HEERING CLASSICS SEMIFINAL STARTS APRIL 18

Christopher Lowder & 1930 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Ashley Pini

Binging on cooking shows, books and blogs, and bumping into Jeff Bell at PDT, all led to a life behind the stick for Christopher Lowder – now forging his path in Shanghai.

The middle child in a family of three boys, Chris Lowder has been in the bartending industry since 2003 when he started working as a dishwasher in ‘Woody’s Crab House,’ Baltimore, at the tender age of 15.Dishwashing turned into cooking, and I cooked for the next four years,” he explained.

At 19 Chris arrived in Osaka, Tokyo, having received a year-long scholarship to study in full immersion.

“Growing up in Baltimore, we ate grilled cheese, tomato soup, spaghetti, fried chicken and, once per year, crabs. I spent my years in China from 19-22 just understanding the flavours of the world. We went out at least five days per week. It was awesome,” he said.

After a foray into what Chris describes as “real life,” while continuing to cook at home, he “really missed working in the kitchen, cooking on the line; the heat, the intensity, the passion, the teamwork.” So, Chris started binge-watching cooking shows, obsessively reading and highlighting cookbooks with color-coded post-it notes sticking out of the binding.

“I was following a few blogs written by chefs in New York, and would email them pictures of food that I had cooked, telling them that I would gladly sweep, mop, dish wash, if they would just give me a shot and teach me.”

From here, Chris stumbled upon one of these chef’s blogs, highlighting cocktails in New York. Having come across a whole new world; “Cocktails hadn’t happened in China yet, so craft beer was the closest that I had ever come to fine drinking,” he bought a cheap cocktail set and started mixing at home. “Martinis and Manhattans at first, but eventually I was driving across state lines to get things like Maraschino liqueur and Crème de Violette,” he added.

“Before you knew it I was muddling pineapples into a colander to make cocktails with fresh pineapple juice. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing, but the obsession was real,” Chris told us. “The first cocktail I ever had in my life using fresh juice was a Bees Knees from the PDT cocktail book, and it absolutely changed my life.”

During a trip to New York, Chris went to PDT. “Tending that night was Jeff Bell; he was amazing. I had never experienced hospitality like that before. Jeff showed me that there was a whole social side to bartending that I hadn’t considered before. When I left the bar that evening, I decided that I would spend my adult life trying to make people feel as good as I felt in that bar that night. I think that if I can do that, then that’s a pretty noble pursuit just by itself,” Chris continued.

Of Cheery Heering, Chris has fond memories “One day I was drinking in New York in Mother’s Ruin; it was the first day that I had ever had a drink from the Gentleman’s Companion, by Charles Baker. I was drinking with Greg Bowen and his girlfriend and he made me a drink with Cherry Heering, a ‘Remember the Maine’. We had the most amazing afternoon. I wound up making this drink over and over in my apartment after. As well as this, Giuseppe Gonzalez was bartending, and for me, that in itself is a great memory. It was such a treat; a great afternoon with great people”.

Chris explained that he chose the year 1930, as a homage to one of his bar heroes, Charles H. Baker Jr.

“When I moved to Seoul to open the Four Seasons Hotel, our flagship cocktail bar was called “Charles H.” after the late Charles H. Baker Jr. My first journey into solo menu creation, head bartending, and bar management was all framed around this bar that was dedicated to this man. It was a huge chapter in my life and career, and in making this cocktail we poured lots and lots of Cherry Heering,” he added.

For Chris, the most important element of the bartending industry is “Education. Just more, free, accessible education,” he stated.

“I know there are a lot of issues to rally around in progressive bartending and bar management, but the reality in a lot of the world is that thousands of people are just getting started in the industry and probably don’t have good access to accurate training materials in their native language.

“I travel to lots of cities to do bar training, and the teams there don’t know many of the basics. For me, the real mission is universal access to high quality, accurate, objectively respectable bar educational materials to train people on the fundamentals of bartending and service in their native language. Is that so hard?”

Kirsch au Café #2 Cocktail

20ml Cherry Heering

20ml Fresh Espresso (chilled)

30ml Pierre Ferrand Ambre Cognac

10ml Kirschwasser

10ml Demerara Syrup (1:1)

30ml Fresh Egg White

Method: Combine all ingredients into a cocktail tin. Shake without ice, shake with ice and fine strain into a tall cocktail glass. Top with a dash of Angostura bitters, made into ornate decoration with a cocktail pick.

