What happens when you gather 100 of the country’s most talented bartenders for a weekend in Vail? A party of epic proportions. Having that much talent together in one place threatened to melt all of the snow in Vail Pass. This is part one in a series of posts describing what really went down.
One of the many reasons for starting this blog was to connect to fellow bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts from around the world. Mixology Monday is an online cocktail party that does just that. It connects people from around the world and provides a way to endlessly riff on a particular theme. Having such a valuable resource and knowledgeable community to be a part of is truly an honor. I’d like to personally thank all involved and can’t wait to share my ideas and findings. Click the Mixology Monday link above to get a full rundown of exactly what it’s all about.
For my first foray into the MxMo scene, the theme this month is Superior Twists hosted by The Wild Drink Blog. Tristan Stephenson blogs out of the UK and has brought up a great, simple idea. Put your twist on a classic. Easy enough right? As a professional working in the industry I feel that is a quintessential component to our everyday job, riffing on the classics. Like a good jazz musician knows his standards, so too must a bartender be familiar with the classics. Once you have the basics nailed down, improvisation comes easy.
Another element to the theme, Tristan asks, “What is your favorite song to twist to?” That’s an easy one for me. Chuck Berry’s “You Never Can Tell” is such a great swingin number it’s no wonder Quentin Tarantino opted to use it in Jack Rabbit Slim’s Twist contest.
The cocktail I chose to twist is the Pisco Sour. Pisco is one of the lesser known spirits used in the States these days, but I feel more and more bartenders are starting to understand it and use it more often. Pisco is a grape brandy with a character all its own. It’s traditionally made from the muscat grape in both Peru and Chile. For a very in depth view of Pisco click here. Here’s the recipe for the original.
Bar Keeper, Silverlake’s little bartending Mecca, celebrated its third year this past Friday. Known for vintage glassware, esoteric barware, absinthe paraphernalia, and a heady collection of cocktail books, Bar Keeper has been supporting a growing Los Angeles cocktail renaissance. With a keen eye and a penchant for detail, Joe Keeper (proprietor) has built a solid collection of things you want.
Like this item to the left. I mean, who doesn’t want an airline style beverage cart bar that rolls and even has a brake like the original? I certainly do. Could you imagine that thing at one of your parties? You could roll it down the hall and make someone an Old Fashioned right there on the spot. Talk about service. Or how about rolling it into the bedroom to wake your significant other up with a delicious Bellini in bed, fresh white peach puree and all? The possibilities truly are endless.
To commemorate the anniversary, Joe Keeper threw a fantastic little soiree at his store. On hand were bartender Rhachel Shaw of Malo and hired gun Scott Campbell (former San Fran bartender now retired) to mix a couple of cocktails specially selected by Joe.
Scott manned his bar shaking up a wonderful concoction called the Mujer Verde. A feature drink of the famed San Francisco bar Absinthe, the Mujer Verde was at once a bracing and refreshing combination of Hendricks Gin, yellow and green Chartreuse, lime juice and simple syrup. It was a fantastic marriage of the soft botanicals within Hendricks and the alpine spices of Chartreuse.
1oz. Hendricks Gin
1/2oz. Green Chartreuse
1/4oz. Yellow Chartreuse
1/4oz. Fresh Lime Juice
1/4oz. Simple Syrup
Combine all ingredients into shaker with ice. Shake well for 10 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass. Enjoy.
Glorious days are these when a brand’s own infused spirits are actually quite delicious. Centenario’s new Rosangel, an hibiscus infused, port wood aged reposado tequila is just that, delicious. At first the tequila is slightly floral on the nose with the hibiscus shining through, as well as traditional vegetal and almost peppery notes found in 100% blue agave reposados. Except this one is a bit different once it hits the lips. The time seen in oak barrels that had once housed port, helps soften the spirit and make it very accesible to the tequila uninitiated. Without being sweet, the hibiscus and port wood aging play very well together striking a sultry and delicate balance. I would be just fine to sip this one on its own in a snifter.
To commemorate the event Malo hosted the Rosangel Gran Centenario Cocktail Competition in their newly renovated upstairs area. The evening was also meant to showcase some of LA’s top female mixologists. A noble cause indeed because who doesn’t think well crafted cocktails by our female counterparts are sexy. I certainly respect the notion.
Hello to all and welcome to Blueprint Cocktail. Blueprint Cocktail for me will be a space in which cocktail experimentation, education, and passion will be allowed to freely roam. Bartending for me has become a true passion. So much so that I want to share my findings and contribute to the overall Renaissance that is happening in the cocktail world. Early in my career, my attitude shifted from thinking that working behind the stick was just a means to some other end, to becoming aware that being a professional, having a creative vision and enjoying true hospitality had become extremely fulfilling. At this stage in my career I am looking forward to the continuing education and the camaraderie associated with the progression of the industry. This past year, I had one of my cocktails selected by Travel & Leisure magazine and Grand Marnier as top 10 in the Beverage Arts Challenge. It was very nice to have something that you have created enjoyed by such an esteemed panel. I very much look forward to more opportunities such as this as well as staying humble and keeping a “there’s always more to learn” mindset. Blueprint Cocktail will hopefully help me to achieve that.