Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by TVC

  1. I've been checking out this UK TV series about a food journalist and comedian who drink and eat cuisines from different historical eras. This Youtube (start at 4:35) link shows head barman for the American Bar and Jared Brown discussing Prohibition era American cocktails. It seems like the two would know what they are talking about, so I blame the editing. The show certainly implies the cocktail was invented because of Prohibition. I've read Jared Brown before and he's written about 19th Century bartending previously, so again it must be the editing.

  2. How the Aquavit from he North Ogdenville distillery?


    i'm loving the linie but it would be great to taste an american take on aquavit.

    any aquavit cocktails in the savoy?

    I like Linie a lot, myself, but it may be some sort of genetic predisposition, being Norwegian and all.

    As far as American Aquavit goes, I find House Spirits Krogstad to be a bit heavy on the Star Anise for my taste and mixing preferences. But I like all the other North Shore products I've tried, so I'm willing to give it a whirl. Sadly, no Aquavit cocktails in the Savoy.

    Really pretty excited about the Ransom Old-Tom, as I've heard very good things about it from friends in the Pacific Northwest.

  3. The ice, as one might expect, is outstanding.  They have twice-weekly deliveries of crystal clear 30 pound blocks of ice, which are broken down into lumps and pieces of various sizes and configurations depending on how it will be used.

    Am I correct in understanding that this is different/better ice than that used in the other Petraske-related places? Do any other bars in the city work off big blocks of ice like that?

    Prime Meats in Carroll Gardens and Jack The Horse in Brooklyn Heights chip from block ice, although I don't think from anywhere nearly as mammoth as the one shown in Mr. Kinsey's photo.

  4. I wonder if you could contact a domestic brewer who is making cask conditioned ales. Cambridge Brewing Co. in Mass. had this...


    Another idea, find a small new oak barrel and first make your own sherry using a home wine making kit. Of course that may not be worth the time and expense or if it would even yield acceptable results.

    A Gary Regan article from 2001 about the high demand for sherry casks.


  5. Southwark in Philly has these Ryes listed on their website, which looks like it hasn't been updated in a while.


    Black Maple Hill 23 year

    Hirsch 12 year Canadian

    Isaiah Morgan unaged

    Michter's 10 year

    Old Overholt

    Old Potrero Hotalings

    Sazerac 18 year

    Thomas H. Handy

    Wild Turkey

    Black Maple Hill 18 year

    Hirsch 10 year Canadian

    Hirsch 13 year

    Hirsch 21 year

    Jim Beam

    Michter's US-1

    Old Potrero 18th Century

    Pikesville Supreme

    Rittenhouse 100º

    Rittenhouse 21 year

    Rittenhouse 23 year

    Russell's Reserve

    Rye One

    Sazerac 6 year

    Tuthilltown Manhattan Rye

  6. I also have been making my saturated simple syrups in the microwave.  I just put the sugar and water into the bottle I am going to be using, set the microwave to "reheat" and turn it off when the water comes to a boil.  Then all you have to do is let the bottle cool and you're all set.  Meanwhile, you have sterilized the bottle and its contents.

    Isn't this making an invert sugar, Sam?

    I thought making an inverted simple syrup required adding an acid to reconfigure the sugar to fructose and glucose components? A baker friend was telling me this is done in making fondant.

  7. I think we can give Rachel Maddow a pass for not using homemade grenadine. If she were pushing a cocktail book or representing a bar, I'd be more critical but the context is that she is a cocktail fan. It also looks like New York Magazine arranged to do a quick shoot at her studios, so there may have not been enough time or planning to make a totally proper Jack Rose, i.e. tracking down Lairds BIB or going into detail about how to make homemade grenadine. Compare the Rachel Maddow video to Mark Bittman (who actually represents himself as a culinary professional) and see exactly why the latter is so irksome.


  8. Does anybody have a good place to order custom ice trays for large-format ice?  2in by 2in cubed or 1in by 1in by 4in?  Things like that.

