Tag Archives: toronto bartending school

Cocktail Sizzle and Flair; I’ll Have What She’s Having…

Transcendent glassware and aesthetically appealing garnish will make a world of difference to your cocktails!

Transcendent glassware and aesthetically appealing garnish will make a world of difference to your cocktails!

Who could forget Meg Ryan’s performance in “When Harry Met Sally.” Whether she’s having a Screaming Orgasm (one of this month’s featured cocktails), or your own house specialty, one thing is for sure – your cocktails need to sizzle! Cocktail presentation and felicitous bartender training can make the difference between your guests leaving after one drink, or having your clients buzz around the water cooler about the amazing cocktail creation they had the night before.

Companies like Milestones and TGIFriday’s have made cocktail presentation and proper bartender training a cornerstone of their beverage program, not only by dressing up their cocktails, but by “parading” a tray of drinks through the dining room at eye level to take advantage of a little free on-site marketing. So what can you do to dress up your beverage program?

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Exotic Flavours of Summer!

Give your guests an experience by creating cocktails that scream summer!

Give your guests an experience by creating cocktails that scream summer!

How often have you sat with a group of friends in search of something new and exciting and ended up settling on the same old? How often have you asked your resident bartender for a suggestion and been given something truly different? With the arrival of summer patio season more and more people will be looking for a great patio to enjoy the sunshine and a cool cocktail with friends. There are more than a handful of options when it comes to the flavours, that will undoubtedly, dominate this summer’s exotic cocktail trends.

As the Canadian consumer continues to demand more than just beer, bartenders are becoming mixologists, and in many cases, bar chefs – taking traditional culinary techniques and implementing them into their beverage programs. In a marketplace dominated by drinks that adhere to specific cost and speed of preparation margins, taking an extra few seconds and spending an extra few cents to handcraft a cocktail using top shelf ingredients can make the difference between clientele that will come back and customers who will keep searching for that elusive “something different.”

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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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Flair Bartender Profile- Up close and personal with Behnam Gerami

Name: Behnam Gerami
Nationality: United States
Age: 36
Years Bartending: 12(12 Flair)

I first met Behnam at the Flairco Cup back in 2006. I was always impressed by his style from watching videos of him, but when I watched him perform live, I was blown away. He is truly the roll master!

I recently caught up with Behnam and this is my interview with Behnam Gerami.

Q- When did you get into Flair bartending?
A- I started Flair bartending in 1998. I was working at a TGI Fridays, and they basically forced me to learn Flair, and there was a mandatory in store flair competition.

Q- Did you have a mentor when you first started?
A- My mentor at the time was Leigh Miller. I had a few TGI Fridays videos and he was the man at the time. Very smooth and original.

Q- Where are you currently working?
A- I am not currently working anywhere. I’m always looking for new opportunities.

Q-To date, what is your best Flair moment?
A- One of my best Flair moments was the first time I went to London for Roadhouse. I made the finals in 2004. Also, my first Legends of Bartending is very dear to me.

Q- To date, what is your worst Flair moment?
A- My worst Flair moment? Hmmm…there is no worst moment, but I am very upset about never making the finals at King of the Ring. It was a three day competition and I would always make the semi finals, but never the final round which is a big disappointment for me. It is the only comp that I never made the finals.

Q- What are your plans for the future?
A- My plans are to do a flair movie, or show to help grow Flair bartending. Also, I want to make another Area 51 DVD titled Area 52, so watch out for that!

Q- Other than yourself, who is your favourite Flair bartender?
A- Well I love Flair and many different styles, so my all time favourite Flair bartenders are Nicolas St. Jean, and the Delpech brothers. I love all the guys on Area 51, that’s why they’re on it, but I also love the Polish guys, Tomek and Merek. Danilo, Dyer, Rafa, and Sebastian to name a few. I hope to feature all of them on Area 52!

Q- Do you have a signature cocktail?
A- Well I have many signature cocktail, but one of my favourites is featured on the I Bar menu at the Rio in Las Vegas called “Darkness”.

Q- Do you have a least favourite cocktail?
A- My least favourite would be anything too sweet.

Q- Finally, what is you’re favourite Flair bar?
A- My favourite Flair bar is Carnaval Court. It’s been the best Flair bar for 10 years and it’s only been open for 9 years! I have the best time whenever I go there. Day shift or night shift it doesn’t matter. They’re the best group of guys because they’re more than just bartenders!

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

We wish you the best of luck in all upcoming competitions and can’t wait for Area 52!

