An A-Z Of Alconomics
Odds Boddikins! I have just checked and its been over a month since I last sent out a real one of these. My sincere apologies to you all, but I doubt the delay has been weighing on your mind
Thus may I present to you…
An A-to Z of Alconomics
(or a non random way of listing things I have done, seen, found, learned or enjoyed since I last wrote you)
A is for Atlantic Bar & Grill, which according to tonights London Evening Standard has just closed. The bar that brought Dick Bradsell to the centre stage of the emerging Bartender scene and spawned Jamie Terrell, Asa Neseveit and Andres Masso and many, many others. Dicks Bar in particular will be sorely missed.
A is also for an Antifogmatic: the first drink of the day
A is for Antigua Rum: the 5 year old is a top drop and just scored 92 in the BTI ratings mmm.
B is for Barker, a word used by the playwright Damon Runyon for as another name for bartender.
B is for Belvedere, a mixed drink of rum, milk and cinnamon.
B is for The Birmingham Association of Bartenders – a training night that Julian Gibbs and Carl Hawkins of Zinc & Chi set up 6 months ago, Basically every Monday night we meet at Red Bar at around 7.30pm. From 8 till 9 we do training on wine, spirits, champagne, cocktails, flair, licensing, and all things bar related. We ask reps, brand ambassadors, master distillers, professional bartenders, police and anyone who has some extensive knowledge about anything industry related to do these hour -ish talks or training sessions, after which we all relax with a drink to catch up on the city gossip, hire staff , network etc.
We are trying in some way to raise the profile of the drinking culture in Birmingham- in the public’s eye and the other cities around the UK.
We currently have a database of bartenders who believe in their profession and want to raise their game for their own sake and the sake of their bar and city.
This group is generally made up of bartenders from style bars, hotels, pubs, off licenses and drinks reps who want to know more about the competition, each week we get between 20-40 turn up depending on who’s training or working.
Read more here (trust the Shaker Boys to be so clued up again!)
B is for B-Girls. These young ladies would work for the bar in the 1930s in USA and encourage drinkers to drink more by flirting heavily with them and get them to buy fake drinks for them and who says that Viral or Experiential Marketing is a new phenomenon?
Bar is for Bar Games: the newest challenge for best way to while away time while waiting for the busy times in bars? Bounce Matt Darts: flick pennies at a marked piece of bounce matt if it goes in the hole its a score
C is for Cops Bottle: the cheapest hooch in the house (to be given to cops free when they visited)
D is for Drak the name for a mojito made with crushed ice so I have been told any takers?
D is for Dutch Feast; the party where the host gets drunk before any of the guests.
E is for educated drinking. Legendary gourmand and madman Michael Butt shares his thoughts on such activity here…
F is for Fizzical Culture or the Art of Making Cocktails
F is for Foams the coolest cocktails on the Planet. A good explanation of them and some science is going on here
F is also for Fernet. Now I love this stuff, as I also love Chartreuse and Campari and all the difficult stuff. When in Scandinavia a beer doesnt taste right unless its accompanied by a shot of Fernet.
And an itinerant Argentinean bartender Lucas Ranzuglia loves Fernet too and sent me these odd facts about:
Few Details about the story of Fernet and Argentina
There’s only 2 producing plants in the world Milan and Buenos Aires, Argentina
1845 the society was formed in Milan between a pharmacist (Branca) and a partner
(Vernet). At first it was sold as medicine, or a tonic. The phonetic of Vernet is
Original was 48.3% abv, now is 45% abv (Argentina) since 1978
Fernet spend 1 month in tanks with the herbs, then 1 year in vats with the herbs. then
is pressed. Then to the biggest vats for 6 months
The biggest vats are of 32 000 litres.
2 vats were brought to Argentina from Milan, at first with a high concentrate extract of Fernet from Italy, which was mixed in Argentina.
With the WW II Fernet started to be fully produced in Argentina.
Original oak was from Slovenia. now it’s second hand and washed to new.
1969 people in Milan combined Fernet with fresh mint, so Diego Calvi, the chemist in Milan the Branca Menta with 25% abv
the saffron they used cost USD $600 a kilo
G is for Grog Boss: the gentleman at a Canadian Loggers celebration elected to control the drinking. For a more genteel but broadly similar appointment see also Arbiter Bibendi and Rex Convivii
H is for Hysteric Water: a strong alcoholic drink popular in Virginia in the late 1800s.
I is for In the Rough or served on the rocks.
