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January Issue
In this issue
  • one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor - Wine X Magazine
  • The Raven's Caw
  • The Bottled Water Trend - by Robert Plotkin
  • Search the Drink Recipe Database
  • Cheers to "Vinter"
  • BarGoodies Top Ten of 2005
  • Article Suggestions
  • Dear Dan,

    Welcome to the first official 2006 Newsletter. The Raven has been busy shaking up some recipes as well as jotting down some great info. Absolut Vodka has come through again with another great recipe. We also have the spectacular 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

    one tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor - Wine X Magazine

    .

    O N E
    T E Q U I L A
    T W O
    T E Q U I L A
    T H R E E
    T E Q U I L A
    There's a lot more to the stuff than shots, salt and worms that make you go crazy. In fact, according to Greg Duncan Powell, it seems much of the truth on tequila got lost in the translation.
    F L O O R

    When the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Mexico in the early 16th century they brought to the inhabitants the delights of Catholicism and various western diseases such as small pox, syphilis and tuberculosis. The native Indians offered them in turn a sort of milky beer called "pulque". However the trials and tribulations of being a conquistador demanded a stronger drink. Using the pulque as a base they learned to distill it into a crude spirit called mezcal. It had the requisite dose of alcohol the conquistadors sought, but was a fairly coarse sort of drink.

    That was what they drank in Mexico until the end of the 19th century when a few worthy families around the town of Tequila happened on a way to produce a cleaner, lighter spirit by double distilling in pot stills. Tequila was born.

    THE REAL DEAL

    Jose Cuervo Gold
    $31.93

    Sauza Hornitos
    $32.91

    Monte Alban Mezcal

    Authentic tequila is now protected by law. It must be produced from a single variety of the blue agave plant, the species Tequiliana Weber, which is grown in a limited region of Mexico in the state of Jalisco around the towns of Tequila, Tepatitlan, Guadalajara and Jalisco.

    There are over 400 species of the agave plant which thrives in the arid Mexican climate. It begins life about the size of an onion, and looks very much like that favourite of 1950s gardens, the spiny yucka plant. Agave plants are mature at about 10 years old and normally measure about 60-70 centimetres around the base.

    When harvested, the spiky leaves are chopped away from the core of the plant. The "pina" as it is then called, looks like a giant green pineapple and is cooked to convert the starch to sugar. It is then shredded and pulped to extract the sugary juice. This juice is fermented twice in pot stills. It emerges from the stills the second time at the relatively low proof of 110 (vodka is distilled at 190 proof). That means that when the spirit is adjusted to the requisite alcohol level, less water is needed and the character of the spirit is not diminished. Tequila bottled straight from the stills is called white or silver tequila. Gold tequilas or anejos are aged in wood for one to three years but sometimes up to seven.

    T E Q U I L A . M Y T H S

    Mezcal is more potent than tequila
    There is more myth and legend pedalled about mezcal than virtually any other drink barring absinthe. Mezcal refers to an alcoholic beverage produced in Mexico from the fermented juice of any variety of the agave plant. Just as cognac is brandy but not all brandy is cognac, all tequila is mezcal but not all mezcal is tequila. Tequila is just the most refined.

    The worm has special properties
    Mezcal is often exported containing a dead mariposa worm (which feeds on the agave plant) as a mark of authenticity. What began as a bid for credibility has become a marketing gimmick. The worm in the mezcal is much like the plastic things you used to find in cornflakes boxes. Some producers have even gone further than one worm and offer dos gusanos.

    Mezcal is hallucinogenic
    This confusion stems from the similarity of the words mezcal and the mescaline. The mescal cactus has absolutely no relation to the agave plant, apart from the fact that the Indians called the agave mezcal. The conquistadors called it "maguey". The mescal cactus or peyote plant is the source of peyote buttons which contain the hallucinogenic drug, mescaline. Aldous Huxley has a lot to answer for.

