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Everything posted by evo-lution

  1. I see where you're going with that but I still think it's looking to a specific region for a particular flavour profile. Glengoyne, for example, is a West Highland malt that has no peat flavour at all and is in a completely different ball-park to the likes of Ardbeg, Laphroaig and Lagavulin... I can recommend Lagavulin 'Margaritas' with the 16yo, Grand Marnier, Apricot Brandy and fresh lime juice if you are looking for an excuse to sip some Lagavulin!
  2. Financial issues with their owner CPL Financial mean that Angostura Aromatic hasn't been made for the best part of a year (from what I've learnt) and isn't due to be available again until next February. A friend of mine kindly snapped up a number of bottles from a liquor store in northern Scotland the other day... I've also been working on a few small batches of Aromatic Bitters on the request of a couple of bars with some very promising results so far.
  3. All great choices there Chris... Couple of new additions over the last few weeks include Glengoyne 12yo Cask Strength, Royal Lochnagar 12yo (to replace my last bottle) and Glen Garioch Founder's Reserve. All highly recommended. The readily available whisky in Scotland more than makes up for the crap weather...
  4. Definitely worth checking out if you can get your hands on it and are a fan of Black Bottle and the like...
  5. I've discovered that this is a big problem with people when it comes to whisky in that they try and pigeon hole an expected flavour profile into a specific region. It's true that every region generally has a stamp of a particular profile but it's wrong to look at a sole region for that profile as you will find gems in other regions that give you exactly what you're looking for. For example, there's some fantastic smoked/peated malts from the Highlands that are definitely worth checking out, and even in Speyside something like the BenRiach Curiositas will give you what you're looking for without being an Islay malt...
  6. I have to ask, curiousity killed the cat, why this drink over others would be the most significant?
  7. As you say, this is not freepouring so this isn't what I was talking about. You're looking at it with a very simplistic view to be honest, I'm intirgued to know why a bartender couldn't accurately freepour 1/4 or 1/2 ounces? I'm also intrigued to know if you'd have a problem with freepouring bars measuring smaller amounts but freepouring the rest?!? A good freepouring bar will have in place a top quality program (I'm not sure if you've ever came across one before as you're being very?). A top qulaity freepouring bar would not have different pourspouts, so that's an invalid point. They'd also practice regularly with bottles filled to varying levels, and using liquidss of varying viscosity, fruit juices are generally kept in similar bottles however freepouring with store&pours and the like can be practised as well. A freepouring bar is a real World bar, believe it or not. GThe same mistakes that shappen in these happen in every measuring bar as well. Again, it's a fallacy to think that measuring is faultless or less likely to be faultless. Simply put, it comes down to the individual more than anything. Again I ask the question of those on here that are dead against freepouring if they've ever practised their measuring technique using jiggers?!? And I also have to ask how some of these factors do not effect a bartender that is measuring? If anything it could be argued that a measuring bartender is likely to be more lackadaisical as they have more confidence on the pour and aren't focusing 100%. The answer to that is that it comes down to the individual again though... *Just to clarify, I'm not saying you're right or wrong but just asking these questions because you're talking very matter of fact yet the points you're putting across to back up what you're saying don't fit and are hollow to be perfectly fair. You say there's no way a freepouring bartender could win the 'contest' but what makes you say that? I'm curious to know what you've done/experienced by way of testing to make you so sure of this... All the things that would make a freepouring bartender make a mistake would be there to make a measuring bartender mess up as well. As for the point regarding the count method, like it or not, measuring bartenders are also counting, so the likelihood of messing up is just as high. Absolutely agree, as I've mentioned earlier I'm an advocate of both methods, it's simply a case of implementing a system that works for that specific venue. I have to wholeheartedly disagree with the first sentence as I find it hypocritical to question the hard-shake and ask whether a drink made using that method could be picked out in a blind-tasting, but for you to then advocate measuring over freepouring and say that it doesn't follow to be able to pick out a freepoured drink over a measured drink in a blind-tasting? That just doesn't make sense to me, the rules should be the same as we're ultimately talking about the taste of the end product... A big influence of the taste of a cocktail (in my opinion) is the experience surrounding it. The hard-shake adds to a drink as it's alleged to do something that a regular shake doesn't. Instantly it's got a mystique and intrigue, so if it's Kazuo Ueda making the drink then we believe we're going to get something special. Likewise if it's Stanislav Vadrna, we have an expectation as he worked under this mysterious Japanese bartender. Now we have the bartenders in Seattle who've been taught some secrets from Japan by both Stan and Kazuo, so instantly we believe they've learnt a secretive way to make the perfect cocktail. Whether or not it's true, I'll let the story improve the taste of the drink I'm making, whether we like it or not it does make a difference, that's why we're here posting on egullet. In much the same way that the best Mai Tai I've ever had was the one that used some of the last remaining Wray & Nephew 17yo in the World, or those that've been lucky enough to imbibe a Brandy Crusta made with original Boker's Bitters, or those that've had Peter Dorelli's Martini in the American Bar at the Savoy, or... You get the point. I don't want to blind-taste any of these drinks. That wouldn't give me a full appreciation of the drink in my hand. I want the experience. Every single lastdrop of it. And you can add a drink that's been hard-shaken by Kazuo Ueda to that list.
