Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We are proud and excited to officially welcome the Cincinnati Chapter to the USBG with a unanimous vote from the National Board!  Congratulations to Pilar Zeglin for getting the chapter started and we welcome her to the team as the first Cincinnati Chapter President!

The Chapter Officers are:

Pilar Zeglin – President

Adrian Tata – Vice President

Charla McNeeley – General Secretary

Leslie Ackermann – Treasurer

Welcome Cincinnati…Congratulattions!


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The Modern Mixologist turns 50!

In April & May the USBG will be collecting donations for Tony Abou-Ganim’s 50th Birthday gift…. A DONATION to the Bartender Relief Fund in memory and honor of his “Aunt Helen”. All month we will be gathering donations for the fund in any denomination and at the end of the month we will present one lump sum to the Bartender Relief Fund in the name and honor of Tony’s “Aunt Helen”.

All donors who donate more than $10 will be posted here on the site unless you choose to be anonymous.

To donate now please click here.


Tony’s Note…

First, let me thank you personally for considering a donation to the Bartender Relief Fund in honor of my cousin Helen David. This fund has been established to assist those within the industry who may find themselves in financial need to due to an illness, a catastrophic event, or a family crisis. The fund has been established through the San Francisco Chapter of the USBG and will soon be the USBG’s National Charity of choice and we will work together to spread the word.

I would love to share with you the story of a woman behind my inspiration. My cousin and mentor, Helen David, whom most of you never had an opportunity to meet. Helen was the first person to put a cocktail shaker in my hands in 1980, when I began my career as a bartender at the Brass Rail in Port Huron, Michigan. I would like to take this opportunity to share a little bit of our history.

The stage was set in 1937, during the midst of the Great Depression. Helen’s father passed away when Helen was 21 years old, leaving her and her mother to run the family ice cream parlor in downtown Port Huron. It was also just three years after the repeal of Prohibition. Helen’s mother quickly realized that times were tough and people were not spending a lot of money on ice cream. After careful deliberation, she came to the conclusion that people would still spend money on alcohol. Therefore, the solution was to convert the ice cream parlor into a saloon. Helen was shocked at her mother’s decision and said, “Mother, proper ladies don’t run saloons!” To which Helen’s mother replied, “A lady is a lady no matter where you put her, but she needs to have a buck in her pocket!”

On June 15th, 1937, Helen and her mother opened the Brass Rail Bar, which Helen owned and operated for nearly 70 years until her death in July of 2006, at the age of 91. She had great respect for those who worked for her and saw to it that they had health insurance, sick leave and paid vacations…things unheard of in the bar industry at that time. Her employees remain loyal to Helen and many still continue to work at the Brass Rail today. Helen graciously welcomed patrons from all walks of life into the bar just as she would into her home. It is this warm hospitality that best showcases Helen’s commitment to and understanding of our industry. Helen went on to be a very successful business woman, never losing track of the importance of giving back. 

Helen contributed to things that were important to her, including the church, her community, those less fortunate, and those who had fallen upon hard times. She was instrumental in forming the Quota Club for the hearing impaired and helped to establish the People’s Clinic for Better Health, which continues to provide contribution based health care to those in need throughout the community. Helen also provided the necessary funding to build the St. Clair County Council on Aging. During her lifetime she became a highly respected mentor and philanthropist throughout the community. Through her commitment, her integrity, and her compassion, her legacy lives on. To this day, she is remembered fondly as the “First Lady of Port Huron.” 

Helen instilled in me an understanding of life and an appreciation for our profession that is hard to explain. It is a craft I have embraced with unwavering passion and have attempted to share with all of you. I have had the great privilege to work in this amazing industry for the past 30 years and it has been an honor and a pleasure to serve many of you a cocktail on occasion.

I feel blessed to be a part of this amazing profession. There are many of our brothers and sisters working in our industry today, who due to unforeseen circumstances may find themselves in financial need. It is with this that I ask humbly and thank you for your help, support, and contributions to the Bartender Relief Fund in my cousin Helen David’s Memory and Honor.

Cheers & Happiness,


For more information about The Bartender Relief Fund visit www.bartender-relief.org  

A big thank you goes out to all the generous donors so far!

Jimmy Yeager

David Page

Robert McLelland

Janet Abou-Ganim

Lauren Allison

Francesco Lafranconi

Mary Faulkner

Connie Fitzgerald

Anton Neumeister

Deborah Hutton

Ronald Assmann

Christina Fesci

Ricky Richard

New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society

Bryan O’Rourke

Kristopher Moulds

Jennifer Robinson

Christine Heller

Natalie Bovis-Nelsen

Anthony Dias Blue

Shari Rhode

Armando Rosario

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When can I take the USBG tests on-line? I have been WAITING!

