This months Editorial Message is provided by Dale DeGroff, President of The Museum of the American Cocktail.Hi All,
The newsletter this month is filled with great stories from interesting possibilities for a permanent home, to the great news that Jared and Anistatia bring about the eBay museum donation listing however there is another issue that needs to be brought up, and that is in regards to overall membership.
The Museum is registered as a non-profit organization. We fund our operations through selling memberships as well as from sponsor donations. A little known fact is that the money coming in needs have a certain percentage of it being from the membership. We are currently dangerously close to not making that level, which would mean losing our non-profit status.
We appreciate your support, and are striving to make sure that we can provide value and benefits to our members, but we need to put some efforts into increasing our membership so that we can continue our work. So please be sure to let your friends know about us, and urge anybody you might think is interested to join up.
Finding a Permanent home for the Museumby: Dale DeGroff, Phil Greene, and Jill DeGroff
Just to bring you up to date: We're leaving no stone unturned in our quest for a permanent, or even temporary, homeplace for after September '05. In March, Dale and Jill met with the directors of the Downtown Development District as well as with Lally Brennan and Ti Martin—all of whom are actively looking for a property for us. But it's a tough battle. Space in the French Quarter is very dear. Pitching the concept that our exhibit could comprise the perimeter of a banquet room, increase business, act as a tax write-off, and bring publicity did not generate any interest. As Tim McNally pointed out: "The problem with restaurants is that they don't want traffic for the sake of traffic. They want diners. And all spaces in the Quarter are valuable. There's not enough space as it is."
The Downtown Development District expressed that there were possibilities for obtaining property near the intersection of Canal and Rampart Street a year or two from now as part of a hoped-for renaissance in that area. But the more we considered it, the more we felt that Conrad Hilton was right, the main concern is location, location, location. We do not want to be in a dangerous, vacant area, which is more or less what it is now. Phil met with management of the Crescent City Brewhouse. We've written countless letters to and made outreach efforts with places like Arnaud's, Emeril's, the Historic New Orleans Collection, the New Orleans Public Library, and others to investigate possibilities.
There were many turn-downs like Harrah's. There were other cases where we simply haven't heard a reply yet. Tabasco and Crescent City Brewhouse, however, expressed interest in the idea of partnering at some point to sponsor a cocktail contest promotion or staging events at their facilities. So at least our outreach is netting some interest in joint activities.
Jill met with Liz Williams of the Southern Food and Beverage Museum to discuss ways in which we can support each other's efforts to find exhibit space and she was kind enough to suggest several people and places to contact including the U.S. Mint. Jill subsequently contacted Sam Rykel, who is acting as temporary director until a permanent one is found- they are in flux right now and there is question as to whether or not it will remain a museum or become commercial office space.
A press kit and pitch letter was then sent to the Lt. Gov Mitch Landrieu. in response we received an encouraging letter, stating that The Museum of the American Cocktail would indeed be considered for inclusion if they are to continue to use the property as a Museum. Phil was a friend of the Lieutenant Governor in law school and has made contact with him, for what it's worth.
Seems like a no-brainer: A beautiful landmark building and the chance to have a super tourist attraction that includes a jazz museum, cocktail museum and Southern food Museum under one roof. Imagine the kind of events that could be held there that could generate a lot of money.
We have enlisted several parties to help us lobby this point, including Liz Williams, who is speaking with the consulting group that is researching the feasibility of various solutions for the building and preparing a report for the Lieutenant Governor in mid June. Liz has been enormously helpful and forthcoming with information. Liz Good of the Pharmacy Museum also is writing a letter to the Lieutenant Governor on our behalf.
A other possibility: Phil's friend-of-a-friend has a 30-year lease on a three-story building next to the Court of Two Sisters on Royal Street--an amazing location. He only uses the downstairs and courtyard for a Royal Blend Coffee shop. The upper two floors are empty. He is interested in talking with us about the possibility of our using this space. There are problems: a) the space needs a lot of work (we don't know how much yet); and b) it requires staffing. Possible ways to address these challenges include: a) We have a fundraiser and use proceeds for refurbishment, and negotiate a 10-year, rent-free, sublet in exchange for our improvements to the property; and b) he provides staffing from his coffee shop. The space could double as a banquet/party space to be leased to the Dickie Brennans and Emerils of the world, who would love to have that kind of space and decor (read: our museum exhibit) at their disposal. A challenging possibility, but too interesting to ignore. So we are pursuing it. Chris and Laura will inspect the premises as soon as we can set a time.
We will also be meeting with Chef Duke LoCicero of Cafe Giovanni, who has become a great friend has offered us an amazing antique bar. He has a friend who owns a building near his restaurant in the Quarter that is vacant except for the first floor.
But without a doubt the most interesting prospect to date happened just this week.
We were contacted by Alton Doody of Culinaria located on Carondolet at Charles Streets. Alton owns half the block already, starting with a beautiful old home which was designed in the 1890s by Duncan Tenor. Alton’s vision is for Culnaria is to create a campus facility dedicated to food, wine, and spirits that will house the cooking school, a wine center, and possibly Liz Williams Southern food and beverage museum as well as her associated activities. As Alton sees it, our museum and our seminars could very well add a spirits and cocktail school to the campus's other activities.
Lally Brennan and Ti Martin talked us up to Alton, as did Bill Goldring (Magnolia Marketing) and Liz Williams. All four of them have been invaluable allies. Jill and I can barely contain our excitement at this development.
But we must not let our enthusiastic anticipation color the reality. Alton Doody and Jill and I will be meeting in June during the seminars to pursue talks. Phil might meet with him on May 16 and give him a tour of the museum exhibit. We should withhold all celebrations until some concrete basis exists but a little toast is in order!!
