Hot News – April 2014

Updated: April 1, 2014



That’s right… It’s back! The IBA USBG World Cocktail Championship 2014 will be back bigger and better for 2014. The USA qualifier to see who will represent the United States Bartenders’ Guild in Cape Town, South Africa September 29 – October 4, 2014 will be in South Florida July 28 – 29, 2014. This invitation only competition will be limited to 10 Flair bartenders with the top overall winner being sent to Cape Town, South Africa to represent the United States Bartenders’ Guild in the World Cocktail Championship and second place overall will be sent to the Pan-Am Games to represent the United States Bartenders’ Guild. To register to be invited to compete in the USA qualifier…

-You must be an active USBG member.
-A written essay of 500 words or less stating why you should be giving the opportunity to compete.
-A link to a 4 minute video uploaded to YouTube showcasing your Flair bartending skills.
-An original recipe submitted by you to showcase your creative mixology skills.



To register you can CLICK HERE!





Lime prices have shot up in recent months, in large part due to a bad harvest in Mexico.

Last year at this time, the weighted average price for a single lime was 21 cents; now they’re 53 cents apiece, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We’re at an unprecedented price point,” said Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales for Vision Import Group, a produce importer based in New Jersey, in an interview with USA TODAY Network.

The spike in prices has become so pronounced that people in the lime community are now calling the fruit “oro verde,” or green gold, Cohen said.

A year ago, Vision Import Group was selling 40-pound boxes of the seedless Persian limes for $55. Now the limes are selling for up to $100 per box, he said.

Most of the limes that Americans consume come from Mexico, he said. The high prices of the last couple months reflect a shortage from bad weather that caused blooms on the lime trees to drop, Cohen said.

The high prices are making them a security risk as well, with thieves stealing the fruit.

The high prices are temporary, and there should be some “price relief” in May when the new harvest arrives, Cohen said.

In addition to shortages, lime growers in Michoacán continue to grapple with the influence of cartels, which includes paying extortion money, reports the Associated Press. The Knights Templar drug cartel even controls the wholesale distribution center where growers sell limes to the rest of the world, according to AP.

More expensive margaritas?

Despite the price hike, you probably won’t see an increase in prices at restaurants, said Annika Stensson, spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association.

With these short-term spikes, restaurants tend not to increase menu prices, but they will make other adjustments as needed, Stensson said.

For example, restaurants may take margaritas off a happy hour menu, or promote flavored margaritas such as peach or strawberry, she said. Restaurants also could choose not to use limes as a garnish, she said.

Another option is to substitute lemons for limes, but she added, “Sometimes a lime is just a lime, and that’s what you need.”

Grocers are more flexible with pricing. It’s likely stores will increase prices while decreasing the supply of limes on sale, said Lance Jungmeyer, president of the Fresh Produce Association of the Americas.

“Stores are not going to quit carrying limes. Odds are you’ll still find them,” he said.




For the 2014 Cocktail Competition, Tales of the Cocktail is getting back to its New Orleans roots by celebrating one of the city’s most renowned cocktails: The Hurricane. A legend of the French Quarter since the 1940s, the Hurricane has become a staple in bars around the world. Now we’re challenging bartenders to pay homage to this classic cocktail with their own creations.

The Hurricane hails from Pat O’Brien’s on Bourbon Street.  Whiskey was in short supply after WWII, while liquor distributors were overstocked in rum; their solution was to force bars to buy a case of rum with every Scotch purchase.  Legend has it that Pat O’Brien’s head bartender, Louis Culligan, came up with the Hurricane as a way to get rid of all that rum.  Culligan revealed his recipe to “Cabaret” magazine in 1956:  4 ounces of gold rum, the juice of 2 lemons, and 2 ounces of “Fassionola,” a brand of bottled red passion fruit mix.

How you reinterpret this drink for 2014 is up to you, but in order not to stray too far from the original concept, your recipe must follow these three rules:

  1. Your base spirits must include (but are not limited to) at least one rum.
  2. Your sweetening agents must include (but are not limited to) passion fruit.
  3. It doesn’t matter how you get there, but the color of your drink should be red — or at least reddish, which is one of the hallmarks of the Hurricane.  So is the Hurricane’s signature curvaceous tall glass; bonus points for crafting a drink that looks good in one.


