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Everything posted by Libationgoddess

  1. I had to do a double-take, but I thought Frank Bruni's cameo appearance in there at the end was pretty clever. Just as she's presenting the duck to her dinner guests... Audrey
  2. I would never refer to Stevia as garbage. Stevia is extremely beneficial to diabetics and others who are insulin sensitive, in that it flat-lines at -0- on the Glycemic index. Splenda / sucralose is chlorinated. Stevia is derrived from a plant, which makes it vegan-friendly, as well as having -0- carbs and -0- calories. There are a number of factors to keep in mind when using it. The flavor profile of stevia can greatly vary from brand to brand. I've personally tested a dozen different brands and was very surprised at how vastly different they were. I found Nu Naturals to be one of the best. "Now" foods also produces a very good one as well. You can purchase stevia in three different forms. The most natural and at the same time least satisfactory is the powdered green leaf, which has a bitter after-taste (15 - 30x sweeter than sucrose). You can buy stevia in liquid form, as well as the most common form, a refined, white extract. Depending on if and how it has been "cut", refined Stevia can be 200-300x sweeter than sugar. Although many companies will package stevia in "single-serving" packets, this -does not- mean that you need an entire packet for your needs. Sometimes, even a quarter of a packet will do the trick. Some folks are "hypertasters", in that the bitter flavor profile is strongly exacerbated for them. Recurring palate descriptors such as "bitter" & "metallic" can be indicators. Interestingly enough, if consumed on a regular basis, the palate will eventually acclimate to the bitter notes in a specific flavor profile, in which it was initially detected (think Campari). While I'm far from diabetic, I have noticed that I've become more sensitive to sugar as I've gotten older, so I like to pick and choose when I'm going to consume it (can you say, "Daiquiri"). With that said, I have been consuming stevia in my coffee for quite some time now, and the initial bitterness I detected has now pretty much disappeared. I also believe that the addition of milk (and more precisely, it's fat content) will certainly help temper bitterness--whether stevia or the other stuff. Adversely, the bitter compounds in black coffee could certainly exacerbate stevia's bitterness, but I also believe that to be true of artificial sweetners as well. Audrey
  3. I have stackable units at Pegu; double 650 units. I love the cubes and have been working with them for over 10 years now, but the older model machines that I've had experience with could certainly be tempermental at times. I always felt so ashamed whenever the units went down and I had to resort to using the "replacement ice"---it dimishes the entire cocktail experience; so ghetto. I look forward to going forward with a newer model. But even with that, I will still continue to work with stackables. They offer me a great deal more security-- during the times when one unit goes down, at least the other one is still kicking. Like having a basic insurance policy in place. Audrey
  4. I already told Joe what I wanted for Christmas..... ....a KD machine with interchangable molds.....any size cube you want, just pop the mold in, and its all yours. You want to go from a 1.25" to a a 2.25" cube for 3 hours of production? Why not. ....and KD could make the bennies just on the custom-molds alone. Joe? Audrey
  5. I want to add that I walked into that kitchen on a number of occasions throughout the week, and was completely blown away by the level of dedication coming from their operation. The walls were stacked with cases and cases of fruit, and when I looked inside the walk-in, there were gallons upon gallons of different cocktails with the various seminar names & times written on each. And speaking of juicers, what they didn't mention is that the sunkist broke on the way down to NOLA, and they managed to McGuyver it back into working condition---utilizing pieces of aluminum baking pans moulded into shape.. I've never seen such tenacity and dedication, and despite their challenges, everyone seemed to be in really great spirits---you could feel an incredibly strong sense of commeraderie amongst that team whenever you walked into the room. This is how real pro's roll. Hats off to you guys...you rocked it out!! Audrey
  6. I was there as well. I love the place! Matty Gee (former of M&H) is behind the concept, and he has created a wonderful space with a lot of warmth to it. I think Matty's vision is to have a nice place to go, where the cocktail menu is simple, yet perfectly executed---but without any sort of pretension. I've known Matty for a number of years now, and not only is he a great bartender and a true gentleman, but also a bit of a romantic. There is a large, blow-up of an old photograph hanging on the wall in the middle of the room, circa 1940/50's--it's of a couple very much in love, both looking out the back seat of a car---it turns out to be Matty's grandparents on their wedding day. Matty's family has been in the flower business, and he is personally responsible for the the beautiful arrangements that grace the bartop. There is a piano in the corner, and I believe that music will be played on monday nite-- but you'd have to confirm that. Music is old-school, lots of uplifing clarinet. And then at closing time, we heard Billy Ocean being piped in. It was great. Downstairs is a cool, little room with a corner bar, and Matty said that they will be breaking through the wall in approx a month to increase the space. It was very late when I got there, so I two-fisted. I had a deliciously-bright ginger cocktail, as well as a strawberry-cucumber gin fizz- which had such perfect balance that it made me take a step back. There was a grace to its simplicity, and an alchemic perfection in the combination. But the cool aspect was that the drink menu was friendly and approachable. It was not extensive, but I am sure that it will develop over time. And frankly, I'd rather see 1 perfectly executed cocktail than 6 mediocre ones. Matty told me that it would be the direction for the warmer, summer months to come, and that we would see brown cocktails come into play in the fall, along with freshly squeezed apple juice, etc. The spirits selection was thoughtful, well-rounded, and also very accessible. I don't think Matty's intention is to take a hard-core stand as a geeky cocktail haven. He certainly could if he wanted to, I've drank at his bar on many occasions, and his drinks are perfection. I think that moreso, he is really looking to create an environment where first and foremost you are having fun. It had -such- a great vibe, and I can't wait to go back. Audrey
