BarNone Drink Recipes Newsletter )
Halloween Issue
In this issue
  • The Raven's Caw
  • The Virtues of Vices - Wine X Magazine
  • Absolut - Halloween Cocktails
  • 12 Fascinating Light Spirits - by Robert Plotkin
  • Plymouth Pink Gin
  • Halloween Entertaining - Asha Brodie
  • Herradura Charro Negro
  • X-Rated - on the Rocks
  • Castle Brands - Halloween Boo-ru
  • Dear Dan,

    So, just wrapping up the new site launch and ready to move on with some other great things.

    We'll cover some Halloween recipes in this issue, although a little late for weekend parties. We've also got a page full of them on the site, click here to see them!

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


    Dan Hutchinson

    The Raven's Caw

    Raven's Caw Logo Image

    Howdy, and a happy Halloween to all! If you're anything like me, you'll be spending this particular All Hallow's Eve sitting at home with your favorite drink. I mean, who puts Halloween on a bleedin' Wednesday? (Those with young children are exempt from this rant; I understand that you will still be out gathering candy with your brood.)

    Halloween's unfortunate temporal location notwithstanding, I have two things to share with you this evening. The first is a musical group I've recently discovered. They're called the Brobdingnagian Bards, and they hail from Texas. Their music is classified as folk (and "filk", which is folk music interlaced with elements of sci-fi/fantasy, and in this regard they are absolutely wonderful, but that's not why I mention them.) The Bard's music is based in traditional Irish style and instrumentation.

    While perusing their website ( I came across a CD I just had to buy, and buy I did. The album is entitled "The Holy Grail of Irish Drinking Songs", and it certainly lives up to its title. A trip through these tracks gives the listener a feeling of connection with an entire generation of drinkers from a century ago. I dare anyone to make it all the way to the end without wanting a tall glass of strong ale. Many of these songs have been covered in popular music, but hearing them done on the lute and ocarina gives them a new dimension; to take nothing away from Metallica, Whiskey in the Jar is a wonderful bardic tale that warns against, of all things, the danger of women and drinking. Also, with a little searching on the site, you can find the Jedi Drinking Song, and though I might be revealing more about myself than I want to, the song is awesome!

    The second thing I wanted to share with you all is a recent experience I had. Now I'm not usually one to get sentimental, but this event was so much fun, it deserves mention. As you may have noticed, I run my own winery with a friend. A few weekends ago, we set out for our yearly elderberry harvest. We pick all of our elderberries from the wild, which means that some years we get a great harvest, and some years, a terrible one. Thankfully, this year was one of the former. Also, to liven up the picking, we brought three carloads of people with us. As we scampered up and down the hillside, looking for ripe berries, we learned a few things...first, raw elderberries are toxic. They won't kill you, but your stomach will reject them. Second, you remember how you mom always told you to wear a coat outside or you'd catch pneumonia? Well, it turns out there's some truth to that as well. (Sorry, sweetheart!)

    We were able to collect more berries than we really were able to transport, a first for us, so we headed down the hill for a 4 hour drive back home.

    That's when the fun really began: the crush. It's hard to describe the scene. Imagine, if you can, the sight of no fewer than 20 people ankle and wrist deep in blood red elderberry juice. We brought out the karaoke machine and last year's harvest and had ourselves a grand ol' time. As I strained the juice in a makeshift press my father had rigged for us, I paused to reflect on the scene at hand. My buddy and I had started making wine almost 5 years previous as a hobby, more to keep us entertained between work and college than anything (though it was much cheaper to make wine than the buy it, something that has saved us a lot of money over the years), and here we were, with half the neighborhood crushing our harvest and carousing. For a second I was transported back to the old country, and felt like I had a connection with my Italian forebears.

    I suppose the parting thought here is that winemaking can be a simple hobby to pursue, fairly inexpensive and untold amounts of fun. It can also bring people together, something that's harder and harder to do in these technologically advanced times. (And yes, I realize the irony in bemoaning impersonal technological communication in a web based newsletter!)

    Catch you on the flip side with another edition of The Raven's 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.