Jeff Berry
Ian Burrell
Wayne Curtis

Participating Products

Angostura Bitters
Angostura Rum
Appleton Estate Rum
BACARDI Superior Rum
Bayou Rum
Blue Chair Bay Rum
Boiron Freres
Cana Brava Rum
Diplomatico Rum
Don Q Rum
El Dorado Rum
Employees Only Grenadine
Fee Brothers Bitters and Syrups
Giffard Liqueurs & Syrups
Gosling’s Black Seal Rum
Gubba Rum
Leblon Cachaca
Papa’s Pilar Rum
Perfect Puree
Plantation Rum
Pusser’s Rum
Pyrat Rum
Rhum Clement
Rhum J.M
Rougaroux Rum
Sailor Jerry Rum
Sugar Island Spiced and Coconut Rums
Wild Hibiscus & Hibiscus Rose Extracts

  • Rules for the Tales of the Cocktail® Official Cocktail Competition:
  1. Competition is open to any bartender currently working in the bar, restaurant or spirits industry.
  2. Each participant shall use the official entry form online at TalesoftheCocktail.com
  3. All recipes shall be original creations.
  4. Recipes shall be expressed in ounces, drops, or dashes and scaled for a single serving.
  5. Your cocktail must utilize at least one of the participating products.
  6. Recipe must include a detailed description of the garnish.
  7. All ingredients utilized should be expected to be available to most bars or easily acquired/made.
  8. All ingredients should be available year-round, so nothing seasonal. And all ingredients should be obtainable — or should be able to be made from scratch — without undue difficulty or expense anywhere within the continental US.
  9. Cocktails made with inappropriate ingredients will be disqualified with determination of what constitutes an inappropriate ingredient up to the discretion of the staff of Tales of the Cocktail® and the judging committee.
  10. Cocktails will be judged on Originality, Use of product, Taste, and Presentation.
  11. You do not need to be present to compete or win.

The winning recipes will the following:

  • The first place recipe will be named the  “Official Cocktail” of Tales of the Cocktail® 2014
    • The Official Cocktail will be in the Toast to Tales of the Cocktail® Press Conference and in the official program.
  • The first place recipe will be featured with photography in the Mutineer Magazine and Mutineer online publication
  • The top three winning recipes will be featured in on TalesoftheCocktail.com and featured in the Tales of the Cocktail® newsletter which reaches over 20,000 readers.

Timeline for the Tales of the Cocktail® Official Cocktail Competition 2014:

Friday, April 24, 2014:  Deadline to submit recipes

Thursday, May 1, 2014:  Winner and top three announced


To enter you can CLICK HERE!


Press Release


We’re thrilled to announce that the first and only bourbon whiskey ever legally made in Texas – Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey – is now available for purchase in New York. Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is made from corn to cork, one barrel at a time, and handcrafted from a sweet mash of premium, #1 food-grade organic grain.

Every day at Garrison Brothers Distillery, they dedicate themselves to making a better bourbon than they did the day before, which means bourbon drinkers can expect a better bottle of Garrison Brothers every time they buy one. Garrison Brother Distillery is a small family-owned farm and ranch, where they study the craft and get better at it every day, giving each barrel they produce its own distinct personality. They are devoted to the distilling process at Garrison Brothers Distillery and add personal touches like hand-numbering and signing each and every custom bottle the distillery distributes.

Please see the official press release below for more information on the brand. I’d love to work with you on announcing the launch of Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey in New York. As one of America’s great bourbon whiskeys, please also keep the brand in mind for upcoming stories that may be a good fit. Proprietor and distiller Dan Garrison is also available for interviews. Let me know if you need any further info or high res imagery.

Thanks in advance!

