Over the last two decades America has undergone a broad culinary revolution. In all but two aspects, culinary education for trade professionals and consumers has kept pace. Those exceptions are distilled spirits and mixology. These two interconnected worlds still lack an authoritative source of knowledge and an accredited credentialing body.
Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR), an LLC corporation, aims to fill that gap. Opening in March 2006 in New York City, BAR will be an independent organization whose mission is to educate, guide, and propagate the healthy, enlightened, and responsible use of beverage alcohol products. A partnership of five of the world's leading spirits and cocktails authorities, BAR will be in a unique position to create and teach a series of courses that will not just train, but actually educate those who take them, be they service industry professionals, members of the media, or curious consumers.
One or more of BAR’s managing directors/principals will teach every course, using BAR's own authoritative instructional materials and textbook. BAR will offer four certification courses and other services (i.e., advisory and analytical services for the industry) both at its headquarters in New York City and through a BAR Mobile Unit that will travel to suitable sites to teach certificate courses.
BAR intends to be the most trusted, comprehensive, innovative, and autonomous source of systematic educational and consultative information in the beverage alcohol industry. Anyone who has earned the BAR Certified Beverage Professionl (CBP) Certificate will be able to mix a balanced Sidecar, distinguish a Speyside malt from a Lowland malt, explain in detail the difference between Bourbon whiskey and Irish whiskey, recognize when a tequila is overpriced, identify a potato vodka by its nose alone, explain the origin of the Manhattan cocktail and why the bitters are an integral part of the drink, draw up a cocktail list that matches the elegance of the establishment it's created for and, in short, do everything that one expects from an educated professional.BAR will be the ultimate source of distilled spirits and mixology information.
Dale DeGroff, New York
America's foremost mixologist, Dale DeGroff, aka "King Cocktail", developed his extraordinary techniques and talent while tending bar for over twenty years at great establishments most notably, New York City's famous Rainbow Room, where he pioneered a gourmet approach to mixing drinks. Recipient of numerous Wine & Spirits awards, DeGroff is a leading authority and popular personality in the beverage world, appearing regularly in the press and media. Dale provides beverage consulting and bar training to hotel bars and restaurants throughout the world. His book, The Craft of The Cocktail, winner of the IACP Julia Child Award, was hailed by Men's Journal as the "look-here-first, look-here-last" primer on drink mixing. DeGroff is also President and founder of The Museum of the American Cocktail, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing education in mixology and preserving the rich history of the American Cocktail.
Doug Frost, MS MW, Kansas City, MO
Doug Frost is a Kansas City author who writes and lectures about wine, beer and spirits. In 1991 he passed the Master Sommelier examination and in 1993 he completed his Master of Wine examination. He is still one of only three people in the world to have achieved both these remarkable distinctions. Frost has authored two books, Uncorking Wine (1996) and On Wine, a Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Tells All (2001). Frost is the wine and spirits consultant for United Airlines. He also writes about wine and spirits for many publications including New York Times Digital, the San Francisco Chronicle, the Underground Wine Journal, Practical Winery & Vineyard and is a writer and contributing editor for Sante Magazine, as well as the beverage columnist for the Kansas City Star. He is the program director for the Monterey Wine Festival, America's oldest continuous wine festival and the director of the Jefferson Cup Invitational. Frost is also the founder and director of America's Best Wine Lists, a five-year-old wine list competition sponsored by the Monterey Wine Festival. While he has won numerous awards for his wine and restaurant work, many people don't know that his second job in the restaurant industry was as a bartender. His first job was as dishwasher. He preferred the second job.