    Partida Tequila, reinventing America's favorite cocktail

    The Virtues of Vices - Wine X Magazine

    Theologians of all ideological bents debate whether or not man is born with original sin (or nihilists may debate whether man is born at all). There is no debate, however, that "sinning" is chic again. Witness: doctors recommending a daily glass of wine, martini bars, cigar parties, single malt scotches and bourbons, rye, grappa, new interest in classic cocktails, microbreweries reproducing like rabbits. Walk into almost any restaurant or bar and you can palpably feel the collective thump on the bandwagon as people eagerly hop aboard the slow-moving train that harks back to the time-honored tradition of appreciating life and soaking up more of its pleasures, in many interesting forms.

    People today are acquiring a newfound respect for the very things that were deemed inappropriate throughout the course of civilization. Many of these time-heralded vices have become popular with some new twists (pun intended). Fashion, after all, is cyclical and drinking tastes are making a revolution as complete and pure as an olive lapping a well-constructed designer martini.

    Man's taste for alcohol is well chronicled throughout the ages. In fact, people were consuming alcoholic beverages long before the time of Christ. The Greeks are said to have invented universities and toga parties (not necessarily in that order) sometime around 600-500 BC. There are actually anthropologists and sociologists that postulate the theory that it may have been mankind's desire for alcohol that prompted early civilizations to give up hunting and gathering in favor of agriculture. This was, of course, a giant leap for mankind.

    Hunting and gathering was a good gig in its day. The hours were much shorter than toiling in the fields and the responsibility less burdensome -- sort of the ancient civilization version of a temp job. But after a grueling day of chasing wildebeest or picking berries, there were those who wanted to quaff something soothing. A little libation to sort of punctuate the moment. Fortunately, the accidental "discovery" of fermentation and brewing provided them with an outlet for this desire, and a new favorite pastime was thrown into the well-shaken cocktail of history.

    Through the centuries, as man continued to enjoy a wider array of these fermented and brewed beverages, the earth's population steadily rose. These factors may or may not have been related. At any rate, mankind stumbled around the globe and began staking out separate territories. As areas grew into nation-states, most cultures developed their own attitudes about drinking and for many nations, the "national" drink was not only very much a part of everyday life, but a part of the national identity. I could offer a list but it would be incomplete at best -- to be too familiar with each alcoholic beverage in the world would have an indirect correlation on the ability to remember them. However, many readily come to mind: the French and wine, brandy, cognacs, and anisette liqueurs, Italians and wine, grappa, and Campari, Spanish and Sangria, Portuguese and Port, English and their countless beers, ales, lagers, ciders, bitters, and of course gin, the Irish and their religious reverence for their dark stouts, the Germans and the Czechs who lead the world in per capita beer consumption, the Greeks and their ouzo and retsina, the Polish, Scandinavians, and Russians and vodka. The point being is that there is a lot of thirst in the world and a lot of different ways to quench it. What this eclectic array of drinks and drinking preferences has in common is that they all offer ways to enhance the enjoyment of daily life, to offer respite from the daily grind, whether you are a hunter and gatherer or a nine-to-fiver.

    If you have an itch, scratch it. If you have a thirst, quench it.

    But living today can be turgid with stress and deadlines and, the opportunity to celebrate just being alive may not present itself often enough. As life grows ever more intense and we're smothered by modern technology in all its forms, we must zealously seek out ways to savor the most precious commodity of any on earth: our time. Enjoying life, infusing our time on earth with simple pleasures, may well be our most important job. And, at the very least, it is one that deserves every bit as much attention as any other job. Savoring life's daily routine may be the finest way to celebrate the interval between birth and death.

    A drink shared with good friends gives you the excuse to meet and to savor the company of those precious people you enjoy. A certain cocktail or wine or beer may inspire a solitudinal stroll down memory lane and give you a chance to appreciate fine moments from your past -- as close to time-traveling as man can come. The crux of the matter is: celebrate life, hoist a glass in toast to the gods of fortune for allowing you to be a participant in this grand drama.

