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Everything posted by Alchemist

  1. I was so joking!!! I had sarcasm DRIPPING off that comment about "phoning it in". I don't think that Malcovitch has been in Spoon River (let alone at SW) ever. I was just venting/telling what the process of making a cocktail list for TVH while on the road is like. It is a very interesting and frustrating process to try to create while not behind the stick. I know that there are differing opinions about Head Mixologists who are away from their bar for chunks of time. I have every confidence in the Bartenders at TVH executing the cocktails once they have been conseptionolized, tweaked, demonstrated, and learned. But the creative process is very different right now than it was at the beginning. Toby
  2. I did not "phone in" that cocktail! Like Malkovitch in Spoon River at the Steppenwolf. That was a flash of inspiration. I have been on the west coast for a little over a week now with very limited access to the business end of a Stick. And cocktail inspiration is tough find in a florescent lighted, conference room at some hotel in the shadow of the Space Needle. So, as I have been putting together the Winter menu, I have to call one of the barkeeps at The Violet Hour to have them test and tweak some of my ideas. It is a very unusual, and colaberotive way to create drinks, Bi-coastal and tech-savvy. Toby
  3. Just pulled out some of my favorite winter drinks. It is always a challenge to find a gin drink that is good when the mercury starts to drop. Then there is the rich stuff, egg yolk or whole egg. And then the Brown and Stirred. 20th Century 1.5 oz Plymouth Gin .75 oz White Crème de Cacao .75 oz Lillet Blonde .75 oz Lemon Juice Glass: Coupe Garnish: None Ice: None Shake. Strain. Serve up. 41 Jane Doe’s 1 oz Laird’s Applejack 1 oz Rothman & Winter Pear Liqueur .75 oz Lemon Juice .75 oz Simple Syrup 1 Egg White Glass: Coupe Garnish: 7 drops Grandma’s Tinksure Ice: None Mime shake. Add KD ice. Shake. Strain. Serve up. The Berliner 1.5 oz Bombay Dry Gin .75 oz Rothman & Winter Apricot Liqueur .25 oz Gilka Kummel .5 oz lemon juice .25 oz Simple Syrup (Fat) 1 Egg Yolk 15 drops Regan's Orange Bitters Glass: Collins Garnish: Lemon Twist, 9 Drops Angostura Bitters Ice: Crushed Ice ¾ Full Mime shake. Add KD. Shake hard 3-5 times. Strained onto fresh crushed ice. Chapuline 1 oz Crème de Cacao White .5 oz Crème de Menthe Green 1.0 oz Pisco 1 oz Heavy Cream Glass: Coupe Garnish: Float 1 mint leaf then spank the mint Ice: None Shake Hard. Stain. Serve up. Irish Pirate 2 oz Red Breast Irish Whiskey .25 oz Demerara Syrup 9 drops Ango Bitters Rinse: Sailor Jerry’s Rum Glass: Rocks Garnish: None Ice: Chunk Rinse Sailor Jerry’s. Add rest of the ingredients. Stir to incorporate demerara. Add chunk ice. Stir. Yum, Drinking in the winter is so very, very different to the summer cocktails. Toby
  4. People seem to want and need definitions, but most hate being put in catagories. And there are always exceptions to every rule. I would say that most bartenders would fit in some middle part of a VIN diagram that you could make out of these groups. Toby
  5. I tried it a bit ago, and was underwelmed, as was my spirit guru in Chicago. The packaging looks like a Vodka. Toby
  6. Going to this Netherlands Antilles island for late Dec.-early Jan. Is there something good to eat and drink? I would like to see the Dutch stamp on the food. But any good stuff would be welcome. I can imagine Shtom-Pot with seafood and a starch. But ant and everything will be welcome. Thank you, Toby
  7. The newer KD machines are awesome. We have had next to no problems with ours at The Violet Hour. There is NO other machine that even comes close to a Kold-Draft in terms of the quality of ice. The rest of the machines make ice that is only good for chilling bottles of wine. I cant imagine trying to run a cocktail bar with out a KD machine. Toby
  8. Think outside the Ice mold. Go to the Container Store. There will be something there you can use. Toby
  9. Not to belabor the point even more… There are so many factors to consider when making a drink. Water is about 20% give or take. So a bartender, on the fly with 17 other things in their head, have to calculate the proof of the booze, the ice (or lack there of) that the cocktail is going onto, the other ingredients and THEIR water content, the order that the drinks are coming up, the temperature of the shaking/stirring ice (has it been there for an hour of did the bareback just bring fresh?), the temp of the room, the temp of the booze and citrus and vermouth, and juices, the temp of the mixing glasses and shaking tins, the temp of ones HANDS AND SPOONS all make a difference. Toby
  10. Here is a little about TVH. http://chicagoist.com/2008/10/03/interview...olet_h.php#more Toby
  11. Yes The Violet Hour does have Old Raj. I love the pictures on the side of the bottle. There are Victorian looking hunters, in pith helmets, staring down a charging tiger with the caption. Drink Old Raj straight. Then on the other side they same brave hunters sit on a verandah, laughing over their brave conquest, and it says Or Drink Old Raj With Tonic. Good thinking I say not to fuss about with ice, lime and tonic when the lion is baring down on you. Best to leave that for later, on the verandah. There should be no line on a sunday at 6:30. Toby
  12. I must admit I have put a dash or two in both the regular green and (why not? I asked myself and got no convincing argument for the con) the green VEP. I have also been known to put Peychaud's in the green, regular to tough it up. It is really pretty Pousse of red and green that is like kissing a french christmas tree. Or french kissing a green tree, depends. Toby ETA: Stuff
  13. Intention sheshmention. Sometimes inebriation happens in a bar. I would just say to make sure you stay 3 nights so you can go twice with a hungover day between. Then get on the plane on the forth day and head to Betty Ford, or some awful lemon juice/maple syrup/cayenne cleanse. Between the food and drink you will need it. Toby