Garnish: Serve with a side of dark chocolate and cocktail cherries that have been re-brandied into a 4:1 Cherry Heering: Kirsch blend.

Gromit Eduardsen 2009 & One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Ashley Pini

Born in the British Military Hospital in Germany and raised in the UK, Gromit had his first foray into hospitality the week before his 17th birthday, when he landed a job working in a kitchen in the small Alpine town, Kitzbhuel, washing dishes during the summer season.

Having enjoyed the “family-like atmosphere of the mountains,” he moved on to the Viennese bar scene, washing ashtrays and glasses at a beer bar in Vienna’s 7th district, working his way up the ranks to become a bartender.

During these early days of his career, “a rock and roll kinda guy”, showed him how to make a gin fizz. “Amazed, I watched him with style put the items in the shaker, including the soda.

As the shaker exploded in his face giving him a black eye, I realised this cocktail stuff was for me; but I was sure it could be done better!” he said.

Utilising the tips he made bartending, Gromit “went drinking at Viennese cocktail scene bars to watch and learn from the good guys what this industry was all about,” he explained. It was in one such bar that he was introduced to ‘American Bar: The Artistry of Mixing Drinks,’ by Charles Schumann. “This was the start of my cocktail journey,” he added.

Recognising that “the better you made drinks, the better tips you made,” Gromit spent his time behind the bar wisely, as well as taking every opportunity to learn from others. His time in Austria finished in Lech, working in a classic cocktail and cigar bar, along with a cocktail club during the later hours.

He then made the move to Copenhagen, with a plan to keep bartending. It was here that he was first introduced to Angus Winchester and the history of Tanqueray and Cocktails, and when, he explained “it occurred to me that there was more to this than just surviving.” For Gromit “Angus took my bartending from just a way of me making money for my next beer, to my life’s vocation.”

Gromit enjoyed regaling his guests with the stories and history of the brands and products that he used behind the bar: “These stories, told in my personal style alongside producing drinks at a decent speed, had the ability to capture my guest’s attention,” he explained. His popularity with his guests continued to grow, and gave him a good standing position as a recognised bar tender in the Copenhagen night life.

It is Gromit’s belief that making a patron’s night special goes beyond the glass. He adds “I have been the catalyst for the start of relationships; people getting married and even having kids. That’s the power of being a good bartender.”

“I see a good drink and great atmosphere as the fuel of room for people dancing. You could say being the driver of a good vibe is my passion.”

Of Cherry Heering, Gromit shared: “A champion memory I have from Heering is a lunch time visit to the Heerings Gaard. The history of a brand is a very interesting thing for me; where it comes from, how it’s made and how it’s made it so far.”

“Following lunch with a friend, we went to the basement of the famous Danish banker house where there is still a small section dedicated to what the house was once use for: the washing, crushing, maceration and ageing of Cherry Heering. The stories and history of the brand were still there. It was a great day with a good friend and a class brand,” he finished.

For Gromit, there are a few elements of bartending that hold the utmost importance; “The history of the bar, its purpose in society and the importance of good service. A good bar is more than just a decent drink; a good bartender manages the atmosphere of a good bar,” he finished.

In addition to bartending, Gromit is a partner in a cocktail events business, the owner of a cocktail consultant business that has had activities internationally and locally, and has recently started an additional side project, aimed to maintain the high level of drinks available in Denmark.

Gromit chose the year 2009 as “so many good things happened this year; my daughter was born, we opened our first standalone bar, 1105 Bols Genver was launched in Denmark and the bar was then awarded a prize for being one of the towns best bars.”

 

Copenhagen Cocktail

50 ml Bols Genver

20 ml Cherry Heering

20 ml Fresh pressed lime juice

10 ml Sugar syrup

Dashes Angostura Bitters

Method: Shake and strain

Garnish: Orange Zest

Glassware: Coup

Salvatore Calabrese & 1861 – one of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Ashley Pini

A bartender to the stars, inspired by great European events and legends of the industry, Salvatore ‘The Maestro’ Calabrese sets a high bar in the world of hospitality.

Born in the small town of Maiori on the Amalfi Coast in 1955, Salvatore Calabrese’s career began at the tender age of 11 when his father found him a job at a local hotel bar, The Hotel Regina Palace, “to keep me off the streets during the long summer school break,” he explained.

