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Gran Centenario’s Rosangel Launch NYC- 02.05.09

rosangel0.jpg On adventures in the snowy NYC this week, Proximo Spirits has out done themselves once again… they were kind enough to invite us out to NYC to experience the launch of their latest: Gran Centenario’s Rosangel hibiscus-infused tequila! I already knew the bottle was a beauty, and the branding… *swoon* i LOVE the graphics they’ve used everywhere from backgrounds to bags to glass etchings… how beautiful does that look? But they really carried that rose colored (or should i say hibiscus colored?) world into the full day of bartender immersion and launch party… unfortunately, i wasn’t able to make it out myself, but luckily our favorite Liqurious expert, Anita Crotty, was able to rearrange her life ever so slightly and pop out to NY for a few days to check things out! It also doesn’t hurt that she took so many breath taking pictures so we don’t feel left out! So on the next page you can check out her adventures ~ from the gorgeous gift bag on the bed at the new Thompson LES ~ to the camera crews filming them at the Clover Club ~ to the launch party with live music from Vanessa Trouble at the exquisite Ella Lounge… You’ve got to see the pictures to take it all in!

p.s.
Not to name drop, but Anita’s link laden story on the next page reads like a who’s who of must see bars across the country… makes me want to roadtrip to experience all the places linked! Enjoy!

I’m just back from a whirlwind trip to NYC, where I was one of just two lucky journalists covering the festivities surrounding the launch of Gran Centenario’s Rosangel hibiscus-infused tequila. Checking in to the sleek, modern Thompson LES, I found a pretty pink bag filled with goodies awaiting my arrival: Mini-bottles of Gran Centenario’s three main expressions - plata, reposado, and añejo - and a tiny, ribbon-wrapped box holding a silver necklace with a sweet agave charm.

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The next morning, our group’s day started with breakfast at Shang, the Thompson LES’s superhot Asian restaurant helmed by megachef Susur Lee. After a welcome by our host Michelle Sanders of Proximo Spirits (they’re also the folks behind 1800 and Maestro Dobel tequilas and Matusalem rum), I had the chance to chat with a crew of very excited bartenders, flown in from the country’s top tequila-drinking markets for an intensive day-long immersion program covering Gran Centenario in general, and Rosangel in particular.

After breakfast, we piled into a fleet of taxis for a quick hop across the Brooklyn Bridge to Carroll Gardens, where cocktail maven Julie Reiner - of Flatiron Lounge fame - recently opened an outpost called Clover Club (after the classic cocktail of the same name, natch). Graced with a carved wood back-bar and truly stunning floor mosaics in the main bar, Clover also offers a cozy back room with a fireplace and comfy chairs. Cocktail journo Camper English and I parked ourselves on a curvy fainting couch while two videographers and their crew jostled for position and the bartenders bellied up to the bar.

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Spirits guru F. Paul Pacult spent the morning leading the mixologists through a tequila master class, nosing and sampling — both from Gran Centenario and representative competitors — to illustrate his key points. He called special attention to the reposado, a multi-award-winning spirit that Paul claims he’d be content to rub all over his body!

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In contrast to most flavored tequilas, which use generic blanco as their base, it’s Gran Centenario’s top-shelf reposado that’s used as the starting point for Rosangel. The rested liquid is mellowed in port barrels for an additional two months, lending it a brandy-like depth. Then, it’s infused with natural hibiscus blossoms - a quintessential ingredient in traditional Mexican beverages and cuisine. The hibiscus lends a subtle floral/citrus note, balancing the hint of sweetness from the port and the tequila’s own caramel notes. The result is a no-apologies flavored tequila with a deep rose hue and a strong flavor connection to its Mexican heritage.

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After a quick break for lunch, Clover Club’s Julie Reiner stirred and shook six signature cocktails she’d developed using Rosangel to illustrate the breadth and depth of the spirit’s mixability. We’re sworn to secrecy about most of them (for now), but two of my faves are up for grabs right now: the Jalisco and the Ruby Fizz.

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The Jalisco blends Rosangel with Punt e Mes vermouth, Ciociaro amaro (a bitter Italian liqueur - in a pinch, you can substitute the more-widely available Ramazzotti), creme de mure (blackberry liqueur), and a dash of bitters. Garnished with house-preserved cherries and served with a chilled “sidecar” for the guest to top up her own glass, it’s a sophisticated, international take on the Manhattan.

The Ruby Fizz - another riff on a classic recipe — combines Rosangel, agave syrup, ruby port, pomegranate molasses, lemon juice, and a touch of egg white, all frothed up with a splash of club soda. The port highlights many of the Rosangel’s fruity notes, making this a refreshing, easy-to-love highball.

After Julie’s demo, the fun really got started! Each of the eight bartenders — Kristen Markley from Lumberyard in Laguna Beach; Denver-based Vania Plata from Richard Sandoval’s Modern Mexican Group; Jane Lopes from Chicago’s Violet Hour; Jane Damskey from Barrio in Minneapolis; Joel Baker of Bourbon & Branch in San Francisco; Jennifer Queen of La Puerta and Confidential in San Diego; Suzanne Talierico from Flatiron Lounge; and Clover Club’s own Katie Stipe - ducked behind the bar to show off a Rosangel cocktail they’d developed for the occasion. Crowd-pleasers included Lopes’ El Tiburon (muddled strawberry, ginger syrup, and Rosangel), Baker’s En Verano (Lillet blanc, Aperol, and Rosangel), and Stipe’s Rosa’s Fizz - much like a classic Ramos, but with Rosangel in place of the gin.

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After everyone had their moment of glory in front of the cameras, we piled back into taxis for a quick refresh. Soon enough, we hit the bricks for the press launch party at Ella Lounge, an Art Deco boîte in the Lower East Side. Walking in the door, guests were greeted by the sight of a trio of shaker boys whipping up tray after tray of Rosangel Margaritas and Ruby Fizzes for a standing-room-only crowd, passed around to revelers under the rosy glow of red-shaded chandeliers. Downstairs in the cabaret, Julie and Paul briefed two flights of spirits editors on Rosangel’s endearing qualities as the press sipped Jaliscos.

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Charming though our hosts were, nobody lingered in the cellar for long. They could hardly wait to get back to hear (and gaze upon) the fabulously named Vanessa Trouble and her trio. Poured into a Prizy Sebastian designer gown — plucked straight off the runway of Fashion Week’s Supima Emerging Designers showcase last month - Ms. Trouble bore more than a passing resemblance to the Rosangel herself as she cut an elegant swath though a repertoire of jazz standards, setting a dream-like tone as happy guests floated out into the snowy evening.

For more information on the freshly launched Gran Centenario’s Rosangel, see their site… and to see more of Anita Crotty’s adventures check her out at Married with Dinner!
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3 Notes

There is clearly a bunch to identify about this. I think you made certain good points in features also. Yes! thought your post is a thought-provoker! Thank you!

----- Lisa Scott Lee 30.11.10 18:02

What a fantastic weekend! All of the photos make me feel like I was there - well almost.

----- EAT! 08.02.09 19:51

What gorgeous photos! I do indeed feel as if I were there (jazzy singing and packed bar excluded:-)

----- Tea 06.02.09 09:28

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