May 2008 Edition

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Dear Bartender,

Cinco de Mayo anyone?

Welcome to another issue of our newsletter. We've packed it full of stuff and even some news of Tales of the Cocktail...

We added a bookmark button to make it easier to bookmark the site and share it with other people. You can find it just beneath the logo on the top left of the site.

We've also implemented a RSS feed to update you on all the latest entries to the database. You can find the page here...

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

Partida Tequila - Amatitan Monk

Amatitan Monk
Amatitan Monk Cocktail Image

  • 2 oz Partida Reposado Tequila
  • 3/4 oz St. Germain
  • 1/4 oz Benedictine
  • 1/4 oz lime juice
  • 1/4 oz lemon juice

Shake and strain into cocktail glass.

"I like this recipe because it lets the Tequila shine while taking advantage of the natural acidity in Tequila and St. Germain. The Benedictine adds complexity as a third or fourth note." - John Kinder, MK Restaurant, Chicago

 

The Raven's Caw

Raven's Caw Logo Image

Welcome back everyone. Sorry about last month; I had fully intended to write you, but with two St. Patrick's Days to contend with, I could barely spell my own name. (For those of you unaware, the Catholic Church moved St. Patty's Day to the Friday before the 17th due to conflicts with their Holy Week; non-Catholics took advantage of the Friday/Monday divide and stayed drunk all weekend!) Nonetheless, I survived, and now I can share some of the interesting tidbits I've come across.

First up is the world's hops supply. It was reported back in October/November of last year that, due to a number of causes, there was expected to be a shortage of hops in the world. Well, apparently the predictions were right. One needn't worry so much about the price of your basic, multinational corporate beers going up too much; these companies secured their hops years ago with contracted prices. At risk, however, are the microbrews and craft brews that have taken hold on, at least in the U.S. market. Many of the nation's small breweries (those without a contract) are finding it hard, or sometimes, impossible, to find a supply of good hops. But all is not lost...

There is a shining light in the crowd, especially if you happen to be running a craft brew. The Boston Beer Company, makers of Sam Adams, stepped up to help keep small beer makers alive. In what I can only characterize as an unprecedented act of 'corporate kindness,' they sold, at cost, over 20,000 pounds of their own stock of hops to affected independent beer makers around the U.S., as part of their 'Hops Sharing" program. Releases from the company suggest that at the end of their lottery, they had only fulfilled about 20% of the requests they'd received. Still, that's a whole lotta people that get to make beer this year that might not have been able to otherwise. I don't drink (much) beer, but I might have to make my next one a Sam Adams. Way to go, guys!

Full Disclosure: no, I don't work for Sam Adams, but if anyone has any contacts there, I'd certainly be interested!

Speaking of beer, we here in the 'States just reached a wonderful milestone. March 23 marked the 75th anniversary of the 'beginning of the end' of Prohibition. On that day in 1933, President Roosevelt signed into law the Cullen-Harrison Act, re-allowing the production of 3.2% beer.

I'm going to start planning my Prohibition party now. December 5th is a Friday!

To wrap it all up, anyone interested in folk drinking songs would do well to check out the Poxy Boggards. I caught these guys singing at our local Renaissance Faire and immediately bought two of their albums. I wake up every day to their ode to binge drinking, aptly titled 'Drink 'til I Die.' Self-described on their website (www.poxyboggards.com) as 'a drinking group with a singing problem', the Boggards mix traditional Irish, Scottish and British songs with a number of originals, and bounce between folk instruments and truly modern music making machines. I'd say to tell them that Raven sent you, but they've got no idea who I am.

And one final note, The Raven now has his own e-mail address at the BarNoneDrinks. Please send all questions, comments, and suggestions related "The Raven's Caw" to raven@barnonedrinks.com. Also accepted at this address are job offers, death threats, marriage proposals, offers to enlarge certain parts of my anatomy, awards nominations, petitions for absolution and anything else The Raven might need to know about. Caw!


