Tag Archives: Bartending

Reintroducing Quality Cocktails – A Fresh Look at Profits Behind the Bar

Get creative! - Humans have come thus far through evolution, cocktails should be right up there with us!

Get creative! - Humans have come thus far through evolution, cocktails should be right up there with us!

Seventy-five years ago, during the Great Depression, Americans cheered and raised a glass to the repeal of prohibition. Largely viewed as a huge flop — considering that as soon as Congress banned the sale and service of alcohol, consumption rose to record levels (though just how much it increased is tough to judge as “gangsters” didn’t find it prudent to report their sales to the government) — there are lessons to be learned from the “noble experiment,” which can be applied to the recession we face today.

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Does Passion Equal Profit?

Mojito

A little bit of love can go a long way. Care about your drinks! Customers WILL notice, and so will the bank.

A little bit of love can go a long way. Care about your drinks! Customers WILL notice, and so will the bank.

Most managers in the hospitality industry have experienced a diamond in the rough. By this I mean a staff member who just seems to get service, and has that “X factor” we can never seem to put our finger on. Having thought about it a fair amount, I have come to the conclusion that the aforementioned “X factor” is passion. And while many of our staff members are admittedly on a career stopover, I believe that you can ignite this passion. How? By simply articulating the “What’s In It for Me?”

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Turning Your Bar Green.

Fresh ingredients blow powdered mix out of the water!

Fresh ingredients blow powdered mix out of the water!

While the environmental movement is at the forefront of public conscience, more and more bars are making an effort to go green with their daily business practices. I’m sure you’ve heard all the popular catch phases: renewable energy, carbon neutral footprint and the uber-popular green is the new black.

What does this have to do with operating my restaurant or bar you ask?

First of all, it’s important to identify the difference between a green cocktail and the absurdity of the healthy cocktail. Ordering up a martini made with pomegranate liqueur is not going to earn you any points in the antioxidant cup. Cocktails are supposed to be a little bit naughty anyways…
It starts with the understanding that operating a sustainable bar or restaurant is easier than you think, not to mention the opportunities to save money and increase margins. Making each business decision with the environment in mind is rewarding in many ways: socially, economically and environmentally.

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Branding – Not just for Cattle.

It's a simple tweak; but it works!

It's a simple tweak; but it works!

If you look up the word “brand” in the dictionary, you will discover that a brand is, “a mark or symbol to differentiate one’s cattle from another’s.” The key word in that definition, as it relates to your establishment, is differentiate. It takes courage to be different and faith in your vision to be successful in the long-term.

In today’s highly competitive world, developing and promoting your difference or brand is increasingly difficult, almost as difficult as it is to find adequate bartender training. There are a few companies that have done it well and have enjoyed the rewards of successful branding. For example, when you think of the Bellini, most people think of Milestone’s. The company has a great cocktail menu, yet the Bellini is their flagship cocktail, and the one that they are known for. Why is this drink so successful? Consistent quality and eye-catching presentation … you know that the drink is going to look great and taste great at the same time.

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One Way Ticket to Margaritaville!

Keep the salt on the outside of the glass; nobody can indulge in a great cocktail when it tastes like they are drinking ocean water!

Keep the salt on the outside of the glass; nobody can indulge in a great cocktail when it tastes like they are drinking ocean water!

As a Canadian, when I think of tequila I get flashbacks of an all-inclusive vacation in Mexico with a hangover. To most of us, it’s simply a shot that gets thrown back with a lick of salt and a squeeze of citrus fruit to kill the after taste. All of that is about to change…

Tequila is one of the more versatile spirits. It’s diverse and its great depth of flavour makes it a natural ingredient for cocktails. Despite a massive worldwide tequila shortage in 2000 and the resulting increase in price as supplies diminished, tequila remains one of the premier spirits on any bar south of the border. While vodka still reigns supreme as the number one spirit sold, the cosmopolitan falls a distant second to the margarita which is the world’s most popular cocktail, and has been for years.

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Who Says “It’s Not Easy Being Green?”

Cocktails with colour draw your guests' attention, making them more likely to try something new!

Cocktails with colour draw your guests' attention, making them more likely to try something new!

