Liquid Diet: How to Drink Like a Restaurant of the Year Sommelier
It involves ordering an Americano or 10.
In our series, Liquid Diet, a professional drinker journals every sip of one beverage-packed week. Here, Master Sommelier June Rodil, wine & beverage director of Austin’s McGuire Moorman Hospitality and partner in the group’s June’s All Day (newly minted as one of F&W’s Restaurants of the Year), documents a week of Americano obsession, Ruinart Challenge blind tastings, a Vodka Soda guilty pleasure, patio and seafood platter-worthy rosés and celebration bubbles.
8:00 a.m. Water – I try to slam a glass the moment I wake up but am, oftentimes, unsuccessful.
8:30 a.m. I’m headed to New Orleans to judge the Ruinart Challenge with the Guild of Sommeliers (I am a board member). On the way to the airport, I creep on my staff at June’s All Day for their busy brunch and grab Stumptown single origin drip coffee. This month, it’s Colombia El Nevado - black.
11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m. Water, water, water on the plane, and I treat myself to a turmeric iced tea made by Lucky Lime, my chef friend Rebecca Meeker’s healthy food home delivery company which has been helping me get “wedding” ready.
6:30 p.m. Hello, Ace Hotel New Orleans, which means hello to the best mini-bar drink options. I raid the Smeg fridge in the room and start with some La Guita Manzanilla and (can’t help myself) a Miller High Life, The Champagne of Beers.
8:30 p.m. I end up staying in. I know → nerd, but I totally need to get some work done. I order room service, which includes a Negroni.
7:30 a.m. Guess what? There’s a Stumptown in the lobby of my hotel! They make me a great Americano to start the day.
11:00 a.m. The contestants for the Ruinart Challenge write a paper on four wines presented to them and they assess and conclude what they are. The most accurate and thorough of the papers wins a trip to Ruinart in Champagne. I’m always game for blinds so do the exercise with them. I can’t disclose what they are, but they are two reds and two sparkling wines that could be from anywhere. I can say, they were delicious, and knowing my itinerary for the day it’s the start of an exercise in spitting and moderation.
12:30 p.m. Exercise done! Time for lunch, complete with tasting (okay, maybe less spitting here since food is involved) Ruinart Blanc de Blancs, Ruinart Rosé and the new release, 2006 Dom Ruinart, their highest and most acclaimed wine.
2:00 p.m. Time for the judging process. I drink an Americano to clear my head.
4:30 p.m. I have time to squeeze in a meal at Shaya, my favorite NOLA restaurant, before my flight. Yes, I am aware this is a second lunch, but you only live once. They have the best Moroccan mint tea – it’s dried leaves, fresh leaves, honey and lemon perfectly concocted in a large French press. I share this with my friend, Liz. I’m not driving so I also order a cocktail named Shadow of the Equinox made with mezcal, cardamom, grapefruit and Turkish chile. I end the meal with, you guessed it, an Americano and try to walk off the gluttony on Magazine Street until it’s time to head to the airport.
9:00 p.m. I’m the lady in the window seat chugging water like my life depended on it.
8:00 a.m. Back to work! I start the say with some water with chia seeds in it and then head to the McGuire Moorman Hospitality (MMH) office to check email and drink an Americano from June’s All Day while doing so.
12:00 p.m.-2:00 p.m. Tuesdays are our #mmhbevclass days, our weekly education seminar for any and all in the company to continue to learn about all things booze. This week, we taste upcoming New Zealand wines for our new features ‘zine at June’s. Again, spitting and moderation recommended: Seresin Sauvignon Blanc, Dog Point Section 94 Sauvignon Blanc, Craggy Range Kidnappers Vineyard Chardonnay, Astrolabe Wrekin Vineyard Chenin Blanc, Pegasus Bay Riesling, Felton Road Riesling, Felton Road Bannockburn Chardonnay, Kumeu River Maté’s Vineyard Chardonnay, Peregrine Rosé, Carrick Unravelled Pinot Noir, Nautilus Pinot Noir, Trinity Hill Syrah and Villa Maria Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon. Quite the lineup!
3:30 p.m. Tuesdays are also my Elizabeth Street Café meeting day. After our management meeting, I pop in the bar to check on our seasonal housemade shrubs. Right now they’re Pineapple-Coconut and Raspberry-Fresno. We all decide that, yes, we should offer them with the option to add sake!
5:30 p.m. If you ever hear me say, “I’m going to my 5:30 meeting,” it means I’m going to a heated power yoga class to sweat out all the toxins. I try to hit it at least 3-4 times a week. It forces me to crave water.
8:00 p.m. Back to the MMH office to follow up on emails and admin stuff and pop in on the June’s All Day dinner service. I drink a Yerbucha ‘cause another Americano may kill me.
