St. Patricks Day 2008 Edition

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March Issue
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Dear Dan,

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.

Cheers!


Dan Hutchinson

The Raven's Caw

Raven's Caw Logo Image

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.




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St. Patrick's Day

Happy St. Patrick's Day

You don't have to be Irish to partake in a little wearing o' the green or a tasty Irish beverage. But, you should at least know a little bit about why you are drinking green beer and wearing a 'Kiss Me I'm Irish pin'!

It all began in 385 AD with a 16-year-old named Maewyn. This unfortunate lad was forced into slavery, but also managed to become much more religious. After 6 years of slavery, he escaped, fled to a monastery, and took on a new Christian name - Patrick.

Once his studies at the monastery ended, the newly named Patrick headed to Ireland in the hopes helping Pagans convert to Christianity. He traveled the country for the next 30 years, and during that time worked to convert natives and set up monasteries.

Patrick died on March 17, 461, but his memory lived on because he was proclaimed a saint.

You might wonder how such a religious man came to be honored by such a raucous, drinking-filled holiday. It happened slowly, but surely. And, believe it or not, it has been celebrated more in the USA than in Ireland.

The United States actually hosted the holiday's very first parade in 1762 in New York City. The parade was used to allow soldiers and their heritage to reconnect. As the number of Irish immigrants grew, so did the parade and the celebration.

Today, St. Patrick's Day is a day for those who are Irish, and those who are not, to celebrate their heritage by wearing green, drinking green beer and other Irish drinks, and partying their shamrocks off!

Kiss Me Im Irish Image



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.

 

Castle Brands - Irish Shield

Irish Shield
Irish Shield Image

  • 1/2 oz. Clontarf Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 oz. Berentzen Apfel Korn
  • 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Lemon Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass. Top with Brut Champagne.

More St. Patrick's Day drinks here...

12 New Tequilas - by Robert Plotkin

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.

12 New Tequilas Article Image

 

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.

