|BarNone Drink Recipes Newsletter|
Wow, crazy month. We've got lots of updates happening on the site. I'm working on an RSS feed so you can keep track of the new recipes and ingredients. We're adding about 30 recipes a week right now.
We've also got some St. Patrick's Day recipes for you. I'' be adding to this page over the next few days.
Don't forget, Kiss Me, I'm Irish!
Please be smart, don't drink and drive! Enjoy the following recipes in moderation and take a cab if you need one.
Howdy all. Raven here. I was perusing the major news outlets a week or so ago and came across something that I thought I should share. Yes, I know, I come across things in this manner a lot, but I do spend a ridiculous amount of time watching CNN, MSNBC and their cousins. Nonetheless, I read an article about another study that involves alcohol. Apparently, there is sufficient evidence that drinking alcohol can contribute to premature graying of the hair. You read it correctly; the drink you have when you come home to ease away the stress of a day at the office (in an attempt to stop the grays from coming) is actually contributing to more gray hair.
All is not lost. There is a caveat. The study found that the requisite level of drinking is more than three servings a day. No, that wasn't a typo, the study was on people who drank that much in a day, regularly. I'd have to assume that most people who are coherent enough to be reading this article aren't burdened with that much imbibing. I can't quite imagine what the liver must look like in people who go gray because of their alcohol.
And, because I might have a few first time readers (hey, a guy can hope), this is where I give my standard disclaimer. I, Raven, am not a medical professional. Nothing I say should be construed as medical advice. Further, if you start taking health tips from a website newsletter dedicated to alcohol, you probably deserve whatever's coming to you.
Moving along, I need to add another disclaimer. The two drinks I'm going to present here are, by their nature, part of history, and as we all know, history is very different depending on who is telling the story. My purpose here is to inform, not offend, so if I end up insulting you, your family or place of origin, please be sure to stew quietly in the corner. That, or start a thread on the message boards.
Recently, like, you know, today (o.k., three or four days ago by the time you read this) Cuba changed leadership for the first time in, well, more than double the years I've been on terra firma. With all of the news and punditry surrounding it, I took a trip down memory lane and dug up an old drink with ties to Cuba and the U.S., back when we were friends. I present it's story to you here today as a way of toasting the possibility that someday we might all sit in a Havana cabana and sip them together.
One of the most ubiquitous cocktails in the U.S. and the Caribbean is the rum and Coke. A little historical sleuthing will reveal that rum wasn't well known in the U.S. until the Spanish-American war, most of which was fought on Cuban soil. It was here that American soldiers brought their case loads of Coca-Cola (which, at the time, still contained cocaine) and mixed it with the local booze, rum. Tada! Rum and Coke. But the story doesn't stop there. Until rather recently, the tradition in the U.S. was to reach for a lemon to garnish the drink. But this is a deviation from the original cocktail. When translated from Spanish to English, the lazy Americans saw the limon and stopped there. The recipe actually called for limon verde, or in English, lime. The Americans and recently liberated Cubans toasted this drink, the merging of the national drink or Cuba and (arguably) the national drink of the U.S., and in honor of the cause that brought them together, named it the Cuba Libre.
Here's to you, and have a great St. Patty's day!
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.
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.
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Top with Brut Champagne.
More St. Patrick's Day drinks here...
Our latest Rober Plotkin article talks about converting to fresh juices over mixes.
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.
In Mexico, they're referred to as Tequila Puro, while the United States we know them as 100% agave tequilas. The first sip of these luxurious spirits quickly reveals why they've captured the imagination of the American drinking public. They are so flavorful that you're left with the unmistakable impression that this is how tequilas are meant to taste.
These are the best of times for tequila. Interest in the spirit has been nothing short of phenomenal propelling the category to grow a robust ten percent in 2006 in the United States, the steepest increase of the light liquors, outpacing the growth of vodka (6.7%) and rum (5.0%). Considering that the Mexican import constitutes only 5% of the American spirits market, there appears to be a tremendous opportunity for continued growth.
As their name suggests, 100% agave tequilas are single-ingredient products. They are distilled using nothing other than blue agave and a small amount of water. The majority of these tequilas are not overnight, one-hit wonders. Crafting great tequila is a labor- and time-intensive process. Agaves mature at their own pace irrespective of demand and taking short cuts during the production process consigns a tequila to mediocrity.
With the continuing growth of tequila, consumers are increasingly asking what's the difference between the various brands. If they're made from nothing but agave, how can there be such a huge disparity between quality, taste and selling price?
In reality, the differences between brands of 100% agave tequilas are years in the making. From cultivating agaves to the unbarreling an añejo, the production cycle can exceed 15 years. It is a time-honored process, one in which every decision made along the way ultimately will impact the tequila.
Production of tequila is most similar to that of Cognac. In each case, the distillation techniques are centuries old and both are distilled from expertly cultivated products - grape varietals or mature agaves. Both of these spirits are representative of their countries of origin. Tequila and cognac are both rooted in tradition and closely tied with their respective cultures.
It takes the agave between eight to twelve years to reach maturity and optimally is harvested when the plant's natural sugar content has peaked at about 21-25 brix. The agave thrives in rich volcanic soil and a warm and dry climate. As it is with wine, the appellation and growing region the agaves were cultivated in is a point of distinction between brands.
