Friday, June 21, 2024

Tales of the Cocktail’s West Coast Invasion

July 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Spirits Events

We’re here at Tales of the Cocktail in the year that history will look back upon as the definitive week when the West Coast crushed the East like ice in a bartender’s Lewis ice bag. From the time it took for us to step out of our cab (driven by retired New Orleans boxer Al Jackson) in front of the Hotel Monteleone, and arrive at the front desk, we bumped into a herd of West Coasters who are in town to sweep the Spirited Awards, the USBG competitions, the Bar Room Brawl and the pivotal Spirited Dinner “Left Coast Vs East Coast Libations”.

Where were the East Coasters last night? Snuggly tucked in their fluffy soft beds, for it was the bewitching hour of 8 p.m., their time. West Coasters don’t even need beds. When our ancestors crossed this great land the only beds they needed were the rugged ground beneath their feet and the stars filling the sky above them for their blankets.

Only the strongest made it to the West Coast. The rest? They had their butler Chauncey escort them to the grassy Midwest where they skipped along the flat plains, thinking they were on some great adventure. Then they inevitably stubbed their big toes while trying to cross The Rockies and went running home to their mamas crying.

When the future West Coasters approached The Rockies they grabbed hold of a buffalo by the horns and rode it bareback until they hit the crossroads that would either take them to the Pacific Northwest for delicious cocktails and succulent wild salmon, or to the Gold Country of California for fame and fortune. That’s the way they did it back then.

Portland Bartender David Shenaut recently explained the East Coast versus West Coast bartending style to Inside F&B this way, “Style vs. Substance. East Coast has one or the other… West Coast has both. We get our hands dirty. We also give real service at the bar.” (read the full article here)

Shenaut and a formidable crew of other West Coasters will go shaker to shaker and stirring glass to stirring glass at the Spirited Dinner Left Coast Vs East Coast Libations held at GW Fins in New Orleans. Word on the street is that both Saveur and Imbibe have purchased tables. Ted Munat, Seattle author of the wonderful cocktail book Left Coast Libations, will preside over the event with cocktail in-hand.

Enjoy this list of West Coasters (highlighted in bold) who are up for major awards at this year’s Tales of the Cocktail. East Coasters, get your silken hankies ready. You’re going to need them.

Spirited Awards Finalists – Featuring Left Coasters

American Bartender of the Year
Eric Alperin, Los Angeles, California
Kenta Goto, New York City, New York
Misty Kalkofen, Boston, Massachusetts
Sam Ross, New York City, New York
Joaquin Simo, New York City, New York

Best American Cocktail Bar
Clover Club, New York City, New York
Drink, Boston, Massachusetts
Employees Only, New York City, New York
The Varnish, Los Angeles, California

Best High Volume Cocktail Bar
Eastern Standard, Boston, Massachusetts
Flatiron Lounge, New York City, New York
Florida Room, Miami, Florida
Rickhouse, San Francisco, California

Best Cocktail Writing – Author
Toby Cecchini, New York City, New York
Camper English, San Francisco, California
Darcy O’Neil, London, Ontario
Naren Young, New York City, New York

Best New Cocktail/Bartending Book
Fix the Pumps by Darcy O’Neill
Left Coast Libations by Ted Munat & Michael Lazar
Punch by David Wondrich
Speakeasy by Dushan Zaric and Jay Kosmas

World’s Best Hotel Bar
Artesian at The Langham, London, England
Clive’s Classic Lounge at Chateau Victoria Hotel, Victoria, British Columbia
Clyde Common at The Ace Hotel, Portland, Oregon
The Savoy, London, England

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