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September Issue
In this issue
  • The Raven's Caw
  • Gin Up - Wine X Magazine
  • Absolut Ruby Riviera
  • Bar Designs - by Robert Plotkin
  • Martini Mister
  • Dear Returning Student or Graduate entering the world,

    Welcome to the September Bar None Drinks Newsletter.

    Well, another September has come and gone. Welcome back to school all of you who are returning. For those of you with kids heading back, enjoy the break! Remember that Bar None has all of your favourite recipes for campus fun.

    A very special Happy Birthday to The Raven. We're not sure how old he is, but are pretty certain he's legal to drink!

    Please be smart, don't drink and drive! Enjoy the following recipes in moderation and take a cab if you need one.

    Please forward this email to a friend who might enjoy our newsletter.

    Cheers!


    Dan Hutchinson

    The Raven's Caw

    Raven's Caw Logo Image

    This month I continue my newsletter shrine to many forgotten gods of yesteryear. One of the hallmarks of older gods (and arguably even many of the gods of today) is that they once lived as humans, and for one reason or another were promoted to their god status through legendary deeds. One of the gods presented today, Loau, lived as a king of Oceana; it is said that you can visit the grave of, Silenus, the other god we will examine. Both ascended to godhood in their lifetimes, and as such deserve at least a nod.

    Loau was a Tongan king near the beginning of time. Well, he was probably a king; some stories say he was a god who decided to come down to Earth to see how humans were faring. In any case, he was traveling the many islands of his kingdom and everywhere he went he was afforded the greatest generosity and kindness, something that is dictated in the culture and traditions of Tongan society. Loau was pleased with the reception he was given, but wondered if the reason for the pomp and circumstance was due to his being a king (the stories that identify him as a returning god tell that he disguised himself as a king. Way to be incognito!) He was also dismayed that though the hospitality was great wherever he went, there was no strong drink to be had. He was going to have his answer!

    Loau disguised himself as a traveler and went to the farthest islands in his kingdom. There he came upon a man and a woman working a desolate island. Their small hut overlooked the only source of food they had, a small vegetable patch. Still a visitor had come to them, and so they had to afford him the best they could. The couple had a young daughter who was weak and sickly, and to honor their guest they decided to serve the daughter for dinner. They cut off her head and buried it out back and dressed the torso as they would a pig (some stories say a chicken, but either is rather disturbing).

    When Loau sat down to dinner, he was, at best, a little conflicted (wouldnt you be?) The poor couple had made a great sacrifice to honor their guest, but Loau wasnt exactly hungry for little girl that night. (I think it is worth noting here that the stories Ive uncovered make very little of the actual act of cooking their daughter, perhaps it just didnt matter so much.) Rather, at the thought of the girls fate, Loau found himself again craving strong drink. This led to an epiphany that forever changed Oceana; Loau remembered that he was a god and could pretty much do anything he wanted. He ordered the couple to bury the little girl.

    A few months down the road, the father was outside tending his garden and noticed that two plants had sprung forth from the separate parts of his former daughter. These plants were new to the world. He quickly brought them to Loau. Loau, in turn, took the plants and proclaimed that the first would be named for the farmers daughter Kavaonau, known today as kava. The second was also given a name, which I was unable to uncover, but seems to be what we know as sugar cane. As anyone who has had kava* knows, strong does not begin to describe the infusions made with the kava plant.

    Silenus is a being of interesting contradictions. At times he is half man, half horse (not quite a centaur), other times he is a satyr (half man, half goat.) Sometimes he is human and, still again, he is an immortal. Strangest among the contradictions, sometimes Silenus is an individual and sometimes he is an entire race of demi-humans. All of these issues with his existence only contribute to the necessity of drinking a glass to him, surrounded by many friends. Silenus is the Greek god of drinking buddies!

