The Spirits are Calling. Will you answer? Join us July 15-19, 2015 as the international spirits community answers the call, returning for another spirited round of Tales of the Cocktail®.
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H. Joseph Ehrmann

San Francisco, California
H. Joseph Ehrmann, better known as H., started his career in 1986 as a cook on the beaches of New Jersey, under New Orleans’ renowned chef Duke Locicero. He went on to cook, serve, manage and bartend in Boston, Orlando, Washington DC, Vail and Phoenix before completing an MBA in International Management from Thunderbird (where he also bartended). That degree landed him in Geneva, Prague and Madrid where he spent several years traveling and studying the flavors, agriculture and traditions (as well as the distilleries, wineries and breweries) of Europe. After the completion of his MBA, he worked in several countries, industries and positions, building small and medium-sized companies as both an employee and consultant. In January 2003, he left the corporate consulting world to return to his passion, the bar business. By November he had restored one of the oldest saloons in San Francisco and reopened it as Elixir.

Since the heyday of the Barbary Coast years, San Franciscans have been whetting their whistles on the corner of 16th and Guerrero under several owners, and under this proprietorship, they’re doing it with some of the finest beverages in contemporary California. On that corner, the second oldest saloon location in this Wild West town, H.’s Elixir menu revives the pre-Prohibition cocktail culture of the Barbary Coast while incorporating a focus on utilizing California’s abundant agricultural resources and San Francisco’s infamous creativity and artistic vision. As the first Certified Green bar in the United States, Elixir’s expansive cocktail menu and spirits collection focuses on the vintage, the organic, the local and the original, all while remaining a friendly corner bar. The bar has won numerous accolades for its cocktails, marketing programs, and atmosphere.

H. and his cocktails have appeared in numerous major media outlets over the years, including most recently, Esquire TV’s “Best Bars in America” Season 2 (airing in April, 2015). In addition, he was listed in Food and Wine’s “Top Tastes to Try in 2008”, was featured in the June 2008 cover story for Nightclub and Bar Magazine, his “Bloody Elixir” was named “The 20 Best Cocktails in America” by GQ Magazine and Elixir was mentioned for the first time in Esquire Magazine’s “Best Bars in America”. 2009 brought H. a Cheers Magazine Rising Star Award for his innovative work in mixology and his “commitment to the ‘greening’ of the cocktail and the planet, while still being on top of the importance of great taste and flavor demands by the guest”. He was a finalist for “Operator of the Year” in Nightclub and Bar (NCB) Magazine and Elixir was listed for the first time in the Food and Wine Top 100 Bars list. 2010 began with the first ever NCB Bartender of the Year award (with a cover photo in the March issue) and Elixir was listed in both Esquire Magazine’s “2010 Best Bars in America” and “The Top 25 Cocktail Bars in America” in GQ Magazine. 2011 began with Elixir as a finalist for NCB’s Cocktail Lounge of the Year award, continued with a second listing in the Food and Wine Top 100 Bars list and a mention in Entrepreneur Magazine’s Best Business Bars issue as “Best Bar to get Business Scoop from a Bartender”. In 2012, Elixir debuted in the Eater.com Top 30 Bars in San Francisco and it held its spot in other top lists. 2013 brought an Eater.com Top 10 Whiskey Bars in San Francisco listing. 

As Brand Ambassador and Mixologist for Square One Organic Spirits, LLC, he launched the brand in 2006 and helped create the last four of its five products. He continues to grow the brand across the United States and Europe and was nominated twice for Brand Ambassador of the Year at the annual Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans (where he has also lectured, designed cocktail and meal pairings and competed in the 2007 Bar Chef Competition). 2013 started with H. as a finalist for Wine Enthusiasts’ “Mixologist / Brand Ambassador of the Year” award.

In 2006, H. founded Cocktail Ambassadors, a consultancy for bar and restaurant operators as well as the product and service companies that supply them. He has designed custom cocktails and beverage programs for hotels, bars and restaurants around the country and consults to several brands including, most recently, Don Julio, Cointreau and Oxley. In September 2008, he passed The Beverage Alcohol Resource training program as “Bar Ready” and he has visited numerous distilleries and distilling regions around the world. In 2012, he founded Elixir To Go, LLC in order to manage increased business in beverage oriented event production for corporate clients, including cocktail catering. A major portion of the business is providing team building cocktail and spirit classes for corporate clients. Education is a key component of his career and current work, founding and running The Boothby Center for the Beverage Arts (2009-2014), with classes for consumers and professionals alike. In 2014, he become one of the few Certified Cognac Educators in the world, at the invitation of the cognac industry’s central organization, the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac and he was hired by the West Indies Rum and Spirits Producers Association (WIRSPA) as one of four US Panel Members for the Authentic Caribbean Rums program (www.acr-rum.com) .

H. is a Co-Founder of San Francisco Cocktail Week and The Bartender Relief Fund. He is a former Vice President of the United States Bartenders Guild San Francisco Chapter and a current National Ambassador. As a judge in three of the most prestigious spirits competitions (San Francisco International Spirits Competition, Los Angeles International Spirits Competition and The American Distilling Institute Craft Spirits Competition), he is a strong influence on the spirits industry. H. is also a West Coast Ambassador of The Museum of the American Cocktail and a Founding Advisor for Liquor.com and Drink Me Magazine. Today he splits his time between his three companies and being the father of a 2.5 year old girl named Ruby.

My Speakers Sessions

Saturday, July 18

10:30am CDT