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You've heard of a wine sommelier, but bourbons need some lovin', too. And the man behind Southern Hospitality's newest expansion into Denver, chef Victor Matthews, is just the man to bring bourbon to the forefront of the American bar.
"Bourbon is our native spirit," said Matthews in an interview. "You can't be driving around America with an 'I love America' sticker and drink Scotch; it doesn't work like that. If you really love America, you drink bourbon," he said.
Why the love affair with bourbon? For Matthews, it's an affair that began far away from the Rocky Mountains. A "Southern boy" born in Kentucky, he moved to Louisiana and trained to be a chef in New Orleans. After cooking for more than 15 years in New Orleans (and winning several awards), he decided to escape the heat and head to what he knew: the mountains. He settled in Colorado in 1999, and opened the Black Bear Restaurant in Green Mountain Falls, Colo. Black Bear Restaurant, which Matthews described as "little log cabin joint back in the woods," established its name in Colorado and beyond, thanks to five-star training and rave reviews.
While working at Black Bear (and opening Paragon Culinary School in Colorado Springs, Colo.), he met a friend, Gary Tedder, and his nephew, Ryan Tedder. "I knew Ryan before he could legally drink," Matthews said of the now frontman of the band One Republic. While Matthews was establishing Black Bear Restaurant as a fine-dining restaurant (with a killer bourbon program), Tedder was teaming up with star Justin Timberlake on his newest venture, Southern Hospitality. When the pair decided to bring the New York restaurant to Denver, they asked Matthews to get on board to head up the bourbon program. The restaurant is set to start construction this October at the St. Elmo Hotel.
Tha's when Matthews kicked his "bourbon studies" up a notch. He did his research, hosting 20 different tastings and choosing more than 70 bourbons to be on the Southern Hospitality menu. It's the largest bourbon selection in all of Denver, Matthews says. It's his mission to change how the world views bourbon. The first problem: typically, a drinker's first introduction to bourbon is the Jim Bean — what Matthews calls "the low end." "If you're starting people on steak, you don't give them the grizzly crap," he said. "That's not how they learn to love steak. it's the same thing with bourbon: you grab Jim Bean, the normal pour, for anyone who wants to try bourbon, and they immediately hate it."
The second problem? How it's served. Bourbon on the rocks is the killer of any good bourbon. "When [the bourbon] hits the ice, a cold shock releases the off acids and flavors from the bourbon," he says, ruining the true taste. Chilling bourbon, like chilling a red wine, makes it lose its quality. And don't get him started on the abomination of a true bourbon cocktail. Take the Mint Julep: "It's done wrong almost everywhere," he says. Of the many, many Mint Juleps he's tried, Matthews says he's only had one good one out of 20 tried. When it's done right, when the mint balances with the bourbon, it's magical, he says. "Come to Black Bear and I will make you a proper Mint Julep — it will change your life," he says.
Therefore, Matthews has made bourbon education his pièce de résistance, at Southern Hospitality and beyond. Besides the 70-plus bourbons on tap and 24 bourbon cocktails on the menu at Southern Hospitality, Matthews will expand on his bourbon sommelier website, bourbonsomm.com, to certify more bartenders to understand the spirit. "Bourbon needs to be a big deal, because it really is the true American spirit," he says. We can all drink to that.
Kentucky Derby food 2021: Recipes for traditional desserts, snacks, pies
As with any major sporting event, food is a vital aspect of the Kentucky Derby. With 147 years of history and centuries of Southern traditions, there is no shortage of decadent and unique Bluegrass foods and desserts to whip up for the perfect at-home Kentucky Derby viewing party.
The 2021 Kentucky Derby will air on May 1 from 12 to 2:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN and from 2:30 to 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC. Coverage is also available to stream live on NBCSports.com and on the NBC Sports app. Post time for the 2021 Kentucky Derby is set for approximately 6:57 p.m. ET.
The Kentucky hot brown is a product of the historic Brown Hotel in downtown Louisville. In the 1920s, Chef Fred Schmidt was looking for a late-night delicacy for partying night owls and found it in this open-faced turkey sandwich topped with bacon and Mornay sauce.
