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  1. This drink was created by a bartender for bartenders at the end of shift. It tastes very different after you have straw tasted 150 citrus drinks and 100 brown and stirred. You have serious palate fatigue, thus the name, and you need something with HUGE flavors. Trust me this is really tasty at 2:30am on a Friday night.
  2. Sandy have you tried getting a couple of manicures a month? If you go with a plain clear nail polish it will really protect the nail beds. And then Liquid Bandaids a couple times a shift should fix that until your hand stop doing it.
  3. I really Like La Nonna In Williamsburg. Very low key and homemade pasta. Great price point as well. Cheers, Toby
  4. I love drinks like this. One of the main ideas of balancing bitter components (Cynar, Grapefruit, and bitters) is that the fresh ingredients need to be really bright and really sweet. I implore you to remake this with fresh squeezed Ruby Red Grapefruit and I think that you will see a huge increase in your enjoyment. Now is the season for them so they will really shine. The grapefruit here is battling against the sweetness of the Cynar as well so it needs to show off its tartness. Any juice that is not squeezed fresh that day just isn’t going to showcase the spirits involved. If I can’t squeeze juice a la minute, I go boozy and stirred. Cheers, Toby
  5. I would get an oyster glove or something like it so you don't peel the skin from your bones if you are going with the drill option.
  6. My vote is the Supermarket. This isn’t one product, but the gathering of all products under one roof. Unlike shopping at a butcher, baker and vegetable stand, the Supermarket is chock full of faceless/mass produced products. Quantity of choice trumped quality. Toby
  7. Try this thread. http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=32&t=31635 I've been a couple of times and it's amazing. I would recommend thnking of it as a Cocktail Restaurant, not a bar and your experience will be better. Cheers, Toby
  8. I think that the problem you are having is three fold. Mint is one of the most delicate herbs around, so first and foremost treat it as gently as possible. Do not bruise let alone muddle. Also you don't need high proof alcohol and a long time to get the flavor out of mint. A simple syrup or 80* vodka will do the trick. AIR IS THE ENEMY. The essential oils will oxidize in a matter of minutes turning beautiful mint into lawn clippings. Make sure that your mint is completely submerged for the 15 minutes to 30 minutes (at the out side) that the mint is infusing. Use a lot of mint to get the deepest flavor. Cheers, Toby
  9. Bentons farm is near there, thats where I would start.
  10. Hi Chris, So I can recommend a couple of things in MSP. The Bradstreet Crafts House, and La Belle Vie and Meritage (Full Disclosure, I consult for the cocktail program at Bradstreet I have good things about Haut Dish, Sea Change, and Marvel. On the low end side... In the Habitrail there is a Potbelly and a Taco Johns. I mention Taco Johns in case you have never had a Potato Ole. If you haven't had one, you should. I'm sure that the bartenders at the first three places I mentioned will have up to date information. Cheers, Toby
  11. Very sorry about the confusion. The Beta was the very first version. Like many things, the first time ain't the greatest (Prince). So after making it a bunch more times we found the little trick of adding the gin. It's good both ways, but we like the addition of the proof. Cheers, Toby
  12. Jonathan, It's great that you are looking forward to being a bartender. There is a lot that goes into being a good one, and bar backing is the first step on a long road. Reading as much as humanly possible is another step. Going out and trying spirits and cocktails in hundreds, if not thousands, of bars is also necessary. Making drinks for yourself and your friends will also be part of your overall training. Read more. Getting really good at bar backing is invaluable. Read. Talk to everyone you can about bartending, this forum is a great start. Did I mention reading yet? Becoming a good bar tender does not happen quickly. I know you are itching to take your place at a station and dazzle the thirsty hoards. Patience, young Jedi. Bar backing is a noble and necessary job. You are the backbone of the bar, you are so very, very important. The bar doesn’t run without you. Getting used to how the bar tenders move, what they need, how to be everywhere and invisible at the same time is paramount. The work ethic you instill in yourself now will inform what kind of bartender you will become. If you are a great bareback you stand a much better chance of being great bartender. Anticipation is the name of the game for a bareback. You need to know what needs to be stocked well before the bartender knows, let alone asks. There is only set amount