half century. Here appear some life lessons of that talk: Make your decision the right decision. Palatella was faced with one hell of a call. On the other end of the line was Vince Lombardi, who would soon become the most famous head coach in National Football League history. He wanted Palatella to play O line for his upstart Green Bay Packers, who would go on to win two world titles. Palatella didn’t want to leave his new house, new baby and new wife (not in that order). Plus, he had a sweet new deal selling liquor. On a Friday, he remembers coach telling him over the phone: “Young man, this is Vince Lombardi. You gotta make up your mind. We need a guard, we think you’re the guy, I’ll give you till Monday”—then, click. That Monday, Palatella told him, “I’m not coming.”

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“That was it,” he adds, “and I’ve been in this business my whole life. “To prove that I made the right decision I worked my ass off, to justify—mentally—it was the right choice.” That work included helping build Southern Wine & Spirits into a dominant West Coast force. “So I did well,” Palatella says. “The rest is history.” Build relationships. Back midcentury, Palatella worked with myriad mom-and-pop bodegas with liquor “departments”— at this, Palatella widens his arms to show a small 2-foot shelf space—”maybe this big,” he says. “They were owned by Irish, Greeks, Italians, I helped a few bars, and one Japanese joint on Fisherman’s Wharf called Tokyo Sukiyaki.” He was unaware he didn’t have to contact every single account in his territory. He could skip the unproductive stops. He could cherry pick the people he liked. But unlike his colleagues and predecessors, he admits, “Ol’ Lou called on every one of them.” As he kept calling and calling and charming and charming, observing they felt something like guilt they weren’t giving him more business. “I was the only guy naively calling every week,” he says. Eventually, they felt compelled to buy in. Palatella feels he had an additional edge beyond persistence: “If your customer hates you, you’re never going to get what you can. First thing to do business, they gotta like you. When I got close up to a retailer, they would tell me who they don’t like—‘That cocksucker, I’m gonna give him as little as a can’—then I lock it in my little head... eventually, if they like you enough they’ll give you the business. I learned a great lesson.”

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“To prove that I made the right decision I worked my ass off, to justify—mentally—it was the right choice.” SHAKERS > INSPIRING SPIRITS

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Hang in there. Palatella was going to take the place of an outgoing salesman for Ralph Montelli and Company in San Francisco when he decided to drive a Buick he just bought from his Pittsburgh home to California at the end of the offseason. In the dead of winter, somewhere between Indiana and Illinois, his snowed-up tires began to slide. He went sideways into a tree and woke up in the hospital. He pulled it together and made his start date. Other destiny came in with his deployment to the Korean War. After training in ROTC, he was slated for a long tour. Only the war was ended and his service requirement fit nicely into the offseason window. Soon he was back on the field. Never stop working. Palatella’s work ethic helped make him one of the 49ers earliest offensive linemen, back when they practiced at the San Francisco Seals park and played at Kezar Stadium. He survived ruthless two-a-days back in an era when conventional wisdom held a rule—no water on the field—over the course of multiple two-hour practices. He suited up with legends like Bob St. Clair, the 6’9” hall of famer who became mayor of Daly City, and protected all-time greats like quarterback Y.A. Title. Today, when most successful 80-somethings would be chilling at the country club, he lives to elevate his family’s Campeon Tequila or Cowboy Whiskey operations, visiting accounts like he’s still a neophyte in his 20s. His passion: “To make nothing into something,” he says. With Campeón, he knew they had some special liquid. It was all about the packaging, including the bottle, which is, after a dramatic update, elegant and heavy. “We got the best liquid there is, period,” he says. “Let’s compare. It can be a blind tasting, I don’t care. The juice is there. We’re a boutique tequila, with 100,000 cases for world. It’s in the goddamn juice. My wife and I decided to get into it, made a lot of trips to Mexico, tasting, tasting, tasting. What I’m trying to say is the category of tequila has reached a point where it needs ultra premium, luxury, and there’s not many out there.” When he left the 49ers for the South Bay territory that stretched from South San Francisco toward Monterey County, he was given 1,500 accounts. He visited every one. “So damn many miles,” he says, with a smile. Know what you’re sipping. “I drink bourbon and tequila on the rocks,” he says. “Period. Nothing else. I love the flavor of bourbon. I love the flavor of tequila. You can taste the differences and nuances, because you’re not messing with mixers. You can taste what it is.” Then he hits on an understated selling point: “Let me give you something else few people talk about: Tequila is the lowest calorie spirit.” He claims 66 calories in an ounce, compared to 50 percent more in vodka. Then there’s this: “Tequila comes from a flower family, the [lily] family, actually, not from grain. Women love to hear that.” 15


Don’t fall for the pomp. Palatella remembers a restaurant account with a fancy wine list and reservations that were awfully hard to acquire. They told him one of the less expensive wines in his portfolio was no longer welcome. “They give me the palm,” he says. “And say, ‘Fuck it, it doesn’t sell.’ I say, ‘Here’s what you know, you snob. How many cases you think you bought? One? It was 16. Discontinue because it doesn’t sell? How many people come in, don’t know wine, see Blue Nun, and want to get it. Not everyone is a sophisticated wine drinker, so maybe they want this. He has to get out of the way of his own wine snob ego.” Negotiate like you mean it. When Palatella was handed his first 49er contract, he was sitting in the hospital with a nose broken in several places. He got the nurse to read it to him paragraph by paragraph, didn’t sign it that night, and told his line coach—who was in charge of signing his players—and said, “Let me think about it.” He ended up parlaying an offer from the Canadian Football League into a much fatter deal. Don’t be afraid to be different. After Palatella’s son John (pictured top left) grew up in the liquor industry watching his dad do his thing, John went on to work for years as Senior VP of Sales North America Patrón, and ultimately realized an opportunity to introduce a new upmarket tequila with distilleries and growers he met along the way. Today Campeón proves to be one of the tastier spirits in the category. The silver enjoys a pleasantly wild, lightly earthy flavor, while keeping a balance of heat and clean agave taste on the tongue, and a hint of floral rosewater that makes it rewardingly unique. The reposada is similarly light and dynamic, but it’s the añejo that becomes most memorable. Its pale color betrays its aged character, and reveals Palatellas’ penchant for bucking industry tendency. Rather than deploy a lot of charred wood that colors the spirit, they opt for an atypical approach: añejo, with a pale color and a clearer identity to honor the sourcing and craftmanship. And to honor a guy who has always taken a different path. > More at www.campeonspirits.com.

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REAL ESTATE. REIMAGINED. Experience Matters. Christine Handel, a native to Carmel, has deep roots to the Monterey Peninsula and knowledge to help her sell not just a home - but a lifestyle. Christine, a shareholder of Teles Properties and a founding agent at the Carmel office, is thrilled to be part of 1 of 19 offices from Cornado to Carmel. Teles Properties was named #1 for California’s Fastest Growing Company by Inc 500 List.

Christine Handel can be reached at 831.915.8833 or at christine.handel@telesproperties.com

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Christine Handel California Bureau of Real Estate #01375876 Š2017 Teles Properties, Inc. Teles Properties is a registered trademark. Teles Properties, Inc. does not guarantee accuracy of square footage, lot size, room count, building permit status or any other information concerning the condition or features of the property provided by the seller or obtained from public records or other sources. Buyer is advised to independently verify accuracy of the information.


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M I XO LO G I ST Aptos

Bar Backstory Lindsay Eshleman loves what she does. So much so you can taste it. By Otis Conklin | Photos by Manny Espinoza

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indsay Eshleman was reading classic cocktail books from the time she was 16. She studied Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail like she was getting paid to do it. She was waiting tables by 18, and within a year she knew she wanted to be a bartender. “I was drawn for a few reasons,” she says, “the ‘cool’ factor, good tips and fun.”

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She started a few months after her 21st birthday, but the real turning point didn’t come until later. For years her love for the job was haunted by a suspicion it wasn’t sustainable. “I felt like I had to have a ‘real career,’” she says. “I had moments of actually giving a shit when people would ask me ‘Are you in school?’ ‘You’re still in college?’ ‘You’re not gonna bartend forever, are you?’” Then she decided to stop letting societal expectations influence her relationship with her career. “The moment I stopped caring about this was the best day of my life,” she says. “Every year, my love grows greater for what I do. I am always excited and constantly thirsty to learn, no pun intended.” When she’s not dancing burlesque or leading a dance troupe, she plies her trade at popular Sanderlings Restaurant at Seascape Beach Resort in Aptos, saying, “I wake up every morning thrilled to push myself and continue my journey through this amazing industry.” Shakers caught up with her after she completed a relentless holiday weekend behind the bar. Signature drink of the moment? Buck Gingers, a fun, refreshing winter cocktail that I created last year, and recently put back on my menu: vanilla bean-and-pear-infused rum, fresh lime juice, angostura bitters, simple syrup, ginger beer, with a float of St. George spiced pear liqueur, garnished with a pear chip and rosemary from our garden. Your favorite current trend? The growth of brown spirits. I am a huge whiskey lover. I just got back from Scotland where I stayed on Islay and got to visit some of my favorite distilleries: Ardbeg, lagavulin and Laphroig. I enjoy watching younger consumers showing interest in Scotch, bourbon, rye and all the others. It makes me happy to see how open they are to delving in. So much booze, so little time.