  8. Just out of curiousity, how many have actually tested themselves using jiggers to see if they can pour accurately? Likewise with free-pouring, do the sceptics really know the level of testing that is usually put in practice in a bar that has a quality free-pouring program in place? I'm an advocate of both techniques, like most things they work if adhered to and practised properly, however it's a fallacy to believe that everyone using jiggers/measures is pouring accurately unless you are either practising regularly and/or taking real time and care to be as accurate as possible. The thing that interests me regarding free-pouring versus measuring is the aspect of blind-tasting/variables that is brought up when it comes to other criteria of bartending (for example, the hard shake discussion in this thread). Could those that question free-pouring over measuring pick out a free-poured cocktail over a measured cocktail if blind tasted?
  9. As I mentioned earlier, maybe YOU don't need to see the bottles as you know about them all, but there are those that don't know and would like to see them. It's a practical way of working if the bar is set-up in such a way that it has to be done. Using the Martini as an example; if the Tanqueray (let's say Tanq. 10 as an example) is kept on the backbar and Noilly Prat is in the fridge, it makes sense to turn round once, grab them both, and place them on your station. If you're selling loads then you'd have the Tanq. 10 in your rail but if you don't then they'd be on the backbar. Ultimately, as I mentioned before, it's determined by the style of bar and its set-up. No more, no less. I know for a fact that this is a practical way of working that is used by some very good bartenders in very good bars all over the World, so there's something in this method. That's why speedrails are called speedrails, preaching to the converted here dude... Your assumption about bar design/set-up is correct. I personally try to implement a two foot rule on the bars I'm involved with, where everything should be within two foot of the bartender's reach/station, within reason of course. I can think of a vast number of drinks that I assume would require more than one bottle from the backbar; it's just not practical to keep some bottlings in the rail, and there are some that need to be kept in the fridge. Again, this may be the case with yourself but for other people, in other bars, in other cities, it's a completely different story. You're forgetting that New York has an established cocktail culture along with the other cocktail capitals, but most other cities are still in the development stages. They are the exception to the rule, the parameters of their business are very different than most Western bars. There are bars in Tokyo where you'll find more bartenders than guests... You've assumed something here, possibly because of the way I've described it (if so that's my mistake), but it's not a correct assumption; A trip to the backbar wouldn't be a ten minute walk, it's a simple case of putting my arm/s behind me (no footsteps required) and grabbing the bottles I need, then placing them on the station I am working on (not setting up a display, simply placing them down so the label is forward facing, this can be done in one simple move), pouring the spirit, returning the bottles, then serving the drink. This is what I can do on the bar I work on just now, and it works perfectly. Other bars have had room in the speedrail for practically everything, others have had little speedrail space, others have had individual backbars, others have had shared backbars, and so on, so forth. I could get into all sorts of discussion about bar set-ups and the like, but the simple fact is what works for Flatiron/Clover Club/Pegu Club wouldn't necessarily work for Tender in Ginza, or Yatai in Aberdeen, or The Connaught in London. Likewise what works in these bars wouldn't necessarily work in theirs. As mentioned earlier it solely depends on the way the bar is set-up and what purpose the bar is serving which will determine whether or not this a practical system. It works for some, it won't work for others. Maybe I'm reading your post wrong, but there are busy cocktail bars outwith New York you know. Going further; Do they serve coffee? Wine? Food at the bar? Is it solely a bar? It a restaurant as well? How many covers? Barbacks? Table service? Cocktail waitstaff? And so on... It's not just about how many cocktails you make a minute which determines whether or not you're busy...
