December - New Year's Eve Edition

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New Year's Eve Issue
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Dear New Year's Partyer,

Can you believe how quickly this year went by? Maybe it's just me, scrambling with getting the new site up and running.

We'd sure like to thank all of you for helping make the site and the newsletter a big success. Without you, this would be for not.

Be sure to check out our great New Year's, a year in review recipe collection!

Happy New Year and all the best in 2008!

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

Cheers!


Dan Hutchinson

The Raven's Caw

Raven's Caw Logo Image

First, let me start with an apology. Rather, let me start with a qualification. The flavor of today's article is decidedly American. For all of our friends in the Commonwealth, I hope you too can find this interesting.

The big news that everyone is telling me about (at least 5 people have sent me postings on it) is that absinthe is now legal for sale in the U.S. This marks the striking down, or rather, the reinterpretation, of a law that was put into place at the same time as Prohibition, and never reconsidered. According to the sources I've found, the TTB (a wing of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service) has issued permits for at least 4 domestic absinthe producers to sell in the U.S.

This apparent reversal of legality is great news for many people, and perhaps many on top of those as well. Absinthe legal for sale in the U.S. must be tested by the TTB and must be found to have less than 10ppm of thujone, the active chemical donated by the 'botanical wormwood' variety. Basically, the absinthe you get in the U.S. has all the great flavor of 'Le Fee Verte', but none of the chop-off-your-ear madness-inducing psychoactive goodness. At the very least, those who buy the newly available stuff because it's 'forbidden' will be less likely to try something stupid (like flying 'n stuff.)

Speaking of the IRS and all, I am reminded of a few of our institutions (again, in the U.S.) that just wouldn't be the same (or exist at all) if it hadn't been for booze.

This first one is something that some cheer and others...well, they don't cheer. But it's roots in Prohibition are hard to ignore. I refer, of course, to NASCAR. Automobile racing, at least in the U.S., is due almost entirely to the actions of mobsters and their lackeys trying to find ways to out run the cops during their deliveries. Young upstarts would practice driving against their buddies so that the next time the Don needed them to run some rum, they'd make it back without any...entanglements. Before long, people started to watch these practice sessions, and betting goes hand in hand with racing, and the mob goes hand in hand with betting. It doesn't take much for a good idea (that makes money) to become a regular event, and so the races continued long after the transportation of liquor went legit again. Badda bing, badda boom, you got NASCAR.

US Coast Guard Logo Image Second on the list of great American institutions that wouldn't be the same without booze is the U.S. Coast Guard. Most people don't realize this, but the Coast Guard isn't always under the direction of the Department of Defense. When we're not in war (legit or not) the CG is actually part of the Department of Transportation, charged with maintaining the coast for use in commerce and, yep, transportation. Part of this peacetime charter, and one of the very first official functions of the guard, also includes patrolling cargo containers for illicit cargo; yes, the Coast Guard exists (in part) to make sure that the IRS gets its due from imported booze. (For all you coasties out there...I know that this isn't precisely the roots of the CG, but even so, part of the reason the Guard exists is because the IRS needed someone to combat the rum runners on the sea.)

Well, there you have it. A slice of Americana for all. Have a happy New Year!

Raven.


 

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 or two, 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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Partida Tequila, reinventing America's favorite cocktail



Stirred, not shaken - Valerie Schirmer

Bar Spoon Image

If you are a fan of James Bond, or have ever seen one of his movies, then you know just how he likes his drinks-shaken, not stirred. But, even though the line is a movie classic, do you really know what the difference is between the two mixing techniques?

Shaking a drink's ingredients to thoroughly mix them requires the use of a shaker, a separate strainer if the shaker doesn't come equipped with one, ice, and the ingredients.

Stirring is a much easier way to mix a drink. No special equipment is required, other than a glass, a spoon, or a mixing rod, in addition to the ingredients and, on occasion, ice. It may be the second oldest technique used when making drinks, but it is once again making a comeback in popularity.

One of the oldest known ways to stir a drink is by using a bar spoon and a mixing glass. A bar spoon is different than other spoons that you may already have in your utensil drawer. It comes equipped with a special, long handle that works well when mixing drinks in taller glasses. This is a wonderful tool for your bar collection, because it not only works well for stirring, it is also ideal for layering when it is turned over.

