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The Violet Hour


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#121 Alchemist

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 09:50 AM

I hope that every old fashioned at The Violet Hour is surprising, memorable and one of the best drinks you’ve ever had. The Old fashioned and the Manhattan are 2 drinks that can do that, as there are virtually infinite riffs by each and every bartender who makes them. If you find that there is one variation in particular that you can’t live without, ask the bartender the specs, and then write them down, and keep them in your wallet. Bust them out on slow nights in bars that have all the components. This never offended me but there might be someone who is. If they are tuck the card back in your wallet and order a Cuba Libre.

What was your technique? And how long have you had your bottle of Angostura? I have found that after a while it gets flat and mealy. Try getting a new one and smell them back-to-back. Did you use 2x1 demmerarra syrup? and a nice thick skinned Sunkist orange. Drinks with the fewest components are the hardest to make. Any help I can give is surely yours.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#122 BryanZ

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 05:32 PM

Old fashioned with anejo, mescal, and agave syrup I had at PDT was pretty ridiculous.

The bartender exchange idea sounds very, very cool. I just spent some time at Vessel in Seattle, and I think what they're doing over there is definitely on par with TVH and NYC's best. Would love to see that bar get brought into the fold.

#123 Alchemist

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 06:40 PM

I haven't tried Jim's version, but I'm sure it is amazing. His cocktails are always so well balanced and interesting.

The Tequila Old Fashioned has been a standard cocktail for a few years. Depending on the tequila you use depends on what you use to sweeten it. The Crema de Mescal is wonderful because it is so smoky. The agave nectar is great as is cane syrup. Bitters can be used to echo the garnish or to compliment the complexity of the tequila. Garnish can be lemon, lime orange or grapefruit.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#124 maggiethecat

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Posted 15 January 2008 - 09:43 PM

The bartender exchange idea sounds very, very cool.

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It is, and I think it's unusual at this high level. Call me paranoid and out of touch, but I can't imagine Keller and Kunz swapping roles for a week. What is it about you Cocktail Gods that makes the free and fair exchange of information so natural and desireable?

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#125 Alchemist

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 11:05 AM

The stage is a time-honored tradition in the culinary world. The point of it is not to get free labor for a couple of days -that's what externs are for- but for everyone to work side by side and then share a few tricks, tips, and beers at the end of a long day. There must be the sharing/passing down/ along of knowledge or each generation would have the Sisyphean task of reinventing the wheel.

And this bartender exchange is like a stage on steroids. Soon you will be able to go into The Violet Hour, and if you are having a jones for a particular D & C, drink get it if we have all the components. We of course will give credit to whom and from whence it originated. And if the bartender doesn’t have the ingredients they will be able to make you something very similar. That’s tough to do at a restaurant. Can you imagine sitting in one restaurant and ordering another’s food? Bartenders have no problem making each other’s drinks as long as they are also allowed to play a bit themselves with the customers drink choices.



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#126 tsg20

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Posted 16 January 2008 - 04:24 PM

What was your technique?  And how long have you had your bottle of Angostura?  I have found that after a while it gets flat and mealy.  Try getting a new one and smell them back-to-back.  Did you use 2x1 demmerarra syrup? and a nice thick skinned Sunkist orange.  Drinks with the fewest components are the hardest to make.  Any help I can give is surely yours.

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The bitters are a few months old, so that probably didn't help. I used sugar syrup made from white sugar, 1-1 by vol with water, and no orange at all. So, rather different from what you're suggesting! What does the "2x1" refer to?

#127 Alchemist

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Posted 17 January 2008 - 05:10 PM

Your bitters should be fine after a few months, it’s when they get a yearish old that they start to get flat. To check put 1 big, or three small dashes (see dashes and how to measure them in the spirit & libations forum http://forums.egulle...owtopic=104153) in the palm of your hand. Rub hands together quickly for 5 seconds, until friction makes them warm. Hold hands palms up- they will feel cool as the alcohol evaporates. Put hands together as if in prayer, then open them like a book, and stick your nose in the book. The smell should be complex and popping. If it smells muddy or flat go splurge on another bottle.

Demerrarra sugar, or turbano (Sugar In The Raw) syrup is usually 2 parts sugar to one part filtered water (heated). Once that is done if you want to test the components in their sleekest form, try Dave Wondrich’s Tombstone.

2.0 oz rye
1/8 oz Dem syrup
3 dash Angostura.

Shake the hell out of it. Serve up. Taste. Add lemon twist.