    Tequila is made from a cactus
    This stems from the mezcal/mescaline confusion. The agave plant is not a cactus. Botanically, it's from the amaryllidaceae family.

    H O W . T O . D R I N K . T E Q U I L A

    Tequila is the principal ingredient in the margarita. It's a truly classic cocktail, which unlike the daiquiri, doesn't lend itself to variation. But no matter -- the basic margarita needs no improving.

    The Basic Margarita

    lemon or lime rind
    salt for the glass
    60ml of tequila
    15ml of Cointreau
    1 teaspoon of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

    Rub rim of cocktail glass with the rind of the lemon or lime. Dip the glass rim down in the salt. Combine the rest of the ingredients and ice in a shaker and strain into the salt-rimmed glass. Put on anything by Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass and put everything off until manyana.

    Los tres cuates or the tequila slammer
    The slammer uses the same time-honoured trinity of tequila, salt and lemon or lime that the margarita relies on, albeit in a more basic form. It's best with white or silver tequila. Participants lick a pinch of salt on the back of their hand, take a slug of tequila and then suck on a lemon or lime. It's a riot in the mouth. When you can no longer coordinate your lick sip suck, it's time to stop.

    *****

    This article has been submitted by the great people over at Wine X Magazine. Greg Duncan Powell was the author. Wine-X has agreed to bring you a new article every month from 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.

    Wine X Logo Image


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    The Raven's Caw

    Welcome back and good evening, good readers, to yet another installment of The Ravens Caw. As promised, tonight I shall take you through the basics of bar stocking for private engagements of 20 people or so. This is your average dinner party, holiday party, weekend bash or just when you have friends over. I will lay out for you the tips and tricks that have gotten me through countless parties, some of which I didnt know the entire guest list.

    Well start with, what else, the booze. Try to get a feel for the people that are coming and what they like to imbibe. This way you can get the most bang for your buck. One of the first things to do is ignore the rule of the Big 5. Before you turn away and refuse to finish the column, let me give you an example. As you may have gleaned from my previous installments, Im a whiskey drinker, and I dont care for tequila. It may surprise you to learn, then, that I dont stock either liquor at my parties. No one else drinks tequila and I get so few requests for whiskey that I usually end up taking it home, where it sits in my cabinet because, as I said last month, lifes to short to drink anything but the good stuff, and Im not wasting the good stuff on a party. Nonetheless, the point remains, dont try to stock a bar for anyone...stock it for the people who are coming to the party.

    Next is the bar equipment. There are a few things that every bar should have. First is a good mixing spoon. This doesnt have to be a real fancy one; a long handled breakfast spoon will do the trick, but make sure its handy before you start the night. Next is your jigger. I prefer a double jigger with an ounce on one side and 1.5 ounces on the other. This is a must have for the novice. Theres nothing worse than making a bad drink because you heavy poured this ingredient or that one. As you get better (and after you know what the drink is supposed to taste like) wean yourself off the jigger, then give it to another up and coming booze jockey. Have some fun in selecting your shaker. I currently own a half dozen. One is glass, which provides an interesting show for the drinker. There are so many out there, take the time to find one that suits you... my favorite was actually a find at a garage sale. Get good at using it, and learn what the strainer is for. Round out your bar with a waiters corkscrew or something fancier, if you can afford it for all those people that may want wine or beer. While its true that most beers and even some wines are in screw top caps these days, you can hardly call yourself a bar without the ability to pop a cap or remove a cork.

    Noticeably absent from this list is a muddler. When I first equipped my bar, I took hours crafting my own, custom muddler out of oak and then many more hours getting the finish right (using lemon oil, so as not to poison my guests). It did not take me long to figure out that it just wasnt necessary. Unless you are in the deep south or in Miami, mint juleps and Mojitos just dont show up on the request list enough. You can get by with the back of your mixing spoon. Save the muddler for when you have time to really spend time on it, then use it only for special occasions.

