CHICAGO – The Distilled Spirits Council presented a cocktail trends forum today on the “Chef’s Stage” — center stage — at the prestigious annual National Restaurant Association Convention in Chicago. Of the 16 seminars over the four day convention, the Council was the only non-restaurant group presenting. “Sophisticated cocktail menus are all the rage in restaurants across America,” said Distilled Spirits Council Senior Vice President Frank Coleman, who emceed the presentation. “This seminar was intended to bring the leading cocktail designers and spirits marketing experts together with hundreds of restaurateurs.” Featured at the seminar was award-winning Master Mixologist Francesco Lafranconi of Southern Wine and Spirits of Nevada. Lafranconi, who has worked at many of the world’s leading hotels and bars, most recently created the new cocktail program at Las Vegas’ newest luxury resort, Wynn Las Vegas. During the presentation Lafranconi demonstrated and provided samples of some of the popular new cocktails including the Pineapple Mojito, Kumquat Crush, Cafe a la Pistachio, Cucumber Lavender Mojito and Vodka Apeachment. Also participating was Allen Katz, a spirits expert with Blend Marketing and Mixology in New York, who discussed the latest in on-premise cocktail trends, the profitability of cocktails and how restaurants are expanding their spirits selections to meet adult consumers’ increasing interest in premium and super premium spirits. The National Restaurant Association’s annual Restaurant, Hotel-Motel Show is the largest single gathering of restaurant, foodservice and lodging professionals in North and South America. The Show serves as the industry’s premier international marketplace attracting more than 2,000 exhibiting companies and 73,000+ attendees from all 50 states and more than 100 countries.