“My job was to clean up and run errands for the head barman, Signor Raffaello, who soon became my mentor. He was the Humphrey Bogart of bartending; dressed in his impeccable cream jacket, he spoke several languages and was Mr hospitality, a great grounding experience at such a young age and he has been my inspiration ever since.”

From there, Salvatore progressed to working in the restaurant at Hotel Panorama, Maiori, where he rose through the ranks to become the youngest ever maître d’ on the Amalfi Coast. “Sadly, I lost my father not long after he found me my first job and I wish he could see what a wonderful opportunity he gave me and where it led me. I will be forever grateful.”

Following a move to London shortly after meeting his wife Sue, Salvatore explained that his “love for the bar industry really took off when I landed my first job in London at The Dukes Hotel in 1982. It was here that I really began to feel that my future lay behind the bar.”

It was here also, that he soon made his name selling Liquid History and developed his very unique way of serving the perfect martini cocktail.

“To this day, Dukes Hotel still has the reputation for selling the best martini in the world; super dry and super cool, known as The Direct Martini or Naked Martini, created following my technique.”

Salvatore explains that the year of the inspiration behind his Cherry Heering cocktail, 1861, is of great importance to him due to the declaration of the unification of Italy being announced that very year. He explains, “Giuseppe Garibaldi was an iconic Italian hero who grew to symbolise the unification. He always wore an orangey red kerchief around his neck and so he and his kerchief are the inspiration for my cocktail”.

His greatest memory of the liqueur came I the early 90s, “It was one of the first times that I created a twist of a classic cocktail. A lovely lady asked me for something with Cherry Heering in and the first thing that came to my mind was the classic Blood and Sand. I wanted to make something special for her so I created Blood Love with Gin, made from Cherry Heering, blood orange juice, egg white, caramel syrup and a touch of sichuan pepper. Needless to say, she loved it and asked for it every time she came in to my bar.”

It is Salvatore’s belief that “the bar is one of the greatest theatres that there is. Being center stage of that theatre and creating a bar with a soul is what makes me tick.”

“A great bar should be one where the client wants to return again and again, not just for the superb cocktails but the whole experience where they find a warm welcome and a bartender who cares about his craft,” he continues. It is for these very reasons that hospitality comes at the top of his list when speaking to aspiring young bartenders.

For Salvatore, the industry doesn’t come without its unique issues. He explains “the main issue is young bartenders failing to appreciate the importance of being a great host. Often, they place too much emphasis on their skills as a mixologist and can sometimes forget to work on their rapport with customers, which is arguably the most important element of our jobs. The customer should always come top of your list and this is a rule I try to live by.”

 Garibaldi Kerchief

Ingredients:

50ml Orange juice

30ml Campari

20ml Cherry Heering

Method:

Build directly in the glass with ice and stir

Garnish:

A twist of orange and a cherry

Glassware:

Old Fashioned

Chris Hysted-Adams & 2002 – one of Heerings 200 years

Words by: Hayden wood

As ‘Que’ of Melbourne’s multi award winning Black Pearl, Chris Hysted-Adams is a master of using flavours of heritage brands like Cherry Heering in fresh, innovative and trend-setting ways. Is it any wonder the title of World’s Best Cocktail Bar from TOTC reins supreme here? Chris opens up a his pearls of wisdom to what it takes to lead a team to victory.

Chris chose 2002 as a year from the book of beverage landmarks as it is the year of Black Pearl’s inception. “I tasted my first Singapore Sling was when I first started at Black Pearl. I really embraced as many classics as I could, but what really stood out about Cherry Heering to me was that something could stand out so much in a cocktail that had SOOOO many other ingredients!”

A former World Class Brand Ambassador, Chris has seen more of this industry than many from years on the road where burnout can be part of the package deal. Through his experience, his holistic approach ensures Black Pearl’s charter maintains a course for human sustainability and positive industry culture.

He started working the bar in 2007 and notes team culture as much as cocktail innovation helps maintain the pace and standards that keep Black Pearl at the top of her game. Avoiding burnout and building a strong team who have a healthy work life balance are as important and integral to Chris as the cocktails.

“I’m making it very clear that when you do start bartending it’s a career and not to see it as a lifestyle.”

