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Meet Neal Bodenheimer and Meaghan Frank- The Connected Table Live!

Temperance at Tales of the Cocktail

Stress management, yoga and wellness activities are all on the menu for this year’s Tales of the Cocktail, July 17- 22 in New Orleans. As the collective consciousness about mental and physical health,  responsibility to each other and to the community and the #MeToo movement continue to drive the conversation, Tales of the Cocktail has introduced some significant initiatives. They include:

Beyond the Bar: free interactive programming designed to address mental health and physical wellness and its impact on the spirits community. Activities include: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings; yoga and movement classes; health screenings; and discussions surrounding healthy lifestyles, nutrition, addiction, suicide, and stress management.

A collaboration  with Louisiana organization STAR (Sexual Trauma Awareness and Response) to offer a 24/7 hotline during the festival for all attendees to use if needed and to offer joint programming, free to all attendees, which includes a seminar on HR practices around sexual harassment the industry can discuss and bring back home to their bars and establishments.

Eliminating plastic straws: Given how many straws are used throughout this event with 16,000 people and half a million drinks, doing away with plastic disposable straws is a big move toward supporting this sustainable movement.

There is even a “dry” welcome party, courtesy of William Grant & Sons, who announced they will be “kicking off the week with a spirited, yet spirit-free portfolio party.”  But, of course, throughout the five days there will be plenty of cocktails and seminars to educate industry professionals on every aspect of the business of bar management and the craft of the cocktail. And there will always be revelry because Tales is a huge networking event after all, and it’s the best way for those who serve and those who sell to connect.

 

Tales of the Cocktail’s new logo

 

It’s a transitional year for this beloved industry conference. In February 2018, Tales of the Cocktail was purchased by Neal Bodenheimer, a native New Orleanian and owner of award-winning Cure Nola, in collaboration with The Solomon Group, who has been involved in producing high profile local and international events, including many for Tales of Cocktail such as the Spirited Awards and other brand activations. Neal and the Solomon family have created the 501c3 non-profit Tales of the Cocktail Foundation to advance and support the global hospitality industry. 

We chat with Neal on The Connected Table Live! about his career in the industry and his plans to help steer Tales’ new mission. Here is the link to the show on iHeart.com and free iHeart App.  

Or stream the show below. Neal is the second guest.

Neal Bodenheimer. Photo by Kevin O’Mara

 

New York State’s Father of Vitis Vinifera

New York State is one of the country’s top regions for producing wine in the USA. The Finger Lakes is home to some world-class Rieslings. On this same edition of The Connected Table Live! we visit with Meaghan Frank, fourth generation family member overseeing Dr. Konstantin Frank  the pioneering Finger Lakes, New York, winery.

 

Meaghan Frank

 

Meaghan’s great-grandfather, Konstantin Frank, an immigrant from the Ukraine spoke a handful of languages but not English when he arrived in the USA.  in 1951 He worked briefly as a blueberry picker where he saw the potential for planting vines in New York State. A professor of plant sciences with a Ph.D. in viticulture, he eventually took a position at Cornell University’s Geneva Experiment Station.

At the time, New York State wines were producing wines using local and hybrid grapes only.  Based on his experience in the Ukraine, Dr. Frank was convinced, that, despite New York’s cold weather, delicate Vitis Vinfera grapes could thrive with the proper rootstock. Communicating in French, he delivered the research to back this up and a plan to grow European vinifera in the Northeastern United States.

In 1962, a decade after coming to the USA, Frank established Vinifera Wine Cellars, which quickly earned a reputation for its exceptional Rieslings and its original rootstock plantings became the backbone of New York’s world-class wines.  Today Dr. Konstantin Frank has an extensive portfolio of wine including two made from traditional grapes found in the Republic of Georgia, Rkatisteli (white) and Saperavi (inky red) and a terrific sparkling wine. www.drfrankwines.com

 

Dr Konstantin Franl. pioneering oenologist

Here is the link to the show on iHeart.com and free iHeart App.  