 

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



Creating a Vodka Watermelon

When you host a party, there are several things you need to have to ensure that your guests have a great time. Even if you don't want to go overboard on all the little details, it is still important to remember that the key ingredients that make any adult party a blast are food and alcohol.

If you plan on having a lot of guests at your party, buying food and alcohol to accommodate everyone can be a bit pricey. Do you really want to impress the crowd and save a little green in the process? Then, why not combine the two and make a Vodka Watermelon?!

A Vodka Watermelon is quite possibly one of the best party accoutrements ever created, especially when it's being served on a hot summer day. Guests can partake in a slice, satiate their hunger, and also start working on a tasty buzz.

Creating a Vodka Watermelon is simple. All you need is a few items, and you'll be ready to go in no time.

The four items needed to create a Vodka Watermelon are a watermelon, vodka, a knife, and a funnel. A mini watermelon works well with a 375 ml vodka bottle. However, if you buy a large watermelon, you will need a larger bottle, or even an additional bottle.

To begin, puncture the watermelon with the knife and create a hole on the top that is deep enough so that you can see the pink fruit, and is big enough to hold a funnel. Next, insert the funnel and begin pouring in the vodka. Make sure to pure slowly, because the vodka needs time to absorb. You may have to start and stop several times until the vodka will no longer absorb into the fruit.

Once you're done, the watermelon is ready to be served. Simply slice and let your guests have at it. While it really doesn't get much easier than that, there are some additional tips that you may find helpful when creating a Vodka Watermelon:

  • Some people feel that a Vodka Watermelon tastes best after it has had a chance to rest for a day or two in a refrigerator. Others think that placing the watermelon in the freezer for a short amount of time before serving it gives it a colder, more refreshing flavor.
  • Slicing it isn't the only way to serve it. If you really want to get fancy, halve the melon and use a melon baller to scoop out the fruit. Serve the scoops in the empty rind for a more impressive presentation.
  • Another way is to try the previous technique, but take the scooped out fruit and serve it in glasses or bowls, while using the watermelon shell as a decorative punchbowl. You can also use the scoops to create frozen blender drinks.
  • If you really want to get fancy with the watermelon, try adding different alcohols to create fun flavor options. Run, tequila, and champagne work well, as do many other liquors. To really make a good impression on your guests, create several watermelons, each containing a different alcoholic beverage.

 


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 months, but most of it site related, not for our newsletter. However, I think she'll start becoming a regular feature here so we hope you enjoy her writing from 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.

 

Tales of the Cocktail

I'm officially booked for my Tales of the Cocktail trip in July. New Orleans here I come. The Raven will also be there. All going well, we'll blog to the site everything that's happening.

We should also have a bunch of great stories, recipes and ideas to pass on to you after the show. If you haven't heard of it, click the image below to find out more.

 

Castle Brands - Viva la Celtic Margarita

Cinco de Mayo marks the victory of the Mexican army over the French at the Battle of Puebla. Although Mexico's army was eventually defeated, the battle came to represent a symbol of Mexican unity and patriotism. In keeping with the spirit of Mexico, we remember another piece of Mexican history from a different war that united the unlikely forces of Mexico and Ireland.

The St. Patrick's Battalion or San Patricios was a group of soldiers, mostly Irish, who left the command of Gen. Zachary Taylor of the U.S. army to fight on the Mexican side of the Mexican-American War. The group was led by John Riley of Co. Galway. Historians have given many reasons for San Patricios' change of sides including mistreatment by the U.S. Anglo-Saxon officers, not being allowed to practice their religion freely, higher wages and land grants from Mexico, recognition of similarities between Irish and Mexican culture, and shared religion and sympathy for the Mexican cause.

The Mexican army was defeated and many of the San Patricios were captured. Most were executed by hanging and the others were flogged and branded on their cheek with the letter "D" for "Deserter". While some U.S. historians view the San Patricios as traitors, to Mexicans they are heroes.

