Archive for December, 2009

How to Muddle a Cocktail

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

A muddler is a bartenders equivalent to a pharmacists mortar and pestle.  It is a tool that is used to muddle or mash fruit or herbs to release their flavour.

It’s important when preparing a muddled cocktail such as the Mojito, to cut up the fruit into small pieces.  Normally you would use an eighth of a lime as a squeeze or to garnish a cocktail, however for muddling we want to cut the fruit into sixteenths.  This will facilitate the easy extraction of the juice from not only the flesh of the fruit, but also the bitter oils of the peels which are going to add flavour and depth to the cocktail.

Once you have all of your ingredients in the mixing glass, take the muddler and press down firmly, and do a quarter turn on top of the fruit or herbs that are in the cocktail.  Repeat this step over and over again.  Essentially what your trying to complete is a nice evenly flavoured paste at the bottom of the glass.  Now with the addition of ice, and your spirit of choice, your cocktail is almost complete.

The last step is to actually extract all of the muddled goodness from the bottom of the glass, and evenly distribute it throughout the cocktail.  Once all of the ingredients are evenly distributed and you have creatively garnished your cocktail, it is ready to be served.

It is important to be sure that the cocktail is muddled properly which will ensure a balanced taste to the drink.  Some bartenders will speed through the muddling process to speed up service, but this will only depreciate the overall taste and experience of the cocktail.

For a refreshing twist on the traditional Mojito, try adding fresh raspberries, or blueberries to enhance the flavour.

The Caipirinha is another popular muddled cocktail which uses Cachaca as the main spirit.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with all kinds of fresh herbs and fruit when creating muddled drinks.

BartenderOne is Canada’s fastest growing group of bartending schools, and has the most comprehensive list of classes, bartender programs and bar workshops available in the hospitality industry.

With four locations in Toronto alone, BartenderOne is the largest bartending school in Toronto.

How to Open a Bottle of Wine

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2009

There is a certain etiquette that must be followed when it comes to wine.  From proper storage, to the opening of the bottle, to serving your guests.

Let’s start with how to open a bottle.

Begin by making sure that the label is facing your guests. Then, use your wine knife to extract the foil just below the surface of the lip of the bottle.  This should be a clean cut, not jagged or peeling. You want to extract it below the lip to avoid any dripping once the wine is open.  It is improper to peel the entire foil off of the bottle.

Now, when you expose the worm of the corkscrew, you want to set that worm right in the centre of the cork and begin to twist the worm directly down the centre.  If you twist on an angle, the worm will puncture the side of the cork, leaving little pieces of cork in the wine.

You can finish twisting when you have about one and a half turns left above the cork.  You don’t want to penetrate through the bottom of the cork, this will also result in leaving little pieces in the wine.

In the video, we are using a two stage wine opener, so you can set the first stage, extract the cork a little, and then set the second stage to extract the cork the rest of the way.  The two stage opener is a good choice because it does not apply as much torque on the bottle as a one stage opener.

You should not hear any audible pop when the cork is removed from the bottle.

Once you have the bottle open, present the cork to the guest who ordered it, and pour them a small sample so they can ensure that the wine hasn’t spoiled.  The presentation of the cork is done so the guest can feel it for moisture, to ensure the bottle has been stored properly.  If the cork is dry, then the wine may be spoiled.

Wine bottles should be stored in a cool, dark, dry cellar.  You should also store the wine on its side, so that the wine remains in contact with the cork, keeping the cork moist and plump, therefore not allowing any air to get into the bottle.

BartenderOne is Canada’s fastest growing group of bartending schools, and has the most comprehensive list of classes, bartender programs and bar workshops available in the hospitality industry.

With four locations in Toronto alone, BartenderOne is the largest bartending school in Toronto.

How to Use Egg Whites in a Cocktail

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

A lot of people tend to be put off when you add egg white to a cocktail.

