One couldn't help but to feel like royalty, as we were being chauffeur up the driveway of the palatial grounds of the house of the Mexican Ambassador in Madrid. Huge ceilings, dazzling chandeliers, plush carpet on slabs of beautiful blue-veined marble featured what would become the centerpiece of the crown, a half moon bar draped in white, green, and blue linen. Like the colors of a knight, proudly displayed for all to see, The Liquid Chef's stage was set for an amazing night of unique cocktails elegance and sophistication that even the ambassador partook of a few... what a better overture to what would become a symphony of flavors and history.
Madrid Fusion, The Glass Bar at the Urban Hotel, Sabores Autenticos at the house of the Mexican Ambassador and cocktails by air
There are great honors in this industry... and then there is the honor of being invited to participate at the Madrid Fusion Summit in Madrid, Spain while representing the flavors of the Americas and Sabores Autenticos de Mexico and SAGARPA. World renowned chefs such as Feran Adria and Jose Andres, were also featured speakers at this Summit where a theater of ideas are performed to inspire this industry to evolve... and where The Liquid Chef, Junior Merino took center stage to discuss his views on the evolution of the cocktail.
Merino and Team spent three consecutive days demonstrating the evolution of cocktails and Mexican beverages from pre-hispanic, fusion (mestizaje), present, and the future, as well as being "paparazzi-ed" at every turn for interviews for television, radio, and internet live streams. Merino began his "story" of the cocktail by showing his beginning with his signature cocktail "Coming Up Roses" and then a demonstration of history and harmony as "Ioc" was served: a delicious blend of horchata, pulque, mezcal, and tequila and rimmed with Merino's own blend of salt, pasilla pepper, and "canela" or cinnamon.
Day two of Madrid Fusion, brought Junior's time line to the present in which he showcased his cocktail "Alma Blanca", a unique blend of corn, hierba or hoja santa, habanero, Siembra Azul Tequila, Domaine de Canton, and citrus that took onlooker's palates to a euphoria of an umami of flavors.
The finale of Madrid Fusion and the culmination of Merino's journey through time concluded with an innovative cocktail that featured huitlacoche or cuitlacoche, the Mexican "truffle" that grows on corn. This delicacy was muddled with black berries and tequila, pomegranate and then the crowd stood in awe as Merino slowly poured in liquid nitrogen. As mists of cold vapor wafted through the crowd, Merino stirred his cocktail to a silky, sorbet deliciousness. Junior served it in a martini glass and was given a standing ovation from the crowd!!!
Drink with all your senses: Cocktails by Air
After many tests and demonstrations during various Liquid Lab sessions and after tons of positive feed back, Merino used Madrid Fusion as his platform to launch his new concept of Cocktails by Air in which you truly drink with all your senses. To begin this form of "deconstructed" drinking, Merino begins by handing guests snifters of tequila blanco. Then above their heads, mists of citrus concentrates are automatically atomized while they sip their tequila, and then Combier marshmallows dusted with a salt & fizzy powder that are eaten intermittently so that one gets a simple margarita presented in a whole new and innovative way in which you get the citrus notes through smell and you eat the sweetness and salt and drink the spirit. No wonder Merino's slogan is: Taste the Art and Drink with all your Senses!
Twelve-hour days at Madrid Fusion were just an appetizer to the harrowing schedule the Liquid Team kept while in Spain. After a quick bite to eat and a brisk drive across the city, past the Plaza de Toros and some amazing architecture, Merino was THE star bartender at Hotel Urban's Glass Bar, considered the top cocktail trendsetters of Madrid, for three consecutive nights from 11pm-3am. Merino was a rock star performing for fans as he and his team strummed out cocktail after cocktail for media, guests, government officials, industry professionals, and a few lost Americans who wandered in when they saw the lines out of the Glass Bar and the sparkle of flashes of cameras.
Hedge Funds CareFor the fifth consecutive year, The Liquid Chef, Inc was a proud sponsor of The Open Your Heart to Children's Benefit.
The first Open Your Heart to the Children benefit took place on February 9, 1999 and raised $542,000. What began as a single fundraiser has grown into an international charity, with events held and grants awarded in 8 U.S. cities and 3 additional countries: Canada, the Cayman Islands, and the United Kingdom.
The phenomenal and exponential growth of the organization over the past decade is due in large part to the many dedicated and hard-working volunteers who have raised support in their local areas. Hedge Funds Care events offer the opportunity to network with colleagues in the hedge fund industry while also raising money for an important cause: the prevention and treatment of child abuse.
