By James E. Green
July 1, 2021 – After a tumultuous year and a half where large gatherings were forbidden and fun was truncated by a suitable application of hand sanitizer and a facial covering, nobody really knew what to expect from a early summer appearance of the 2021 Nightclub and Bar show coming back to the Las Vegas Convention Center after a years’ sabbatical. Usually an early spring offering operating off the heels of St. Patrick’s Day, a host of logistical factors treated Las Vegans…and a throng of tourists…to two days of summer sun and fun…in the air conditioned confines of the LVCC….with maybe a drink or two to warm the company?
Did you say company? Let’s look no further than rock n roll legend and former front man of Van Halen…the one and only Sammy Hagar. The former music icon turned Tequila mogul embraced this fans, and embraced the opportunity to endorse his tequila brand as well. Adding exuberance and stardom to a convention full of patrons who were not really sure what to expect in this “sorta” post-pandemic atmosphere, Hagar’s message was as clear as his Anejo tequila: “party on.”
As 15 year veterans of the nightclub and bar show, we were initially surprised to encounter the logistical layout of this years product. Typically, most of the distilled spirits booths were concentrated in the 1600 aisle, to the far right of the convention floor. A short conversation with floor security provided rationale and enlightenment to this riddle. “Yeah, ‘Murderer’s Row. My boss called it that a few years ago because he’s a Yankees fan and because it was impossible to deal with the crowds and all the foot traffic.” The gentlemen continued, “I’m real glad they decided to break them all up and scatter them about. Makes my job a lot easier.”
Regardless of their proximity to each other, there were certainly all-stars amongst the free-flowing spirits at this years’ show. First up on our review is “Batch 062” from our friends at Middle West Whiskey.
A smooth, delicious craft blend of straight wheat distilled goodness, Middle West ages their spirits for over three years before bottling for the consumer. Proudly crafted in Columbus, Ohio, “Small and Smooth” are the pride points of this delicious blend.
As members of the credentialed media here in Las Vegas, it’s our distinct and rare pleasure to often come inn contact with superior unique products and, in rare instances the superior and unique personalities that bring them to market. Amidst a treasure trove of wonderful brand ambassadorship, the best-of-show this year has to go to Mr. Victor Spotloe, national sales manager for Middle West Spirits. It was a pleasure to stand back and listen as Victor expertly guided us through the six different brands his company was showcasing, while tactfully pausing to pour a sample, answer a question from a random passer-by, or simply offer a warm, encouraging smile to a booth attendee. A salesman among salesman, Mr. Spotloe’s grace and professionalism impressed us at a level which merited special mention.
Tequila flowed in no short measure with many different blends from several different distilleries. Perhaps no company captures the drinking pleasure of the agave more delicately or more deliciously than our friends at El Mayor. Their 100%, hand-harvested mature agave is delightful on the palate. Shoot it if you must, but sip this fabulous offering for a delightful drinking experience.
Happen to like whiskey? Yeah, so do we. And our colleagues at Ole Smoky have hit a home run with their flavor-infused offerings. Hailing from Gatlinburg, Tennessee, this distillery offers four master-crafted mountain made Southern whiskies with a new-world flair. We were fortunate enough to sample the Peanut Butter flavored spirit, and we challenge you to find a more smooth, delectable treat for your palate. Whether cleverly mixed in a “Peanut Butter Jelly Time” cocktail (No, we won’t tell you the ingredients-happy hunting!) or straight from the sippin’ cup, get ready for an experience that is second to none for your next drinking soirée. For complete product information, be sure to visit our friends at Ole Smoky, and tell them we sent you!
Prefer your vodka with a little bit of muscle? Look no further than Grace Gillespie’s Muscle Vodka. Encouraging her drinkers to “Get Ripped Responsibly”, take one look at Grace and you will be motivated to give it a try. An accomplished competitive bodybuilder, fitness model and all-around lovely and well-spoken brand ambassador, Grace’s Gluten-free vodka is packaged with an understated, refined slickness that is a nod to its smooth, delicious experience on the palate. Distilled an amazing 32 times from 100 percent corn, sugar free, organic and made right here in the USA by a reverse osmosis process which filters out all impurities, this may be the healthiest alcoholic beverage on the planet. We encourage you to find out more about this impressive product AND it’s equally impressive owner!
Taking the vodka drinking audience by storm and causing quite a stir at this years convention, Black Storm Ultra Premium Vodka weighs in as our next heavy hitter. Billed as a 100 percent neutral spirit with an impressive, meticulous 6X distill rate, Black Storm minces perfectly with your favorite mixers but, pour a few ounces over ice in a glass, kick back and savor a truly unique and wonderful “straight-up” drinking experience. We’re not kidding you folks, it’s JUST that good!
If it’s the kicked back, laid back vibe of the Islands you seek, look no further and pour no further than Island Vibes premium rum. At 30 percent ABV (that’s Alcohol By Volume if you happen to be new to the drinking game), this is another offering that boasts multiple applications for your drinking enjoyment. We tried it first under the subtle cloak of a Cuba Libre, then with a little coconut milk as a true nod to the island culture. Finally, a few sips in a shot glass confirmed what we already guessed: this is a versatile, delicious spirit that promises to serve you well, and be well-served.
On behalf of our staff, we hope you have enjoyed our “spirit”-ual guidance where the 2021 Nightclub and Bar show is concerned, and we look forward to having a few…with you…in 2022!