Garrison Brothers’ Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey
Now Available in New York

3,000 Bottles of the American Micro Whiskey of the Year Launch in Liquor Stores and Bars Across the State

New York, New York – Garrison Brothers Distillery™, Texas’ first legal whiskey distillery, is thrilled to announce that New York will be the third state beyond Texas and Arizona, for distribution of its highly acclaimed straight bourbon whiskey. The distillery has released 3,000 bottles of its award-winning straight bourbon whiskey to bars and liquor stores throughout New York, as part of its partnership with Blueprint Brands.

The first straight bourbon whiskey ever legally made – from corn to cork – outside Kentucky or Tennessee, Garrison Brothers’ Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey™ has long been a labor of love for proprietor and distiller Dan Garrison, who, with the assistance of a “small staff of rednecks,” releases a unique vintage of its straight bourbon whiskey each fall and spring. While all previous vintage releases have sold out in Texas and Arizona, and demand across the nation and globe far exceeds what the small distillery can produce, New Yorkers can now be treated to a taste of the Spring 2014 vintage, and coming soon, the Fall 2014 vintage when it hits shelves later this year.

“We are extremely proud of this bourbon whiskey,” says proprietor and distiller Dan Garrison. “We’re so confident of its quality, taste and character that we’ll put it up against any Kentucky or Tennessee bourbon in blind taste tests. Yes, even Pappy.”

The experts apparently agree. In his 2014 Whisky Bible, respected taster and writer Jim Murray gave Cowboy Bourbon from Garrison Brothers a rating of 96 and named it the American Micro Whisky of the Year.

And now the brand is ready for New York. Tapped as the third state in its expansion plan, Garrison Brothers is confident that its highly acclaimed Texas straight bourbon whiskey will ‘wow’ even the finest of palates among New York’s bourbon aficionados.

“New Yorkers not only love to drink but they also care about what they put into their bodies and can recognize a pure high-quality product when they taste one,” Dan Garrison says of New York’s vibrant cocktail community.  “Our careful attention to an organic, made-by-hand distilling process, coupled with New York’s strong farm-to-market presence, makes us a perfect match.”

Garrison Brothers observes sustainable business practices throughout the distilling process, like using ultra-pure rainwater and maturing the whiskey in custom-built, new White American Oak barrels harvested from sustainable forests.

“We continue to make and barrel every batch by hand, the old-fashioned way,” says Garrison, who prides himself on the attention he devotes to the distilling process, and personal touches like hand-numbering and signing each and every custom bottle the distillery distributes. Unlike Kentucky and Tennessee bourbon distilleries, which make bourbon from “sour mash,” Garrison makes a “sweet mash” utilizing locally grown grain that is ground fresh daily and never reused. The organic white corn is harvested from farms in the Texas Panhandle, and Garrison grows his own organic soft red winter wheat on his ranch in the heart of Texas Hill Country.

Garrison Brothers Distillery is Texas’ first and oldest legal whiskey distillery, having secured federal and state operating permits in 2007. Since then, Garrison and his dedicated crew have been painstakingly cooking and fermenting a sweet mash of organic Texas corn, wheat and barley, which they distill from a small antique copper pot still nicknamed The Copper Cowgirl. In 2011, the distillery installed two additional 500 gallon pot stills, and today, more than 6,000 barrels of bourbon are aging in custom-built barns on Garrison’s ranch in Hye, Texas.

“Making straight bourbon whiskey requires a commitment of time, money and patience that most craft distillers are unwilling to make,” Garrison said. “Dozens of high-priced consultants and professional investor-types told us this could never be done. It’s been done now.”

Garrison Brothers Texas Straight Bourbon Whiskey is now available across New York State.

About Garrison Brothers Distillery

Founded in 2006, Garrison Brothers Distillery™ is a small-distilled spirits plant located in the heart of Texas Hill Country. The first legal whiskey distillery in Texas and the only one outside Kentucky and Tennessee to produce authentic bourbon, the small, family-owned business manufactures its spirits straight from the kitchen, still-house and barrel barns on their ranch in Hye, Texas. Garrison Brothers began offering tours and tastings in 2008, and now hosts more than 25,000 guests every year.  Anyone interested in learning more about Garrison Brothers bourbon or taking a tour of the distillery,  can CLICK HERE!




