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Gary Regan

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Everything posted by Gary Regan

  1. Yes, we do experiment with food and cocktails--there's a cocktail with every course of the Saturday night dinner at Cocktails in the Country (thanks for the opportunity to plug that again ). The first dinner of this kind I ever had was put together by Dale Degroff when he was at the Rainbow Room--it was spectacular. It's important to try to serve drinks that aren't too strong, though. And long drinks such as a Singapore Sling work well since they are "gulpable." Sometimes we'll adjust recipes to make the drinks gulpable: Try 1/3 of a Margarita in a collins glass filled with ice, and topped off with tonic water. This works well with spicy foods. The Blood and Sand, usually made with equal amounts of scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy, and orange juice, can be modified if you serve it in a highball or collins glass, pouring far more orange juice into the glass than the other ingredients. This drink works well with red meat or game. One more example is the Pompier Highball--dry vermouth, cassis, and club soda. This works well alongside salads with vinaigrette-type dressings.
  2. We did a lot of experimentation with fruit/herb Margaritas last year. We made purees of strawberries and tarragon, for example, and added them to classic (frozen) Margaritas. Results were very good if I do say so myself. Raspberry/sage, and pineapple/mint worked well, too. Ryan Magarian and Cathy Carey in Seattle do lots with herbs, too. Do either of them visit this board?
  3. Great advice, Robert. But do you really think vermouth is necessary? I considered adding Chartreuse but then thought that, for SML's needs at least, the Benedictine would be the herbal liqueur of choice. Pimms never occured to me, but it is a handy bottle to have around.
  4. Okay, I've been mulling this question, and although I'll probably never be satified with my answer, here's a stab at it. In Joy of Mixology I divide most drinks into families--some of them already established, some of my own making. I went through each family, and selected one or two drinks from the families that I think are important. I have a family of Jelly Shots (fresh ingredients and unflavored gelatin) for instance, but I don't think it's necessary for a bartender to know how to make them, so I didn't list any from that family. Here's what I came up with, along with short explanations as to why I chose them: The Champagne Cocktail. No explanation needed (I hope) Godfather/Rusty Nail: Examples of drinks with a spirit modified with a liqueur Black Russian/White Russian/Mudslide: White Russian being a Black Russian with cream, and a Mudslide is a Black Russian with Irish Cream liqueur. I find the relationship between these drinks interesting, and it points out how to vary one cocktail to come up with a new one. Dry Gin Martini: spirit modified with dry vermoutrh. Manhattan: spirit modified with sweet vermouth (and bitters, I hope) Blood & Sand: scotch, sweet vermouth, orange juice, and cherry brandy (usually equal amounts). A great example of odd flavors that work well together. Just threw that one in since we made one for a friend on Sunday night, and since we had a bottle opened, we used Johnnie Walker Blue. Delicious. Mardee immediately gave it a new name: The Blue Blood and Sand. Mint Julep: Obvious. Mojito: Obvious* Caipirinha: Obvious* *In both these drinks I prefer to use granulated sugar instead of simple syrup. The sugar abrades the zest of the limes as you muddle, and adds a freshness to the drink. Negroni: A classic that everyone should be able to make. Old-Fashioned: I prefer Old-Fashioneds with muddled fruit, though some purists insist on no fruit. Here's a drink that makes you muddle, and points up why bitters are so important. It's also interesting to vary the fruit--try overripe peaches, for instance. Bloody Mary. I know--I hate Bloody Marys! I never had any complaints about them when I worked behind the bar, though--I simply listened to my customers and made them accordingly. Whiskey Sour: Bartenders should grasp the concept of sours--spirit, citrus, and sugar (usually simple syrup)--and be able to balance same. Daiquiri: as above. Aviation: A sour that utilizes a liqueur instead of sugar. Twentieth Century Cocktail: as above. Margarita/Sidecar/Cosmo: Sours that utilize triple sec as a sweetener. Tom Collins: A carbonated Sour. Singapore Sling: A complicated carbonated Sour! Pina Colada: Just because . . . Bartenders should probably have a few more tropical drinks under their belts, too, but it's a category that I need to learn more about, so I'll leave it at that. Comments/questions welcome. What did I leave out?
  5. Hi there: Good question. Let's see where this goes: Triple sec, preferably Cointreau. You'll need this for Margaritas, Sidecars, Cosmos, etc. Perhaps you'll want Grand Marnier as well, but remember that GM is sweeter than Cointreau when you're mixing drinks. Amaretto--preferably Disarrono--comes in handy frequently. Pernod or Ricard or Herbsaint or Absente--you should have some sort of absinthe substitute for Sazeracs, and/or to accent all sorts of drinks. Use it sparingly. Irish Cream (the new Bushmills bottling is great). So popular with almost everyone--even "he-men" types. Campari. Low alcohol, big flavors. Benedictine come in very handy at times. Creme de Cacao and Creme de Menthe. If you have little space, get the white bottlings of both of these, and get the dark cacao before bothering with green creme de menthe. Kahlua is always good to have around. Peach schnapps Maraschino comes in handy, too. I've probably listed too many items for your bar, so think about what flavors you and your friends gravitate towards, and choose accordingly. Robert: What have I forgotten?
