Archive for July, 2015

The Allure of The Classic Cocktail

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

If your drink isn't up to your standards, send it back!

 

When I first started working in a bar, my first job was in a place that had a Speakeasy theme (back in the late 80s.)  I was in my late teens and it seemed very new and exciting and glamorous to be surrounded by all these fancy cocktails with names like: “Golden Cadillac,” “Iron Butterfly” and  “Mexican Ferrari.”  Thankfully you never really hear about those cocktails anymore. There were, however, certain drinks that seemed to have an almost hallowed status: the Rusty Nail, Manhattan or Old Fashioned.  Almost thirty years on,  just like the thirty years before, these cocktails still hold their place on cocktail menus around the globe.  Honestly, I think it was being exposed to this world of “fine drinking” that gave me the hospitality bug; the handsome Bartenders loved making these drinks because they appreciated the opportunity to employ their skill at making a perfect cocktail. 

With the reemergence of  Cocktail Culture, there are still lots of people who look down on “mixology”.  However, when you have worked alongside bartenders who can barely open a bottle of beer as I have, you really grow to appreciate the bartender who has an informed repertoire, who can modify an ingredient, or ingredients , ultimately creating something  special and memorable .

http://drinks.seriouseats.com/2013/05/25-essential-cocktails-everyone-should-know-cocktail-101-easy-mixed-drink-recipes-classic-cocktail-guide.html

Maybe you should just head straight to the bar for your next team-building event?

Monday, July 13th, 2015

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Click here to watch a team-building workshop in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3iBoNGV_YWU

Is your workday in need of more open communication, creativity and positive motivation?
Are you looking for new ways to spark innovation and strengthen team dynamics?
Would you like to know how to spread the happiness of happy hour throughout your whole organization?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re probably ready to introduce a little happy hour into your 9 to 5! 

Bar Chefs know that different spirits, liqueurs, sweeteners, and citrus combine to make a mouth-watering cocktail, just like different personalities, skill sets and expertise combine to make up a successful team.  Understanding these synergies, and how the ingredients in a cocktail (and a team) work harmoniously together have tremendous parallels when you consider why a well-made cocktail tastes so delicious, and how the strengths of each team member combine to achieve a common objective.

When you motivate people to pool their talents in a team environment, they will perform at their best individually and as team players.  So whether you’re launching a new product, tackling a difficult company transition or building a perfect martini waterfall, you’ll want to make sure the team is as strong as possible!  Here are some of the reasons that building and strengthening internal teams is so important to the success of an organization:

 

  1. Relationships are strengthened,
  2. Lines of communication are opened,
  3. Creativity is stimulated,
  4. New ways of strategizing and solving challenges are discovered,
  5. Whiners, complainers and hidden agendas are eliminated.

 

Working on the premise that happy staff are productive staff (and most everyone is happy when they’re enjoying a cocktail or even a mocktail), make sure that your team-building workshops are fun-filled as this is a common language the entire team will understand!

 

The BartenderOne team (founded by award-winning flair bartender and master mixologist Gavin MacMillan) are experts in bringing people together in a fun, engaging way, to build team dynamics and increase productivity – offering everything from general “Get Into the Spirit” and “Rockin’ Mocktails” workshops to events focused on specific beverage types (e.g. “Let’s Get Hopped Up” Beer workshops and “Buena Barista” Coffee Workshops).

 

 

Build! Shake! Stir!

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

 

 

 

What can I get you?

 

 

Whether you’re at a bar to meet friends or to meet new ones, the drinks that are being served are either Built, Shaken or Stirred….. but what’s the difference and why does it make a difference?

Lets break it down….

Built drinks are things like a Rum and Coke or a Vodka with Club Soda – Glass-Ice-Alcohol-Mix-Garnish and Straw, EASY!!!

Stirred drinks are things like a Negroni or a Manhattan – Mixing Glass-Spirit-Ice-Stir-Strain into appropriate glass

Shaken drinks are things like a Cosmopolitan or a Whiskey Sour – Shaking glass-Mix-Spirit-Ice-Shake-Strain into appropriate glass

Built drinks are the easiest of the three and 60% of drinks in a busy nightclub are made like this. What about the other 40% of drinks?

20% of drinks would be BEER!!! After that everything else is either shaken or stirred.

