Welcome to the August Bar None Drinks Newsletter. Summer is rapidly coming to a close and I barely got enough time to get a whole pile of new recipes out to you. I'll do my best.
In this issue, The Raven gets everything muddled up and has some hot dame chasing him down.
Please be smart, don't drink and drive! Enjoy the following recipes in moderation and take a cab if you need one.
This summer, the hottest thing on Bourbon Street was Absolut New Orleans.
Every sip - of Josie's luscious lemonade - counted as the Big Apple raised a glass (and some money) with a spirited toast to the Big Easy.
In honor of the second anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, on 8/29, Josie's donated a portion of the proceeds from this limited-edition cocktail to Gulf Coast charities.
Bourbon Street Lemonade
Being served now through the winter exclusively at Josie's - NYC's innovator in healthier New American cuisine.
Combine ingredients and shake vigorously. Pour into a cocktail glass over ice and serve with fresh diced mango.
Additionally, The Absolut Spirits Company, Inc. will donate 100 percent of its ABSOLUT® NEW ORLEANS profits, a minimum charitable donation of $2 million, to five non-profit organizations that are dedicated to rebuilding the vibrant culture of the Gulf region.
I was sitting at a table in the back of big Joe's bar, the Dank Slur, nursing my third martini since I'd got back in town a half hour ago. Y'see, Joe pours kinda slow and nothin' was gonna kill the aching in my heart fast enough. It's always a dame. I was just about to signal Joe to bring around a fourth when I saw her walk through the door.
I could tell by the way she walked that she was a high class woman. She was dressed in a white silk blouse and a tight skirt that left little to the imagination. I know it sounds trite, but her legs didn't stop...well except when they hit the floor I guess. She seemed as out of place in the Slur as piece of bacon floating in rotgut vodka. She paused for a second as she walked in the door, then continued right up to the bar.
I got that feeling that this was going to end badly for me. Sure enough, Joe handed her a double of bourbon and pointed right at me. As she walked over, I could hear the echoing clicks of her high heels; with the martini's finally starting to take hold, I found myself hypnotized. What did she want with me? She sat down and set her drink and her bag on the table.
"I'm lookin' for The Raven. Joe tells me you might know where I can find him."
"Yeah, I might know," I said. "Who's askin'? Whaddya want with that ol' washed up hack?"
"Word on the street is that he's the best muddler that ever lived, and I got a job for him."
"Well, I hate to disappoint you sweetheart, but I'm out of that game. I hung up my bar rag years ago." I paused. "You'll have to find someone else to crush for ya."
"But I have no one else to turn to Mr...er...uh"
"It's just Raven"
"I can pay you." She reached into her bag.
"I don't need money," I said. "And besides, I told you already, I'm out a' the game."
She pulled out a small package, something wrapped in a silk bar rag. "I'm not offering you money. Before you say no, why don't you have a look?"
With that, she slid the bundle over to me. I tugged on the string and the wrapping fell back. I was stunned. In front of me were four of the most ornately crafted muddlers I'd ever laid my eyes on. They were worth a fortune, sure, but in the right hands they could make even tequila drinkable.
The first had almost a perfectly flat head. The second was a sort of starburst pattern, with radial lines emerging from the center. The third was a design I'd never seen before; it reminded me of those crinkle cut fried potatoes I sometimes get at the grease bars. The last one really blew my mind though. The head looked just like a meat tenderizer. What could it be used for? I decided to play it cool.
"Alright, you've got my attention," I said. "What's the job?"
She reached into her bag and took out a packet of sugar and a few sprigs of mint. She dropped them on the table right next to her bourbon. "One mint julep," she said.
One mint julep, it was the cause of it all.
Be sure to tune in next month for the thrilling conclusion of The Raven in Dial "M" for Muddler!
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.
In Southern Italy's Campania region, people don't rush around in the blazing heat of summer afternoons. They've learned better than to battle Mother Nature: Italians give in to the Goddess. If you can't win the fight, you might as well enjoy yourself. Italians like to -- nay, expect to -- linger a bit longer over their meal, flirt a bit more, perhaps ponder life and relax; to punctuate their afternoon repast with some liquid, life-affirming pleasure. Rest assured, as you gulp down your last bite of burger or Chinese chicken salad to make it back to work by one o'clock, that somewhere on Italy's Amalfi Coast a young man and woman are falling in love as they finish their linguine di mare. And when they're done eating, they won't look at their watches, they won't rush back to the office to check their email or to execute another leveraged buyout. They'll linger in each other's arms and savor a serving of ice-cold, incandescently yellow Limoncello.