  6. I'm afraid I didn't have anything exotic to drink last night, in fact I usually get adventurous only when devoting a whole day or weekend to experimentation. Last night was a G&T night, and Mardee had a Manhattan. Margaritas are big at our house, too, and I've been sipping pale ale of late--nice and spicy and thirst quenching. Beans: Am I allowed to ask where, or in what area, you work? Afraid I'm not familiar with protocol on e-gullet.
  7. I got an answer from Mark Brown, CEO of the Sazerac Company, about getting Peychaud's bitters in Portugal. Mark is a very casual sort for a CEO (and has a great sense of humor), so his answer, though not definitive, is typical! "my guess is that if he orders from our online site, we will ship it to Portugal." So, Miguel, get yourself off to www.sazerac.com, or go to the gift shop at www.buffalotrace.com (where you can pay by credit card). Please let us know how it works out.
  8. If the bartender is really "indifferent," I might be tempted to stick to beer, but I frequently tell bartenders exactly how I'd like my cocktails to be made, and those with a professional attitude never seem to mind. For instance, if I fancy a Wild Turkey Manhattan I'll want more vermouth in the drink than if I wanted a Maker's Mark Manhattan, so I'll let the bartender know what kind of ratios I'm looking for, or maybe just tell him/her too use a lot of vermouth (for the WT cocktail). And I always ask for bitters since few bartenders automatically use them, though that's starting to change. I rarely order cocktails in bars that don't seem to cater to a cocktail crowd, though--I'd rather have a good bourbon on the rocks--and if I do, I try to stick to the basics such as Martinis and Manhattans, etc.
  9. The village siren just blew, which means that it's time to fix myself a little drink. Or perhaps a big one. I'll be back tomorrow. This has been fun. Thanks to all who've been wposting questions/comments, etc. If you'll allow one plug, there are still spaces for students (especially people in the bar business) in this summer's Cocktails in the Country bartender training seminars. Please go to www.ardentspirits.com for details.
  10. Well, er . . . The reason the amount of ingredients in the Alaska is so small is that I seem to have made a mistake. I tried to formulate all straight-up cocktail recipes to fit into a 5-ounce glass (more or less). This means using approximately 3 ounces of ingredients, allowing one ounce of water to melt from the ice, and ending up with a four-ounce drink in a five-ounce glass so you can pick it up and get it to your mouth easily enough. I think that your concept of all cocktails have the same amount of alcohol is a good one, I just don't think it would be practical.
  11. Robert (DrinkBoy) just e-mailed me to remind me to tell you that you might want to add just a little orange flower water to the almond syrup to properly duplicate orgeat. Now you know why we need Robert around!
  12. This one needs thought--may we get back to you?
  13. Hmmm . . . Here are some changes I'd make: For a pouring vodka try something other than Smirnoff (I presume you're talking about their lowest-priced bottling)--taste it neat and you'll see why. I'm not sure about prices, but perhaps Svedka is within reach? On the pouring bourbon I'd either spill the extra $s to get the Beam Black Label, or go with the Evan Williams 7-year-old--one of the best buys in bourbon. Could you possibly stretch to Sauza for a pouring tequila? I don't think it's too expensive. On Call brands While I do like Sapphire (regular Bombay is not to my personal taste), Tanqueray has been my gin of choice for a long time. Try TURI Estonian vodka (spicy) instead of Absolut (though I do like Absolut's flavored line), or Citadelle or Ciroc (both French) are great bottlings. On the Dewars. see if you could stretch to their 12-year-old--it's a great whisky. Rum wise, you can't go wrong with Appleton, Mount Gay, or Barbancourt. And if you want a top-notch tequila go with any of the following: Cazadores, Chinaco, Don Eduardo, Don Julio, El Tesoro, or Herradura. All are highly recommendable 100% agave tequilas.
  14. Aha! Sorry for misinterpreting your meaning, Robert. (For the benefit of e-gullet members who don't know this, I think that Robert and we should let you know that we've known each other for years, and Mardee and I often consult Robert about all sorts of cocktailian stuff) Now that I fully understand what you mean about "sizing," I have an answer: NO! I don't think it's a bad idea altogether, and it would ensure that a group of people drinking at the same rate would be consuming the same amount of alcohol as each other, but I just don't think you could get away with it in a bar, or even in your house. I'd be standing there with my massive Manhattan while you were holding a teeny weeny Martini . . . Such stuff could lead to blows.
  15. I guess it's after 8:30 p.m. in Portugal, but it isn't yet 3 p.m. here--and it's Monday to boot--and now you've got me wanting a Margarita . . .
  16. Sorry, Beans, but I'm not quite sure what the question is here. I think it's all to do with personal preference, and in the case of bars and restaurants it's up to the management to cater to the kind of clientele they are trying to attract.