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“If you don’t have the hospitality skills or feel it’s less important, change your career path.”


Biggest bar behavior pet peeve? My thoughts go straight to my poor experiences as a guest on the other side of the bar—bartenders who are smug, have attitude, no personality and lack of basic skills. There’s nothing more unattractive and I have no patience for it. This type of bartender gives us all a bad name. These bartenders, thank goodness, are a dying breed. I meet more and more bartenders that are gracious, love what they do and are grateful for the opportunity. Favorite atypical ingredient? Cinnamon dusted wontons. I have a cocktail called “horchat-the-front-door.” I wanted to call it “horchat-thefuck-up” but it’s not my bar. It’s a horchata cocktail with Michter’s American whiskey, rice milk and cinnamondusted wontons. It’s like having mini churros on top of your cocktail! Preferred home cocktail? Red wine. I work with spirits all day, constantly tasting, mixing cocktails. Oftentimes my palate doesn’t want booze, it wants a big red wine! However, if were to choose, it would be some version of an old-fashioned or a Manhattan. I’d keep it classic and easy. Best advice to give an up-and-coming bartender? You can have all the love, passion and interest in the world for the art; however, if you don’t have the hospitality skills or feel it’s less important, change your career path. We are here to create the best possible experience for our guests. These skills are the most important. Knowledge and drink making skills improve over time if you apply yourself, but if you don’t start with improving and polishing your personal/social/hospitality skills, you will never be a true bartender.

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Best tip for a cocktail connoisseur? Have fun, drink what you like, stay open to trying new things. Many people are missing out by staying in the safe zone of what they know. Walk out of a bar if the bartender is pretentious and makes you feel inferior for ordering something that isn’t hipster and served in a oak barrel with smoke rising out of it. There’s no room for snobbery in this industry! Ride the wave of all the amazing spirits, products, and information available during this exciting time! What’s your favorite movie quote? My beloved mother, now gone, always use to tell me my best quality was perseverance. This always made me think of the Terminator. I will not be stopped! “It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And it absolutely will not stop...ever.” > More at www.sanderlingsrestaurant.com. 23


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MIXING IT UP

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LO C AT I O N Las Vegas

SWEET SWING Wildly ambitious Topgolf Las Vegas parlays sport with pools, bars, clubs and creativity. By Robert Spuhler

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as Vegas is sometimes the best, sometimes the worst, but always the most. The lights are the brightest, the Strip-side frozen margaritas come in the longest containers and the nightclubs feature over-the-top decadence not seen since the fall of Rome.

It is in this market that Topgolf set up shop in 2016, bringing its driving-range-meets-night-out aesthetic to America’s id. And with more than two acres of space with which to work, the chain’s Las Vegas location combines enough experiences to make it a worthy entry into the city’s entertainment industry.

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It adds up to an experience a world away from cracking open a tallboy in between buckets of balls on the driving range.

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The biggest non-golf commitment may be to cocktails.

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Created, as corporate legend has it, by a couple of Brits spitballing about how to improve the driving range experience, Topgolf has created a golf/darts hybrid game, where points are scored based on how close a shot lands to the center of several ringed target areas. The bulls-eyes are as close as 25 yards away and spread out throughout the range, meaning that the scratch (or even-par) golfer can play right alongside the weekend hacker; club rental is included in the cost of renting a bay. It makes for a golf-ish experience that can more easily be enjoyed by anyone. “You don’t have to spend four hours on the course, plus drive out there and drive back,” says spokesman Dennis LaFontaine. “You can get a bay with your friends. You’re having food and drinks and really enjoying yourself.” Like the resorts along the Las Vegas Strip, Topgolf has seemingly undertaken the mission of being as many things to as many people as possible. To call this a driving range is to simplify to the point of parody: There’s two concert spaces, two pools lined by cabanas, meeting rooms, a shop where players can be custom-fitted for a new set of clubs, two luxury suites and even space for a game of cornhole. And all of it is surrounded by more than 300 televisions, airing whatever happens to be the game of the day. The biggest non-golf commitment may be to cocktails; along with service at each of the golfing stations (going from a bottle of beer up to a 15-liter, $10,000 bottle of Veuve Clicquot yellow label), there are five separate bar areas. On the second floor, it’s the Birdie Bar, with a darker interior, woodtop tables and leather accents that create an atmosphere somewhere between a golf course clubhouse and a whiskey bar. One level above, a bar serves as a swim-up station, for those unwilling to choose between drinking and floating. The Runway Bar on the third floor is a breezy respite, with planters mounted on a beige-bricked wall behind the bar and Edison bulbs hanging above.

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Topgolf has undertaken the mission of being as many things to as many people as possible. 33


But on the first floor is the bar space that separates Topgolf Las Vegas from the other outlets: The Riv, an homage to the dearly departed Riviera hotel and casino. Mid-century modern design flourishes and mirrored lights above harken back to the resorts heyday, behaving like a nod to the past in a city that can sometimes seem memory-addled.

Swinging Away A peek at the fuel that makes Topgolf go. There’s a balance that has to be considered at a bar like the one at Topgolf. Visitors are looking for something beyond the standard drink, but it’s also not the setting for the grandest of mixological creations. The drink menu accomplishes that with items that shade in either direction, favoring the fancy sipper and the blue-collar drinker alike. And some drinks that go well on every fairway.

Tipsy Palmer

A nod to the late great Arnold, it brings on Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka, Absolut Citron Vodka, iced tea and fresh lemon.

Strawberry Jalapeño Margarita

The stylish take on the classic, via Tanteo jalapeño tequila, organic lime, agave nectar and fresh strawberries.

Topgolf Tea

Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Bacardí superior rum, Bombay Sapphire Gin, fresh lemon.

It’s one of the ways in which Topgolf Las Vegas takes and expands on the mini-chain’s offerings around the country. The Sin City outpost is the company’s flagship takes up more than 100,000 square feet of real estate, with MGM Grand (itself known for size, as the second-largest hotel in Las Vegas in terms of number of rooms) acting as the next-door neighbor and landlord. The pools on the third and fourth floors, lined with cabanas and open for summer dips, are unique to the desert outpost as well. The biggest difference, though, may come in the kitchen, where Executive Chef Chris Vaughn reigns. Well known around the city thanks to chef de cuisine stints at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, he worked extensively with “rock and roll chef” Kerry Simon both at the Hard Rock and at Palms Place. He is often credited as the man who inspired The Cosmopolitan’s “secret pizza,” a hidden pizza counter that shares the same floor with upscale cuisine like Blue Ribbon Sushi and STK steakhouse. That combination of the gourmet and the simple comes across on the Topgolf menu. There are tacos, sure, but they’re filled with kalbi short rib. The salumi flatbread has pepperoni, yes, but also porchetta and soppressata. The sliders? Pulled pork, definitely, but also sea bass. And favorites from the Simon menu show up here as well, like crispy rock shrimp and wok-charred edamame. In all, it adds up to an experience a world away from cracking open a tallboy in between buckets of balls on the local driving range. For golf purists, the bells-and-whistles may be distracting. For others, the golf may distract from the poolside vibe or the confessional singer-songwriter on stage. But the sheer number of environments and attractions in one place is, at all times, the most. > More at topgolf.com/us/las-vegas.

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COVER STORY

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Unbelievably

Authentically

Bill

An informal talk with the king of spotaneous joy, Bill Murray, as he approaches another AT&T Pro-Am. By J. Rappa

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an all these stories be true? Does one of our country’s most beloved actors actually have these random, outrageous experiences with people in various parts of the world?

Countless websites and articles are devoted to this very subject: the Bill Murray urban legend. Stories include him photobombing wedding shoots, crashing college parties, hopping into kids’ kickball games. The fans at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament have every reason to believe, as they’ve witnessed these wild, unpredictable antics firsthand for years. The fact that these antics take place in the old-fashioned, often-way-too-conservative world of golf makes it all the more pleasurable. I have an early memory of being at the tournament when he grabbed a nicely dressed, 60 something-year-old woman out from the crowd and began to dance with her. They were in middle of performing a version of “Ring Around the Rosie” when she lost her balance and tumbled backwards into a sand trap.

Photo credit Daniel Krieger SHAKERS > INSPIRING SPIRITS

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I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, Bill Murray ascended from immensely talented actor to omnipresent pop icon. Fans create paintings, books, T-shirts and totems, all in reverence to this irreverent man. But what makes him so relatable to us? “There’s a lack of pretense, a lack of phoniness that people respond to,” says Robert Schnakenberg, author of The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray, an A to Z of the actor’s life and career. Through the film business, I myself have gotten to know Bill over the years, and have been fortunate enough to travel with him to some interesting places. I can’t confirm (nor deny) the other wild tales mentioned earlier, but I have personally witnessed my share of the Murray mystique. For one we happened to be in Poland, of all places, in the dead of winter. We traveled there to attend an obscure—but wonderful—film festival that honored cinematographers. A producer on our film was born there and said he had to leave dinner early to attend his aunt’s 75th birthday. “Can we come?” Bill asked. So off we went into the cold, and towards a residential neighborhood in the old Warsaw area. We climbed a few flights of stairs to a small twobedroom apartment crammed with about 10 people. Only a few of the guests spoke English, and were much older than us, but Bill certainly didn’t need a formal introduction. They were gasps when we walked in.

