|BarNone Drink Recipes Newsletter|
Welcome to the March Bar None Drinks Newsletter. The Raven has a big announcement, Absolut Vodka give us a taste of the Sopranos. 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.
TRY IT GREEK STYLE
The Greek prostitute in the movie Never on Sunday enjoyed it with myriad men. Aristotle and Jackie O. had it regularly on the Greek tycoon's luxury yacht and private island paradise. Anthony Quinn indulged in it in the epic Zorba the Greek. And Greeks the world over still savor it -- some even several times daily. But perhaps you're afraid of it, the fear lurking somewhere deep in the backdoor recesses of your psyche. Perhaps you're hesitant about something seemingly so exotic, so unconventional. Maybe you've been cautioned to beware of Greeks bearing gifts. Or you were turned off by Pythagoras and his theorem in your pimply adolescence. Or Homer and his epic poems in Freshman Lit. Don't fret, ye nave and timid souls. We're speaking of drinking ouzo, which need not be a daunting experience. Get over it, for behind your fears lies a great reward.
Ouzo is the classic Greek anise-flavored liqueur, though most countries along the sun-drenched shores of the Mediterranean have their own version, including the Sambuca of Italy, Raki of Turkey, and Pastis of France. One of the most famous versions is Absinthe, a favorite libation of writers and artists at the last fin de siecle. (Absinthe was also flavored with oil of wormwood, which inspired hallucinations and heady addictions and is now illegal in most countries in the world, though it's still available in bars in the free-flowing Czech Republic).
Like many of the hallmarks of Western civilization, anise flavoring first flourished with the Ancient Greeks. Its popularity spread almost as quickly as the ideas of democracy and toga parties, and has been every bit as potent and enduring. Today Greece boasts hundreds of boutique ouzo producers along with a handful of major exporters. You've probably seen the clear liquid in the bottle draped with the bright red and black label "Ouzo 12," the most exported brand worldwide. Legend has it that of all the barrels produced, drinkers preferred that of barrel number 12 -- hence the name. Thus, kitschy Greek souvenir shops carry tacky T-shirts emblazoned with bloodshot eyes and: Ouzo 12, Me 0.
Produced from the pressings of grapes, called tsipoura, ouzo is a harsh, clear first distillate. The distillate is doctored with secret combinations of herbs and spices, notably star anise, which lends the bold licorice flavor, as well as with various blends of fennel, nutmeg, cinnamon, mint, wintergreen and hazelnut. The potion is barrel-aged to attain a more mature, smooth flavor, resulting in a clear, odorless liquid of unique taste and characteristics.
When consumed in American bars, ouzo is often tossed back as a shot -- neither the most pleasant nor the most interesting way to drink it. Do it Greek style and order a measure of ouzo in a glass with an ice water back. For starters, sit and stare at the clear liquid before slowly pouring your ice water in. Miraculously the clear ouzo turns a milky white. It's like performing your own chemistry experiment, only you get to drink it. (You'll want to order another one just to see the sprightly transformation all over again.) If you're the very patient sort, order your ouzo over ice, and watch it slowly turn opaque as the ice melts, diluting the anise oil and emulsifying the 80 to 90 proof alcohol. This experiment works far more successfully when you're ensconced in a comfortable taverna on the shores of a Greek island, but it can also be conducted in your favorite local bar with similar, if less magical, results.
Greeks regularly visit their neighborhood tavernas and order ouzo while contemplating life's many mysteries. The potable is generally served with a snack of nuts or Greek olives as a relaxing afternoon interlude or as a pre-prandial aperitif. There are specialty tavernas, known as ouzeries, which serve their house brands of ouzo along with appetizer selections known as meze -- such things as pita bread, taramosalata (fish-roe salad), calamari, saganaki (fried cheese), grilled squid and local vegetables. Though they drink much more often than Americans, Greeks generally don't get drunk; rather, they savor their daily doses of ouzo, along with good food and companionship, as an accent to their outings rather than as the primary purpose of them.
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 Scott Stavrou. 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.