  14. That's just wrong! I'd rather a place just admitted they don't have ginger ale. I guess I'll just stick to beer next time I'm there. ← In the places I'm talking about, clubs/dives you should always order beer from a bottle, and wipe the top. And chase it with a shot of whisky, for antibiotic effect. Toby
  15. Bumping this thread as I need a private room, in Manhattan, Not At VIP's, for a dinner party for 12-20 people for about $100 PP with wine, not inc. Tax&tip. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Toby
  16. There is another level, with a legitimate title once you have mastered the two stated above, where you start adding more skill sets. Fun things like hiring, firing, making a schedule, looking at liquor cost, inventory, peacemaker, schmoozer, stoop sweeper, toilet plunger ect… Owner. Toby
  17. I must say that it was a pleasure to do the event as it was so well organized. The Mixology Crew were fantastic. Without their competent support things would not gone as well as they did. Just like a bar, it's the people in the back, running around like crazy, that make the whole operation seem to happen effortlessly. I would be happy to do it again, I had a blast! It's got me thinking about where to do it, and also how to arrange it. It would be cool to have some people who produce bitters on a large scale. It doesn't make sense to do it for less than 25-30 people. I know Astor Place has a great room, but it's rather big, and I'm guessing expensive. Toby
  18. They have ginger ale on the west coast. If someone orders a shot of Fernet with a ginger ale back, you know they are from SF. And here on the East coast ginger ale is often sprite with a splash of coke for color. Toby
  19. I would agree. The best, I know, behind the stick want to be called batenders. There is the BAR program here in NYC run by (I hope this is right) Wondrich, Degroff, and Olson. I'm sure that the amount you would learn, and laugh, should qualify you for some sort of something to hang on your wall in your corner office. Toby
  20. I think the best credentials are shot knees, worn out elbow joints, scarred liver... Toby
  21. Bar/counter, does it matter when you are elbow deep in encased meats?
  22. That is very interesting. I am also seeing this more and more here in NYC, and in Chicago. Serious brands are eschewing babes in low cut blouses for mixologists in dapper threads and crazy facial hair. What is this world coming to? In full disclosure I consult for Diageo. I believe that do good work for them without being a shill. I cannot endorse everything or my opinion means nothing. I am not a critic so I don’t feel the need to bash the things I don’t like. I have a few things to say about cranberry juice cocktail off the gun let me tell you. So I try to get behind the products I love and not say anything about the products I don’t. Is this selling out? Buying in? I have been in the service industry for many years, and it is a young persons game. There is no way I could work 6-7 days a week 12 hours a day in a kitchen or behind a bar. My knees and elbows would give out. So what to do? It makes sense to find ways to disseminate all the knowledge I have garnered in a life time in the service industry. Toby
  23. That is what I was trying to say about the DEPTH of the sell out. Guy's show is about dives and diners...Keller well he has further to fall, because he is so revered. But what if Chef X (this is a Hypothetical so we will deal with it that way) turned around a chain like TGIapplei's and brought fresh good, obviously not stellar, 250 dollar a meal food but, good food to the masses. What if he raised the bar for hundred's of thousands, or millions? It's fantastic when someone can do that for thousands of sophisticated rich people, but how about truely changing the way that the average American eats/drinks? And Chef X gets filthy rich doing it? Toby
  24. Integrity is very hard to define, but like pornography you know it when you see it. Or maybe more importantly when you don’t. There is something to be said about the depth of the sell out. Guy Fieri at TGIF’s is one thing, Keller doing the same thing would be totally different. There is also the phenomenon of the “indi band”, where you love them when you can see them at your local bar, but when they make it, sign with a big label, and start playing areas, they suck. But that is probably where they wanted to be all along. They wanted to be paid handsomely for producing their art. So an amazing chef is doing wonderful things in their little store front restaurant, but when they franchise and you can get their food in every airport across the nation, they suck. Is that fair? I have a friend you says “it’s not selling out it’s buying in”. If you have spent 20-30 years doing back breaking work, honing your art, and you get a chance for a big score is that wrong? In case anybody is wondering, Neither I nor anyone I know has been approached by Chili’s to redo their cocktail menu in exchange for a million dollars, and their mortal soul. Toby
  25. So what would you NOT do for money in a professional sense. We have all seen movie stars sell themselves out. What is selling out in “the life”? Where does integrity bow to the dollar? Is there a middle ground? Example, you could bring brilliant food to 10,000 or really good food to 1,000,000 that might lead to 100,000 of them seeking better food? Which is better? And as I am in the cocktail game I ask myself these questions all the time. If I you the chance to change the menu at Applebee’s to something much, much better than what it is, should you do it? If it crippled your career? Or if it crippled your career but made you filthy rich? I am dealing mostly in hypothetical here, but if you want to chime in on an offer you didn’t take because it was below you go ahead. Does working for an evil corporation make you evil? How does one go to restaurant heaven? And what does that look like? Is there a deal beaker for you? We have all worked way too hard for not enough money, what makes a job worth it?
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