Limoncello is a lemon liqueur. And it's delicious. But it's not a quiet, contemplative drink to savor on a solitary evening at home. Limoncello's flavor is big and bold and bright -- as brash and provocative as a scantily clad Elizabeth Hurley bursting from a pool. It's like swallowing tart sunshine; it carries with it the flavors of the fresh outdoors and the Southern Italian lemons known worldwide for their potency. It's a taste that demands to be shared with someone special, particularly since its simultaneous sweet-and-sour flavors will leave your kisser puckered up.
The tradition of distilling this lemon liqueur goes back centuries in the area where the Sorrento Valley and the coast are sprinkled liberally with lemon trees. Many families continue to make their own private batches at home with old family recipes.
The Italians almost always drink their chilled Limoncello neat, out of a little cordial glass. But its taste is so pure and strong, with such a potent infusion of lemon sweet-tartness, that many Americans find it has too much bite for their delicate and often uninspired taste buds. If you don't like to pucker, don't fret; the elixir is remarkably versatile. It comes to life with sparkling water and can turn an ordinary sparkling wine into something ethereal. It's a unique and remarkably refreshing addition to any bar and will enliven your cocktail canon. Substitute Limoncello for Triple Sec's orange flavor in almost any drink for a zesty difference that even the dullest of palates is likely to note (and appreciate).
r e c i p e
To be the envy of your friends and make a reasonable facsimile of Limoncello, all you need is some patience (it takes 80 days to become thoroughly infused) and the following:
15 thick-skinned lemons
1. Remove the lemon rind with a vegetable peeler, then remove all white pith on the back of the peel by scraping with a knife. Place in a large, sealed jar. Add one bottle of vodka and stir (or shake, as per your James Bond preference). Store the vodka in a dark cabinet (preferably not your top desk drawer at work) for 40 days at room temperature.
2. Post-hibernation, remove the mixture and boil the sugar and water (simple syrup) together for five minutes. Cool to room temperature and add it to the lemon-vodka mixture, along with the second bottle of vodka; mix well. Cover and store 40 more days.
3. After day 80, remove your Limoncello from the cabinet, strain it and discard the lemon peel. Pour into clean bottles, chill in the freezer (it won't freeze) and invite friends over. Remove from the freezer, pour into chilled glasses, enjoy and repeat.
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 Scott Stavrou. 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.
This year the most creative summer cocktails are ripe for the picking, just like your favorite summer fruit. You can make a delicious statement by choosing juicy signature cocktails that incorporate coveted, seasonal ingredients. Not only will the fresh fruits enhance the taste of your drink and help support your local farmers markets, but they will even provide added vitamins and minerals to your recommended daily intake. Studies prove that ethanol, the type of alcohol found in vodka, can enhance antioxidants and prolong the freshness and taste of your favorite fruit.
Whether entertaining at home or enjoying a rooftop happy hour with friends get ready to puree, muddle and garnish your way to creating this summers most flavorful and creative cocktails. Take cues from these hot spots, and you're guaranteed to enjoy the fruits of your labor all summer long. Let's start with Miami this month.
ABSOLUT Strawberry Delight
Muddle California Strawberries in high ball glass. Add remaining ingredients. Shake and strain over ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a fresh California strawberry.
With a mid-summer peak season, California is the nation's leading strawberry producer. These perishable, fragile fruits are best when purchased from as local a dealer as possible and should be deep red for supreme freshness.
Our latest Rober Plotkin article talks about 12 of the latest Vodka releases. 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.
Born from water, air, earth and fire, no purer representation of time or place exists than the quintessential eaux-de-vie, vodka. Its transparency and brilliant character are an intriguing combination, two reasons why vodka continues to be the bestselling category of spirits in the United States. It accounts for over 25% of all distilled spirits sold in the country, eclipsed only by the combined sales figures for all whiskies-Scotch, Irish, Bourbon and Canadian. All major indicators suggest that the current bull market vodka finds itself shows no signs of abating.
Despite their transparency, top-shelf vodkas are not created equally. Where they're distilled usually speaks volumes about style and technique. How the vodka is distilled and from what-e.g. potatoes, rye, corn or wheat-is significant.
