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Mar 23, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Matt Obermark’

Drink This Weekend Edition: Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rested Rye

Friday, July 11th, 2014



I recently had the chance to talk – and taste – Tennessee whiskey with Chris Fletcher, the first assistant master distiller for Jack Daniel’s. Fletcher has his own family history with the storied No. 7 brand (his grandfather was Jack Daniel’s master distiller for more than 30 years), but he also shared the history of Jack Daniel’s and its newest offering.

What makes Tennessee whiskey unique from its bourbon cousins is what is known as the Lincoln County Process. The whiskey is passed through charcoal filters, which results in pronounced fruit flavors and minimal graininess. Fletcher said Jack Daniel’s produces its own toasted, charred barrels in which to age its products, and it claims to be the only whiskey maker to control this aspect of the process.

Jack Daniel’s also has a long history in St. Louis, dating back to its first gold medal awarded in the 1904 World’s Fair. It’s even rumored that the iconic Old No. 7 on the label pays homage to the No. 7 train that transported Tennessee whiskey from St. Louis to the Western frontier.

Today, Jack Daniel’s offers several limited and special-edition products in addition to its original spirit, including its just-released Tennessee Rested Rye. After its charcoal filtering, the 70-percent rye rests in new white oak barrels for two years. The result is a solid rested whiskey that pulls strong banana flavors with hints of black pepper. While it can be sipped neat or on ice, it’s best appreciated in a classic rye cocktail like a Manhattan (recipe here) or a Sazerac (recipe here).

Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rested Rye is available at Randall’s Wines & Spirits in St. Louis, North County and Fairview Heights, Illinois, locations.

-Image courtesy of drinkspirits.com

The List: A Staff of Superstars at Planter’s House

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.



Yes, the cocktails are top-tier. Yes, the food is great. Yes, the décor makes you feel like a million bucks. But the real reason we love to take a seat at the hottest bar in town is the staff: a lineup of seasoned professionals who always keep their cool. From left to right: Kate Kinsey, Matt Sorrell, Ted Charak, Mandi Kowalski, Jamie Kilgore, Ted Kilgore, Leslie Gillette, Bradley Hoffmann, Matt Obermark and Travis Garner.

1000 Mississippi Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.2603, plantershousestl.com

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Drink This Weekend Edition: Between The Sheets

Friday, January 24th, 2014



It’s important to remember that when mixing cocktails in winter, you don’t always need reach for that bottle of whiskey. In fact, lesser-used cognac and rum are trending right now and are perfectly paired seasonal partners. An excellent example is illustrated in the delightful Prohibition-era tipple, Between The Sheets.

While this rum-spiked twist on a Sidecar technically falls into the sour category, beware. It also packs the serious potency of stirred, spirit-forward cocktails. Slightly tart, bitter orange and warm spice notes make for a very balanced drink, but as the name suggests, one too many has great potential for an early bedtime.

Between The Sheets
1 Serving

¾ oz. Camus VS cognac
¾ oz. El Dorado 8-year rum
¾ oz. Pierre Ferrand dry curacao
½ oz. fresh lemon juice
Orange twist, for garnish

• Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, add ice and shake until chilled. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with an orange twist.



A harvest morning at Mount Pleasant Estates

Friday, September 27th, 2013



This week, I joined the team at Mount Pleasant Estates in Augusta for its seasonal grape harvest. Any preconceived romantic notions I had of how this process actually works were proved false before we even began. Like most agricultural endeavors, the harvest began early in the morning. Before sunrise. Covered in darkness.

Armed with a healthy dose of strong coffee, I met Mount Pleasant president Chuck Dressel and head winemaker Colin Pennington. Though we started early, Dressel explained the harvest this year actually began late.

The grape we harvested that day, vidal blanc, is the last white grape harvested during the season, and due to a colder spring and mild summer, the grapes appeared on the vines about 28 days later than usual. Mount Pleasant uses the vidal blanc to produce its well reviewed Villagio and Villagio Estates wines. This fresh, fruit-forward wine could be compared pinot grigio in style.