    Finally is the glassware. And I mean glassware. The only thing that should be served out of plastic is beer, and the occasional cheap champagne. (If I hear of anyone serving Dom out of plastic cups, I will send my army of corvid avengers to tear out your black heart.) If youre in an area serviced by the 99 only chain of stores, cheap, decent party glassware is within your reach. They sell four or five ounce glasses at four for a buck. At those prices, you dont even have to worry about them being broken.

    Id like to touch on one thing before I wrap this up. As bartender, it is your responsibility to make sure that everyone has a good time, and also to make sure that someones senses dont get away from them and they either drink too much, or try to operate heavy machinery whilst intoxicated. Short of taking keys, there are a few, more subtle methods to help you in this cause. First and foremost, get familiar with your flavors. Know how a drink is supposed to taste. Armed with this information, you can start to short pour the drinks after the first one. Short pouring is an easy way to save money, and to help the other guy out of a killer hangover. After the first drink hits the tongue, the capacity for tasting the drink starts to decline. After two drinks, the drinker will be lucky to tell what hes drinking anyway, so lowering the alcohol content wont affect his enjoyment of the drink, and will put other fluids in his system, which will help in the morning. Just a little tip. Dont be afraid to suggest coffee or water. During your bar banter, tell them that you read on a website that going drink for drink with water and alcohol can make you feel better in the morning. Theyll thank you for it later.

    Well, the glass is empty, and so is the inkwell. Good night, my friends, and next time you sit down with a drink, listen, and perhaps youll hear The Ravens Caw.

    Another one from the black book...


    The Chocolate Banana-tini

    Though I wish I could claim it, this one is not mine. This is a drink I picked up on a cruise ship and fell in love with. The best thing about this drink is that, made with the right ingredients, it is perfectly clear.

  • 3 parts Vodka (Premium is best!)
  • 1.5 parts White Crme de Cacao
  • .5 parts 99 Bananas

    This is a classic martini as far as preparation is concerned. I think though youd be best to follow 007s lead and shake this one over ice. It is really important that you use white crme de cacao or the entire effect is lost. Be careful not to over pour the 99 Bananas or youll over power the rest of the drink. Though the flavors are amazing, this drink is not for lightweights. Its still a martini.

    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.

  • The Bottled Water Trend - by Robert Plotkin

    Our latest Rober Plotkin article. How to increase sales with bottled water. 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.

    How to sell bottled water image

    I recently had a late night dinner at the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan. After the server took the food order at the four-top next to me, he secured my unyielding admiration with his next question.

    "And finally, would you care for a bottle of sparkling water, still water, or would you prefer to drink New York tap water?" The host looked at his guests, the guests looked at the host, who in turn looked at the server and said, "How about a bottle of each." The server nodded as if they had made a well-informed decision and left.

    Over the course of their dinner they had a total of four bottles of water, which added $20 to their bill. Its an urban tale with a happy ending. The server bumped up his ticket average, and undoubtedly his tip, the host and assembled guests left well hydrated and the house raised their beverage sales without incurring additional liability. Welcome to life in a .08 universe.

    Twenty years ago selling water in a restaurant or bar was practically unheard of. Now bottled waters are hot commodities. Their surging rate of growth dwarfs all other types of beverages.

    Doesnt it only stand to reason though? Spring and mineral waters are bottled at a natural source and typify all that is pure and untainted. On the other hand, drinking tap water is entirely a matter of faith, a hope that the water coursing through the aging pipes and concrete aqueducts far below our city streets is free of dangerous contaminants and therefore safe to drink from the faucet.

    Tapping into the bottled water phenomenon makes good business sense. With few notable exceptions, great cocktails owe their existence to the inclusion water. They are, after all, literally the eaux de vie the waters of life.

    On the unlikely chance that you are among those who think that waters have had their day, that they have lost a step on the field of energy drinks and isotonics, think again. Theres a promised land of greatness waiting to be created behind your bar and water can lead you there.

