Bartenders - James Beard Nominees, Pop-uppers, Traveling Pioneers

The BarSmarts educational empire is expanding: previous participants in New York, Chicago and LosNick Strangeway Angeles will be invited to the “BarSmarts Pioneers in Mixology” road show program in March. From London, the elusive Nick Strangeway and the dashing Tony Conigliaro will present molecular and local mixological concepts, while from New York, Contemporary Cocktails’ Aisha Sharpe and Emplyees Only’s Dushan Zaric will focus on service issues. Simon Ford and gaz regan will perform ringmaster duties.


James BeardAmong the nominees for a James Beard Award for “outstanding wine and spirits professional” are bar folk Bobby Heugel, Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston; Julie Reiner, Clover Club and Flatiron Lounge, NYC; Charles Joly, The Drawing Room, Chicago; and Todd Thrasher, Restaurant Eve, Alexandria, Va.


The Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) boys have turned their hands to “Experience Cognac,” a web portal that “interactively teaches you everything you want and need to know about the legendary spirit from France, Cognac,” they say. The site is now in beta test, but check it out here.

Perhaps you missed it, but Smuggler’s Cove in San Francisco and others didn’t – the birthday of Tiki master Donn Beach (Don the Behcomber) Feb. 22. Mark it down for next year’s promotion calendar. Maybe that's why Smuggler's Cove is the 2011 Nightclub & Bar Cocktail Lounge of the Year...

“Pop-up” bartending, the contemporary version of guest bartender night, has become a recurring and overwhelming theme in many cities lately. Zan Pellacio's Fatty Johnson, itself a pop-up restaurant, has been hosting many of NYC's best-known bartenders. Toby Cecchini and Brian Miller recently “elected to place ourselves into the dunk tank of ridicule and imposture,” according to Cecchini, by focusing on a selection of reviled cocktails from the '70s through the '90s. The night included Long Island Iced Teas, Alabama Slammers, Tequila Sunrises, Blue Hawaiians, Kamikazes, Jello shots of the Bramble (with apologies to Mr. Bradsell), and, of course, the Cosmopolitan. The same week in Manhattan, bartenders from NYC, Boston and elsewhere met at Otto's Shrunken Head for the UK-born tiki cocktail competition called “It's a Rematch! Beeyatch!” in which 23 bartenders paid $100 each to compete in a race to make 10 tiki drinks in under four minutes. Scott Marshall of NYC’s 1534 and Boston's Drink completed the task in three minutes.

The Museum of the American Cocktail is ramping up its seminar series. Coming up in Washington, D.C., on March 22 is “Great Cocktails of the Great Hotel Bars, Part II,” with Chantal Tseng, Derek Brown and Phil Greene talking about and pouring drinks from The Roosevelt in New Orleans and The Seelbach in Lousiville. Eben Freeman presents the “Math of Mixology” in New Orleans on April 4, focusing on the Sour, the Modified Sour, the Collins and the Modified Collins. In New Orleans at the Museum on May 2, gaz regan gives his take on “The Mindful Bartender.” Finally, on May 23 and back in D.C., Phil Greene and Garrett Peck speak about the “13 awful years” of Prohibition in Washington. Get info about these events and all the Museum’s activities here.

Time’s running out to enter the two cocktail competitions to be held at the Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of America convention April 10-13 in Orlando, Florida. Go here to enter either the Iron Mixologist or the general competition.