of time to make money in a bar. If there is no Booze, glasses, garnishes, ice, the bartender can’t make drinks, so EVERYONE is loosing money. Bar backing is keeping every thing well oiled, and moving along at a frenzied clip. If I think of the great, nay fantastic, bar backs I have worked with, they were a study in forethought. They knew when a bottle in my speed rack was getting low, so they had another opened with a speed pourer in it. They knew to bring ice well before I needed it. They knew to tell me when there was a spill on the floor, or that they just busted open the last case of Bud Light Lime and it was going to be 20 minutes before more was cold. Think about bar backing like being the navigator in a fighter jet. The pilot is completely focused on what is right ahead, you need to see into the future and make sure that there isn’t a mountain on the horizon. While you are becoming the best bar back possible get some books and read. Start with the basics. I love Beta Cocktails, but that is some really advanced stuff. Get down your Daiquiri, your Manhattan, your Martini, and your Tom Collins. I would say that you look through the Cocktail Book thread here and start with Joy of Mixology, The fine Art of Mixing Drinks, Craft of the cocktail, Harry Johnson… Think of becoming a Bartender like becoming a cook. You need to wash dishes, and prep before you get on the line. You need to understand how a bar functions, it’s rhythm, its foibles and joys, it’s wonderful intricacies and brutal truths before you are at it’s helm. And most important you need to know what is in each bottle. Taste, taste, taste. Get Kindred Spirits 2, read spirit reviews, go to tastings, drink whiskey, rum, brandy, gin, pisco, and amari. It’s not the worst homework you have ever been assigned. I wish you the best of luck. Hard work, perseverance, and patience is rewarded in this business. Cheers, Toby Maloney
  13. Hello, Does anybody have any new recommendations for near the Pantheon for bars (cocktail bars would be a plus) cafes and restaurants? My fiancee is there and would love your imput. Thank you, Toby
  14. The Violet Hour Blog is up and running. We are going to be posting Punch techniques and recipes as they change. Summer is coming and it's time to get ready for BBQs. http://partyondamen.com/ Cheers, Toby
  15. I wrote this a few years ago, but this thread made me think of it. I have had a couple of these breakfast experiences in my travels, and I am happy for every one of them. THIS POST CONTAINS MATERIAL THAT SHOULD NOT BE CONSUMED BY THOSE WITH DELICATE SENSIBILITIES OR THE WEAK OF STOMACH I was down in Mexico visiting a friend a couple of years ago. My, father, Tom, and my business partner, Jason, and I arrived in town mid afternoon, and were engulfed in the chaos of a street festival. A Ferris wheel spun haphazardly, as did a good number of town drunks. Every vendor stand was cranking a static radio station, a tuba driven polka like nightmare, "Pato" rap, or a street version of karaoke. Barkers tried to get us to play rigged games of chance, or buy real silver rings guaranteed to turn your finger gangrenous in three days. To escape the melee, we retreated to a roof top restaurant to await our friend and her boyfriend. Really, there is a point to this story, I promise. So they finally showed up, just in time to jump in on the third round of ice cold Bohimias, and wee drams of Havana Club 7yr. We chatted during a spectacular sunset, and through the violet hour. We got to discuss the local delicacies. I started to get a hankering for some tongue tacos. So we wove our way to the stall only to find it closed. Luckily there was a bar right there that served beer and Cuban rum... The next morning at 8:--for the love of god, I think I am going to die--o'clock we met again. I’m now sure it was a conspiracy because I soon found myself separated from my father and Jason, being led further and further into the bazaar by my friend’s boyfriend. We finally got to a stall where there is a towering pile of goat’s heads. My poor rum ravaged stomach completed a move that would leave the Romanian gymnastics team with mouths agape and green with jealousy. We sit down and I hear him order me a taco of tongue, one of eye, and one of brain, and a soup for himself. Did I mention it was Eight in the F*&king morning? I knew I was going on and on the night before about how much I liked tongue tacos, but not at eight in the F#!king morning, when I was not sure if I could get through a bowl of oatmeal. The toothless Grandma grabs a goathead from the pile and an apocalyptical swarm of flies rises from the devils mountain of carnage. My stomach does something that Greg Louganis wished he could do, my eyes roll into the back of my head, and I hear from far away…”Quieres cervesa?” Can it hurt? I mean really, what could possibly be the down side? I’m guessing that club soda with Peychaud’s