    To that end, in no particular order are the best money making ideas to exit our think tank on how to leverage the cache of waters behind your bar.

  • Selecting a Team The days of stocking one type of bottled water are long gone. To make a bona fide stab at increasing bottled water sales, youre looking at carrying a minimum of three brands, while four would be better. The water world is divided into still (non-carbonated) and sparkling. On the sparkling side of the equation, you need to carry a selection balanced between highly effervescent waters, such as Perrier and San Pellegrino and those imbued with light carbonation, such as Ramlsa and Calistoga. While some opt to market one brand of still water, providing guests with a choice is advisable. In the dining room, liter bottles are preferable, while in the lounge the smaller bottles are more advantageous. The bottles should always be kept refrigerated.

  • Watering the Guests If possible, serve bottled water in stemmed glassware, such as a wine glass or water goblet. Do not add cubed ice made from tap water to a guests water glass it essentially defeats the purpose. After serving all of the guests at the table, keep the open bottle of water in an iced wine bucket and refill glasses frequently. Attentive, yet unobtrusive service is the objective. After a bottle is emptied, open another. The key is to not let guests at the table go without water. It is typically not required to interrupt the host asking for approval to open another bottle of water.

  • Marketing Impetus One of the most effective marketing techniques is when setting your tables include a bottle of still and sparkling water. When guests are seated, the server or hostess should ask if they would care for water with their meal. It is a service technique that both anticipates a need and stimulates sales. Some operators go so far as to suggest certain types of bottle waters with different cuisines. For example, pairing Italian San Pellegrino with pastas or Evian with French cuisine. Since the water represents the quintessence of the specific region, an amalgamation of the minerals and salts of the land, it is a worthy cross-promotional concept.

  • Bourbon and Branch Pairing fine whiskeys with spring water sourced from the whiskeys own back yard is about as good as it gets. Adding a splash of Kentucky limestone spring water to a great bourbon is a classy touch appreciated by novice and enthusiast alike. The same can be said about serving spring water from Scotland or Ireland to an aficionado enjoying a dram of malt.

  • Seltzer is Pass Carbonated water is to mixology as Salisbury steak is to the culinary arts. Instead of committing club soda (i.e. carbonated tap water) to your drinks, why not use San Pellegrino or Perrier? Choose the amount of carbonation youd like to feature in your drinks and select the sparkling water to suit.

  • Hot Toddies Hot water is an infallible delivery system for whiskeys and brandies. Add a lemon wheel or a clove or two and youve got the makings of a classically structured specialty.

  • Coffee and Tea Bliss The better the water, the better the coffee or tea. Consider your options. Tap water can contribute an off-taste to coffee or tea and potentially damage equipment. Distilled water results in a vapid brew. One secret to making a great cup of great coffee or tea is using a spring water thats up to the task.

    The Original Guide to Alcohol-Free Beverages and Drinks

    Don't miss out on this hot new category! Serve delicious taste-tested alcohol free specialties to your customers and friends and enjoy low cost and great taste. The recipes span the breadth of alcohol-free mixology, including blended drinks, coffee, tea and cocoa specialties, ice cream drinks, and specialties made with lemonade, juices and sparkling cider. Plus reviews of the best products to use when making your creations!

  • Search the Drink Recipe Database

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    Cheers to "Vinter"

    Is Sweden the new Japan? Seems like everything is coming up Sweden from Nordic-themed ICEBARs to the growing trend of Swedish hip hop in the U.S. with bands like Looptroop on the it list. This vinter cheers to all things cool, blue and blonde.

    ABSOLUT Swede

  • 1 part ABSOLUT APEACH
  • 1 part Pineapple Liqueur
  • 2 parts Orange Juice
  • Splash of Blue Curacao

    Shake and strain into a chilled glass.Garnish with a lemon slice.

    Now being served at the ABSOLUT ICEBAR in London

  • BarGoodies Top Ten of 2005

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