    Container Store sells compartmental boxes. It works well for making big ice, although it's clearly not designed for such a purpose and hence can be somewhat frustrating removing the ice from hard plastic.

  9. All of this is beside my original point, though, which is: what makes celebrities experts in cocktails?

    Wow. Really, you take issue with this? I don't think cocktails have been better represented by a celebrity since William Powell in the Thin Man movies. She's obviously into it (she had me at "Measure...trust me you owe it to the liquor").

  10. When does a cocktail depart so far from its namesake that a new name is needed? I ask this in light of an article in the Saturday Globe and Mail (sadly, unavailable online) about a new Toronto cocktail hotspot called Barchef.

    Here is a photo of their "Cold Smoked Manhattan". I wonder how the imbiber gets around the giant shards of sharp, pointy ice?

  11. Stopped by PDT on Sunday, not being mindful it was Mr. Iuzzini's shift. I sat at the bar and found him prompt and courteous. Nate Dumas from Clover Club was also behind the stick. He made me a sherry drink called "The Crossing" from his entry for the Vinos de Jerez Cocktail Competition. Delicous.

    I'll repeat:  Johnny is Johnny Iuzzini, the most famous pastry chef in New York.  One of the most famous in the world.  He moonlights at PDT on Sundays, to learn bartending.

    His attitude, as reported, is inexcusable.  But it's not like he's some random barguy they picked up somewhere.

  12. So, this may or may not be considered shilling but the supper club my wife and I host (rather sporadically) is in a bit of a bind.

    It's for this Saturday, December 20. Usually we have all seats filled within hours of announcing an event but due to hectic schedules of our day jobs, and the chef being from out-of-state, and procuring a whole lamb from Connecticut, we were forced to host the dinner on the day it seems like everyone in New York has a holiday party, so we've experienced several canceled reservations. It's also perhaps a bit of a difficult menu for many, it being lamb and one of the courses being offal.

    We'd simply postpone but the thing is we've been dry aging a lamb, slaughtered and culled by our friend Dave from White Gate Farm. It's a sin to let the lamb go to waste. I'm thinking I'm not knowledgeable enough to butcher and segment the animal to freeze or to give away.

    So...if anyone's interested, here are the details. The chef received a James Beard nomination this year and the lamb looks beautiful. Please email peerless@peerlessplatters.com or go to

    http://www.peerlessplatters.com/blog/ to make a reservation.

    In the event that we decide to call off, can anyone recommend a way to get the lamb off our hands? We ourselves will be out of town, starting Monday.

    Thank you

    White Gate Farm Holiday Lamb Menu

    Menu prepared by Chef Steven Cameron, & Chef Indira Wiegand

    20 December 08


    $100 per person


    lamb tartare, bird in nest


    lamb offal, girolle wide noodles, dry jack


    natural lamb, roasted red chicory, honey garlic mayo


    roasted lamb leg, lamb sausage, cauliflower white bean puree, citrus relish


    lamb bacon, winter greens, straw potato, lime truffle vinaigrette


    chocolate pecan tart with bourbon cream

    *Complimentary glass of wine or cocktail is included

    **In addition you are welcome to bring your own wine selection, no corking fee as always.

    ***Reservations are limited for this special evening, and are first come first serve.


    Cocktails will be available before and after dinner for an additional charge.

    Email peerless@peerlessplatters.com to learn how to make a reservation.

  13. I heard Dale DeGroff say much the same thing regarding the extra step of "dry shaking" egg white drinks. He commented that the extra step sacrifices expediency and has quipped something to the effect that it is superfluous artistry (my interpretation). Dale Degroff dealt with serious high volume during his time at the Rainbow Room and Hotel Bel Air. I can't imagine annoying Sinatra's entourage or Harry Nillson with jiggery and emulsifying. Dale's emphasis is service (and fresh ingredients), not necessarily Harold McGee and precision technique.