  10. You're way too cynical Sam! There are a lot of people out there that have a passion for drinks but don't know about the vast number of spirits that are used in cocktails. Correct me if I'm wrong, but don't you go to these bars for these high-class spirits? If the bartender sets them on the bar does it REALLY make a difference to you? It makes perfect sense to do this from a bar/bartender perspective as it means that only one trip is made to the backbar to gather all the bottles for a specific drink (unless the bar has all their bottles in a speedrail). It also allows the guest to see exactly what is going into their drink and more often than not will allow the bartender and guest to converse with each other about the cocktail. Ultimately it depends on the set-up of the bar though. Speed and volume are important to all bars, empty seats don't put cash in the till after all, however it depends on the way the bar is set-up which will determine whether or not this a practical system. I've worked in some pretty busy bars where I've been able to do this without affecting speed of service. One trip to the backbar, grab all the bottles, place them on my station, make the drink, take them all back...
  11. I have to be honest, whilst I know where you're coming from in this paragraph, it's a bit ridiculous to be fair. Isn't what you describe what separates the best bartenders from the rest? Talking about blind tasting and so on is a bit daft as well as we don't visit bars to blind taste cocktails unless we're attending a tasting. We go to specific bars at specific times to drink specific cocktails served by specific bartenders. All of which adds to the taste of the final product. The variables you speak of are determined by yourself at the end of the day...
  12. I am well aware that expectations have an effect, which is what I alluded to in an earlier post when I spoke about the show adding to the experience. What I was questioning was your statement regarding 'people who don't want to wait around while a label is turned toward them' as I really don't think it bears any relevance to the topic in hand. There's a lot of things in the World that a lot of people don't or won't appreciate, it doesn't mean we shouldn't do it though... I've not said there's anything wrong with it as what you've said in this paragraph is a matter of fact, hence why I said this earlier; "An average drink served great can taste amazing, a great drink served badly will taste awful".
  13. Yes, you're exactly right, but those people you mention (in bold) are not the people in question here are they? I don't really understand your point to be honest. I'd be very surprised if someone rocked up to Tender in Ginza and started bleating that they hadn't gotten their drink in 30 seconds, I'd actually bet money that it'd be the opposite. Should the Japanese change their way just because someone can't wait an extra minute for their drink?!? Should we just stop serving drinks that take that extra little bit of time?!? It's the same in every high-end bar from London, to Paris, to New York. The fact is, those who are likely to go out of their way to sit at that bar will have their experience enhanced by the way the Japanese do things. You may walk away with more questions than answers, but doesn't that add something to the experience? Regarding the labels point you bring up (having them face a guest), that's something I instill in bartenders when training. The bar should be set-up in such a way so that every time the liquor is poured, a beer is opened, etc., the label is facing the guest. It doesn't slow down service in any way so I don't see the relevance of this point either. I agree, my only gripe with that video is the fact that it's poured right to the rim, but that's being pedantic for the sake of being pedantic. However, there's no way I'd be spilling that drink, no way! Anyways, it's a great video which is the ying to the yang of the other video posted in this thread.
  14. If you were to watch the many videos with Western bartenders, the consistency would soon drop as well... Regarding drink quality, there can be no doubt that the ice that Japanese bartenders use would enhance a drink and that the hard shake would give you a well mixed and chilled cocktail, however that goes for pretty much any drink that's shaken hard enough. The video you single out is baffling (regarding the semi-chilled glass then allowing it to warm) but there are many videos where similar bad practices happen so it may just be one of those as I've seen Japanese bartender videos where the glass is chilled adequately (i.e with sparkling water and ice or in a freezer) so I wouldn't say it's fair to judge based on that. Regarding the show aspect, this definitely adds to any experience which will only enhance the drink. Looking at it from a working bartender's perspective, a show can take a drink up a level. If you serve a Blue Blazer in a room full of people, it's going to blow them away, on your own in the kitchen, it doesn't have the same effect. Unless of course you like burning stuff... Remember; "An average drink served great can taste amazing, a great drink served badly will taste awful". To summarise, for every hundred videos which makes you think, "they could do better", you get one like this which makes you think, "I want that drink right now..." Also, regarding the blogger's point about the Gimlet tasting "a bit light", there's so much we don't know about the way it was served that makes it hard to judge a man on that. What is the correct ratio for a Gimlet? Cheers, Adam
  15. I've been reading/studying/watching/enquiring a lot about 'the Japanese Way' recently as I've been consulting for a Japanese restaurant. I highly recommend looking into the Japanese Tea Ceremony which I think will answer a lot of your questions in a roundabout way as a lot of it crosses over to cocktail making in my opinion... There's a lot to be learnt and understood regarding 'the Japanese Way', some of which is extremely useful in the West. There are a lot of misconceptions from what I've seen though which comes down to a misunderstanding. The one thing that I've taken from it more than anything is the ideology that 'everything should be questioned, everything has a purpose, and everything should be understood'. Likewise I think the Japanese could take a lot from the West to improve what they're doing...