Surprisingly enough, what likely has the greatest affect on the finished vodka is its water source. Water provides the spirit with its genetic marker and contributes to aroma, taste and mouth-feel.
One of the factors propelling the vodka category is the steady flow of new brands crossing our borders, most professing legacy and a singular twist. This procession of new arrivals-both imported and American-as helped fuel consumer interest. To help tell one classy contender from another, we've assembled a scouting report on the latest field of entries.
Blue Ice Vodka - Produced at the Silver Creek Distillery in Rigby, Idaho, Blue Ice Vodka is made from Russet Burbank potatoes and Rocky Mountain spring water.
Círoc Snap Frost Vodka - The first and only vodka made entirely from grapes. The "snap-frost" Mauzac grapes are picked late in the season, allowing them to attain a higher sugar content. Cîroc is distilled five times in traditional copper pot stills.
Domaine Charbay Dry/Clear Vodka - Made at the family-owned distillery in Ukiah, California, Dry/Clear Vodka is micro-distilled from American Midwest grain and spring water.
Hangar One Vodka - Long known for their eaux-de-vies and alembic brandies, St. George Spirits in Alameda, California is becoming better known for Hangar 1 Straight Vodka, a small batch, pot distilled grain vodka.
Heavy Water- A Swedish vodka distilled from hearty winter wheat and spring water drawn from a subterranean lake.
Ikon Premium Vodka - Produced 1500 kilometers from Moscow, Ikon Premium Vodka is a continuous-distilled vodka made from grain and artesian water, which is then filtered four times through Russian birch charcoal.
Jewel of Russia Vodka - The spirit is crafted in a traditional Russian style, from a blend of rye, hardy winter wheat and artesian spring water. The vodka is distilled in continuous stills and then repeatedly filtered through high absorption screens.
Level by Absolut - Produced in Sweden, Level is a 100% wheat vodka made both by continuous distillation and small-batch distillation. Blending the two types of vodka creates a light, clean vodka with texture and a broad taste profile.
Liquid Ice Vodka - Also crafted at the Silver Creek Distillery, Liquid Ice is a 100% organic vodka made from a blend of five grains-wheat, oat, barley, corn and rye.
Shakers Vodka - The first ultra-premium American vodka, Shakers is distilled entirely from the heart of Minnesota wheat. The wheat is fermented in spring water, distilled in a six-column still and meticulously filtered.
Stolichnaya Elit Vodka - The first ultra-luxury vodka available in the United States, small batch Elit is double-distilled from purified glacier water and select winter wheat. The vodka is "freeze filtered," a technique first employed in the days of the czars.
Xellent Vodka - A small batch artisan spirit made in Switzerland from high-grade rye and glacier water. The handmade, limited production vodka is crafted to exacting standards, which is evident in every facet of its personality.
Zyr Vodka - Made near Moscow, ultra-premium Zyr is distilled five times from premium rye, winter wheat and spring water. The vodka is rigorously filtered for purity through a proprietary system of filters, one of which is birch tree charcoal.
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.
Fill a glass with ice and pour in the Plymouth Gin. Add the guava juice and top with lemonade. Squeeze and add a lime wedge. Stir.
X Boyfriend Shot
Pour into a shooter glass. Move on.
Drunken Monkey Milkshake
Blend ingredients and pour into a parfait glass. Top with whipped cream.
Muddle lemon juice, simple syrup and mint in a tall glass. Add ice, Pallini Limoncello and club soda. Garnish with a lime wedge and mint.
The heat of the summer is on and what better way to enjoy a hot afternoon or evening than with a cold and refreshing cocktail to take the edge off the summer heat. Jim Hewes, Washington, D.C. mixologist at the Round Robin Bar at the historical Willard InterContinental has used his 20+ years of mixing experience to concoct these tasty creations, with a little Washington, D.C. flair.
If you can't pay Jim a visit at the Round Robin in Washington try making one of his cocktails at home - you can enjoy one by the pool, at your next barbeque, or just because. There are only a few months left until the days of summer are gone so get to mixing before the coats and scarves come out again.
Cheers to summer and a cooling treat!
Mix all ingredients in a shaker. Coat a tall glass with red and blue sprinkles and dust the rim with red sugar. Pour mixture and serve.
Muddle mint, lime, soda and sugar in a tall glass. Add ice and equal parts of fruit schnapps. Stir and top with rum. Add garnish of fresh berries and dust with sugar.
Look forward to some more next month!
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