From the classic long island iced tea to start off your evening, to a warm and comforting blueberry tea after a good meal, tea flavoured cocktails have been around for forever. The recent surge in popularity of green tea, coupled with the fact that teas are included on more and more cocktail menus, is a great indication that we’re all about to get a healthy dose of antioxidants. In North America, high quality tea products are now more accessible than ever. With its highly publicized health benefits, wholesale tea sales have grown more than 600 per cent in the last 15 years. Trailblazing restauranteurs are noticing the trends from the Far East and incorporating what was once considered a very ceremonial ingredient into today’s cocktail revolution. Matcha is one of the latest types of tea to hit the Canadian marketplace. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it, few people, or bartenders for that matter, have. With both Starbucks and Booster Juice recently adding matcha to their menus, it won’t be long before it’s a household name. Just know that matcha is the new chai, and it’s a buzzword that may just turn the industry on its ear.

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Are you Getting Fresh with Me?

Displaying something exotic on the bar opens up your guests' eyes to all of the possibilities, and allows you to show off what your capable of working with!

Displaying something exotic on the bar opens up your guests' eyes to all of the possibilities, and allows you to show off what your capable of working with!

The kitchen and the bar have always had a peaceful coexistence and freshness has always been a key ingredient to the success of any kitchen. The same is quickly becoming true as consumers are demanding the same fresh, handcrafted care from their mixologist as they do from their chefs. It’s rare to find a bar chef who can take the principles of traditional mixology, and synergize them with fresh ingredients to create cocktails that take your dining and drinking experience to a new level.

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Mixing a Formula for Long Term Success!

The industry is experiencing a cocktail revolution, and it’s time to start demanding more from bartenders

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

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

Has any one else noticed the increase in bars, restaurants and clubs arriving on the scene at the same rate they are disappearing? In major urban centres every week it seems that there is a new “I have to go” spot to check out. Why can’t these concepts find the secret to lasting success? Many bars and restaurants begin with a well-defined vision, spend countless hours and dollars on all the hard details of their operations and then in one swoop, hire their front line salespeople without considering their abilities to serve a drink? With all of these new places opening, who are we putting on the front lines to represent our new concepts?

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Mixology Mondays – Pain in the Ass Drinks

MxMo XLVIII will take place Monday, April 26; hosting this round is Seattle bartender Mike McSorley, who publishes the blog McSology, and for the theme Mike has chosen Pain in the Ass Drinks. As he puts it in his preview post:
…My charge to you all is to document your (least) favorite drink that is the proverbial thorn in your side. It can be virtually anything stylistically – The point here is to have fun and share that little ticket item that throws you off your cleaning game 10 minutes before last call!

Nishan Chandra from Blowfish presents the work in progress that may or may not be presented at Made with Love Mixology in Quebec City on May 10th.

Cafe Del Mar…

60mL Skyy Vodka

15mL Coconut cream steeped with dates and vanilla beans

15mL Mango Juice

30mL Espresso

60mL Melted Dark chocolate, white chocolate, Caramel (Kat Salon mix)

Shake all ingredients together over ice and strain into a cocktail glass.

On a wonton spoon place 15mL Amarula Cream Liqueur, Mars Chocolate Spice, and Blowfish Espresso Chocolate Cake with Chili and Blue Icing Sugar Paste.

Place a tab of Kupuru on a hot stone and burn for menthol aromatics. Enjoy when Kapuru is spent.

Scott McMaster adds to the mix with his Lamb infused Skyy creation called Mary’s Little Caesar…

45mL Lamb infused Skyy Vodka

120mL Clamato

Powdered Mushroom, Rosemary and Thyme Infused Salt Rim

Served over frozen cucumber cubes.

Coming from the school that every Caesar is different everywhere you go, and its never perfect unless you make it, each element has so many vartiations, the ultimate combination is only found on your own palate.
you can follow Dr Evil aka Scott McMaster on twitter… @evilatthebar

Wes Galloway came to the bar with the KFCeasar.

KFCeaser

45mL Roast Chicken-Infused Vodka

15mL Vodka

3-4 Dashes Smokin’ Joe Hot Sauce

3oz Mott’s Clamato

Healthy pinch of 11 herb/spice blend(Thyme, Oregano, Basil, Celery Salt, Paprika, Black Pepper, Salt, Ginger, Garlic, MSG, Dry Mustard)

*Add all ingredients to a mixing glass and roll drink between mixing tin and glass 8-10 times. Strain drink into an ice-filled highball glass rimmed with the 11 herb/spice blend. Use any leftover spice to make fried chicken;)

You can find Wes on Facebook by searching Wes Galloway

Gavin MacMillan busted out a Strawberry Pear Caipiroska

60mL Grey Goose La Poire

2 Strawberries and 1/2 lime muddled

1 tsp sugar

Muddle berries an lime with sugar, add crushed ice and La Poire.

