Happy weekend folks! This past week Tales of the Cocktail founder Ann Tuennerman sent out a letter apologizing for donning blackface, Nico de Soto lets the world know what his five desert island bottles are, Philip Duff tells Liquor.com how he’s approaching building his own brand, and Punch author Sarah Baird pays a visit to Tokyo’s most radical bar. Prost!
Drinking in New York – you can have a wonderful evening or a absolutely shitty one. Make sure that you’ll never have a crap night out again and follow Pam Wiznitzer’s tips to drink around New York City. Her favorite haunts include Lucy’s, Clover Club, and Daddy-O. We’ll be following her plans for a great night out next time we’re in the Big Apple.
Tales of the Cocktail Founder Ann Tuennerman Apologizes for Blackface
Last Week Tales of the Cocktail founder Ann Tuennerman rode in a Mardi Gras parade with the Zulu organization. “According to custom”, people of all color and races traditionally wear blackface makeup, which she also donned. For obvious reasons, people got very upset with her about this. Following this she published an open letter to her community, in which she apologized for her actions. She not only apologizes, she also acknowledges her ignorance and opens herself up to critique. These sort of apologies are usually half assed and tend to go along the lines of “I’m sorry if anyone felt offended by my actions” instead of actually claiming your actions and owning them. She vows to create solutions and deal with the fair and equal representation for bartenders of color at Tales. It’ll be interesting to see what kind of actions she will follow this promise up with. We’ll be watching.
Nico de Soto’s Desert Island Bottles
Liquor.com asked Nico de Soto a very important question last week: “You’re trapped on a desert island, but the good news is that you can bring five bottles of booze with you to pass the time for you and your friends. Look, there’s even ice and bar tools—you’re all set. What would you choose?”. His response: a bottle of the Samaroli Demerara 1988 Rum (to drink neat), Fierre Ferrand Abel Cognac (because it’s like family to him), D Argentum Dild Aquavit (to drink neat with smoked fish), Sangre y Trabajadero” oloroso sherry from Gutiérrez Colosía (he says “I can’t live without sherry, and this one is near perfection), and the Avua Amburana Cachaça (because cachaça). Definitely an interesting question that delivers some insight into de Soto’s habits. We’ll be asking our guests this at our next dinner party.
Philip Duff on How to Start your Own Brand
Philip Duff is a legendary New York City consultant and education liaison extraordinaire, he’s also worked as a brand ambassador for both liqueurs and vodka. Now he’s about to launch his own brand Old Duff Genever. Liquor.com sat down to talk to him about his approach to building his own brand and how his approach might be wildly counterintuitive. One of his more interesting insights? “What I wanted to do with Old Duff Genever is create a brand and see if you can turn all or some of the disadvantages of being a tiny brand into advantages. ‘Competitive judo’—I’ve heard it called. If you have a lot of money, you can try to launch nationally, internationally, get listed with a big distributor, do price discounts, go here, go there.
But everyone does all those things. What I’m trying to do—it’s almost an experiment—is see: What if you were just in New York? What if you were just in Manhattan? What if, instead of being in 100 bars, you were in just eight bars? And what if those were influential well-known bars that adore it and are using it? That’s the idea. We want to launch on a city-by-city basis, build up our reputation and learn and see where that takes us.” An innovative approach for sure. Read more on his idea of brand building here.
Modern Alchemy at Tokyo’s Most Radical Bar
Punch reports “At Tokyo’s Ben Fiddich, Hiroyasu Kayama uses homegrown plants and a mortar and pestle to reconstruct classic liqueurs and spirits—including “Campari,” absinthe and amaro—often to order. Here, a look inside the city’s most groundbreaking bar”. Author Sarah Baird pays a visit to Ben Fiddich, the Tokyo bar run by Hiroyasu Kayama “a star bartender who has been heralded worldwide”. She beautifully describes the interior of the place (“a flock of absinthe spoons lean at ease next to a still life of yuzu and jujubue fruit”), as well as the magical presentation (“with all the flourish of a maestro entering into the orchestra pit, Kayama emerges from a holding pen at the side of the bar”).
She enjoys a absinthe cocktail “complete with honey, grapefruit juice and egg white that’s all been whipped together with an immersion blender—is frothed up perfectly in a chilled Art Deco glass hand-selected for the presentation”. A lovely, short read that takes the reader into this magical Tokyo bar. Excuse us while we go look up flights to Japan.
Bildquelle: Photo via Shutterstock.