Our grapes were earmarked to become Villagio Estate wine, featuring the highest quality vidal blanc grapes produced this season. Even though this year’s grapes are later than usual, the team at Mount Pleasant said it is happy with the fruit’s high quality.




A large, 14-foot machine, sensibly called a “picker,” does the actual harvesting from the vines. Once the fruit is gathered in large bins, its transported to Mount Pleasant, where the wine-making process begins by crushing the fruit. The winemakers process the vidal blanc grapes into juice and use underground pipes to transport it to stainless steel tanks where the juice ferments.

As it ages, the wine’s flavor changes from green apple to harsh grapefruit, finally becoming the pleasant, fruit-forward, aromatic finished product. Harvest at Mount Pleasant Estates continues into October with red grapes chambourcin, St. Vincent and Norton up next.




Villagio and Villagio Estates are expected to be available in May 2014. The Villagio will retail around $10 a bottle, and the more complex Villagio Estates will be roughly $21 a bottle.

St. Louis bartenders shake up Popfest 2013

Tuesday, August 27th, 2013

082713_popfest1{From left: Justin Cardwell, Kyle Mathis, Jayne Pellegrino, Matt Obermark}

The Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival in Kansas City, Mo., the largest gathering of its kind in the Midwest, concluded Sunday with much fanfare. St. Louis was well represented at Popfest with two competitors, Kyle Mathis of Taste and Mandi Kowalski of Sanctuaria competing in an individual bartending competition Sunday evening. The audience voted Kowlaski one of two crowd favorites. St. Louis bartenders Justin Cardwell, Jayne Pellegrino, Kyle Mathis and I also won the Midwest Melee, an event for cocktail bragging rights among four-person teams from Kansas City, St. Louis, Chicago and Denver.


082713_popfest2{From left: Mandi Kowalski, Kyle Mathis}

Events at the five-day festival took place at Kansas City establishments like The Rieger Hotel, Kill Devil Club and The American Restaurant and were focused on the city’s drinking roots. This included Popfest founder Ryan Maybe’s homage via cocktail to early 20th-century corrupt political boss, Tom Pendergast. Events were well attended and well enjoyed by St. Louis cocktailians and hospitality industry professionals.

PopFest also offered education seminars lead by industry experts, covering everything from mezcal to beer cocktails. The latter proved the best attended and most celebrated of the week. Hosted at the Boulevard Brewery and lead by former St. Louisian Chad George, Adam Seger and Boulevard’s Andy Jenkins, the group discussed how to capitalize on the recent trend of using beer as a cocktail ingredient. The Eulogy, their rift on a Last Word, balanced gin, green chartreuse, jasmine liqueur and sugar with Boulevard’s Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale.

The Eulogy
1 serving

1 ½ oz. London dry gin
¾ oz. green chartreuse
½ oz. Fruitlab Jasmine Liqueur
¼ oz. simple syrup
1 ½ oz. Tank 7 Farmhouse Ale

Build the gin, green chartreuse, jasmine liqueur and simple syrup in a shaker. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Top with the Tank 7 and gently stir to incorporate ingredients.

-Photos courtesy of Jacqui and Michael Segura of Cocktail Ambassador

The Scoop: Four St. Louis bartenders to compete at Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013



What began in 2006 as the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition has grown to become the Midwest’s largest annual cocktail festival. Paris of the Plains, or PopFest as it has been dubbed, returns this month to Kansas City and promises five days of cocktail parties, seminars, spirits tastings and competitions. In previous years, St. Louis sent some of its most talented bartenders to participate in the finale cocktail competition, and this year is no different. Kyle Mathis, bar manager of Taste, and Mandi Kowalski of Sanctuaria will go head-to-head against other bartenders from the region in this individual competition.

PopFest is adding more excitement to the stir-and-shake stage this year with a team bartending competition, the Midwest Melee. Bartending teams from Kansas City, Denver, Chicago and St. Louis will face off in a battle that will determine not only which team makes the best drinks, but also who can do it the fastest. Representing St. Louis will be Justin Cardwell of BC’s Kitchen, Matt Obermark of now-defunct Salt and current consultant at The Agrarian, Jayne Pellegrino of Blood & Sand and Kyle Mathis of Taste.

