Friday, October 31, 2008
The 2009 Grand Marnier/Navan Mixology Summit is coming!
So my favorite event of 2008, the Grand Marnier/Navan Mixology Summit is happening again in Vail Colorado. Led by Steve Olsen, Andy Seymour and the rest of their gang again, it promises to be one of the highlights of 2009, and I sincerely hope that I get the opportunity to attend next year.
You can read about my experience at this years Mixology Summit on some of my earlier posts. Looking back, there were two very valuable things that I took away from 2008's Summit.
First, Grand Marnier/Navan really did an outstanding job with the program, and there was plenty of time to interact with outstanding presenters like Leo Degroff and Aisha Sharpe which allowed me to pick their brains and exchange some thoughts and ideas with them. I came home to Oregon filled with new ideas and techniques. I'd never be doing a bacon bourbon if I hadn't talked to Don Lee and Jim Meehan at the Summit. In fact, I wouldn't be working on a duck fat washed Grand Marnier for a Duck a l'Orange cocktail that I'm going to be submitting as one of my entries this year (note to readers; its a subtle duck flavor achieved by fat washing duck fat into straight Grand Marnier, and a couple of other ingredients marry pretty damn well with it to make for an interesting cocktail) without talking to those guys, and even better, seeing them actually demonstrate some of their techniques.
Second, I made some of the best contacts in the industry ever at this years Summit. Even better, a number of them, including Ky Belk of Elway's Steakhouse in Denver, Doug Miller of Culinary Institute of America, and the great Jimmy Patrick (www.mixographer.com) have become great friends and have even come out to visit me in Oregon. Others have been "internet friends" and acquaintances, but meeting Jonathan Pogash on the ride from Denver to Vail turned out to be a great resource when we were trying to publicize the cocktail competition portion of the Great American Distillers Festival. This was the top 100 bartenders in America, in one resort with one of the finest liquor brands in the world showing us a first class time and allowing us to learn about their products.
Oh yeah, this wasn't all about learning about Grand Marnier, Navan and bartending. There was world class skiing, snowmobiling, and other activities available as well. Even better, this wasn't one of those events filled with PR types (nothing personal)and salesmen, this was bartenders being brought together to learn and share knowledge. I relax around bartenders. I instinctively trust them and I can let my guard down around them and share stories of life behind the stick that I'd never in a thousand years share with the salespeople or enthusiasts. For me, this was a chance to learn, make new friends, and have a great time at one of the most beautiful places on planet earth.
So how can you attend? Well, first you've got to be a professional bartender. Next, go to www.mixologysummit.com for the application and rules. Good luck to all of you and I hope to see you in Vail again next year.