From the smooth and opulent classic martini to the fruit-tart “Y” Spot martini, YES! Vodka had center stage with the trade last month, the spotlight brand at our Anthony Dias Blue Tasting Panel at Doug Arango’s restaurant in West Hollywood.
“YES is a small batch vodka, made our way,” said brand co-owner and marketer Vince Martin of Global Wine & Spirits.
Distilled in Holland, Yes! is quadruple filtered, a process that derives exceptional purity and eliminates the heat. The vodka’s smooth, nutty and lush palate is a result of the simplest ingredients: 100 percent wheat grain and purified water.
After the panel completed their blind tasting of 30 wines, they sought out a Yes! Martini.
George Skorka, director of restaurants for L.A.’s Jonathan Club, a regular tasting panel member, noted, “Yes! is incredibly customer friendly. It’s smooth, and slightly sweet, seldom is a vodka so approachable when drunk straight. Yes! is gentle and kind to the palate: I would call it a teddy bear of a vodka.”
The “Y” Spot
2 oz. Yes Vodka
1 oz. Pomegranate Juice
1 oz. Grand Marnier
Splash of Champagne or Seven Up
Squeeze of Lemon
Cup of Ice
Shake vigorously. Pour into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with pomegranate fruit or lemon peel.
Brittany Boardman, head bartender, Doug Arango’s gives her nod of approval to YES!
Kara Sergo, Asst. Mgr of Porterhouse Grill (L.A.); Morton’s Kanyatta Hatten (server) and Rob Harpest (Asst. Mgr) at the Tasting Panel at Doug Arango’s with Patterson’s Executive Editors Meridith May and Anthony Dias Blue.
Yes! is distributed in California by Southern Wine & Spirits: Pictured here are: (standing) Vince Martin of Yes! Vodka with SW&S’s Bernie Selmanson, V.P. of Sales On-Premise, and (front, left to right): Jay Frerking, Tim Sample and Steve Tipple
An Interview with Robert Evans, Co-Proprietor, Doug Arango’s West Hollywood
“A lot of what I do evolves around past experiences, places I’ve been and people I’ve met,” says Robert Evans, co-owner of Doug Arango’s in West Hollywood. We profiled the trio of proprietors in last month’s issue of Patterson’s, and this month, as host to our Tasting Panel, sat with Evans to talk wine.
“For me, the ultimate experience is standing in the barrel room to taste the finished product of someone’s labor. Wine is truly a great art form.
“At the restaurant – or retail – level, we can pay homage to these wonderful expressions of man, woman and nature, by standing up and saying ‘these wines are really great, and I will prove my loyalty by showcasing and selling them on my wine list.’”
Evans provides many choices for his clientele, and his myriad of palate pleasures resulted in a 600-label selection.
“I choose to work with people of great character and quality: it shows through on the wine they make or sell. Sometimes even my two-case order can make a difference.” Being an independent operator, Evans can make those decisions to really search out and be selective, building relationships along the way. “For me, this is really beyond a simple commercial transaction.”
Evans loves to relate the stories behind the wines to his customers. “I think some people actually live vicariously through my journeys to wine country,” Evans smiles. “Part of that enjoyment may be a yearning to reconnect to an old-fashioned value that escapes the modern mechanized, rushed lifestyle: They can taste the wine and get to know more about the artist who made it.”
Evans’s wine list is not so esoteric that it is on the edge, but rather a comfortable composition that is well balanced, featuring all principal global growing regions, with an emphasis on those areas that some wine lists may overlook such as Alsace, the Rhone and Spain.
When asked what he sees missing from other restaurant’s beverage menus, his first reaction was surprising. “It’s frustrating when I can’t find a decent lager or ale on the list. It really doesn’t take much effort to find a cuisine-matching beer.” – Meridith May