Roadhouse is an American themed bar & diner in the heart of London’s Covent Garden. Known throughout the world for its phenomenal bartenders and elite bar team, Roadhouse is also reputable for its recruitment process where only the ‘best of the best’ bartenders are selected to grace their presence & skill – making their own contribution to the success of the world famous Roadhouse.
That was then……..the year of 1999. Roadhouse identified the interest on Flair through the bartenders’ skills fast becoming a competitive game on shift, that we recognised the potential of bar teams all over London & beyond that we hosted an in-house Flair competition against another fellow Flair bar team, TGI Fridays. The night was so successful Roadhouse decided to develop the idea and open it up to the public…..this was the night where it all started.

Over the years the competition has been tweaked and molded to move with the times. People change, and so does the face of Flair. Roadhouse remains the leader in this field with the innovation of multi objects and strategic judging criteria. Still working on a ranking system and part of a league, Roadhouse utilises every month to make sure that the grand final holds host to the biggest names of flair in the world.
A special recognition must go out to Brett Seychelle who identified and pursued the interest in Flair to develop the Roadhouse Flair Competition. In addition to all who have participated, competed or contributed to Roadhouse Flair, we also thank previous organisers Troy, Andy Collinson, Lord Tugworth and Jay Du Toit for their involvement and promotion of the Roadhouse Flair competition, for whose efforts have made this competition the biggest in the world!!




Tom Dyer’s winning round from Roadhouse in February.



Luca Valentin’s winning round from Roadhouse in March.

30th Roadhouse World Challenge

Open to all international competitors. 2 places will be available for the Grand final in November.

(UK entrants will have their scores separated from international competitors and will be measured against their UK peers for the UK final in August. 3 spaces will be available for the UK Final)



13th Chicks with Flicks

Roadhouse will be holding the third ALL FEMALE flair competition in 13 years. Its a chance for all the great female flairers out there to show off their moves, and compete against an all girl line up. First place will win a whopping £1000, and a place in the Grand Final in November. Its a day not to be missed!!

27th Roadhouse World Challenge

Open to all international competitors. 2 places will be available for the Grand final in November.

(UK entrants will have their scores separated from international competitors and will be measured against their UK peers for the UK final in August. 3 spaces will be available for the UK Final)



18th Roadhouse World Challenge

Open to all international competitors. 2 places will be available for the Grand final in November.

(UK entrants will have their scores separated from international competitors and will be measured against their UK peers for the UK final in August. 3 spaces will be available for the UK Final)



29th Roadhouse World Challenge

Open to all International competitors. 2 places will be available for the Grand Final in November.



27th Roadhouse World Challenge

Open to all international competitors. 2 places will be available for the Grand final in November.



31st Roadhouse UK Final – UK Only

Every year, the UK’s finest dominate the Roadhouse stage to earn their UK ranking order. Battling it out live on the stage, we witness 25 of Britains Finest Bartenders going head to head, to see who will be crowned the UK champion.



14th – Chicks with Flicks

Roadhouse will be holding the fourth ALL FEMALE flair competition in 13 years. Its a chance for all the great female flairers out there to show off their moves, and compete against an all girl line up. First place will win a whopping £1000, and a place in the Grand Final in November. Its a day not to be missed!!

28th – Invite Only


26th October Roadhouse World Challenge and ZANTE REUNION

The Zante reunion has been a summer workers tradition thats working its way into its 8th year. After 6 solid months of drinking and working 7 days a week in the bar industry in the sunny island of Zante, all the workers meet up at Roadhouse for one last celebration to raise a glass to a great summer and to cheer on their favourite bartenders/conquests in true Zante style. This is a day NOT to be missed!



29th November Roadhouse World Challenge Grand Final

The first day of the Grand Final runs between 1pm-5pm, and will see all the World Final competitors completing a working flair drink, and getting their rankings for the next days exhibition flair.

30th November Roadhouse World Challenge Grand Final

The Grand Final will be in full swing, with the Best in the World competing for a whopping £10 000 1st prize!!!!!