Many prefer to stir their drinks without adding ice to ensure that the ingredients do not become diluted. In this instance, the ingredients are mixed first in one glass and then poured over ice in another glass to chill the drink. However, some people enjoy stirring a drink together with ice, and can easily do so without fear of diluting the drink.

When stirring a drink, if you prefer to do so with ice in the glass, it is best that cubes should be used. Crushed ice can melt rather quickly, easily diluting the drink and its flavor. Cubes will not melt as easily, and will effectively chill the drink before releasing too much water into the ingredients. Should you use ice cubes during the stirring process, the liquid should be drained into another glass prior to drinking to ensure that the ice does not melt into the alcohol.

To stir a drink, the ingredients should be added to a mixing glass. A bar spoon, straw, or mixing rod is then used to stir the ingredients. The best way to stir is to do so slowly, in a clockwise motion, with 6 or so complete rotations made. The stirred drink can then be added to a chilled glass or a glass filled with ice.

Should you prefer to stir with ice, add the ingredients to a mixing glass that has been filled 3/4 of the way with ice. Use the spoon, straw, or mixing rod to stir the drink as you would if the glass did not contain ice.

Once the drink has been properly stirred and chilled, it can be strained into a chilled glass or a glass filled with fresh ice. Add your garnish of choice, and you're good to go!


Val, Val Val. What do we say about Val? I can say that she's been doing a bunch of work for us here at Bar None for the last few month's, but most of it site related, not for our newsletter. However, as we're as much about techniques and the industry as we are about recipes, I thought that this little article on stirring might cause a little bit of a .... is that too punny?

Anyway we dug Val up out of some little place called Hoboken or was it Halifax? Hmm, maybe it was Hammonton. Wherever it was, she's doing a fine job and we're happy to have her aboard.

Absolut - Recipes for the Holidays

Hot NoChado
Hot NoChado Cocktail Image

  • 1 part Ginger-Infused ABSOLUT 100*
  • 1/2 part Zen Green Tea Liqueur
  • 3 parts Hot Green Tea
  • Half Lemon (squeezed)

Brew the tea to desired strength. Add ginger-infused ABSOLUT 100* and lemon juice.

Serve in a stylish mug, and garnish with a lemon wedge.

*To make the ginger-infused ABSOLUT 100, bake half cup of ginger (wrapped in tin foil) for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Allow the baked ginger to soak in the vodka for at least one day.

Served this holiday season at Aspen (30 W. 22nd Street, New York; 212-645-5040)

Whether you are the the belle of the ball or just a baller, tis' the season to "jingle bell rock" at hotspots Marquee and Tao.




ABSOLUT Blissletoe
ABSOLUT Blissletoe Cocktail Image

  • 1 1/2 parts ABSOLUT 100
  • 1 part Orange Juice
  • Splash Blue Curacao

Combine first two ingredients over ice in a highball glass. Add a splash of Blue Curacao.

Garnish with an orange slice and lime peel.

Served this holiday season at Marquee New York (298 10th Avenue; 646-473-0202)








Key Lime Martini
ABSOLUT Key Lime Martini Image

  • 2 parts ABSOLUT VANILIA
  • 1 part Midori
  • 1/2 Part Pineapple Juice
  • 1/2 Part Sweet Lime Juice

Combine all ingredients over ice, and shake vigorously.

Strain into a graham cracker-rimmed martini glass, and garnish with a lime slice.

Served this holiday season at David Burke at Bloomingdale's (159 E. 59th Street, New York; 212-705-3800)




Castle Brands - Midnight Kiss

Midnight Kiss
Midnight Kiss Cocktail Image

  • 1 1/2 oz Pallini Raspicello
  • 1 oz cranberry juice
  • Squeeze of lime juice
  • 3 oz champagne

Shake Pallini Raspicello, cranberry juice and lime juice with ice. Strain into a champagne flute and top with champagne.

Hard Knocks of Bartending - by Robert Plotkin

Our latest Rober Plotkin article talks about what it takes to bartend in todays world..

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.

