Detroit based Portrait and Food photographer.
That one night I shared the stage with Alicia Keys. #tbt #aliciakeys
That one night I shared the stage with Alicia Keys. #tbt #aliciakeys

That one night I shared the stage with Alicia Keys. #tbt #aliciakeys

The New Faces of Detroit Manufacturing: A series of portraits I shot of @shinola’s workers for @modeldmedia. Check out the story today on how #detroits workforce is being retooled for the luxury watch brand. #manufacturing #shinola
The New Faces of Detroit Manufacturing: A series of portraits I shot of @shinola’s workers for @modeldmedia. Check out the story today on how #detroits workforce is being retooled for the luxury watch brand. #manufacturing #shinola

The New Faces of Detroit Manufacturing: A series of portraits I shot of @shinola’s workers for @modeldmedia. Check out the story today on how #detroits workforce is being retooled for the luxury watch brand. #manufacturing #shinola

Day Five of Detroit Negroni Week: Antietam’s Head Bartender Joe Rob with “Dog Days.”

The first time I met Joe Rob was about two years ago when he was tending bar at Michael Symon’s Roast. Since then, he has started a couple of new ventures. He is a founding partner, coordinator, and drink specialist for Bailout Productions, which is a cocktail consulting and special event company that was founded in 2013 in an effort to bring quality food and drink to Detroit in a captivating way. He is now head bartender at Antietam, another soon-to-be-opened restaurant (July 2014) located in Detroit, just off of Gratiot Avenue, south of Detroit’s Eastern Market. If the rustic art-deco interior of this bar & restaurant is any indication of what to expect with their food and drinks, Antietam should be an exciting gastronomic adventure not to be missed. 

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As head bartender, Joe likes to push the envelope when it comes to crafting cocktails. In fact, his method is more akin to science than it is mixology. For example, Rob incorporates technology when developing his cocktails by using liquid nitrogen to freeze rose petals or basil just before muddling into a drink. This is done in order not to bruise them and to ensure the freshest flavors. Another tool he employs is a centrifuge that spins liquids at high speeds, causing particulate matter to collect at the bottom. The clear liquid that remains on top is then used to make the cocktails. This creates particle-free mixers for cleaner, smoother drinks.

Joe’s unorthodox approach to crafting his drinks won him first place Judges Pick and Fans Pick at the 2013 Woodford Reserve Manhattan Regional Competition, as well as 1st place Fan Voting at the 2013 Absolut Best Bloody Mary in America NY Food & Wine Festival. In 2013, he took second place for GQ’s Bombay Sapphire Regional Competition. 

I had a chance to sit down and speak with Joe about his cocktails and what he has in store for us with his recipe variation on the Negroni “Dog Days”

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JR
: I wanted to make a Negroni variation where all the original components are still part of the show. I substituted the Cocchi Rosa for the sweet vermouth because of its lighter body and bitter elements that shine through the strawberry watermelon soda. Instead of making a strawberry syrup or watermelon juice, I took the two and ran them through a centrifuge to get a silky juice with all the flavor but no pulp. This typically would be served carbonated on tap. Cocktails on tap benefit from carbonation throughout rather than building the Negroni in the shaker and pouring soda on top. It gives the entire drink an effervescence to it, not just the soda on top. The garnish is a compressed strawberry that was made by putting Campari and strawberry both in a cryovac bag with the sliced strawberries and sealing them in a vacuum chamber bringing those elements of the cocktail into the strawberry. 

MSP: What was your first Negroni experience? 

JR: I don’t remember my first Negroni, but I do remember my first experience with Campari. I was about 20 and working at a fine dining restaurant. It was the bottle in the corner… and people would mention their grandpa used to drink that stuff. I tried a sip and wondered how anyone could drink it. Now it’s what I reach for when making cocktails with virtually any spirit. I enjoy it on its own or with a splash of soda. 

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MSP: Lastly, share with us your feelings about Campari? 

JR: Campari is the go-to Amari that bartenders love using for its bitter and citrusy flavors. Personally, I like Campari because it reminds me of summer. 