For more info you can CLICK HERE!

Press Release


Disaronno Mixing Star Competition  We think a great drink is a work of mixing art that requires a solid culture of mixology, a perfect knowledge of the ingredients, deep technical skills and a touch of creative genius. Disaronno rewards your creativity: create your original twist of the classic Disaronno Sour and win our amazing mixology training in Italy.  Deadline is May 9, 2014.

The LAB is a new chapter of Disaronno Mixing Star dedicated to bartenders’ professional growth. The best cocktail for us is the one that mixes the highest tradition in liqueurs with the creativity and skills of a talented bartender. Often the spark comes from a Classic: just spin the cap of a Disaronno bottle and let it drive your inspiration.

Play Promo Video


Twist A Classic

We think a great drink is a work of mixing art that requires a solid culture of mixology, a perfect knowledge of the ingredients, deep technical skills and a touch of creative genius. Disaronno rewards your creativity: create your original twist of the classic Disaronno Sour and win our amazing mixology training in Italy.

Original Recipe

Of The Classic

Disaronno Sour

1.5 oz. Disaronno
0.3 oz. sugar syrup
½ lemon squeezed or 0.6 oz. fresh lemon juice
Cubed ice
Preparation: shake all ingredients with ice and strain in a chilled glass


For more info you can CLICK HERE!


By Ian Buxton

As the Scotch whisky industry appears to expand with gay abandon, Ian Buxton takes a look up the supply chain and asks if there’s enough wood in them thar hills to hold the stuff.

What links the disastrous floods of 2011 in Missouri and the current huge expansion of the Scotch whisky industry? And, why could this link become a problem for the new generation of tiny boutique distillers?

The answer is casks, or rather the potential lack of them. As Bill Owens, founder & president of the American Distilling Institute (the organisation for the craft distilling industry in the USA) notes, in addition to Scottish growth and an expansion of Bourbon output “craft brewers, wineries and the Tequila distillers are all increasing the demand [for casks] – if you don’t have supply confirmed, then you’ve got a problem”.

Owens is particularly concerned for around 30 of his members, all new start-up businesses, recalling that, during the Missouri flooding, it was impossible for heavy trucks to access the state’s forests, leading to fewer trees being felled, less timber being laid down for air drying and the shortage of staves today, just as demand soars. To make matters worse, heavy rains in 2013 also limited the harvesting of mature timber. One consequence: Prices for a new American oak barrel have risen sharply, “from $320 to over $700”, claims Owens.

That’s a cost inflation that affects the whole industry but is a particular problem for the emerging craft sector, where cash-flow is particularly tight.

A similar jump in prices – around 30% in the past year – has affected the market for once-used Bourbon barrels, which are so critical to Scotch whisky. Today, prices have risen to around $80, or more if you only want tiny quantities. So concerned is at least one major Scotch distiller that they will shortly be undertaking a fact-finding mission to the US, to understand the whole supply chain back to the forests and saw mills.

The problem isn’t confined to the US. Much Spanish Sherry is matured using American oak staves and, as Edrington’s director of whisky operations, Robin Gillies explains: “We’re seeing some of our Spanish cooperage partners going to the lengths of purchasing a share in a US stave supplier to guarantee future supplies. Without that assurance, right now US suppliers won’t commit to long-term contracts; they’re accepting orders but without a firm commitment that they can deliver.”

Others echo his concerns. “Casks, what casks!?” asks Stuart Nickerson of The Malt Whisky Co. “It’s already a problem, with no ex-Bourbon or refills to be had, unless you have a contract or have some other muscle,” says Nickerson, who is currently planning a Shetland start-up. “It’s a definite problem for the new starts,” he added.

But, some smaller operations that have secured established suppliers are more sanguine. “Although casks are becoming increasingly difficult to source, we have good arrangements with Buffalo Trace and Miguel Martin for our cask requirements,” says Anthony Wills of Kilchoman Distillery Co on Islay. “These arrangements were put in place before the pressure built and we are delighted that they will continue to supply our requirements.” Wills reports prices of GBP90 (US$148) for Bourbon barrels and GBP450 for Oloroso Sherry butts.

