San Diego in the shadow of L.A.? Fuhgeddaboudit!

The CHILLED 100 Roundtable Series kicked off on Monday, January 18th, 2016 in “America’s Finest City” with almost a full house of members, ready to have their ideas voiced while having a good time. Organized around a private tasting hosted by the Aero Club, followed by dinner at Starlite, the night drew on a little bit of education peppered with a lot of camaraderie. The first in a series of roundtable discussions across the country, the evening was organized by 100 director, Steven Dragun and Chilled Magazine vets Jeff Greif, Thom Meintel and Max Ferro. A total of 12 attended in all, as each of the talented mixologists were encouraged to bring a guest.

The evening’s sponsor, Palm Bay International, was invited to pour for the gang at Aero Club, the city’s famed whiskey bar, and obliged with a collection of influential whiskeys, tequilas and brandies and one special vodka. Local ambassador Bill Anderson managed to wow the crowd not only with his choices for the ninety minute tasting but also with his uncanny knowledge of every liquid. In all six brands were sampled and a total of thirteen expressions sipped by the energetic crowd including The Irishman Single Malt, Gran Duque d’Alba Brandy, Boulard Calvados VSOP and Bastille, a French whisky made in Cognac. But the evening’s star appeared to be Chamucos, a lusty tequila sampled in the three standard varieties with an unusual point of sale packaging. Encased in a roughhewn cardboard pack with eye popping graphics, the brand’s namesake “boogey man” on the front panel had large wings that punched out from the sides of the carton. The crowd loved it… and also the juice, naturally.

After the last drop was downed the group shuffled over to Starlite, a swanky eatery down the block that serves craft cocktails and elevated American eats. There, over drinks and dinner, the CHILLED 100 let the good vibes continue as they each opened up about their favorite spirits and ways to integrate them into the publication. The brainstorming session also touched on new inroads for these professionals, some with years of experience behind them, using the brand’s equity in the marketplace.

Things broke up shortly after 11 pm but a few of the group opted to beeline back to Aero Club for a nightcap. There, host Chad Berkey, made sure everyone was onboard for one last whiskey shot from his extensive list. We all raised our glasses toasting “Salud,” and headed out into the night thinking about all the potential this get together had produced.

Upcoming roundtables will be held in Boston, Washington D.C. and Philadelphia.