In fact it’s a traditional ingredient that’s been used as an emulsifier for quite some time.  You start by creating your cocktail, then you crack an egg on the side of your mixing glass.  Now, it’s important to get just the white of the egg into the glass.  You don’t want any of the yolk to end up in the cocktail.  By rolling the yolk back and forth between the shells, you can extract the egg whites quite easily.  Then, discard the yolk and the remaining shell as you won’t need these for making your drink.  At this point, you can add ice and fresh citrus, and start the chilling process by shaking vigorously.  This is where the magic happens.  The clear cocktail is going to become creamy and frothy because of the addition of the egg white.  The egg white is not going to really add much in the way of flavour to the cocktail, but it will add a whole lot of texture to it.

Bartenders typically use egg whites in traditional sour cocktails such as the Whiskey Sour, and the Amaretto Sour.  Try to be creative.  Substitute the Whiskey or Amaretto with your favourite flavoured liqueur.  I’ve found that the Chambord Sour is very refreshing.

If the thought of egg whites is still putting you off, let me ask you, do you like lemon meringue pie?  The top of the pie is made with whipped egg whites, and when you shake egg white in a mixing glass, it produces a frothy topping on the cocktail, much like the topping on the pie.

The traditional sour recipe is as follows:

Ingredients-

1.5 oz. of desired spirit.

4 dashes of bitters.

1 oz. egg white.

Juice of Half a Fresh lime

1  bar spoon sugar .

Directions- Add all ingredients to a 16 oz. boston glass.  Shake well. Pour over ice.

Garnish- Orange boat

BartenderOne is Canada’s fastest growing group of bartending schools, and has the most comprehensive list of classes, bartender programs and bar workshops available in the hospitality industry.

With four locations in Toronto alone, BartenderOne is the largest bartending school in Toronto.

MxMo.to – Money Drinks

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Great topic this month, Money Drinks!

Present at this months drink tank… Nishan Chandra of Blowfish, Renata Clingen ex. Teatro, Gavin MacMillan of B1, Rob Montgomery of the Miller Tavern, Scott McMaster, consultant. Cheerleader…Caitlin Mason

Click here to see this months host – http://beersintheshower.blogspot.com/

First to the bar for Money Drinks…
Rob Montgomery – KFC Sazerac
Kentucky bourbon, Fig jam and Caramel liquer

Rollo double straining his KFC Sazerac

I had seen a version of this cocktail on the menu @ Lab in London, England circa 2000. Having never tried it I continued to experiment with variations over the years. This is now my go to recipe when people say they don’t like whiskey or whiskey cocktails. 60% of the time it works all the time. Scratch that. It always works. :) The fig jam and Caramel liquer take the place of the sugar in a traditional Sazerec, while adding complexity and depth with their respective flavours.

The KFC Sazerac in all its glory... delish!

The KFC Sazerac in all its glory... delish!

Splash of water
1 Barspoon of fig jam
50ml Bulleit Bourbon
15ml Caramel liquer
1 drop Peychaud bitters
10ml Absinthe
orange twist (to garnish)

Take 2 double old fashioned glasses and fill 1 with ice. In the other combine the fig jam with the water and stir well to combine. To the jam slurry add the bourbon, caramel liqueur and Peychaud’s bitters. Add 2-3 lumps of ice and stir well. Jettison the ice from the second glass and add the Absinthe. Coat the inside of the glass and throw the rest out. Fine strain first mixture into the prepared glass and garnish with an orange twist.