Since Shakers is a spirits-oriented publication, I feel I it’s only right to include a story with a liquor theme. A group of us were bar-hopping in Austin, Texas, Bill included. We stopped at a popular spot called Shangri-La. It was crowded and we were all having a ball. Then Bill disappeared. We heard a commotion behind us and look over to see that Bill had started bartending. As the stunned patrons as they gave their orders, Bill would listen intently, “I’d like an appletini, with Ketel One, two slices of apple, chilled glass.” He’d ask detailed questions about their order, then bring them a shot of tequila. Regardless of what they ordered, they all got tequila. People went wild and tipped nicely.

I’m not sure when it happened, but at some point, Bill Murray ascended from immensely talented actor to omnipresent pop icon.

We promptly spent a couple hours with these wonderful people and shared cake and coffee. Then Bill disappeared. The aunt went to look for him, then came back to the table and whispered something to her nephew in Polish. I asked if everything was OK—and if she had found Bill. “She found him and he’s doing the dishes”. Famously, he can be impossible to locate. The stories from producers and directors attempting to hire him are endless. Where’s Bill? He has no agent. No manager. He just has a lawyer, the same one he has had since his days at Saturday Night Live. Bill is fiercely loyal. Just ask Andrew Whitacre, his Pebble Beach caddy for 25 years and now close friend. He still brings Whitacre out every year from Houston for AT&T week. 39

I asked Whitacre about the sandtrap incident. “What I remember about that day was that after she fell in the trap, CBS had quickly switched their TV coverage to a different hole. After Bill helped the woman out of the sand, he had a 40-foot putt in front of him. And he drilled it. Maybe the greatest putt of his life. And CBS missed it.”

There is an infectious, disarming spirit that seems to put everyone around him at ease. He lives his life freely, like one big improvisational sketch. “Other celebrities like Will Ferrell are always doing these weird things,” says documentary producer Tommy Avallone, “but they’re usually followed by a camera for a stunt. Bill Murray plays to his own audience, for himself.”

He has been known to lift the lowest of spirits as well. I remember being at an AT&T golf party one year when he was introduced to Jim Harbaugh and his wife. Harbaugh’s 49ers had just lost a heartbreaking Super Bowl the previous weekend to the Ravens. He told me he hadn’t even spoken with nor congratulated his brother John yet, the Ravens coach. “This week has been kind of a daze for me,” he said. Out of nowhere, Bill swoops in, grabs Harbaugh’s wife, whom he had never met and leads her to the dance floor. They danced an hour together. Harbaugh looked on like a kid, slackjawed, “Bill Murray is actually dancing with my wife! Man, that’s awesome!” I was able to catch up with this actor-athlete-icon-dancer-bartenderor-whatever recently and asked him some softball questions.


Photo credit Marc Howard - Monterey Peninsula Founfdation

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PLEASE DRINK RESPONSIBLY. Imported Cognac Hennessy ®, 40% Alc./Vol. (80˚). ©2017 Imported by Moët Hennessy USA, Inc., New York, NY. HENNESSY is a registered trademark.


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My only hope is we become gracious winners. This winning thing will be new.

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Shakers: You are a father of six children, all boys. Your oldest son, Homer, recently opened a bistro in Brooklyn. I heard you worked there opening night. Please tell me your bartending skills have improved since Austin? Bill Murray: They had to. I actually had to mix real drinks that night. And believe me, he was watching. It’s a wonderful spot. It’s such a tough business, I’m proud of him. It’s called “21 Greenpoint”. You gotta go, they work hard, and the food is great. You’re a known sports fanatic. What’s your earliest athletic memory? As a little kid, we had this old, heavy, wooden bat and I used to go outside into the snow garden and hit these frozen rocks over the fence in our yard. One day I really crushed one and a few seconds later heard a loud groan and then some shrieks. I took off into the house and into my bed... of course, first I wiped the bat clean of fingerprints. The Chicago Cubs are the current World Series champions! How does that sound? Please say that one more time. I can’t, I’m a Giants fan. It hurts. Oh right...It sounded damn good. Especially to win the way they did, coming back from 3-1, they earned it. My only hope now is that we can become gracious winners. We certainly know how to lose and have done that quite well for a long time. This winning thing will be new for us. Those Red Sox didn’t win for a million years either and then they won THREE rings. So we’ll see. You are part owner of a couple minor league teams, the Charleston RiverDogs and the St. Paul Saints, where you are listed in the program as team psychologist. Yes. I always help out where I can. Let’s face it, actors traditionally are a soft bunch. But you actually limped an entire golf tournament with a machine attached to your leg that pumped in fresh ice. In fact, I’ve seen you “play hurt” on a many occasions—on movie sets and the golf courses. Is that wise, Bill? As a world class athlete, we all must play hurt. Photo credit Getty Images- Alex Wong

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Blood rushed to my head. I blew the putt and it was a disaster from there. And yeah, Nicklaus got his $50. Photo credit Marc Howard - Monterey Peninsula Founfdation

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Think Tiger will make it all the way back? I sure hope so. These once in a lifetime athletes have such a short shelf life. I remember Baryshnikov, the great dancer, was doing stuff physically that no one had ever seen. He was so tough on his body day after day that occasionally it would just break down on him. Tiger has been playing golf at such a high level and swinging with such strength for so many years, you understand how it could happen. You’re approaching 25 years of playing in The AT&T at Pebble Beach. It’s funny the little images you remember over the years. Many years ago I was at the driving range and only a few of us were left. It’s getting dark and a couple of young kids I had never seen are next to me having the time of their lives. They’re laughing loudly, hitting trick

locked me into an office where I just crashed onto this big couch and slept. A couple hours later they sent some little guy in a golf cart to let me out. How’d you play that Sunday? Rough morning, obviously. But I was just crushing the ball that morning on the range. Very confident. Never felt better on the course. Jack Nicklaus was still playing at the time, he and his son were in the spot next to me. I said “Jack, you and me today, $50?” No response. Kind of leaned over and said it again, louder. Nothing. Not even a glance. So screw him. Half-hour later, he grabs me and whispers in my ear, “All right.” On my first hole, big drive. Then a perfect approach shot to the pin. I had this little 3-foot putt for birdie. It was going to be a

“As a world class athlete, we all must play hurt.” shots, playing some kind of a game. I figured they must have hopped the fence or something, but I actually was enjoying watching em. It ended up being Sergio Garcia and his little sister. Jack Lemmon famously never made the pro-am cut. Did it take you a while? Yea. If you don’t make the cut, you don’t play on Sundays. So on Saturday afternoons, I would always grab a few caddies and marshalls and we’d go out and play til late. Some very fine whiskey was involved... The first year I made the cut I decided to take it easy because I teed off at 7am the next morning. I remember putting a bottle of the old Smothers Bros. wine in each pocket and heading to the putting green at The Lodge. I made a deal with myself that every time I made a long putt I would take a little sip. Things got a little hazy—I must have been making a lot of putts. This woman wearing a Pebble Beach uniform tapped me on the shoulder and said, “Come with me Murray.” She

good day. I remember standing over the putt for a long time and the last thing I remember is that I don’t remember. Not sure if it was the pressure or the Smothers Bros. wine but I felt woozy. Blood rushed to my head, like I just had electro-shock therapy. I blew the putt and it was a disaster from there. And yeah, Nicklaus got his $50. It seems the peak of your athletic career happened in 2011, when you and your playing partner D.A Points won the pro-am title at Pebble Beach. The best part is that it came down to the last hole, and D.A. won the whole tournament. It was his first win on the tour. And you gotta win to stick around in that sport. Sure it was a great day, but my friend... you ain’t seen the peak of my athletic career yet. Then Bill disappeared. >

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LO C AT I O N Sonoma

A FEW SLICES OF

HEAVEN Elevating the Sonoma Valley wine experience with three memorable destinations. By Christine Fife

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he sun rises over the Mayacamas Mountain Range, gradually burning the fog layer off to reveal a valley of vineyards and the wineries that turn Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Chardonnay grapes into liquid art.