Thanks, Joe. Wish you and the staff at Antietam much success!

Negroni Week ends on June 8th, so use this weekend to drink for a cause. You can find participating Metro Detroit bars and restaurants at the United States Bartenders Guild - Greater Detroit’s Facebook page

Just be sure not to get too negronked! 

Recipe:

" Dog Days "                                                                                   

  • 1 oz Two James Gin
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1 oz Cocchi Americano Rosa
  • 2 oz Clarified Strawberry Watermelon Soda
  • Compressed Campari Strawberry

All Photos by © Marvin Shaouni Photo

Day Four of Detroit Negroni Week: Oakland Art Novelty Company’s Shane Bang with “Between Two Evils.”

When it comes to combining incredible hospitality with cutting edge cocktails, the Oakland Art Novelty Company located in downtown Ferndale, MI is a must visit. David Wondrich, author and cocktail historian, said it best about the Oakland in Esquire Magazine’s recent June / July Best Bar City issue; “A crack bar crew, a hypertrophic bordello/harem decor, excellent cocktails, and a list of antique spirits…(some fascinating stuff). A city needs this kind of new blood.”

I would also like to add that The Oakland is my favorite bar to order a dealer’s choice . A dealer’s choice is a bit like playing russian roulette with the bartender and an opportunity to put their skills and knowledge to the test— all you have to do is let them know what type of booze you’re craving (i.e. bourbon, gin, mezcal, etc) and they will take it from there.

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This is how I really got to know Shane Bang. He’s hands down a genius when it comes to serving up a dealer’s choice and he’s got a list of accolades to back it up. In 2013 Bombay Sapphire named Shane Detroit’s “Most Imaginative Bartender”; Eater Detroit named him 2013 “Bartender of the Year”, and in 2014 The Daily Meal listed him among the top 25 bartenders in the country.

Let’s see what kind of Negroni variation Shane has concocted for us.

MSP: Shane, what inspired your Negroni variation “Between Two Evils?”

SB: “Between Two Evils” Is the beginning lines to a quote by Mae West which goes “Between two evils, I always pick the one I haven’t tried.” I think in the case of this cocktail, the two evils are the campari and fernet. So many people are apprehensive to drink cocktails with either ingredient because of their bitter quality. By using the campari in a jam, I am able to highlight other existing flavors in the campari, while toning down its initial bitter quality. The fernet is subtle on the finish, but allows some of those great herbal flavors to come through.

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MSP: I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised by the texture the Campari jam added to your cocktail, especially on the finish. How did you make it?

SB: To make Campari jam, heat 16 oz Campari, 2c sugar, peel of 1 grapefruit, 2 oz. lemon juice, 1/2t red chile flakes, 1/4t grapefruit bitters, and 1/4t Angostura bitters to a boil; let it sit overnight, and add natural fruit pectin.

MSP: What was your first Negroni experience?

SB: My first Negroni…. I must have either been too dumb or too young at the time because I didn’t fall in love at first sip. It took me getting into craft cocktails and really understanding flavors more to appreciate the drink. I do remember a few years back, while out to dinner with my mom, giving her a taste of my negroni. Her face was priceless.

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MSP: Lastly, share with us your feelings about Campari?

SB: What else can I say about Campari other than it’s my “jam!”

MSP: Nice one! Thanks, Shane.

To find participating Metro Detroit bars and restaurants during Negroni Week, check out United States Bartenders Guild - Greater Detroit’s Facebook page

Recipe:

"Between Two Evils"

  • 2 oz Tanqueray 10
  • 1 oz Campari jam
  • .25 oz Fernet Branca
  • .25 oz Contratto Rosso
  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker tin. Shake. Strain into coupe. Garnish with orange peel and a cherry.

All Photos by © Marvin Shaouni Photo




Day Three of Detroit Negroni Week: Bigalora’s Adrianne Martin with “Mr. Antonio.”