bitters is not an option. “Simone, Guay. Nessisito una chela bein meurta!” He orders me a really cold beer, and chuckles as I turn the color of military hospital walls. The goat head is now on the chopping block right in front of me, mercifully free of flies. It’s tongue sticks out to the left and its lifeless eyes, one of which will soon be in my mouth, stare at the fluttering tarp that is keeping the pounding sun off our necks. The temperature is starting to rise, adding to my need to look around and see if the name of the stall was “ABANDON ALL HOPE YE WHO ENTER HERE”. The beer came, ice cold with rivulets of joy clinging to it’s outside. I put it to my forehead, bliss, then opened it and took a long pull hoping to beat back the idea of what I was about to eat. I am not a picky eater. I will try almost anything, and the things I don’t like I will keep trying until I can, if not love them, at least appreciate the manner in which they are prepared. So I nursed my beer as Toothless Grandma cuts out the tongue, slices it nice and thin and then tosses it on a grill behind her. With a spoon she pops an eyeball out, I closed my eyes and imagined it skittered across the cutting board. I don’t open my eyes until I hear the hiss of the sliced eyeball hits the grill. In retrospect I should have just kept my baby blues closed and concentrated on the Modelo bubbles that were quickly making me feel reptilian. A vast improvement from when I sat down believe you me. The point of this story is just now coming. I open my eyes and Toothless Grandma has a cleaver in hand, over her head and is about to strike a John Henry blow to the skull. I hate to admit it but I think I winced a little thinking it was my skull she was about to crack asunder. The cleaver came down with a mighty, sickening thud and bone chips flew in all directions. She gave the cleaver a wiggle and the top of the head opened as beautifully as a morning glory. Little dew drops of blood nestled in the matted hair mere centimeters from what I was about to eat. With the eyeball spoon (bad cross contamination if you ask me) she scoops out some brains and flops them on the grill. A pile of fragrant, hand made tortillas is warming on the side of the flattop. With miraculous asbestos fingers she builds my three tacos, adding cilantro and onion on top. They look really good, and they smell wonderful. I order another beer, its like 8:10 by now, and start heaping Salsa Roja on the tacos. My dining companion’s soup arrives. It’s gorgeous, a huge bowl full of corn, carrots, succulent chunks of goat, onion, and a sprinkling of cilantro on top. I am very, very jealous. What he has is the perfect thing for a hangover, and he isn’t hungover. Yet another example of living in a hostilely indifferent world. My plan of attack is that of an eight year old faced with a plate of Brussels sprouts. I’m going to take a big bite, chew as little as possible and wash the offending matter down with a monstrous gulp of beer. I figure I can get through a taco in three bites. That means I only have nine bites to go. I can’t decide what to start with. Do I start with the tongue, which will be the easiest, or go for the brains and eye first to get it over with. Round Robin seems best, one bite of each, order a beer every 3 bites. The tongue is great. Rich and meaty with explosions of fresh cilantro and onion going off in counterpoint. This isn’t going to be so bad I convince myself. Then on to eye that wasn’t NEARLY as bad as I thought it was going to be. I am starting to feel macho, with two beers under my belt and a Mexican truck drivers breakfast before me. Then the brains. For the love of all things holy, I can’t believe how revolting this is. The texture is all-wrong, and by that I mean there is NOTHING good about it. My eyes bulge a bit as I reach a trembling hand towards my beer. Toothless Grandma is watching me, so I do my best to smile. I’m sure it was a horrible grimace with cilantro and grey matter in my teeth. The beer washes down the bite with only a tiny shudder. Once again I turn to my dining companion. He is almost done with his soup. Jealousy once again rears its ugly head. I am about to ask him a question when he bites down on something that makes him wince. Into his upturned palm he spits a jagged goats tooth, brown around the edges, and worn unevenly from a lifetime of eating refuse, street jetsom, and garbage from big stinking piles in allys in the unsavory part of town. I gag, my insides roiling like an angry sea. I cannot get the crunching sound of my friend biting down on that tooth, and then him involuntarily swallowing plaque-riddled flecks of enamel. It takes all my will power to force down the rising gorge, and not projectile vomit unchewed chuncks of eye and brain under the table. I take a few deep breaths and thank god for my lovely plate of tacos.
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