Listen here:

 

 

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David Ransom Drink Melanie Young THE CONNECTED TABLE RADIO SHOW

Meet the Man Whose Botanical Beverage is on Everyone’s Lips  

Ben Branson must be on to something. It seems like he’s popping up everywhere including a recent Food52 profile and last week’s Wall Street Journal feature story on “sophisticated mocktails.”  It’s not just a great public relations blitz. He really is on to something. Not drinking alcohol is now as fashionable as drinking it. Everyone, from chefs and bartenders to the consumers they serve seems to be seeking a balanced lifestyle of happy health and hedonistic pleasure.

Ben Branson, Founder of Seedlip

Ben grew up on a farm in Lincolnshire, England. As the story goes, “He stumbled upon a 1651 edition of ‘The Art of Distillation’ and became intrigued with medicinal elixirs.” He created a botanical beverage called Seedlip which can be mixed in cocktails, spruces up seltzers and you can enjoy on the rocks with a splash or two of water. It’s free of sugar, gluten and alcohol, and both versions taste good. Seedlip Garden 108 is distilled with peas, hay, rosemary and thyme.  Seedlip Spice 94 is distilled with cardamom, oak, lemon and grapefruit. It’s so much better than the sugary shots and juices masquerading as healthy that we’ve been tasting. It’s something to drink when we are not drinking besides water, tea and kombucha.

 

We profile the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine spirits and hospitality,
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Modern Mixology with Tony Abou-Ganim

He’s a Modern Mixologist and creator of numerous signature cocktails featured on bar menus throughout the U.S. and elsewhere. What are the craft and creative process for developing a memorable and perfectly balanced cocktail?

We pose this question to Tony Abou-Ganim (a.k.a. The Modern Mixologist) on The Connected Table LIVE! June 10th. Tony’s amazing career has spanned the heights- from Harry Denton’s Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco- to the lights of Las Vegas working with hotel and resort kingpin, Steve Wynn (Bellagio, Wynn Resorts).

 

Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist

Wherever you go and whenever you order a cocktail on a bar menu, Tony’s hand is probably in the mix.

Connect and follow Tony on Twitter and Facebook.

Tony Abou-Ganim’s Signature Cable Car Cocktail  

(courtesy of www.themodernmixologist.com)

The Cable Car was created in 1996 as a signature cocktail for the Starlight Room, a stunning nightclub and cocktail lounge atop the historic Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco. Its name comes from the geographic location of its house of origin … One of the city’s landmark properties, the Sir Francis Drake is located along the world famous Nob Hill cable car tracks, and its Starlight Room is affectionately referred to as the lounge that can be found “between the stars and the cable cars.”

6-10-09 162
6-10-09 162

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ ounce Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
  • ¾ ounce Marie Brizard orange Curacao
  • 1 ½ ounce fresh lemon sour *

 

Directions: In an ice filled mixing glass add Captain Morgan, orange curacao and fresh sour; shake until well blended. Strain into a chilled sugar-cinnamon frosted cocktail glass* and garnish with an orange spiral – (Orange spirals can be easily cut fresh using a citrus zester, also known as a channel knife). Mixing 2 parts fresh squeezed lemon juice with one part simple syrup will easily make fresh lemon sour.

Hint: To sugar-cinnamon frost a cocktail glass, first chill the glass, rub the rim’s circumference approximately ¾ inch in depth with a lemon wedge, then dip into a bowl of superfine sugar – (regular granulated sugar does not adhere as well).

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Join Melanie and David Wednesdays, 2omET on W4CY for The Connected Table LIVE and anytime on iHeart.com and the iHeart App. Hear from the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality.

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Would you like to sponsor our radio show? We offer a great package. Please email melanie@www.theconnectedtable.com

 

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The King of Cocktails and Master of Mixology- Dale DeGroff

When you ask almost any bartender in America who they admire most in the industry, one name tops them all- Master Mixologist Dale DeGroff, aka King Cocktail. Dale is credited with reinventing the bartending profession, setting off a cocktail revival that continues to flourish.  Dale’s enormous influence in the bar world has spanned three decades and many crafted cocktails.

Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail
Dale DeGroff, King Cocktail

I had the pleasure of getting to know Dale when he was making a name for himself behind the bar at New York City’s Rainbow Room when I was working with the late Joe Baum to launch New York Restaurant Week. Dale’s charm was magnetic; his drinks impeccable; his bar moves captivating.

A 2015 inductee into The James Beard Foundation Who’s Who of Food & Beverage in America and recipient of the #JBFAward for Outstanding Wine & Spirits Professional, Dale is author of The Essential Cocktail and The Craft of the Cocktail (Random House). He is also a partner in the award-winning bar training program, Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) and founding president of the Museum of the American Cocktail.

Dale DeGroff cariacature by his talented wife, the artist, Jill DeGroff
Dale DeGroff cariacature by his talented wife, the artist, Jill DeGroff

Saloon singing and storytelling is another passion of Dale’s. His popular presentation: ON THE TOWN; Bars, Speaks, & Legendary Saloons has been performed in over two dozen cities around the world. Dale also offers a bourbon & bitters tasting presentation I’LL TAKE MANHATTANS!  an exploration of aromatic bitters.

176251-dale-degroff-bitters-b1_1 Speaking of aromatic bitters, Dale now has his own line. Crafted entirely from whole botanicals, without commercial flavorings or artificial dyes, Dale DeGroff’s Aromatic Bitters™enhances cocktails without overpowering.

Dale reminisces about working with  Joe Baum and his current role as an educator in this June 3  iHeart segment of The Connected Table LIVE!

posted by Melanie 

Connect:

www.kingcocktail.com

Twitter.com/kingcocktl

Facebook.com/DaleDeGroff

 

Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!
Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE! W4CY and iHeart Radio

Listen to all our shows anytime, anywhere on iHeart.com and the iHeart App. Here is the direct link: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-The-Connected-Table-Live

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Doing the Texas Two Sip

Fresh off his trip to the San Antonio Cocktail Conference, The Connected Table LIVE’s David Ransom connected with two Texas distillers making kick-ass spirits. We invited them on our show January 21.

Randall Metting, Dulce Vida Tequila – Austin

RANDALL-METTING
Randall Metting Dulce Vide Tequila

Randall Metting is often referred to as “The Mayor of The Sweet Life.” His website http://randallmetting.com/ is a go- to resource for anyone who wants to know the ins and outs of red-hot, rockin’ Austin Texas. Randall is also marketing and brand development manager forDulce Vida 100 percent organic tequila. Dulce Vida is handcrafted, 100 percent Navy Strength; it sources its 100% organic agave from the Los Altos highlands in the Tequila region of Mexico. Because of the unique climatic characteristics and the air & soil, this area is well known for producing larger, fruitier agave, ideal for tequila. This organic agave ensures Dulce Vida makes tequila the way tequila has always tasted best: pure and powerful, free of any additives.

Connect:
http://www.dulcevidaspirits.com
https://twitter.com/DULCE_VIDA
https://www.facebook.com/DulceVidaTequila
http://instagram.com/dulcevidatequilaaustin/
https://twitter.com/randallmetting
https://www.facebook.com/randall.a.metting

Trey (Richard) Azar, Founder, Cinco Vodka, San Antonio

trey-and-kimberly-azar-dragon-spiritsAccording to Trey (Richard) Azar, founder of Cinco Five Star Vodka , the devil is in the details when it comes to overseeing each batch of his San Antonio-distilled spirit to ensure its clean, clear smoothness. Cinco Vodka starts with gently hand-made from bushels of the finest amber wheat from the Idaho. Using water naturally filtered through the Cordova Creme limestone that lies far beneath the surface of San Antonio, the liquid is distilled five times then blended and filtered in small batches in copper pot stills. Azar calls Cinco Vodka a “martini lovers’ vodka.” Critics have given it a High Five. Cinco Vodka received a gold medal at the Los Angeles International Spirits Competition. As for its Five Star name…..Cinco is a lucky number for Trey and his wife, Kimberly who are parents of five children. Cinco Vodka is his sixth “baby.”

Connect:
http://www.cincovodka.com
https://www.facebook.com/CincoVodka
https://twitter.com/CincoVodka

 

Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!
Melanie Young and David Ransom, Hosts, The Connected Table LIVE!