    The Germans have a toast, which loosely translates to: "Drink and you die. Don't drink and you die also. So drink what you want." Learn to stop and smell the roses, or perhaps the bouquet of a fine Cabernet. And please remember, no matter what you choose, drinks were not invented with stringent classification systems and quality criteria. The discovery of fermentation itself was nothing more than a fortuitous accident. Don't worry about what wine is the proper one to order with what food, or whether you need wait for a special occasion to enjoy a certain libation. Life itself is an occasion and we are all the arbiters of what we choose to deem special.

    I'm reminded of a lazy summer some years back when I was fortunate enough to have been a part of the slow-moving lifestyle in the Greek islands, where life was reduced to its barest essentials: sun, sea, friends, food, and good drink. A typical day was eventful only for its uneventfulness. Lunch generally meant a stroll up the beach to Panos' seaside taverna. One particular afternoon, having finished a small carafe of chilled island wine and an ouzo, I found myself the only customer left. It had become late, and so it was time to move on. Until Panos appeared at my table with a cherished bottle of five-star Metaxa Greek brandy and two glasses. "This," he said, "is my finest bottle. Only for special occasions." "What are we celebrating?" I asked. "Ah, you Americans. Always you need a reason to celebrate. In Greece we celebrate because it is today, and we are alive." And he was right. It was a special occasion.


    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.

    Absolut - Halloween Cocktails

    This Halloween, channel your favorite spirits minus the spook. Concoct a cocktail that you'll enjoy way into the witching hour.

    ABSOLUT 100 Pumpkin Martini
    ABSOLUT 100 Pumpkin Martini Image

    • 3 parts ABSOLUT 100
    • 1/2 part Hiram Walker Pumpkin Spice Liqueur
    • Splash Simple Syrup

    Combine all ingredients over ice and shake. Strain in to martini glass, and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

    Now being served exclusively at

    235 23rd Street, Miami Beach

    Sip on a cocktail with South Beach style and enjoy two of the season's newest spirits a bold, 100-proof vodka from ABSOLUT mixed with a delicious pumpkin pie liqueur.

    ABSOLUT Prickly Pear
    ABSOLUT Prickly Pear Cocktail Image

    • 1 1/2 parts ABSOLUT PEARS
    • 1/2 part Triple Sec
    • 1 part Pineapple Juice
    • Splash of Sour Mix
    • Splash of Blue Curacao

    Shake all ingredients over ice in a highball glass. Garnish with a cherry.

    Now being served exclusively at

    TAO Las Vegas
    3377 Las Vegas Blvd. (Venetian Las Vegas)

    Rub elbows with your favorite celebrities at Las Vegas’ hottest hot-spot, TAO, and enjoy a pear-fect treat sure to spice up your spooky night.

    12 Fascinating Light Spirits - by Robert Plotkin

    Our latest Rober Plotkin article talks about world-class spirits that remain largely outside of the mainstream.

    Robert is the founder of

    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 Spirits Article Image

    There exists a realm of award winning, world-class spirits that remains largely outside of the mainstream. We've culled through the huddled masses and selected the twelve most fascinating spirits you likely haven't heard of. These artisan products are absolutely guaranteed to knock the socks off any enthusiast or connoisseur.

    • Cruzan Black Strap - Distilled at the Cruzan Diamond Estate on St. Croix, the tantalizing rum fills a glass with amazing array of flavors and a bouquet that represents the best of the islands. It is a blend of medium- to heavy-bodied aged rums that drinks like a sumptuous alembic brandy. It's also ideal for drink making.

    • English Harbour Extra Old Rum - This luxurious spirit hails from Antigua and is renown throughout the Caribbean. It is comprised from a blend of bourbon-barrel aged rums, the oldest of which being 21 years old. Few spirits can compare to its savory, lingering finish.

    • Magellan Gin - Magellan Gin is a bona fide headliner. It is made in small batches in Cognac, France. During the fourth and final distillation, the gin is infused with deep-blue Iris petals. The result is a sensationally flavorful, 88 proof spirit with a captivating, light blue tint.

