Steven Singani XXL
Last night was our highly-anticipated Singani 63/Steven Soderbergh dinner at Delphine on Hollywood Blvd; an event I was hoping would showcase the passion behind the product and the versatility of the spirit itself, rather than just function as another educational seminar. I can safely and proudly say that all goals were accomplished. Not only were Lindsay (Singani's brand manager) and Steven completely prepared and ready to rock, but so were our wonderful customers. Last night might have been the best K&L spirits-related party I've ever attended. Everyone was happy, talkative, friendly, excited to drink, and—more importantly—completely open-minded to the experience ahead of them. There were some serious whisky guys in the house, more than happy to step outside their comfort zone and give this whole Singani thing a shot. Seeing that willingness in person was exhilarating for me. I live to break down booze barriers.
Steven's Singani team again had a number of clever marketing materials scattered around the outside patio, where we met to begin the evening. Since day one the primary focus of Singani 63 has revolved around fun. Don't take this too seriously. Sure it's good, but let's not geek out about it. Let's recognize it for what it is, enjoy it, and then have some fun. I'm completely on board with that media plan. It's everything I believe in when it comes to booze, and if a recreation of the Sistine Chapel with Steven and Singani doesn't put a smile on your face, then hopefully you didn't buy a ticket to last night's dinner!
The man of the hour was there early helping us set up and plan out the night's events. Before starting the Singani 63 brand, Steven had a meeting with Dan Aykroyd (who's also in the booze biz), where the actor told him: "If you're not going to show up and be a part of this thing, then don't bother doing it." Mr. Soderbergh took that advice to heart. He was right there, front and center, ready to be the biggest Singani cheerleader in the world. He's currently lobbying the TTB to give Singani it's own separate classification, for God's sake! Since retiring from directing, I think Steven needed a new mission in life, and Singani is definitely the focus of that mission. He's here to change hearts and minds, and he believes in the product so deeply that he's convinced Singani will succeed. His energy is infectious.
Our ticket-holders arrived, we greeted them on the patio, we passed out ice-cold Singani sours with lavender and maraschino liqueur, and we basked in the warm Hollywood evening. The weather was perfect, the mood upbeat, and the atmosphere cool and relaxed. You could tell right from the beginning that we were going to have some fun.
I have to say my favorite part of the night was meeting all the SoCal customers whose names appear in my email box each week. "Yes, I know exactly who you are!" I would say as people introduced themselves. Putting faces to names is always such an enjoyable experience for me, and I was truly moved by the commitment those folks displayed to the K&L cause. It was humbling, to say the least. And what wonderful conversations I had! Everyone down here is fascinating! Is this always what it's like?
Dinner included a series of cocktails designed by Eric Alperin and Max Seaman, using input from Steven's time in Bolivia. They gave a few quick introductions when each new drink was served, and explained the significance of the origin. They were all super tasty, including the Season Finale made with lime cordial and Champagne. It was a fancy take on Singani and Sprite; a Bolivian national favorite.
Dinner was also delicious, and the energy from the patio carried right over into the dining room. Communal tables kept the conversation flowing, but people were comfortable moving around, dropping by Steven's spot to say hello, and passing plates from end to end. David OG spoke, I spoke, and Steven did a presentation in between courses, but we kept our talks brief and basic. We were more there to thank everyone for coming, than lecture about specifics.
I got the honor of being the left-hand man for the evening. The first thing I said when we sat down was, "Steven, I'd like to start by asking you about your early career, the making of the Yes documentary, then move right into Sex, Lies, and Videotape, before taking a detailed look at each of the Ocean films. Sound OK?" I laughed, and patted him on the back.
"Listen David, you give me enough Singani and I'm up for anything," he replied with a smile. And that he was.