Interview: Alex Kowtun on Monkey in Paradise – the unpublished questions!

Interview: Alex Kowtun on Monkey in Paradise – the unpublished questions!

On Friday night I was visiting Vincent Toscano at the “speakeasy” on Clematis Street (If you don’t know where that is, then you’ll have to find it for yourself). I watched him pour a Monkey in Paradise drink, and I realized that I had a bunch of questions from my interview with, Monkey in Paradise creator, Alex Kowtun which I didn’t have space for in the printed column, but had never published independently.

In the article that was published by Palms West Monthly, I ask Alex: What is Monkey in Paradise, where Monkey In Paradise Vodka is made, what his favorite part of South Florida, where his favorite places in WPB are, and what the best party of the season will be.

So before you continue, read the original article and get the answer to these questions.

West Palm entrepreneur Alex Kowtun doesn’t monkey around

aGuyonClematis: How did you come up with Monkey in Paradise?

About a two years ago, Cofounders, Frank Gomez, Seth Goldberg and I thought that fun, monkey drink markers might “break the ice” & help people talk to each other in social situations–instead staring at their mobile devices. It worked. The Monkey In Paradise monkey cocktail markers became popular as people took them to events, traveled with them and took cool pictures in fun places. This gave birth to the Monkey In Paradise Instagram account. The Instagram account grew to over 20,000 followers before there was even an idea for products. At this time we realized that Monkey In Paradise was a strong social media marketing platform and it was time to do more with it. We researched the liquor industry and found that the industry as a whole was behind on social media marketing. That’s when we decided to launch, Monkey In Paradise Vodka. The vodka went to market one year ago and has been extremely successful in the Palm Beach county market.

aGuyonClematis: What is the age group that Monkey in Paradise focuses on. Is it just a young people’s thing or do you attract an older crowd.

Our age focus is males and females ages 21-35, and believe it or not females over 40. Our brand is identified with a small plastic MIP cocktail marker. These monkeys are served on drinks at bars and restaurants when any type of Monkey In Paradise vodka cocktail is ordered. Due to the popularity of the cocktail maker, our target demographic takes photos of it, shares on social media, and most importantly, breaks the ice and has a better social experience meeting new people.

aGuyonClematis: Why is Monkey In Paradise marketed with fancy cars and beautiful girls?

Growing up, attractive women and rare cars were part of my personal definition of paradise. It is true that the MIP Monkey icebreaker is often photographed with exotic cars, jets, and beautiful people having fun. However, MIP is about making everyone feel like a VIP with MIP– making socializing and networking easier, and making every day more fun for all. Regardless of how YOU define your paradise, MIP is there to help you find or make the most of it

Cars & Coffee Palm Beach is Florida’s largest and most prestigious monthly auto event, with 1500-3500 display vehicles and up to 22,000 spectators each month. Being a sponsor and part of the events has brought us tremendous brand awareness and opened up doors to many new opportunities. Thanks to a variety of news outlets, social media, and the event’s media partner duPont Registry, Cars & Coffee Palm Beach and its sponsors like MIP enjoy a monthly global audience of many millions, and the chance to showcase all that the event, its vendors, the venue, & South Florida have to offer. In addition to tens of thousands of locals, the event attracts thousands of tourists from all over the state, country, and even world who travel to West Palm Beach throughout the year specifically to enjoy the show as spectators, special guests, and/or showcased vendors. That is great for the local economy and all it has to offer.

Which monkey in Paradise drinks would you recommend for our readers to order next time they go out?

Our best selling drink now is the Moscow Monkey. The drink consists of ginger beer, Monkey In Paradise Vodka, mint, and a lime. The Moscow Monkey is even featured on the cocktail menu at Grease, on Clematis street. Grease also features $5 Monkey In Paradise cocktails all day Thursday and Sunday for NFL football.

What are your plans for the future of the monkey in Paradise brand will you have additional Signature Events coming up.

Monkey In Paradise is currently in a tremendous growth phase. Two months ago, we recruited a seasoned CEO, Controller, and Director of sales. We have been adding on new restaurants and bars daily and now will be sold at ABC liquor in Florida. Additionally, Monkey In Paradise is going in to distribution in the state of Georgia in mid-November. We have weekly events all over south Florida, and with season approaching, you can expect even more. Please visit our our facebook page to keep up with the events!

What is your vision for the future of Monkey In Paradise.