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MxMo.to – Tea Cocktails

Welcome to this months MxMo, before we start a special thanks to Cocktail Slut for hosting. Schedules didnt permit as large a gathering in Toronto as we would have liked this month, but Rob Montgomery came through with flying colours with “God Save the King” aka “Royal Gin Fizz”

God Save the King with home made MacMonster Bitters

God Save the King with home made MacMonster Bitters

Adapted from the “Silver King” from Wylie Drufresne’s restaurant WD-50 in NYC. A deceptively simple drink that is truly greater than the some of it’s parts. The “Silver King” contained no tea, so I set about to add some. My first attempt of tea infused sweet vermouth was tasty, but lacked a little punch. Digging around the fridge I found a bottle of Lyles Golden syrup. Perfect (give it a try instead of regular simple syrup in your favorite recipe). Once the ratios were right, I added a few drops of vegetable based red food coloring to give the drink a nice royal glow.

60ml London Dry Gin (I used Brockmans but any top shelf will do)
30ml fresh lemon juice
30ml fresh lime juice
45ml Royal Red Sizzurp**
1 dash MacMonster ODB bitters
1 egg white (approx. 30ml)
30ml sparkling water
Orange slice (to garnish)

Combine first 6 ingredients in boston glass and fill with ice. Shake it like you mean it. Then shake some more. Strain over fresh ice in a collins glass. Top with sparkling water. Garnish with orange slice and a straw. Serves 1. Word.

**Royal Red Sizzurp

360ml Strong Brewed Earl Grey Tea
120ml Lyles Golden Syrup
30ml Sweet Vermouth (I used Martini)
6 drops veg based red food color
Combine in a small pot and warm slightly to speed dilution
Will keep in the fridge for 3 weeks before losing freshness.

You can reach Rob at www.themiller.ca where he presides over the bar, or also at kidcampari@gmail.com

If you twit, you can keep up to speed by following @kidcampari, @mcmasterlive, ar @bartenderone

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BartenderOne Cocktails on ET Canada

Recently, BartenderOne teamed up with Fastlife,  Canada’s most stylish speed dating and singles’ events service, for a featured piece on Entertainment Tonight Canada.

The event, named Cocktail Creations, took place at one of Toronto’s elite Nightclub venues, Shmooze.

The evening began as ten single women, and ten single men arrived with hopes of meeting that special someone.   The idea was that the ladies would be behind the bar, making cocktails for their dates.  Every eight minutes the gong would sound signifying the men on the outside of the bar to grab their freshly made cocktail, and rotate to the next date. Every other date would have the ladies creating drinks using fresh ingredients.

To start off, the ladies would receive proper instruction on how to create the cocktail with a little flair from Gavin MacMillan and the BartenderOne team.  They would then recreate two of each drink. One for themselves, and one for their date.

On the menu for the event were drinks such as the Mojito, Cosmopolitan, Margarita, Orgasm, and a Slippery Nipple shooter.

All of the recipes were a huge success, but the biggest reaction was definitely  for the Slippery Nipple. Not for the name or the recipe, but because of how the shooters were to be taken.

The event planners set up a row of ten chairs and asked the men to take a seat.  Then, the shooters were handed out and the men were instructed to hold them between their knees.  The ladies were then told to take back the shooters but were not allowed to use their hands.  Not bad for a first date!

The evening continued on and it was obvious that the singles were loosening up and having a great time.

Some sparks were flying around the room, and a few couples were really hitting it off.

The Entertainment Tonight Canada cameras were there to capture the event in its entirety, including the shooter portion, which for some reason didn’t make it to air.

The episode aired on Friday January 8th, and both FastLife, and BartenderOne gained great exposure.

Thanks to Fastlife and ET Canada for another fantastic event!

 

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How to Open a Bottle of Wine

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.

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MxMo.to – Money Drinks

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…

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Flair Bartending at City Chase Competition Toronto

Two weeks ago, BartenderOne was asked to host one of the challenges in this years City Chase Toronto.

City Chase is based on the Amazing Race concept, where teams of two, compete to complete 10 tasks (out of a list of 40) in the fastest time possible.  The tasks are scattered all over Toronto, and contestants are given a clue sheet as to where the tasks may be located.  Team are permitted to walk, run, or take public transit.  Wheels such as bikes, or roller blades are not permitted, as well as any form of private transportation, such as cars, motorcycles, etc.

The winners of this race will receive new Blackberry phones, and qualify for the National finals where they will have a chance to win a 2010 Mitsubishi Lancer!

The BartenderOne challenge was simple.  Make a Cosmopolitan with a little working flair.  First, I instructed one of the team members how to make the cocktail, then I showed the other how to toss a rocks glass from their right hand to left behind the back, and finally how to pour a Cosmo into the glass…on their head!

Some teams caught on quickly during the training, and had little trouble executing the moves.  Other teams had great difficulty with this challenge, costing them valuable time in the race.  A few contestants even poured the cocktail  directly on their face, missing the glass entirely!   However difficult it proved to be for some teams, we did not have any teams leave without completing the task.

Whether they got it on the first or second try, or they spilled all over themselves, every contestant that stopped by appeared  to really enjoy the challenge and that’s what it’s all about.

The event was a great success, and I would definitely like to compete in the race next year.

BartenderOne was happy to be a part of this event.

To compete in upcoming City Chase events, click here to register.

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