Today we sit down with the charming Adrianne Martin, head bartender at Bigalora Wood Fired Cucina located in Royal Oak, MI. Bigalora features authentic Napoletana style pizzas, small plates, soups, salads, pastas, wood-fired entrees and daily house made artisan gelatos, and of course a great cocktail list! Bigalora has one of my favorite dining rooms, with its sparse modern rustic interior and large 20’ floor-to-ceiling windows facing Main St. that flood the interior with light, enhancing the sense of being in an open-air space.

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Adrianne’s cocktails have been featured on kindredcocktails.com and she has made appearances on Fox2 News and Channel 4, sharing her passion for hand-crafted cocktails.

MSP: So, Adrianne, what inspired your Negroni variation “My Antonio?”

AM: I’ve always associated the Negroni with autumn, so this is a more summery, refreshing take on this classic cocktail. I love the combination of Cynar and orange, and this combination lends itself well to a vermouth substitute. I froze the orange so that the drink changes with every sip—changing from bitter to mellow to refreshing summer “chaser”.

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MSP: What was your first Negroni experience?

AM: When I was 21, I watched as Jeff from Tom’s Oyster Bar prepared a Negroni for a guest. I inquired about the cocktail because it looked different from other cocktails at the time, and he offered a taste, warning me that I’d hate it (it obviously isn’t what you’d expect a newbie to appreciate). I came in every Monday from then on to have one!

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MSP: Lastly, share with us your feelings about Campari?

AM: Because I’m half Italian, I’ve always considered Campari a “kindred” spirit! As the head bartender at Bigalora, I wanted to explore and offer to the patronage new authentic Italian amari. I chose Cappelletti as a Campari substitute because it’s just recently been made available in Michigan, and is a beautiful balance between Campari and Aperol.

Thanks, Adrianne!

To find participating Metro Detroit bars and restaurants during Negroni Week, check out United States Bartenders Guild - Greater Detroit’s Facebook page

Recipe:

"Mr. Antonio"

  • 1 1/2 oz Few Gin
  • 3/4 oz Cappelletti Aperitvo
  • 3/4 oz Cynar
  • 1 dash Burlesque Bitters
  • Stir, then pour over 1 large fresh-squeezed frozen orange cube

All Photos by © Marvin Shaouni Photo




Day Two of Detroit Negroni Week: Selden Standard’s co-owner Evan Hansen with “Roman Spring.”

It’s a wonderful time to live in Metro Detroit. Options for good food and drink abound with new places opening it seems every month!

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Meet Evan Hansen, co-owner of the soon-to-be-opened Selden Standard. A farm to table, small plates restaurant focused on working with small local farmers and utilizing seasonal ingredients in uniques ways, Selden Standard is located in Detroit’s burgeoning Midtown neighborhood. Eater National named Selden Standard one of the 50 most anticipated restaurant openings of 2014 and after spending some time talking with Evan ( whose responsibilities include developing the wine list and cocktail program ) there’s no doubt in my mind that he and his partner, Executive Chef Andy Hollyday, are going to offer a truly unique dining experience for their patrons.

Let’s get on with the interview!

MSP: Evan, what inspired your variation on the negroni?

EH: There are two reasons I wanted to do this type of drink. First, I love to use Campari in the summer for adding some bitterness to citrus drinks, and in this recipe, I got to do sort of the opposite — bringing a spicy, Caribbean-influenced syrup into a stirred, bitter drink with the idea of making something a touch lighter than a typical negroni. Second, the clementine falernum is the kind of ingredient we want to make a lot of when Selden Standard opens: preserving elements of seasonal foods and utilizing them in different ways, whether that’s in the kitchen or at the bar.

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MSP: After tasting your clementine falernum, I felt the urge to douse myself with it. Not only was it delicious, but the aromatics had a unique balance of spicy & sweet notes - it brought back fond memories of my travels to Jamaica. How did you make it?

EH:  Ha! Well, in that case, I’m glad we only had one Roman Spring! To make clementine falernum, remove as much pith as possible from some clementine peels and add to the peels, as well as clove, allspice, and cardamom, to a container of vodka for 48 hours. Strain and combine the flavored vodka with an equal portion of turbinado sugar over heat until the sugar dissolves.

MSP: What was your first negroni experience?