- Keep it traditional with the Brown Hotel’s original recipe, straight from the birthplace of the hot brown itself.
- Make it unique by spinning this classic, yet messy, sandwich into smaller sliders for a neater party food.
Fried chicken is perhaps the most widespread, globally known export out of the Bluegrass, thanks to Colonel Sanders and his roadside restaurant in Corbin, Ky.
- Keep it traditional with a classic and simple fried chicken like racing owner and celebrity chef Bobby Flay’s recipe. Throw in some waffles and syrup for some added Southern flare.
- Make it unique with a more flavorful, yet still themed, spin on fried chicken like Food Network’s bourbon brined fried chicken.
Journey deep into Kentucky cuisine with Burgoo, a meat and vegetable stew that was traditionally made with whatever items were available, like rabbit, squirrel and possum.
- Keep it traditional yet accessible with the Kentucky Derby’s official burgoo recipe that uses store-bought meats, including steak, pork and turkey.
- Make it unique by dressing it up with a variety of breads to dip in your stew.
Get your Kentucky Derby party started early with a hearty serving of biscuits and gravy, a mainstay in Southern cuisine.
- Keep it traditional with a buttery, six-ingredient biscuit and a classic sausage gravy. Bump up the flavor by using hot sausage instead of mild.
- Make it unique by going for a casserole-style bake that combines biscuits and gravy with cheese and eggs. What more could you want?
You can’t have a Derby party without a Derby pie, a chocolate and nut (pecans or walnuts—dealer’s choice) pie that originated in 1950s at the Melrose Inn in Prospect, Ky.
- Keep it traditional with my personal, ridiculously simple Derby pie recipe, which uses pecans:
- 9″ unbaked pie shell (homemade or store-bought)
- 1/4 cup of butter (melted and cooled)
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup of flour
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 1 tsp of vanilla
- 1 cup of chocolate chips
- 1 cup of chopped pecans
- 2 tbsp of bourbon
- Combine all ingredients, pour into unbaked pie shell and bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until a knife comes out of the pie with only chocolate sticking to it.
If you really have a sweet tooth, satisfy it with rich bourbon balls, a chocolate-coated bourbon and nut delicacy that was invented by Ruth Booe of Rebecca Ruth Chocolates in 1938.
- Keep it traditional with a straightforward recipe like this one, which requires soaking the pecans in bourbon overnight.
- Make it unique by mixing up your mix-ins and using a bourbon liqueur instead, adding sea salt or dipping the bourbon balls in different types of chocolate.
Transparent pie is a custard-ey pie that originated in Maysville, which sits on the Kentucky-Ohio border. This simple yet sweet dessert dates back to the 1800s and is entirely made out of everyday kitchen staples.
We experienced some pretty wild weather in Kentucky and Tennessee—from sudden downpours and steamy, foggy afternoons to the bone-chilling polar vortex. For all our confusion and the wardrobe changes we endured, there was always a silver lining. We could picture bourbon aging in its barrels, drawing in and out of the wood with every fluctuation in temperature and pressure. And when we tasted what 10-plus years of unpredictable weather yields, it became wholly forgivable, lovable.
Bourbon. It’s been the region’s calling card for decades, but after meeting with more than 100 culinary professionals from Memphis to Louisville and everywhere in between, we found that bourbon’s liquid tradition is now matched by a growing number of chefs and artisans who are breathing new life into Southern ingredients and dishes. Sure, we drank our share of whiskey: Wild Turkey in Rising Star Susie Hoyt’s Autumn Leaves, the resurrected Belle Meade Bourbon in Nashville, and too many shots with chefs in Lexington (we’re not naming any names).
We also drank a critical, caffeinated mass of some of the country’s best coffee … in Louisville, of all places. That’s not to mention delicate crème de cacao-based cocktails (that could be your love potion this Valentine's Day), or wildly delicious beers from Rising Star Brewers Sam Cruz and Jerry Gnagy of Against the Grain. We found talent well beyond the stills and in every pocket of the industry.