“If people did not choose hospitality as a career because of the lifestyle, but because of the amazing things you can achieve whilst in it, if people knew this going into it, I’m sure our industry could be even better.

 “At Black Pearl, it’s a job. You’re here for a job. We do encourage you to have just as much fun as people on the other side of the bar and its part of why I still love coming in here for a drink on my days off. But, making it very clear that it’s a job and not to see it as a lifestyle, because I think that’s when you do open the door to the vices that can cause burnout quickly.” “So, we meet every week to two weeks to discuss anything that’s happened during service, anything we think we can improve on. We are open so much and the hours are long so it can make it pretty hard to do that sometimes but we make it as quick and efficient as possible. Normally you have that hunch that something might tip over the edge soon so we like getting on the ‘front porch’ and all agreeing to take a week off drinking!”

The duty of care to his staff and himself includes the insistence on a balanced, varied lifestyle as much as possible, which also helps to keep his ideas fresh.

“A lot of us tend to write-off their days to rest or by drinking at their place of work. It’s very easy to just get caught into a routine and only expose yourself to the same influences.”

“One thing I force myself to do is find an external influence, something completely removed from the industry … it might be a night of going to a gallery, going to a restaurant, going to a gig, something like that. Just to kind of … you know when you have a bit of a creative block? Trying to explore that avenue in another way can have a tendency to unclog it.”

“I think it’s just having some extended time off away from … yes, away from bars, away from that industry. I’ve just come back from two weeks off down the coast and I try to stay nice and active and it’s amazing how quickly your brain recovers and starts coming up with more ideas, and really starts ticking over a bit quicker. But also forcing yourself to get out of it every now and then, so you don’t become too run down on a project or burnt out, is healthy.”

Black Pearl is famous internationally for pioneering new and imaginative ways of tweaking and pushing established systems, techniques and flavours and Chris’ Cherry Heering cocktail below is no exception.

Leading by example, living responsibly and an inspiration to many aspiring followers, Chris Hysted-Adams tries to keep the industry healthy and sustainable to do his bit to maintain a tact for another 200 years of heritage Heering cocktails. Currently, he’s objectively working on that by looking better in a wetsuit.

HEART OF HEERING

Makes 1 drink

30ml Cherry Heering

20ml Smith & Cross Overproof Rum

20ml Lime Juice

30ml Pineapple Syrup (See below)

30ml Cream

5 Drops Soap Bark Extract

60ml Soda Water

Pineapple Syrup

1 ripe pineapple cut into chunks (skins removed)

500g regular white sugar

125g water

30ml Everclear (high proof alcohol)

Make a gomme from sugar and water. Allow gomme to chill. Blitz all ingredients in a blender (or with a stick blender if doubling up in batch amounts) for 2-3 minutes before cold steeping in a non reactive container over night. Strain steeped ingredients through an oil filter to clarify before bottling. Syrup lasts approximately seven days when refrigerated.

Cocktail Method

Add all ingredients except soda into a mixing tin or milkshake cup with a quarter of the mixing tin filled with crushed ice. Flash blend in milkshake blender until a frost forms on the outside of the cup (Approx 45-60 sec). Add 60ml chilled soda water to a chilled highball and fine strain flash blended ingredients on top of soda water. Serve up (no Ice) in a chilled highball glass. Garnish with edible flowers.

Steve Olson & 1995 – One of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Theodora Sutcliffe

“It was in 1995 that Ron Cooper, an artist with no previous experience whatsoever in our industry, brought his first handcrafted artisanal mezcal to the US: Chichicapa,” recalls veteran drinks industry maven Steve Olson. “Within a year he had four different single-village mezcals in the US: for 10 years, there were only four. By about 2015 mezcal was a category; by 2016 we’d gone from four brands to over 200.”

In a year when agave spirits seem set to continue their global explosion, Olson’s cocktail, Gracias Cooper, pays tribute to Ron Cooper and his brand, Del Maguey. “When I first tasted these mezcals, I freaked out! I went down to one of his villages, I got this Indian guide, and Jimmy Yeager and I – from Jimmy’s in Aspen – we went off into the mountains with my wife,” Olson recalls. “Although I continued consulting with many companies for many, many years, I knew something was about to change – that my life was going to be about preserving the heritage of these people.” Over twenty years later, he is now a partner in Del Maguey.

