Gabe Cardarella Stays with Starwood, Spikes Your Hot Chocolate

There’s no better way to learn about hotels than from frequent travelers, and if those travelers come bearing cocktails, then we’re all in. Gabe Cardarella, bartender and brand ambassador for Dewars, told us a little bit about his booze-soaked existence (in a good way), and filled us in on his favorite drinks

Where are you based and how long have you been there?
If you travel as much as I do for work, then calling anywhere home can be difficult.  The best answer I can give you is JFK, ORD, LGA, DFW and LAX.  I travel a lot.  Being the Ambassador for the best selling blended whisky in the United States to means I have a lot of ground to cover.  At the moment I’m in Hollywood, hosting a series of tastings at Jim Henson Studios, giving consumers a look into our double-ageing process that is so unique to our brand.

How many days a year are you on the road?
Last year I traveled roughly 240 days, this year closer to 280. The demand for the Scotch category as a whole is growing not just in the US, but all over the world, Dewars is no exception. This past summer, I spent my time visiting our Caribbean market in places like Curacao, Puerto Rico and Aruba where Dewars is one of the most popular spirits. 

Sum up your job in one sentence.
My main task is to bridge communication from the brand to the market place, sharing our whisky’s story with trade and whisky enthusiasts. 

What are your favorite cities to visit?
Every year I’ll spend a few weeks in Scotland, visiting out distilleries, brush up on the lasted techniques and spend time in our blending lab and bottling plant in Glasgow. Scotland is a beautiful place, everyone is very friendly and a limitless supply of Scotch, naturally making it one of my favorite places in the world. Next month I’ll be traveling to Hawaii for a week, which I’m sure won’t be so bad either.

Where/which are your favorite cocktail bars right now?
In LA, La Descarga is one of my favorite bars for custom cocktails, they’re making fantastic cocktails using scotch, my favorite being their take on the Dewars 12 Manhattan.  When I’m in the Midwest, Delilah’s in Chicago has one of the best whisky selections I’ve ever seen and places like The Brandy Library and Soho House in New York are great places to have a dram of whisky, to name a few.  For me, nothing beats a great dive bar.  Give me a good jukebox, bartender that knows my name and glass of Dewars 18 and I’m a happy man. 

What’s is your drink right now?
Lately I’ve been doing a lot of Dewars 12 Rusty Nails.

What’s the last great meal you’ve had?
Any time I can get a home cooked meal I’m psyched. If you’re reading this, Grandma, time for some spaghetti. 

What’s the best hotel you’ve stayed in this year?
The Scotsman in Edinburgh.  You get your own private loft with beautiful views of Princess Street. 

What makes a great hotel?
It’s all about the points. I’m loyal to Starwood, in fact just went platinum my last stay. Comfortable beds and a TV remote that works is a nice touch too. 

DEWAR’S Holiday Cocktails:

DEWAR’S Hot Toddy

1 part DEWAR’S® 12 Blended Scotch Whisky

3 parts hot water

1 tea bag

Honey and lemon juice, to taste

 Coat the bottom of a mug or an Irish coffee glass with honey. Add DEWAR’S 12 and the lemon juice. On the side, heat water in a tea kettle and add the tea bag to make hot tea. Pour the hot tea into the glass and stir.

DEWAR’S Hot Chocolate

2 parts Dewar’s 12 Year-Old

3-4 parts hot cocoa

Whipped Cream

In an Irish coffee glass, combine DEWAR’S 12 with hot cocoa/hot chocolate; top with whipped cream and a dusting of cocoa powder.

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