Scott Rosenbaum

Scott Rosenbaum (GAL ’05; STEINHARDT ’09)
Spirits strategist at T. Edward Wines and Spirits.

What a “spirits strategist” does:
My job is to put together a portfolio of craft spirits from all around the world—everything from mezcal to bourbon—and bring them to market. I introduce them to retail stores, up-and-coming bars and restaurants, and even other distributors in other states. My day-to-day is all over the place. It might mean traveling down to Oaxaca to taste at a palenque—a distillery that makes mezcal. Or it might mean training the staff at a local bar how to use one of our gins in a cocktail. It could be creating a cocktail in collaboration with a number of bartenders, or running educational programs to train our sales team.

Most rewarding part of the job:
So much of our business is done over food and drink—and that is just the most delightful, wonderful thing! And selling spirits that espouse authenticity, honesty, transparency is a way of breathing values into business that I couldn’t have imagined. We really are working with farmers, growers, and makers in a way that strengthens their livelihood and ours.

Favorite place to travel for work:
I adore Mexico. In the same way that we’ve got 50 states that are all quite different, the number and difference between the states down there—between cuisine and language and culture—is something I’m endlessly fascinated by.

On taste memories and changing palates:
Growing up, I had this tried this peculiar cake. It had white icing and was orange on the inside. I was just scarfing it down and I asked what type of cake it was. When I found out it was carrot cake, I spit it out because I couldn’t reconcile that I loved cake but I hated carrots. I’m still not a big fan of carrot cake but I like carrots now.

Advice for students interested in food studies:
NYU is a resource but don’t forget that New York City is a resource, too. The places, the museums, the people—particularly the people. Make sure you use them while you have the time and the freedom to really explore. Particularly for someone studying wine and spirits, you can travel the world without ever leaving New York.