Readers, today you get to see me in one of my most excited states. Today, I, The Raven, have the opportunity to break some truly exciting news to you. Well, I hope to break it to you, but you may have heard it from somewhere else already. Before I get to the really exciting part, I want to share with you the focus of one of my favorite subjects: high proof alcohol.
First, a quick background on proof: In the U.S., an alcohols proof is determined by multiplying the alcohols volume by two; thus, a drink that is 50% alcohol is 100 proof. I say that this is in the U.S. because I have heard unconfirmed rumors that proof is calculated slightly differently in the U.K. The term proof refers to the ability of the alcohol to allow gunpowder to burn. If a small bag of gunpowder would still burn after being mixed with a small amount of the liquor, this was proof that the drink contained sufficient alcohol.
Most people in their lives have come in contact with alcohols that come near or barely break the 100 proof mark. For instance, Wild Turkey Bourbon is most often consumed at 101 proof and Absente clocks in at 110. Anyone who is a rum fan has probably come across Bacardi 151 at some point, although they probably had it mixed in with something else to mask the burning sensations. Only a lucky few have ever tasted something of even this purity on its own. Id venture to say that almost no one has gone much past this mark.
One day, while cleaning out a liquor cabinet for a friend, I was blessed by the fates to come across a bottle of Strohs 80, a dark rum from Austria. The thing that caught my eye about this bottle was the immense warning that was printed over the top of it. The very first thing you see on the bottle when you go to open it is Danger: Flammable. I thought to myself, Well, of course its flammable. Ive lit 80 proof liquor before. It takes a little finesse, but its possible. Always up for an interesting draught, I poured myself a shot (mind you of course, Im not typically a rum drinker.) In a style that befits a wine taster, I played with the liquid in the glass for a minute or so, taking in the bouquet and watching it coat the sides. It smelled like the finest butterscotch schnapps Ive ever tasted, though I did notice that the follicles in my moustache reacted a bit when I got my nose really close. Satisfied that the alcohol had not gone bad in its respite in the back of the cabinet and interested to see how this would taste with such an alluring odor, I toasted my contemporaries and threw back my head.
Before I tell you my reaction, I must say two things. First, when I finally had sense enough to read the whole bottle, I found that the 80 in Strohs 80 was not referring to the proof, but rather the ABV%. The rum I had just unsuspectingly quaffed rang in at a previously unheard of 160 proof. Secondly, I must make apologies to Ralph Wiggum, because in my immediate daze, only one thing escaped my lips: It tastes like... burning!
Since then, I have occasionally sipped this water of life when I need to remind myself of some universal truth, mostly my mortality. Ive meted out my discovery to those that I think can handle it, sometimes with amusingly expected results. A particularly tough buddy of mine decided that my recommendation of a quarter ounce for his first time was not enough. Not only did I have to peel him off the wall, later in the evening I beat him for the first and only time at Texas Holdem.
And now the exciting news: While scanning the larger news agencies I stumbled across the undertaking of a Scottish distillery, Bruichladdich. These visionaries are, as of February 27, 2006, reviving a 300 year old recipe for a 180 proof whisky. They are doing this using a quadruple distillation process. Perhaps most exciting about this is that they are offering this whisky as a future, at the price of 300 (approximately $650 U.S.) for a case of 6 bottles. Any one interested in this can visit their website at Here . And hey, put in a good word for The Raven if you do. I will be watching this process as best I can, and if anything more comes of it, Ill pass it along to you, my faithful readers.
The oil burns low, and the glass runs empty. Good night, and be sure to catch next months installment of The Ravens Caw.
Many days on the fields swamps of the southern states of America, you can see people sitting on their porch swings, enjoying a cool concoction. This is a drink that is responsible for many things. Romantic strolls, unfortunate lapses in judgment, and even fresh breath can be attributed to this one drink. It was the cause of it all...
This drink is traditionally served in a silver or pewter mug. Theres a good reason for this, which I discovered upon my first attempt at it; crushed mint leaves dont look so pretty. In the bottom of the glass, take as much mint as youd like and muddle it really well. Use the back of a spoon if you have no muddler. Add the sugar into the muddled mint, and continue crushing. When your leaves are nothing more than a pulp, add the bourbon and give it a good stir. Use the water to mediate the burn of the whiskey until you have a perfect sipping drink. Garnish with a few sprigs of mint. Your nose should be deep in mint when ever you sip.
