- BarSmarts Wired is now open for registration through March 31. Created by Beverage Alcohol Resource and Pernod Ricard USA, the online bartender training program is available for two-month intervals twice a year. While BarSmarts Advanced is invitation-only, the Wired version is open to any bar enthusiast 21 and older. The $45 course fee includes a messenger bag packed with essential bar tools, shipped to you whether you pass the course or not.
- For reasons yet unknown, Audrey Saunders has left her helm at the Tar Pit in L.A. She told The New York Times that she and the other bar owners disagreed over the swanky retro bar's promotion: "It’s not our style to promote our beverage program through cable programs, etc — and that became a stumbling block for us."
- New York sales of Fernet Branca jumped 50 percent in 2009, undoubtedly thanks to NYC's cocktail community--but the saturation here still doesn't match San Francisco, which drinks more than half of the Fernet sold in the entire U.S.!
- Save the dates for the first-ever Ultimate Beverage Challenge series, starting with the Ultimate Spirits Challenge at Astor Center on March 1-3, followed by the Ultimate Cocktail Challenge on April 12-14. For the cocktail challenge, spirit and wine categories will be meticulously mixed in classic cocktails to determine which ones work best, such as the best gin in a dry martini. The judging panel will include founder F. Paul Pacult, Jacques Bezuidenhout, Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, Julie Reiner, Audrey Saunders, Jim Meehan, Doug Frost, Andy Seymour, David Wondrich and more.
- Liquor industry giant Diageo is leading efforts to stop New York grocery stores from selling wine, as proposed in a current bill from Gov. Paterson.
- Today is National Margarita Day! I like mine spicy:
Spicy Cucumber Margarita by Kara Newman, author of "Spice & Ice":
1/2 small cucumber, peeled and cubed 1 slice jalapeno pepper, minced 1 ounce reposado tequila 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier Ice 1 small jalapeno or cucumber or lime wheel for garnish
In a shaker, muddle the cucumber and jalapeno. Add all liquid ingredients, and fill halfway with ice. Shake well, for at least 30 seconds or more, then strain twice into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the small chili pepper or cucumber or lime wheel.