EH: My good friend Todd made me my first negroni on his front porch, and I immediately fell in love with it. Somehow, we ended up at this kind of clubby bar later that night. As anyone who knows us would verify, we’re the two least club-loving people in all of metro Detroit, but they had a bottle of Campari, so we stayed, taught the bartender how to make negronis, and just drank a ton of them in a row while listening to this awful dance music.

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MSP: Lastly, share with us your feelings about Campari?

EH: There’s nothing quite like Campari. I love the bitterness, I love the color, and despite being such an intense flavor, it’s actually pretty versatile. You can use it as a rinse on a drink, to give a lighter citrus drink a bitter finish, or just in a classic like a negroni. It’s one of the first spirits I ever owned for my home bar, so I’m kind of partial to it.

Amen! Thanks, Evan. I am looking forward to Selden Standard opening in the Fall and wish you much success!

To find participating Metro Detroit bars and restaurants during Negroni Week, check out United States Bartenders Guild - Greater Detroit’s Facebook page

Recipe:

“Roman Spring”

- 1.5oz Tanqueray 10 gin

- .5oz Campari

- .5oz Noilly Pratt dry vermouth

- .5oz clementine falernum

- Combine all the ingredients in a chilled glass or a metal tin with cracked ice; stir; and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

All Photos by © Marvin Shaouni Photo




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Day One of Detroit Negroni Week: Sugar House’s Yani Thanatos with “The Evening Redness In The West.”

When you walk into the Sugar House Bar you might mistake the head bartender, Yani Thanatos, for Dave Navarro, guitarist for Jane’s Addiction. The irony is, not only does Yani show some serious chops behind the bar, but he can probably give Mr. Navarro a run for his money - he’s a total shredder on the guitar!

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The Sugar House Bar is located in Corktown, one of Detroit’s oldest neighborhoods, and has been given accolades ever since opening its doors three years ago. Just this year Esquire Magazine named it one of the best bars in America and Playboy slotted the Sugar House Bar among the top 20 bars in America. 

Thanatos has earned high praises in the world of drink competitions. He won first place for the 2013 USA Angostura National Bartending Competition, and was a finalist in both the 2014 Angostura World Finals in Trinidad and the 2014 Diageo World Class Regional Competition. Like I said, the man has some chops!

Let’s see what Yani has to say about his variation on the Negroni, shall we?

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MSP: Yani, what inspired your variation of the Negroni “The Evening Redness In The West?”

YT: The concept comes from the image and color of the book title “Blood Meridian” by Cormac McCarthy. The majority of the narrative follows a teenager referred to only as “the kid,” with the bulk of the text devoted to his experiences with the Glanton gang, a historical group of scalp hunters who massacred Native Americans and others in the United States–Mexico borderlands from 1849 to 1850 for bounty, pleasure, and eventually out of sheer compulsion. The role of antagonist is gradually filled by Judge Holden, a huge, intellectual man depicted as bald from head to toe and philosophically emblematic of the eternal and all-encompassing nature of war.

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MSP: What was your first Negroni experience?

YT: Initially thinking I hated Campari before ever trying one, a bartender I worked with at a previous bar just gave me this delicious bitter red cocktail. Later I found out it was a Negroni! Go figure, I guess sometimes it’s all in your head.

MSP: Lastly, what are your feelings about Campari?

YT: Campari is the #1 bartenders’ go-to Amaro. All bartenders love Campari! Its bitterness and citrus qualities compare to no other.

Thanks, Yani. 

To find participating bars and restaurants in the Metro Detroit area check out United States Bartenders Guild - Greater Detroit’s Facebook page

Recipe:

"The Evening Redness in the West"

  • 1oz beefeater gin
  • .75 Campari
  • .75 Lillet blanc infused with Lapsang Souchong black tea
  • Stirred up with a grapefruit peel twist.

All Photos by © Marvin Shaouni Photo

Drink For A Cause: Negroni Week in Detroit.

