Located in the mountains of Northwest New Jersey, Crystal Springs has two hotels, six golf courses, a working farm, two top-ranked spas, cooking classes, four-star Restaurant Latour and the largest wine cellar in the Northeast. Restaurant Latour is the resort’s fourstar dining room; Crystal Tavern is an upscale bistro with New American cooking; Springs Bistro focuses on Italian-inspired dishes; and the seasonal outdoor Chef’s Garden is set within the stunning working organic garden. Crystal Springs is synonymous with its unrivaled Wine Cellar, one of the largest fine wine collections in the world with over 75,000 bottles, featuring 6,000 labels and vintages going back to 1863, valued at about $21 million. Thanks to Carlos Ruiz, director of spirits and mixology at Crystal Springs Resort, it’s not just about wine here. Just 24, Ruiz earned his chops manning the bar at the relaunched Ryland Inn and Basking Ridge’s Washington House before developing the cocktail program at Princeton’s Agricola. His creations utilize local spirits produced within 50 miles of the property, incorporate seasonal produce and use unorthodox ingredients such as snap pea, beet juice and housemade chickpea water in cocktails for unusually creative concoctions. 

—2 oz. Tullamore Dew
—1 oz. Cynar
—1 oz. fresh lemon juice
—1 oz. simple syrup
—1 dash Angostura
—1 dash Peychaud’s
—dill sprig for garnish

Pour all ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice, shake vigorously and double strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a dill sprig.

Courtesy of Crystal Springs Resort Director of Spirits and Mixology Carlos Ruiz. 

October is the month of fall color viewing, pumpkin picking, and pizza. Yes, October is National Pizza Month, and if you’re looking to commemorate the occasion, head to New Jersey.

Others may disagree—let’s make that, others will certainly disagree—but last year Food & Wine Magazine named New Jersey the best pizza state in America, followed by Connecticut and New York in the No. 2 and No. 3 spots, respectively. Pennsylvania landed in seventh place and Massachusetts nabbed 10th place. 


Retreats and off-site meetings present wonderful opportunities for groups to collaborate, strategize and build relationships away from their normal office environments. With proper planning, these sessions can be highly effective and even pivotal in setting a new direction. However, off-sites may present some unforeseen challenges that can quickly deflate the energy in the room if not anticipated and addressed in advance.