GSN Wrap-Up: Philanthropic Foodies Pop-Up Syracuse, NY

This year’s Philanthropic Foodies event held at the AAA Four Diamond Award Syracuse Marriott (formerly the Hotel Syracuse) offered an elegant and spacious setting for the fundraising Central New York community. In fact, the event was held in separate locations on the first floor which offered two different styles of live music to enjoy while sampling the local goodies. Instrumental piano renditions of mellow pop hits by Jimmy Cox provided the background in the lobby area near the silent auction tables. The Persian Terrace room featured two bands (Professional Victims & Fondu) during the event playing everything from alt-rock to disco.  Each of the rooms featured over 15 different stations where guests could sample tapas sized servings from local chefs along with libations from local distilleries, breweries, cideries, wineries and coffee roasters.

The selection was eclectic and the food was tasty. It took us nearly two hours to try a bit of everything. We then put our bids in at the silent auction, which had some serious bidding wars going on. We also took the opportunity to look around the hotel for a bit. Having originally been built in 1924, the hotel was completely restored to its original look a few years ago, and offers guests a chance to step back in time, yet with all of the modern conveniences we’ve grown to expect.  It really was a fantastic venue for the event.  We can’t wait for next year’s celebration!

Below you can see some of the various drinks we enjoyed, along with some of the foods that each were paired with. (Photography by Alheydis K.)

GSN Alert: July 27th – National Scotch Whisky Day

756Scotch is a whisky that has a wide variety of styles and flavors, which I unfortunately don’t have the time to get into here.  But, this is what you need to know.  There are five regions in Scotland which produce whiskies: Campbeltown, Highland, Islay, Lowland and Speyside; and there are five styles of Scotch: blended grain, blended malt, blended Scotch, single grain and single malt.

GSN has reviewed several Scotches over the years including: Aberlour, AuchentoshanBenRiach, BowmoreCutty SarkGlendronachGlenrothes, Glen Garioch, LaphroaigMonkey Shoulder, Pig’s Nose and Sheep Dip.

If you’re looking to try a Scotch cocktail, GSN recommends the classic, Blood and Sand.


GSN Alert: Upcoming Event – Philanthropic Foodies, Syracuse, NY, July 29, 2018

Photo courtesy of John Carnessali

Everyone loves a pop-up food and beverage event! For the seventh year in a row, Philanthropic Foodies will be hosting one of Central New York’s premier culinary showcases.  Over a dozen of the area’s best chefs and restaurants will be serving samples of their amazing appetizers, main courses and desserts. But, that’s not all, you can refresh your palate between tastings with an eclectic variety of beverages featuring everything from local spirits, cocktails, wine, beer and coffee.  

Last year, we had the chance to attend the event at the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, which made for a unique and fun-filled afternoon. All the attendees had the chance to stroll around the zoo, as well as go on the large patio for some welcome Syracuse sunshine. Indoors, there were several stations offering tasty treats, as well as live music and the large auction (we won a few items!).

Chef Chance Bear

One of the highlights of any event like this is to get a chance to meet and talk with the local chefs and producers of beverages. Last year we got a chance to chat with Chance Bear who has cooked at the James Beard House on four different occasions! As well, we conversed with some of the representatives from 1911 Spirits who make some very interesting apple based spirits, and local brewers from Empire Brewing & Middle Ages Brewing. We ended the evening with some coffee samples from Peaks Coffee Co.

If you are interested in trying some world-class food and beverage from the heart of New York State in a world-class setting, there is no better event to attend!

Syracuse Marriott Hotel

This year’s event takes place on Sunday, July 29 from 4:00 to 8:00p.m., at the Syracuse Marriott, 100 East Onondaga St. which was recently awarded the AAA Four Diamond Award. Advance sale tickets are $100 per person, or $125 at the door. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

In between sipping, sampling and socializing, attendees can also bid on silent auction offerings, many of them food-focused. For auction information go here.

Since 2012, Philanthropic Foodies has raised more than $200,000 for local nonprofits. This year’s proceeds are earmarked for the Friends of Dorothy House, a hospice house for people with AIDS, and The Shamrock Animal Fund, a 501c3 not-for-profit fund that helps pay for veterinary care for animals in need that have owners with financial limitations who reside in Syracuse and Central New York. 

GSN Alert: Winners of the 2018 Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards

2018 Spirited Award Recipients

American Categories

Best American Bar Team
Presented by William Grant & Sons
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co., Miami, FL

American Bartender of the Year
Presented by Bacardi USA
Yael Vengroff, The Spare Room, Los Angeles, CA

Best American Brand Ambassador
Presented by VinePair
Anne Louise Marquis, Campari America

Best American Cocktail Bar
Presented by Pernod Ricard USA
Lost Lake, Chicago, IL

Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar 
Presented by William Grant & Sons
The NoMad Bar, New York City, NY

Best American Hotel Bar
Presented by Bacardi USA
The Broken Shaker Miami at The Freehand, Miami, FL

Best American Restaurant Bar
Presented by Woodford Reserve
Clyde Common, Portland, OR

Best New American Cocktail Bar
Presented by Pierre Ferrand Cognac
Navy Strength, Seattle, WA

International Categories

Best International Bar Team
Presented by The House of Angostura
The American Bar, The Savoy, London