The romance of driving up the valley along a country highway and stopping at a rustic winery among row after row of cluster-clad grapevines draws thousands of visitors to Sonoma Valley every year. What they find doesn’t always match what they anticipate. Many wineries that started out as small-production, family-owned-and-operated businesses have been swallowed up by large companies such as Jackson Family Wines, The Wine Group and Gallo. Some wineries are pet projects of celebrities and other wealthy personalities. Other winemakers who are struggling with financing, time and business know-how to get their labels out in the market. Most of these winemakers use custom crush facilities or rent space from a large winery to make their wines and are challenged to draw visitors to a small tasting room. SHAKERS > INSPIRING SPIRITS

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Wine country visitors, especially those who return year after year, are looking for more than just distinctive wines; they want tasting experiences to remember. They want to fall in love with the personal stories of trials and successes behind the wines, the romantic vineyard and special additions to tastings that bring the experience to a new level. To find this, wine tasters need to do more and more online research and ask friends, family and wine professionals for referrals. For those willing to take the time, there are wineries in Sonoma Valley that deliver on the fantasy. Here are three to prioritize: 1 • En Garde Winery A painting by one of the old Dutch master painters, like Vincent van Gogh, can be awesome to see in person, but knowing his artwork was influenced by his travels, time as a Protestant missionary and life-long battle with depression brings them to life in a whole new way. Great stories behind great wines are no different. En Garde Winery proprietor and winemaker Csaba Szakál not only has a captivating story but almost 100 wines that have earned at least 90 points (to date), making him one of the most highly praised winemakers in Sonoma Valley. En Garde Winery is best known for their Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs and Diamond Mountain Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons. Csaba is originally from Hungary and he learned to make high quality wine from his father and grandfather, who had to keep their winemaking activities under wraps, as Hungary was a communist social state at the time and individuals were not permitted to have their own private label. As he was becoming the fourth generation in his family to make wine, Csaba looked forward to something new and different. As his country was abandoning communism in 1989, he decided to pursue university studies to be a computer programmer. When he finished, he immigrated to the United States to take on the modern high tech world. When he fell in love and married a woman originally from Sonoma Valley, he realized wine was drawing him back to his family’s passion. As he got to know his wife’s family and friends living in Sonoma County he made connections and eventually decided to purchase some grapes and make wine that they could enjoy on their own. While working as a consultant to large technology companies, he began entering his wines in amateur competitions to great success. In the mid-2000s, Csaba’s wife, Sandy, encouraged Csaba to take the risk of starting his own wine label and En Garde Winery was born.

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“We were both nervous to invest so much, but his wines were so good I really felt they needed to be enjoyed by others,” Sandy explains while the three of us sip their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, recently awarded 96 points by Robert Parker. “With my knowledge as an accountant, I could at least help with managing the business side of things,” she adds. “When our first vintage, a 2007 Diamond Mountain Cabernet, received 95 points from Wine Enthusiast in 2009, I knew we had made the right decision.” En Garde Winery opened its first tasting room in Livermore, and as the couple decided to go all in and leave their other careers behind, they moved from the east side of the San Francisco Bay Area to Sonoma Valley and reopened their tasting room in Kenwood in 2001. “It was very difficult to work full-time in one field while investing a lot of time and money to a venture that may not have worked out,” Csaba says. “To make really great wine, you have to start with the highest quality fruit and that costs money. Not to mention all the other expenses that go into it, and you don’t even have a product to sell for several years. For someone with a lot of money, or even for a hot-shot young kid with a new winemaking degree from UC Davis who will get hired easily, it’s no problem, but I was just a working man from another country.” Sandy now manages many of the financial and business aspects of En Garde, while Csaba focuses on making the wine and telling their story. He is the quintessential winemaker that people hope to meet when they go wine tasting. A wine club member who came into the tasting room as we were talking said, “It’s impossible not to fall in love with the wines, but you can’t help but fall in love with Csaba, too.” The jovial Hungarian, who fills the room with his six-foot, two-inch presence and infectious laugh, explains that he focuses his feminine side on making elegant Pinot Noirs and his masculine side on making smooth Cabernets. Csaba can often be found talking with visitors in the tasting room and it is worth a visit to hear from the man himself how a Hungarian computer-programmer/ winemaker and his American CPA wife chose the French name of En Garde for their winery. Without too much of a spoiler alert, the story is funny and is best heard from the winemaker himself. 11am-6pm daily, 9077 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, (707) 282-9216, www.engardewinery.com. 2 • The Little Vineyards Family Winery Appropriately shaped stemware allows wine lovers to more fully appreciate the individuality of different grape varieties and distinctive characteristics of wines. The Little Vineyards Family Winery

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Similarly, a great meal can be extraordinary when shared with good company—just as fine wine combined with an awe-inspiring setting holds potential for lasting memories. The latter comes to life with Little Vineyards Family Winery, which started with big dreams, a plot of Sonoma Valley land and family. With four young kids in tow, Joan and Rich Little began to make their dreams come true in 1996 when they purchased 25 acres in the middle of Sonoma Valley. As they raised their family, they planned out seventeen and half acres of vineyards and renovated the picturesque 19th century estate home originally built by George and Phoebe Hearst, parents of American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Keeping things in the family, in 2002 Joan and Rich teamed with Joan’s winemaker brother, Ted Coleman, to create big, bold reds. They are known for their small production estate wines that highlight the terroir of Sonoma Valley, and more specifically, their beautiful estate.

But he adds this: “We are really blessed that we not only are able to grow our own grapes but we are able to invite tasters to join us on our beautiful estate. I think it really makes an impact on people to taste wines in the setting where they’re grown.” Joan Little chimes in from there. “For us, everything about Little Vineyards Family Winery is a labor of love,” she says. “Rich manages the vineyards, I manage the business, my brother makes the wine and our children are now participating in helping with promoting the winery and managing the wine club. It is a lot of work, but living here on the property makes it a bit easier and it brings our whole family together.”

“I’ve always loved the homestyle, feel-good cooking my family created.”

Located on the valley floor, tucked back from view of the highway, visitors are invited to sit on the patio alongside the vineyards with sweeping views of the Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain ranges. A rustic farm building, situated just below their home, was renovated to serve as their tasting room, but most visitors like to enjoy the wines while seated at picnic tables on the patio, playing bocce or wandering into the vineyards. For those looking to take stunning photos and learn a bit more about the vineyards and estate, Little Vineyards offer vineyard tour tastings.

“It is becoming rare to find wineries that offer estate grown wines,” says Rich Little, who oversees the vineyards. He acknowledges it’s more risky to own and manage your own vineyards rather than purchase grapes from companies whose core focus is only viticulture (and not making wine).

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of vineyards and mountains.

The vineyards alight with yellow mustard flowering between grape rows in winter. Bud break comes in the spring. The emergence of grape clusters arrives in the summer and the dynamic fall foliage color explodes after harvest. Every season offers views that are hard to forget. Visitors are likely to hear live music coming from Rich’s music studio located off another patio just above the tasting room. Little Vineyards Zinfandels, Syrahs and Cabernets have received a litany of gold and double gold medals, including a couple of best-in-show wines, from competitions such as the Sonoma County Harvest Fair and the California State Fair. And they were evaluated without the majestic views

11am-4:30pm Thursday-Monday, 15188 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, (707) 996-2750, www.littlevineyards.com. 3 • Mayo Family Winery Many wines are a joy to sip all on their own, but some wines are best appreciated with a wise food pairing. Visitors to Sonoma Valley are often surprised by how few wineries offer food pairings with their wines, but it is important to remember that a winery’s focus is on


making balanced and beautiful wines and they usually don’t have the ability to provide a restaurant experience on top of that. Mayo Family Winery, a small family owned and operated winery in the heart of Sonoma Valley, has been able to create its own wine-and-food tasting adventure. They focus on small-lot, single vineyard wines that express the aroma, taste and texture of each vineyard and with Executive Chef Samuel Frumkin, Mayo Family Winery Reserve Room visitors are treated to seven Mayo Reserve Label wines accompanied by a custom menu loaded with indulgences like pumpkin gnocchi with sage, served with their Laurel Hill Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir and mushroom tart with their Delaney Family Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2015, the head of Mayo Family Winery, owner Jeffrey Mayo, was tasked with finding a chef that could continually elevate their wine and food program with menus that change every two months. After a long search, Jeffrey met with Chef Sam Frumkin and asked him to create dishes to pair with their Mayo Reserve Chardonnay and Zinfandel wines. Sam drew on his culinary experience at Manhattan’s elite Eleven Madison Park and Sante, the famed restaurant located at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn—and his expertise from the Culinary Institute of America. Sam rose to the challenge and served Jeffrey roasted fennel vichyssoise with the Chardonnay and a Chinese five-spice brisket paired with the Zinfandel. “Not only were the flavors Sam was able to create in these two dishes unlike anything I had ever had, the presentation, correlating stories and feel of genuine hospitality in his interview drove me to offer him the job,” says owner Jeffrey Mayo. For Chef Sam Frumkin, it was like finding his happy place. “I’ve been working in some of the best kitchens my entire life, but always loved the home-style, feelgood cooking my family created at home,” he says. “The inspiration for my first menu came from that upbringing, with some of my best memories stemming from big meals with lots of wine, and most importantly, family.” Csaba Szakál, En Garde Winery

Visitors are enchanted with dishes like indulgent lamb kebab and pineapple upside-down cake presented by chef himself. The resulting tastes are simple and approachable so they don’t overpower the wines—allowing the combination of setting and tastes create a power all their own. > 10:30am-6:30pm daily, 13101 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen, (707) 938-9401, www.mayofamilywinery.com.