So sorry to keep you waiting, hopefully you have been using this time to STUDY! The delay in getting the exams on-line has been frustrating for us all, but we think we will finally be on-line with the Spirits Professional exam in mid April. We are so excited that we can’t wait, well just a little while longer!

We have also announced a few live dates for you to consider as well….

April 2010 Date TBD
Please check back soon for details.
Reservations made through the USBG only: please email Liz Edwards @ usbg_events@hotmail.com to reserve your seat.

The Bar & Wine Show, June 20-21 2010
Test time and date TBD
Jacob K. Javits Convention Center
11th Avenue & West 38th Street, New York, NY
Reservations made through the USBG only: please email Liz Edwards @ usbg_events@hotmail.com to reserve your seat.

June 2010 Date TBD
Please check back soon for details.
Reservations made through the USBG only: please email Liz Edwards @ usbg_events@hotmail.com to reserve your seat.

July 21st
Tales of the Cocktail
Reservations made through the USBG only: please email Liz Edwards @ usbg_events@hotmail.com to reserve your seat.

Test Fees

USBG member 1st test is FREE, any subsequent tests are $50

Non-USBG Member test fee is $175

Fees may be paid at the time your registration is confirmed or on the day of the test.

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010
By Bill Toland, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Groundhog Day came and went without the promised delivery of Angostura bitters to Pennsylvania’s booze warehouses and distribution centers. Not that this was an unexpected development: Pennsylvania, like the rest of the world, is running low on the bitters, and has been waiting on new orders since last summer.

Bitters are citrusy, herbal — and, yes, bitter — alcoholic elixirs. Today they are used as cocktail additives or aperitifs, but originally, many were said to have medicinal qualities, aiding in digestion.

There are plenty of different bitters out there, but Angostura is arguably the premier brand, and is a key ingredient in the Manhattan cocktail, the Old Fashioned, the Rob Roy and some Sazerac recipes. While some bar chefs and mixologists dabble in homemade bitters, most will tell you that there’s no replicating, or replacing, the aromatic Angostura.

Any hope that Pennsylvania might avoid the global shortage by dint of its sheer buying power seems to have been misguided. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s distribution centers are completely out of Angostura, and most wine and spirits shops are running low on the product.

In Allegheny County, some stores have a single bottle left on the shelves. The Mount Washington store on Shiloh Street appeared to be the best stocked, with more than 20 bottles remaining last week.

“We’ve had orders open [since] June and July 2009. The most recent scheduled arrival date on the new orders was Feb. 2, which has come and gone. Still, we have been told that it’s on its way,” said Nick Hays, an LCB spokesman.

The Trinidad company that makes the bitters, House of Angostura, had been in a dispute with the company that supplied its bottles. Angostura also reported that certain ingredients in the bitters’ secret recipe were in short supply, and its parent company, CL Financial Group, was enduring financial difficulties. Those issues brought production of the bitters to a virtual halt last June, which naturally led to shipping delays.

In America, the shortage hit late last year, just as demand for bitters-based holiday cocktails was at its zenith.

The company says production levels and deliveries could return to normal this month. In the meantime, bars that rely on bitters are hoarding what remains.

“We started stockpiling over six months ago,” said Alana Bly, marketing director at the Firehouse Lounge in the Strip District and its downstairs companion bar, Embury. “I’m sitting on about 12 cases of it.”

Maggie Meskey, head mixologist at Eleven restaurant in the Strip, said her bar has about 12 bottles. “I’ve started carrying a bottle of it with me,” she said, in case she finds herself in a bar that is out of Angostura (then again, she does the same thing with Peychaud’s Bitters).

Pennsylvania hasn’t been hit as hard as, say, New York and Chicago, where bars have been scrambling for bottles since December, and are buying them online from Amazon and eBay. About the only major cocktail mecca that hasn’t been hit by the shortage is New Orleans, partly because of the city’s heavy reliance on Peychaud’s, which was invented there. Not even the city’s recent Super Bowl victory and ongoing Mardi Gras celebration have been enough to deplete the stock, said Lu Brow, bar chef at Cafe Adelaide and the Swizzle Stick Bar at Loews New Orleans hotel.

“Every bartender in the country tells me they’re short, but we’re not,” she said. The hard-drinking Super Bowl parade crowd emptied every last beer keg at the Swizzle Stick, at least temporarily, but as for Angostura, “I have a couple of dozen bottles handy.”

Not so in New York, where well-known bartender and gifted hyperbolist Tracy Westmoreland told the New York Post: “I believe it is the end of civilization as we know it if we can’t have bitters. … It’s like when the saber-tooth tiger went extinct. It’s a terrible thing.”