First and foremost, Life is difficult, but there is no reason it can’t be FUN. Regardless of whether you drink vodka or not, MIP is about bringing people together to make life easier and more enjoyable. With that being said, I would like to see Monkey In Paradise to continue to grow and have a national presence by becoming the vodka of choice for people ages 21-35 and females over 40!

6 Art Events you Won’t Want to Miss at Palm Beach Art Week

6 Art Events you Won’t Want to Miss at Palm Beach Art Week

Driving through downtown and seeing the massive tent that is currently set up at the “Tent Site” is a good indication that Palm Beach Art Week is coming.

For more information about Palm Beach Art Week go to the Art Synergy website which has links to all the events from Boca to Northwood in West Palm Beach.


There is a LOT going on, if you want to you can have multiple art events every day till the end of the month. But here are some highlights you won’t want to miss.

1. Art Palm Beach

Palm Beach Convention Center
17-21 January 2018 

ArtPalmBeach is South Florida’s longest running mid-winter fair dedicated to contemporary, emerging, and modern masterworks of the art of the 20th and 21st centuries. The internationally renowned premiere contemporary art fair at the Palm Beach County Convention Center will be celebrating its 21st edition.

During ArtPalmBeach 2018 visitors will take part in an immersive art experience as they gain access to crucial information about art and collecting in a comprehensive manner that reflects today’s modern market. ArtPalmBeach will offer visitors an unprecedented in-depth experience of all the art world has to offer.

There are special events each day – Click here for the full list

Multi-Day Pass is $20 and allows entrance to the fair on multiple days and also permits entrance to the Collectors Preview Opening night on Wednesday, January 17th from 6 – 10pm

Buy Tickets Now

2. Ars Musae: The Odyssey Frieze – Marzia Ellero Ransom

The Box Gallery – 811 Belvedere Road, W.P.B., FL 33405
January 13, 2017 6-11 PM
VIP TICKETS: Get tickets now

6-8 PM-VIP Champagne Preview
8 PM-Reception

Marzia Ellero Ransom is a Renaissance artist. Her work spans from painting and photography, to sculpture and video installations. Marzia also teaches several disciplines at the University of West Florida and Pensacola State College in Pensacola, FL.

Ransom, who was born in Italy, earned her first degree in graphic design and photography then received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in studio art from UWF. After earning a master’s degree in painting and photography at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, she moved back to Pensacola and is now an instructor in the CFPA. Her resume grew even more when she was chosen to be the resident artist this year

Ars Musae, which is “muses of the arts” in Latin.

3. Urban Stories Festival

WPB Waterfront & Clematis Street
January 27 – 28, 2018

The Urban Stories Festival is a two-day storytelling event celebrating West Palm Beach, Florida—what was, what is, what could be.

The goals are to engage the West Palm Beach Community. To share experiences, celebrate diversity, find common ground and support literacy.

  • Saturday, Jan 27: Bike Tour Back in Time
  • Sunday, Jan 28: Stories on stage
  • Saturday, Jan 27 & Jan 28: Children’s Storytime
  • Sunday, Jan 28: Writing Workshop
  • Saturday, Jan 28: Story Circles
  • Sunday, Jan 28: Stories of Faith
  • Saturday, Jan 27: Youth Speak
  • Saturday, Jan 27: Art for Kids
  • Saturday, Jan 27: Arrival/Clematis
  • TBD: Kids and Cops

As part of the festival they collecting written and oral stories about West Palm Beach to share before, during, and after the event. Click on this link to tell the team about yourself and the stories you want to share.

The Festival is presented by Blue Planet Writers’ Room, Florida Atlantic University, West Palm Beach Arts & Entertainment District

4. Continuum West Palm Beach

January 18th to 27th

A pop up multi-media art fair in the City of WPB during ArtPalmBeach Week exhibiting regional South Florida artists.

  • Thursday, January 18 Black Tie and Venetian Mask Fundraiser Gala 7:00pm-10:00pm (Charity Spady Cultural Heritage Museum)
  • Friday, January 19 Artists Awards Ceremony and Artist Talks 6:00pm-10:00pm
  • Saturday, January 20 Young Masters of CONTINUUM Day 12:00pm-9:00pm
  • Sunday, January 21 Meet the Curators and Brunch & Lecture 11:30am-2:30pm
  • Tuesday, January 23 Artists Lunch & Lecture 12:00pm-2:30pm
  • Wednesday, January 24 Sponsor this night for a private party!
  • Thursday, January 25 Quarter Auction Fundraiser 6:00pm-10:00pm
  • Friday, January 26 Live Music and Entertainment 6:00pm-10:00pm
  • Saturday, January 27 Body painting and Melange Fashion show 4:00pm-9:00pm

Get more information here

5. FOTOfusion 2018

Palm Beach Photographic Centre, Clematis Street
January 23-27, 2018

The 23rd Annual International Festival of Photography and Digital Imaging. “Where Creativity and Technology Fuse.” Produced by the Palm Beach Photographic Centre more information can be found at:

To see what this event is like, watch this video from 2012

The week will be packed with events and will culminate with the FOTOvision event on the Great Lawn on Friday, Jan 26th.