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M I XO LO G I ST Monterey

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San Francisco Negroni Week champion started bartending when he was a first grader. By Otis Conklin | Photos by Manny Espinoza

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his bartending odyssey started when Josh Perry was 6, but didn’t really get going till the squid ink hit.

Sure, 6 is a touch early to begin mixing drinks. But hey, his grandpa had rheumatoid arthritis and someone had to grab the bottles for the old-fashioneds. And the results—then and now—have come out wonderfully. By the time Perry hit college, he was more than ready to tend bar professionally. His first shift, happened right as he turned 21.

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“It came very naturally to me,” he says. A half decade later a turning point followed: An awardwinning colleague and eventual friend named Duggan McDonnell of Cantina showed Perry this wasn’t just a fun part-time gig, but a craft and a career. It was a martini with squid ink that did it. “I thought, ‘Why would you do that?’” Perry says. “It was fun, interesting, and changed my entire perception. From there I poured into learning anything and everything I could about the trade.” That’s taken him to all sorts of spots across the San Francisco Bay Area, and most recently to cocktail destination Restaurant 1833 in Monterey. There he’s given the glowing onyx bar in the historic building renewed swagger with creations like Smokey the Bandit with mezcal, Buffalo Trace bourbon, fresh grapefruit juice, sweet paprika and a poblano-Tabasco house syrup. It’s enough for a star colleague, Lindsay Eshleman (p. 19), to call his menu her biggest inspiration within the industry. (She cites his “cereal killer” with vodka and Fruity Pebblesinfused milk.) “His program is sophisticated, clever and slightly whimsical,” she says. Your signature drink of the moment? This $!@&’s Bananas. I created the drink for a competition during Negroni Week in San Francisco where I took the top prize, beating out some serious competition from S.F., San Jose and Sacramento. The drink contains Bols Genever, Campari, Carpano Antica Vermouth and banana liqueur. Your favorite current trend? A meeting-in-the-middle mindset. The days of uptight cocktail bars are gone. The neighborhood “beer and shot bar” can now make a Manhattan and a negroni. Cocktail bartenders need to learn to pour a pint, shoot the breeze with the regulars and establish a neighborhood bar community, not just a cocktail bartender community.

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“Remember, at the end of the day, it’s just drinks.” 61


Biggest bar behavior pet peeve? Lack of hospitality. The guy with the attitude that makes you wait 20 minutes for a drink. We, as bartenders, are here to serve the customer, have a good conversation—when you can—and make money. The customer is there to see the bartender because they know they will be served in a fast, efficient and pleasant nature. It’s this reciprocation between customer and bartender that each is there to see the other and keeps bars in business. The bartender who feels the customers are solely there for his cocktail-making abilities is over. Fun atypical ingredient? I have a new cocktail that I am finalizing using cereal milk. Another will utilize fresh seaweed and salt water. At-home cocktail? I’m a sucker for a simple daiquiri at home. Just rum, lime and sugar. Colleague/bar program who inspires? The Sea Star in S.F., one of the hottest bars in the city, run by my good friend Alicia Walton. She knows the business, but she’s always laughing and just has a lot of fun. I just have her make me whatever she wants. Best advice to give an up-and-coming bartender? Take your time and don’t get ahead of yourself. Learn from everyone, and I mean everyone. Remember, at the end of the day, it’s just drinks. Smile. Best advice for a cocktail connoisseur? Not every bar will carry or make what you like. Trust your bartender that they will give you something great once they get to know your tastes and preferences. Who knows—maybe they become your new go-to. Favorite moment from Tales of a Cocktail? You could say body shots or pool parties but being able to say, “Hey, how you doing?” and shake the hand of someone you admired and followed—from New York, Chicago, Paris—that’s the best part. > More at www.restaurant1833.com

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SOMMELIER Sonoma

Next Level Lia Gilles takes aim at the highest echelons of wine directing. By Andrew Call | Photos by Patrice Ward

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hen Lia Gilles talks about her longtime family friend and mentor, Fred Dame, you can sense the reverence in her voice. She speaks of his legendary wine sensing ability in colloquial terms, as in the notion of “Daming a wine.” For the more amateur wine lovers among us, that means to be able to detect, on nose alone—in under three seconds—any type of wine with the same accuracy as Dame himself. Gilles, an exceptionality passionate wine enthusiast born and raised in Pacific Grove, is one of Northern California’s most promising advanced sommeliers. Her breadth of knowledge and impressively casual understanding of wine feels endless—and contagious—as she ranges over everything from one of her favorite vineyards in Healdsburg (Chalk Hill) to how Barolo tannins express themselves (in crescendo). She insists, however, as any candidate on a path of mastery would, that the credit belongs to her teachers—to the Dames in her life. “I wouldn’t be where I am without the people who have opened the wine for me,” she says. Today, she opens wine for others, as a trusted mentor for a new generation of sommeliers. Her students have even become stars in their own right, like Martin Sheehan-Stross of Michael Mina, who was recently named Best Young Sommelier in the World at the 2016 Chaîne des Rôtisseurs’ in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. As Dame says, “Lia is a very talented student who discovered wine was her true passion just in time! “

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For Gilles, her current role as brand ambassador for revered Vérité Winery of Sonoma is a natural culmination of her life and work experience thus far. From a young age, Gilles recalls becoming influenced by her immersion in the world of dining and hospitality at proud Central California Coast establishments like Cantinetta Luca, Bernardus and the Sardine Factory, just blocks away from her ocean side home in Pacific Grove. Gilles knows this kind of constant dining experience gave her “restaurant eyes,” and she fell in love with it.

Jackson Family winemaker Pierre Seillan. But her calling always takes her back home, where she first fell in love with wine.

After graduating from George Washington University with a degree in international affairs, she ultimately found more of sense of fulfillment in the context of restaurants rather than board rooms. In 2005, Gilles moved to New York City for a refreshing re-immersion into the culturally rich world of bartending and restaurant consulting.

Now she continues to grow Vérité, which already owns 12 100-point scores for its blends, occupying one of the more prestigious positions in the industry.

“Understanding the context of wine—culturally, geographically, politically— it’s as deep as you want to go, and we have that too in Monterey [County],” Gilles says. “I really feel like everything has come full circle. The culture of mentorship between myself and Fred, sales, hospitality, telling the story of California from the perspective of wine. It’s been fulfilling.”

“Understanding the context of wine—culturally, geographically, politically— it’s as deep as you want to go.”

Her wine-inspired journey around the world has brought her from directing the wine program for Napa Valley’s Michelin-star restaurant La Toque to backpacking the Bordeaux vineyards of legendary

Not that she’s satisfied with that. Gilles has added another goal: to become one of the 200 (and one of 20 female) Master Sommeliers in the world. She’d be in good and rare company, with the likes of her mentor Fred Dame. > More at www.veritewines.com.

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Tastes • Tidbits • Trends A round of good liquor insight of the moment. By Juanita Rose

Real Situation • Liquid Crisis Japanese whiskey popularity has officially outpaced its available inventory. While the American South and Scotland would love to tell drinkers differently, Japan makes the whiskey collectors revere most, starting with a little something called Suntory Yamakazi. And the problem isn’t that collectors are hoarding all the best Hibiki and Nikki. It’s that so many connoisseurs want it, and takes so long to age. Johnnie Mundell works with Suntory as brand ambassador for the Western United States. So he’s well qualified to articulate Japanese whiskey’s appeal. “Think about it,” he says. “It’s inspired by Scotch, but designed by mind of Japanese person—their mind is much more about balance and harmony with nature, about subtle complexity and depth.” Combine that with a burgeoning whiskey fan base and aging cycles that go back to an era when very little whiskey was being ordered or being made and you have a collision of supply and demand Mundell calls “unprecedented.” More at www.whisky.suntory.com.

Insider Prediction • Potable Pot As adult use of marijuana becomes legal in more and more states, look for more and more distillers to tinker with THC-infused distillates, banking on the fact a whole new category of spirit could prove lucrative should lawmakers continue to liberalize laws. Humboldt Distillery is unofficially first to the party with its cannabis sativa-infused vodka, an 80-proof specialty spirit with, according to its collateral, “a unique botanical character, a smooth finish, and an aroma reminiscent of fresh cannabis,” all made with legal hemp. More at www.humboldtdistillery.com.

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Key Info • NOM Every authentic tequila has a norma oficial Mexicana, or NOM number, on its label, which certifies it meets government standards and references where the agave is grown. Enter that NOM at www.tequila.net and it reveals what other tequilas hail from the same terroir. Patrón Tequila’s website even allows you to 360-degree scan the width of the country’s tequila country. More at www.patrontequila.com.

Hot Ticket • Pebble Beach Food & Wine Ten years ago, Pebble Beach Food & Wine was mostly a bold ambition, a phone full of chef numbers and one full-time employee. A decade later, that ambition—to be the Aspen of the West Coast food festival landscape—has been realized, and the amount of Michelin chefs and once-ina-lifetime tastings has gone from admirable to overwhelming. This April 20-23 edition, with 200plus wineries and 50 inspiring chefs like Masaharu Morimoto and Jacques Pépin, marks the 10th annual. Those in the know expect quite a show. More at www.pbfw.com.