    Silenus is best known as the oldest, wisest, and yes, drunkest of the tutors of Dionysus. For anyone keeping score, that means that this guy taught the god of drinking and partying (Dionysus) how to drink and party. When Silenus wasnt teaching debauchery, he spent his time wandering the countryside and availing his wisdom to anyone whod listen. At one point he was captured by some farmers and brought before King Midas (yes, that King Midas). Midas recognized him as the tutor of Dionysus and ordered him released immediately (one story implies that Midas actually conspired to have him captured by drugging a fountain that he knew to be frequented by Silenus). After being released, Silenus decided to stick around and regale Midas with whatever advice the king would take. Because of Midass kindness, Dionysus decided to grant him one wish. Midas had a thing for gold, and the rest is history.

    I hope you have enjoyed my pantheon of drinking gods. There are many more to come. Drink a round to Silenus and catch next months issue of The Ravens Caw.

    *O.k., so kava is not actually an alcoholic drink, but it is intoxicating, and so deserves mention.

    The Raven would like to acknowledge the follow sources used in research for this article:
    www.reference.com
    homepage.mac.com/cparada/GML/Silenus.html


    Hot Apple Pie Cocktail Image

    Alright, I pulled this one out of the vaults of BarNone itself. This is the Hot Apple Pie. It's a shot, and really simple, and really good:

    • 1 oz Hot Damn! 100
    • 1 oz Sour Apple Pucker

    In the pic, I've got the drink in a separated shot glass. It's a fun way to drink this, but by no means the only way. When you smell the drink, you might as well be smelling mom's Hot Apple Pie. This shot makes the grade as "girlfriend approved" (and incidentally makes pants come off.) Great for rounds with friends.


    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.

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    Please visit our sponsor for all the latest supplies for your club, dorm or home!

    Gin Up - Wine X Magazine

    Gin Bottles Image

    It's the basis of summer's essential cocktails, a necessity for a well-stocked bar and originally comes from juniper berries which means it must be good for you. Here's a spread of the gins available to help with your summer bar selection.

    DO PEOPLE STILL DRINK GIN

    Premium gin is still the heart and soul of a dry martini, or enjoyed in a long drink as the ever-popular gin and tonic. Vodka may be the white spirit of choice among many younger drinkers, but gin appeals as a more sophisticated drink for thirty-somethings and beyond.

    WHERE DID THE NAME COME FROM

    Gin is a contraction of genievre, the French word for juniper, the universal flavoring used in most gins. The darkish juniper berries come from a juniper tree, as evidenced on the label of Gordon's gin, which features the distinctive purple berries. It became known as genever or geneva in Holland and jenever in Belgium.

    WHO INVENTED GIN?

    Gin doesn't have the most romantic of origins. It's said to have been invented by Dutch monks in the 12th century as a medicine to ward off the bubonic plague. But the real father of gin was Dutch professor of medicine Dr. Sylvius, who in the mid-1600s infused juniper berries in alcohol to produce an inexpensive medicine. (Juniper berries have a strong diuretic quality.) Dutchmen readily took to the purifying tonic developed by the good doctor, and a daily dose of genever was considered vital for good health.

    WHY DID THE ENGLISH TAKE IT UP WITH SUCH GUSTO?

    King William III (who was born and raised in Holland) is said to have introduced genever to England in the 17th century. Around that time, British soldiers fighting in Holland encountered genever, which they abbreviated to gin. (The term "Dutch courage" refers to soldiers fortifying themselves with the warming spirit prior to battle, much like men in bars around the world today.) Lower taxes on British spirits in the 1700s helped gin become England's national drink. At one point, gin was the same price as beer, prompting a sign outside a London pub: "Drunk for 1d. Dead drunk for 2d. Clean straw for nothing." The clean straw was where you slept off the hangover.

    Around this time, British artist Hogarth painted his famous series contrasting the wholesome Beer Street with the depraved Gin Alley. Eventually, excise and taxes ensured that gin moved up the class ladder, while beer became the working man's friend. Gin was the drink of choice among British civil servants in the far-flung Empire, where the addition of quinine-laced tonic water supposedly provided protection against mosquito-borne malaria in the tropics. Meanwhile, the Royal Navy officers quaffed pink gins (gin and Angostura Bitters) as a cure-all against a variety of maladies.

    HOW DID GIN BECOME POPULAR IN THE UNITED STATES?