FOTOvision on the Great Lawn, Downtown West Palm Beach

Palm Beach Photographic Centre’s Annual Night of Pictures! Join our show Producer Scott Mc Kiernan, for this FREE evening event and experience photography from across the globe.

Featuring: World Premieres of 365: a Visual Review of 2017, ‘The Year of Mother Nature’. and ‘Island of Hope: Puerto Rico Aftermath’ thru the eyes of all-time Pulitzer winner photojournalist, Carol Guzy and Back-Stories featuring Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers, their editors and their actual subjects.

As well as, witness amazing work by internationally acclaimed 2018 FOTOfusion faculty.

FOTOvision will be held at the Lakeside Pavilion located at 101 S. Flagler Drive in Downtown West Palm Beach.

Sponsored by the Downtown Development Authority and The Arts and Entertainment District.

6. Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary

Tent Site: 825 S Dixie Hwy
January 11th – 15th, 2018

Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary is a newcomer to the West Palm Beach Art Scene, but it has a very visible tent in the heart of downtown.

Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary (PBM+C), presented by Art Miami and sponsored by the City of West Palm Beach will return for its second edition in West Palm Beach City’s Tent Site (825 S Dixie Hwy & Okeechobee Blvd, West Palm Beach) located directly behind the new Restoration Hardware on Thursday, January 11th, 2018.

The fair will open on Thursday evening with an exclusive VIP Preview at 5:00pm benefiting The Palm Beach Zoo & Conservation Society, The Joe Namath Neurological Research Center and the Ann Norton Sculpture Gardens. The Fair is sponsored by Christie’s International Real Estate, “The Official Luxury Real Estate sponsor of Palm Beach Modern + Contemporary,” and together with its international affiliates, will host an elegant booth at the main entrance of the fair, showcasing luxury residential property offerings from around the world.

Tickets are $15 for a single day and $55 for a multiple days.

Get more information here.

Ultimate List of WPB Events – Jan 3rd to Jan 7th

Ultimate List of WPB Events – Jan 3rd to Jan 7th

— Wednesday, January 3 —

The Evolution Of Downtown WPB

Join local architect Rick Gonzalez, AIA, President of REG Architects, Inc., as he presents a lecture that discusses the fascinating historical and architectural evolution of downtown West Palm Beach from its origins to the present. Call 561-868-7701 or visit for more information. 3rd floor – Auditorium.

Lunch on the Shore

No lunch plans. No problem! Now thru February 2018, bring your friends and co-workers to Flagler Shore every Wednesday for “Lunch on the Shore”. From 12-2 p.m., bring your own lunch or pre-order food from our downtown restaurants to have it delivered at Flagler Shore through Delivery Dudes, Cravy and UberEats. There will also be 3 to 4 food trucks on the southend, located at 501 S. Flagler, for you to sample from. Come enjoy our beautiful downtown and connect with the shore.

Finding Neverland at Kravis Center
through Sunday, January 7

Directed by visionary Tony®-winner Diane Paulus and based on the critically-acclaimed Academy Award® winning film, FINDING NEVERLAND tells the incredible story behind one of the world’s most beloved characters: Peter Pan. Playwright J.M. Barrie struggles to find inspiration until he meets four young brothers and their beautiful widowed mother. Spellbound by the boys’ enchanting make-believe adventures, he sets out to write a play that will astound London theatergoers. With a little bit of pixie dust and a lot of faith, Barrie takes this monumental leap, leaving his old world behind for Neverland, where nothing is impossible and the wonder of childhood lasts forever. Show times are at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. Tickets start at $28. The Kravis Center for the Performing Arts is located at 701 Okeechobee Boulevard. For more information, visit or call 561.832.7469.