Smart Play • Oaxacan Standoff Simple but stylish Prizefighter in Emeryville parlays a low-key garage-like setting with an impressive selection of craft rum, tequila and whiskey. The New York Times calls it “a new breed of cocktail bar that seeks to retain the profession’s hard-won artistry while shedding the pretensions that often come with it.” There the “Oaxacan standoff” includes a Tecate, tomato or pineapple sangrita and a copita of superb Del Maguey mezcal and runs a tidy $8.

More at www.prizefighterbar.com. SHAKERS > INSPIRING SPIRITS

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WINEMAKER San Francisco

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“I had to re-invent myself. I had to go back to college and learn winemaking. It was humbling.”

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Brett Hogan gives up a promising tech career for making wine in a urban San Francisco neighborhood. By John Sammon | Photos by Patrice Ward

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rett Hogan’s approach to his Côte West Wine reflects the pendulum swing away from the big and bold California fruit-forward wines toward the lean and subtle, a trend that’s been gaining traction for a decade as the wine-loving population grows more informed and curious in other styles. But his very existence in the wine world represents quite a swing itself, away from the newest industry in the world— technology—and to historic ways of making wine. “Old World style in this case means a wine lower in alcohol and higher in acid,” Hogan says, “giving it a more elegant taste and better ‘age-ability.’”

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Hogan was born and raised in Carmel and attended Notre Dame University in South Bend, Indiana, studying economics and French literature. But the most portentous part of his education happened across the pond: He went to France and took general studies for three long semesters.

Seems he was less into sitting in front of a computer and more into making elixirs.

“In Paris and the Loire Valley,” he says, “that’s where I got my initial interest in French culture, cuisine and wine making.”

Soon he had accumulated a lot of experience brewing beer in his San Francisco garage. Before long he enrolled in the viticulture and enology master’s program at UC Davis.

The next major plot twist: He was hired by Google.

“I had to re-invent myself after my job at Google,” he says. “I had to go back to college and learn winemaking and it wasn’t easy. It was humbling.”

The gig was customer service and advertising. The company was—by contemporary comparisons—tiny. But, as Hogan tells it, “[Google] had energy to it and even then you knew it was going to get really big.” No kidding. Hogan earned a new post in charge of helping European companies serve their markets and develop advertising platforms, but felt unsatisfied.

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“I was interested in making beer and wine as a hobby,” he says.

Nevertheless Hogan persevered and graduated in 2013. He started his business seeking out what he judged to be top-tier terroir to buy grapes: Sonoma Coast, Napa and the Russian River Valley. The aim: He “wanted to produce wines for the high-end market.”


He continues to contract with carefully curated farmers to get the best fruit, something many attempt, but few do with as much critical success, hauling them personally to the Dogpatch District south of AT&T Ballpark. His standard is ambitious: The same caliber as the Domaine des Comtes Lafon, an estate winery in Eastern France near the village of Meursault that has produced some of the world’s best White Burgundy and Pinot Noir. A quality called “varietal type-cicity” is part of what he’s after— in other words, the degree to which a wine demonstrates its signature characteristics. “I don’t own the vineyard, but I know which rows of grapes are contracted for my use,” Hogan said. The process: When he senses the best time to harvest he relays the date to his farmers, who pick at night to keep them cool and preserve their aromatic qualities. He takes the grapes to his facility by the bay, mashes them up, tests for sugar and acids and tastes the juice. He opts for fermentation in stainless steel tanks for a few weeks, then gives them a touch of French oak barrels acquired from France. The aging pattern for Sauvignon Blanc runs five months; the Cabernet at least two years. The resulting small-batch of 600 cases a year focuses on four principal wines, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Russian River Sauvignon Blanc and Coombsville Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($23-$64). The wines have found homes in upscale retail shops like Paul Marcus Wines in Oakland and Vintage Berkeley. “I’m most happy to put my company brand on a product I can be proud of,” he says, “and I really enjoy the contented look people get when they drink my wine.” > More at www.cotewestwine.com.

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COCKTAILS IN MOTION

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COOKING WITH SPIRITS Monterey

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&SIMPLE

DELICIOUS Ingredients: • 1 Tablespoon olive oil, drizzle around large pan • 1 Tablespoon butter • 2 cloves garlic, minced • 1 small sweet onion, finely chopped • 1 cup vodka, a shot to sip from while cooking • 1 cup chicken stock • 1 can 28 ounce crushed tomatoes • Fresh cracked black pepper and sea salt, to taste • 16 ounce box penne pasta • 3/4 cup heavy cream • 20 leaves fresh basil, torn • Parmigiano Reggiano, shaved • Optional: red chili pepper flakes, to taste

with Heidi Licata

Directions:

Serving: 4-6 people

Heat large pan on medium heat. Add oil, butter, garlic and onions, sauté until slightly soft. Add vodka to pan. Cook until vodka reduces down to half then add chicken stock and tomatoes. When sauce starts to bubble reduce heat to simmer. Add pepper and salt, optional add red pepper chili flakes. Start your pasta, making sure not to overcook. Cook pasta al dente. Drain pasta, add pasta to ingredients (do not add earlier than 10 minutes before serving), add pasta to sauce. Stir in cream and add basil leaves stirring all ingredients together. Top with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano.

Serve with crusty bread. My penna alla vodka is made with a tomato cream sauce and a hint of vodka flavor, beautifully garnished with fresh basil leaves, topped with shaved Parmigiana Reggiano. Delicious yet simple recipe will have your palates dance and want more, it screams “romantic.” This dish can be made within 45 minutes, a very tasty and impressive main course. My wine recommendation: Chilled bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or for, a red, a nice light Chianti. Enjoy! > More at www.deliciousandsimple.net.

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WORKS OF ART Beer Labels we Love

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C O C K TA I L S Carmel Valley

Bar Cart: Pot of Gold By Katie Blandin Shea

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njoying a cocktail and drinking for health benefits should not be mutually exclusive. My “Pot of Gold” brings the best of both worlds with golden orange turmeric, containing curcurmin, a compound responsible for its bright hue and array of health benefits. Turmeric’s flavor profile can be described as earthy and pungent with eucalyptuslike flavor and aroma. For my Golden Bear Bitters, I blend organic turmeric grown in Watsonville with fresh apples to make an irresistible shrub, versatile in cocktails and equally enjoyable in sparkling water as a seasonal soda. Turmeric apple shrub works well with spicy Irish whiskey, or any base spirit with a robust flavor and body (I recommend trying the recipe with mezcal). Amaro and Golden Bear’s regionally flavored Triple Turmeric Tangerine Bitters boost the bitterness in this drink, helping to aid digestion—something you’ll need to get to the end of the rainbow after eating that big plate of corned beef and hash.

Pot of Gold 2 oz. Jameson Irish Whiskey 1 oz. Turmeric Apple Shrub 1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice 0.5 oz. Amaro (Cynar or Lo-Fi Gentian) 7 lucky drops of Triple Turmeric Tangerine Bitters Shake long and hard. Strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with something green. > More at www.barcartcocktailco.com. SHAKERS > INSPIRING SPIRITS

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ENTREPRENEUR Las Vegas

Making MOVES Las Vegas’ MobeLV creates the mobile bar outfit to watch in 2017. By Xania Woodman | Photos by Omar El-Takrori

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eebo Robinson isn’t sure what to call it—it’s not an Airstream, it’s not a food truck, and it’s not a cart. But this “unit”—a tricked-out party trailer, essentially—is the future of Mobile Beverage Company, MobeLV for short. Robinson and his wife Jady have parlayed their backgrounds in mixed martial arts, events planning and real estate (Keebo) and bartending and pharmaceutical sales (Jady) into a business that quite literally brings the party to its clients. MobeLV’s evolution began in the wake of the Great Recession, when getting a liquor license was a simple solution to the problem of how to self-cater events and parties at Las Vegas’ Tapout Training Center, of which Keebo was a partner. But by the time the license was granted in late 2014, Tapout had already long since tapped out. But the plan sprang back to life when a friend offered the Robinsons a commercial space from which to operate. With an initial investment of about $20,000, Mobile Beverage Company was born.

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The outfit started with six portable, backlit, customizable bars, which MobeLV will deliver, set up, stock with booze and staff. Capitalizing on his fitness background and his wife’s work in pharmaceutical sales, MobeLV has catered CrossFit events and high-end medical office parties, from 50 people up into the thousands. Still, Keebo had always wanted something all encompassing, a fully integrated mobile vehicle that he could take to festivals and large-scale events. The iteration that has been approved by the powers that be is the very thing for which Keebo is still trying to find the words to describe. “We’re calling it a ‘mobile be rolling that out for self-contained, 22-foot trailer boasts a 5-foot room for 12 tapped kegs. features flat-screen TVs, sides to serve walk-up platform for a DJ to set thing the unit doesn’t machine, and even then an external one that and it needs Keebo and

“I’ve just always wanted to create something that was different and unique.”

beverage unit,’ and we’ll summer,” he says. The wrappable concession walk-in fridge, draft towers, The air-conditioned cabin pop-up windows on the patrons and a rooftop up a rig. About the only have is an onboard ice it has the ability to power stands right next to it. That Jady to haul it to the party.