In this issue, you’ll meet this year’s 2014 Kentucky-Tennessee Rising Stars and get recipes for the region’s best dishes and drinks—from Southern-styled gnocchi to carpaccio with a side of unapologetically trashy ranch dressing. You’ll also read about some of the country’s most inspiring artisans. Louisville plays host to Rising Star Jay Denham, an outstanding American ham producer, and Nashville is home to one of the South’s foremost bean-to-bar chocolate makers, Rising Star Artisan Scott Witherow.
One of the most striking straits of the region is a symbiosis between artisan, chef, old school cook, and farmer. Everyone seems to feed off each other, drawing inspiration from the land and a shared culinary heritage. Chef Kelly English's Pittsburgh-grilled duck hearts harken back to childhood duck hunts and his father's use-every-bit mentality. Rising Star Pastry Chef Kayla Swartout’s stylish desserts are crystal clear translations of Southern classics, and Rising Star Chef David Mitchell’s banh mi gets its character from rendered Benton’s bacon fat. Food here feels grounded. Rooted in the hills and spirit that has produced bourbon here for so many years—but it's primed to give this country and the greater culinary community so much more in the years to come.
My Buffalo Thai
• In a shaker filled with ice cubes, pour all ingredients except pineapple slice and lime wedge.
• Shake briskly for 8 to 10 seconds.
• Pour the contents of the shaker into an old-fashioned glass.
• Decorate with a pineapple slice and a lime wedge.
Best Bottles: The Matsui Single Malt Whisky Mizunara Cask
The Japanese whisky segment is extremely hot. If you don’t&hellip
Beyond the Plate: Joon
Joon is a fragrant breath of fresh air on Saint-Laurent Boulevard.&hellip
House of Style: Penfolds Winery – 2020 Collection
Penfolds makes brilliant wines every vintage—and the 2020 collection may&hellip
Southern Spirit: Bourbon Recipes from Kentucky Chef Edward Lee
Creamy and crunchy, hearty and light: This starter is a symphony of delectable contradictions. And kudos to Edward Lee for the ingeniously toothsome pairing of green apples and breakfast radishes.
Following a quick sear on the stovetop, this beef cooks low and slow in the oven to ensure fork-tender results. An earthy cinnamon-paprika rub balances the richness of the fruit glaze.
Sweet meets heat in these honey-bourbon-soaked peppers. Instead of fermenting the veggies for a couple weeks, Lee uses vinegar to speed up the process. "Yes, true pickles would keep longer," he admits, "but these are so good, they won't last long anyway."
Just in time for the Kentucky Derby, Lee rouses the state's classic cocktail with a homemade jalapeño simple syrup.
The chef has a ready answer for the question, "What's your preferred bourbon?": "The one I have in my hand." Still, he's willing to wax rhapsodic on his top choices.
Best Over $80: "Pappy van Winkle's Family Reserve is the god of bourbon&mdashbut whether you can find a bottle before it sells out is a whole other story. Jefferson's Reserve Presidential Select is one of the greats, and Colonel E.H. Taylor makes a fantastic high-end option. It's a sacrilege to mix these bourbons with anything other than a touch of water."
Best Under $35: "Old Forester is a classic. I'm also partial to Rebel Yell&mdashmost people say it's rotgut, but I'll drink it straight. For mixed cocktails, four- or five-year-old Jim Beam and Wild Turkey work just fine."
Best for Cooking: "Bourbons tend to fall on the smoky side or a more caramel-vanilla side. Bulleit toes a line down the middle. Elijah Craig's nice, too."
A Carolina Menu
Chef Brian Hay has been working and teaching in the culinary field for more than 20 years. While in Texas, he developed a popular TV series called Austin Cooks and won the Texas Beef Council Statewide Burger Competition in 2009.
Today, he&rsquos the Director of the Culinary and Wine Institute at Carolina in the School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management with a current focus of interest in restaurant management and beverage and food pairing.
The man not only has a fair resemblance to Denzel Washington, but he can cook! Born in Jamaica and raised in Canada, he started cooking as a child, and knew it was his life&rsquos calling. He holds a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Guelph and a master&rsquos degree from Purdue University.