Cocktails don’t get any simpler or tastier.

Cheers

Toby

Edited by Alchemist, 17 January 2008 - 05:16 PM.




A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#128 highflyingbird

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 05:57 PM

Well, we had a great, great time there on the 17th & 18th. Kyle took really good care of us both nights. Thank you, Kyle!

He made me a killer drink with some kind of rye. Could it have been Thomas Handy? That's what is on my receipt. It was, I believe, a version of a Manhattan. But maybe I'm wrong. Any idea? It was his suggestion so maybe he'll know. He stirred it all up in a bucket with ice until it was the right proof. It was absolutely perfect. I want to know what it was!

What a beautiful space and concept. We'd be regulars if we weren't 2,000 miles away.

And the deviled eggs rocked!

Interested in opening something in SF?

#129 san

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Posted 25 January 2008 - 08:36 PM

Interested in opening something in SF?



or detroit?

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#130 Alchemist

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 11:40 AM

Well, we had a great, great time there on the 17th & 18th. Kyle took really good care of us both nights. Thank you, Kyle!

He made me a killer drink with some kind of rye. Could it have been Thomas Handy? That's what is on my receipt. It was, I believe, a version of a Manhattan. But maybe I'm wrong. Any idea? It was his suggestion so maybe he'll know. He stirred it all up in a bucket with ice until it was the right proof. It was absolutely perfect. I want to know what it was!

What a beautiful space and concept. We'd be regulars if we weren't 2,000 miles away.

And the deviled eggs rocked!

Interested in opening something in SF?

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I am honored that you made it into The Violet Hour on both nights you were there. How was the weather there? Were there T&J&T’s that night?

I am so glad to hear that the service was so pleasing to you. The staff at TVH is still so enthusiastic and professional; they are the perfect showcase for the cocktails.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#131 highflyingbird

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 12:34 PM

what's a T&J&T?

#132 highflyingbird

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 12:36 PM

Oh, and the weather was crazy...minus eight degrees without the wind chill factored in. These California girls were pretty cold, but wouldn't let that stop us. I just focused on not slipping on the sidewalk....and that was before cocktails!

It was something like 80 degrees warmer when we got home. Amazing.

#133 Alchemist

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 12:43 PM

T&J&T is a Tom & Jerry (&Toby) I know they are making them when the snow starts piling up, we should expand that to when it's that cold.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#134 avant-garde

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 04:50 PM

I know they are making them

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I hate to be presumptuous, but just curious... do you not spend much time there anymore, Toby? Are you working on another project now that this one has launched? I only ask because it seems like a lot of your responses lately have been from afar (e.g. saying 'they' instead of 'we').
"A woman once drove me to drink and I never had the decency to thank her" - W.C. Fields

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#135 Alchemist

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 06:57 PM

I spend as much time as humanly possible in Chicago. I have been there every 3-4 weeks for a week for the last few months. I am in perpetual communication with my bar manager, who himself is from NYC and moved out there to work closely with me, and my partner Jason also is in constant contact with the other owners. This is how we are keeping quality control. The cornerstone of a successful business is staff that is well trained, (while constantly reupping the education) and enthusiastic, who stay for a long time. One of the reasons I am so excited when eGuleeteers go to The Violet Hour is I get feedback without having to relay on Yelp and Metromix.

We patterned this model on how chefs run multiple restaurants. With someone at the helm translating your vision, and tasting lots of cocktails (food) you try to sleep at night. There are very few bars that can be like Masa, closing when the Head Mixologist catches a bug, is out of town, or needs a well deserved vacation.

I am devoting quite a bit here in NYC right now, running Alchemy Consulting. We at Alchemy have a consulting project running in Manhattan, a couple in the pipeline, and looking for more. Alchemy Consulting is 3 years old and expanding, but it is like a baby, it needs constant attention, and occasionally pees or pukes on you. But it is a very rewarding, really, oh F*%k, I hear wailing from my e-mail inbox.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#136 eje

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 07:03 PM

The bitters are a few months old, so that probably didn't help. I used sugar syrup made from white sugar, 1-1 by vol with water, and no orange at all. So, rather different from what you're suggesting! What does the "2x1" refer to?

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The typical mistakes made with old-fashioneds are:

1) Under sweetening. Depending on the type of syrup you are using this can be tricky. A lot of times I just go with the plain old teaspoon of sugar. Makes it easier and you don't have to worry about keeping simple in the house.