Serves 1

Up next was Gavin MacMillan – Million Dollar Manhattan

Gavin's Million Dollar Manhattan

Frankie from Bar Chef does a version of this one with a cold smoker, I like it just as is…

75mL Crown Royal XR
25mL Sweet Vermouth
3 dashes JT Decanter Bitters
3 Amarena Cherries for Garnish

Stir over cold fresh ice, strain and enjoy

Renata Clingen – Winter Mojito

Winter Mojito

Renata preparing the Winter Mojito

45mL Angostura 1919
15mL Maple Syrup
6 Cranberries Muddled (plus 2 for Garnish)
12 mint leaves
120mL Ginger Beer
30mL Soda Water

The Winter Mojito - Festive and Delicious

The Winter Mojito - Festive and Delicious

Scott McMaster – Rising Star

Scott McMaster shakes up the Sake Cocktail converter - Rising Star

Scott McMaster shakes up the Sake Cocktail converter - Rising Star

60mL Soju or Nigori Sake
30mL Umeshu “Choya 23″
2 spoons Kiwi Mango Preserve
1 dash Grapefruit bitters

The Rising Star dispells a lot of pre-conceptions about Sake

The Rising Star dispells a lot of pre-conceptions about Sake

Nishan Chandra – Flying Grouse

Nishan Chandra of Blowfish with the Flying Grouse

Nishan Chandra of Blowfish with the Flying Grouse

60mL Famous Grouse Blended Scotch Whiskey
3 dashes Lemon Bitters
30mL Roses Lime
60mL Lime Juice
30mL Agave Nectar
Top with Sparkling water

As our first attempt at joining in with Mixology Mondays globally we had a good time, and look forward to hosting one in the future! Thanks to all who participated! Until next month…

Mxmo.to – Mixology Mondays in the BartenderOne test kitchen

Monday, December 14th, 2009

MxMo (short for Mixology Mondays) is a global online meeting among bartenders who work towards making great cocktails around a specific theme (Hard Drinks, Punches, Vermouth Based Cocktails etc.)

Rob Montgomery and I have been keeping an eye on MxMo for the past 18 months, and have had many conversations about starting up one of our own to boost cocktail culture in Toronto. We finally thought that it was time we stopped paying lipservice to making better cocktails and actually did something about it.

On Movember 30th, (yes Movember, check it here www.movember.com) a small group of bartenders from around our city gathered to work on some interpretations of “Holiday Cocktails.” The timing seems relevant as we move into the busy holiday event season, who wouldnt want an excuse to have a great holiday cocktail?

First up was a welcome cocktail called the Honey Julep, a recipe of mine featured in the recent Drambuie re-launch recipe book. The sweet and sour pink grapefruit juice complements the Drambuie really well and allows the freshness of the elderflower and mint to shine through. This drink is perfect for summer, or a winter holiday getaway to a place that reminds you of summer.

Honey Julep

50ml Drambuie

15ml St Germaine Elderflower Liqueur

15ml Lemon Juice

30ml Ruby Red Grapefruit Juice

2 dashes of Angostura Orange Bitters

8-10 Mint leaves

Directions: Muddle mint leaves and bitters in a Boston Glass, add remaining ingredients and shake over cold fresh ice. Double strain over crushed ice in a highball glass, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Next up was Ryan Powell with another Scotch based drink, his Maple Movember Manhattan.

Cocktail #2: Maple Movember Manhattan
2 oz Chivas Regal 12 Year Old
¼ oz ice wine maple syrup
¼ oz egg white
2 dashes Angostura bitters
Dry shake ingredients vigorously to properly froth the egg white then add ice and shake again. Double strain into a rocks glass filled with crushed ice and sprinkle nutmeg on top to garnish.
Optional: Brule a misted Aberlour 12 Year Old on top.

This cocktail was inspired from a Manhattan. For me, winter holidays and scotch go hand in hand. I replaced the sweet vermouth with the ice wine maple syrup because that’s I wanted something a little sweeter and the maple syrup pairs well with the apple notes in the Chivas. The egg white was added to bring a creamy texture to the cocktail, which again is popular amongst holiday cocktails. The Angostura bitters adds a fantastic holiday spice to the cocktail as well as the nutmeg sprinkle on top. For a little more showmanship and to add a little more strength to the cocktail, you can mist Aberlour over the cocktail and gently brule it. The sherry notes from the Aberlour adds a nice touch to the nutmeg, maple, apple and spice.

Next up was Alejandro Giraldo with a Spanish inspired Cazadores Saludable.