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.
I'm glad the Raven brought up Julep's. Recently, Gordon Jones from Hickory Works sent me a sample of his Hickory Syrup. What the heck is Hickory Syrup was my first question. My second was, what would I do with it? Gordon then informed me of the many uses of Hickory syrup, from replacing sugar and simple syrup in drink recipes to topping your pancakes and various other ways of adding it to your meals.
Being that this is a Drinking newsletter, I opted for the Hickory Julep. Now I must admit that the Julep is not on my most ordered list, but I was pleasently suprised by how it turned out. The slight wisp of smoke flavour accented the drink in a way that I hadn't tasted before.
Hickoryworks shagbark syrup is extracted from the bark of the shagbark tree through a process of heating Gordon describes as "a combination between a wok and a pressure cooker to render the extract, which is then cooled and aged like a fine wine. The whole process takes about three and a half weeks." Different from maple syrup, shagbark syrup doesn't use tree sap. Rather, it's a sugar syrup flavored with extract from the tree bark.
However its produced, if you'd like to create some unique flavours for your cocktails, drop by Hickory Works. Tell Gordon that I sent you. I'll be trying out Hickory Syrup on my pancakes this weekend.
Our latest Rober Plotkin article. How to reduce stress on your staff. 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.
Karoshi. It's the Japanese word for working oneself to death. Whether you realize it or not, some of your bartenders may be committing karoshi on a nightly basis.
A nine-year study recently published in the Journal of Occupational Medicine cited bartenders as having a higher risk of heart attack due to job-related stress than the 243 other occupations reviewed. California Occupational Mortality, a report compiled at the University of California at Davis, found that the heaviest drinkers by occupation were bartenders for men and waitresses for women.
Stress is generated when challenge exceeds abilities a regular occurrence behind the bar. Bartending is a job replete with stress. Bartenders work in a highly visible, pressure-packed environment. They must simultaneously meet management's expectations and satisfy customers' demands. When the operation gets busy, your bartenders are routinely hard pressed, given far more work than time to complete it.
The net effect of stress on your bartenders and the business is costly. It is a leading cause of burn-out, absenteeism, substance abuse, and internal theft. Stressed employees are less productive and increasingly more dissatisfied with their job and quality of performance. Stress can torque even the calmest of personality types into an edgy, ragged mass of nerves. Worse, stress increases heart rate, makes muscles tense and causes the physiology to work harder. Generally, stress increases fatigue and emotional exhaustion.
Click Here to see the whole article and several, proactive ways to help alleviate the stress on your bartending staff:
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.
Looking to put the Bada Bing back in your Sunday Night?
Toast the occasion with a Sopranos cocktail...even if it is a little bridge and tunnel.
Now being served at South City Grill, Jersey City
THE BADA BING LEVEL MARTINI
Stir with ice in a mixing glass and strain into a well- chilled cocktail glass.
Level Vodka is a product of V&S ABSOLUT SPIRITS. It is a new vodka of the highest quality. Level is the perfect balance of smoothness and character, which is achieved by a unique combination of two distillation methods, a new level of vodka. Level is ABSOLUT's entry into the vibrant super- premium vodka segment in the US, said Bengt Baron, president, V&S ABSOLUT SPIRITS. The innovative combination of distillation methods delivers a unique product with refined taste.
For the first time, a vodka is being produced by combining two distillation methods. This production process involves continuous distillation, which distills the vodka hundreds of times to ensure unparalleled smoothness, and batch distillation, where the vodka is produced batch-by-batch in pot stills under the attentive eye of expert distillers, which results in Levels refined taste. Level is produced in hus, Sweden, to ensure it is of the highest quality, but it is a truly different product with its own identity, said Baron. One taste and consumers will see it is a completely new level of vodka.
You can buy Level Vodka online here...
Legends of Bartending 6 Speed Opener
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