Hardknocks Article Image

 

Bartending is a challenging occupation, and when done right, it's a sight to behold. Getting to that lofty elevation requires humility and a resolve to excel. Few have become consummate professionals behind the bar without making every mistake in the book, perhaps more than once.

To make the trip a bit less frenetic and painful for your bartenders, here's some constructive criticism gleaned from the featured curriculum at the Hard Knocks School of Bartending. These pitfalls cut short careers and give managers conniptions.

Maintaining a "Me First" Perspective - Success in the bar business requires a pervasive team attitude and looking out for the house's best interests. That entails a cooperative effort, people helping each other to accomplish the stated objective, even when there may be no direct financial compensation pending. Prima donnas should pick another trade.

Disregarding Specified Serving Portions - The misconception that "heavy" gratuities result from pouring"heavy" drinks is a costly one. Over-portioning liquor jacks up cost, swells alcohol potency, and increases liability. Pouring heavy shots puts the other bartenders on the staff, who pour according to the rules, in a bad way. Their drinks will suffer by comparison.

Serving an Inferior Product - In the heat of the rush, quality is typically the first casualty. Make sure that mixes are well-prepared, and juices taste fresh. Fruit garnishes should be cut daily, and be used only in good condition. When it comes to the business's product, don't take short cuts.

Inadequate Short-Term Memory - Fault lies in the undeveloped ability to recall customers' names, and what they're drinking. While people appreciate bartenders remembering their names, they fully expect bartenders to remember what they're drinking.

Scattered Priorities - Working a high-volume bar requires the ability to "take care of first things first;" waiting on bar customers before washing glasses, or preparing drink orders for servers before finishing a conversation with a regular. Prioritizing tasks according to their highest and best use of time is a proven method of wrenching order out of chaos.

Preferential Treatment - While its natural to prefer serving some people over others, it's a fundamental mistake to act upon those sentiments. Treating select customers like second-class citizens is not part of the job description. Your attitude and demeanor can betray how you feel as clearly as inattentive service.

Being an Order Taker - Don't be complacent just filling orders, make things happen. Suggest new drinks, new products and energize your guests. There is no more effective form of marketing than the enthusiastic efforts of servers at the point of sale.

Letting Professional Demeanor Slip - Crank up the pressure and even common courtesy quickly disappears. Regardless, bartenders must maintain their composure and remain in control of their emotions. Stress and frustration must be internalized, not vented onto the clientele or co-workers.

Jumping Off the Learning Curve - All too frequently bartenders reach a degree of competency and level-off. Excellence requires intellectual curiosity and the pursuit of continuing education. There's a great deal to learn behind the bar and no room for mental complacency.

Fixating on Gratuities - Making a decent living is best achieved through rendering prompt, competent service. Concentrating on tips during a shift diverts your concentration from the job at-hand. Take care of your guests and the tips will take care of themselves.

 


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.

 

Plymouth French 75

Plymouth French 75 Martini Image French 75

Created around 1925 at Harry's New York Bar in Paris.

  • 1 part Plymouth Gin
  • 1 part lemon juice
  • 2 bar spoons simple sugar syrup
  • Top with champagne (or sparkling wine)

Shake Plymouth Gin, lemon juice and simple sugar with ice and strain into a chilled champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish with a lemon twist. Note: Amount of simple sugar may need to be adjusted depending on dryness of the champagne.


 

Wine Pairings - Asha Brodie

Red Wine Glass Image Food and wine has long had a very close association that their pairing can only be described as a match made in heaven. When put together, the flavors in both the food and the wine intermingle as they compliment each other perfectly.

Wines contain ingredients that can either enhance your food or make it taste sour. Wine consists of spice-like ingredients such as tannins, sugars and acids. That is why it is imperative to properly match the right wine with food. If you do not pair a particular type of wine with the appropriate food, your wine may yield a bitter taste, one that can really bring out some unhappy faces at your dinner table.

Experts would tell you that not just any wine would do with a meal; rather there is a method to it all, one that would probably make a wine connoisseur out of you at the end of the day. Selecting a particular wine with food is a technique that must be done with great precision with the end result of getting the right type of flavors swirling around in your mouth.