50ml Cazadores Tequila
20ml Pama Pomegranate liquor
60ml Pink grapefruit juice
20ml Lemon juice
15ml Agave nectar

Shake ingredients vigorously with ice then double strain into a chilled martini glass and garnish with a fresh mint leaf.

Rob Montgomery stepped up with his “Ho Ho Ho…. It’s Brown Butta YO!”

30ml fresh lemon fresh lemon juice
15ml Gomme Syrup
50ml Brown Butter “washed” Jack Daniels
Lemon twist(to garnish)
Combine liquid ingredients in Boston glass and fill with ice.
Stir well for 60 seconds.
Strain into chilled coupe glass. Spritz twist over the top, wipe around the rim and float skin side up.

Scott McMaster (aka Dr. Evil) took to the bar with Cocktail #4 An Evil Christmas

30ml Skinos
15ml jager
5ml lime juice
30ml White cran

Combine in boston over ice and shake
Garnish with frozen cranberry

The boys from Skinos were kind enough to drop off a couple of bottles of their product back in the summer, and Evil thought it would be a good opportunity to try using the pine flavour of the Mastica in a holiday cocktail. It is the best cocktail we’ve had with Skinos which has an admittedly unusual flavour profile. If anyone else has had success with Skinos, we’d sure like to hear about it, as I’m sure the boys from Skinos would as they make their foray into the cocktail world.

Finally. in the spirit of getting away for the holidays, we thought it would be nice to end with an Aviation Cocktail. I really like the flavour of Creme de Violette, and Maraschino Liqueur is hard to hate at the best of times. Although they can sometimes be hard to find, I’m sure if enough people ask for it, they’ll become more readily available… they’re certainly worth the effort.

Present at the innaugural Toronto MxMo were: Alejandro Giraldo, Ryan Powell, Rob Montgomery, Caitlin Mason, Gavin MacMillan, Jessica Klug, Scott McMaster.

Absent: Elan Marks, Nick Nemeth, Renata Clingen, Nishan Chandra

For more tips on setting up a great holiday bar Click here

and if you’re really serious about getting into bartending and want to train with some of the best bartenders in the business, click here to see the next training dates with BartenderOne

The next global Mixology Monday will be taking place on December 14th… same bat time, same bat channel.

Click here to see the next event on Facebook

Flair Bartender Profile-Up close and personal with Dario Doimo

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Name: Dario Doimo

Nationality: Italian

Age: 26

Years Bartending: 9 (8Flair)

After seeing Dario Doimo win Legends of Bartending 10, I really became a huge fan.

I got the chance to meet Dario Doimo for the first time at SuperFlair in Windsor Ontario in May of 2009.  That was an amazing competition which saw Dario place third in an all-star line up including Rodrigo Delpech, Danilo Oribe, and Vladymyr Buryanov to name a few.

I caught up with Dario again in September at Kahunaville in Las Vegas and saw him perform a flawless routine at his home bar as a part of the nightly shows they do.

Here is my interview with Dario Doimo.

Q- How did you get into Flair Bartending?

A-My brother got me into the world of Flair Bartending.  He took a Flair Bartending Class, and when I saw what you could do with a bottle and tin I was shocked!

Q- Where can people see you live in action?

A- I am working at Kahunaville at Treasure Island.

Q- Other than yourself, who is your favourite Flair Bartender?

A-  Well, I don’t really have just one, but I respect people like Rodrigo Delpech and Danilo Oribe for their passion,and determination to win.

Q- What is your favourite Flair bar?

A- I enjoy every flair bar because it’s always a good time.  Kahunaville is the place to be.  They have Flair shows there 4 nights a week.

Q- To date, what is your greatest flair achievement?

A- For sure it was winning Legends of Bartending 10.  Since I started flairing, I’ve always dreamt to win that one, and after a couple of years of hard work, I won!  It’s a dream come true!

Thank you to Dario for taking the time to do this interview.  We hope to see some great things in the near future.