International Bartender of the Year 
Presented by Bacardi USA
Joe Schofield, Tippling Club, Singapore

Best International Brand Ambassador
Presented by G.H. Mumm
Ian Burrell, Global Rum Ambassador

Best International Cocktail Bar
Presented by Pernod Ricard USA
Happiness Forgets, London

Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar
Presented by Rutte
The Clumsies, Athens

Best International Hotel Bar
Presented by Japan Sake and Shochu Makers Association
The American Bar, The Savoy, London

Best International Restaurant Bar 
Presented by Mandarine Napoléon
Sager & Wilde, London

Best New International Cocktail Bar
Presented by Pierre Ferrand Cognac
Coupette, London

Writing Categories

Best Cocktail & Spirits Publication 
Presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
The Daily Beast, Half Full Section

Best Cocktail & Spirits Writer
Presented by Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
M. Carrie Allan, The Washington Post, Imbibe, and more

Best New Cocktail or Bartending Book
Presented by Gra’it Grappa
Meehan’s Bartender Manual by Jim Meehan

Best New Book on Drinks Culture, History or Spirits
Presented by Cocktail Kingdom
By the Smoke and the Smell by Thad Vogler

Best Broadcast, Podcast or Online Video Series
Presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
Life Behind Bars

Global Categories

Best Bar Mentor
Presented by BarSmarts
Andy Seymour, Liquid Productions

Best New Spirit or Cocktail Ingredient 
Presented by Maverick Drinks
Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal Jabali

World’s Best Cocktail Menu
Presented by Peroni
Dandelyan, London

World’s Best Spirit Selection
Presented by Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
Sweet Liberty Drinks & Supply Co., Miami, FL

World’s Best Bar 
Presented by Italicus
The American Bar at The Savoy, London

Helen David Lifetime Achievement Award 
Presented by William Grant & Sons
John Lermayer

Congratulations to this year’s winners!

GSN Alert: July 24th – National Tequila Day

tequila-bottlesTequila has gotten itself a bad reputation over the years, being associated with hangovers, wild shot parties, and a myriad of fruity blenderized “margaritas”.  But, tequila is actually a fine spirit with a long heritage of high quality distillation.  Some might even say that it is the epitome of the craft as it takes 12 years for the Blue Weber agave plant to mature, and many small distilleries do much of the work by hand.  The best (and in my opinion) only tequilas worth drinking are made from 100% Blue Weber agave.  If you don’t see this on the bottle’s label, give it a pass.  Otherwise, you just may end up with a hangover.

Good Spirits News has reviewed many tequilas over the years.  Here are some for you to consider today, along with a few tequila related liqueurs.

1800 Milenio

1921 Tequila Cream

ArteNOM Seleccion


Casa Noble



Don Julio

Dulce Vida


Mariposa Agave Nectar

Milagro Unico

Olmeca Altos

Piedra Azul




Tequila Ocho

Tres Agaves

GSN Alert: July 19th – National Daiquiri Day


Hemingway with his namesake Daiquiri

The Daiquiri is one of those golden age cocktails that gets a bad rap these days.  Especially in New Orleans where they are vibrant day-glo colors and flavored with artificial syrups.  Yet, a true Daiquiri is a thing of beauty.  Refreshing, elegant and transformatively balanced.

Daiquiri as a word hails from Cuba and is a place name, rather than a beverage.  The drink was created around the time of the Spanish-American war and quickly made its way from Cuba to Washington, DC to New York City.  Originally a stirred drink built in a Collins glass, it evolved into a shaken drink served in a Champagne flute.

Below are three versions of the Daiquiri worth trying today in honor of the holiday.  Each has its own character and flavor.  All are lovely on a hot summer’s day.

1.5 oz White rum
0.5 oz Simple syrup
1 oz Fresh Lime juice
Pour all ingredients into shaker with ice cubes. Shake well. Strain in chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with half a lime slice.

2 ounces White rum
0.75 ounce Fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon Sugar or simple syrup (or less, to taste)
1 teaspoon Maraschino liqueur
Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker (if using granulated sugar, stir to dissolve it in the lime juice before adding the other ingredients) and fill with ice. Shake well, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a thin slice of lime.

2 oz Light rum
0.75 oz Fresh lime juice
0.5 oz Fresh pink grapefruit juice
1 tsp Sugar
1 tsp Maraschino liqueur
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake, and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.


GSN Alert: July 14th – National Grand Marnier Day

J.Labanda-2It feels as if Grand Marnier has been around for at least a few centuries.  But, this quintessential spirit only dates back to 1880.  The recipe was created by Alexandre Marnier-Lapostolle who worked at a fruit liqueur distillery owned by his wife’s grandfather.  He sourced Citrus Bagaradia oranges grown in the West Indies, which are still used in the production today.  The Cognac base is made from the Ugni Blanc grape grown in the Cognac region of France.  Sugar syrup is added, and then everything is aged in oak casks and filtered before bottling.

Here are a few classic cocktails for you to try that call for Grand Marnier:

Leap Year
2 ounces gin
1/2 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 dash lemon juice
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.

Satan’s Whiskers
3/4 ounce gin
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
3/4 ounce sweet vermouth
1/2 ounce orange juice
1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
1 dash orange bitters
Shake with ice. Strain into a cocktail glass.