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  1. I think it is important not to take the "cocktails as liquid cuisine" tagline too literally. While similar to cooking, there are of course some significant differences between the two. However I feel it is specifically because of my culinary training that when I moved from wine into cocktails that it was almost a religious experience. I had spent years researching wines and training my palate, as well as working with wine and food pairing, seeing that as just part of what I needed to know about. When I first "really" got into cocktails however, the thing that struck me the most was how much li
  2. Absolutely! I often describe the bar is the "original" Chef's table. Where the customer sits in a place where they can watch everything the chef (bartender) is doing as they prepare orders for all customers. They can also interact with the chef, which they could not easily do if they took a seat at the table, and they can directly ask the chef questions and get specific recommendations. I totally agree. It can be easy to slip into "cliquish" behavior, and often that is a natural, but temporary, progression of somebody who gets into the "cocktailian" mindset. When you initially realize that yo
  3. Well... now there you are getting into what I'm planning on for my next book :->At the core however is what I have been recommending for years, which is that somebody take "a" cocktail which they like, and simply focus on making that at home. This is how I first got my start. It was with the Sidecar. I ran across an online recipe (via Hotwired's "Cocktail" website, with content provided by Paul Harrington), and on my way home that night picked up the ingredients I needed. Next, I looked around in other recipe books and online, and found other variations of the Sidecar, and over the next wee
  4. You raise a very good point. When it comes right down to it, bars are in business to sell the products their customers want. If everybody wants to drink Apple-tinis then all bars will serve it. I think it is important to think of the landscape available to bars as the same as the landscape of restaurant possibilities. We need to have a broad variety to choose from, since everybody is different. Restaurants can do different ethnic cuisines, or different levels of $ervice, or cater to large crowds or small romantic dinners, or quick bites, or long elaborate meals, or vegitarian, or exotic game,
  5. It is important to remember, that when cocktails first entered the scene, the products available to the average bartender could fit in a suitcase. Brandy, Gin, Whiskey, Rum, syrup, curacao, bitters, orgeat, and perhaps a couple other cordials and syrups. Today, the number of ingredients is almost mind blowing. And there are new products coming out all of the time... not that all of them are necessarily worthwhile. Products like St-Germain show that there are still "new" products that are possible, and Canton shows that a renewed interest can bring back some products.... and just wait for "Forb
  6. While there is still a huge wasteland of ignorance regarding cocktails out there, I think we are already seeing a lot of momentum towards "culinary" cocktails, and bartenders who strive to really perfect their art and progress it forward. With others at the Museum of the American Cocktail, and through projects like Small Screen Network, Tales of the Cocktail, discussion forums like this, and the various other resources which are evangelizing great cocktails, we all play a role in pushing on the envelope. Bars and restaurants are essentially just providing their customers with what they think t
  7. Bars have gone through large changes over time. The bar of today got its start from roadhouses or lodges which provided travelers with rest and nurishment on their journey. In the Pre-prohibition days, bars and saloons were mostly male establishments where they would gather and either hold meetings and conduct business, or simply drink away the days worries. It was during prohibition that women became welcome into bars and "speakeasies". So that is at least one thing we can thank prohibition for. As for the "perfect" bar, a lot depends on exactly what role the bar wants to play and what sort o
  8. When I was first getting into cocktails, it was at home, where I worked through many of the classic recipes an learned how great they could be. Of course, on my next trip to a bar, I ordered one of these drinks that I had grown so accustomed to. I was constantly dissappointed with what I was served. They were downright terrible. I eventually came to the conclusion there was no longer any such thing as a "good" bartender, they were all simply bottle-jockeys now, being trained in their craft with colored water and set loose on an unsuspecting public. I then had a chance to meet with Colin Field,
  9. Several questions have stacked up while I was in meetings today, I'll make a point of answering them individually instead of grouping answers to several people together into one post. And I've got to run out in a moment for "Repeal Day" Festivities, so any I don't get to right now, I'll answer tomorrow. The exerpt above doesn't fully reveal the book I've written. It is sort of a combination of "general guidance and advice" and a "recipe collection", split just about 50/50. I've targeted this book mostly toward beginning cocktail enthusiasts, but hopefully with enough information that even the
  10. It seems to me that one of the joys of sitting at the bar with a top cocktailian bartender is that they play so many roles: executive chef, line cook, maitre'd, and -- yes -- sommelier. Tom Schlesinger-Guidelli at Eastern Standard is one of many good folks out there who have walked me through appropriate choices for different foods or moods. ← It can be easily argued that there are many bartenders who more than fill the shoes of being the "sommelier" to their cocktailian customers. My point, which perhaps didn't quite come across, was that the "sommelier" is not only a staple of many fine
  11. You're right! It "Ought To Be". Unfortuanately it isn't... to the best of my knowledge it's the same "oil mix" they have been selling in Europe for a while, and while far, far, better than "Hills", it is a poor excuse for a true Absinthe. I've had the European version and it is rather sad :-<
  12. And as for details about my book in particular... It will be a general purpose cocktail book, but of course with my own perspective throughout. It is 224 pages, with lots and lots of color photos. We had Chad Solomon and Christy Pope in New York work with the photographer to make sure the cocktails were all accurately made and well presented, I felt that this was an important component for the book. It is hardcover, with a concealed wire binding. In the first half of the book I pontificate, as I am want to do, about the basics and details about whats important for making great cocktails. I tri
  13. This has been a fun project. I've been working with Greg/MudPuddle on both my upcoming book as well as various aspects of this collection of classic reprints. He's already got the "second wave" of books almost ready to go, it's pretty exciting that things came together so well to allow this to happen. For Greg, this is a labor of love. He wanted to make sure the books were as high quality as possible, and as inexpensive as possible. He'll have many of these titles (but not all, since they aren't all yet back from the printers yet) at Tales of the Cocktail in July. -Robert
  14. Ed, no need for large pockets. Just pick up some small "eye-dropper" bottles like this: http://capricornslair.stores.yahoo.net/12ozamglasbo1.html (or even smaller) I regularly carry Peychaud, Orange, Peach, Angostura, My own "House", and sometimes Abbott's with me... you never can tell when you have a hankering for a cocktail that the joint might not have the bitters to make properly. A Sazerac without Peychaud's just isn't right. -Robert
  15. The size of bar really shouldn't limit you as to what you can handle. One of the smallest "bars" that I know of is at Milk & Honey in New York. So small that the bartender has no walking room at all. And they can make any of the classics.
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