|BarNone Drink Recipes Newsletter|
Dear Valued Reader,
Hi and welcome to the BarNone Drinks Newsletter. We'll be collecting facts, reviews, articles and other features to send to you once a month. We hope you enjoy it.
Liqueurs are mysterious things by nature. Most of the world's more popular ones are prepared with carefully guarded, centuries-old recipes consisting of complicated mixtures of herbs and spices. The Italian favorite, Sambuca, is no different, with its tightly guarded secret recipe that's kept as close to the pinstriped vest as the blood oath of La Cosa Nostra.
Sambuca has its subtle and mysterious side, just like Brando in The Godfather, but it's the fiery kick-in-the-ass anisette flavor (think Joe Pesci in Goodfellas or Joe Pesci in Casino or maybe just Joe Pesci) that takes over and boldly smacks you upside the head. Deceptively potent at 84 proof, Sambuca is first and foremost an anise liqueur, in the same family as Ouzo, pastis, raki and even absinthe. Sambuca's the smoothest and most internationally popular of all the black-licorice-tasting cordials -- the capo, if you will. And of all the Sambuca capos, the inimitable Capo di Capo is Romana Sambuca: available in over 50 countries worldwide, it's the world's number-one selling anise liqueur.
If you've ever eaten at an authentic Italian restaurant, you've been to a place where the owner hangs out with his patrons like they were having a party; where straw-covered Chianti bottles hang from the ceiling; where the pasta is made fresh; and where after dinner you're given a snifter of sambuca -- on the house, probably -- with three coffee beans floating in it (odd numbers, never even, for good luck) to sip with your coffee. And if you want to stick with Italian tradition, make sure your coffee isn't a cappuccino: Real Italians drink cappuccino only at lunchtime. (Of course, if you're unconventional by nature and like to thumb your nose at tradition, then sip your cappuccino any old time you want. Just don't come crying to me when you wake up with a severed horse head in your bed!)
Anisette's been respected as a wonderful digestive for centuries, hence sambuca's popularity in Italy, where they'd rather sip a soothing after-dinner digestivo after enjoying their bountiful multi-course meals than toss back a couple of Tums. You can spell relief R-O-L-A-I-D-S if you want, but make mine S-A-M-B-U-C-A, with a cafe macchiato, per favore.
If you're not a coffee drinker, don't fret. Sambuca's also popular served straight up, either neat with coffee beans or over ice. In recent years it's also become more popular as a shot, and many in-the-know bartenders enjoy the fact that its high alcoholic content makes it flammable, and also that its high density makes it ideal for layered shooters. It's always fun to try a new twist on an old standby, but a drink doesn't thrive for centuries unless it just plain tastes good on its own.
Next time you're seeking a little Italian mystery after dinner, order up a sambuca. And whether you're superstitious or not, make sure to count those coffee beans. Sleeping with the fishes is probably not nearly as glamorous as it looks in the movies.
This article has been submitted by the great people over at Wine X Magazine. They've agreed to bring you a new article every month from one of their amazing writers. If you like living out on the edge and feel the Gen X isn't well represented in the world, have a really good look at Wine X magazine. They've also given us an offer you can't refuse if you're looking to subscribe: $15 for 6 issues. To experience the full magazine, Subscribe Here.
Wine X is a young adult lifestyle magazine with wine and other beverages grafted on to it. With regular features on music, fashion, videos, books, travel and other relevant young adult culture, it's specifically designed to create a comfortable forum in which young adults can learn more about the tasty juice without the usual intimidation. In no other publication will you find a more concentrated effort to inform, entertain and enlighten a new generation of wine consumers with such a fresh, cutting-edge approach. At Wine X Magazine we believe that wine is not a lifestyle, its part of one.
BarStore offers a wide selection of products to stock your bar. From the latest trends to the tried and true.
This is our next Robert Plotkin article. Last issue we looked at advice for rookie bartenders. This issue we'll take a focus on the management side of running a bar. Robert is the founder of BarMedia.com
For the past 17 years, Robert Plotkin, has been working to provide beverage operators with the right career tools they need to attain success. He has created the best management systems, tools, software and books available in the hospitality industry. His nationally acclaimed products are in the offices and behind the bars of the most successful hotels, nightclubs, restaurants and hot spots worldwide.
My grandfather once told me, "If you want to be successful, watch carefully what the majority of people do, then do the opposite." I confess it had little meaning to me at the time. Fortunately for me, I remembered his advice, and I've made it the cornerstone of my professional career ever since. How can you benefit from this same wisdom? Ours is a highly competitive industry, with a failure rate that exceeds the norm. It's a demanding business, in which you have to work harder than most and keep mistakes to a minimum. It's this last part that seems to trip most people up. Back to my grandfather's advice. While avoiding the mistakes of others and steering clear of the pitfalls might not necessarily lead you on a straight- line toward success, it may very well lead you away from failure. So to a number of industry professionals, people who have been around the block, the question was posed: Why do bad things happen to good bars?
