• A sommelier recently commented to me that somms on the whole have a greater understanding of food than chefs do of wine. If that’s true, it’s most evident when food and wine pairings go awry, and that’s also why I’m so proud to announce that Vegas Seven’s own dining critic Max Jacobson has passed his Level One sommelier exam, administered by the Court of Master Sommeliers. I’m sure the years of eating and drinking all of over the world were preparation enough. But moreover, I’m glad that the important skill of pairing wines with food is emphasized in this and other programs, such as the Certified Cicerone program. And may I never be served a cloying coconut shrimp with a cedar-y pinot noir again.
• Tickets are on sale now for the 11th annual Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans, a five-day gathering July 17-21 offering cocktailians a spirited lineup of seminars, special events, competitions and tastings. Individual tickets, professional workshops and special ticket packages for this summer’s festivities went on sale April 1. They’ll go fast, and that’s no joke. Tickets are also available for the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, a somewhat similar event but in a very different location on May 17-21, making this the best way to easily experience all that the vaunted New York cocktail scene has to offer.
• There are a number of fun new bar items on their way to my doorstep: an iPhone-compatible breathalyzer and the wine equivalent of Whiskey Stones, to just name a few. But I cannot wait to add the Mason Shaker to my camping kitchen. The Brooklyn-designed four-piece shaker’s stainless steel top screws right onto a glass mason jar, from which you can also drink—”a shot of Southern sensibility,” the website says. I don’t plan on making any crazy cocktails fireside—although a genever, lemonade and blackberry sipper might go down nicely—but perhaps the shaking noise will deter bears. $29.
• Congrats to NEAT Glass creators George Manska and Christine Crnek. The San Francisco World Spirits Competition, the nation’s largest and most prestigious spirits judging, recently used the new patented NEAT nosing and tasting glass for the 2013 judging, which took place in San Francisco from March 21 through 24. I routinely carry mine in my purse—awkward, I know, but it’s worth it to taste what the distiller intended! Get a set of two NEAT glasses for $38.
For more scene stirrings and shake-ups, visit VegasSeven.com/Cocktail-Culture.