On other fronts Ti Martin, Lally Brennan, Tim McNally, Brenda Maitland, Chef Duke--and of course Chris and Laura McMillian--are all helping to spread the word and open possibilities for us.
Museum Donations via eBay
eBay sellers can now donate a tax-deductible portion of their auction sale to The Museum of the American Cocktail. Are you selling a shaker, cocktail book, or for that matter, anything else on eBay? Now you can make a donation to benefit the Museum of the American Cocktail at the same time.
The museum is now registered as an eBay Giving Works nonprofit organization. Here’s how it works:
While you’re listing an item on eBay, you can choose to donate a percentage of your sale (minimum $10 or 10% donation; maximum 100% donation) by simply selecting the Museum of the American Cocktail from the pull down menu or typing it in when it asks you to select a nonprofit.
A ribbon icon will set your eBay Giving Works item apart on eBay as an authentic charity item. The giving bar tells buyers how much you're giving away. Plus, your listing shows up in the category you pick, on eBay Giving Works, and on the nonprofit's MissionFish page: it's like getting three categories for the price of one!
Every donation made from an eBay Giving Works listing is completely tax deductible. MissionFish collects your donation, delivers it to the nonprofit and provides you with a tax receipt.
When the listing ends, the buyer pays the seller and the seller ships the item – the same as all eBay listings. The seller pays their donation to MissionFish. If the seller doesn’t pay within a few days (the second Monday after the listing ends) MissionFish collects the money from their credit card automatically. MissionFish holds the donation in escrow until the refund period expires (end of the month when the listing ends, plus a month, plus 15 days). MissionFish distributes the funds to the benefiting nonprofit, and provides a receipt to the seller for their gift.
Help support the museum in this easy and simple way. For more information about MissionFish and how it works, visit www.missionfish.org.
Taking Our Seminars Nationwide
The Museum of the American Cocktail is pleased to announce that its Cocktail Series will be offered at Ruth Chris Steak Houses at major cities across the country. These entertaining and informative mixology presentations feature guest mixologists, influential bar chefs, and spirits authorities from around the world who will share their special talents, techniques and stories with participants. Cocktails and hors de oeuvres will be served during the hour and a half session. Geared towards aspiring professionals as well as the cocktail aficionado, guests receive a handy bar-bag with the tools they need to get started at home.
We currently have seminars scheduled or in the planning stages for Washington D.C., New York, Chicago, Boston, Seattle, Miami, and Dallas. We will be working on arranging for more seminars across the nation as time goes on. If you don't see a seminar scheduled for a Ruth's Chris near you, then drop in to your Ruth's Chris and let them know you're interest in attending one!
JUST FOR FUN
The Book of Household Management, by Mrs. Isabella Beeton, was originally published in 24 parts from 1859 to 1861, finally taking book form in 1861. It was such a success that it continued to be updated and reprinted until 1960, by which time there wasn't much at all remaining of Mrs. Beeton's original work.
Here then from an early edition is Mrs. Beeton's recipe for something that we can all appreciate:
Tout de Sweet - All about Sugar
The Southern Food & Beverage Museum will open their most ambitious exhibit yet on June 1, 2005 at the Riverwalk in New Orleans. Tout de Sweet - All about Sugar, will explore the story of sugar in Louisiana and offer insights into an agricultural way of life that has a long history in the area.
Many interesting programs are being scheduled during 2005 to celebrate the sweet stuff, including web exhibits for those of you who cannot travel in person to New Orleans. Get the scoop on Tout de Sweet from their website: http://www.southernfood.org/sugar.php.
NEWS FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Frog In a BlenderBy Kermit J. Wrigley
Warning: Do not read this if you have a weak stomach, or if you had gazpacho for lunch. The following Reuters news report from Peru exposes a cocktail trend more disturbing than those plastic monkeys dangling from cocktail umbrellas:
Things You Wouldn't Think of Putting in a Cocktail
Aside from the very real danger to bartenders (there have been recent reports of amphibians exploding in Germany), people intent on having a frog in the throat need to consider the possible side effects of these Kermit Coladas. These apparently range from feeling jumpy to leaving drinkers green around the gills the next morning.
Though the Reuters article implies that drinking frog frappé to raise one’s tadpole is a South American phenomenon, we found widespread circumstantial evidence of underground consumption much closer to home.
First, there are the suggestive establishments. Are these innocent coincidences or a nationwide network? Chicago is home to Hugo’s Frog Bar and the Blue Frog Bar and Grill. There’s a Bullfrog Bar in Michigan, Crazy Ed’s Satisfied Frog in Cave Creek, Arizona, the Mad Frog Bar in Covington Kentucky. When asked if they serve frogs, the bartender at one establishment after being assured of complete anonymity, said, “We serve anybody with proper ID. But barflies are the heart of our business and frogs…frogs make ‘em nervous.”
We uncovered what appears to be a wide variety of implements available for these rituals:instructional video.
We feared that our own Doc Cocktail, Ted Haigh, was entangled in this mire beneath the lilly pads, until we discovered that the Frog Cocktail on CocktailDB.com - like mock-turtle soup - contains no frogs:
We only hope that we haven’t blown his cover, like those poor souls who requested ketchup in Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
So, what’s red and green and moves at 100rpms? Let’s pray it’s a frozen strawberry mojito.
As a non-profit organization, The Museum of the American Cocktail would like to thank our members for making our existence possible. We would also like to gratefully acknowledge the support and donations provided by the following sponsors and patrons: