April

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April Issue
In this issue
  • Absolut Vodka New Product Launch!
  • The Raven's Caw
  • Designer Martinis - Wine X Magazine
  • The ABSOLUT Secretary
  • Search the Drink Recipe Database
  • Latino Cocktails Sizzle - by Robert Plotkin
  • Bazooka Backpack
  • My trip to France
  • Dear Dan,

    Welcome to the April Bar None Drinks Newsletter. Sorry its a little late. I just returned from a trip to France and the jet lag hit the family pretty good. I've got a couple of things from the trip in this issue, as well as all the usual suspects. The Raven plays doctor and Absolut Vodka sticks it to the Man. We also our regular columns from BarMedia and WineX.

    I hope you enjoy this month's articles. Please be smart, don't drink and drive! Enjoy the following recipes in moderation and take a cab.

    Cheers!


    Dan Hutchinson

    Absolut Vodka New Product Launch!

    ABSOLUT LAUNCHES RUBY RED VODKA
    Grapefruit Brings a Unique Twist to the Flavored Segment

    ABSOLUT VODKA announces the U.S. launch of its eighth flavor, ABSOLUT RUBY RED. ABSOLUT RUBY RED will be available nationally on- and off-premise beginning June 1, 2006.

    ABSOLUT RUBY RED has a distinctly complex, floral aroma with clear notes of natural grapefruit. The smooth and zesty flavour, coupled with crisp and refreshing taste, stems from notes of Grapefruit peel the long fruity aftertaste has a slightly dry finish.

    Our commitment to innovation has taken flavors in new directions since the introduction of ABSOLUT PEPPAR in 1986, fuelling growth in the vodka category, said Matt Aeppli, vice president of marketing, The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. We expect RUBY RED to be another it flavor this spring, summer and beyond and were looking forward to yet again forging new ground in the category.

    Inspired by the luscious shades of grapefruits, the spirits bottle suggests the kind of experience and personality that ABSOLUT RUBY RED offers. The smooth frosted bottle, accessorized with ruby red- inspired circles, emphasizes the pleasant and sophisticated taste of refreshing grapefruits. ABSOLUT RUBY RED, like other ABSOLUT Flavors, contains all-natural ingredients and is 80 proof.

    Todays cocktail drinkers arent drinking more, theyre drinking smarter. This consumer trend has created a generation of tastemakers and mixing enthusiasts, said Matt Aeppli, vice president of marketing, The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. With the support of a strong trade and consumer marketing campaign, we plan to reach this generation by emphasizing RUBY RED as a staple ingredient in custom-made cocktails.

    Easy to mix, smooth, fruity and delicious the distinct character of ripe grapefruits will provide a unique foundation for new signature cocktails. ABSOLUT RUBY RED will add a unique twist to any classic cocktail and will give classic grapefruit drinks like Sea Breeze and Greyhound a full-bodied flair. Creative recipes for fresh, imaginative cocktails and further information on ABSOLUT RUBY RED are available on the ABSOLUT VODKA Web site at www.absolut.com.

    The Raven's Caw

    Raven's Caw Logo Image

    Welcome back, all. This month Im going to touch on a topic which has become something of a taboo in the world of alcohol. This prohibited topic is not often talked about because it is almost always equated with addiction and dependence. I am referring to the medicinal qualities of that which brings us together. It is important to note, as you read this, that I am not a medical professional; the information I provide is simply gleaned from a basic understanding of alcohols effect on the body. I am providing historical and contemporary facts, but not suggesting that anyone try anything that they wouldnt normally try without the advice of a doctor. All that being said, I trust that our readership is smart enough to know what is wise to try and what is not...

    To understand the possibilities of alcohol, it is important to know, more or less, what it does to the body on a chemical level. Like any substance (even water and oxygen), large amounts of alcohol have a much different effect than small amounts. When drinking alcohol, some of its effects are immediately noticeable; your mouth may burn from the high contact, or your throat may become numb. When the drink hits your stomach, it starts getting absorbed into the bloodstream. This is where the fun begins. One of the first effects is a mild diluting of the blood. On a cognitive level --this doesnt do much-- you may experience a slight calming effect as physical stresses are mitigated away with the lower blood pressure. Properly used, one drink (a standard drink) can be quite effective at getting rid of a headache at the end of the day. It is, again, important to note here that just as you would not pop a painkiller everyday without the advice of a physician, neither should you use a shot of booze every night to take the edge off. If you find that you have the headache whenever you dont have the booze, seek help.

    The next few stages of alcohol, up to and including drunkenness, are pretty similar from a medical standpoint. As more alcohol gets into your bloodstream, it lowers your inhibitions. This often is interpreted as alcohol acting as a stimulant. The experienced stimulation, oft referred to as liquid courage, isnt really stimulation at all; its actually a depressant effect, as your ability to moderate your behavior is depressed. But enough about that...

    Throughout the years, alcohol has had many other uses as well. In many cultures, the plant that the alcohol is made from can give it aphrodisiacal effects. In Mexico, the bottlers of Damiana Liquor even bottle their libation in a bottle shaped as a pregnant Incan fertility goddess. Check them out, but be warned, Damiana is not for everyone, aphrodisiacal effects or not. Most scientific journals discount alcohols effects as a love drug for a number of reasons... I wont bother going through them. Instead, I am reminded of a quote from our greatest playwright, William Shakespeare: Lechery, sir, it provokes and unprovokes; it provokes the desirer, but it takes away the performance... (Macbeth, II,iii).

    It is quite strange, and probably a testament to the nature of humans who learn only what they want, to know that in other parts of the world, namely Europe and its protectorates, that alcohols poisonous effects were well known, and used on a fairly regular basis. Many people have heard the term Mothers Ruin when referring to gin (gin has had a number of nicknames through the years, but many not so kind ones when it hit Londons East End). Now, many, like the author, probably attributed this to gins ability to many young boys and girls into drunken louts that would commit all sorts of atrocities, enough to ruin any mother. But, alas, this is not why it got the colorful moniker. Gin, with its entire debut splendor as a pleasant delivery for quinine, was used by the unscrupulous and the poor as an abortificant. Pump enough gin into a young girl carrying an unwanted child and, poof, youve got yourself a spontaneous abortion. Its amazing what some will do. (This is one of those points where I feel it is absolutely necessary to say that, even a century ago, this is a very dangerous way of ridding yourself of a child, and if you are so desperate to do this, please seek medical help. Im not a doctor, this isnt medical advice. Its a history lesson!)

    On to something more pleasant... a newly released study in the Hort Technology journal has brought about some interesting uses of alcohol on a different sort of living things...house plants! In this study, the authors report that by diluting hard alcohols down to about 10% ABV and using them to water plants, they came up with some interesting results. The plant, its stalk, leaves and such were dwarfed by the alcohol, but the flower remained as large as ever. The study was conducted using a narcissus flower, and the results were clear; the shorter, stockier plant carried the flower much easier, without any drooping or breaking of the stalk. This has little real ramifications, except perhaps if youre interested in some unusual plants, but the author (of the study, and probably The Raven as well) intends to try this dwarfing experiment with vegetables. It is important to note that you cannot use beer or wine, they are often of the correct ABV but the residual sugar is thought to be too high. Also, I wouldnt try this with irreplaceable plants...its not well tested.

    Good readers, I must away, the inkwell is dry, and my glass is empty. Thank you for your time, and please join me again for another month of The Ravens Caw.


    Sasparilla Assassin

    This drink is right out of the BarNone recipe book. Owing to an allergy to caffeine, Ive doctored it a little, with fairly decent results.

  • 1 part whiskey
  • 1 part tequila
  • 1 part peppermint schnapps
  • Fill with Rootbeer

    This is certainly an interesting one. The flavor of the mixer determines the flavor of the drink; kind of like a Long Island Iced Tea. The Assassin one ups that one though. Upon drawing a breath after quaffing this concoction, your mouth and throat are filled with a wonderful sensation which reminds you of the peppermint schnapps. The cocktail is about a four ounce drink, with the booze accounting for an ounce of that. Drink the Assassin before a meal of red meat or after it with a chocolaty desert.


    About The Raven

    J.T. "Raven" Centonze has been a long time student of the art of alcohol. Initially interested in keeping conversation at parties, his love for alcohol grew to an obsession in college. In between his real job of running a college bookstore, he is the part owner/operator of his own winery. He bartends at private parties which allows him the innovation of many new, unique drinks.

  • BarStore.com
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    Designer Martinis - Wine X Magazine

    Martini Image

    The martini is an American icon. An idea, a statement, and, to the very devoted, a lifestyle. It has been represented in film, literature and pop culture as the cocktail of choice for the cool, the suave, the connected. James Bond drank martinis. Hemingway wrote about them. Franklin Roosevelt plied Stalin with a martini at the Teheran Conference in 1943, causing Nikita Khrushchev to later declare the martini "America's lethal weapon." Hollywood immortalized martinis, putting them in the hands of Bogart, Joan Crawford, Sinatra. Once upon a time if you were drinking martinis, you had either arrived or were well on your way to where you were going.

    The martini waned in popularity in the late 1970s. Out went the three martini lunch and other indulgences; in came a more temperant approach to life, work and drinking. Martinis fell into the same category as red meat, fur coats and cigars -- decadent reflections of an older time.

    But as history repeats itself, martinis are hot again. Martini bars are springing up everywhere. Young adults are pursuing the perfect martini with zeal and martini culture is again on the rise. Bartenders across the country are hailing this renaissance, declaring the martini America's favorite cocktail. But this time around, the martini is experiencing a shakeup.

    Enter the designer martini.

    The traditional powerhouse mixture of approximately four parts gin or vodka to one part vermouth, shaken or stirred over ice, is no longer sanctified for martini drinkers. Gin is a minor player this time around. Vodka and other cordials are in. In fact, the only connection designer martinis have to the original martini "recipe" is the martini glass itself. The cocktail that launched a thousand hangovers now has many incarnations -- about a thousand and one, to be exact.

    At the The Purple Martini in Denver, Colorado bartender David Borun, 25, divides martini drinkers into three categories: beginner, intermediate and advanced. Beginners order martinis that are part vodka, part juice. Intermediates tend to order mixtures of liquor and cordials. The advanced martini drinker opts for the powerful wallop of a straight vodka or gin martini. "Depending on the mixture," Borun says, "designer martinis are a way for less seasoned drinkers to have the martini experience without getting hit with straight alcohol." Borum serves more than 80 martinis but showcases the Purple Martini; a mixture of gin or vodka and "purple magic" -- a top secret mix of cordials.

    According to Rob Potter, 22, owner of The Velvet Lounge in Detroit, Michigan, the martini is a statement of class and dignified position -- a return to a 1940s style of sheik socializing. "When people come here they really dress up and play the part," Potter says, "People believe martinis are classy and elegant, so they want to look and behave that way themselves." Potter serves more than 20 different martinis on his menu. A favorite is the Orange Truffle, a mixture of orange-flavored vodka and white- chocolate liquor.

    At The Martini Club in Atlanta, Georgia, bartender Todd Roseberry, 27, believes the current Martini renaissance signifies a return to quality over quantity -- a move away from the excesses of the 1980s. His younger customers, the prime drinkers of designer martinis, prefer vodka based drinks, but he notes that the renewed interest in the martini is causing some customers to give gin a try. As testament, one of his wildest creations is the China Blue Martini -- a combination of gin, ginger liquor and Blue Curacao, which is finished with a large hunk of crystallized ginger. "That," says Roseberry, "is a fucked up drink!"

    According to Barnaby Conrad III, author of The Martini, the origin of the martini is up for grabs. In fact, the name may not always have been martini. The martini is said to have originated in San Francisco just after the Gold Rush. But the most interesting account, vehemently put forth by citizens of Martinez, California, holds that around 1870 a miner from San Francisco stopped at a local saloon tended by French-born Julio Richelieu. The miner plunked a small sack of gold nuggets before the bartender, asked for a bottle of liquor and as a bonus received an unusual drink in a small glass with an olive dropped into it. "What is it?" asked the miner. "That," replied Richelieu, "is a Martinez cocktail."

    Whatever the origin, San Francisco is a town where the martini holds sway -- be it original or designer in style. At the Coconut Grove, a jazz supper club, bar manager Roberta Carroll, 26, says the Martini has made a strong comeback in the past year. She believes the Martini name evokes a touch of sophistication that appeals to younger adults who are sick of sports bar style drinking attitudes. "You won't find a guy in a baseball cap ordering a martini," Carroll says. "Young adults are revisiting an older time when things were classier. They're taking an old idea and experiencing it in a style all their own." Her signature martini: The Carnival -- vodka, fresh lime and orange juice.

    Greg Kovach, 38, owner of The Mashed Potato Club in Chicago, believes that the martini ushers a return to blatant sensuality. "The glass -- the very style of drinking a martini -- is very sensual." He says, "When the martini was popular in the 1950s, everything was indulgence. People are sick of clean living and want to go crazy." Kovach serves 25 martinis, and his menu has gotten crazier over the past year. His wildest drink is a Chocolate Martini made of white and dark chocolate liquors with a Hershey's chocolate kiss on the bottom.

    The designer martini trend has not gone unnoticed by major manufacturers of distilled spirits. Tangueray, producers of vodka, recently released Sterling Spikes, a line of flavored mixers for, you guessed it, designer cocktails. Among the flavors are pecan, tangerine and strawberry. Stoli has also jumped on the bandwagon with a line of flavored vodkas, among them orange, lemon and chili pepper.

    Whatever the reason for the martini's resurgence, there are defiantly plenty of recipes from which to choose. Create you own. Suggest one to your local mixologist. Or stop by one of the newly emerging martini bars that has probably opened in a neighborhood near you. Wherever you go and whatever choose, go nuts! The once defiant martini is open to just about anything these days. Cheers.

    Recipes

    The Velvet Lounge - Detroit
    Orange Truffle: a mixture of orange-flavored vodka and white-chocolate liquor.

    The Martini Club - Atlanta
    China Blue Martini: a combination of gin, ginger liquor and Blue Curacao, finished with a large hunk of crystallized ginger.

    Coconut Grove - San Francisco
    The Carnival: vodka, fresh lime and orange juice.

    The Mashed Potato Club - Chicago
    Chocolate Martini: white and dark chocolate liquors with a Hershey's chocolate kiss on the bottom.

    *****

    This article has been submitted by the great people over at Wine X Magazine. Wine-X has agreed to bring you a new article every month from their amazing writers. It was written by Steven Van Yoder. 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.

    The ABSOLUT Secretary

    Did you get the memo? This year Administrative Professionals Day is for anyone "working for the man" or woman.

    Celebrate all nine to fivers with cocktails at COMPANY...just don't do anything you wouldn't want showing up at the next staff meeting....

  • 3 parts ABSOLUT CITRON
  • 1 part Pineapple Juice
  • 1 part Orange Juice
  • 1 part Cranberry Juice

    Now being served at Company in New York

    The ABSOLUT Secretary was served at Company for Happy Hour between 7 p.m. 9 p.m. on April 26th

    You can buy ABSOLUT CITRON online here...

  • Search the Drink Recipe Database

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    Latino Cocktails Sizzle - by Robert Plotkin

    Our latest Rober Plotkin article. Latino Cocktails. 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.

    Latino Cocktails Image

    Everything Latin seems to be surging up the popularity charts like a bullet. Well, it's certainly true behind the bar. Some of the hottest beverage trends trace their origins back to the Caribbean and South America. So don't be left behind, these drinks are guaranteed crowd-pleasers.

    Without question, the MOJITO (pronounced "moe- HEE-toe") has captured the collective American imagination and sparked a boom in restaurants and lounges around the country. While the drink originated in Cuba in the early part of the 20th century, it really became an international hit during the '30s and '40s. The country was flourishing and Havana was a playground for the rich and famous. The place to be seen was the La Bodeguita del Medio bar, the birthplace of the Mojito.

    Behind the timeworn wooden bar the La Bodeguita bartenders would make a seemingly endless procession of Mojitos, 10 to 15 drinks at a time for the likes of Ernest Hemingway and Prince Edward. While the Mojito's fame reached a crescendo in the halcyon days before the Castro regime, it is once again a popular phenomenon.