  7. I heard that a batch of Plymouth sloe gin is being steeped for the US market as we speak... ...the timing might be January / February 08. ...and that a popular restaurant chain had already approached them to snatch up 30,000 cases of it. Audrey
  8. .....A few authentic ones on the thread itself certainly couldn't hurt
  9. When, after reading the Suze thread, you henceforth initiate an email exchange with the good folks at Pernod-Ricard USA to see if they would consider bringing more of their wonderful product in from France for your American friends in need..... Status: Pending
  10. Sounds weird, but, (utilizing your favorite Mary mix...sans spirit), prepare with (good quality) champagne the same way you would prepare a mimosa. A nice, savory alternative. Audrey
  11. A few of us from Pegu attended Matt's service yesterday in Teaneck. I met his parents, Jim & Dora, and we talked for a little while. It is easy to see that the apple didn't fall far from the tree; they are very, very special people. Really intelligent, gentle, & loving folks. There were a number of photographs of Matt displayed around the room, and it was very warming to be able to take a look at them. Matt's father showed me his favorite picture---Matt was sitting down on the steps outside of their house in Cape Cod. The sun was beaming down on his face, and he was looking up directly into the camera and the sun with a big, big smile. Everything about Matt was sterling....I loved him a lot and thought of him as family. I spent the last number of days recollecting the times we spent together. His visits to Pegu, the various meals we shared, and our incredibly stimulating conversations during those times together. And I love that he lived like a rockstar, but even more importantly, I really admired what a respect he had for all of it as well. He had an enormous appreciation and respect for everything. The gaze, the voice, his energy....what a beautiful person he was. He had great presence and such a brilliant mind; it's hard to let go. I asked his family to send us a picture of him so that we can keep it behind the bar; the entire staff at Pegu is feeling his loss as well. He was part of our clan. For the time-being, I printed out the one that Jason posted above (thanks Jason), and hung it behind the bar & in our service area where everyone can see it. I worked in the well last night after his service, and it was very comforting to look over and see that pix hanging there. Not far from one of his favorite barstools. Not very far at all. Audrey
  12. I agree. Gerry's is one of the best places around; you'll find most everything there. Audrey
  13. Phil just handed me the prettiest Ramos fizz ever. And then he (knowingly) asked, "you wanted the cardamom on top, right? (it'something I have a weakness for) yea, when you stare at your cocktail in loving admiration for at least 2 minutes, and then spend a good 10 - 15 seconds nosing it, the way you would smell your newborn nephew / niece, then you know you're in a strange place. The head....it was like a guinness poking up a good 1/2" over the rim. Pure art. Audrey
  14. Yea, Rob Roy, of course. I was so deep into my rant at that point that there was just no coming back But I think you get the concept. Audrey Edited to acclimate to the increased amount of oxygen to my brain after stepping down from the soapbox
  15. When you "accidentally" run out of peach liqueur on Saturday nights so you have to "86" it. No peach liqueur = no Sex On The Beach drinks or "Woo Woo shots. It does seem to arrive quickly from the distributor for the rest of the week, though. Audrey
  16. $20.00?? Um, excuse me, NOT in my house. This is the second time I've seen this misinformation printed. Would someone kindly show me where there is a $20.00 cocktail on our menu?? Not in my lifetime. So uttlerly absurd; like offering an XO & coke. Yea, of course if someone orders a "Hedonisim" Manhattan, but that's solely an upcharge for an already expensive spirit, and the guest's perrogative. Regular drinks for $12, Champagne cocktails for $16.00. Other than that, tickled-pink and proud to say that we are guilty as charged on all of the above-listed infractions; and loving that it is our fucking perogative. I'm certain that I can also pretty much speak for all of my bartenders here as well. God bless America. What did we do tonight?? Worked through umpteen different versions of a daiquiri variant (give or take 1 tsp here and there) just to get it right for y'all.... Sniffing down our noses just for you, with enormous amounts of love (and everyone's interests / personal beverage needs / requirements) in our hearts, we remain your faithful beverage servants, XXXOOOOAudrey
  17. ....half the fun is getting there. Audrey
  18. I've purchased the tamarind paste in blocks, and have prepared it similarly as well. The only thing I'd like to add is that I've noticed a slight variance in flavors. I picked up two blocks from the same manufacturer; the only difference being that one was lighter in color, and the other one darker, although there was no distinction of any flavor variation on the label. Yet after preparing them both side by side, I did notice that the darker one was smokier. I preferred the lighter one; the flavor seemed cleaner. Audrey
