Shots Shots Shots: Follow These Top Mixologists on Instagram for Better Cocktail Pics

Mixologists of Instagram

Scrolling through your Instagram feed can make you thirsty. That’s because mixologists have flocked to the photo sharing service since it debuted in 2010, using it as a forum to showcase their most striking cocktails, share recipes, and give patrons a virtual peek behind the bar. Here are six top mixologists to follow on instagram if you’re looking for inspiration on what to drink next.

Melisa Lapido, aka @melis_boozy_cure, of 31 Supper Club, Ormond Beach, Florida

“Garnishing is a passion for me,” says Lapido. “I treat it like adult arts and crafts.”

The results are wow-worthy and usually earn her hundreds of likes. She uses a broad array of techniques to add pop to her potables – from trimming a lemon peel with a ravioli cutter so it becomes lacey to creating unique ice components.

These eye-catching creations have translated into surging bar sales. “It’s amazing how many people come into the bar and tell me they saw something on Instagram that they want me to make,” she says. “Fresh fruit changes daily, so they might not get the exact same thing, but it gives me a sense of their palate.”

Pro Tip: “I like shooting against dark or black backgrounds, because it highlights the colors of the drink.”

Mixologists of Instagram

Rhys Alvarado, aka @rhyseespieces, of Burritt Room + Tavern, San Francisco, California

Rhys Alvarado got on Instagram three years ago to find out what his fellow mixologists were doing and to promote his own work. “If you don’t publicize your stuff, you get lost,” he says. “It’s about keeping the bar relevant in such a dynamic scene with so many openings.”

He has a soft spot for showcasing vintage glassware in his photos, such as antique coupes, Collins glasses with frosted etching, and crystal Old Fashioned tumblers. He’s equally focused on his garnish game, which heavily focuses on fresh fruit. If it’s not perfect, he won’t bother posting the pic. “I saw on a Corona ad the other day featuring a lime with brown edges in it,” he says. “I would be peeved if that was in my Instagram shot.”

Pro Tip: “Don’t post after midnight because no one will see it. I don’t post in the morning either because people aren’t thinking about drinking unless they have a problem. Posting at one or two in the afternoon is great because that’s when people start making plans for the evening.”

Mixologists of Instagram

Jose “Chuck” Rivera, aka @chucktending, of barmini, Washington, D.C.

“Every cocktail is a piece of art,” says Rivera. “People fall in love with a drink visually first.”

To ensure it’s love at first sight, he spends a lot of time working on his garnishes. He aims to use components that are “edible and beautiful,” such as a black olive wrapped in ibérico ham, lavender blossoms, and parsley ice.

Almost every cocktail pic is accompanied by the drink’s recipe because Rivera feels it’s important to share the craft and allow followers to try it at home if they’d like.

Pro Tip: “Playing with colors is really important. I don’t want a red cocktail with a red garnish on a red napkin. That’s too flat. Mix it up.”

Mixologists of InstagramContinue Reading

How to Take Delicious Instagram Food Photos: 6 Pro Tips for Shooting Hotter Than Hot Food Porn

As a part of my job as a food writer, I am constantly photographing my meals. In fact, sometimes I feel like I spend more time snapping pictures of my food than I do eating it. The extra effort is worth it. The best shots – the ones that have the power to make viewers literally salivate or exclaim, “I want that in my belly now!” – get posted to my Instagram account @nevinmartell or are sold to a variety of print and online publications.
How to Take Delicious Instagram Photos

I shoot exclusively on my iPhone 6 using the Hipstamatic app because of its versatility and extensive variety of filters. Additionally, using a phone camera allows me to do my work relatively unobtrusively in a restaurant, so I’m not disturbing other guests while I painstakingly document my dishes and drinks.

Though it seems super easy to just whip out your phone and snap a few shots of the steak you’re enjoying, it’s actually quite difficult to make it look good. We’ve all seen the bad shots people keep posting to social media. They’re often poorly lit, out of focus, and have no clear subject. Worst of all, they make the chef’s or mixologist’s hard work look downright unappetizing.

Food photography should inspire a sudden hunger or an unfettered desire. That’s why they call it food porn. So, if you want to shoot wow-worthy pics that rack up the hearts and make your friends envious of your dining regimen, follow along to learn how to take delicious Instagram food photos.

Light

Utilize natural light whenever possible by shooting next to a window or outside. If you can’t shoot during the day, never use a raw flash. Instead, get another diner to cover the front of their iPhone with a white napkin and turn on the flashlight app to create a soft light.

How to Take Delicious Instagram Food Photos

Beautification

Sometimes you need to do a quick mini-makeover of a dish before you photograph it. Wipe smudges and crumbs off the plate, arrange garnishes attractively, and pull sandwich halves apart so the fillings are visible. Remember to take pictures quickly, because ice cream melts, sauces congeal, and greens wilt.Continue Reading

How to Become an Online Dining Influencer #hackdining

Welcome to March — the month that brings with it the promise of spring and the first harvest that will put all things fresh and green to our plates. As we awaken from a winter slumber spent in an indulgent haze of carbs, meaty cocktails, and over-the-top sweets, we invite you to embark on a spring awakening of your own — on social media. Contributor Nevin Martell spoke with top social media mavens for their tips on how to become an online dining influencer and share your food and drink adventures in a meaningful way. 

online dining influencer

A tweet that a soon-to-open, much-buzzed restaurant has just started taking online reservations. An in-depth magazine profile of a rising star chef. A gorgeous Instagram of a new dish that just went on the menu that evening at a James Beard Award-winning eatery. A thoughtful blog post on the just-launched brunch at a hot newcomer.