At first blush, agave from Mexico’s Oaxaca highlands doesn’t seem like a natural partner to cherries nourished in Denmark’s cool orchards, but Olson begs to differ. “Mezcal and Cherry Heering are a slam dunk,” he says, with an educator’s passion. “The first time I tried mezcal and Cherry Heering, I was screwing around with the Singapore Sling. I stole the Blood & Sand with Mezcal from Charles Joly and tweaked it for the Sangre y Arena with grapefruit and vermouth…”

To pay tribute to Ron Cooper’s discovery, however, Olson moved away from fruit-led mixes to an Old-Fashioned style drink that highlights Chichicapa’s smoke. “The reason this plays so perfectly is that every one of those ingredients has its roots in Mexico: coffee is grown in Oaxaca, chocolate is native to Oaxaca,” he says. “It’s all from Oaxaca, but I’m Norwegian-Danish so to add a little bit of Cherry Heering to the drink is perfect.”

It was that Scandinavian heritage which gave Olson his start in drinks. His parents took over a store in the little Iowa town where he grew up and turned it into Trollheim (Home of the Trolls), a Nordic wonderland complete with soda fountain, where Olson was “soda jerk”. “People would come from miles around to taste my sundaes,” he recalls.

Then a family opened a restaurant across the street, and mother and child became sick with leukaemia. “They were spending more and more time in the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, and they trusted me, so they gave me the keys,” Olson says. By the time he was 16 he was opening up the kitchen before school, setting up the dining room after school, racing through his homework, then running the bar all night.

“When I got out of school and went to college, it was a no-brainer to become a waiter, then a sommelier, then GM,” Olson recalls. “I was always an operations guy, but I hung behind the bar because I loved it.”

Like his friend Dale DeGroff, however, Olson’s first love was performing arts. By 23, he had graduated in broadcast journalism, was teaching acting classes, directing TV slots for the local news, working on stage, running his own comedy troupe… – and opening restaurants on the side. “I one day realised that I was going to die,” he recalls. “I was getting up at 5am and shooting for the news, going out of there to the restaurants and working till 2am: I realised I couldn’t do both, I needed to focus on one or the other, and I went back to the restaurant business.”

Since then, Olson has opened close to 50 restaurants – including NYC icon Gramercy Tavern – and enjoyed a media profile higher than he could have imagined. “I started writing and doing articles, speaking on national and international stages: I got a TV show on the Food Network,” he says. “All of the things I really wanted to do I got to do, and I got them by doing what I really love to do, which is the restaurant business.”

At this stage in his career, however, Del Maguey is his focus – and sustainability in particular. Olson is working with a scientist and an architect to revive and modernise the ancient Mesoamerican tradition of making adobe bricks from waste agave fibres. “If we can get every producer of mezcal in Oaxaca to work with us, you can build literally 3,000 one-bedroom homes,” he explains. “That would be a step to replacing the 20,000-odd homes that were destroyed in the recent rash of earthquakes – and it’s something we can do if we’re smart and we’re working together.”

It might not be the future Olson envisaged when he first went off into the mountains in 1995: yet it’s definitely a vision to be grateful for. Gracias Cooper. Muchas gracias, indeed.

Gracias Cooper

1 1/2 ounces Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Chichicapa

3/4 ounce J. Rieger Caffe Amaro

1/2 ounce Cherry Heering

2 dashes Bittermans Xocolatl Mole Bitters

Glass: Double Old Fashioned

Garnish: Wide orange peel

Preparation:

Fill your mixing glass up with ice cubes and build all ingredients over the ice.  Stir very well.  Strain into an Old Fashioned glass over a 2X2 cube. Garnish with a wide orange peel.

 

 

Philip Duff & 1971 – one of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Maggie Beale

Much in demand in the art of mixology throughout the world, Philip nevertheless finds time to give back to the community in full.

Text: One of the cocktail community’s most visible presenters and educators, and an in-demand on-trade & beverage consultant to drinks companies around the world, Philip Duff hails originally from Ireland.

From learning his craft in the vibrant city of Dublin, Philip moved to tend and manage bars in London, New York, Grand Cayman, Rotterdam and The Hague before setting up his Liquid Solutions Bar & Beverage Consulting company in 1999.

Talented, presentable with quick wit and encyclopaedic knowledge of his craft, Philip was soon in demand to teach seminars – which he does in over forty countries a year.

