The Hat is Back!

The Hat is Back!

I'm referring to the official re-launching of Mandarine Napoléon, the orange liqueur combining the macerations of Sicilian madnarins with aged cognac.  The brand was officially reintroduced to the US market this week, starting with a launch party in Miami at the SoHo Beach House that boasted several unique cocktails, three-course dinner pairing and an appearance from Master Distiller Matthijs Jansen (some of you may remember his appearance in the TDN Mixoloseum last year!). 

Here are a few fab photos from the event on September 20, though there are plenty more where these came from if you visit this WorldRedEye post:

Citrus and Cocktail Menus at the SoHo Beach House, Miami.

Marc & Viviane De Kuyper and Matthijs Jansen. 

Where you in Miami for the event? What was your favorite of the original Mandarine Napoléon cocktails served?

To learn more about Mandarine Napoléon and what's in store next for the brand, stay tuned by becoming a fan of the brand's Facebook Page.  



Introducting Amstel Wheat: The Bier Drinker's Wheat

Last week I had the fantastic opportunity to attend the product launch event from the Amstel portfolio - Amstel Wheat (Disclosure: Heineken USA is one of our clients). The new beer was introduced just this month in select on-premise accounts in cities across the US, including New York, Boston, Providence, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis and San Francisco. 
The event was held at the Back Boy Social Club in Boston, where I unfortunately missed an Amstel Light and cheese pairing, along with a significant chunk of draught specialist Mark Lang's Amstel Wheat tasting session, due to one extremely late arriving bus (darn you, Greyhound!). But I did still have plenty of time to enjoy a couple of steins of the new Amstel Wheat paired with a light, flavorful dinner menu. But first, let me recap some of Mark's tasting notes.
Mark broke down the idea of tasting a beer into what he describes as The Five S's: See, Swirl, Smell, Sip, Swallow. Upon implementing all of these steps, you'll realize that Amstel Wheat is certainly an accessible and authentic European wheat beer. 
See: The beer has a great golden color and is slightly cloudy, as you would come to expect from this style of unfiltered wheat beer.
Swirl: How does one describe a swirl? I'll just hope you're playing along at home! 
Amstel Wheat pairs seamlessly with seafood, chicken and  light vegetarian entrees, such as this Fettuccine with Portobello Mushrooms.
Smell: On the nose, I found the Amstel Wheat to have a bountiful amount of citrus notes. 
Sip: This new beer definitely has yeasty flavors when you take your first sip, but I also happened to get a lot of peppery spice up front, too. 
Swallow: Coming in at a low 4.5% abv, Amstel Wheat has what can be described as a very floral finish. It really cleans the palate nicely before heading in for that next wonderful sip! 
Here are some other interesting tidbits I learned about Amstel Wheat throughout the evening:  the beer has a low IBU (International Bittering Units) of 11 and one 12 oz serving has 135 calories.
Dessert at the Back Bay Social Club with an Amstel Wheat beer.
Next time you're out in one of the aforementioned cities, see if your favorite watering hole is carrying Amstel Wheat and give this new brew a try for yourself. The beer is light, accessible and easy to drink and certainly will not disappoint Wheat Beer fans! 


Upcoming US and European Wine and Spirit Events and Competitions

We hope you'll find this compendium of upcoming wine and spirits events and competitions useful. We'll be updating this with information on the 2012 TBD's as they are defined.


Wine Enthusiast Toast of the Town
Miami, Sept. 23, 2011, 2012 TBD

Indy Spirits Expo

Sept. 28, 2011 Chicago. 2012 TBD

Wine Riot US Tour
2011 LA, BOS, CHI, New York, Sep. 23/24, DC, Oct. 21/22
Consumer event targeting Millennials

Ultimate Blast
Oct. 14, 2011, Marriott Marquis, New York

European Wine Bloggers Conference
Franciacorta, Italy Oct. 14-16, 2011

Vinitaly Tour: USA
Oct. 17-19, 2011 Metropolitan Pavilion, New York

Wine Spectator NY Wine Experience
New York, Oct. 20-22, 2011, Marriott Marquis
2012 TBD

Fancy Food Show

Winter show: San Francisco, Jan 15-17, 2012
Summer show Washington DC, June 17-19, 2012.