 

Bartenders all over the world have their own method of shaking and stirring with their own style and panache. With proper training you learn that although Ice is your friend in a lot of cocktails one doesn’t want to OVER dilute drinks with improper use of our frozen friend H2O. Whether stirring or shaking a cocktail ice should always be added to the mixing glass AFTER the ingredients have been added, this will minimize the dilution and result in a better cocktail. Stirring is a technique, usually reserved for ‘Spirit-forward’ cocktails (cocktails without any non-alcoholic ingredients) and is all about preparing a drink with ice to both chill and dilute the drink without bruising the spirit. Shaking is the most fun way of making a cocktail and has been taken to unbelievable levels of style by bartenders who want to impress their guests. A good shake can be the difference between a great drink and a happy guest or a bad one and a disappointed guest. Shaking not only chills a cocktail, dilutes it and mixes the ingredients together but it can also introduce air, texture or ‘mouth-feel’ to a libation. With the addition of egg whites to a cocktail like an Amaretto sour, when shaken can dramatically change the dynamic of the feeling that is experienced when sipping on it.

 

Question: Whats the best method to use?

Answer: It all depends on what drink you’re making.

 

So, grab your shaking tins and bar spoons and figure out how you are going to build, shake and stir with passion, style and your own little twist.

 

Wake up and smell the Coffee

Sunday, July 5th, 2015

lDid you know that famous saying is actually accurate? As it turns out, our sense of smell shuts down during sleep. The sense of smell, or “olfaction”, is the first sense we use at birth and is the sense most closely linked to the brain. Some of life’s simplest pleasures are based on the sense of smell which is central to the ability to taste. And what aroma is more  identifiable than a freshly brewed cup of  coffee?   We all know not all coffee tastes the same, or possesses the same flavour characteristics, but why? The study of coffee is constantly evolving.  There are quite a few top knotch classes in Toronto however many don’t run in the summer months.  Buena Barista is a year round class that recently welcomed Roxanne Ramnarine as its new instructor.”Roxy” brings a wealth of knowledge and passion for the mighty bean. We hear she has a few fun tricks up her sleeve this summer to get your senses working!

Coffee anyone?

Coffee anyone?

https://www.distractify.com/reasons-why-you-should-be-drinking-coffee-right-now-1197926615.html

 

 

 

 

What is the Importance of Ice

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

 

 

Enticing yes...

 

Ice is…. An Integral Component of Every cocktail, under the general definition of a cocktail being “an alcoholic beverage which includes: Sugar, Bitters and Water (Ice)”. Whether it is being used to chill a cocktail, mix ingredients together, for dilution and water content or simply just to take up space in a glass – Ice is just as important as the drink itself.

 Bartending classes teach, about how much Ice a bartender should use in each cocktail being made, both in cocktails with a mixer for example a Whiskey Sour or even something as simple as a Rum and Coke and in ‘spirit- forward’ cocktails such as a Negroni or a Manhattan. These applications are concerned with ice in the final product, but what about drinks that are served with no ice?

Question: What does ‘Neat’ mean?

Answer: NO ICE!!! A drink served neat, would be a shot of liquor that has had no contact with Ice. It’s gone straight from the bottle to the glass.

So what does ‘Straight-Up’ mean? Ever had a Cosmopolitan or a Vodka Martini with Ice in it? I doubt it. Now think about this…..Have you ever seen a bartender shake or stir a drink, then strain the drink into a glass with no ice? This cocktail would be called a ‘Straight-Up’ cocktail.

So to simplify, both ‘Straight-Up’ and ‘Neat’ drinks are served without Ice. The difference is that ‘Straight-Up’ cocktails have had contact with ice at some point leading up to being served.

As mentioned earlier, Ice can be used to take up space in a glass. “Why wouldn’t I just use a smaller glass?” I can hear you all asking. Have you ever had a Mojito served straight-up or in a short glass with no Ice? Crushed Ice is used in the classic Mojito recipe, because not only does it keep the drink ‘Ice” cold, it takes up space in the glass allowing the drink to contain less liquid, but still appear to be a tall, grande, gesture from your favourite bartender.

Egg whites are becoming a commonly used ingredient in a whole range of different libations. Just like pineapple juice, the egg whites will emulsify under heavy shaking or whisking creating a foam. The Ice used in the shaker tin almost acts as a whisk and helps the process of emulsification during shaking, in such cocktails as the Whiskey Sour or the Gin Fizz.

Question: How important is ‘Dilution’?

AnswerIn many cases, it is very important.

Many cocktail recipes include a shake or a stir, these are for both mixing the drink, making it cold and dilution.

Look out soon for the up-and-coming ‘Build, Shake, Stir’ blog.

Also, take a look at our molecular mixology program which will give you the lowdown on both liquid Nitrogen and Dry-Ice