His early career highlights include creating the Total Cocktails on-trade bar training program that won an award from the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, Canada in 2003. From there he went on to organise the world’s first Molecular Mixology seminar in Paris, 2005. And then – ever ready to expand further – he opened Europe’s largest bartending school and in 2007 in Amsterdam he organised an award-winning cocktail-themed visitor experience. From there, Philip helped to create a brand that won Best New Product at the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards in New Orleans, 2009.

Also in New Orleans, in 2012 he took the Spirited Awards Golden Spirit award for World’s Best Presenter and became the first ever Director of Education for Tales of the Cocktail in 2013. Always reaching out to express more on his chosen metier, in 2014 Philip recreated the oldest known recipe for gin from a 1495 Dutch-language book in the British Library – that has to be a world first!

Asked why he choose to honour the year 1971 for Heering’s starred anniversary, Philip told me,

“1971 was the year the 8th James Bond movie, ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ was released – it was the first, and to date, the only Bond movie or Ian Fleming book featuring Holland, where Bond travels to investigate diamond smuggling.” It ia also a place Philip knows well.

In 2008, Philip opened the Netherlands’ first speakeasy cocktail bar, door 74 in Amsterdam. Drinks there are listed in three different sections: super boozy, medium, and light but ‘you name it – they can make it’ is the name of the game.

In true speakeasy fashion, the bar’s entrance is hidden away. The popular venue quickly hit the scene with a bang as the place to go and it was soon nominated twice as one of the world’s four best cocktail bars (2008 & 2009). It won Best Cocktail Bar and Best Bartender awards in both 2009 and 2011 at the Venuez Dutch Bar Awards. And, after the venue was featured in “World’s 50 Best Bars” it was credited with kicking off an entire wave of classic-cocktail focused bars in the Netherlands.

And, in pride of place, Cherry Heering products hold their own there very well, he tells me.

“I’ve loved the Genever-Cherry Heering flavour combination of grain, spice and cherry since the late 1990s, when I moved to Holland myself and began experimenting with genever and I grew to love it.”

And there’s more to it, he reveals. “Well, ‘Ice’ is slang talk for ‘diamonds’, and Bond as a spy goes undercover as a diamond smuggler, plus Ice Spy sounds like I Spy.

 “When a Cherry Heering cocktail (also, coincidentally, made with genever) won a contest I was judging in Copenhagen in 2009 which was to find the official cocktail of Copenhagen, each competitor was generously presented with a 1920s bottle of Cherry Heering, from the family’s private collection. I’d never seen such old bottles before and was impressed.”

Is there a current trend in the industry that is exciting and progressive?

“Definitely the use of historic and accurate ingredients, and a return to simple, straightforward flavours and cocktails, but executed perfectly every time, and without fuss.” He says decisively.

An accomplished and engaging speaker, Philip has many devotees and his sought-after seminars on bartending, cocktails and spirits know-how have been attended by more than 90,200+ bartenders in over 124 cities around the globe since 1999.

Philip was inaugurated into the Gin Guild in 2015. He launched his own brand, Old Duff Genever in New York in 2017 that almost immediately acquired cult status, being listed within a week in every New York bar that was a member of the World’s 50 Best Bars.

His consulting firm Liquid Solutions helps drinks brands connect with the world of bars – it is centred around new product development mainly and encompasses many aspects ranging from copywriting to creating on-trade engagement and education content as well as trade engagement programs.

As well as teaching seminars, founding an award-winning craft-cocktail bar, owning Old Duff Genever, he serves as director of education for Tales of the Cocktail and appears regularly on television and in many international publications as diverse as Esquire, Reuters, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Food & Wine, Australian Bartender, Imbibe and Mixology.

And it’s not all take and no give with him. When asked ‘If you had one chance to make our industry better what would you do (and are you doing this already)? He was firm in his reply. “In my own small way I am; my brand Old Duff Genever donates $1 per bottle to charities that cater for bartenders in need, and I’d like to see more brands recognizing that they have a responsibility towards the people who sell their products.”

I couldn’t agree more.

————-end———-

ICE SPY COCKTAIL

Ingredients

(1.5oz/45ml)/1.5 parts Old Duff Genever

(0.5oz/15ml/0.5 parts Cherry Heering

(0.25oz/7.5ml/0.25 parts Cynar 70

2 dashes The Bitter Truth Boker’s Bitters

Method

Stir with ice, strain into an empty pre-chilled cocktail coupe. Garnish with lemon zest, expressed over the surface of the glass.

