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Everything posted by dsoneil

  1. My point was to actually locate the glass washer in the back, not have the glasses washed with the dishes. If your bartenders are doubling as dishwashers drink quality will inevitably suffer.
  2. The dishwasher remark reminded me of something - don't ever put a dishwasher near the bar. Sure, having the bartender do dishes is economical, but I always hated the "white noise" when I'm talking to guests, and they pump of the humidity and they stink, both the chemical smell and that wet dog smell they have.. Also, how many times have bartenders forgotten to change the wash water? I've come in for my shift before and I swear it hadn't been changed since the night before. The dish pit in the back can easily fit a glass washer.
  3. The one thing that I would absolutely recommend is Refrigerated Drawers installed under the bar, not the back bar. Instead of keeping everything in a garnish tray at the back of the ice well, or worse somewhere without ice, these drawers keep everything chilly and fresh. They also save your back because there is less bending, plus they save time because you don't have to turn around to get stuff. They're usually kitchen equipment, but at the bar they make working so much easier.
  4. Not to self-promote too much, but the classic soda fountain produced a wide array of non-alcoholic beverages that were more than just mixtures of flavour syrup and seltzer. The book I just finished writing has 450 recipes that fit the non-alcoholic category (mostly). Some of the interesting ingredients include gentian syrup, aromatic elixir, black pepper extract, cognac essence*, hop tonic, soluble flavouring extract, taraxacum elixir, tamarind syrup, etc. All the recipes, plus many more, can be found in the book. Cognac oil is the component taken off the still after the water portion. This oil has the fruity aromas of cognac without the alcohol. It makes a wicked drink when a few drops of diluted cognac oil are added to lemonade. It is fairly expensive, but a little goes a long way. Just dilute the oil in vodka and use a few dashes like bitters. Other drinks like the Cherry Phosphate and Angostura Phosphate are adult drinks that really do please.
  5. Malic and tartaric acid don't have the "dry astringent" flavour of acid phosphate. It's hard to describe, but fruit acids have a characteristic "tang" not present in acid phosphate. Phosphate sodas were immensely popular for about 75 years, even in places where citrus fruit were widely available.
  6. Lemon phosphate is basically a lemon oil simple syrup with "acid phosphates" as the acidulent. Soda fountains didn't always have access to fresh fruit so they frequently used the oils instead. Also, citric acid was problematic (lead contamination in the early years) so acid phosphate was substituted. Take note that it wasn't pure phosphoric acid! It was partially neutralized phosphoric acid. Basic recipe would go something like simple syrup with a teaspoon of lemon oil and an ounce of acid phosphate. Acid phosphate went out of production decades ago, but I'm hoping to revive it shortly.
  7. I agree I was a little loose with the stats, but that was more to demonstrate a point that raw eggs aren't lethal. As for taste, I find powdered egg whites don't really taste any different, at least quality ones don't. At home I'll just use a raw egg, but for restaurants with neurotic managers the chances of getting a raw egg on the menu are slim to nil. Powdered stuff is easy and better than no eggs at all. The trick to using the powder is to pre-hydrate them and hit them with a stick blender. If you add alcohol, even low proof liqueurs, it will bind the proteins and create the lumpy mess. And alcohol below 67% is ineffective at killing bacteria. Lower alcohol levels can inactivate or halt bacterial growth. The problem arises when the bacteria make it into your digestive tract, and the alcohol levels decrease, the bacteria can begin reproducing. Having said that, people can actually build an immunity to salmonella if they are exposed to it enough (eat a raw egg everyday of your life and I doubt you'll ever get sick from eating a raw egg).
  8. dsoneil


    Two good methods of stabilizing oil / water emulsions (orgeat), are to use lecithin or maltodextrin. Lecithin can be found at health food stores, but it is best to use the liquid variety as some bulk lecithin contain additional, non-soluble compounds. Maltodextrin can be found a your local homebrew shop. It is a natural sugar, but isn't very sweet and rather flavourless. It helps to increase the viscosity of the orgeat, thereby making the emulsion more stable. It also helps by being a long chain organic which is soluble in water, but still interacts with the almond oil. Gum Arabic might help, since it does increase viscosity, but other than that I'm not sure how much it will help. Usually a combination of ingredients is the best approach.
  9. dsoneil