Join Hosts Melanie Young and David Ransom on The Connected Table LIVE! Wednesdays, 2pm ET/11am PT on W4CY Radio and on demand anytime at I Heart Radio, Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple who bring you the dynamic people who work front and center and behind the scenes in food, wine, spirits and hospitality.

Connect:

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Oct 29 on The Connected Table Live

We have another spirited lineup this week from coast to coast Wednesday, October 29, on The Connected Table Live on www.W4CY.com, 2p.m. ET/11 a.m. PT.

Our first guests are the bartending world’s dynamic duo, Lynnette Marrero and Ivy Mix, who have built the largest female bartending competition in the USA- and soon the world…. Speed Rack. Along the way Speed Rack has raised over $250,000 for breast cancer charities.

Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, Founders, Speed Rack
Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, Founders, Speed Rack

Speed Rack showcases not only the growing number of talented women in mixology while providing for the #1 women’s health issue in the country. One in 8 women is diagnosed with breast cancer.

The competition judging is based precision, time and accuracy. Contestants compete in timed heats to make rounds of cocktails culled from a list of accepted industry-standard classic recipes in front of a panel of judges and a crowd of spirited supporters.

The U.S. judging world panel includes such cocktail world luminaries as Julie Reiner, Dale DeGroff, Audrey Saunders and David Wondrich with a few noted chefs like Johnny Iuzzini, mixed in. The national winner is crowned Miss Speed Rack USA and received a scholarship to BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource) five day program and industry glory.

Speed Rack’s fourth national tour kicks off in Washington DC November 10 and will travel to eight cities before crowning the Miss Speed Rack national winner at the U.S. Finals taking place in New York June 7. The first international Speed Rack competition will start in Canada in March 2015 followed by Paris in June and concluding in the U.K. next October.

Connect:

http://www.speed-rack.com

http://www.facebook/speedrackinfo.com

https://www.Twitter.com/speed_rack

http://www.speed-rack.com/videos

We’ll be switching gears to talk saké in the second half of our show with Steve Vuylsteke, Founder and CEO of SakéOne. A native Oregonian, Steve’s family founded Oak Knoll Winery, one of Oregon’s pioneer wineries, in 1970. Steve has worked tirelessly to promote Oregon craft beverages, working for his family’s winery, as general manager and sales manager for Erath Vineyards and serving on the Oregon Wine Marketing Board and Willamette Valley Wineries Association.

Steve Vuylsteke Founder/CEO, SakeOne
Steve Vuylsteke
Founder/CEO,
SakeOne

He turned to saké in 1992 founding SakéOne, the only American operated sake brewery focused exclusively on premium sake in Oregon’s wine rich Willamette Valley, and importer of some of Japan’s finest saké. SakéOne has been crafting strictly junmai ginjo quality saké at its state-of-the-art kura (brewery) in Forest Grove, the heart of the Willamette Valley: Oregon’s craft beer-brewing and wine making mecca, since 1998.

In 2010, SakéOne’s Momokawa “Ruby” Junmai Ginjo earned a silver medal at the prestigious U.S. National Sake Appraisal 2010, no small feat for an American producer in a crowd of more than 300 Japanese entrants and a judging panel held to precise Japanese standards.

Shanken News Daily recently reported that “Marketers of top saké brands say the category is now making inroads into the mainstream, while also benefiting from marked expansion in its core Asian restaurant account base.”

We’ll discuss why saké is gaining popularity here in the USA and talk the ins and outs of enjoying saké with Steve. Fun fact: Portland, Oregon boasts the highest per capita consumption of saké in the U.S. A home run market for the state SakéOne calls home.

Connect

www.sakeone.com

https://www.facebook.com/SakeOneOregon

https://twitter.com/SakeOne

Melanie Young and David Ransom
Melanie Young and David Ransom

Each Wednesday food and beverage industry insiders Melanie Young and David Ransom bring you the people who work front and center and behind the scenes in the industry on The Connected Table Live. Melanie and David are the Insatiably Curious Culinary Couple. Follow them on https://twitter.com/connectedtable
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