 

 

Tony Abou-Ganim & 1960, one of Heering´s 200 years

Words by Theodora Sutcliffe

Vegas bar legend Tony “Modern Mixologist” Abou-Ganim is a product of the 60s. And, since his mother’s name is Mary, a cocktail called Just for Mary seemed the textbook choice to commemorate his birth year, 1960, the year The Beatles played Hamburg, Muhammad Ali won his first fight and John F. Kennedy became president.

Yet Abou-Ganim, who made his name first at the Starlight Room in San Francisco and then at Las Vegas’ Bellagio, has more than one Mary in his life. And it was Mary Faulkner, co-author of his first two books, who inspired the cocktail.

“When we were working on the first book, The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails, we were coming to the end of a long day of writing, and we were in need of a drink – a strong drink!” Abou-Ganim recalls.

Manhattans were Abou-Ganim’s first thought – but he was out of sweet vermouth, so substituted Lillet Blanc. To balance the drink, he added first orange bitters then Cherry Heering. “I played with that combination, tried different proportions, and came up with just what we needed: a lovely boozy end to a couple of days writing about cocktails,” he recalls. “We liked it so much that we added it to the book.”

The combo of whiskey and aromatics in the Just for Mary is a classic mid-century flavour profile, from an era when offices had bars and drinking and smoking in the workplace was commonplace, at least for men. “In the 60s, the husband or man of the household had the tools, they had the ingredients, they had the bar – and it was kind of a rite of passage into manhood to be able to make a Dry Martini or a Manhattan,” says Abou-Ganim. “Then we went through the light beers and spritzers and Chardonnays and Pellegrino water, and those home bars disappeared – as did the ability to make a cocktail at home.”

While cocktail craft may have been men’s work in the 1960s, it was another strong woman, his cousin Helen David, who introduced Abou-Ganim to cocktails. David ran a neighbourhood bar, the Brass Rail, in the little city of Port Huron, a ferry ride from Canada when the lake isn’t frozen. “Helen and her mother opened the Brass Rail in 1937, three years after the repeal of Prohibition, and in the throes of the Great Depression,” Abou-Ganim recalls. “She was an only child, and her father passed away unexpectedly, leaving her and her mother with an ice-cream parlour.”

During the Great Depression, ice-cream was far from a household priority. “Her mother said, ‘We’re going to be put out on the streets if we don’t turn the parlour into a saloon,’” Abou-Ganim relates. “Helen, then aged 21, said, ‘Proper ladies don’t run saloons.’ And her mother replied: ‘A lady is a lady wherever you put her, but she’s gotta have a buck in her pocket.’”

After that rocky start, David would work in the Brass Rail for a jaw-dropping 70 years: she was taken from her bar stool to the hospital where she passed away. She remains an inspiration for Abou-Ganim, who has established not only the Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award, presented at Tales of the Cocktail each year, but the Helen David Relief Fund in her memory.

It was Helen’s husband, Charlie, who first introduced Abou-Ganim to the Singapore Sling, served in high style in a frosted Collins glass with dangling mermaids. Almost 20 years later, at the Bellagio, he set out to resurrect the original 1915 recipe. “The drink was so popular we pretty much used the state’s entire supply of Cherry Heering,” he recalls. “Our orders were so large, we’d have bottles coming in as 375s, ones with the price tags on them from liquor stores, all dusty…!”

Not long after winning the Bacardi Martini Grand Prix in 2002, Abou-Ganim bid farewell to the Bellagio and branched out into freelance work – in a time when consultancy work was very far from common. While he works with clients as diverse as Caesar’s Palace and the T-Mobile Arena in Vegas, has hosted his own TV show and won Iron Chef three times, he is proudest of remaining independent. “The thing I’m most proud of is that it’s now been 14 years I’ve never had to look for a job: work has all come to me,” he says.

And, though the red rocks of the Vegas desert seem as far from the watery expanse of the Great Lakes as it is possible to get within a single country, Abou-Ganim is passionate about his adopted home. “The Strip has its own beauty. A lot of people who live here say, ‘I never go to the Strip,’ but I love the Strip,” he says. “But if you get on a bike, either a motorcycle or a bicycle and head out of town, the High Desert is so beautiful.” For, even as his age rises to match his birth year, this self-confessed “two wheels guy” is far from slowing down.