    • Millers Gin - Miller's is distilled in England's oldest operational pot still. Then, prior to bottling, the gin journeys 3,000 miles to the remote Icelandic village of Borganes, the source of the Selyri Spring. The glacier-fed waters are among the purest, softest on earth and are used to dilute the gin to 80 proof.

    • Potackiwódka - This regal Polish spirit has a long and intriguing history, overshadowed only by the classic character of the vodka itself. It is double-distilled in pot stills and left unfiltered. It is a remarkable achievement, one worthy of the top-shelf treatment.

    • Pyrat Superior Blanco Rum - Crafted on the island of Anguilla, this appropriately named light rum is a blend of Solera-aged, pot-distilled rums and coral-filtered spring water. The golden color is carefully filtered out rendering it crystal clear. This Pyrat is utterly delicious.

    • Scorpion Mezcal - Do not let the scorpion inside the bottle dissuade you from sampling this elegant triple-distilled, 100% agave mezcal. The three-year-old añejo is especially marvelous. Tequila aficionados will certainly appreciate experiencing this outstanding Mexican import.

    • Shakers Rose Vodka - Made in Princeton, Minnesota, Shakers Rose is an ultra-premium, 100% wheat vodka infused with elixir of rose and over a dozen natural flavors, including honey, vanilla and citrus. It has a slightly sweet character and an alluring rose-tint. The vodka is a guaranteed crowd pleaser.

    • Wet By Beefeater - This superpremium gin is brimming with a fruity essence that resonates through its bouquet and palate. The fruit adds a lushness to the gin that has been heretofore unimagined. To further the effect, Beefeater Wet is bottled at an accessible 70 proof.

    • Wyborowa Single Estate - As the name implies, the creators of the Polish, 100% rye vodka not only grow the grain, they also distill the product with spring water found on their estate near the village of Turew. The artisan vodka is a silky smooth gem.

    • Zuidam Genever Gin - A bona fide taste treat suitable for any palate, ultra-premium Zuidam Genever is made from malted grain and double-distilled with a host of botanicals. It is full-bodied, highly aromatic and singularly delicious.

    • Zyr Russian Vodka - A handcrafted spirit made near Moscow, Zyr Vodka is distilled five times from rye, winter wheat and spring water drawn from 460 feet below the ground. The vodka is rigorously filtered and imbued with an engaging assortment of flavors.

    • 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 Pink Gin

    Plymouth Pink Gin Martini Image Pink Gin

    • 75 ml Plymouth Gin
    • 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters

    Fill a mixing glass with ice and add the Plymouth Navy Strength and Angostura bitters. Stir until chilled. Strain into a (frozen) martini glass. Garnish with a lemon zest.

    Angostura bitters were invented as a remedy for stomach complaints. The medicine reached the British Navy who added it to their Plymouth Gin rations - hence 'Pink Gin'.

    Halloween Entertaining - Asha Brodie

    Ghoulish Halloween entertaining starts with great decorations that would make the ghouls giggle with glee. These days more adults are hosting Halloween parties, a great past-time when their little monsters are away trick or treating.

    Interesting enough, Halloween did not start off this fun and this much anticipated some 2,000 years ago when it part of Samhain, a Celtic festival.

    Actually back then it was celebrated on November 1st by the Celts who lived in Ireland, United Kingdom and France. November 1st not only marked the conclusion of summer but it also meant that dark winters were approaching. Even then dark winters were synonymous with human death as it was Celts belief that around this time of year the world was blurred between the living and dead.

    As part of the celebration animals and crops were burned as sacrificial deities and would use the burnt pieces to protect them from evil during the winter.

    These days, the macabre in Halloween is used in jest, as kids and adults dress in costumes and go house to house via trick or treating.

    For your Halloween entertaining the idea is to keep it creative, fresh, fun and of course very scary. Here are a few ideas that you can use.

    The House
    Design experts say that the type of lighting that you use can help to evoke the haunted house look that you may be going for. Tea-light candles that are placed in your walkway along with jack-o-lanterns will provide your guests with a great preamble of things to come.

