Cheers January/February 2013

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Many mixologists get around this by reaching for the more spiceforward gins when crafting cocktails for the chillier seasons. For instance, Philadelphia's Bluecoat gin has a burst of white pepper; Catoctin Creek from Virginia gets its peppery bite from rye; and Junipero from San Francisco has bold baking spices. "Gin will always have a prominent place on my drink list— even during the cooler months," says Fiola's Faile. "I do rotate seasonally, and talk to staff about the different flavor profiles so they can be more familiar with them." Hendrick's Ryan recently served a hot gin punch to 2,000 consumers that was a big hit. "Many forget that there are a multitude of botanicals that go into making gin—many of them either citrus peel or spice," he points out. The Cucumber Sage Martini from Tavistock Restaurants. Cool as a cucumber The popularity of Hendrick's gin, released in 1999, cannot be overstated. Its availability and use in libations—especially drinks that include its main botanical, cucumber—have been responsible for introducing many cocktail lovers to gin. Hendrick'sbased cocktails have also made the cucumber slice a popular garnish. Patricia Richards, the master mixologist for the 25 restaurants and bars at the 4,700-room Wynn Las Vegas and Encore Resort, says more guests are eschewing the ubiquitous lime wedge for a cucumber slice in a Hendrick's-based Gin and Tonic. Ruth's Chris Steakhouse this past September unveiled a vintage -inspired cocktails list that includes the Cucumber Collins. This drink shakes Hendrick's gin up with Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur, lime, muddled cucumber and an orange wedge; the price varies depending on the market. Some of the 141 locations of The Melting Pot, a fondue dining chain owned by Front Burner Brands, offer the Black Pepper Gimlet. This cocktail, which has a suggested price of $7.95, mixes Hendrick's with lime and club soda, garnished with a black pepperdusted cucumber slice. —KM 30 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2013 UNIQUE FOOD PAIRING OPPORTUNITIES The multifaceted quality of gin opens up a bevy of beverage and food pairing opportunities. "Our Southside is very light and refreshing; it goes great with our oysters on the half shell," says Teresi of Gordon Ramsay Steak. He recommends the herbaceous lemon- and basil-based English Garden cocktail with the venue's caesar salad or market salad. And Faile loves combining a citrus- and gin-based drink with a fish dish. "We used to have a Branzino dish on the menu with a Lemon Prosecco Zabaglione underneath it," he notes. "I would always try to talk people into pairing that with a French 75." Admittedly, gin still has some strides to make when compared to the popularity of vodka. At Tavistock Restaurants' concepts, for instance, the gin trend is not as hot as the current tequila or Bourbon craze, Hanley says. And as Richards of Wynn and Encore noted earlier, many guest have preconceived notions about gin and may be reluctant to try it. Still, the range of available options, plus the creativity by bar professionals and guests' willingness to experiment, will continue to ramp up gin's popularity. The Melting Pot, a 141location fondue dining experience chain owned and operated by Tampa, FL-based Front Burner Brands, offers four gins as part of its core beverage program. As Front Burner's beverage manager Paul Brown puts it, "the growing interest in craft spirits and all of the unique flavor profiles can help create a second wave of interest in gin." Kelly Magyarics is a wine and spirits writer and wine educator in the Washington, D.C. area. She can be reached through her website,, or on Twitter @kmagyarics. ANOTHER ROUND Visit for a sidebar on Negronis. Or use your smart phone to instantly scan the image to the right.

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