Bill Toland: btoland@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2625. For bar and spirits news, follow at twitter.com/Btoland_pg.
 Looking for more from the Post-Gazette
Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10047/1036144-34.stm#ixzz0jFk2jWH4

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The USBG Master Accreditation Launch!

The USBG has been hosting private chapter launches of their Master Accreditation (MA) Program since late February. Members of the MA Executive Board traveled to; Chicago, New York, LA, Austin, Milwaukee, Las Vegas, Denver and Phoenix to host round one of the MA launch events open to USBG members. Some of the chapters elected to host a testing session at their launch; Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas and New York all made the level one, USBG SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL exam available at their events.

Overall, the test was well received and test takers were excited about the level of difficulty and spectrum of categories covered on the test. After testing in the USBG chapter cities some important changes were made to the test, questions deemed vague or subjective were replaced or reworded, and the validity and relevance of all test questions were given a second look and when necessary, improved. The testing process was very valuable to putting the final touches on the test.

We currently have 33 graduates and USBG SPIRITS PROFESSIONALS! All graduates will be listed on our website http://www.usbg.org/Certification/Graduates as we test. Congratulations to our graduates for their achievement! We are looking forward to proctoring the ADVANCED BARTENDER exam live very soon as well as getting our SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL exam on-line for all to try their hand. The on-line test should be available in the next 6 weeks.

The USBG MA Board will be at Tales of the Cocktail (www.talesofthecocktail.com) next week offering the level one SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL exam on Sunday, July 12 at 2:30pm. Please send an email to usbg_events@hotmail.com to save your seat. It is first come first serve and there are only 200 seats available. The test is FREE for USBG MEMBERS taking it for the first time, OTHERWISE it is $50 for current USBG members & $175 for Non-USBG Members.

Below are some commonly asked questions and our answers…

How do I study or prep for the USBG MA exams?” seems to be the question of the day. FIRST, please visit http://www.usbg.org/Resources to print the level one SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL and level two ADVANCED BARTENDER study outlines to use as your checklist in preparation for the tests.

Once you have your checklist and know which categories you need to brush up on before testing, it will be beneficial to go through VIRTUAL SPIRITS, also available on http://www.usbg.org/Resources. This is a great tool provided by our friends and supporters at Beam Global Spirits and Wine. You can learn as you go and take each category’s tutorial as many times as you need to, start and stop at your convenience and learn at your own pace. It is a very comprehensive tool for your level one preparations.

Remember, the USBG MA Program is strictly a testing system implemented to set the standard for each level and professional title offered. Each bartender will be starting at their own level of understanding and will have a different number of years under their belt at the beginning of their accreditation journey. The USBG is and will always be a networking and educational tool for bartenders all over the country and is really the BEST way to prep for your MA exams. Becoming an active USBG member allows you to learn hands on at chapter events and from your peers. The USBG is always looking for partners in education to bring industry experiences to our members.

“When and Where can I test?” is another good one! Well, until our tests are available on-line, our tests are of course only offered live.

The on-line SPIRITS PROFESSIONAL exam will be up and running at usbg.org within the next 6 weeks (we are very hopeful to meet this deadline).

In the mean time we will have a testing session at Tales of the Cocktail, July 12th at 2:30pm. (as stated above) Please send an email to usbg_events@hotmail.comto save your seat. It is first come first serve and there are only 200 seats available. The test is FREE for USBG MEMBERS taking it for the first time, OTHERWISE it is $50 for current USBG members & $175 for Non-USBG Members.

We will host another round of tests in each chapter city at the end of the summer, most likely in September; San Francisco, Hawaii, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Austin, Chicago, Milwaukee, New Orleans, New York.

The ADVANCED BARTENDER exam is a two part test, a written and a practical. So of course the practical must be tested live. The schedule for these exams will be posted on usbg.org as soon as we iron them out. We will most likely start in each of our chapter cities with this exam as well.

Please look for us on the schedule at all major trade events through out the year as well as checking back with usbg.org for updated testing schedules.


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Absolut Top Bartender

Absolut Top Bartender


It takes wit, charm and a whole lot of talent. Sign in to Facebook and become a fan of ABSOLUT TOP BARTENDER to watch Season 1 of LXTV’s On the Rocks.
You can find out how you could be America’s next best, and watch all the episodes of the first season to see the drama, the final showdown, and the contestants.
There’s Graham “Britnip” Kimura the half-Japanese, half-British, master impersonator. Amanda “Mandarr” Washington, who loves mixology and her ’89 Jetta. And, lets not forget Daniel (DJ) Love the accomplished violinist.
There’s much more where that came from so stay tuned for new episodes and more about Season 2. Grab your shaker, start mixing…and watching.
Become a fan of ABSOLUT TOP BARTENDER, today!