And now, he&rsquos enjoying life in Columbia. &ldquoAustin and Columbia share a lot of the same traits,&rdquo he explained from his office at McCutchen House, on the historic USC Horseshoe. &ldquoIt&rsquos exciting to be here now, as Columbia is coming alive with its food and beverage scene. The talent here is incredible.&rdquo
We asked him to share a few recipes with us and he was happy to oblige.
The inspiration for Chef Hay&rsquos menu came from various dishes that he&rsquos created over the years for McCutchen House&rsquos Tuesday night Dinner Series where the public can come in and taste various wines that are paired with dishes he has created. The dinners are always changing &hellip. they never will repeat a menu or course on another dinner. So everything is new and continues to evolve.
Note: The Tomato Pies and Chocolate Walnut Pies are traditional McCutchen House staples that have been around for years (long before he arrived). Chef Hay hopes we&rsquoll enjoy learning how to make two of the university&rsquos most beloved recipes as well as new ones he&rsquos developed.
Editor&rsquos note: -To see the Spring listing of classes and to get more details on the Culinary Certificate offered, please go their website link at http://sc.edu/study/colleges_schools/hrsm/for_the_community/culinary_and_wine_institute/index.php
South Carolina Eggs
Yield: 8 servings Ingredients:
¼ lb. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1/3 cup whole grain mustard
- Thoroughly mix together the shredded cheddar and the pimento cheese. Scoop into 1 tbsp. portions, place on a lined cookie sheet and place in the freezer for 30 minutes to partially freeze. Roll into balls, place back on the sheet and hold in freezer.
- Make the Dipping Sauce. Combine all of the ingredients for the sauce and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place in the fridge to lightly chill.
- Portion out the breakfast sausage into 1 oz. portions. Take one of the portions and wrap one of the cheese balls around with the sausage. Make sure all of the seams are well sealed and the sausage is evenly distributed around the cheese. Place back in the freezer and continue with the remaining cheese balls. Please ensure that they are frozen for them to hold together before frying in the next step.
- Heat a deep fryer to 350 F with fresh oil. Preheat an oven to 300 F.
- Bread each ball by dredging it in the flour, then the egg and then the panko, gently pressing in the panko. Fry 2-3 minutes until golden brown. Place into the oven and bake until they read 160 F in the center, which will allow the cheese to melt.
- To serve, use a martini glass. Place a portion of the sauce in the bottom of the glass, add one to two of the balls and garnish with the microgreens.
Charleston Crab Salad
Yield: 6 servings Ingredients:
18 oz. lump crab meat, leave intact if possible
¼ lb. chopped pecans, lightly toasted
3 Bartlett pears (very firm), peeled and finely diced
6-8 oz. peach nectar, chilled
2 heads radicchio chiffonade
- Mise en place all of the ingredients.
- Combine the pears, grated celery root, old bay seasoning and the peach nectar.
- At service time, gently toss the crab meat, the pecans with the dressing. You want to make sure that the dressing is mixed in well but not disturb the large lumps of crabmeat
- For service, on a small plate place some of the chiffonade radicchio on the plate as a base. Top with the crabmeat and pile high with the microgreens.
Pickled Shrimp and Grits
Yield: 4 servings Ingredients:
1 lb. large shrimp (16-20 count), peeled and deveined
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 bunch flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
¼ cup sweet yellow onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
- Bring Old Bay and water to a boil in a 4-qt. saucepan add shrimp, reduce heat to low, and cook until shrimp are pink, about 3minutes. Drain and transfer to bowl of ice water to chill drain again.
- Combine all of the remaining ingredients in a large non-reactive bowl and add the shrimp. Cover with lid chill a min of 4 hours or overnight before serving.
- Before service, warm shrimp gently to remove the chill.
Tomato Sauce Base
1 medium sweet onion, fine dice
1/2 lb. Andouille sausage, cut into ¼ &ldquo coins
1 large orange or yellow bell pepper, seeded and chopped
1 habanero, seeded and finely diced
1 28-oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 bunch chopped fresh parsley
1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- Mise en place your ingredients.
- Preheat a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the oil and then the onion and sauté for 1 minute or until it&rsquos starting to turn translucent.