    My experience and observation are that the use of jiggers does not adversely affect service in the hands of experienced bartenders with an efficient mis en place (always the key, isn't?). I'd add that it is the job of the establishment to set the expectation of that $12 drink at high volume. It needs to either emphasize service-at-peak-hours or the bespoke, artisanal thing. Crowd control (seating only) or providing other support during peak hours (batched cocktails, barback staffing, wine & beer options etc.) can also factor into straddling both goals. Taking shortcuts in consistency should not be the option.

    This jiggery vs. skilled free pouring thing has been popping up in conversations lately. As a bartender and cocktail customer, I have to say that I am a firm believer in the former. A careful, conscientious bartender who is left the option to free pour, will deliver quality when it comes to highball drinks and even Manhattans but I think it's a slippery slope when the next drink order is a Brooklyn or Improved Whiskey Cocktail or Aviation. I think, from the bartender's perspective, that it's easy to find yourself making a series of judgments and guesses during a busy service...and that's when consistency really matters.

  14. Where in Brooklyn is the event? I would try BQE liquors at (718) 389-3833. I think they deliver within the borough, their prices are inexplicably cheap and they have a decent selection of cocktailian faves like Rittenhouse BIB, Lairds BIB, Luxardo and the such.

    For juices, you may want to consider Manhattan Fruit Exchange at the Chelsea Market. They sell fresh lemon, lime, grapefruit and orange juices by the quart.

  15. Clover Club is serious. I was just a barback there and I'm a BAR graduate! It was a pleasure working in an environment like that, even just on that level. Julie and Giuseppe don't overlook any detail, I can account for that.

    I'm going to recount something that happened last night at Clover Club, just in case anyone reading this thread doesn't know how Serious Cocktail Bars work.

    I was there with H. du Bois.  We each had ordered our first two drinks from the menu.  As we were drinking each drink, the bartender -- I can't remember his name; he's excellent but not, I think, a city-wide "name" (yet) -- lightly asked us how and why we liked it.

    For my third drink, I asked the bartender to make whatever he thought I'd like using a base liquor I noticed they had that I was eager to try (Hayman's Old Tom Gin).  Meanwhile, H. had gone to the lady's room.  (I'm not sure she's going to appreciate my going into this much detail.)  When she returned, she asked the bartender for some drink she'd seen on the menu.  He said that he'd already made her something else he was certain she'd like more.  And at least according to H., it was perfect.

    That's the value of a Serious Cocktail Bar.  And that's why there's all this mania about going off-menu.  It's like an omakase at a first-class sushi bar, where the chef makes the meal up as he goes along, based on your reactions to each dish.

  16. That's true. I know St. John Frizell is opening a place on Red Hook later this year called Fort Defiance. It's also a matter of time that folks like Phil Ward will have their own places too. I know LeNell hopes to have a place too.

    The reality of the situation is that, as interest in cocktails grows, poseur cocktail bars will proliferate.  That's bad, but not entirely bad.  The reason it's not entirely bad is that one real cocktail bar comes along with every ten poseur cocktail bars.  If there are a hundred poseur cocktail bars, that makes for ten real cocktail bars.  Not only that, but plenty of drinkers and bartenders graduate from the poseur places to the real places.  Percentage-wise not that many, perhaps, but enough so that real cocktailian bartenders can make a living and real cocktail bars can continue to be profitable.

  17. This discussion makes me wonder where we are now in terms of developing emerging talent. In the relative early days of the NYC cocktail revival, it seems like a small group of enthusiasts bonded together over a shared obsession. The industry was, and I guess still is, very fraternal. Five years ago, anyone even expressing an interest in old cocktail books, bitters and fresh juices probably would have (I'm theorizing here) easily found a home on either side of the bar. So Audrey would have been chatting with you as a customer for hours or a young bartender who showed curiosity in classic cocktails would have been swooped up or sought out to be behind the stick. There was just not many people into this at the time.