We’ve all liked and shared these social media posts. But who are the writers, photographers, and tastemakers behind them? By the looks of it, they have the coolest jobs in the world as they eat out, drink up, and go behind the scenes with chefs, mixologists, and restaurateurs.

Wouldn’t you like to be one of them? But how can you become a dining influencer? Whether you want to become a well-known blogger, a social media star, or a writer for food-focused publications, there are some rules you should follow, even if you only plan on doing it part-time.

To help you kick-start your career as a go-to authority in your dining scene, we rounded up keen insights from an enterprising and prolific freelance writer, a queen of the blogosphere and a certified wine-spirits expert turned writer-editor.

LAURA HAYES

Freelance food writer for the Food Network, Washington City Paper, and many other publications, as well as the lead D.C. contributor for Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @btmenu and like her on Facebook.

Blog Laura Hayes copy

1. Go out. A lot.

“When I was starting out, I went to every invite I got and I didn’t stand in the corner. I made sure to get to know the people. I stuck business cards in everybody’s hands.”

 2. It’s all about knowing people and developing relationships.

“I might not be able to pronounce the name of the finest French wine, but I can tell you how many kids a chef has or what they like to eat after a shift. Get to know people and they’ll tell you great stories.”

3. Be different.

“If you’re going to start a blog, carve out a space that’s unique and hasn’t been done before. A lot of amateur blogs cover everything – events, reviews, round-ups – but you need to be more specific. Also, your voice is the most important thing. Be a polished version of yourself when you write.”

4. Express yourself on social media…

“It’s important to let people get to know you as a person, not just you the journalist. So I do 80 percent work posts, 20 percent personal posts. You don’t want it to come across as self-promoting all the time.”

5. …But be smart about it.

“Words that don’t carry any value are “delicious” and “#yumyumyum.” Even in 140 characters, you can pack in a lot of information, factoids, and snippets of value.”

CORI SUE MORRIS

Co-founder of the food and lifestyle blog Bitches Who Brunch, which offers formatted reviews of – you guessed it – brunches around D.C., New York, and Chicago. Follow her on Twitter @CoriSueMorris and Instagram @corsuemorris.

Blog Cori Sue Morris copy

1. Don’t get lost in the noise.

“Don’t be so busy you don’t have time to check out what other people are doing, but don’t unconsciously copy them. If you copy someone, you’re automatically going to be second best.”

2. The picture has to tell a story.

“A person shouldn’t just be sitting there with a cup of coffee. If they’re looking off in the distance and seem engaged, you get the sense they’re having an interesting conversation with someone.”Continue Reading

Frost and Bloom: A Connected Event with Vedge + Vernick in Philadelphia

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“There is no beauty without some strangeness.” — Edgar Allan Poe

Under the cold there was, in fact, gold. This week, on a snowy evening in Philadelphia, OpenTable gathered with foodies, lifestyle contributors, and local influencers and chefs Kate Jacoby and Rich Landau of venerated plant-forward restaurant Vedge and Greg Vernick of new American favorite Vernick Food & Drink for Frost and Bloom, an unlikely Valentine’s Day soiree that is part of Connected, our series of talks and gatherings that bring together the restaurant and tech worlds with food, drink, and local culture.

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Seeking a deeper and unconventional connection to the notion of love, we set out to dig deep within the chill of winter for true connections — to food, to drink, and to one another, turning the holiday and its all-too-often saccharine associations on its head. Drawing inspiration from mavericks such as Saint Valentine, Chaucer, and Spenser, Philadelphia’s storied The Mask and Wig Club was given an enchanting costume of winter blooms and evocative artwork from Nitsua, Kyle Huff, and Conrad Benner, curated by OpenTable brand director Cort Cunningham, and the intrigue kicked off at 6:30PM with food and drink to mirror the mood dreamed up by these top chefs and Vedge beverage director Ross Maloof.

Drinks

We shrugged off the chill of the evening within the warm confines of The Mask and Wig Club as hearts were gently melted with intoxicating piano music, and we sipped one-of-a-kind creations from Maloof that embodied the spirit of the evening, including the Cupid Makes Me Retch with vodka, chocolate, espresso, beet, and rose water rinse, and the non-alcoholic Pickpocket, forged out of plum, Meyer lemon, thyme, citrus, and club soda. Guests scooped up cards with quotes about love in all its many forms as they nibbled on sexy bites from Landau and Jacoby, such as  smoked hearts of palm on crostini, jerk spiced carrots with rutabaga “fondue”, celery root “cacio e pepe” with fregola and black pepper, and crispy sunchokes with black garlic buffalo sauce and celery leaf ranch.

food

The festivities later moved upstairs, where DJ duo Maggs Bruchez raised the temperature in the room, laying down the PHL’s best beats. Chef Vernick and his team headed behind the burners for the second half of the subtly sultry evening, serving a trio of savory dishes featuring flavors designed to delight the senses, from salt cod and semolina croquettes with saffron cream and avocado crostini with spicy radish to tuna poke complemented by macadamia nuts and sweet soy and spicy veal meatballs swathed in ancho chili caramel served on appropriately dagger-like toothpicks.Continue Reading