- Add the bacon and sausage and sauté until the bacon is almost cooked through (5-6 minutes)
- Add the peppers (caution &ndash watch your ventilation due to the heat of the pepper!!) and sauté for 1 minute to blend everything.
- Add the remaining ingredients, reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes to blend flavors.
- Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Hold warm for plate up.
Green Chili Grits recipe
1 cup white grits (quick cooking, not instant)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 small can diced green chilies
In a large saucepot, combine the grits and the veg stock over medium heat and let simmer until done (time will depend on the quality of grits being used)
Place a base of the finished grits down on the plate.
McCutchen House Tomato Pie
16 oz. Can of diced tomatoes, drained very well (1 hr)
1/2 cup Red onion, finely diced
5 Basil sprigs, chiffonade
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
12 sweet tart shells (2-3&rdquo diameter)
2) Combine the drained tomatoes, onion and basil for the tart filling.
3) Combine the mayo, sour cream and cheese for the topping.
4) Divide the filling evenly among the tart shells.
5) Dollop app 2 tbsp. of the topping on each tart
6) Bake for app 15 minutes until golden brown.
Chocolate Walnut Pie
Yield &ndash 1 pie or 8 servings
1/4 lb. unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1) Preheat oven to 325 F and line one cookie sheet with foil.
2) In a large bowl or mixer, combine the eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter and the vanilla together until well mixed.
3) Evenly spread the walnuts and chocolate chips out in the pie shell.
4) Gently pour in the liquid filling into the shell slowly as to not to disturb the chips and nuts.
5) Bake for 1 hour or until the crust is golden brown and the filling is almost set in the middle.
- ½ cup butter
- 2 pounds carrots, peeled, cut into equal-sized pieces
- ½ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- ½ cup bourbon whiskey
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- 1 pinch cayenne pepper, or to taste
- freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves for garnish (Optional)
Melt butter in a heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
When butter foams up, add carrots. Season with salt and cook, stirring, until liquid from carrots evaporates and carrots begin to brown around the edges, 5 or 6 minutes.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Carefully pour in bourbon. Cook and stir until bourbon is almost evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Sprinkle in brown sugar. Stir until carrots are almost cooked through, about 5 minutes.
When carrots are nearly tender, raise heat to medium-high to thicken the glaze, 15 to 30 seconds.
Season with cayenne pepper and ground black pepper. Transfer to serving dish and garnish with fresh thyme leaves, if desired.
- 1 prepared pastry dough for 9-inch pie
- 2 cups pecan halves
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- ½ cup butter
- ½ cup white sugar
- ½ cup light corn syrup
- 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, whisked
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Roll pie dough in a 9 1/2-inch glass pie dish and crimp the edges. Cover dough in parchment paper and press paper down to line the dough pour pie weights on top of the parchment paper and spread evenly over the bottom.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Remove parchment paper and pie weights to a bowl. Bake crust until lightly golden and set, about 10 minutes more.
Spread pecans out on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven until lightly toasted, 7 to 8 minutes.
Stir brown sugar, butter, white sugar, corn syrup, flour, milk, bourbon, vanilla extract, and salt together in a saucepan over medium heat bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from heat and cool for 5 to 10 minutes.
Whisk eggs in a large bowl. Slowly drizzle sugar mixture into eggs, whisking constantly.
Spread pecans out in the bottom of the crust. Pour sugar mixture over nuts and gently stir with a spatula to coat all of the nuts.
Bake pie in the preheated oven until crust is golden brown and pie is set, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely.
Cory Bahr's recipes in new cookbook
Chef Cory Bahr's Restaurant Cotton has two recipes included in the new Southern Living cookbook, "Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Food Groups" by Morgan Murphy.
"Bacon and bourbon, those are two of the most popular things in cooking today," said Bahr. "That is a lot of our focus at Cotton. We have 80 plus different labels of bourbon. And bacon is a great ingredient and a great flavoring tool in the kitchen."
Murphy — author of the best-selling Southern Living "Off the Eaten Path" series and judge on Travel Channel's new "American Grilled" — is the first to devote an entire book to pairing the South's two most indulgent flavors.