  • 4 Copas - Made at La Quemada Distillery in the lowlands of Jalisco, 4 Copas is a masterfully crafted line of organic, super-premium tequilas. The blanco is filtered and bottled immediately after distillation. It has a wafting bouquet and a delectable palate of lemon zest and white pepper. Aged for nine months in American white oak, 4 Copas Reposado is graced with an array of orange, honey and ripe fruit flavors. The añejo spends up to three years in oak and has lingering finish marked by the flavors of vanilla, spice and toasted oak.
  • Chaya - This range of tequilas is made in the highlands of Tepatitlan. Chaya Silver has an oily, supple body with an assertive bouquet of anise, honey and notes of toasted cereal grain and dry flavors of black peppercorn and roasted vegetables. The reposado is aged seven months and has a delicious, complex palate. The highest praise is reserved for the two-year old Chaya Añejo. The pale amber tequila is lightly wooded with earthy, floral and spicy flavors. Its finish is superb.
  • Corzo - Distilled in the Los Altos region of Jalisco, Corzo is a range of remarkably vibrant and flavorful super-premium tequilas. The secret to its greatness can be explained by the exacting nature of its production. The tequila is slow fermented, double-distilled and aged in oak barrels for two to four months before being redistilled a third time. Bottled fresh from the still, Corzo Silver is elegant and sublime with a seamlessly smooth body and a lightly peppered, long lasting finish. The reposado is matured in two different woods to give it more complexity. Aged for over a year in white oak, Corzo Añejo is lush and exquisite, a fascinating top shelf spirit.
  • El Charro - Made by Compaña Tequilera de Arandas in the highlands of Jalisco, El Charro tequilas are triple distilled in small batches. El Charro Silver is rested prior to bottling and El Charro Añejo is aged 24 months in French oak barrels. While the entire range is excellent, the likely star of the trio is the El Charro Reposado. During its six-month stay in French oak it acquires a pale golden hue, lightweight body and citrus and toasted oak aromas. It's an outstanding representation of the style, loaded with layers of white pepper, caramel and citrus.
  • El Diamante del Cielo - These ultra-premium, limited production tequilas are handcrafted in Jalisco. El Diamante del Cielo is made from estate-grown agaves triple-distilled in state of the art pot stills. The blanco is bottled straight from the still and brimming with bakery fresh flavors. The reposado is aged up to 364 days in white oak barrels, imbuing it with honey and floral aromas and a classy, long lasting finish. El Diamante Del Cielo Añejo is magnificent, noble spirit. It's a blend of tequilas aged up to four years in oak with a generous bouquet; sultry, full body and a palate laced with fruit flavors.
  • Fina Estampa - This handcrafted newcomer is distilled at Un Tequila Artesanal in the highlands of Jalisco near Atotonilco. Fina Estampa Blanco has a svelte, lightweight body, voluminous bouquet of cracked pepper and garden herbs and an imminently satisfying, slightly vegetal finish. The reposado has a velvety, slightly oily body, herbal bouquet and a fruit and caramel finish. The Fina Estampa Añejo is a rare, distinct pleasure. Aged a year in oak, the tequila has a sultry bouquet of cocoa, ripe fruit and notes of pepper and smoke. The palate gradually builds in intensity and lasts long into the finish. Top-notch.
  • Gran Centenario Leyenda Extra - Tequila enthusiasts have cause to rejoice. Famed Gran Centenario has extended its world-class range with the release of Leyenda, an extra añejo aged an average of four years in French Limousin oak barrels. After which the Maestro Tequilero blends in older reserves to complete the masterpiece. The ultra-premium añejo drinks like a dream come true. The tequila is a dark amber with a satiny, medium weight body and a vanilla, clove and oaky bouquet. The palate starts spicy and finishes long and luxurious. Leyenda is the epitome of seduction.
  • Luna Sueño - New to the market is Luna Sueño, a sophisticated range of ultra-premium tequilas distilled in Jalisco by La Cofradia. At this time only the blanco and 6-month old reposado are available. The Luna Sueño Blanco is a superb, light bodied tequila with a reserved, yet delightful floral bouquet and a palate imbued with spice, honey and dried fruit. The warm finish is flavorful and lingering. Luna Sueño Reposado is an accessible tequila with a satiny body and a spicy, sumptuous palate. The brand should receive a warm and enthusiastic reception.
  • Partida - The super-premium Partida range is produced from mature, estate grown blue agaves cultivated in the lowlands of Amatitán, Mexico. The piñas are slowly baked, slowly fermented and double-distilled in pot stills. Unaged Partida Blanco is a sleek, aromatic tequila with a delicate floral, herbs and citrus-laced palate. The reposado is aged in new French Canadian oak barrels for a minimum of six months, which imbues it with a slightly sweet bouquet and the flavors of vanilla, spice and almonds. The Partida Añejo is aged a minimum of 18 months in oak barrels previously used to age Jack Daniel's. The tequila has a generous bouquet of ripe red fruit, honey and cocoa and waves of pastry like flavors. Partida tequilas are too magnificent to share with friends.
  • Patrón Gran Platinum - Those who find themselves with a few extra dollars and a palpable thirst for a classy spirit should invest in a bottle of Gran Patrón Platinum. The ultra-premium silver tequila is light bodied, richly textured and imminently satisfying. It is triple-distilled in alembic pot stills. Another twist is that a portion of each batch is aged briefly in American oak barrels prior to being blended back. It has a satiny texture and a bouquet of black pepper and citrus. The initial attack is warm-not hot-and the tequila immediately fills the mouth with spicy, peppery flavors. The finish is perhaps best described as luxurious. It is a tequila created with a snifter in mind.
  • Scorpion Mezcal - While not tequila, this skillfully produced line of 100% agave spirits more than deserves inclusion. Small batch Scorpion Mezcals are triple distilled in pot stills and aged in charred, oak barrels. The FDA approved, scorpion exoskeleton inside the bottle is a harmless observer. The flagship of the Scorpion range is the triple-distilled, 7 year old Añejo Gran Reserva Mezcal. It has captivating bouquet marked with the aromas of vanilla, black cherries and peaty smoke. The oily, medium weight body delivers a semi-sweet array of flavors, including maple, caramel, vanilla and a lingering dose of smoke on the finish.
  • Tezón - This super-premium range of tequilas is crafted in Jalisco by Viuda de Romero. The agaves are crushed by a two-ton, volcanic stone tahona wheel and then roasted for three days in brick ovens. The tequilas are double-distilled on the lees, a traditional style in which both the fiber and fermented juice are put into the pot stills. Unaged Tezón silver has an oily body and a vanilla and honeyed palate, while the 8-10 month old reposado is creamy, woody and notably spicy. Highest marks go to Tezón Añejo, which is aged 18-20 months in seasoned white oak. The tequila has an alluring bouquet of oranges and leather, an oily medium weight body and a palate laced with butterscotch, vanilla and a hint of smoke.

 


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 Gin - English Orchard

English Orchard
English Orchard Image

  • 1 Dash Apple Juice
  • 1 2/3 oz. Plymouth Sloe Gin
  • 2 1/3 oz. Ginger Ale
  • 1 Whole Plum

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.





 

Pallini - Asha Brodie

Pallini Bottle Image

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...

 

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.


4Cocktails.com - St. Patrick's Day

Kiss Me, I'm Irish Recipe Image Kiss Me, I'm Irish

  • 1 1/2 parts Hornitos Plata Tequila
  • 1 part DeKuyper Island Blue Tropical Schnapps
  • 1 part Pineapple Juice
  • 1 part Mango Juice

Shake with ice and strain into a martini glass.

We've also got more St. Patrick's Day Recipes here...

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