What’s Shakin’ in the Bar & Nightlife Business: Week of May 15

Black and white photo of bartender with cocktail shaker
What's shakin', breakin'? Image: Getty

Bar, nightclub and restaurant operators, managers, bartenders and other staff members have a lot to keep tabs on. From every day operations tasks to new product releases to spirit, beer, wine, cocktail and food trends, keeping on top of bar and nightlife news each week can be a project in and of itself.

That’s where we come in. To make things that much easier for you we’ve put together a detailed rundown of what happened this week that you should know. You need to know what international products are finally being distributed throughout America, what innovations are being made in glassware and bar and kitchen products, what and when music streaming services are featuring a new album, and so much more. In life, knowledge is power. In this business, knowledge is dollars.


The new standard for the Moscow Mule.

Boardroom Spirits FRESH Ginger vodka - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2017
Attribution/Copyrights: Boardroom Spirits

Pennsylvania’s craft distillery Boardroom Spirits has announced the latest addition their lineup of naturally infused vodka. FRESH Ginger’s characteristics – aroma, color and flavor – are derived entirely from natural ginger root; there are no artificial preservatives, flavors, sweeteners or food coloring.  The result is a vodka with naturally sweet, spicy and savory ginger flavor with hints of vanilla, a peppery aroma, and a smooth, persistent finish. Try it in a Moscow Mule with club soda, simple syrup and a squeeze of lime!


The growing zero alcohol market.

Heineken 0.0 zero alcohol beer - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2017
Attribution/Copyrights: Heineken

Heineken, which produces over 25% of the world’s beer, has launched a zero-alcohol version of their eponymous beer. Heineken 0.0 was brewed with three goals in mind: brewing a zero-alcohol lager that tasted great, serving the increasing number of customers looking to enjoy beer without becoming drunk, and becoming the global leader of a segment experiencing faster-than-average growth.

"You could expect 10 to 15 years down the road this would be more or less the global trend,” said senior Heineken brand director Gianluca Di Tondo to Reuters. “We want to make Heineken the leading global beer brand in 0.0."


Not monkeying around.

Monkey in Paradise Premium Vodka - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2018
Attribution/Copyrights: Monkey in Paradise Premium Vodka

Monkey in Paradise Premium Vodka, a spirits brand that began life as a social experiment, scored big at the 2017 San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC). The gluten-free vodka is distilled 7 times and was awarded the Double Gold Medal by SFWSC judges. MIP is corn based, handcrafted in South Florida, comes in at 80 proof, and value fun over pretentiousness.


But wait…there are more awards.

Valentine Distilling Co. Mayor Pingree bourbons - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2017
Attribution/Copyrights: Valentine Distilling Co.

Not one but two of Michigan’s Valentine Distilling Co.’s bourbons also nabbed the Double Gold at the 2017 SFWSC. Both Valentine’s 10-year Mayor Pingree Blue and Mayor Pingree Black label bourbons won big in a field of more than 2,100 entries. Mayor Pingree Blue is single barrel straight bourbon bottled from a single cask at full proof. The Black label is a limited release, 95-point bourbon produced by marrying a special inventory of casks.


How many grains??

The latest Experimental Collection release from Buffalo Trace Distillery features a variety of 6 grains in one bourbon. Each of the 6 grains on the mash bill – corn, buckwheat, brown rice, sorghum, wheat, and rice – received organic certification, along with Buffalo Trace’s production method. Even with this deviation from the typical three grains most bourbons are made with, this 6-grain experiment meets all of the requirements to be called a bourbon. Packaged in 375ml bottles, each label includes all of the information that pertains to the bourbon’s unique barrel. Bear in mind that you’ll have to act fast to snag yourself a bottle as Buffalo Trace Experimental Collection releases limited to small quantities.


The flavor of summer.

Full Sail Brewing Co. Session Watermelon Wheat Ale - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2017
Attribution/Copyrights: Full Sail Brewing Co.

Full Sail Brewing Co. is happy to announce that they’ve invented “beermelon.” Well, they’ve released Session Watermelon Wheat Ale, which is essentially the same thing. Full Sail’s latest creation is a refreshing wheat beer that pours a deep golden color, has a slightly floral, fresh watermelon aroma, and a medium malt body with a sweet but subtle watermelon flavor. Expect a crisp wheat finish and easy summer sipping since Session Watermelon Wheat Ale comes in at 5.4% ABV and 23 IBUs.