Both history lesson and cookbook in one, Murphy begins "Part One: Bourbon" and "Part Two: Bacon" with the rich lore and creative process behind both distilling "the great American spirit" and slicing everyone's favorite "magical" cut of pork. Each section concludes with a collection of Southern Living-tested recipes – with more than 115 recipes in all
"To be included in that Southern Living cookbook was amazing. Those are ingredients that we use in our recipes. The Bacon, Onion, and Bourbon Marmalade we actually use that on our hamburger at Cotton," Bahr said.
Ol' Smoky (Photo: Courtesy photo)
This Old Fashioned variant combines two favorites: bourbon and smoke. Light up and be ready to impress your guests.
1 large (2-inch-square) ice cube
1 (3- x 1-inch) orange peel strip
1 tbsp. fresh orange juice
2 dashes of Fee Brothers Old Fashioned Whiskey Barrel Bitters
1 dash of Fee Brothers East Indies Orange Bitters
1 gourmet maraschino cherry
Special tools: kitchen torch or lighter, handheld smoker, cherry wood chips,
Glass cloche or 1-qt. wide-mouth Mason jar
Place large ice cube in an Old Fashioned glass. Hold orange peel with tongs heat peel with kitchen torch or lighter until warm and fragrant. Place peel in glass. Combine bourbon and next 4 ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Stir 6 times, and pour over ice cube. Add cherry. Place cocktail on a flat tray or plate, and cover with glass cloche. Smoke until you can no longer see the cocktail under the cover. Let stand 30 seconds. Place in front of recipient, and remove cover.
Boil 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water, stirring often, 2 to 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat, and cool completely. Makes: 1 cup.
Bacon, Onion, and Bourbon Marmalade
Bacon, Onion, and Bourbon Marmalade (Photo: Courtesy)
4 hickory-smoked bacon slices, chopped
5 ½ cups thin sweet onion strips
Pinch of dried crushed red pepper
1½ tsp. chopped fresh thyme
1. Cook bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat 6 to 8 minutes or until crisp remove bacon, and drain on paper towels, reserving 2 Tbsp. drippings in skillet. Add onions to skillet cook, stirring often, over medium heat 15 minutes or until onions are caramel colored. Add sugar, stirring to dissolve.
2. Stir in vinegar and next 4 ingredients. Cook 5 minutes or until liquid is consistency of syrup. Add bacon cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes or until thickened and consistency of thin marmalade.
From "Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Food Groups" (Oxmoor House $22.95 hardcover).
Jim Gladstone has written extensively about the arts, cuisine and travel. He is a freelance writer and creative consultant based in San Francisco. www.jimgladstone.com.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
John Pomeroy is the epitome of balance â€“ in life and in his cocktails. Bitten by the hospitality bug in high school and continuing through college, he used his skills to move ahead when others may have thrown in the towel â€“ literally. John went from dish washer, to busser, to waiter before finding his stride at the bar. He worked as a bartender through college at the award-winning Montrio in Monterey, CA. It wasnâ€™t long, though, before he was recruited to open the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley. Here he had the opportunity to work with and learn from world-renowned chef Cal Stamenov, and sommelier Mark Jensen, formerly of the Highlands Inn. He then went on to graduate school at the University of California at Santa Cruz, where he earned his Masters in Education, as well as the credentials he needed to be an English teacher. His passion, interest, and curious nature about food and spirits remained powerful influences. While developing his knack for identfying flavors on the plate he excelled when it came to working with spirits from distillation to the creation of cocktails. Today, he is able to blend his educational training and passion by working as a spirits advocate and educator, consultant, brand ambassador and journalist. His work has been featured in several magazines, and he recently wrote the cover story for Bar Business. With his active participation in the United States Bartenders Guild, New York Chapter (USBGNY) he has spent the past four years developing and solidifying relationships in the industry, affording him the opportunity to work with many of the most respected names in the business. In addition to working closely on many of New York City's best cocktail programs, he has also consulted Las Ranitas, an eco-resort in Tulum, Mexico, as well as several other venues around the United States. Additionally, his work with Purity Vodka as their national brand ambassador has garnered him even more respect and credibility within the industry, and he regularly contributes to seminars and trainings sessions at cocktail events the world over.