This Cinco de Mayo Mexico and Ireland unite once again, only this time it's in a celebratory cocktail made with your favorite tequila and Celtic Crossing Liqueur. ¡Salud!

Celtic Margarita
Celtic Margarita Cocktail Image

  • 3/4 oz. Celtic Crossing Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. Tequila
  • 3/4 oz. Lime Juice

Serve on the rocks or blended with ice.

Are you and your staff on the same page? - by Robert Plotkin

Our latest Rober Plotkin article talks about how important it is to work with 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.

Are you and your staff on the same page?
 Article Image

 

Get a new car and you get an owner's manual. Get drafted into the NBA or NFL and they'll give you a playbook. Get hired as a bartender or food server and you'll likely get a handshake, three training shifts and photocopies of house policies. Is that all you give to your employees?

Employing someone is fraught with legal ramifications. Make a mistake and you could find yourself on the wrong end of a civil lawsuit or in front of the National Labor Relations Board, where nine out of ten employees leave victorious. Suits for wrongful discharge, sexual harassment and racial discrimination are among the most prevalent employment-related litigation with judgments averaging in the six-figure range.

The first line of legal defense is a comprehensive, well-structured employee handbook, one that clearly defines the employees' job descriptions, areas of responsibilities and the operation's policies and procedures. Without it, legally holding employees accountable for their actions is practically impossible.

Drafting an employee handbook is similar to creating an employment contract, which is how the courts typically view the document. Employees are usually asked to sign a statement that they have received the handbook, read it thoroughly and agree to abide by all of its provisions. There are excellent reference material and seminars available to help you draft an employee handbook from, among others, the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel and Motel Association.

While an employee handbook should not be filled with legalese, it does need to deal with each item in a thorough and comprehensive manner. For example, it is not enough to state that sexual harassment on-the-job will not be tolerated. Define specifically what actions constitute sexual harassment. Employees need to be advised how they should respond if sexually harassed by a customer, co-worker, supervisor or by the owner. Finally, you should detail what disciplinary actions will be taken in the event of sexual harassment.

Handbook Considerations

The handbook should cover the operation's policies and procedures beginning with the conditions of employment. For example, employment is usually considered an "at will" relationship, meaning that it is for an indefinite period of time, that either the employee or you may terminate the relationship with or without cause, without previous notice and without liability. You should also state if you are an equal opportunity employer.

Every business has general operating policies such as how soon before a shift can an employee punch-in, how are employees to report their tipped income, what constitutes full-time employment, what policies govern overtime and how much advance notice is required if an employee is sick and cannot cover a shift.

Do you allow your employees to frequent your establishment when they're not on-duty? Do you permit smoking or eating on-duty? Drinking alcohol? When can employees give customers a complimentary drink? Do you allow co-workers dating?

After stating in the handbook how these situations, and numerous others, are to be handled, how will you respond if employees fail to comply? You must explain your company's disciplinary policies clearly. Moreover, you should list what you consider grounds for verbal reprimands or written warnings and what their cumulative effects will be. What do you consider gross misconduct? What consequences can someone abusing alcohol or drugs on-the-job expect?

Is it company policy to make employees pay for shortages in the cash drawer? What is your policy regarding cash overages in the drawer? What do you consider grounds for immediate termination?

Is it your company's policy to periodically evaluate employee performance? If so, what factors will you use to assess their on-the-job effectiveness? Considerations for promotion and salary increases, such as job performance, work attitude, attendance record, team compatibility and safety record, should be fully explained.

Don't presume your employees know or understand anything regarding the operation of your business. Inevitably the presumption will wind up costing you. If it's important, write it down. Then personally go over the material with your employees and hold them accountable for what it says. You'll reduce the risk of misunderstanding and ultimately get a more professional, cohesive staff.


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.

 

Highly-Anticipated Plymouth Sloe Gin Debuts in the U.S.