The traditional method of baking agaves is in a large oven called an hornos. This slow process ensures that the agaves are properly cooked and that the sugars don't caramelize. The technologically advanced method is to pressure-cook the agaves in large, stainless steel autoclaves. Here again are points of difference.
After baking, the agaves are taken to a crusher to extract the juice. The juice, called aguamiel, is separated from the crushed fibers and transferred to a fermentation tank. Water and yeast are added to start fermentation, a process that takes approximately 72-96 hours. Extending the period of fermentation is often cited as a qualitative difference.
The size, volume and exact shape of the still also affect how the finished tequila will taste. When tequila leaves the still, it is as clear as water. At this point, some of the tequila is sent on to be aged in oak, with the remainder being bottled as blanco or plata (silver) tequila.
Reposado (rested) tequila is aged in wood for a minimum of two months, although most remain in the wood four to eight months. Añejo tequila legally must be aged a minimum of one year in barrels 600 liters or smaller. Most añejo tequilas are aged in ex-bourbon barrels. Used oak barrels impart less tannin into the tequila and imbue the spirit with a subtle whiskey character.
The production of 100% agave tequilas is closely scrutinized by the government to ensure quality standards are strictly maintained. Seals are affixed to the opening of the barrels to certify that nothing is added to the tequila as it ages.
Tequilas in the Limelight
Nothing breeds success like success and tequila continues to be an impressive success story. From humble beginnings it has grown into a major international export and an expanding sector of the spirits industry in the United States. So is there a point where there are too many brands of premium tequilas on our shelves?
"Perhaps, but don't start looking for that saturation point to come soon," contends Rich Krumm, food and beverage director for the Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group of New Orleans. "At one of our restaurants we carry 45 labels of tequila and they're all extremely active. Tequila drinkers are different than, let's say, vodka drinkers who find a brand they like and typically stick with that brand. Tequila aficionados are very open to trying new brands."
Brendan Moylan, owner of Noonan's Bar & Grill in Larkspur, CA, agrees that tequila enthusiasts thrive on the sense of discovery. "Stocking new brands is a significant sales driver. We carry over 300 labels of tequila and invest in new brands when they enter the market. I'm a devoted fan off 100% agave tequilas, and like most, I appreciate getting an opportunity to sample a new line of tequilas. It's an enriching experience."
The past year or so has seen the introduction of a number of new brands of 100% agave tequilas. These are super-premium products in price and degree of excellence. Their impeachable quality suggests extending them V.I.P. treatment - snifters and chilled cocktails glasses versus serving in a tall slushy concoction. Tasting flights and elegant cocktails are also ideal paths to introduce these new players to your guests.
So who's at the head of the class? Here's our list of the twelve best new tequilas that you may not have heard of...yet.
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.
Cut plum in eights. Place with the apple juice in tall glass and muddle ingredients together. Add the Plymouth Sloe Gin and top with ginger ale. Stir and add garnish.
It's the closest thing to pouring out liquidized fruits from a bottle. The only real difference is the enhanced spirits that lurk within, ready to creep through the fruity goodness when you are not expecting it to do so. The fruity explosion leaves a lovely lingering after-taste in your mouth and a feeling of content and warmth inside your body.
Meet the newest members of the Pallini liqueur family. They are Pallini Limoncello, Pallini Peachcello and Pallini Raspicello, three liqueurs that bridge the gap between Pallini's past tradition with a taste that is both modern and simply delightful. This taste of Italian liqueur is made available to US alcohol consumers through Castle Brands Inc of New York. The Pallini taste is quite popular in Italy and it has always been synonymous with spirits royalty in the romantic country. For over the last 130 years, Italians and liqueur connoisseurs worldwide have grown accustomed to the consistency of the alcoholic beverages brewed by Pallini which consist of recipes that have been past down from generation to generation.
It is Pallini's longevity in the alcohol business that make these new liqueurs a trio with a mark of distinction and some of the best tasting liqueurs on this side of town. Out of the box, if there was an award for best looking liqueur bottles, the Pallini trio would have won the competition hands down. The frosted long neck bottles play the perfect hosts for showcasing the array of brilliant fruity colors that range from the vibrant full-bodied ruby texture found in Pallini Raspicello, the peachy colored Pallini Peachello to the sunny hue in Pallini Limoncello.
It's liqueurs like these that make it easy for one to get carried away especially in the portions of which they are being consumed. Because of their strong fruity presence it is easy for one to want to indulge in a full glass rather than the legal amount that is required to stay sober. Each liqueur possesses fresh and fruity bursts of flavor with underlying spirits which strike a great balance.
Pallini Limoncello is one of the first in the Pallini fruit series and it features a tangy yet sweet and refreshing lemony taste that approaches pure pleasure with every sip. Created with Italy's finest hand-picked Sfusato Amalfitano lemons, this liqueur is noted as one of the favorites in Italy.
Freshly picked white peaches from Italy is the main ingredient in Pallini Peachcello, a robust liqueur with hints of vanilla and spice that is enjoyable enough that you would be tempted to savor the flavor in your mouth before swallowing. Not to be outdone is Pallini Raspicello, a liqueur that gets its shine from its blueberries and black currant flavorings.
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...
Kiss Me, I'm Irish
Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.
We've also got more St. Patrick's Day Recipes here...