    Now the cocktail scene has become more institutionalized and it has merged with foodie/restaurant culture. How many people attended Tales this year compared to two years ago? Don't know the numbers but it seems like this is blowing up nationally. This brings us to an interesting place and time wherein many restaurants or second tier cocktail bars create more avenues for cocktailian bartenders but at the same time doesn't quite quite guarantee those spaces are going to the most passionate or talented. Julie, Audrey, Sasha, Jim Meehan, Dave Kaplan & Phil Ward certainly hire bartenders who are entirely serious about the craft. However, that still leads to a very exclusive and minor membership in terms of developing new talent.

    These second tier places are often staffed by hacks, honestly. Waistcoats and mustaches aside, I lot of these folks are not at all committed at anywhere near the level of the "Top 5". At least it's real hit or miss. I've been to places with Kold Draft and bitters on the bar, and have gotten a sazerac shaken on the rocks with an orange. I have even been told "well we really don't get too geeky, we just want to do a couple of things right and have a cool place for people to chill".

    I wonder if, despite the growing popularity of cocktails, we're leaving a very exciting time and entering a pretty co-opted, mediocre one. At least in this market.

  18. I agree and I have learned a vast amount sitting across from the likes of Phil, Alex, Brian, and Joaquin. Much of this topic is contextual. If someone makes their way to D&C or PDT, the role of the bartender is not to slam out Bacardi & Cokes and Stoli Sodas. I've sat at both of those bars wherein a customer won't even glance at the menu and then orders a vodka tonic. It's bewildering as to why such a person would make a point to know about such a place (as it's very unlikely they simply walked by). Would someone sit at Momofuku and shove aside the menu and ask for a chicken sandwich instead? To their credit, the bartenders always engage the person and explain what they do and would be happy to make a drink to their tastes.

    In other environments, a good bartender is still obligated to read people well. If someone is at the bar to meet with friends and the beverage menu is not what made them come to the establishment and they confidently order a Ketel One martini - extra dirty, or a lite beer then that's what they want and that's what they should get if that's what the house sells. They didn't come in to participate in a cocktailian dialogue or to expand their imbibing horizons. However, a good bartender (who cares about his/her craft), even in a "regular bar" situation should engage those who are undecided or are looking for something to suit their particular mood. This is the type who scan the beer and wine list, dismiss it and then their eyes start looking at the bottles on the back bar. This is when one would inject a "what are you in the mood for"? They are looking for guidance and this is where product knowledge and a strong mental cocktail database can direct someone away from the mediocre.

  19. So what are those interesting and somewhat elaborate cocktails that you used to showcase the mad skillz and impress the tongue?

    It depends on what kind of non-cocktail bar we're talking about of course but I've had success with having the makings of a southside, a sazerac and a daiquiri on hand for that person who is curious about cocktails. A southside (with muddled cucumber) is not intimidating, very refreshing, and very good at communicating the role fresh ingredients play in a good drink. It's a great alternative to the mojito and a good gateway to gin. It's also easy to batch it ahead a time and bottle it for busier periods. For the spirit forward, the sazerac is always my standby. The sazerac has prostelitizing powers over the uninitiated. It certainly gives one the chance to show multiple techniques and babble on about the rich history of the American cocktail. Buy some sugar cubes and if absinthe isn't available at the bar, bring some from home and keep it in a three dollar atomizer. A daiquiri with fresh lime and good balance has the benefit of transforming the notions of how drastic a difference there is between a good daiquiri and the slushies that folks may be more accustomed to.

    A well dressed bartender (waistcoats and whatnot) is entirely contextual. In certain neighborhood or restaurant bar environments it can visually communicate as effectively as fresh citrus and bitters bottles on the bar. Personally, I can't pull it off at my current employ, as proper attire interferes with my ability to toss drunks out onto the street during later, rowdier shifts.

  • Create New...