Sloe Gin Bottle Image Gin connoisseurs across the country, raise your glasses. Plymouth Gin's highly anticipated and award-winning Sloe Gin is now available in thirteen markets across the United States. Previously only available in Australia and England, Plymouth Sloe Gin is a welcome addition to the resurgence of classic cocktails at the most prestigious bars and lounges from New York to Los Angeles.

"We are thrilled to bring the distinctive taste of Plymouth Sloe Gin to the United States for the first time since it was introduced in 1883," says Sean Harrison, Plymouth's master distiller. "It is very exclusive and in high demand because it is made in limited batches to ensure superb quality"

Produced at the historic Black Friars Distillery in Plymouth, England, Plymouth Sloe Gin remains true to the original 1883 Plymouth Sloe Gin recipe that helped propel Plymouth Gin into the limelight. The award-wining spirit is created by steeping the finest sloe berries in high strength Plymouth Gin and soft Dartmoor water. The result is a unique, smooth liqueur taste with a stunning balance between sweet and bitter fruit flavors and a hint of almond from the stone of the fruit. Initially dry, the spirit opens itself with smooth and sweet cherry and raspberry notes that provide a complimentary mixture of figs, cloves, honey and stewed fruits.

"Every bartender I know has been champing at the bit for the release of Plymouth's Sloe Gin. There is, quite simply put, nothing anywhere near as fine as it on the market; it virtually defines the category," says renowned mixologist Toby Cecchini. "For classic straight sipping, to make a real sloe fizz or, as I expect, for enterprising bartenders to fashion their own new takes on the Blackthorn or the Diki, this release of the first real sloe gin Americans have probably ever tasted is going to open minds."

Plymouth Gin Berries Image

The infusion of gin and sloe berries, an ancestor of the cultivated plum, gives the spirit a rich, gorgeous red color. The sloe or blackthorn shrub (Prunus spinosa) is found throughout the British Isles, where infusing spirits with local fruits is a longstanding tradition. A tart fruit similar to a small damson or plum, sloe berries are particularly rich in Vitamin C. Today, Plymouth Sloe Gin is the only commercial sloe gin that is traditionally produced with all natural ingredients and no added colors or flavors.

The possibilities for mixing sloe gin are a mixologist's dream. Aside from adding its smooth flavor to cocktails like the Sloe Gin Fizz, Sloe Motion or The Wibble, Plymouth Sloe Gin is ideal as an accompaniment to desserts and cheeses, enjoyed chilled over ice or simply served neat. Recipes for popular Plymouth Sloe Gin cocktails include:

Sloe Gin Fizz

  • 1 1/2 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • Club Soda or Sparkling Water

Combine Plymouth Sloe Gin and lemon juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and pour into a highball glass filled with ice and fill with club soda or sparkling water. Garnish with a slice of orange and a cherry.

Sloe Motion

  • 1 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • 3 oz. Champagne

Pour in the Plymouth Sloe Gin then top with champagne. Garnish with 3 blueberries.

The Wibble

  • 1 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • 1 oz. Plymouth Gin
  • 1 oz. Grapefruit Juice
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice
  • 1 dash syrup de gomme

Fill mixing glass with ice and add Plymouth Gin, grapefruit juice, juice from lemon and syrup de gomme. Shake well and strain into a martini glass. Garnish with a lemon twist.


 

Boru Vodka - Asha Brodie

Boru Vodka Bottle Image

Invite the taste of Boru's range of vodkas into your social life and get ready to take your drinking leisure time into overdrive. If you ever craved a vodka that does not taste like other vodkas in your private bar, then you can consider your search over. This vodka line from Ireland definitely answers the call of versatility from your taste buds and not to mention you're the change in pace of your lifestyle.

The Boru name is well-known in Ireland. The vodka was inspired and named after Brian Boru, a king who will always be remembered for uniting Ireland and its people. Since this name carries so much weight, it would be remiss of the distillers to create a vodka that is anything short of premium quality.