Asked about the cask supply situation, a Diageo spokesman said: “Clearly, we plan our wood purchasing for the long term in the light of our known wood usage and future plans for production. We have longstanding relationships with third parties who source only the highest quality wood for us.

“However,” he added “we are not solely reliant on purchasing new and previously used casks; we are firmly committed to extending the useful life of valuable casks (and lessening the environmental impact of our wood sourcing) through our highly developed rejuvenation programme.

“Diageo’s team of coopers have worked with our scientific, technical and maturation experts over recent years to develop a much more sophisticated, more finely-calibrated approach to rejuvenation, using a variety of methods.

“The bottom line,” continued the Diageo statement “ is that our understanding of supply chain options, cooperage capability and blending knowledge are all used to mitigate the challenges of cask supply; particularly the need for new wood.”

For the moment, then, US barrels are “readily accessible and relatively cheap” for the major players, according to Robin Gillies. However, that relies on US legislation mandating the use of new barrels for Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey – and it’s this latter style that Diageo is lobbying strongly to change, though the company stress they have no plans to alter the use of new barrels for their George Dickel brand.

Perhaps the company should be careful what it wishes for; while it may be argued that one company cannot legislate for a whole industry, it’s equally true that no one company can control what others do. If the re-usage of barrels were to be permitted in US legislation, then all bets are off, notwithstanding the views of Diageo, Brown-Forman or the cooperage and forestry industries.

At present, however, the debate is focused around the legislation on Tennessee whiskey, whish has been enacted at state level. Federal law, however, applies to the rules on Bourbon, an apparently arcane but critically important distinction missed by some commentators outside the industry.

“What will happen to Scotch whisky if, as some in the industry are pushing for, the Bourbon legislation is amended?” asks Gillies rhetorically. That’s the nightmare scenario for Scotch – millions more litres of spirit leaving the stills and nowhere to put it.

After years of hard work and cost in removing poor quality wood from the Scotch whisky supply chain the industry could be faced with the chilling prospect of once again filling tired or sub-standard wood – or not filling at all.

“The wood supply chain is particularly acute,” says Gillies. “It’s pretty tight out there.”

So, if you’re thinking of building a new distillery, first check you can find some wood in the trees.




By Bon Vivants

Announcing the Forth Annual Viva Sangrita! Competition. This National Competition challenges bartenders to take their spin on the traditional sangrita to seamlessly pair with one of Tequila Ocho’s single estate expressions.Regional Competitions will be held in Chicago, New York, Miami, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Boston, Denver, Austin, and Kansas City. Each Regional Winner will head to New Orleans in July for the Nationals where they will compete for the grand prize, a trip to Arandas, Jalisco, the home of Tequila Ocho.

Miami Regional Competition to be held Sunday May 4th


Sangrita is the traditional Jaliscan accompaniment to a fine tequila. In it’s most traditional form it is pomegranate or tomato juice, orange juice, lime juice, and a spicy element, either hot sauce or fresh or dried chilies. We believe Sangrita is much more than that.

Sangrita is a seamless blending of tart, sweet, spicy, and savory. When made with love, imagination, and paired with the right tequila, it becomes a ritual, and is a transcendent drink experience. We believe this pairing is the best way to enjoy Tequila Ocho.

We task you with this: Craft your finest, original, thought and palate provoking Sangrita to pair with one of the Tequila Ocho current releases. Your options are any of the expressions and vintages that are currently available in your market. You are not restricted to the traditional recipes for Sangrita. Rather, you are encouraged to think outside the box. Be innovative, while using the parameter of the collective, tart, sweet, spicy, and savory as your only guideline.

Current Tequila Ocho releases:

Tequila Ocho – Los Fresnos – 2013 – Plata

Tequila Ocho – El Refugio – 2012 – Reposado

Tequila Ocho – El Puertecito – 2011 – Anejo

Deadline to enter is April 7th  

Details and Submissions CLICK HERE!



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