Steven Olson, New York
Steve Olson, aka wine geek, is dedicated to the education and consultation of degustation for appreciation and celebration. You may recognize Olson from one of his many stops on the lecture circuit. He is a frequent speaker on wines and spirits at numerous culinary events, including the Food & Wine Classic at Aspen and the Telluride Wine Festival, among others, and is Master of Ceremonies for the annual Cheers Beverage Conference. Steve was the former co-host, alongside Andrea Immer, of QUENCH on the Food Network. He is currently on the air as the co-host of Spirit Basics, an in-depth look at the history, production, and uses of the world's leading spirits. Steve produces and hosts trade education and product information videos for some of the most respected and well-known beverage companies. He was also the author of the very first interactive CD ROM about wine, Food & Wine's Wine Tastings, which teaches its viewers how to taste and evaluate wine. You may be familiar with his writing in several industry publications, such as Food & Wine Magazine, Wine & Spirits, or Santé, where he published a column called The Geek Speaks. Olson may be best known to many, however, for his restaurant consulting, having designed the innovative beverage programs and service systems for several nationally acclaimed restaurants, including the Relais Chateau, Mobil Five Star award-winning Mayflower Inn in Connecticut, New York City's #1 Zagat-rated restaurant, Gramercy Tavern, Chelsea's Mexican restaurant, Sueños, and the Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa in Atlantic City. Olson has received many accolades for his work in wine and spirits. He won both the Western (1991) and Eastern (1994) regional competitions of the Grand Prix SOPEXA du Sommelier. In 2003 he was named Santé Magazine's Spirits Professional of the Year and in 2005 was selected as the Cheers Magazine Beverage Innovator, a lifetime achievement award.
Andy Seymour, New York
One of America's top mixologists, Andy Seymour brings a diversity of experience to the profession. Introduced to the boards by his wife, Jennie Carr, who was herself, one of New York's top bartenders, Andy developed a passion for the craft of cocktails working in clubs and high volume bars in New York City and the Hamptons. While he was bartending to pay for college and embarking upon an acting career, Andy was repeatedly asked to produce original cocktails for his customers. In 1993, Andy began a three year stint at noted New York live music destination, The Louisiana Community Bar & Grill where he settled in as lead bartender. His enthusiasm for creating drinks became a top priority.
F. Paul Pacult, New York
After working for Sonoma County winemaker Rodney Strong from 1973 to 1982, Pacult relocated to New York where he founded his wine school Wine Courses International. From 1982 to 1990, he contributed to wide array of publications, including Playboy, Wine & Spirits, Cheers, Connoisseur Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Men's Journal, and the New York Times Magazine. He produced and co-hosted two syndicated radio shows, The Happy Hour (1997-1999) and Paul Pacult's Good Life (2000) and has appeared in two landmark History Channel documentaries. Currently, Paul Pacult is publisher/editor of F. Paul Pacult's Spirit Journal, special projects editor of the New York Times Magazine, monthly columnist for Delta Sky, the award-winning Delta Air Lines in-flight magazine, contributor for CARGO and DRINKS, judging director for the San Francisco World Spirits Competition, and spirits-tasting director for Wine Enthusiast magazine. He is the author of A Double Scotch: How Chivas Regal and The Glenlivet Became Global Icons (Wiley, 2005), the best-selling American Still Life: The Jim Beam Story and the Making of the World's #1 Bourbon (Wiley, 2003) as well as Kindred Spirits (Hyperion, 1997) and The Beer Essentials (Hyperion, 1997). He is the only journalist in the world to concurrently be a life member of Keepers of the Quaich whisky society (Edinburgh, Scotland), a life member of Kentucky's Bourbon Hall of Fame, and a life member of France's Company of Armagnac Musketeers.
David Wondrich, New York
David Wondrich is one of the foremost authorities on the history of the cocktail. A former English professor, he gave up Shakespeare and Freshman Comp to write for Esquire magazine (where he is a contributing editor) and numerous others, including Wine and Spirits (also a contributing editor), The New York Times and Drinks. His two cocktail books, Esquire Drinks (2002) and Killer Cocktails (2005) as well as Stomp and Swerve, his 2003 book about American music, have been widely praised. A founding member of the Museum of the American Cocktail, Dr. Wondrich consults and lectures frequently on drink and its history. He lives in Brooklyn, where he is at work on a book about Jerry Thomas, the author of the word's first bartender's guide.