    The elegant and eminently refreshing Mojito is something of a cross between a Mint Julep and an Old Fashion. It is made in a highball, bucket, or specialty glass. Place simple syrup, fresh lime juice, lime rind and a generous portion of mint sprigs in the glass. Then muddle the ingredients together, thereby releasing the essence of the mint. Add ice, 2-3 ounces of light rum and a splash of club soda for effervescence. The final touch is a garnish of fresh mint sprigs.

    There are several creative variations of the Mojito that have already caught on. The WAYWARD WIND MOJITO is a sumptuous cocktail made in the same manner as the Mojito, although it features dark and savory Sea Wynde Pot Still Rum as the base and brown sugar instead of the simple syrup. MY KENTUCKY MOJITO is a taller specialty made with Evan Williams Black Label Bourbon and Cointreau, and finished off with equal parts of sweet 'n' sour and iced tea.

    Fundamentally similar to the Mojito is the Brazilian sensation, the CAIPIRINHA (pronounced "kuy-per- REEN-yah"). It is a marvelously delicious drink served in a bucket or tumbler and made with simple syrup and a quartered lime, both of which are strenuously muddled. The driving force behind this classic cocktail is cachaa, a clear Brazilian spirit produced from sugar cane. Use between 2 and 3 ounces of cachaa, add ice and garnish with a fresh lime wedge.

    There are several brands of cachaa available in the U.S., and as one would expect, there is also a wide range in quality. A cachaa of dubious quality ranges in character between fiery and combustible. The finest is undoubtedly YPICA (pronounced "ee-pee- OH-kah") CACHAA. It is the only aged cachaa available in the U.S. The Ypica Oro is aged in rain forest wood casks for 3 years. While an exuberant spirit, full of assertive flavors and character, it has a long, satiny finish. The bottle is covered with hand- woven carnuba straw just to grab your patrons' attention.

    The CAIPIRISSMA is the light rum equivalent of the Caipirinha. It, too, is made with a muddled, quartered lime and simple syrup. Both drinks can be creatively modified by adding a splash of lemoncello or Licor 43 (Cuarenta y Tres). Another variation involves muddling the pulp of two passion fruits instead of the limes.

    So perhaps it's time to take your guests on a trip south of the Equator. Salud!

    Successful Beverage Management

    Proven Strategies for the On-Premise Operator

    This may be the best resource guide ever written for controlling, managing and operating a beverage operation profitably.

    Covering virtually every aspect of a beverage operation, Robert Plotkin has left no stone unturned. From analyzing bartender and server productivity to explaining how to use pour cost formulas to increase profits, it is a guide that anyone can use to increase their profits, reduce their costs and understand how to do it in a step-by-step format.

    Bazooka Backpack

    This amazing item allows you to take 100 oz's of any beverage wherever you want to go.  A great way to serve shots, beer, mixed drinks, just about anything that can go "down the hatch". Perfect for shots without using a glass, "just open wide". The clear plastic tube can be personalized for your establishment or event. The Bazooka is constructed of an 1/8" thick acrylic tube and a gravity fed hand tap. The unit is mounted to a lightweight backpack shaped to comfortably fit the curve of one's back.  The shoulder and waist straps are nylon cordura and completely stain resistant. Comes complete with a handy waist pouch to carry your plastic cups for dispensing. Remember - anything served behind a bar can be served in a Bazooka!

    Get your Bazooka Backpack for only $388.70 here...Scroll down the page to find the BackPack.

    My trip to France

    So a quick highlight of my trip to France. I'll leave out the wine as everyone knows France has decent wine. I was lucky enough to stumble upon a Specialty Whisky shop in the little city of Mulhouse, in Alsace. Le Comptoi du Whisky sells rare and unique whisky. After much browsing and consideration, I bought a bottle of Arran Single Malt.

    Each year, the Arran Distillery Manager carefully selects casks which are maturing exceptionally well. These will then be stored either in sherry, bourbon, or other specialist casks until ready for bottling at natural cask strength - without chill filtering - to capture the intensity and individual character of the spirit within.

    My particluar bottle was #307 of 485 bottled from this cask. Its 58.6% alcohol and has been finished in a cognac cask. I haven't had a chance to taste it yet, but I'll be sure to let you know how it is.

    Next month I'll let you know about a sampling I had while at a restaurant in Germany.

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