    Fake cobwebs can also add a great effect as well to your porch area. Because they are so reasonably priced, you can use them generously as you decorate. You can then, further enhance the cobwebs with fake spiders to create more intrigue.

    Also, for your front lawn, never underestimate the power of scarecrow. Scarecrows are intimidating enough but you can really make it come alive by adding orange bulbs to your lawn lights to cast a spine-chilling glow on it.

    The Food
    Carved pumpkins are quite popular as Halloween decorations, but it is also used to prepare a myriad of Halloween dishes as well for both desserts and main dishes. Pumpkin can be cut into strips and fried to make pumpkin chips or perhaps you can bake pumpkin pie.

    If you are thinking of really gruesome looking meals, you may want to invest in a few gelatin molds which feature brains and severed hands to name a few. You can get creative by adding red food coloring to the gelatin molds to capture the oozing blood effect. Another great way idea is to add olives to middle of boiled eggs so that they would look like eyeballs.

    The Drinks
    Serve your guests a glass of "blood" made from a mixture of tomato and orange juice. This drink is often served with ice that is in the shape of eyeballs. One way that some people make these ice cube eyeballs is by using radishes, olives and a melon scoop. The core of the radishes are filled with stuffed olives and placed into the ice tray with water. The ice cubes are great in punch bowls at Halloween parties.

    Even if you decide to use other drinks like say Kool-Aid or any other colored drinks, make sure to use the darker colors like cherry or raspberry or one in dark purple color. Combine them all to achieve the blood-like look.

    Purchase small plastic spiders or insects and place them in your Jello mix before you put it in your refrigerator for chilling. When you take them out of the refrigerator, cut them in squares and serve them with the insects inside of them.

    Asha Brodie has spent an interesting 20 years in print media as an entertainment journalist and columnist. Born and bred in the island of Trinidad and Tobago, she now calls Connecticut her home where she lives with her family. Her lifelong love affair for writing continues...


    Orangepip Drinking Game Image Recently the people over (way over, like New Zealand over), sent me a board game. Not your average Monopoly game, but one intended for adults, to be enjoyed while consuming your favourite beverage.

    With an opening paragraph on their website that starts with:
    Down a few drinks, Lose your inhibitions, Punish and Embarrass yourself and/or your friends.

    I thought, how can I go wrong? We spent an hour or so having a laugh and embarrassing ourselves before we put it away and cleaned up for the night.

    For a good laugh, try it out. For the price you can't go wrong. Besides, Tristan seems like a pretty good guy and probably deserves a few sales just for the effort of sending us a copy!

    Herradura Charro Negro

    The month of October begins preparation for one of Mexico's most celebrated and historic holidays, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) which falls on November 1 and 2. Tequila Herradura, the world's most revered and storied premium tequila, is featuring the Herradura Charro Negro, referring to the traditional cowboy of Mexico who sometimes dresses in black when mourning a loved one, as its drink of the month in recognition of the holiday.

    This authentic Mexican drink is quickly becoming a staple all over the U.S. Many people will celebrate Day of the Dead by creating some of their favorite recipes as an offering to honor their lost loved ones. The Herradura Charro Negro is simple and easy to make pairing Tequila Herradura Anejo with your favorite cola.

    Herradura Charro Negro Herradura Charro Negro Cocktail Image

    • 2 oz. Tequila Herradura Anejo
    • 4 oz. Cola
    • Squeeze of lime juice

    In a tall glass with ice mix the Herradura Anejo and cola. Squeeze with lime.


    X-Rated - on the Rocks

    X-Rated - on the Rocks X Rated - on the Rocks Cocktail Image

    • 3 oz. X-RATED Fusion Liqueur

    Get in a pink mood, fill a rocks glass with ice and pour yourself an X-Rated treat. Let it chill and away you go.

    Castle Brands - Halloween Boo-ru

    BOO-RU Boo-ru Cocktail Image

    • 1 oz. Boru Vodka
    • 1 oz. Celtic Crossing Liqueur
    • Orange Juice

    Pour Boru and Celtic Crossing into a tall iced-filled glass. Fill nearly to the top with orange juice. Add a splash of club soda and garnish with an orange.


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