  19. Blackwood's Gin....coming soon to a theatre near you.
  20. Tom Innes from FLVR took me to Boisedale (in London) one night back a few summers ago, when they were having their annual Cuban festival. He introduced me to the head bartender who was in from Floridita (Havana, not UK club), and was behind the bar. After we had daiquiri's I asked him for a mojito----he automatically offered the bitters because he said it was a better drink, and that's how they made them over there. I agree, and extend the same offer to others. Separately, the box of cocktail condiments contains 1 dropper each of fresh lemon juice, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, and angostura bitters. The aspect of the dropper bottle is key, and guests understand that if the ingredients come from a dropper, then they just that.... -dropped- in. Nobody unscrews the dropper bottle, and free pours from the container. It's a meted dose. I have watched guests tinker with all of the ingredients, including the bitters. They enjoy the option of being able to tweek their cocktails should they want to. The process makes it fun and interactive, and I'm happy to report that we haven't had a drink returned yet. Audrey
  21. For the record, George, I have never in my life made my juleps with bitters. Regarding mojitos, we continue to prepare them without bitters as well....but we always do try and offer folks the option, as they are truly delicious. As is the Queens Park Swizzle. Audrey
  22. Simon Difford has been at this for a few years, now. His original quarterly (?) was called, "Sauce Guide". It is a great reference (and aside from classic cocktails) he has focused on what is new, and also highlights interesting recipes from rising bartenders, along with the more established ones. Certainly a bargain at that price, as we always tend to pay 4-5x that much for some book with the same old, boring recipes. The only thing I object to is refering to that drink as an "Alaska". It drives me nuts when someone (or any publication) alters the flavor profile of a classic with an additional ingrediently and maintains the original name. It's misleading; if you had never had an Alaska before, and came upon this recipe, you would naturally assume that those would be the required ingredients. It certainly warrants another name. Audrey
  23. Tommy Rowles, my head bartender at Bemelmans Bar (for the last 47 years) makes a superb Bloody Mary mix. Nothing fancy; very straight-forward use of ingredients. One of his specialties was to simply pour the mix directly into a champagne flute (no vodka or gin), and top with champagne. It was savory, bubbly....sounds bizarre, but it is just delicious. Audrey
  24. Honestly, I think less is more, especially with the Evan Williams Single Barrel. Let the whiskey speak for itself. Stick with a dash or two, but don't overdo it. The Old Overholt is lighter, with less personality, and yeah, can weather the extra dash or two of bitters. But be careful with the overuse of bitters in conjunction with Punt e mes; it already has it's own bitter note which is fairly prominent. Although I am a strong advocate of layering flavors in cocktails, when you have too many bitters swimming around you kill the beauty of the whiskey, and then drink tastes murky. Punt e Mes and Antiqua Formula are both produced by Carpano, and basically share the same flavor profile... the antiqua a little mellower. Booker's Manhattan (E.M. recipe) 2 1/2 oz Booker's Bourbon 3/4 oz Martini & Rossi Sweet Vermouth 1/2 oz Punt e Mes 1 dash Angostura (optional) It's important to keep in mind that the flavor profile of something as simple as regular sweet vermouth makes a big difference in the outcome of your cocktails. Compare brands....Martini & Rossi, Cinzano, Stock, etc, and decide. The differences are vast. Audrey
  25. David Marsden created a delicious Apple Manhattan back in 1997/8/9(?) when he was at (the now defunct) "First" (1st Ave & 1st St) restaurant. Apple Manhattan (suggested) 2 parts Maker's Mark Bourbon 1 part Berentzens ....adjust the parts to suit your taste. It's delightful. Audrey
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