Flair Bartender Profile: Newcomers to watch for-Zack Prohaska

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Name: Zack Prohaska

Nationality: Canadian

Age: 28

Years Bartending: 6 (5 Flair)

I’ve known Zack for a few years now.  He began his training in Toronto in 2004.  Soon after, he moved to Osaka Japan where he worked for Sam and Daves and took his flair to the next level.

Zack is back in Toronto now training harder than ever, and plans to make a splash in the Pro Tour in 2010.

I had a chance to sit down with Zack at SuperFlair 2009.  Here’s my interview with Zack Prohaska.

Q-When did you get into flair bartending?

A-I started getting into flair about five and a half years ago.

Q-Did you go to a Bartending school? And did you have a Mentor?

A-I heard an advertisement on the radio for the Movers’N'Shakers, and BartenderOne which is a bartending school in Toronto.  There was a class taught by Gavin MacMillan.  My Mentors would be all of my teachers. Gavin MacMillan, Matt Jones, Chris Cooper, and Koji from Japan.

Q-Where can people see you in action?

A-I’m working at the Loose Moose in Toronto Canada.

Q- To date, what is your favourite flair bartending moment?

A-So far, it would have to be winning the Suma Beach Flair competition in Japan in 2008.

Q-To date, what is your least favourite flair moment?

A-I was practicing an exhibition flair routine at work with a Bols Blue Curacao bottle and had an unexpected rooster tail fly all over a guests face and shirt…Awesome.

Q-What are some of your goals for the future?

A-I plan to make a run in the Pro Tour in 2010. Also, I would love to grow the sport of flair in Canada.

Q-Other than yourself, who is your favourite flair bartender?

A-Hmm, tough one. I like so many, but I’ll go with Rodrigo Delpech.

Q-Do you have a signature cocktail?

A-My fav drink to make is a Long Island Iced Tea, cause there’s so many different bottles to flip.

Q-What is your least favourite cocktail?

A-Easily the Boilermaker.

Q-What is your favourite flair bar?

A-The Loose Moose! Next to that would be Kahunaville in Vegas.

Thanks to Zack for taking the time to do this interview.

Good luck in 2010. Watch out Pro tour!

Flair Bartenders Support Prostate Cancer Research

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

On November 25 2009, the Jack Astor’s Whitby location held their annual Flair Bartending Competition.  This year, they coupled the show with a fundraiser in support of Movember.

Movember takes place throughout the month formerly known as November, where participants start with a clean shaven face, and  grow their moustaches in an effort to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer research.

The evening started off quietly as Mo bros (guys with moustaches) began filing in with anticipation of a great night ahead.  There were even a few Mo sistas (ladies who love moustaches) who were sporting what I can only hope was a glue on moustache there as well!

As the crowd filled in, I could tell the bartenders were getting a little nervous.  For some, it was their first singles competition.

The lights dimmed, and the bartenders were introduced with great reception from an energetic crowd.

After the first competitor showed his stuff, the night began to run smoothly.

Between bartenders there were some prizes being given out, some live auctions, and even a best moustache competition.

The crowd favourite was defiantly the last bartender to go on.  Known only as “the big Slovak”, he entertained the crowd with a three bottle routine, and ended with a four tin waterfall. Clearly taking home the 1st place trophy.

To finish off the night, I took to the stage to perform one of my routines, capped off by a martini head pour, and igniting the bar in flames.

In total, the evening raised over $1500 for Movember, and through the entire month, the Jack’s Whitby location raised over $5000, all of which went to Prostate Cancer Canada.

The BartenderOne Movember team has raised over $2500 so far and encourage people to do their part and support the cause.  Some of the proceeds from the BartenderOne DVD box set go directly to Prostate Cancer Canada in support of Movember.

Prostate Cancer Canada has raised over $5 Million during this years Movember campaign!

To make a donation to the BartenderOne team in support of Prostate Cancer research, visit the BartenderOne Movember page here.