Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Cleaning out the closet pt. 2: Not just grape juice and kids

Dec. 2

I'd received an invitation from Jonathan Pogash about a cocktail event. A cocktail even hosted by Welch's.

"Intriguing," I thought to myself. The event was in the middle of the day, but luckily it was being held someplace within walking distance, so around 2 pm I made my way east to the World Bar at Trump World Tower.

The event was specifically catered towards the company's refrigerated juice cocktails. According to the good folks representing Welch's that I met there, based on a consumer study they had done, they were surprised to find out that many bartenders were purchasing their juice for use behind the bar. The line features flavors such as mango, guava and passion fruit, and some bartenders who wanted these flavors, but either couldn't access them readily and conveniently in fresh form or found these fruits to be out of season, were purchasing these juices for their use. Welch's wanted to acknowledge that avenue of using their juice cocktails so they decided to hold the event at the World Bar at Trump World Tower and hired Jonathan Pogash to create some cocktail recipes using the juices from the refrigerated line. The recipe cards provided at the event even included fun facts regarding cocktail history and trivia.

Leti Taft-Pearman, product marketing manager for the refrigerated line, explained that for this group of products, the number of flavors available goes through changes. About one flavor a year is introduced and slower moving flavors are retired.

The event wasn't just interesting because, "Hey, it's Welch's and remember when you were a kid and drank their grape juice all the time? Well, here's some cocktails." It was interesting because it was another company putting in their marketing dollars towards cocktails. Again its hard not to make comparisons with how the whole foodie culture is a big part of consumer advertising nowadays. Watch an ad for Swanson broth and you see chef Christopher Lee as the spokesperson letting the home cook know food can get a boost of flavor from stock. The ad even makes a point of mentioning that he's a winner of the James Beard Foundation's Rising Star Chef award. A sort of pitch that wouldn't have made all that much sense to a good chunk of the population a couple of years ago. Go on Welch's site or watch TV and you can see foodie geek favorite Alton Brown talking about polyphenol antioxidants in Concord Grapes.

While this event was geared more towards the industry, this product is available in supermarkets as well. And with the availability of recipes for these cocktails, what's to keep from home bar enthusiasts from trying their hand? You kind of already see the sort of bar expert marketing geared towards consumers in liquor ads.

Drinks from the Welch's Mixer at the World Bar (recipes courtesy of Welch's from the event):

Welch's Punch Cocktail
1 oz. light rum
1 oz. dark rum
1 1/2 oz. Welch's Berry Pineapple Passion Fruit
juice of 1/2 a lime
dash of bitters

Shake well in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain over ice into a rock glass.
Garnish: Grated nutmeg
*NOTE: this can be made in large, punch-bowl

Independence Sparkler
1 oz. Welch's Strawberry Breeze
1/2 oz. vanilla liqueur
3 oz. premium Brut Champagne

Add ingredients to mixing glass with ice and stir briefly. Strain into chilled champagne flute.
Garnish: Strawberry slice on rim of glass

Kuava Martini
1 1/2 oz. Welch's Guava Pineapple
1 oz. gin
1/2 oz. elderflower liqueur
juice of 1/4 lemon

Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass.
Garnish: Edible flower

Cherry Smash
2 oz. Welch's Tropical Cherry
1 1/2 oz. bourbon
3 lemon wedges
handful of mint leaves (approx. 8-10(

Muddle the mint and lemon in the bottom of a mixing glass. Add remaining ingredients with ice and shake briefly. Pour into rocks glass.

Grapes and Pears
1 oz. Welch's Grape
1 oz. pear cognac or pear liqueur
3 oz. premium Brut Champagne

Stir ingredients briefly in a mixing glass with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute.
Garnish: Pear slice and sliced grapes

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