  17. I think that you've covered this topic admiably all on your own! There are some incredibly good spirits out there at bargain basement prices, but they do tend to be few and far between. There are also some well-recognized name brands that are not of great quality. Usually they are the lowest priced bottlings of a well-known brand. I have seldom found high-end bottlings to disappoint me, though. Some might not be to my taste, but they are well constructed when it comes down to it. Hope this helps.
  18. Hi Janet: When it comes to Bloody Mary-type drinks I immediately turn to Mardee--she loves them, but faced with having to create a similar drink on my own, I think I'd have to tell the client to look elsewhere. On the other hand I could try to create a drink using tomato water from fresh tomatoes--I love that ingredient. I'm not a massive fan of tropical drinks either though I've had some that I adore. I think we all have our preferrences, and our drinks reflect what we like best. Most new drinks created in our house tend to be a little on the strong side! Oh dear . . . Beans: You've got the right stuff. I'm lucky inasmuch as I love medicinal-tasting ingredients, including Jagermeister and Red Bull, so they are in a catergory I feel comfortable with.
  19. I think that the challenges of tending bar are just about the same now as they've always been, and few people are cut out to do the job properly. Bartenders have to wear so many hats, and mixing drinks is but a small part of the job. I could rant about this for hours, but instead, let me give everyone something to mull on: In order for a bartender do be good at his or her job, he/she must first command the respect of the customers. Once that's achieved it has a snowball effect: The customers respect the bartender, so the bartender jumps through hoops to please the patrons. Bear in mind, though, it's up to the bartender to make the first move. P.S. Mavis and Sylvia are sleeping next to each other right now, and Judy's trying to get close, too! Yes, pets are marvelous.
  20. Hi Miguel: Bars in New Orleans tend to use Herbsaint, an absinthe substitute made by the Sazerac Company of New Orleans--the same people who make Peychaud's. There's no substitute that I know of for Peychaud's bitters, but I'm going to get in touch with Sazerac this week, and see if there's a way you can get them in Europe. As for orgeat, I think you should be able to get Monin syrups in Portugal. Try going to www.monin.com And yes, that was me at the North Star Pub in the South Street Seaport in Manhattan, if you were there between 1988 & 1992. I was actually a manager there, but sometimes went behind the bar to help out. That was one of my all-time favorite gigs. We had great fun there.
  21. The choice is really up to the individual. When we have, say, 8 - 12 people over for drinks, we usually offer a few different cocktails, but don't open the whole bar unless someone asks for a specific drink. Then, if we don't have all of the right ingredients, our guest has to suffer! At our annual "invite everyone we've ever met in our village" party, though, we have a full bar, and we hire a bartender so we can enjoy ourselves with our guests.
  22. I don't think that you could make all cocktails be the same strength--imagine a Manhattan with just a drop of vermouth, such as some of you might use in a Martini--it wouldn't taste like a Manhattan at all. As for size, I think you are doing the right thing by adjusting amounts while trying to keep ratios pretty much intact. What's most important as far as I'm concerned, though, is that people should understand that cocktail recipes, for the most part, are mere guidelines. If you ake a stew that calls for 2 cloves of garlic, and you happen to be a garlic lover, don't you add 4 or 6 cloves instead? Same applies to cocktails, providing you can achieve a balance that pleases you and/or your guests.
  23. Are you trying to start a fight? Okay, I'll give you my answer, then we'll see if Mardee agrees when she gets to the message board. I tend to analize classic formulas and base new drinks on same, etc. Mardee thinks outside the box and comes up with things that would never occur to me.
  24. Wow! All these questions/comments so early on a Monday. Thanks to you all. Mardee is going to reply seperately and we're in different offices so I can't predict when she'll get back to you all. First, we'd be honored to creat a new e-gully cocktail. Thanks for asking. Just give us until Friday. Okay? And we'll do our best to make sure the ingredients are available world-wide. I don't suppose a scotch and soda would suffice, would it? Thought not. I can't speak for Dale, of course, but I know that he uses orange bitters quite frequently, so he must have been looking for the different nuances that come from Angostura when he created the drink. And while we're on the subject, here's some shameless self promotion: Regans' Orange Bitters No. 6 should be on the market in the near future. You'll be able to get then from the Sazerac Company in New Orleans (the same people who make Peychaud's), and also from their www.buffalotrace.com web site. Miguel: Your tale of the bartender who added drops of Pernod to your Martini is a perfect example of making variations on the classics. We had a friend over recently who said they'd like a Manhattan, but they'd like a sweeter version--we merely added some Grand Marnier to the drink. The other way you can "play" with recipes is to simply take one ingredient out of a recipe, and replace it with another, but you must be careful: If you take a liqueur out of a recipe, replace it with another liqueur, etc. You must also watch that you don't destroy the balance. Here's an example: We took our basic Margarita recipe, took the Cointreau out, and replaced it with Disarrono amaretto. However, the Disarrono is far sweeter than the Cointreau, so we had to add omre fresh lime juice to achieve balance. Sounds complicated, but it's pretty easy. Honest. Taste the 2 ingredients side by side and your taste will guide you.
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