— Thursday, January 4 —

James Monroe and the Establishment of America’s Place in the World with Elton Klibanoff at Society of the Four Arts

Head to the Society of the Four Arts at 2:30 p.m. to see a lecture on James Monroe by Elton Klibanoff. Tickets are $25. The Society of the Four Arts is located at 2 Four Arts Plaza. For more information, visit

Art After Dark at Norton Museum of Art

Join the Norton Museum for another Art After Dark! Meet staff from the Office of Sustainability from the city of West Palm Beach and learn how you can help reduce the city’s carbon footprint. You can also participate in a raffle to win environmentally friendly giveaways. After, enjoy Spotlight Talks: Artists and Politics. The night continues with an activist button workshop! Artist Justin Brice Guariglia also talks with Tim B. Wride, William and Sarah Ross Soter Curator of Photography, about the concepts that inform his large-scale photo-based work. Spotlight Talks: Artists and Politics continues followed by a performance by Public Sounds Collective. The event is from 5-9 p.m. and admission is free. The Norton Museum of Art is located at 1451 S. Olive Ave. For more information, visit

Sunset Social Farmstands

The Sunset Social Farmstands at CityPlace is more than just your everyday market. Head over to CityPlace every Thursday night from 5:30 – 9 p.m. for farm-fresh produce, imported cheeses, French breads and pastries and more! This month’s theme is ‘Harvest of the New Year’ Pop Up Market. For more information, visit CityPlace is located at 700 S. Rosemary Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

$30 Thursday: Pizza and Paint – Winter’s Starry Night

Upon check in each guest will receive 2 slices of pizza to enjoy while painting. Pizza selection is based on first come first serve basis so please arrive early. Choose your own colors. This class starts at 6:30 and will last between 2 1/2 and 3 hours. Seating is first come first serve, so please arrive early for check-in. This class will be held at 510 Evernia Street and taught on a 16×20 canvas. Evening classes are designed for ages 14 and up. All of our classes are BYOB, so feel free to bring your favorite drinks and food! For more information, visit

— Friday, January 5 —

Outdoor Music at CityPlace

There will be live music on the Plaza Friday, January 5 from 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. For more information, visit CityPlace is located at 700 S. Rosemary Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

Jo Koy at Palm Beach Improv
through Saturday, January 6

As one of today’s vastly growing stand-up comedians, Koy sells-out comedy clubs & theaters across the nation with his infectious, explosive energy onstage. The comedian pulls inspiration from his family, specifically his son that inspires humor across all boundaries. Koy has appeared on Chelsea Lately, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. He has three highly-rated and successful comedy specials on Comedy Central. Show times are 7 p.m., 7:30 p.m., 9:30 p.m. and 10 p.m. General admission tickets start at $25 and VIP seating is $50. Two drink minimum, all sales final, and show times are subject to change. Visit for more information. Palm Beach Improv is located at 550 S Rosemary Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

— Saturday, January 6 —

Kitten Yoga at CityPlace

Kitten Yoga will be offered at the new Peggy Adams Pup-Up Shop January 6th!

LIMITED SPACE – please email us at to register. Bring your own yoga mat and we will bring the kittens! $10 Suggested Donation

Storefront is located beside H&M at 701 S. Rosemary Ave #141 in CityPlace.

Save the Panther 5K 2018

Saturday at 7:30 AM – 9 AM

RUN OR WALK: Registration is open for our Save the Panther 5K, presented by #FPLSolarNow on January 6th and the 2018 Big Cat Race Series! Every runner gets a tech-style, short-sleeve, polyester, running shirt available in men’s and women’s sizes. Your registration also includes admission to the Zoo for the day and 3 half-price discount coupons for friends and family! Net proceeds from this race help fund our partnership with the Florida Wildlife Corridor, an organization working to protect Florida panthers and their dwindling habitat. Spread some holiday cheer for a good cause – “Gift Registrations” make great holiday gifts!


Our state animal, the Florida panther, is one of the most endangered animals on earth. It’s estimated that there are between 100 and 180 left in the wild. Net proceeds from this race help fund our partnership with the Florida Wildlife Corridor, an organization working to protect Florida panthers and their dwindling habitat.

The series includes the January 6th Save The Panther 5k, May 19th Stacey Konwiser Memorial Save The Tiger 5k, and September 1st Save The Jaguar 5k. Only those who register in advance for the entire Big Cat Race Series will receive the additional series t-shirt and medal at the final race in September. Series registration also gives you a discount on the cost per race.

Every runner gets a tech-style, short-sleeve, polyester, running shirt available in men’s and women’s sizes.


Made in WPB

Discover your inner crafter on the first Saturday of every month from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. now through February 3rd. One reusable custom bag or 200 bags per year?

