Tag Archives: garnish

BartenderOne in New York

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Gin and Pears and Rosemary, Oh My!

Imagine walking into a phone booth, dialling a number, and being redirected back to a world of sipping cocktails next to Charlie Chaplin, Louis Armstrong, and Ella Fitzgerald……

On March 11th of this year, I traveled to New York to experience some of North America’s finest Speakeasies and Mixology bars. With only having one amazing speakeasy in Toronto, we were eager to head to the Big Apple and meet the bartenders that compete in Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans.

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Bar Chef Finals – Winter 2011

Have you wished you could jump behind a bar with hundreds of ingredients, tastes, and ideas and be able to create the cocktail of your dreams?

On April 4th, 2011 the BartenderOne Bar Chef Finals took place at Empire Lounge in Toronto in Yorkville. As students, the mixologists had completed tasting over five hundred different spirits, bitters, liqueurs, sweeteners, types of citrus, infused foams and spirits, along with homemade syrups.

As mixologists, the students were asked to create an original cocktail from each of the 5 spirit categories. The cocktails could have been made with anything that the mixologists could think of; but were required to hold dear the traditional balanced cocktail theory. While they did have guidelines for balance, there were none for flavour profiles or presentation. Mixologists could incorporate elements that were taught in class such as: infusion, fatwashing, bruleeing, molecular mixology, spherification, custom foams, misting and much more.

As the student mixologists watched tentatively, their cocktails were tasted by three of Toronto’s top mixologists; Rob Montgomery, Gavin MacMillan and Scott McMaster. The students were were delighted to see that their hard work and development had paid off. The judges were impressed by all of the thought and effort that was incorporated into the final cocktails. The mixologists showed that they weren’t scared to test some boundaries in coming up with their very own recipes, and here are the top cocktails entered:

VODKA COCKTAILS

Strawbarb Bullets by Krissy Calkins

Strawbarb Bullets by Krissy Calkins

STRAWBARB BULLETS – By Mixologist Krissy Calkins

2/3 oz Strawberry reduction (no sugar added)
1/3 oz Rhubarb reduction (no sugar added)
1 oz Vodka
Shaken on Ice
Strain into Chocolate Cups
Float – Vanilla bean infused simple syrup on top
Served on a bed of Gram Crackers

Rainbow 1943 By Elizabeth Saad

Rainbow 1943 By Elizabeth Saad

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Don’t Forget the “Sex Face”

The Aviation -- A mouth watering classic cocktail!

The Aviation -- A mouth watering classic cocktail!

I’ve been told that the face a bartender makes when he/she is shaking a drink is the same face they make when they are having sex.  You might want to practice making these three cool cocktails in front of a mirror…

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Spring Ahead, Kick Back!

Cocktail caviar is a fairly simple, yet effective way of impressing your guests while hitting taste/texture sensations they've never heard of!

Cocktail caviar is a fairly simple, yet effective way of impressing your guests while hitting taste/texture sensations they've never heard of!

Spring is just around the corner, and it’s time to shake things up – or stir things up, depending on the drink!  Here are some completely random recipes that have crossed my lips this month.  If you or your staff have recipes you think might be of interest to Behind Bars readers, please drop me a line!
 
The Montgomery
Named by Ernest Hemingway in honour of the British general who, he claimed, would fight the enemy only if he had 15 soldiers to their one – that was also the proportion of gin to dry vermouth in the martinis Hemingway ordered.
(Source: The Harry’s Bar Cookbook, Arrigo Cipriani)
Adapted recipe for a 60ml “Montgomery” martini

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2010 Year in Review

The noted and extremely simple Sazerac.

The noted and extremely simple Sazerac.

It is a very exciting time to be in the bar business. There have been few times since the repeal of Prohibition that cocktails have been at the forefront of the media and the public conscience, backed by bartenders who are now considering themselves Mixologists and Bar Chefs.