“I love events. I love promoting. I love hosting. I love the local bar scene,” Keebo says, “but I’m not an inventor. I’m not a code writer or programmer. I’ve just always wanted to create something that was different and unique. Maybe this has been done in other places, but Las Vegas is an event town. People are always looking for the next new thing. Vegas is the perfect place for this type of project.” Right now Keebo has his sights set on local festivals such as Life Is Beautiful, the Valley’s myriad beer festivals and even Further Future Festival. But why stop there? “I also see us taking our concept to other cities,” he says. “We already have an opportunity to possible go into Monterey and Carmel, California.” Looking farther down the road, say a decade or more, Keebo says he would love to preside over an entire fleet of mobile beverage units. Who knows; maybe by then they’ll even have their own name. Dare we suggest “Mobies”? > More at www.mobelv.com.

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AMBASSADOR Napa

COURT TO CORK

WITH CLASS Former hoops star Hannah Harden weaves fashion into the world of wine and winemaking with Vogue in Vines. By Scott Brown | Photos by Alex Rubin

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rowing up in San Mateo, Calif., Hannah Harden was a bob-wearing, basketball-toting tomboy whose wardrobe consisted of cargo shorts, Larry Bird t-shirts, and Adidas sneakers. But she had a secret. In private, she would play dress up in her mother’s Frye boots, Tiffany’s jewelry and Coach purses. Outwardly, you would never have pegged her as an eventual fashion trendmaker. Inwardly, she knew different. Harden, 26, now lives in Yountville with her husband, Joe, a Robert Mondavi winemaker she met when the two played Division I college basketball at UC Davis.

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“Once you’re labeled an athlete, people don’t expect you to have other talents or interests”

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Wine country is home base for her blog, Vogue in Vines, where she shares her latest fashion, style, and viticultural discoveries. She also has a strong presence on Instagram, Pinterest, and other social platforms. Hannah is Vogue in Vine’s designer, author, and model. Joe is the self-made, ever-improving photographer. His images feature Hannah wearing, in her words, “splurge-worthy pieces, killer steals, and need-to-have staples,” as well as wine selections from her travels around Napa and beyond. “Living in Napa, I was constantly asked, ‘Where do I eat? Where do I stay? Where do I go shopping?’ A close friend suggested I start a blog and have a central location for these recommendations,” Harden says. Though Harden was a standout athlete as a child, her mother insisted that she be well-rounded. She took art and music lessons throughout her youth and was an art major in college. “Once you’re labeled an athlete, people don’t expect you to have other talents or interests, just because you have to be focused to get to that stage,” Harden says. “It was always important to me to have a creative outlet. “Basketball is what you might call a low-fashion environment,” she adds. “After four years of wearing basketball sweats that were four sizes too big, I was ready to show other sides of who I am.” Harden became acquainted with the wine world through Joe, whose father works for Southern Wine and Spirits. He helped Hannah secure her first job as a chain territory manager with Southern. She has since moved on to a market manager role with Chopin Imports. “I immediately loved the culture of the wine industry,” Harden says. “It’s full of fun, interesting people who don’t take themselves too seriously.” Harden soon had the instinct to blend her longtime (albeit belowthe-surface) interest in fashion with her newfound love of wine country. Though she had a natural inclination for design, Harden says she did not understand blogging and was not predisposed toward social media. Starting in 2015, she began doing massive volumes of research. Vogue in Vines launched early in 2016. 95


“I immediately loved the culture of the wine industry,”

The blog quickly found an audience, and Harden’s ability to curate the best of fashion, food, and wine has led top brands to her door asking to be featured. It doesn’t hurt that the willowy Harden, who is 5-7, flaxen-haired, and half Japanese, makes for a prepossessing spokesmodel.

she is part of an affiliate network called rewardStyle. If someone likes what she is wearing, visiting, or sipping, they click on a unique link that yields her a commission once the purchase is complete. Second, brands have become inclined to take a more direct route and simply pay Harden to collaborate with them.

She says her audience is women 18-35 who are either traveling to Napa or are looking for guidance with their online shopping.

Harden says Vogue in Vine’s first year featured lots of trial and error.

“We’ve really grown through engaging people online and collaborating with other brands,” Harden said. “It’s amazing to me what a big audience there is online.” Harden monetizes her fast-rising social profile in two ways. First,

“For the second year, we’ll broaden to travel and lifestyle, expanding out beyond fashion,” she says. “We’ll be more well-rounded.” Just like Harden herself. > More at www.vogueinvines.com.

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LO CAT I O N S Las Vegas

Their Vegas is Showing

Seeking authentic drinks and ambiance in a town known for imitation and superficiality. By Xania Woodman 99


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n the world-famous Las Vegas Strip, you can visit New York’s Statue of Liberty, Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Egypt’s Sphinx and the Venetian canals—in the same afternoon. When/if the $4 billion Resort World project opens, you can tack Dynastic China onto that list. But just a little farther north, in and around old downtown Las Vegas, you can find respite from forced teleportation to such faraway lands. Rather than hide their venues’ quirky characteristics behind a façade borrowed from another city or culture, some bar owners embrace their unique circumstances for the most authentic guest experience. Don’t you just love that raw, unforced, warehouse-y vibe at the newly relocated Cornish Pasty Co. in the Arts District? In a former life, it housed an upholstery business and fabric warehouse. Remember those adorable, individual galleries at Emergency Arts and its incredible coffee shop frontage, The Beat (RIP)? Those were the exam rooms when it was a quick-care clinic, and the café was the waiting room. With a little ingenuity and appreciation for Las Vegas as it once was, these proprietors have created the incredible Las Vegas that is. Together they form a delicious culture crawl, ready to drink in the history!

Christina & Pamela Dylag of Velveteen Rabbit

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Velveteen Rabbit

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Tenaya Creek

When the owners of Downtown Las Vegas’ newest brewery sought to relocate operations from their longtime home in the Summerlin suburbs (on Tenaya Way), they needed a lot of commercial space for a planned 10-times expansion. They found it in 2015 on a stretch of commercial road just northwest of downtown’s bustling casino corridor. The former Atomic-era plumbing supply warehouse offered owner Tim Utter and head brewer Anthony Gibson 13,000 square feet in which to stretch out, with truck bays, a sprawling parking lot (hello, festival season) and ample space for a taproom and patio. But the cherry on top was the circa-1954 35-feet barrel-vaulted redwood roof over the working brewery. Rather than keep this stunning feature behind closed doors, they installed a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. “We’re taking it back to the natural roots of Vegas. Half our staff was born and raised in this city. We wanted to bring back a bit of that history,” Tenaya Creek’s “beer mercenary” Alex Graham says. “Brewing is industrial to begin with. People love seeing how it all works. When Tim saw this building, his eyes lit up. He was like, ‘This is it.’” So once you’ve grabbed a pint (perhaps something from the Native Series, brewed in collaboration by Downtown hospitality workers), head up a few steps to the communal table where you can ogle the beauty while you sip, and maybe even watch the next batch of Bonanza Brown coming off the line in snazzy new-design cans. 831 W. Bonanza Road, (702) 362-7335, www.tenayacreek.com.

Velveteen Rabbit

Even a raging fire couldn’t destroy the spirit of the building that is now home to Main Street’s quirky cocktail bar, Velveteen Rabbit. The 2010 blaze left this former furniture store in shambles with half a roof and deeply scarred walls. Rather than cover them up, sisters and coowners Christina and Pamela Dylag chose to highlight the natural beauty and even enhance them with a little technology. “All the walls had a really nice patina to them,” Christina says. “Layers and layers of paint were burned off and it left a really interesting design—different patterns, colors and textures that we really wanted to keep as an original piece and pay homage to the building, a unique aspect of its

history.” One wall in particular appeared to show the silhouette of a woman. “We were going to show just really interesting art-house films on the wall,” Pamela says, “but [A/V specialist] Brett Bolton was like, ‘I have a better idea.’” Bolton collaborated with another A/V artist, Benton Corder, to make 18 interactive projection videos, including one that animates the silhouette that just happened to look like one of the Rabbit’s early bartenders. “Brett filmed her in his studio pretending to light a cigarette, and in the video she’s superimposed onto the wall,” Christina says. “The smoke from her cigarette comes up into the air and takes over the rest of the wall.” From your seat at the massive wooden bar, you can watch the whole show scroll through as well as partake in the seasonally inspired menu of highly creative, original cocktails and thumb through the “zine”-style menu, yet another collaboration with a local artist, Hernan Valencia. 1218 S. Main St., (702) 685-9642, www.velveteenrabbitlv.com.

Artifice

During its 1950s heyday, downtown’s casino-resorts produced a lot of laundry. A nearby electrical warehouse became the laundry facility for the Lady Luck (now Downtown Grand), and the vestiges were still evident when gallery owner/designer Brett Wesley Tenaya Creek Sperry and builder/developer Trinity Schlottman joined forces to turn the building into a bar, lounge and live-performance venue in 2011. First and foremost, they had to fill in with concrete a channel that connected the hulking, industrial washing machines to the plumbing system. But some features they were able to keep, and even build off. “What intrigues me as a designer, there were all these metal bits and cogs that I wanted to keep, from the rolling doors, lots of heavy metal and industrial elements.” Those stayed, as did the beautiful brick walls, some metal troughs and barrel ceiling, and they inspired the rest of Sperry’s design. “I selected soft pine, which I knew would get distressed quickly. The old elements were incorporated with the newer elements, but even those feel like they fit the period: The plumber’s pipe as the bar’s footrail, the façade of the bar itself—little touches that would give you the sensation, ‘Hey, this was once a workshop floor.’” Just don’t get so caught up in the vintage details that you miss all the modern local art Sperry rotates through the space. 1025 S. 1st St., (702) 489-6339, www.artificebar.com. SHAKERS > INSPIRING SPIRITS

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The Laundry Room

Staying with laundry, this speakeasy-style bar-within-a-bar was part of a large facility that serviced downtown’s El Cortez Hotel & Casino. Now home to the 6,000-square-foot Commonwealth bar and rooftop lounge, that building featured space—specifically a room that held the dryers—that co-owner Ryan Doherty just knew wanted to be its own bar, tucked away from the bustling main room. A planned secret poker room, accessible only through the men’s room never came into being (as far as this writer knows, anyway), but The Laundry Room opened in 2012 as a 22-seat petite boîte behind a locked door. Guests with reservations are first taken into a dark anteroom outside the manager’s office, where they are given the history of the space and the rules of engagement (basically, don’t annoy your fellow imbibers). The back door opens, revealing a tiny bar managed by one ’tender and hostess and decorated with antiques including a historic piano, vintage glassware, framed Ziegfeld girl photos and Doherty’s grandmother’s spoon collection. “It’s meant to feel like your living room, that the place is sort of hugging you,” he says. “You’re transported to a different place when you walk through that hallway. That’s why we keep you in there for a second; those two doors are never opened at the same time. It makes it special, breaking that plane. Going into the Laundry Room always puts people in a different mood.” Didn’t make reservations? From the main-room bar, look for the lantern on the wall to your left. If it’s lit, there’s availability; just ask your bartender. And while you’re in there, check out the original graffiti from notorious Las Vegas street gang the Gerson Park Kingsmen on a structural column that makes up part of the bar. 525 Fremont St., text (702) 701-1466 for availability, Facebook.com/laundryroomlv.

Herbs & Rye

Before opening in 2009 or becoming America’s Best High-Volume Bar in 2016, Herbs & Rye had many lives—a Mexican restaurant, a friedclam shack. But its first and longest to date was as The Venetian Italian Restaurant, which predates the Strip resort by decades. It took the current owner, Nectaly Mendoza, years to make sense of the patchwork of electrical jerry rigging, and there are still parts of the building he has yet to tackle. But that old-timey nature fits his bar, which serves historically accurate classic cocktails and house-butchered steaks in an environment that rivals even the fondest of childhood memories for its camaraderie and warmth. As The Venetian, which operated from 1955 to 2003, the small private dining room was Angelina’s Room, a tribute to co-owner Angie from her husband, Lou Ruvo (yes, that Lou Ruvo of the Frank Gehry-designed Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for BrainHealth, whose son Larry founded the distributorship that became Southern Wine & Spirits with a guy named Steve Wynn). When Larry recently brought Angie, who turns 93 on Feb. 1, for her first visit to Herbs & Rye, she was delighted to point out the exact spot from which she used to keep an eye The Laundry Room on things. Mendoza shared that he was having a replica of the iron-and-stained-glass sign that used to hang over her namesake dining room door made. “With tears streaming down his face,” Mendoza recalls, Larry revealed that the original sign was the only thing he took with him when the Venetian closed in 2003, and that he still had it in storage. Now, 62 years after Angie first watched the bar from the doorway of her dining room, the sign is back where it belongs—a little bit of Las Vegas history that came full circle in the hands of two men who, in their own ways, cemented Las Vegas’ beverage legacy. 3713 W. Sahara Ave., (702) 982-8036, www.herbsandrye.com.

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W I N E E D U C AT O R San Francisco

CHEERS TO THE

EDUCATORS A behind-the-scenes look at the educational side of wine and spirits. By Liz Jeter | Photos by Patrice Ward

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magine working for a company that represents more than 5,000 diverse beverage brands nationwide. OK, now imagine it’s your job to educate the staff and sales teams of this mammoth company about the significance of these brands and products—no easy feat. This is the daunting task that the product educators of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits (SGWS)—the United States’ largest private distributor of wine, spirits and other beverages—are continually working to accomplish. Allison Hupp is the SGWS Product Educator for Northern California, and she truly believes that knowledge and education are the keys to growth in the ever-expanding wine and spirits industry. Knowing how many unique brand, products, and people she deals with, I’m inclined to agree.

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Hupp attended college at Marymount Manhattan where she double majored in English literature and theater. Although theater was her passion, and New York is mecca for theater, she felt she was not gaining a well-rounded education at Marymount and after two years she returned to her home state of Indiana, where she graduated from Indiana University with a degree in English lit. She then returned to New York to pursue a career in theater. As any thespian will tell you, in the beginning it takes transient work to pursue acting, which is what Hupp did. She worked in everything from public relations to copywriting to research jobs, but it was her time working in bars and restaurants which turned out to be the most formative. While working in the restaurant industry she enrolled in some classes at the International Wine Center in New York, where she began pursuing Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) programs. She continued taking these courses purely for the knowledge they afforded, not realizing the value they added to the broader wine and spirit industry. Eventually, she decided to make a change and abandoned her pursuit of ab acting existence in favor of a career in the food and beverage industry, a decision she has never regretted. Since joining Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits in 2012, she has gone from a fine wine manager of sales in Indiana, to her current position as lead NorCal educator based out of Union City. Naturally, this role entails plenty of teaching, but beyond facts and figures, it involves making each product interesting, alluring and sexy. This entails crafting and hosting seminars on trending of-the-moment spirits—like rosé, sparkling wine and rum, among others—and give them the information they need to truly understand the depth and nuance of each one. Her job also involves finding the right certification programs for sales men and women in order to better facilitate career growth for the individual, as well as within the company as a whole.

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“Explore, look for something new, give it a shot.”

In recent years, SGWS and its educators have partnered with the San Francisco Wine School in providing course opportunities in California Wine Appellation Specialist (CWAS) training, originally pioneered by Master Sommelier and Certified Wine Educator David Glancy. CWAS is the first professional credential dedicated specifically to California wine. Since California produces roughly 90 percent of the domestic portfolio, it was a strategic and beneficial move for SGWS to facilitate enrollment for both educators and sales teams. Since Southern acquired the Glazer’s Distribution Company in July of 2016, their focus on education has only intensified. Currently, SGWS has 13 master sommeliers working within the Product Education field, and at least 18 masters somms working within the company—pretty impressive considering there are less than 150 master sommeliers nationwide. Hupp herself is a certified sommelier, and hopes to eventually reach the higher levels of advanced and master as her education and experience grows. It’s this very idea that she sees as being one of the most beneficial aspects to her job: the never ending potential for further education and career growth. Although involved in a historically male-dominated field, Hupp has never felt disadvantaged as a woman in the wine-and-spirit industry, and has even noticed an increase in women joining the industry—particularly in the product education field. Women are also at an advantage in this field, as their palates are slightly more developed biologically than men’s in terms of taste and aroma—something worth thinking about. So what’s her advice to those interested in joining the growing fields of wine, spirits and education? She says to read the writings of Jancis Robinson— an Oxford-educated wine writer and journalist—who is something of a grande dame in the wine world. She also recommends identifying and perfecting your own tastes; in short, really knowing your palate. This will help any prospective product educators to better understand not only their own preferences, but also what is typical for each varietal or spirit. Lastly, she says to “Explore, look for something new, give it a shot, and do your research.” Cheers to that! >

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CONSIDER HIM OUR FINAL FILTER.

Gensac-la-Pallue spring water, filtered through limestone, and the highest-grade wheat from the Picardy region of France are the two ingredients chosen with care by our creator and cellar master François Thibault, who validates the quality of every batch of Grey Goose.

SIP RESPONSIBLY. ©2017. GREY GOOSE, ITS TRADE DRESS, THE GEESE DEVICE AND FLY BEYOND ARE TRADEMARKS. IMPORTED BY GREY GOOSE IMPORTING COMPANY, CORAL GABLES, FL. VODKA 40% ALC. BY VOL. DISTILLED FROM FRENCH WHEAT.

Profile for Shakers Magazine

Shakers Winter 2017  

Here comes Shakers, our tribute to the best spirits — of both human and potable form.

Shakers Winter 2017  

Here comes Shakers, our tribute to the best spirits — of both human and potable form.

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