Resource Depot is activating a “live sewing bee booth” for the community to observe and potentially participate in. Stop by the Visitor Center Waterfront Kiosk and get a bag or make one with the Resource Depot. Be GREEN at Flagler Shore! Learn about how you can be part of the “Sew for Sustainability” project & be part of the Plastic Free movement! #ReuseRocks #Choose2Reuse #FlaglerShore

West Palm Beach Bead Show at the Convention Center
through January 7th

Come Shop our first show of the year. Get your favorite beads and see what new beads have been added. Exciting new beads for an exciting new year. Mention Facebook post to get free admission.

For 15 years, Intergalactic Bead Shows has been leading the way in unparalleled customer service and exhibition standards. We ensure that our exhibitors connect with qualified buyers at each and every show. Joining us as an exhibitor is a fine way to market your business and receive return on investment.

Three Kings Celebration

“The Gift” Three Kings Celebration is on January 6 from 7-9pm with live music, folkloric dance & more by Cidra’s Art Academy. Free and open to the public. For more information, visit CityPlace is located at 700 S. Rosemary Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.


Outdoor Music at CityPlace

Join us Saturday, January 6 from 7:30 – 10:30 p.m. for live music on the Plaza. For more information, visit CityPlace is located at 700 S. Rosemary Avenue, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.

Saturday Historic Walking Tour

Explore downtown West Palm Beach’s history during an interactive Walking History Tour on the first and third Saturday, October through April! In partnership with the City of West Palm Beach Green Market, the 90-minute guided tour will start at 10 a.m. and be led by architect and historian Rick Gonzalez. The tours will highlight the evolution of downtown West Palm Beach buildings and landmarks. Tours begin “by the Banyan tree” on the north end of Clematis Street, 101 N. Clematis St., and end at the Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, at 300 N. Dixie Hwy. Tickets are $10 per person and there is a minimum 10 reservations for the tour to take place. Visit for more information.

Prepare to Audition for a Digital Media Program at Palm Beach Photographic Centre

The Palm Beach Photographic Centre is holding a workshop from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. to help prepare those students who are interested in auditioning for Digital Media (Photography) at the prestigious Dreyfoos School of the Arts. This class will be a mock audition for the Digital Media department, taught by a current Dreyfoos student, along with a professional, experienced photographer. The Palm Beach Photographic Centre is located at 415 Clematis St. For more information, visit

Farm to Hilton

Hilton West Palm Beach
Saturday at 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM

Join us for a Wine Dinner featuring Swank Specialty Produce & Jackson Family Wines.

Passed hors d’ oeuvres at 6:30pm Dinner begins promptly at 7pm
4-courses | $99 per person

Menu prepared by Award-winning Executive Chef Miguel Santiago

Purchase tickets here: or call 561.231.6091

— Sunday, January 7 —

Lecture: Eugene Wang on Mawangdui Funerary Banner at Norton Museum of Art

Eugene Wang discusses the remarkable funerary banner, the oldest extant Chinese painting which is filled with symbolism offering clues to ancient practices and beliefs. The lecture begins at 3 p.m. Limited passes are available at Visitor Services one hour before program begins. Doors open 30 minutes before the program begins. The Norton Museum of Art is located at 1451 S. Olive Ave. For more information, visit

Calidore String Quartet at The Society of the Four Arts

Praised by the Los Angeles Times for its balance of “intellect and expression,” the Calidore String Quartet was awarded a three-year residency with the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center’s prestigious CMS Two program. In 2016, the quartet also became the first North American ensemble to win the Borletti-Buitoni Trust Fellowship and was named BBC Radio 3 New Generation Artists. The show starts at 3 p.m. and tickets are $20. The Society of the Four Arts is located at 2 Four Arts Plaza. For more information, visit

Palm Beach Plage at Flagler Shore

Bring your hammock, blankets and picnic baskets to this community picnic every first Sunday of the month at 5 p.m. It’s an informal, family-friendly gathering for you to enjoy. Bring some food and drinks, relax, and just savor the Flagler Shore and good company. There will be picnic tables, games, and more! Flagler Shore is located at 100 Flagler Dr. For more information, visit

— Sunday, January 7 —

Ray’s Downtown presents JM & the Sweets

Ray’s Downtown, Voltaire WPB and Music Jam Productions present the Rays Downtown Florida Jazz and Blues Jam 2018 Pre-Show Jam featuring JP Soars. JM & the Sweets performs at 8 p.m. There will be raffles for Free Florida Jazz and Blues Jam 2018 tickets, shirts, caps and posters each Sunday leading up to and including the January 21 Party. Voltaire is located at 526 Clematis St. For more information, visit

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