2) Under bittering. I suppose it might be possible to over bitter an old-fashioned and if you are sensitive to bitter flavors, you might need to acquire the taste. However, be a little generous. Remember some folks postulate that whiskey and sugar were originally added to the drink to make the "therapeutic" bitters more palatable, not the other way around.

3) Over pouring. Yep, you gotta measure.

Place a scant teaspoon of sugar in the bottom of a heavy bottomed old fashioned glass. Dash in a few good shakes of Angostura. Add a teaspoon of water. Stir until the sugar is more or less dissolved (superfine or caster helps here, but isn't necessary. Demarara or turbinado will lend character to the drink.) Add two ounces of whiskey. Stir again. Add a couple cubes of ice. Squeeze a lemon twist over the glass, chase it around the rim, and drop it in. Stir again until the outside of the glass accumulates some sweat. Smile, sip, and enjoy.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
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#137 Alchemist

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 07:55 PM

Nicely done. That looks like a troubleshooting guide for some incomprehensible bit of technology. The only thing I would add is this.

1.) Make simple syrup for the love of god. It’s…um, simple. Take ½ cup of white/demarara or turbinado sugar mixed with respectively ½ and ¼ cup of water. Filtered water please, room temp and shaken hard. This will make drinking cocktails so fast it’s like main lining instead of suppositories, much less messy or frustrating as well.

2.) Taste the cocktail at every step (until you have it nailed). I like to combine the liquor and the simple first, taste to make sure that that balance is right. Then add the bitters a dash at a time until it tastes good but is way too boozy. Add the ice and stir. There will be no grittiness like with sugar. (Erik there is nothing personal here, promise) Stir until the heat of the rye is tamed. Then taste again. Correct seasoning. Then have another good snort of that.

3.) Write down EXACTLY what you have done while the drink cooks for a second or two and you can still write.

4.) Now take a fresh lemon and using a vegetable peeler pull a strip from nipple to…Ahem..brown star. Squeeze the peel over the drink, and note the difference. Without the lemon the drink is like a warm summer night, with fireflies winking seductively at you. With the lemon a cloud moves and the sky is reveled in all its awesome glory.

5.) Repeat for a loved one, DO NOT MENTION how much grueling expermintation went into this cocktail.


Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#138 eje

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Posted 26 January 2008 - 11:03 PM

Nicely done. That looks like a troubleshooting guide for some incomprehensible bit of technology.
[...]
(Erik there is nothing personal here, promise)
[...]

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Nothing personal, taken, man. I count on you to bring the poetry. I'm a tech guy.
---
Erik Ellestad
If the ocean was whiskey and I was a duck...
Bernal Heights, SF, CA

#139 Aaron Deacon

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Posted 27 January 2008 - 10:07 PM

Well, we had a great, great time there on the 17th & 18th. Kyle took really good care of us both nights. Thank you, Kyle.

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I'm not sure how much value there is in lauding specific bartenders here, but we were also taken very well care of by Kyle a few months back.

#140 racheld

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 05:33 AM

I'm one of the cursed ones---no palate for ANYTHING alcoholic; just can't find a taste that's pleasant to me.

But I always love your delicious words, Toby.
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#141 Darren72

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 09:51 AM

Nicely done. That looks like a troubleshooting guide for some incomprehensible bit of technology.  The only thing I would add is this.

1.)  Make simple syrup for the love of god.  It’s…um, simple.  Take ½ cup of white/demarara or turbinado sugar mixed with respectively ½ and ¼ cup of water. Filtered water please, room temp and shaken hard.  This will make drinking cocktails so fast it’s like main lining instead of suppositories, much less messy or frustrating as well.


Just so I'm sure I'm understanding this, you are shaking the room temp water and sugar to make the syrup, rather than simmering and then cooling?

#142 slkinsey

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 10:02 AM

1:1 simple syrup can be made without heating. I'm not so sure about 2:1 demerara simple syrup.
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#143 Alchemist

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Posted 28 January 2008 - 03:54 PM

All the syrups at TVH are with room temp twice filtered water. The Demerara 2x1 takes more shaking but it will incorparate.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#144 Alchemist

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 07:53 AM

Just a heads up, TVH will be closed on Superbowl Sunday. It's not that the staff are rabid, face painting football fans... really, they are much more sophisticated and urbane than that, it's an excecutive desicion. Superbowl sunday is one of those days of the year that the drinking/bargoing dynamic is skewed. Like New Years eve, Saint Patrick's Day, and Valentine's Day it is sometimes best to just close the doors and let the marauding mobs pass you by.