    During Prohibition, shipments of English gin (mainly Gordon's and Gilbey's) found their way into the country via Canada and fueled many an illegal knees-up. It was also around this time that the classic dry martini was developed and embraced with gusto by Jazz Agers. Illicitly distilled gin was known as 'bathtub gin' and was inherently inferior to the real thing.

    WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT STYLES OF GIN?

    There're three main styles of gin. London dry is the most popular and covers well-known brands like Gordon's, Gilbey's, Tanqueray, Bombay and Beefeater. Most gins are dry, as in unsweet. Plymouth gin is associated with the British Navy and the port of Plymouth, and is a softer dry gin than its London equivalent. Genever, or Dutch, gin tends to be fuller in aroma and palate than its English counterpart, and is designed to be drunk mainly straight and chilled. Flavored gins are also popular, the making of which involves steeping various fruit in the gin (though flavor extracts are used in cheaper brands). In England, sloe gin is traditionally produced when red sloe berries, which grow on blackthorn bushes, are in season. In Belgium, I've visited jenever bars where owners stock upwards of 50 different flavored jenevers in an open chiller. These are not bars to loiter in or pass the time of day; rather, you order your favorite shot of jenever, pay for it, neck it and get on your way. Wine X Gin Bottle Image

    WHAT'S IT MADE FROM?

    Like vodka, gin can be made from all sorts of grains, but English gin is predominantly distilled from corn. The cooked mash is fermented and later distilled in a continuous still to produce a clear, neutral spirit. Various botanicals are added for flavoring, and the spirit is distilled a second time.

    WHY THE BOTANICALS?

    Most gins are flavored with juniper berries, coriander, and one or two other botanicals that add different characters. Bombay Sapphire, on the other hand, is made with 10 different herbs and spices (added in secret proportions), which include juniper berries from Tuscany, Moroccan coriander, angelica, lemon peel, cassia bark, cubeb berries, orris root, licorice, almonds and grains of paradise from West Africa. The result is an in-yer-face bouquet and a palate as complex as any Russian novel. Bombay Sapphire may not be to everyone's taste, but real gin freaks keep a bottle in their freezer and drink it straight in a shot glass. Other gin snobs swear by the more refined palate of Beefeater or Gordon's. And the best ingredients for the perfect dry martini is a topic for endless discussion.

    Gin Bottle Image Gin Bottle Image Gin Bottle Image

    *****

    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 Willie Simpson. 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.

    Absolut Ruby Riviera

    On the hunt for the perfect fall cocktail?

    Snatch it now at Prey.

    THE ABSOLUT RUBY RIVIERA

    Absolut Ruby Riviera Cocktail Image

  • 1 part ABSOLUT RUBY RED™
  • 1 part Ros Wine
  • 1 part Orange Juice
  • Splash of club soda
  • Ruby Red Grapefruit Wedge

    Build equal amounts of Ruby Red™, wine and orange juice over ice in a wine glass. Add a splash of club soda. Garnish with the ruby red grapefruit wedge.

    Now being served at Prey Bar & Lounge in NY

    Prey
    4 W. 22nd Street
    New York City
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    Bar Designs - by Robert Plotkin

    Our latest Rober Plotkin article. Want to open a bar? Well, how do you put it together? 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.

    Bar Trivia Image

    Wanna start a fight? Initiate a discussion about bar design with a group of beverage practitioners and see what happens. Its a contentious topic that sometimes can only be settled through fisticuffs.

    I kid you not, Ive seen people get so red-in-the-face angry about where a glass-washer should go, or how many bartender stations are needed behind a bar that I thought it would come to blows, says David Commer of Commer Beverage Consulting and former T.G.I.Fridays beverage director. Listen, its a passionate subject because so much is riding on every little detail. Bar design affects peoples livelihoods and the viability of a business. Yeah, its not a subject for the feint at heart.

    While theres no such thing as the perfect bar, some are much easier to work than others. Every misplaced step the bartender takes costs the bar money in lost productivity. Operational folks are passionate about the logistics of drink productionhow the workstations are configured, where equipment is placed relative to the workstation and how the inventory is merchandised. They are, after all, responsible for ensuring that the facility is designed to operate at peak efficiency; anything less negatively impacts revenue and service.