  16. Should've really posted this in here; Bottled the first batch of my new bitters this week (just waiting on a run of labels); 20 bottles are already going to the US and 20 bottles will be staying on this side of the pond (UK), with a larger batch soon to follow. If you've ever tried Dandelion & Burdock (Fentiman's have a great bottling) you'll get the idea of the intense/complex flavour profile I've been trying to capture in bitter formula (without the sweetness): floral, earthy, woody, aniseed, citrus, spice, muscovado, liquorice, malt, honey... Very, very happy with the final product although I'll be looking for any/all feedback to improve them where possible.
  17. I bottled the first batch of my new bitters this week (just waiting on a run of labels;
  18. See my post. So long as you regularly change the water for the sprigs (every couple of hours) and keep the leaves chilled/damp you'll have no problems (shaker half filled with ice, sandwich bag pushed into it the way you put a black bag in a bin, elastic round the tin to keep in place, fill with leaves). Regarding stems, I find they have a slightly bitter flavour as well as the mint flavour so would advise against using them pressed within the drink.
  19. What many people forget when it comes to herbs/etc. is that they're dealing with a living thing which is at its best when alive (fresh in other words), so that's the key... I spent a bit of time working out the best way to store mint and have found a lot of success with the following methods; A great way to wash and bring mint leaves (specifically packaged) back to life is to shock them in an ice bath for a minute or two before picking/stemming. Pick the older leaves (from the base of the sprig) and put them into a sandwich bag and keep them in/on an ice bath in a shaker/glass. As long as you change the ice regularly this'll keep well on your bar counter or next to your ice well. For slower service, store them in a container which has a damp napkin at the base as well as covering the leaves (alternatively wrap them in a damp cloth if it won't slow service too much). For mint garnishes, use the younger/fresher leaves at the top of the stems (these have a brighter floral aroma ideal for garnishes), trim the stems so they're about two/three inches long (with around 4-8 leaves on top), bunch them together to make a little mint bouquet and place them in a glass with a little water at the bottom covering the lower part of the stem, similar to the way you'd keep flowers. Change the water regularly.
  20. Great news! Let us know your thoughts and if you come up with any recipes then please share them with us. I'll do my best.
  21. I slammed the open side of the tray down onto a clean towel which loosened the cubes then transferred them into another container for storage. EDIT - Meant to add, the partitions in this tray aren't joined on to the outside of it so this makes it easier to remove the cubes as the whole center of it drops out. There is a tiny amount of water that gets through the gaps between each partition but it's so brittle that it basically break off when you slam the tray down. I'm going to try dipping the tray into hot water briefly which I imagine will also loosen up the cubes. I'll upload some pics as soon as...
  22. I'm working on an ice program just now for a consultancy and have had a lot of success using this as a cubed ice mould tray. The cubes come out at around 2" square. Alternatively I've had success with similar organising trays which you'd find in toolshops, fishing tackle shops and the like. Experimenting with other alternative moulds at the moment, will post when I have positive results.
  23. Except that is wasn't a sour (citrus is the primary accent), it was a cocktail (bitters are the primary accent). In a day where a Crown and Coke is considered by many a "cocktail" it is important to remember that the term once had a very strict definition (which we all know, of course--I have not been trying to imply any ignorance on anyone's part) and there does not seem to have been a lot of crossover, at least until the turn of the 20th century.
  24. Again, I'm aware of the definition, as I alluded to in my last post. The four drinks in question (Cock-tail, Crusta, Sour and Bittered Sour) are too closely related for me to accept that there was 100+ years between a Whisk(e)y Crusta and a Bittered Sour. I'm looking at it in the way that a bartender would see the similarities between a Crusta and Sour and add some bitters to their Sour. It may well be the case that this wasn't done but I can't really comprehend that it was. I don't agree that it's counterproductive in the slightest as there was a drink containing whisk(e)y, lemon juice and bitters in existence (albeit it also contained curacao).
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