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Fat Guy

Stocking the nursery-school bar, take 2

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Last year for our son's nursery school's annual fundraiser I designed, with your assistance, a specialty cocktail (that discussion can be found here). So well received was the "Builder's Punch" that this year I've been charged with masterminding the whole bar situation. I need some help.

There will be approximately 150 people for 4 hours. We will have enough white and red wine to follow the standard 1.5 glasses per person per hour formula.

Last year they offered only wine and one specialty cocktail (plus soft drinks). This year the goal is to expand the selection, however a full bar with the whole array of spirits and mixers is not really within the budget.

I was thinking about offering three specialty cocktails, simple enough to be batched and served by temp bartenders without a ton of skill. It would be great to do some equal-parts cocktails, etc. -- easy stuff. We will give each a name that evokes the name of the school. It would be best to be able to use a single type of glass for all three, and for them to be three different colors, different garnishes.

We also plan to have vodka, gin and basic mixers for those who insist on G&T or whatever.

Everything has to be certified kosher, which isn't usually a problem with hard liquor but can be an issue with liqueurs.

Thoughts?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Any booze that doesn't contain pork is likely to be potentially kosher, in that it contains no unkosher ingredients. The school, however, requires that the product have kosher certification: an O-U or other emblem (hechsher) on the bottle indicating that it has been produced and packaged under rabbinic supervision. That list looks largely correct, however there's no way to say with 100% certainty which bottles will have certification on the day you go shopping. So for example Rose's lime seems sometimes to have a hechsher and sometimes not, and I'm guessing that's because they have supervision for some batches but not all. But it should always be possible at the moment of purchase to find a lime cordial that's kosher, even if it isn't Rose's. So in designing kosher cocktails a good strategy is to allow for flexibility in ingredients: don't say Cointreau specifically, rather call for triple sec in general. Two other things to bear in mind: there will be meat served at the event, so no liqueurs containing dairy can be used; and the more obscure a liqueur is the less likely it is to have certification, so nothing too ambitious or fancy.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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http://bostonapothecary.com/?p=108

this post about my catering adventures might help. i also always use crushed ice. i have a giant antique hand operated "alaska no. 1" ice crusher which used to be used in hotels to break down block ice into crushed. i can reduce 10 gallons of cubed ice to crushed in 10 minutes.

the last event i did was cocktails for forty in a large studio apartment. i only had four sqr. feet of bar space and one bucket as a dump sink. i did four elaborate cocktails. two drinks that would typically be shaken, were kegged and pre-diluted. and i had two stirred drinks which were batched but not diluted. i used two weighted japanese stirring pitchers to keep track of the stirred drinks. no one waited for anything even though i was the sole bartender and i had time to explain the creative linkage of the drinks. because everything was batched it was cool to give people perfectly proportioned tastes of things effortlessly.

i'm sure you can track down a friend with a home brew keg rig.

we also do a kegged cocktail for all our buyouts at the restaurant lately. this is the standard recipe.

2.6 liters water

2.6 liters lime juice

2.6 liters 400g sugar/liter "basket pressed"-"ice wine" pineapple syrup

750ml kirshwasser (hiram walker)

4.5 liters gin (seagram's)

2 oz. angostura bitters

this usually costs like $90 to make 90 4 oz. portions. delicious. indifferent to beer and cheaper than wine all the while using fresh juices.


abstract expressionist beverage compounder

creator of acquired tastes

bostonapothecary.com

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That looks like a great cocktail. Ingredient acquisition might be challenging, though.

I was thinking of one cocktail of rum/triple sec/lemon, one martini/cosmo-like thing for those who insist, and one Champagne cocktail (using kosher California sparkling) or fizz.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Okay, I've been to the liquor store from which we're ordering all the stuff.

For a sour-like cocktail, I was thinking rum, hazelnut liqueur (Bartenura makes a kosher variety), and fresh lemon juice, 3:2:1, rocks, lemon twist garnish. Easy to batch.

For a Champagne cocktail I was thinking Pom (has O-U certification), vodka, simple syrup, sparkling wine, pomegranate seed garnish in the bottom of the glass. Can batch the mix and top off with sparkling wine.