Toby



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#145 ronnie_suburban

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Posted 29 January 2008 - 08:38 AM

Just a heads up, TVH will be closed on Superbowl Sunday.  It's not that the staff are rabid, face painting football fans... really, they are much more sophisticated and urbane than that, it's an excecutive desicion.  Superbowl sunday is one of those days of the year that the drinking/bargoing dynamic is skewed.  Like New Years eve, Saint Patrick's Day, and Valentine's Day it is sometimes best to just close the doors and let the marauding mobs pass you by. 

Toby

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Bravo! I love this. I hope you enjoy the day. :smile:

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#146 Alchemist

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 01:34 AM

I like sports, it is one of the only unscripted dramas (reality shows DO NOT left in this media frenzy we call life. What I like about it is the pure beatuy of athleticsism. Be it football, futball (soccer), vollyball ect.. I would add ballet but there is no active defence. How do I bring this back to bartending you ask? There is sweat, there is teamwork, there is an US AND THEM, there is a goal, there is occationally champange sprayed over the partisipants.

I will be in Brooklyn, instead of adding to the 4x domistic violence statistics, Drinking Liberty ale, sipping green Chartreuse, rooting for the under-dog, at all times. Whomever is down I support. Drives the fanitics crazy. I am not sure how to paint my face so I can flip flop like Thai footware. There is a sports bar here in Williamsberg. The hipsters hate it but it has Good beer, Green Chartreuse and a clientiel that is both good-humoured and fanitical.

Pardon the spelling, and grammer. My bar manager, Michael, is in town, and Kyle left this morning. In case anyone was worried, for our souls or livers, or toes (gout hits the toes first) we only ate three-five time a day, and never, ever, ever had a cocktail before Opra. Unless it was a corps reviver #2, a Ramos, a mimosa, belinni, a 20th centuary, a daiquari, gimlet, (see raz gim, straw gim, mango gim, gim sans lime and sugar...) or if we were too foggy for life. But this is research. part of the job, both good and bad. please don't judge us for our plight.

Sorry that may not have been on topic. But I expect for the boy's at TVH to step it up now that they have been preying at the altars of bliss here in NYC.

Toby

There will be editing...



A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#147 bolognium

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 09:08 AM

Just a heads up, TVH will be closed on Superbowl Sunday.  It's not that the staff are rabid, face painting football fans... really, they are much more sophisticated and urbane than that, it's an excecutive desicion.  Superbowl sunday is one of those days of the year that the drinking/bargoing dynamic is skewed.  Like New Years eve, Saint Patrick's Day, and Valentine's Day it is sometimes best to just close the doors and let the marauding mobs pass you by. 

Toby
Same with the VTR in Cleveland. New Year's eve as well. I am too old to deal with amateurs... -Paulius

#148 Alchemist

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Posted 30 January 2008 - 09:07 PM

I have be dying to get to VTR. I have heard such wonderful things.

What did you do on St. Pat's? And Feb 14th? As we have been open only six months we will see how things shake out but any insights from you would be wonderful.

Thanks

Toby

EDIT: spellin"

Edited by Alchemist, 30 January 2008 - 09:08 PM.




A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

#149 bolognium

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 06:51 AM

I have be dying to get to VTR.  I have heard such wonderful things. 

What did you do on St. Pat's?  And Feb 14th? As we have been open only six months we will see how things shake out but any insights from you would be wonderful.

Thanks

Toby

EDIT: spellin"

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Thanks Toby! I cant wait to get to Chicago again. My favorite city, and not too far as well. I get quite a few chicagoans in and always mention TVH. We are a rare breed. Perhaps we need to start a brotherhood of craft cocktailians... For the last 10 out of 12 years my St Pats day is like this: I schedule the carpet cleaners to come in first thing in the morning. Then I close for the day. VD day is pretty harmless, but I do get a larger percentage of amateurs. It is a good opportunity to educate newbies though. Drop me an email -info@velvettangoroom.com. I want to run something by you.
Paulius

#150 Scotttos

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Posted 31 January 2008 - 07:03 AM

There is a sports bar here in Williamsberg.  The hipsters hate it but it has Good beer, Green Chartreuse and a clientiel that is both good-humoured and fanitical. 


I know this is off topic but....good beer, green chartreuse, and sports? Amazing. What bar? I've lived in Williamsburg for a while and this place has totally skipped my radar.