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Armando Rosario, Las Vegas NV

Armando Rosario, Las Vegas NV

Tres Generaciones Tequila & the San Francisco Chapter of the USBG hosted this year’s USBG National Cocktail Competition!

Congratulations to our San Francisco Chapter for hosting such an exciting event and a huge THANK YOU to Tres Generaciones Tequila who was a very gracious sponsor! The National Competition was held in San Francisco this year during San Francisco Cocktail Week. The May 12th event was a huge success and all in attendance had a great time! There was plenty to do in the city that week and many members came in early and stayed through the week to take advantage of the food & beverage scene.

As for the competition itself we had a great turn out, about 200 people came out to the famous Starlight Room atop the beautiful Sir Francis Drake Hotel. Tony Abou-Ganim a USBG National Ambassador and long time member was a fantastic host and judge. Livio Lauro our National USBG President was on the technical bench and Bobby G Gleason, USBG National Ambassador and Beam Global’s Mixologist was an entertaining emcee and did a fantastic job representing his Tres Generaciones brand!

The San Francisco local competition was early in the day and they had a fantastic group of talent come out to compete.   Below were the San Francisco local standings after 21 competitors took the bench.

San Francisco FIRST PLACE – Mr. Ronaldo Colli, from Americano Bar with his drink Kama Sutra

San Francisco SECOND PLACE – Mr. Jimmy Patrick, from Lion and Compass with his drink Rita Milano

San Francisco THIRD PLACE– Mr. Marc Goldfine, from 83 Proof with his drink The Starry Night

San Francisco Best Technical Performance – Mr. Ronaldo Colli, from Bar Americano

We reset the stage and in the evening began the national heat. We had 9 competitors from all over the country (see below list)  representing their chapters. It was an impressive first for the USBG to have such a large and talented group of competitors having grown so much since last year’s annual competition. Though we have grown so much in size since last year, we are extremely proud to say that this year’s competition proved we are still very much all about QUALITY not just quantity when it come to our membership!

The competitors were assigned the order in which they would compete and began to prepare in the prep station. The 4 tasting judges were set up in a blind tasting room, the technical judge, Livio Lauro had his stop watch and clipboard in hand and we were on our way!

Here are the results of the 2009 USBG National Cocktail Competition…

National FIRST PLACE– Mr. Armando Rosario, LasVegas, NV with his drink The Real Dill

National SECOND PLACE – Mr. Daniel Love (aka DJ Love), Chicago, IL with his drink Aztec Gold

National THIRD PLACE – Mr. Ricky Gomez, New Orleans, LA with his drink The Red Pepper Daisy

National FOURTH PLACE– Mr. Ronaldo Colli, San Francisco, CA with his drink Kama Sutra

National FIFTH PLACE – Mr. Bill Norris, Austin, TX with his drink The Palabra Ultima

National SIXTH PLACE– Mr. Jonathan Pogash, New York, NY with his drink The Pulitzer

National SEVENTH PLACE– Mr. Edwin Cruz, Los Angeles, CA with his drink La Venganza

National EIGHTH PLACE – Mr. Mark Stoddard, Denver, CO with his drink Sandia Smash

National NINETH PLACE – Mr. Matt McCullough, Phoenix, AZ with his drink Southern Paloma

National Best Technical Performance – Mr. Ronaldo Colli, San Francisco, CA

Congratulations to Armando Rosario of the Nevada Chapter for placing FIRST! Armando will be attending the IBA’s 35th Annual, World Cocktail Competition in Berlin, Germany to represent the United States Bartenders’ Guild. The competition is August 11th. His drink, The Real Dill (see recipe below) was a crowd and judge pleaser. We wish Armando safe travels and much luck in Berlin!

The REAL  DILL, created by Armando Rosario
1 oz Tres Generaciones Plata Tequila
1 oz Vox Vodka
1 oz Fresh lime juice
¾ oz Agave nectar
2 slices of English cucumber
Sprig of dill.
Shake and strain into a cocktail glass
Garnished with a sprig of dill and cucumber slices

About Tres Generaciones, Tres Generaciones or Three Generations is named after Don Cenobio, Don Eladio and Don Francisco Javier Sauza, the three legendary tequila pioneers of the Sauza family who helped define the tequila industry and grow Sauza® into one of today’s leading tequilas. The Tres Generaciones Society honors and celebrates today’s high achievers and influencersby bringing them together to share their knowledge and wisdom with the next generation. More information on Tres Generaciones can be found at www.tresgeneraciones.com.

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