The Trail always leads to Vail

100 of the top mixologists in the U.S. + fresh powder snow + shots of Grand Marnier being handed out by Steve Olsen = insert witty answer here.

 We’ll just say it’s the 2008 Grand Marnier/Navan Mixology Summit held annually in Vail, Colorado.  I blame a combination of the altitude and Steve’s shot-doling eagerness on the headaches that plagued me here, yet I must say that this experience was as Grand (pun MUCH intended) as any other event I can even think of attending.  The gods were with us these few days, with twenty inches of fresh powdered snow falling atop the hills they call the Rockies.  I tried my hand at the Ski Race, barely getting through it the first time, and cocky as I felt afterwards, fell on my ass the second.  At least I didn’t have to take my skiis off after falling down the second time, shimmy to the side of the course, and proceed to walk down the rest of the course because it was too steep to put the skiis back on again…right…please don’t tell.

Steve Olsen and his team of mixologists included none other than PDT’s (speaking of Please Don’t Tell…and I mean it, okay?) Jim Meehan and Don Lee, Contemporary Cocktail’s Aisha Sharpe and Willy Shine, Death & Co’s Phil Ward, Tippling Bros’ Tad Carducci, the great Leo DeGroff, and Jacques Bezduinhout (and guess what – I learned how to say his name this trip, too!)  Man, did these guys work their asses off.  Hats off to you all!

Wanna see some pics from the trip?  Of course ‘ya do: **if you can’t view some of these, just click on them and you should see them.**


I took a picture of a postcard, you say?  NOPE – this is the view from the balcony of my room!


Bring it on!


Don’t I look snazzy in my new Grand Marnier ski jacket?  Aisha seems to think so.


It’s a Cocktails in the Country reunion!  Nicole, Yvan, Jackie, and Me.  Thanks Gary, for bringing us all together…


Jim and H. looking mighty friendly.


Don and Phil are all work…


Even the big-wigs had the chance to play a bit.  Alexandra Marnier-Lapostolle giving me the pleasure of a photo-op.  She’s sipping Grand Marnier 150th Anniversary no less.


‘Nuff said.

Thanks GM/Navan for an incredible experience!  Check out an original Navan recipe below…

Now pour their brands, click on their logos, and go to their websites, will ‘ya?



I just so happen to be pouring Navan in a signature cocktail of mine at Bookmarks Lounge, the rooftop lounge of the Library Hotel, 299 Madison Avenue at 41st St., NYC:

Strawberry-Vanilla Infused Champagne Cocktail

1 large, ripe strawberry, chopped

1/2 oz. Navan Vanilla Cognac

splash each of Fresh Lemon juice and simple syrup

3 oz. Champagne

Directions:  Muddle the strawberry in the Navan, lemon and simple.  Add ice to mixing glass and 2 oz. of Champagne.   Stir gently and strain into chilled champagne flute.  Top off w/ extra 1 oz. of Champagne.
Garnish: Strawberry slice



  1. It was great to meet you at the Mixology Summit. See you at Tales

  2. Hi Jonathan,

    I agree with Lance, it was good to meet you. I’ve got a picture of you on my blog: Jimmy’s Cocktail Hour.

  3. Old Friends, Good Times, Fresh Powder, & Grand Ma’ .. ALWAYS an awesome recipe for GREAT MOMENTS & MEMORIES!!

  4. Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. 🙂 Cheers! Sandra. R.

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