    Another good substitute for almonds are Brazil Nuts. At one point in time they were referred to as "milk nuts".
  10. After a little digging around, Potassium Sorbate / Sorbic Acid might do the trick. You can get it at your local wine making store and it's called "wine stabilizer". It prevents yeast and mold, which are your two concerns for simple syrup. You can also look at paraben's, which are naturally occuring in nature and have a long history of safe use. Methylparaben is found in blueberries. However, this additive may be harder to source. Cheers!
  11. Canadian whisky is one of those spirits that is popular because it aspires to be easy going and smooth. When introducing someone to whisky for the first time, you usually try to go easy on them. Canadian whisky is a great starting point, as is Irish whiskey. As for why it is popular is because of prohibition first and foremost. Second American whiskey (not bourbon) isn't very good. If you look at the laws for American whisky it is only required to contain 20% whiskey that has been aged for 2 years. It can include up to 80% unaged neutral grain spirit. This is a left over of prohibition because the American people demanded whisky, but there wasn't a lot of American whiskey to go around. Now, bourbon is a good whiskey, but for many years people weren't impressed. Younger bourbon can have an overbearing quality that makes people call it "fire water". Well aged bourbon is a fine spirit. Crown Royal is popular because it is a good whisky. It regularly makes the top ten list of the worlds most popular brands. If some people want to boycott Canadian whisky, fine, but aside from nationalistic interest, what's the point? Any experienced bartender knows that there are three things you never discuss behind the bar, and for review they are: 1. Religion 2. Family 3. Politics Making a particular spirit a point of contention between a bartender and their client is the same as talking politics or religion. As a bartender it is our job to serve drinks and provide guidance, but an out right boycott is playing politics.
  12. There are a couple of Canadian whiskies that are well worth the purchase. I'm really liking the Alberta Premium 25 Year Old 100% rye whisky. It sells for about $30 a bottle, a genuine steal for the age. If you can, pick up a bottle of Forty Creek, it regularly beats Crown Royal in taste test, and it's only $25 per bottle. There are three other whiskies that would make great gifts. Gibson's Finest Rare (18 Year) which sell for $40, very smooth, slightly sweet. Wiser's Very Old (18 year) which goes for $40 also. It has a deeper flavour with more of an charred oak flavour. And if you had your eye's set on Crown Royal, look at the Crown Royal Special Reserve, which is about $55 per bottle. Alberta Premium and Gibson's are probably the hardest to find outside of Canada. Hope that helps.
  13. I'm not a flairtender, but work on your memory. If you can only memorize one drink at a time it's rather pointless. At the very least you should be able to take a five cocktail order and make them without asking again. Also, make sure you know your prices and you should be able to calculate that five drink order in your head. That will save time running between the customer and the till.
  14. As for salty, a Dirty Martini would fit that description. I serve a lot of these for some reason. But people who enjoy salt and olives really go for them. I've been contemplating making a cocktail based on salt. Maybe something with a unique rock salt and some herb infusions. If people drink olive brine, how could this be worse. Dirty Martini 2 oz Vodka Dash Vermouth 1 Tsp Olive Brine Stir with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with an olive.
  15. From a bartenders perspective: First, when I handle food I always have clean hands because I wash then constantly. I also use that alcohol gel to keep clean. It's a two way street about cleanliness, I look out at my customers and see the great unwashed masses. So cleaning my hands is more for my protection, but it benefits the customers also. In certain places paying cash for each drink is a serious time killer. A service bar or club is fine, but most restaurants run tabs because it is more efficient and we can provide better overall service, for everyone. Plus I only have an $80 float so if someone pays with 4 $20's then my float gets eaten up pretty quickly. Learn your bartenders name, and then when you are ready to leave say"Hey Darcy, do you mind if I get my cheque?" Once you do that you will automatically be next in my list of things to do. Giving proper change is polite (i.e. $5, 5x$1). I'm not hinting, I really do expect you to tip me if I've provided good service. Remeber my hourly pay is crap (less than minimum and in some places about $2 per hour). It's the nature of the business, even though I personally don't like the tipping system, it's not going to change anytime soon. But if you want less than minimum wage service, you can have it if you don't tip, but don't complain. If I paid you $2 per hour I'm not sure you'd be all that friendly. If you want great service