Bulgarian and Greek what now?

Bulgarian Rakia and Greek Tsipouro tasting - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2017
Attribution/Copyrights: Shanika Hillocks

Maybe you’re super cool and know all about Bulgarian Rakia and Greek Tsipouro. We were actually shocked to learn how uncool we might be when we realized we didn’t know much about Tsipouro. 2 Cheers, the Agricultural Cooperative of Tirnavos, Greece and Black Sea Gold Bulgaria hosted tasting events in Chicago, Boston and New York. Liz Pearce of Chicago's Fulton Market Kitchen, Tenzin Samdo of Boston's Tavern Road, and spirits consultant Robin Robinson (located in New York) created and presented cocktails made with Bulgarian Rakia and Greek Tsipouro at Fig & Olive, Post 390 and Corkbuzz Union Square to introduce the two spirits.

Rakia is a clear alcoholic beverage made by the distillation of fermented fruit. There are different types, all depending on the type of fruit (grapes, plums, apricots, pears, apples, cherries, figs, quinces), but most famous is Rakia made from grapes. Touting a high alcohol content varying anywhere between 40% and 95% ABV (80 to 190 proof), Rakia is a potent drink. It has a highly distinctive flavor with a deep and smooth taste. Colors can vary from liquid clear to golden salmon and the taste follows suit, ranging from distinctively grape-tasting to vanilla and toasted nut flavors, with powdered sugar and pepper nuances.

Rakia production takes place from the end of September to the end of November and follows a traditional recipe that is centuries old. With its versatile flavor profile, one can find Rakia recipes that contain anise, herbs, honey, walnuts, mint, and sour cherries, and sometimes it’s mixed with herbs, honey, sour cherries or walnuts.

Tsipouro is produced all over Greece. The country that is exclusively linked to the spirit's terroir and unique microclimate is Tirnavos. Within this particular environment, the Black Muscat (or Muscat of Hamburg) vines are dominant, providing the raw material for the production of Tsipouro. The variety is the determinant factor that contributes to the authenticity of the spirit. Its intrinsic characteristics are expressed much more strongly by the distillation. One can find expressive floral aromas and citrus on the nose, with soft and ripe fruit notes on the palate.


A real work of art.

The Marrakesh Express cocktail at Jacques bar inside The Lowell in Manhattan - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2017
Attribution/Copyrights: The Lowell

Luxury Manhattan hotel The Lowell has completed the build of their new bar, Jacques. Situated just off Majorelle, The Lowell's classic French restaurant, the bar serves Moroccan-influenced cocktails amid patterned marble floors, embossed leather-paneled walls, leather chairs and a velvet alcove featuring Grecian urns and a vintage-styled mirrored ceiling. To learn more about this stunning escape from New York City’s Upper East Side, follow this link to Luxury Travel Agent. As an added bonus you'll score the build instructions for an original Jacques cocktail, the Marrakesh Express. Cheers!


Travel Agent Central needs YOU!

Most Instagrammable Rooftop Bar in Mexico - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2018
Attribution/Copyrights: oneinchpunch / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

In particular, they need you to vote again for the Most Instagrammable Rooftop Bar. So far, Skylounge at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London,  Le Georges at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, New York's The Top of the Strand, and the Celestial Terrace at Jade Mountain located in the Caribbean have claimed victories. This week, Travel Agent Central is heading to Mexico. Head over to the site, check out the next round of stunning Instagram photos, and cast your vote for this week’s winner!


Have plans tomorrow?

Papa's Pilar Rum Distillery & Experience Center Key West - What's Shakin' week of May 15, 2017

If you live in or around Key West or are planning a trip to that area you should work Hemingway Rum Company’s new facility into your plans. The makers of Papa’s Pilar premium sipping rums open their brand-new Rum Distillery & Experience Center tomorrow, Saturday, May 20, after completing the three-year renovation of an all-brick tobacco warehouse built in 1878. The 8,000-square-foot facility features Papa’s Pilar rum production, a tasting room, a trading center, and the Experience Center.

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