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Instagram-worthy products steal the spotlight at Nightclub & Bar Show

Updated June 30, 2021 - 10:19 pm

If you ever doubted that we’re living in an Instagram world, a pass through this week’s Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center would put that to rest. Color, motion and light all were given as much prominence at the show as flavors new and old.

A case in point: At the RoxiSpice booth Tuesday afternoon, Rudy Vargas, who owns Whiskey & Wine Saloon in Monticello, Indiana, was looking at a row of clear cylinders, each containing a neon-hued cocktail mixture propelled in a cyclonic motion.

Jacob Radow of Reno prepares a drink sample using dry ice in the Roxi Spice booth Nightclub &am ...
Jacob Radow of Reno prepares a drink sample using dry ice in the Roxi Spice booth Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto

After a RoxiSpice representative rimmed a glass in an attached device, filled it with dry ice and topped it off with green-apple cocktail mix for a drink that brought to mind the Wicked Witch of the West swirling among the mists, Vargas said he saw the potential.

“Just anything that draws your attention,” he said.

‘Color, smoke and bubbles’

Sal Vitalie also was looking at the system for his bar in South San Francisco.

“He can totally use that in The Garden Club,” said Vitalie’s companion, Laura Godby. “If I went into a bar, I would want to try those.”

“It’s the total ‘wow’ factor,” Vitalie said. “Color, smoke and bubbles.”

Was he thinking of getting one for his bar?

“I’m thinking of putting one in my house,” Vitalie said with a laugh.

Cutting edge

At the booth for locally based SupraCut, Hunter Renninger had already decided he needed a device for his Crickets Sports Bar in Melbourne, Florida.

“We’re definitely going to grab one of these,” Renninger said. “It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s efficient.”

The SupraCut secret: perfectly cut citrus wedges in seconds — with an optional “courtesy cut” feature to enable the perching of a wedge on the edge of a glass or dish.

Kevin Szakacs of Las Vegas demonstrates his automatic slicer to Janine Andrews, right, and Kait ...
Kevin Szakacs of Las Vegas demonstrates his automatic slicer to Janine Andrews, right, and Kaitlyn McCord of Bagdad, Ariz. in the Supracut Systems booth at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto

Renninger wasn’t daunted by the fact that the fruits needed to be fed one at a time to accurately position the blades, because he said the process still was a great deal faster than cutting them by hand. Another plus: It eliminates the inconsistent shapes and sizes hand-cut by different bartenders.

A crowd was gathered to watch company representatives demonstrate the Stundenglass Gravity Infuser, in which a fuel source (maple chips on Tuesday) is burned in one chamber, while another chamber (or dual chambers) is flipped to release the smoke.

Marni Unger of Las Vegas demonstrates demonstrates gravity infusion for drinks in the Stundengl ...
Marni Unger of Las Vegas demonstrates demonstrates gravity infusion for drinks in the Stundenglass booth at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto

Chris Barry, owner of Token Game Tavern and the future Space Bar in Knoxville, Tennessee, thought the devices would be perfect for the space-age theme of his new place.

In the show’s Food & Beverage Innovation Center, Joe Fisher was discussing his SoBar protein bar, “the snack designed for drinking.”

Fisher, a medical scientist who worked in the pharmaceutical industry, created the bars to slow the absorption of alcohol through the small intestine by keeping it longer in the stomach, where it’s broken down. Clinical testing shows the bars slow stomach emptying, and therefore the absorption rate, twice as much as other foods. They come in three flavors: honey peanut, white chocolate almond and caramel macchiato.

Celebrity cocktails

And what’s a Las Vegas show without celebrities? Sammy Hagar and Rick Springfield were on hand to discuss their Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum Co.

“I wanted to get into alcohol,” Springfield said. “Sammy knows the business inside and out. I’d thought he’d be a good person to go into business with, and he is.”

Rick Springfield, left, and Sammy Hagar walk the red carpet as the show floor opens for the Nig ...
Rick Springfield, left, and Sammy Hagar walk the red carpet as the show floor opens for the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @KMCannonPhoto

As for Hagar, he said he has a line of canned sparkling rum cocktails coming out around the beginning of September. He said he was inspired by tasting what already was on the market.

“I knew I could do better,” Hagar said. He’s planning a pineapple-jalapeno version, one in tangerine-vanilla cream that he said tastes just like a Creamsicle, and cherry cola spice.

And shortly before an evening food fest, show sponsors Questex Hospitality announced that the name of the show is being changed to Bar & Restaurant Expo, to better reflect a new era for the industry.

Contact Heidi Knapp Rinella at hrinella@reviewjournal.com. Follow @HKRinella on Twitter.

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