For one thing, Boru is made from a combination of the finest grain blended with the pureness of Irish spring water. These vodkas also endure a five time distillation process to ensure that the end result is nothing short of crowd pleasing. Boru offers a range of choices as you can now enjoy its straight vodka or choose from its flavored line peppered with orange, crazzberry and citrus flavors. One thing that remains unabated in these four flavors is that they all possess an undeniable smoothness which makes them easy to pair with existing spirits or to be enjoyed without the pomp and circumstance of martinis and cocktails.

Boru Vodka in its plain form is a fusion of a taste that is something syrup, something spicy. The lasting end is the warmth that the two bring to your mouth. The zest of oranges are captured in the Orange flavored vodka, a drink that allows you to enjoy this tangy drink without the pulp.

Cranberries and sweet raspberries are the key ingredients used in Crazzberry Vodka. The blending of these two powerful berries in this vodka would definitely make the Vodka gods happy. This is a drink that one would to savor its flavoring so much that you would not want the drinking experience to come to an end. Enjoyed straight or on the rocks, Crazzberry also does exciting things to cocktails.

And not to be outdone is Boru Citrus, a vodka which has an initial kicker that tapers off smoothly. Its tartness adds several levels to any cocktail or martini that it is paired with.


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...

 

X-Rated Drinks

X-Rated Drinks
$9.95
The recipes in X-Rated Drinks are sure to heat up any party-whether of two or of 20. The number one authority on bartending, Ray Foley, and Bartender magazine gather here the hottest drinks from across the country.


Beam - The Perfect Mint Julep

The Perfect Mint Julep
The Perfect Mint Julep Cocktail Image

  • 1 liter Maker's Mark
  • Lots of fresh spearmint
  • Distilled Water
  • Granulated Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar

To prepare the mint extract, remove about 40 small mint leaves - wash and place in a small mixing bowl. Cover with 3 ounces of Maker's Mark. Allow the leaves to soak for 15 minutes. Then gather the leaves in a clean, soap-free piece of cotton cloth and vigorously wring the mint bundle over the bowl of whisky. Dip the bundle again and repeat the process several times. Then set aside.

To prepare the simple syrup, mix 1 cup of granulated sugar and one cup of water in a cooking pot. Heat to dissolve the sugar. Stir constantly so the sugar does not burn. Set aside to cool.

To prepare the mint julep mixture, pour 3 ½ cups of Maker's Mark into a large glass bowl or glass pitcher. (Pour the remaining whisky from the liter bottle into another container and save it for another purpose). Add 1 cup of the simple syrup to the Maker's Mark.

Now, begin adding the mint extract a tablespoon at a time to the julep mixture. Each batch of mint extract is different, so you must taste and smell after each tablespoon is added. You may have to leave the room a time or two to clear your nose. The tendency is to use too much mint. You are looking for a soft mint aroma and taste - generally about 3 tablespoons.

When you think it's right, pour the whole mixture back into the empty liter bottle and refrigerate it for at least 24 hours to "marry" the flavors.

To serve the mint julep, fill each glass (preferably a silver mint julep cup) half full with shaved ice. Insert a sprig of mint and then pack in more ice to about an inch over the top of the cup. Then, insert a straw that has been cut to one inch above the top of the cup so the nose is forced close to the mint when sipping the julep.

When frost forms on the cup, pour the refrigerated julep mixture over the ice and add a sprinkle of powdered sugar to the top of the ice. Then serve.

Cinco Herradura

Cinco Herradura
Cinco Herradura Cocktail Image

  • 1 1/2 oz. Herradura Silver Tequila
  • 2 oz. Pineapple Juice
  • 2 oz. Cranberry Juice
  • Splash Lemon-lime Soda
  • Squeeze of fresh lime juice

Stir the tequila, fruit juices and soda together in a tall glass. Add the lime juice and stir again.

Rim a third of a tumbler with lime and dip in green sugar. Rim the adjoining third of the glass with lime and dip in white sugar and the last third with lime and dip in red sugar.

Pour the drink into the rimmed glass and serve.

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