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5 Tips to Summer Drinking From a Sommelier that Designed Programs for Eleven Madison Park, Momofuku and More

5 Tips to Summer Drinking From a Sommelier that Designed Programs for Eleven Madison Park, Momofuku and More

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Jordan Salcito is an incredible sommelier with the pedigree to match (she’s designed the wine/beverage programs for Eleven Madison Park and all of David Chang’s concepts for the Momofuku empire). She’s also the CEO/Founder of RAMONA, the crazy-successful canned cocktail brand (wine spritzers — Dry Grapefruit, Meyer Lemon, and Blood Orange) as well as the sparkling wine option (Dry Sparkling Rosé) that are organic, BPA-free, low ABV, sustainable, made in Italy and just darn tasty.

We spoke with Salcito about how to navigate a more social summer of cocktails, as well as what to sip at home during the warmer months.

What are you seeing people drinking a lot more of, after a year at home? Have tastes changed?

I think people have become more discerning, which is great for us!  With the flood of available options on the market, people are prioritizing taste, of course, but they’re also demanding things like transparency around farming and production methods, prioritizing organic ingredients and no chemical additives.

We’ve also noticed a trend towards lower-alcohol beverages.  After a year at home, people have their systems set and every parent has a marathon bedtime routine ahead of him/her each night.  A lower-alcohol beverage is a no-brainer way to unwind but still ensure you’re ready to snap up and pack lunch / clean the kitchen when the kids are asleep.

We’ve also noticed a shift towards single-serve cocktails that are ready to drink!

As we begin to venture out of quarantine, what are some safe cocktails/options to serve for a small group? How do we make these relatively low contact for those who don’t want to spend a lot of time behind the bar, but also don’t want to do a batch cocktail?

My go-to cocktails right now: Place a large ice cube into a rocks glass.  Pour a splash (about ¼ Oz) of Cappelletti or another bitter Italian spirit over the ice.  Fill the glass with a can of RAMONA Ruby Grapefruit.  Garnish with a lemon twist

For some spice: place a large ice cube in a rocks glass.  Add 1 Oz jalapeño-infused blanco tequila.  Pour RAMONA Meyer Lemon on top and garnish with a thin slice of jalapeño

You’ve founded RAMONA, a new collection of canned cocktails and wine spritzers that has really exploded during the pandemic. What is the canned cocktail movement all about? Why are we seeing such a spike in this right now?

Convenience has a strong gravitational pull.  And when convenience is available in a format that does not force people to trade down on their value system – in a single-serve can in a pandemic, I think it checks a lot of boxes for busy humans looking for a moment to safely unwind!

Let’s talk about the spritzer – is it a throwback or a new trend?

I would argue that wine spritzes are a throwback as far as northern Italy in the early 19th century when it was still ruled by the Hapsburg Empire!  Low alcohol has been in fashion for a few hundred years and I love that it’s having such a moment!

What’s next for you and for RAMONA in the coming months?

We’re very excited to launch a spritz club subscription service later this spring and a new flavor – Amarino! – later this summer.