Just For Mary

2 oz Straight Rye Whiskey

½ oz Cherry Heering

½ oz Lillet Blanc

2 dashes Angostura orange bitters

In an ice filled mixing glass add Straight Rye Whiskey, Cherry Heering, Lillet Blond and Angostura orange bitters; stir until very cold. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a burnt orange twist.

Nico de Soto & 2015 – one of Heering´s 200 years

Words by: Jeffrey Morgenhthaler

It’s Impossible Not to Love Nico de Soto

Nico de Soto is one of those bartenders whose resume you get jealous of just looking at it. Mama Shelter. Experimental Cocktail Club. Curio Parlor. 69 Colebrooke Row. Happiness Forgets. How does one person even get to work at all of those bars? The answer is that he’s extremely talented, works harder than just about anyone else, and he deserves every second of it.

Born and raised in Paris, Nico began his career in his home town in 2005. But not even the magic of one of the world’s greatest cities could contain him and two years later he moved to Melbourne, Australia to work behind the bar there. And for a year he crafted libations and learned even more about the flavors of the world.

I was asking Nico about some of his Cherry Heering memories, and he told me this great one from 2009. He was working at the Cannes Film Festival for the distributor of Cherry Heering in France, and staying at the very lavish Hotel Martinez. We don’t really have hotels like the Hotel Martinez in the States. It’s extremely nice. So, naturally there were a ton of movie stars staying in the hotel as well. Anyway, to hear Nico describe it, he says that every time he walked out of the back door where a crowd was gathered to catch a glimpse of someone famous, the reaction of everyone was disappointment at his lack of fame.

But here’s the funny thing: Nico is one of the biggest celebrities in the bar business. I was watching television late one night and there he was, making cocktails with Martha Stewart. I open up a magazine, and there he is talking about clarified milk punches. He owns two of the best bars in the world, one of which (Danico, in Paris) is located in the historical Galerie Vivienne.

He’s passionate about cocktails, flavors, and food. His extensive travels have informed a colorful palate of flavors on the menu at his bars. He preaches sustainability in cocktails, not only in the ingredients he selects and the way he runs his bars, but in the lifestyle he approaches with balance. Nutrition and health are every bit as important to him as selling alcoholic beverages.

When we asked Nico to select a year he replied, without hesitation, that he’d like to celebrate the year 2015. It was a big year for Nico. Sure, in 2014 he was named the Most Influential French Bartender at the Cocktails Spirits Bar Show in Paris, and in 2017 he was in the Top Four for International Bartender of the Year at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. But on March 31, 2015 he opened his first bar, Mace, in New York City. Mr. De Soto specifically dreamed of opening a bar in New York, as it’s his favorite city. High praise from a man who’s visited 83 countries and worked in 31 of them.

The drink is a sort of tribute to the house signature cocktail, a drink called the Mace cocktail. Named after the bar and offered since opening, the Mace cocktail is one of the many house cocktails that are named after and inspired by exotic spices and flavors. The drink is a sort of exploration of the flavors of beet and aquavit, and uses mace to tie the whole thing together.

Nico wanted to create a Cherry Heering cocktail that incorporated beets and aquavit, but also pandan, a sweet, fragrant leaf used in much Asian cooking. Aquavit is combined with Cherry Heering, oloroso sherry, beet juice and pandan leaf, and the whole mixture is cooked sous vide for two hours to release the delicate flavors of the pandan into the cocktail. The mixture is then stirred with ice and strained into a chilled glass, and finally garnished with an orange twist. He names the drink 649East, which is Mace’s address in New York City.

It should come as no surprise that also in 2015, Playboy Magazine named Mace America’s Most Innovative Cocktail Concept. And I think that with this cocktail, the 649East, it’s clear to see how innovation and creativity flows through Nico De Soto.  The world of cocktails is lucky to have him.

 

649 EAST, which is Mace´s address

2oz Aquavit

1/2oz Cherry Heering

1/4oz Oloroso Sherry

1/4oz  Beet Juice

1 Pandan leaf

Mix all the ingredients together and cook sous vide for 2 hours at 50C

Stir in a mixing tin, then strain in Nick and Nora, garnish with an orange zest

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