Feel like cheering on this city’s top bartenders? PopFest is just an interstate away and all festival events are open to the public, although tickets are required. (Tickets are free for those in the food and beverage industry.). The Midwest Melee is scheduled for Aug. 22. The Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition is slated for Aug. 25. Go here for more information.



The Scoop: Salt announces closure

Sunday, July 7th, 2013
Salt has closed. After a little more than two years in business, Salt, located at 4356 Lindell Blvd., in the Central West End, has shut its doors for good. Salt’s ownership group, American Larder, announced on Friday that it was closing the restaurant; the final day of business was Saturday, June 29. In a press release, the company cited “the economic downturn, litigation with its landlord and pending litigation with a former partner, and tax liability” as reasons for the decision.

During its two-year run, Salt received national and local accolades. The farm-to-table restaurant was nominated in 2012 for a James Beard Foundation award in the Best New Restaurant category. In its first year in operation, Salt was voted Best New Restaurant in the Sauce Readers’ Choice poll. Also, Salt’s Bradley Hoffmann was named among the Sauce class of 2013 Ones to Watch.

Despite these successes, during the last 14 months, Salt has been embroiled in litigation and filed for bankruptcy while also experiencing changes in the kitchen that included the departure of its initial executive chef and co-owner Wes Johnson and later, chef Josh Roland.
In an email, co-owner Matt Obermark explained that he attempted to keep the restaurant afloat despite such turmoil. “I tried to the end of near exhaustion but in the end, sometimes holes are too deep to get out of,” he wrote. Obermark, a seasoned bartender, is undecided about his future. “I’m unsure about my plans, but they are for sure including taking some time off and some travel.” Hoffmann, Salt’s executive chef, also hasn’t finalized his future plans but is considering several options.

Grill-to-Glass Drinking

Friday, June 21st, 2013


Grilling season has arrived. And at Salt – a restaurant where the kitchen crew works hand in hand with the folks behind the bar – that means grilled fare is just as likely to end up in your glass this summer as it is on your plate.

Wanna try this at home? Click here to find out how.

-Photo by Carmen Troesser


The Scoop: Bankruptcy at Salt

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012

Salt filed for bankruptcy yesterday. Ian Froeb of the Riverfront Times reported the news earlier today, noting that in Salt’s petition, the restaurant claims debts of between $100,000 and $500,000.

Sauce contacted Matt Obermark, co-owner of Salt, who stated that despite filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, “There will be no change in operating hours. Same location,” he added. A couple weeks ago, Salt changed its hours of operation. The restaurant, located at 4356 Lindell Blvd., is now open seven days a week, including Sunday brunch but no Sunday dinner service.

Obermark declined to make further comments, directing inquiries to Danielle Suberi of law firm Desai Eggmann Mason. Suberi filed the petition on behalf of Salt’s corporate entity, American Larder LLC. The Scoop has thus far been unable to reach Suberi for comment. More as we learn it.

The Scoop: Salt plans to stay put despite legal dispute

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

The owners of Salt are in the midst of a lawsuit with Ta Daa LLC, owner of the building that the restaurant occupies at 4356 Lindell Blvd., in the Central West End. As reported yesterday by Ian Froeb of the Riverfront Times, Ta Daa is suing American Larder, Salt’s corporate entity, for eviction, alleging that Salt has been unlawfully occupying the space after not paying rent.

In a telephone conversation last night, Salt co-owner Matt Obermark told The Scoop that the company has no immediate plans to vacate the premises. Salt held dinner hours as usual yesterday. “We’re not going out of business,” said Obermark. “We have paid what was back-owed. And we’re paying rent into an escrow account.” He noted that he is optimistic that the lawyers representing Salt will work out an agreement with Ta Daa’s legal team and added, “I hope it doesn’t hurt our busy season, which has been great so far.”

The Scoop contacted Natalie Pettus, Ta Daa owner and proprietor of Overlook Farms in Clarksville, Mo. Pettus declined to comment on the matter because “it is in litigation at the moment.”

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