you can follow Gavin on twitter… @bartenderone

Irish Coffee
As I like to make all my cocktails fresh and handcrafted the Irish Coffee is my absolute PAIN in the ASS drink. The bottles have been wiped, dishwasher dismantled and some guests sneek in. “Irish Coffee? No Problem… Let me put on a fresh pot of coffee….” Next a whisk and bowl are pulled out and the cream starts to happen…. At this point the guest usually looks a little sheepish, but I keep a genuine hospitable smile. Once the drink finally gets to their lips, it is surely the best post prandial they have ever had, and heck with all this whipped cream and coffee let’s have another round!!

Irish Coffee

Unsweetened Heavy Cream
50ml Irish Whiskey
120ml Fresh-Brewed coffee
30ml Rich simple syrup

Whip the cream until bubbles no longer form on the surface, thickened but still pourable.
In a small white wine glass combine remaining ingredients and stir gently to combine.
Ladle 2-3cm of cream on top, garnish if desired and serve at once….

you can follow Rob on twitter… @kidcampari

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Mixology Mondays – Punches

Alcoholic Punches

Alcoholic Punches

Hot on the heels of one of the most well-attended Mixology Mondays yet, the March round of MxMo could be even bigger. Hosting the March round (that’s Mixology Monday #47 if you’re counting) is Mike at Hobson’s Choice, and for this round Mike has chosen Punch as the theme.

Punches just seem like a great way to get a group of people socially lubricated on something tasty. While bartenders here in Toronto loves the concept of the hand crafted cocktail, a hand crafted punch is not only a bit of a lost art, but an effective way of articulating the finer points of bartending and mixology on a larger scale. Thinking back to cottage weekends when we were younger, there were few summers when we didn’t dump a bunch of booze in a bowl and mix it up with some fruit juice on Saturday, then wake up on Tuesday wondering what the hell went wrong. Even drilling a hole in a watermelon and filling it with Gin is a bit of a primitive punch, although I think today’s offerings are a little more refined and tasty.

Chuck Norris doesnt throw up when he drinks too much... he throws DOWN!!!

Chuck Norris doesnt throw up when he drinks too much... he throws DOWN!!!

Chuck Norris

225mL Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum
100mL Navan Natural Vanilla Liqueur
45mL Domaine de Canton
60mL Lemon juice
225mL Apple juice
100mL Pomegranate Juice
10 dashes of Fee Brothers Lemon Bitters

Combine all ingredients in a juice jug and chill for 1-2 hours before service to prevent dilution. Pour chilled mixture into an iced decanter or punch bowl lined with apple and lemon slices.

Makes 1-12 servings depending on how much of a pussy you are. The image of the can on the right has nothing to do with the punch recipe, I just thought it was funny… Chuck Norris doesn’t need an energy drink!

“Punch in the Grill”

500ml Sailor Jerry rum
1.5l peach juice
60ml lime juice
Whole Pineapple, orange and peaches.

Grill slices of pineapple and peach. Brulee orange segments. Allow to cool back to room temperature.
In your grandmothers crystal punch bowl, combine liquids and fruit pieces. Add 2 frozen water balloons (Chambord bottle sized/ balloon removed)
Have guests bring their own pimp cups. YEAH-AH!

“24 Hour Karate School” aka “Punch with a Kick”
24 hour Karate School

Inspired by Duggan Mcdonnell’s (Cantina / San Francisco) Tangerine Collins. I have given his recipe a few roundhouse kicks of my own, to end up with this Punch that even Chuck Norris would drink….and Mos Def would rap about.

Mos Def would be proud

Mos Def would be proud

300ml Shochu (preferably sweet potato based)
180ml Hendrick’s gin
300ml Freshly squeezed Clementine juice
60ml Freshly squeezed Lime juice
120ml Simple syrup
30ml Campari
4 dash MacMonster O.J bitters
2 dash MacMonster ODB bitters
Cava or Prossecco (to serve)
Flamed Orange zest (to garnish)

in a large container combine all ingredients(except sparkling wine) and chill for at least an hour. Fill a large pitcher with and fill with chilled mixture. Stir well. Strain into chilled coupe glasses(appprox 2/3 full) and top with Sparkling wine. Garnish with flamed Orange zest and serve.
This will serve a minimum of 8 drinks, depending on your glassware.
HI-YA!

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