There was a time when choosing the right wine with the right kind of food was as easy as trying to remember the phrase "pair red wine with red meat and white with fish and poultry". And while some still rest on those rules, others are experimenting with different wines and food and are coming up with sudden bursts of flavors that are mouthwatering.

One should always bear in mind that when serving wine with food, both flavors must be subtle upon taste. This means that neither wine nor food should overpower each other but they should be able to strike a balance that you and your guests will love.

One way in which this can be achieved is by matching food with wine that when paired together would both have great flavors and intensity. For instance, if you are serving lighter foods like perhaps appetizers, these should be paired with light-bodied wines that will match and enhance the flavors. Foods such as grilled chicken or baked turkey are a perfect match for full bodied wines. And wines that are sweet by nature are highly recommended for hot and spicy dishes such as chili and curried meals.

And since some red wines tend to be bitter in taste, serving meals that have a good amount of salt in it can actually take the bitterness away and turn it into a wine that you can actually enjoy. There are several food and wine pairing charts out there but if you do not have access to one, you can always experiment with both before having your friends over for dinner.

Remember to keep a note of the wines that you use that have further enhanced your meal. You never know if you may have to use it in the future.


Asha Brodie has spent an interesting 19 years in print media in Trinidad. She currently lives in the USA with her husband and daughter. Her lifelong love affair for writing continues...

 

Steel Knob Bar Spoons

Steel Knob Bar Spoon BS-SKN
$3.68
Another great all-n-one tool. You can stir, mix, and muddle with this one item. Make your job quicker and easier, and increase profit.


Partida - LookBetterNaked!

LookBetterNaked! Martini Image

Every year, one of the top New Year's resolutions is to get in shape.

Partida Tequila and Nacional 27 Manager/Mixologist Adam Seger have a better solution to help you get a little healthy while you imbibe this season: LookBetterNaked! This holiday season, Partida has teamed up with Seger to create a new margarita crafted from healthy ingredients for a guilt-free indulgence that fuels the body while it delights the taste buds.

The LookBetterNaked margarita is made from all-natural ingredients, including Partida Reposado tequila, organic acai, organic agave nectar, rosemary, egg white and fresh squeezed lime juice. Using Sambozan Pure Organic Acai and Partida Organic Agave Nectar fills the margarita with antioxidants, amino acids, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, cholesterol-reducing fructans and Vitamins A and C. The rosemary is rich in vitamin E, preventing cancer and skin damage. An egg white provides a lean source of protein, while the fresh lime juice prevents heart disease and gives an extra dose of Vitamin C. The LookBetterNaked margarita is this year's answer to those countless toasts to a holiday season!

LOOKBETTERNAKED Margarita

by Adam R. Seger CCP
Manager/Mixologist, Nacional 27

  • 1.5 oz. Partida Estate Reposado Tequila
  • 1/2 Ounce Sambazon Pure Organic Acai
  • 3/4 Ounces Partida Organic Agave Nectar
  • 4" Sprig Rosemary, Top Inch Reserved for a Garnish
  • 1/2 Ounce Organic Egg White
  • 1 Lime Fresh Squeezed

Remove the Rosemary Leaves from the wood stem and muddle in a 16 oz. pint glass until aromatic. Add Liquid Ingredients.

Rim a martini glass with equal parts of organic salt with 50 Trace Minerals and fresh cracked organic green peppercorns.

Shake liquid ingredients vigorously until metal shaker is frosted. Strain into chilled, rimmed martini glass and float a 1" Rosemary Sprig on top.

 

Newcastle Brown Ale - Bloody Mary

The Bloody Great Bloody Mary Cocktail
 Photo

The Bloody Great Bloody Mary

Ingredients

3 oz. Skyy Vodka - (more)
2 oz. Tomato Juice - (more)
1 oz. Newcastle Brown Ale - (more)
1/4 tsp. Horseradish - (more)
1/4 tsp. Hot Sauce - (more)

Instructions

This isn't your grandfather's Bloody Mary

Fill a cocktail shaker 1/3 full with ice and add all the ingredients. Shake well then pour into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Add something cool, and I don't mean a celery stick - anything pickled will work really well, like a baby pickled tomato, green bean, asparagus or even pickled okra - really.

Credit

Newcastle Brown Ale



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