The Liquid Chef served six amazing cocktails, representing the six tiers of sponsorship of Hedge Funds Care:
Beautiful Heart: Gin, pink grapefruit juice, St. Germain, Moet & Chandon Brut Champagne, orchids
Golden Heart: Siembra Azul Anejo, Navan, dark agave nectar, grilled pineapple juice, and lemon juice
Grand Heart: Whiskey, Ginger, Black Pepper, Dainzu Agave Nectar and Citrus
Great Heart: Leblon, lime, black grapes, sage, lavender
Amazing Heart: Vodka, Combier Liqueur d'Orange, lime, hibiscus, pink grapefruit juice, Koppert Cress Limon Cress, and dragon fruit juice
Heart of Hearts: Chairman's Reserve Rum, Domaine de Canton, simple syrup, lime, mint, guarapo juice
For more information or to donate to HFC, please visit: hedgefundscare.org
Gracie MansionJunior Merino and Team were invited to "shake up" New York's officials, including Mayor Bloomberg, at Gracie Mansion. Merino paid homage to New York by serving a great cocktail with Hudson Valley Whiskey and apples from upstate New York... naming this drink, you guessed it, "The Big Apple". Merino and The Liquid Team were chauffeured in an official Yukon with the seal of New York on its side, turning quite a few heads outside The Liquid Lab.
Commissioners, Senators, as well as invited guests were dazzled by Merino's take on a potable apple pie. The aromas of apples and cinnamon enticed more than a few guests into coming back for more. Even a CIA officer gave a few longing glances over at the bar that took center stage in this historical place!
"Celebrity Cruises hosted a small gala at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York City on the evening of January 7, with President and CEO, Dan Hanrahan, in attendance. The occasion? To unveil their new "Designed for You" brand platform
Celebrity Cruises to Give Entire Millennium Class a Makeover
and 0 million project list for the coming years, which includes refurbishing the entire Millennium-class fleet so it showcases the same unbelievable amenities and dining options as the cruise line's most recent Solstice class."
Junior Merino and Team mixed up a few cocktails to tease the audience of what is to come on board. Merino's cocktails are "Designed for You" with a delicious blend of imagination and freshness.
Here are a few additions to come:
The addition of the Molecular Bar by Junior Merino in which 12 specialty cocktails will be served. Master Mixologist, Junior Merino will use fresh produce, juices, and innovative techniques that takes cocktails to the next level.
"The addition of Tuscan Grille, an authentic Italian eatery also featured on Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Equinox.
Creation of Bistro on Five, the popular creperie on the Solstice class which offers passengers crepes, sandwiches, and soups.
The inclusion of an ice-topped Martini Bar with top-tier vodkas will surely be the "coolest" place to hang out.
Millennium class' Cova Café will be replaced with the Café al Bacio and Gelateria. Buon appetito!
Just like the Solstice class, the Millennium fleet will receive an Enomatic wine bar, the state-of-the-art wine serving system which allows guests to select and dispense wines of their choice by the glass. (I tested it out at the reveal and it's pretty incredible!)
In the accommodations department, all ships will receive more opulent suites with new furnishings, flat-screen televisions, upholstery, carpet, and bedding.
New color schemes, carpeting, and upholstery will also be added to public venues of the ships, including Celebrity Theater, Seaside Grill, and Michael's Club."
WATCH LIQUID CHEF INTERVIEW PART 1
WATCH LIQUID CHEF INTERVIEW PART 2
Preston Bailey’s Book Launch: CelebrationsWhat do Oprah, Liza Manelli, Donald Trump, Catherine Zeta Jones, and Joan Rivers have in common? Give up? How about this ultra elite event designer, Preston Bailey. Preston Bailey is known world over for his fantasy designs and creations for the crème de la crème of society. For those, like me, that doesn't have a million dollars to shell out for one of Preston's lavish designs can get his new book "Celebrations", which was launched at the Armory on Lexington Avenue in New York City.
Preston Bailey took this amazing space and transformed it into a wonderland of roses and chandeliers. To compliment this beautiful evening, Junior Merino designed a drinkable masterpiece with Leblon Cachaca, muddled black grapes and sage, lavender and lime. The vibrant color of the cocktail was a compliment to the backdrop of blues, purples, and pinks.
Pitcher after pitcher, The Liquid Team served up libations to stars such as Uma Thurman, Donna Karen, Donald Trump, and Preston Bailey himself. The Team also got to see a live performance from Gloria Gaynor on a runway of roses... This event was definitely a dazzling display of artistry where you could not only taste the art, but also indulge the rest of your senses.
For more information about this event, please visit: prestonbailey.com