    The debate boils over the moment the design team enters the fray. Theyll contend that the bar is the central focus of the front of the house. The structure dominates the overall interior design and therefore falls within their purview. They are, after all, responsible for creating ambience and visually delivering on the promise of the concept. Where the bar is placed, the shape of the structure and traffic flow around the bar are crucial design considerations.

    All overlapping decisions are potential flashpoints with the design team frequently championing one point of view and the operations staff the opposite. Thats when upper management needs to intercede and strike a viable compromise.

    The management point of view really is the prioritized melding of both the operational and interior design perspective, says Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, vice-president of food and beverage for Intercontinental Hotels. Add a few curves to a bar for affect and you could wind up adversely impacting drink production, delaying service, increasing labor costs, detracting from the ambience, snarling traffic flow or undermining the concept.

    Etcheberrigaray contends that subsequent decisions pale in importance to choosing the design and physical shape of the bar. Nothing one does can overcome a poor choice in terms of design. The physical layout of the bar largely determines the placement of equipment, liquor displays and workstations, which in turn, dictates the speed at which bartenders can make drinks and provide hospitable service. A difference of three feet one way or another may not seem like much when youre deciding where to position a glass-washer, but it can add up to hundreds or even thousands of extra steps for bartenders a week. Thats a lot of wasted time.

    What is the most operationally friendly bar design? Which best allows bartenders to quickly make drinks and service the guests? Which layout is most visually appealing and the most efficient use of space? Tackling the debate head-on, we polled beverage veterans regarding their take on these issues.

    Engineering in Speed

    Scott Young is a highly celebrated bartending trainer in North America. Having spent the majority of his life behind bars, the Vancouver nativeowner of extremebartending.comknows a workable bar design when he sees it. I think most bartenders would rather work a linear bar, one with a workstation positioned every 10-15 feet or so. This configuration allows unrestricted views of the guests and permits them move freely behind the bar.

    Young adds that the most effective bar design is one that guides guests to where want them, instead of forcing bartenders to constantly run back and forth wasting steps and precious time. He points out that efficiency of movement is crucial even behind slower bars. The time wasted on drink production is always better spent on service.

    David Sarner is a successful operator of such popular New York haunts as Gauguin At The Plaza Hotel, the Spy Bar, Chaos and Cain at Cabana in Southampton. As a bartender I preferred working linear bars. So-called straight bars are easier to work quickly and maintain tabs on whats going on. They have little impact on traffic flow and cost significantly less per square foot to build. Plus you can comfortably seat more guests per square foot at a linear bar than you can incorporating curves into the design.

    Another proponent of the linear bar is Mark Grossich, CEO of New York-based Hospitality Holdings, whose portfolio of contemporary cocktail lounges include The World Bar in Trump Tower, Carnegie Club in CitySpire Centre and the Campbell Apartment in Grand Central Terminal. In addition to being faster to work, linear bars afford bartenders with optimal face-to-face time with guests. From my point of view, theres nothing more important than that.

    David Commer believes that oval bars are faster for bartenders. Its easier to survey whats going on at an oval bar and provide outstanding service to the guests. The close proximity of workstations, equipment and inventory at an oval bar facilitates drink production and speed of service.

    Siding with Commer is Wayne Morris, director of operations for Associated Club Management, which operates eleven Midnight Rodeo and Wild West concepts throughout Texas and the Virgin Islands. We believe oval bars are the most efficient use of space. In fact, in our high-volume, 25,000 square foot clubs we have five oval bars surrounding a race track style dance floor with another oval bar in the middle of that.

    Several experts cast their lot with horseshoe bars, which includes all arced, or U shapes. Among them is Brian Jaymont, beverage manager at the newly opened JW Marriott Pass Resort & Spa in Tucson. An experienced operator, Jaymonts depth of hands-on experience was heavily relied upon when designing of the new property, which features a slight horseshoe-shape for the showcase bar.

    We went with that design because it creates more working room behind the bar, which allows us to run more bartenders on busy nights. The arc in the bar top also provides additional overhang for equipment. With linear or l-shape bars, a wide bar top makes it more difficult for bartenders to reach in front of guests, or reduces the working room behind the bar. From an aesthetic perspective, the curving lines of a horseshoe bar are far more interesting to look at.

    A Room With A View

    Its interesting to note that up until about 60 years ago, the classic linear or L shape bars in America and Europe all incorporated large mirrors behind the bar. Etcheberrigaray believes that the mirror is crucial to the design. Without it guests seated at the bar can only watch whats happening behind them by turning around on their stools. That puts their backs to the bartenders and thats bad for business. Drop the mirror, doom the design.

    In addition, bartenders rely on that mirror to extend their field of vision and catch reorder cues without turning around, says leading restaurant consultant, Bill Main. From the patrons perspective, Main believes the best bar shape is the oval or horseshoe. They both create a sense of privacy, while still allowing guests to scan the room easily. People-watching is a great American pastime. Horseshoe bars have a high see and be seen quotient.

    On a more pragmatic level, Mann states that curved counters tend to engage people, while straight edges tend to repel. Customers gravitate toward curved kiosks in airports 20% more frequently.

    Operator David Sarner outfits his establishments with oval bars. He believes that they allow the clientele to move about more freely and check out the other patrons. When theres free flow of movement, people feel much more comfortable in the space, which Sarner contends is one of the foundations of building a loyal clientele.

    Mark Grossich has built and operated cocktail lounges that featured all of the various bar designs mentioned. In the final analysis, I think this discussion renders down to form follows function, or more specifically, form follows the optimal floor/furniture plan for the space. So go ahead and advocate putting an oval bar in a square space, or a linear bar in a round space. Youll catch an earful either way

    Advantages/Disadvantages At-A-Glance

    Ill-devised layouts and poorly placed equipment can make bartenders struggle to perform their jobs in a timely and efficient manner. Poor bar design can result in delayed service and may also increase labor cost if one bartender isnt able to effectively work the bar alone. The ramifications may end up costing lost sales for the life of the business.

    Here then is a scouting report from our experts on the operational advantages and disadvantages of the popular bar designs. RP

    Linear Bars:

  • Most efficient design from a drink production perspective
  • Allows for unobstructed vision of bar patrons
  • Can typically be worked by one bartender in non-peak hours
  • Design easiest in which to position equipment and workstations
  • Typically requires less square footage to accommodate the same number of bar stools as other shaped bars
  • Least interesting shape bar from a design standpoint

    L-Shaped Bars:

  • Design is easily incorporated into most floor plans
  • Design allows for easy placement of equipment and workstations
  • Can typically be worked by one bartender in non-peak hours
  • Design obstructs line of vision bartender standing at one end of the bar cannot see patrons seated at the other end, which may lead to delayed service

    Oval and Horseshoe Bars:

  • Afford guests seated at the bar an unobstructed view of the room
  • Often challenging for bartenders to work designs require constant movement on the bartenders part to ensure bar patrons receive attentive service
  • Designs are most labor-intensive requiring more bartenders to work during peak hours to provide uncompromised service
  • Often challenging designs in which to position equipment and merchandise inventory.


    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.

    Plotkin's experience has allowed him to carefully analyze all aspects of running a beverage operation, whether in a restaurant, hotel or nightclub, and apply the controls and systems necessary to generate profit from the business. This all new book is based on methods operators have used nationwide to cut thousands of dollars off their operating costs, reduce theft, and increase their sales in percentages that reach into double digits.

    Included in the book's 24 information-packed chapters are; maintaining health code standards behind the bar, establishing pouring procedures, analyzing the beverage operation, implementing safe-guards to protect inventory, conducting market research, the mathematics of profit, standards in bar design for efficiency of movement, and even how to select well liquor. This is a complete guide of strategies, formulas and steps to reach beverage management success. Make the most of your beverage operation and order today!

  • Martini Mister

    Want to make the perfect Extra Dry Martini? The Martini Mister is the tool for you. Simply fill your Martini Mister with dry vermouth, chill and strain your customer's favorite gin or vodka, and give the cocktail a twist and a mist. For a more personal touch, allow your customer to give the mist. They'll love it! 2 sizes to choose from.

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