And then I was thinking of a variant of the Paloma: tequila, grapefruit juice, fresh lime juice, 3:2:1, rocks, lime slice garnish. Also easily batched.

Does any of this make any sense? Desperately seeking input.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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The sour has ratios that don't make sense to me: it'd be too sweet, if my guess about Bartenura is correct. Try it and see, but don't be surprised if ratcheting down that liqueur and bumping up the lemon is required.

I don't see the point of the vodka in the champagne cocktail -- unless you're trying to get people plastered -- and would suggest something like a lesser amount of cognac instead, which will give a nice grape-y touch to the drink. You can make very simple grenadine with 1/2 Pom and 1/2 sugar shaken like nuts; there are more involved recipes around, too, including possibly non-kosher ingredients and a bit of cooking. I'd definitely add some bitters to that cocktail -- and the Angostura bottle I just checked has "National Kashruth" stamped on it. Batch all the non-sparkler and make sure the bartenders shake it up real good before each drink, or else you're gonna get icky sweet by the bottom of the glass.

Your Paloma needs some sugar, stat. I'd just move right into a highball. I've had guests go gaga over this:

2 tequila

3⁄4 lime juice

3⁄4 ginger syrup

1 pineapple juice

1 t salt

grapefruit soda

You batch everything but the soda, pour a couple fingers of the mixture over ice, then top with the soda. Use something tart -- Polar Half n Half is what I use here, but the Jarritos grapefruit works, too, though it's sweeter.

Having written this all out, I wonder if making that first drink a highball (over soda) is the right way to go, too. Then you can make some funny joke about rugrats and highballs or something.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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The sour has ratios that don't make sense to me: it'd be too sweet, if my guess about Bartenura is correct. Try it and see, but don't be surprised if ratcheting down that liqueur and bumping up the lemon is required.

I'll have to test it, but I'm basing it on Regan's "Missing Link" recipe, which is one of my regular house cocktails. That formula is 1 1/2 ounces rum, 1 ounce Cointreau, 1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice. I was assuming the Bartenura would have a similar level of sweetness to Cointreau, but I'm not really sure about that, and I guess it's going to be lower in alcohol so that must affect something.

I don't see the point of the vodka in the champagne cocktail -- unless you're trying to get people plastered -- and would suggest something like a lesser amount of cognac instead, which will give a nice grape-y touch to the drink.

Kosher cognac is not easy -- the grape-based spirits are the most difficult to find with certification. I just picked vodka because I think the cocktail needs an alcohol source. But I don't know.

You can make very simple grenadine with 1/2 Pom and 1/2 sugar shaken like nuts; there are more involved recipes around, too, including possibly non-kosher ingredients and a bit of cooking. I'd definitely add some bitters to that cocktail -- and the Angostura bottle I just checked has "National Kashruth" stamped on it.

Interesting. My bottle doesn't say that. I need to do more research. I agree that some bitters would help. I've read that Stirrings bitters are kosher certified, but I can't seem to find them.

Your Paloma needs some sugar, stat. I'd just move right into a highball. I've had guests go gaga over this....

The ginger syrup is a great idea. I'm not sure if I can find a kosher variant easily. I'm also reluctant to do more than one fizzy cocktail on a list of three.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Nut liqueurs tend to taste sweeter than citrus liqueurs, even with equivalent brix, I think. But, hey, go for it if you like it.

Ginger syrup is extremely easy to make: grate some ginger, steep in demerara syrup, put in bottle. No need to buy it.


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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Oh crap. Hazelnut won't work because the school is also nut-free. I have to cost out the Cointreau.

Anything involving grating, steeping, etc., is no good because my home kitchen isn't kosher and there's no room to do that stuff on site.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Anything involving grating, steeping, etc., is no good because my home kitchen isn't kosher and there's no room to do that stuff on site.

maybe not on the "day of", but perhaps you could "borrow" some space the day before?