10:30 p.m. Home and drinking a nightcap with my fiancé. He’s drinking Michter’s Rye; I’m having a Vodka and Topo Chico. You read me right – Vodka Soda aka adult water aka what fueled me as a mid-twenties server. I’m bringing it back (but I don’t think it ever left).
7:00 a.m. French press with slightly too old Stumptown at my house, but you work with what you got.
10:00 a.m. Time for our Jeffrey’s and Josephine House weekly meeting. Yep – Americano! Honestly, tasting the same drink with the same product at all the locations is a great way to judge consistency. Oftentimes coffee is secondary when building a bar program. I love that we take the care to make good coffee drinks at all the MMH properties and it’s nice to check in with the bartenders, chat with them, and also check out their technique while doing so.
3:00 p.m. Wednesday afternoons are also our weekly Perla’s check in. This week we have an all-staff meeting afterwards and we introduce some new products to everyone: Marc Plouzeau Chinon Rosé, because rosé + large seafood platters + the best restaurant patio in town is a must. We look for and taste so many rosés for Perla’s because they go through so much. In this case we have been waiting about three months for this pallet. We also introduce Chango Loco Mezcal to the bar and discuss the differences of tequila vs. mezcal. Yes, I drink an Americano on the way out.
5:30 p.m. “I’m going to my 5:30pm meeting.”
7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Back on the June’s floor and kept it chill on the alcohol for the rest of the evening. Have some Topo Chico and go to bed early tonight. Yay!
9:00 a.m. I can’t believe I haven’t had a drop of anything until now. I’m parched and make myself an Americano at June’s and recalibrate the La Marzocco machine while doing it. I end up making some drinks for some guests as tickets come up. My latte art needs work. Everything ends up looking like an apple.
10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Meetings, meetings, meetings, admin admin admin – I chug some Lucky Lime lemonade and have some Stumptown single origin here and there.
3:00 p.m. It’s Lamberts BBQ’s weekly meeting. We taste the new wine special going into the weekend, DAC Portuguese Red Blend – good fruit and weight to go with all our meaty dishes, but a lighter and more drinkable style of Touriga Nacional. We discuss the pros of chilling red wines, especially in the summer months. Americano on my way out? You bet.
5:00 p.m. I missed the Clark’s meeting this week because of travel. I pop in to check on them and see what’s happening, but they are slammed. I’m craving one of the happy hour martinis everyone seems to be enjoying, but I settle for a drip coffee and work on some admin in their office upstairs.
9:00 p.m. I steal away to the Jeffrey’s bar for a quiet dinner with my fiancé. It’s the last meal we can have alone together before the tidal wave of guests start coming into town for our wedding. There’s a half bottle of Krug Champagne waiting for us – thank you, Jeffrey’s sommelier team! Actually, we need coffee – we share a French press before launching into the vino. No more spitting today. Bubbles are hitting the spot with the shellfish risotto we’re sharing, so we also pop open a bottle of Maximin Grünhäuser Sekt.
12:00 a.m. We share some Mezcalero No. 11 on ice on our porch to end the night.
10:00 a.m. Whoa. Moving slow. Water, Harmless Harvest coconut water run, French press coffee and off to the office.
12:00 p.m. Meeting with our MMH coffee guru, Brenna, to discuss all the Americanos I’ve had all week and to work on iced coffee drinks for the summer. She nails one for June’s – vanilla + cinnamon simple syrup, cold brew and Fronks nut milk. Should be on the menus next week. We’re going to tweak the Elizabeth Street Café option a little more, but the lemongrass and coconut milk combo is pretty rad. Cold brew makes my heart beat at weird rates.
5:30 p.m. “I am going to my 5:30pm meeting”
7:30 p.m. Back at the office and at June’s to check on the restaurant floor. There’s a group of winemakers in town, and they leave some wines for me to taste at the end of the night. I don’t like to taste during service, so we wait until the end of the night to taste them.
8:00 a.m. Americano at June’s All Day. We’re dropping off pastries and Aperol Spritzs for a pop-up for Aaron Franklin’s first-ever Hot Luck Festival. I show the bartenders the drink build and do a taste test with them.
12:00 p.m. My friend Jordan Mackay is in town for Hot Luck and wants to check out June’s for lunch. I have another Americano and he convinces me to have a glass of Dr. Hermann Erdener Treppchen Spätlese Herzlay Riesling with our Fried Chicken Sandwich. I agree—it’s low-alcohol after all!
3:00 p.m. It’s a gully washer of a day, so I drink some Bellocq mint tea. Makes it less dreary.
6:00 p.m. Yay! It’s clearing up just in time for me to go to a friend’s lake house. Just the gals, so this calls for Champagne: Laherte Frères Rosé, H. Billiot Fils Rosé, Lallement Rosé and pizza. A great end to the week!