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If you haven’t heard the news, Detroit was named the country’s “Best Bar City 2014” in Esquire magazine’s June /July issue by author and classic cocktail historian, David Wondrich. That’s right. Detroit. Chicago didn’t even make the list! Times are a changin’, folks. The good libation news comes at a perfect time, right as we enter Negroni Week, a national Drink For A Cause campaign sponsored by Campari (go figure) and Imbibe magazine (a drink publication celebrating liquid culture that I’ve had the good fortune of shooting for).

From June 2-8, 2014, bars across the U.S., including the one and only Best Bar City Detroit, will be mixing-up their favorite Negroni variations and donating a portion of the proceeds from each one sold to a charity of their choice. Check out the Greater Detroit - United States Bartenders Guild Facebook page for a list of participating bars, restaurants and charity organizations. To entice you further, I will be profiling 5 Metro Detroit bartenders and their variations on the Negroni right here on my blog. I’ll be posting one bartender a day from Monday, June 2, thru Friday, June 6.

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I have to say, it was fun to pull each of these bartenders away from their jobs, sit them down and have them share stories from their very first Negroni. We talked, we laughed… we got negronked! Oh! Wait. What’s that you ask? What is a Negroni? The Negroni is considered an aperitif, a drink generally consumed before a meal. It’s a classic drink that originated in turn of the century Italy. According to legend, the drink was created at Bar Casoni in Florence, when Count Camillo Negroni, bored with the Americano (sweet vermouth, Campari and club soda), asked the bartender to kick-it-up a notch and swap the standard soda with gin.

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In my opinion, the Negroni is arguably the perfect cocktail; the yin and yang of all hand-crafted cocktails, appealing to our feminine and masculine sides. This bitter-sweet cocktail is almost impossible to make badly. The Negroni is generally made with equal parts Campari, sweet vermouth and gin, stirred and poured over ice cubes and served with an orange peel garnish.

All photos by © Marvin Shaouni Photo

 

I can play in these here tea fields all day long. We’re in Fuding, a well known growing region in the Fujian province of China famous for its white teas.

#onassignment with @josephwesleytea for a book collaboration on tea culture.

Photo by @marvinshaouniphoto for #wmtakeover.

#teaharvest #teaculture #fuding #whitetea #china #travel #photography.
I can play in these here tea fields all day long. We’re in Fuding, a well known growing region in the Fujian province of China famous for its white teas.

#onassignment with @josephwesleytea for a book collaboration on tea culture.

Photo by @marvinshaouniphoto for #wmtakeover.

#teaharvest #teaculture #fuding #whitetea #china #travel #photography.

I can play in these here tea fields all day long. We’re in Fuding, a well known growing region in the Fujian province of China famous for its white teas.

#onassignment with @josephwesleytea for a book collaboration on tea culture.

Photo by @marvinshaouniphoto for #wmtakeover.

#teaharvest #teaculture #fuding #whitetea #china #travel #photography.

#Turpan #Xinjiang
#Turpan #Xinjiang

#Turpan #Xinjiang

Day 2 in Shanghai: From walking along the Bund, to eating at as many street food vendors as possible, Shanghai did not disappoint. We were even fortunate enough to spend the day with old friends from Detroit who treated us to a home cooked Algerian couscous dinner. Thanks, Warda and Mohamed!

Tomorrow, we are off to start our tea journey which begins in Hangzhou. Please do check back as we make our way through some of the most famous tea growing regions in China.

Packing for the great adventure! ! I’m very excited to finally share with you all a recent book collaboration between Marvin Shaouni Photography and Joseph Wesley Black Tea that will take us to some of the most famous tea growing regions and villages in China for this year’s harvest. Our trip begins in Shanghai tomorrow and take us all the way to Central China to Urumqi, Xinjiang, home to the Turkic minority group the Uyghurs, where tea culture is older than the written word. 

Please follow us along on our journey via our blogs:

http://marvinshaouni.tumblr.com/
http://josephwesleyblacktea.tumblr.com/

Trapped under ice. #detroit #skyline #reflection #detroitriver #springthaw
Trapped under ice. #detroit #skyline #reflection #detroitriver #springthaw

Trapped under ice. #detroit #skyline #reflection #detroitriver #springthaw