Robert Plotkin is a well established writer. You can enjoy his work in print as well. Below is a book that may help you manage, or learn to manage your bar.
Try a few recipes and let us know your favorite.
It's fun and easy to make homemade ice cream anywhere you want! Since you don't need electricity, it's ideal for camping, picnics, backyard and beach parties and boating. Simply add cream, sugar rock salt and ice and 20 minutes of rolling later, you have one pint of homemade delicious ice cream! The fun design will delight the whole family.
On the steep bluffs above the Vytaka River, near the medieval city of Kirov, stands the skeletal remains of an ancient monastery where Historical Chronicles claim the first production of vodka in Russia. For close to a thousand years vodka has flowed through Russian life and society. Not far from that ancient monastery, in 1862, Vladimir Vasilivitch Alexandrov built a distillery that became renowned throughout Russia and Europe for producing outstanding vodkas. Today, Ikon True Russian Vodka is made in that distillery, to the same exacting standards, Alexandrov demanded over 140 years ago. And with all outstanding vodkas, Ikon begins with nature's bounty, purity and harvest.
It should come as no surprise that the Ikon distillery is situated amongst the rich fields of a strong and vibrant farming community. For centuries this black earth has produced some of the finest wheat and rye in Russia. Come Harvest time, Andrey Pyssine, general manager of the Ikon Vodka distillery is out on the farms buying only the most select wheat and rye for his vodka. Pyssine selects his raw and essential ingredient for vodka with an expert eye. He can tell if the wheat and rye have received too little or too much sun by smell, taste and touch. Once Pyssine is satisfied of its quality the wheat is transported to the distillery.
The Ikon Vodka Distillery is not a giant corporate monolith. It is a modern, compact, complex comprising efficient and hygienic storage units, a testing lab and vodka production unit the size of a football stadium two stories high. The original faade of Alexandrov's creation still stands to greet workers and visitors. The factory although set in a rural almost unchanging part of Russia is high tech and the distillation facility was retooled with North American equipment 3 years ago. It employs a little over 200 workers comprising distillation technicians, food scientists and assembly line workers. These employees are fiercely loyal to their distillery because of its pedigree and ability to always produce award- wining vodka.
Early in the morning begins the process, which will turn the farmers' harvest into Ikon True Russian Vodka. The procedure will take close to week from start to finish. The wheat stored in a humidity controlled storage container on the distillery grounds is brought to the main manufacturing building where it is cleaned, washed and separated into giant cauldrons which will cook the wheat into an alcohol mash, the first of many steps into turning this raw material into Ikon Vodka. Now liquid, now with an alcohol strength closer to rocket fuel, it is pumped into long towering column stills where it will be continuously distilled 4 times. Ikon is now 190 proof and must be diluted with pure spring water. The distillery still taps into the ancient artesian water trapped far beneath the clean countryside above. The water source has been in continual use for centuries and the distillery lab technicians test its purity daily. Cutting the vodka with the crisp artesian water will insure the vodka has a consistent 80 proof. Near perfection but still not ready to be bottled, the vodka is filtered 4 more times through another series of giant filtration columns that contain quartz diamonds and Russian birch wood charcoal.
Upon completion, a sample of the vodka is sent to the testing lab located on the distillery grounds where it is checked for imperfections. If it passes the strict guidelines for vodka established by the Distillery and the Russian Agricultural Ministry it will be approved for bottling.
The test completed, the lab approves, and a phone call is placed to the assembly line to begin bottling Ikon. Empty, un-labelled bottles glide through the assembly line each being filled, capped and labelled while moving effortless down the conveyor belt where at the end they are hand wrapped in tissue paper and boxed for shipping. For Ikon True Russian Vodka to get to your local store or restaurant, it has been a long and steady course which has taken centuries to perfect. It may be said that vodka is a neutral spirit, but those that know vodka understand there is nothing neutral in a liquid which has taken centuries to craft, has outlived Czars, Revolutions and welcomed home democracy. So the next time, you use Ikon for your martini, remember how far it has traveled to reach you, almost a thousand years from that ancient and now silent monastery on the shores of the Viatka River.
Ok, here's a screen shot. Looks nice and clean because there is no ads yet. Sorry everyone, we have to add a few when we launch. Click on the image for a larger version. Please feel free to email us with your thoughts. The menus aren't finished and there's a few features not shown. Stay tuned for more. You'll be the first to be able to test the new site.
Bartender's Companion has given me a prototype of the new stand-alone database. Looks really good. We still have a little bit of work to do before the release. I hope to tell you next month that we're ready. You can check out the current version of Bartender's Companion here. It looks very similar to what we are going to have, but our version will have the Bar None Drink Recipe database loaded.
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