form a knowledgeable bartender than we need to provide you with the ability to tip properly (i.e. $5, 5x$1). Thank you. Transferring the tab is the bane of the bartender. The servers never (ever!) give you the fraction of the tip you did for the service. People are greedy and will take what they can get because there are no rules that states a server has to share their tips. The proper way to do it, is to tip the bartender and then subtract that tip from the final total tip out. Also, a lot of stuff is out of the control of the bartender because it's not our business. The owners/managers apply a lot of rules that we need to follow. The other stuff is training and experience. There are only a handful of decent bartending schools, but othert than those 90% of bartenders start of learning their skills from the bad habits of the bartenders who came before them.
  16. Behind the bar I "sell" my drinks with enthusiasm. You need to do the same when you have guests over. Come up with one cocktail (don't offer choices to start) and then talk about it like it's the best thing since rum and coke. Talk about where or how you came up with the drink. Curiosity always kills the cat. Then you need to deliver something that will appeal to them. If you serve a classic daiquiri with just rum, lime and a sugar rim you may be met with the"it's ok" and then the next day you may find a dead plant, smelling of rum, in your living room. Introduce them slowly, don't launch them into the cocktail world. Classic Singapore Slings and a real Mojito are great introductions. Partially because they are popular, but can be made so much better than most clubs / restaurants. Don't be afraid to teach them, especially when they make statements like the one about the lime premix. I use analogies at the bar, for example this is what I say to a wine drinker who scoffs at hand squeezing limes into cocktails: "So if I fermented some grape koolaid, would you call that a good wine?" It gets a smile and makes a solid point. As their palate opens up, they'll start requesting more unique drinks.
  17. I had the same question and went to some length to get an answer. I did a write up about it a couple of days ago on my blog, but here is a quick summary. 1. Rhum Agricole is made from fermented sugar cane juice not molasses 2. I find rhum to be very floral on the nose and dry to taste (straight) You can read the whole review here: Rhum Agricole - La Favorite
  18. The N2/Co2 systems are being used for almost all kegs in every bar I've worked. It's becoming a generic term to call this gas mixture "beer gas." So I can't see that as being the sole reason for the thickness associated with Guiness. Also, I've never seen a Guiness keg stored seperately from the other beer kegs. They keep all of the kegs in the same cooler. Also, in any of the bars I've worked there has never been a seperate draught tower for Guiness, it is always shared with other beers. I've had oatmeal stout and the head is very thick to start but it disappears eventually. With Guiness the head stays for way to long to not be artificially assited.
  19. Oh, sure, now you tell me! I haven't had a chance to try it straight yet; but, I can tell you, the 7 year makes a damn fine Cuban Manhattan (2 oz rum, .5 oz Cinzano Sweet, dash angostura, stir with ice to chill, strain into cocktail glass, and garnish with cherry). If you've got a bottle cluttering your shelf, I recommend it. ← I rarely sip rum straight, so for the most part I make cocktails out of whatever rum I have on hand. Havana Club 7 makes an excellent Mai Tai and works well in many other cocktails. You also can't beat the price.
  20. Some in the industry have stated that gelatin is used to stabilize the head and give Guinness the "extra" body. There are no laws against using these additives (except Germany).
  21. OK, that's what I thought. There is also a 15 and the XO. The 23 was the one I'm interested in. Let me know when you gather up enough people to get a case.
  22. A shot of bourbon would be considered, to some, as a "morning drink" but they might have a probelm. The Ramos Gin Fizz was considered a breakfast / brunch drink.
  23. You can count me in for this one. Which Zacapa are you looking at getting?
  24. Does anyone know where to get rhum agricole in Ontario? The LCBO doesn't seem to have any in their current inventory and if the LCBO doesn't have it, it is nearly impossible to get in Ontario. Ed mentioned that the LCBO may have inventory of products that aren't listed, has anyone tried that route? Otherwise, I'm close to the border with Michigan and New York (Niagara region) so does anyone know of a store that sell in these regions? I'm looking for Depaz or La Favorite Rhum. Thanks
  25. dsoneil

    Favorite Pilsners?

    If you can find it (only available in Canada) Steam Whistle is an excellent pilsner. The brewery makes just one beer and is constantly fine tuning it. Actually, I'm going to a Steam Whistle beer tasting, at the brewery, this week. Should be interesting. If you are ever in Toronto, take a tour of the brewery.
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