Karen Dar Woon

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Amazing but true: I can't bring my Microplane because anything that has been used in my kitchen isn't kosher, and the kitchen on site isn't really equipped for cooking -- it's just a place with a few warming ovens for catered food. I'd have to buy a new Microplane etc. Even something as simple as the simple syrup has to come from the kosher caterer, which will be kind of a pain because I won't be able to estimate its strength until it arrives the day of. Ditto all the lemon twists etc. If I can find a commercially prepared kosher ginger syrup with a hechsher I can buy a sealed bottle and use it, but the places we're ordering from don't have the product so it may be too much trouble.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I haven't seen the actual bottle but Torani ginger syrup claims to be kosher certified. Any opinions regarding its acceptability?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I like the idea of tequila, pineapple juice and ginger syrup. I wonder if those three ingredients alone would make a decent cocktail.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I think you'd need some lime or lemon juice in there to provide acidity. I tend to find drinks with only pineapple juice a bit insipid. Looking at Chris's earlier idea, I wonder if Fresca is certified kosher? If it is, tequila, lime, pineapple, ginger syrup and Fresca should work (the sugar in the ginger syrup should provide enough mouthfeel to make up for the fact that Fresca uses aspartame).


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A Champagne cocktail is mandatory so I'm leaning kind of against a second fizzy drink, but I could be persuaded. Fresca is kosher, no problem.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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So for a second draft I'm thinking:

1. Dark rum, triple sec, fresh lemon juice, rocks, lemon twist garnish.

2. Pom, vodka, simple syrup, sparkling wine, pomegranate seed garnish.

3. Silver tequila, pineapple juice, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, rocks,

lime slice garnish.

If I can find a kosher ginger syrup, a kosher lime cordial, and/or

kosher bitters, number 3 can be evolved a bit.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I don't see the point of the vodka in the champagne cocktail -- unless you're trying to get people plastered -- and would suggest something like a lesser amount of cognac instead

What would be an alternative to Cognac, which is difficult to find kosher? Whiskey of some sort?

Also were you suggesting above that instead of Pom plus simple I just shake Pom with sugar?

By the way I need names for the cocktails. The name of the school is Habonim, which means the builders. Habonini and Habotini are obvious ones. Last year I called the Champagne punch Builder's Punch. Any great ideas?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I haven't seen the actual bottle but Torani ginger syrup claims to be kosher certified. Any opinions regarding its acceptability?

For what it's worth I think Torani syrups are kind of sketchy at best. Monin a much better bet in general, I think. I just checked a bottle I have and it has a symbol that says "KSA Pareve".

ETA: I haven't actually had the Monin ginger syrup but I know they make one.


Edited by thirtyoneknots (log)

Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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Can we also talk about quantities? What would you all do for quantities on the 3 cocktails for 150 people, 4 hours? There will also be wine and soft drinks. Would you do 150 of each of the 3 cocktails or is that overkill?


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I'm not a tequila drinker, but if you called #3 a "Frida Kahlo" I might order it. I'm sure there are plenty of other famous Jewish Mexicans, but she's the first one that popped into my head because I'm reading her biography.

Actually, there must already be several drinks named after her. But silver tequila just screams Frida.

A few minutes later...

I can't believe I just learned there's a drink called a Parrothead Martini that calls for tequila, triple sec and lime juice. There's no way I wouldn't order a "Kosher Parrothead" or a "Jewish Parrothead."

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I thought Frida Kahlo wasn't Jewish, but I can't keep it straight. When I think of really well-known Mexican Jews I think Berlioz first, Raul Julia second, and I don't have a third. The Berlioz is kind of an okay cocktail name, come to think of it.

Our rabbi plays guitar. I was thinking Guitar Player for one possible cocktail name. I don't know. It may not be a terribly subtle evening. Names like Habonini might go over better.


Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I can't believe I just learned there's a drink called a Parrothead Martini that calls for tequila, triple sec and lime juice. There's no way I wouldn't order a "Kosher Parrothead" or a "Jewish Parrothead."

Am I missing something here? That sounds like a Margarita to me.


Andy Arrington

Journeyman Drinksmith

Twitter--@LoneStarBarman

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