Boston Wine Expo
Jan. 22-22, 2012, Boston, MA

Vino2012/Italian Wine Week
TBD 2012 (Usually in Jan. in New York)

South Beach Wine and Food Festival
Feb. 23-26, 2012, Miami, FL

NY Wine Expo
Mar. 2-4, 2012 at the Jacob Javitz center, New York

Nightclub & Bar Show:
Las Vegas, March 12-14, 2012

March 4-6, 2012, Dusseldorf, Germany

March 25-28, 2012, Verona Italy

U.S. Drinks Conference and Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America Annual Convention and Exposition
April 2-5, Las Vegas, NV. U.S. Drinks Conference will be co-located with this event

American Craft Distilling Conference

2012 TBD (most likely April)

Manhattan Cocktail Classic
May 11-15, 2012 in New York.

London International Wine Fair
May 22-24, London Excel Center

Vinexpo Asia-Pacific
May 29-31, 2012, Hong Kong

Aspen Food and Wine Classic
Aspen, CO, June 15-17, 2012.

San Diego Spirits Festival
June 30-July 1, 2012, San Diego, CA

American Wine Bloggers Conference
Aug. 17-19, 2012, Portland, OR

Bar and Wine Show
Formerly the NY Bar Show, June 26/27, 2012, Jacob Javitz Center NY

Tales of the Cocktail

July 20-24,2012, New Orleans

Miami International Wine Fair

2012 TBD, Usually Oct.

European Wine Bloggers Conference

2012 TBD, Usually mid-October.


Micro Liquor Spirit Awards
Eligibility: Product sells less than 50,000 9-liter cases annually in USA. Deadline Oct. 17, 2011.

New York International Spirits Awards
New York, Oct. 16, 2011

San Francisco Spirits Competition
2012 dates TBD. Entries usually due mid Feb, event Mid-Mar.

San Francisco Wine Competition
Entries due May 25, 2012. Event June 15-17, 2012.

Ultimate Beverage Challenge

Ultimate Spirit Challenge

2012 dates TBD, but expected to be early Mar for judging, event early April
Ultimate Wine Challenge Deadline for entries for 2012 TBD, but expected to be mid-April, Event early May, New York

Ultimate Cocktail Challenge

Event early April at Astor Center, deadline for 2012 TBD, but expected to be mid-March. This has been expanded in 2011 to include two sections, “Classic Cocktails” and “Signature Cocktails”

Beverage Testing Institute
BTI conducts a series of tastings of both wine and spirits by category throughout the year. They also run a value wine competition and packaging competitions for spirits and wine.

The Wine Trials
This is actually a book published annually and focusing on generally available wines retailing at under $15. There is no fee to participate. Deadline for entries usually in October.

IWSC (International Wine and Spirits Competition)
2012 deadlines TBD.

International Spirits Challenge
Put on by Drinks International Magazine, Entry deadlines vary by category but generally April/May.

Spirit Masters

Run by Drinks Business/Spirits Business Magazine. 2012 dates TBD, but usually end June.

SIP Awards
Deadline for submission May, 201


Your Friday Funny

This took place yesterday in our office and it was too priceless not to share it online! Hope this makes you laugh as we spearhead forward into what I hope is a relaxing weekend for everyone.

What drinking events are on your agenda for this weekend? Wine tastings? Cocktail pairings? Octoberfests? Share your activities in the comments below.

Want to make sure your boss see the shipment of samples that arrives at his office? Why not put the boxes in a visible place where he can't miss them --- in the doorway to his office!

Jeff is in good "spirits" after a practical joke well executed.