Classic cocktails are back in a big way across the country. Led by great cocktail bars from the St. John Alehouse in the east to Clives Classic Lounge in Victoria on the left coast, passionate mixologists are taking a fresh approach to cocktails. It’s not just in the privately owned cocktail bars either. Major chains across the country are adopting new (and old) cocktails, techniques like muddling fresh fruits and herbs, and looking at their beverage programs differently than we did when big juicy martinis were all the rage.

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Flair and the City… of Toronto!

Toronto Flair League #2 August 31st 2010

Toronto Flair League #2 August 31st 2010

On the heels of a very successful first competition, the Toronto Flair League was thinking bigger and better for TFL#2 which was to take place on August 31st 2010.

The roster for the second flair bartending competition had grown from 22, to 29 bartenders.  Much like TFL#1, there were two divisions; amateur, and advanced.  Amateur competitors would receive three minutes of show time, and the advanced competitors would perform for four. Both amateur and advanced competitors were required to create two cocktails; one with working flair, and one with exhibition flair.

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The Tipping Point.

Great service is so hard to come by; If only we could all have giant forks.

Great service is so hard to come by; If only we could all have giant forks.

I’m ticked off. You might even say I’m at the tipping point. I’m fed up with receiving mediocre drinks and dealing with snotty bartenders who think they deserve to get tipped for service that is average at best.

Each year, I’m lucky to be able to go some place warm for the first week of January to unwind, recharge and set goals for the year. I usually look for a destination that has a namesake cocktail; last year I got to work with some amazing bartenders in Fiji. While I taught them a little bit about mixology, they schooled me how to make the perfect blue lagoon while standing in the Blue Lagoon in the Yasawa Islands.

Shortly thereafter I travelled to Miami in search of the best made mojito outside of Havana, Cuba. The offering up and down the Miami Beach strip was, quite frankly, pathetic. Most bartenders used mint syrup instead of fresh mint, lime and sugar. They also treated our party like an interruption rather than the reason for their employment. In Miami, I was told to “wait a moment” because the bartender was watching television. Then he not only charged me an 18 per cent automatic gratuity on the single mojito I purchased but had the gall to ask for an additional tip.

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The Classics Reborn – Have you noticed a trend forming in the ever-changing world of cocktails?

Yes, being innovative in the cocktail world is great, but you must know how to make a quality classic!

Yes, being innovative in the cocktail world is great, but you must know how to make a quality classic!

The last couple of years have seen countless changes behind the bar. In fact, if you can dream it, you’ll probably see it at a bar near you, where bar chefs continually redefine “thinking outside the box.” Flavoured spirits, infusions, dry ice, flamed garnishes, muddled drinks and the inclusion of herbs and fresh fruit are all testament to this. With the world now at our fingertips, it isn’t hard for your establishment be on the forefront of the next big thing, the next beverage revolution.

Here’s the kicker. Refined versions (or re-defined versions) of old school cocktails are in. Signature drinks such as Cosmopolitans and Sidecars are back with a vengeance, revamped for a taste that is familiar, yet new. Ingredients like pomegranate and green tea, for example, are adding a whole new level of flavour and sophistication to the traditional martini.

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Molecular Mixology

There are so many possibilities within Mixology; Incorporating one or more than one element of molecular can blow your guests' minds!

There are so many possibilities within Mixology; Incorporating one or more than one element of molecular can blow your guests' minds!

There has been tremendous buzz in the bartending world for the past few years regarding the term “molecular mixology.” While the name itself can be a little intimidating, molecular mixology can be distilled down into one fundamental distinction. It is simply the process of changing the state of a liquid into a solid or gas.

While the bar and kitchen working together is certainly nothing new, the bar has begun taking cues from culinary predecessors; bartending is making a shift towards incorporating science into cocktails. The latest trend is something being referred to as ‘molecular mixology,’ the bar equivalent of a molecular approach to gastronomy, which has made leaps and bounds in the kitchen in the past few years.

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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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