J is for Japan, perhaps the last great independent cocktail style. Japanese bartending is totally unique and way cool. From hand chipped ice to musical shakes they have it all. And even the names are cool here is one called Kirisutegomen from the Samurai expression sorry to leave you dead!
this site, sent to me my flavour fan Ms Leanna Mix (great name!) shows some of the madness they get up to over there
K is for Kickapoo Joy Juice early slang for Moonshine
L is for Lloyd the creepy and thus way cool bartender from the film The Shining. I know this is one of Dick Bradsells role models
M is for Monkey Shoulder. A Vatted Malt it is making lots of noise in bars here in the UK. Within a plethora of new product launches in recent times this seems to have caught many bartenders imagination. I have to question the monkey on coke suggestion with a large float of Monkey Shoulder that from a guy who counts Macallan 12 and diet coke within his drinking repertoire. The vatted category seems to be getting wider with Compass Box even doing a vatted grain and Johnnie Walker Green of course. Rather like the growth of the Rye Category I think it is a good thing for drinkers but a hard sell for bartenders.
N is for Nig: this mystic word used to appear on the silver name plates of 18th Century gin decanters. Gin was considered low and thus needed to be disguised or elevated by spelling the word backwards.
O is for an Octave of Sherry: the interesting but disappearing London habit of ordering eight half filled glasses of Sherry with a small piece of mild cheese between each. The first a Manzanilla that driest of all, then in turn a Fino, a vino de pasto and so on up to the almost saccharine P.X.. The rite was both educational and promotional.
P is for The Pegu Club the new joint housing the lovely Audrey Saunders and friends.( Pegu Club–77 West Houston Street in the Soho district of Manhattan, 212 473 PEGU) The reports of this place are so glowing I had to wear shades to read them with tiny touches like condiment sets of liquids to tinker with your drinks on each table and Audrey and Chad Solomon shaking it upI have a soft spot for the Pegu as its the only real drink I ever introduced Sasha Petraske to and Audrey is the only bartender who made me one right off the bat about 4 years ago at Bemmelman s.
P is for Persico, an old beverage made from sweetened spirit in which are steeped lemon peel, cinnamon and red currants
P is for Papa Jules aka Julien Gualdoni from Londons Trailer Happiness. What Jules is doing down there is similar to what Victor Bergeron did as Trader Vic 50 years ago. With his chefs jacket, slouch trilby and cheeky Gallic ways he is a true modern Tiki host. And he has started to properly bottle his grenadine, honey cream, falernum and even a Ti Punch bravo monsieur!
Q is for Quaff the Quality Ale and Fermentation Fraternity (QUAFF) is a group of men and women dedicated to the enjoyment and promotion of home brewing and beer evaluation in the greater San Diego area oh yes it is
Q is also for a Queens Taste Cocktail
25ml French vermouth
a few mint leaves
stir all and strain into chilled cocktail glass
R is for a Rocky Mountain Sneezer: a cocktail talked of lovingly by Charles Dickens it consists of a mixture of any spirits available seasoned with bitters, lemon and sugar, and crowned with snow, which had to be freshly gathered for each drink
S is for Science. And in particular chilling science.
I have always thought that the 3 piece shaker will make a slightly colder drink than a Boston, due to the differences in conductivity of glass and metal. Richard Edwards from 210 Bar in Perth disagrees and states instead:
Glass has a comparatively low thermal conductivity. The thermal conductivity at room temperature of glass is around 1.0 Wm-1K-1, while steel is around 50 Wm-1K-1. This means that the drink and ice inside will chill the steel itself more than it will the glass, and consequently the 3-piece will appear and feel colder. But this does not imply the drink inside is as well the drink and ice inside would have lost some of its coldness in cooling the steel itself. Further, this transfer of energy would then also dissipate into your hands (which are very warm) and the air which would further warm the drink. In my opinion, a Boston shaker will be more suitable for getting a drink colder, faster.
The real determinants are the amount of shaking (for rate of chilling); the amount of ice (for both the rate of chilling and the final temperature); the surface area of the ice, that is, crushed ice (for the rate).
Phew! Well thats me told unless anyone else has an opinion?
T is for Tattoo: as I travel around I have seen a growth in the number of bartender tattoos sported. I show you here two of my recent favourites from 30/7 in Moscow and a bar back from Mono Mono in Taipei. Cool but slightly odd.
T is for Turkish Blood: mixed drink of English Ale and Burgundy red wine, preferably vintage. A gastronomic insult to both beverages
U is for Usquebaugh: no not the old Irish-Gaelic name for Whiskey but the liqueur of predominant coriander flavour duh!
V is for Victorias Secret a fantastic cocktail invented by Jamie Stephenson one of the UKs most talented mixologists. He does warn that This drink sounds really faffy but we used to sell loads of them at Harvey Nichols and it doesn’t take that long once you’ve gotten used to the order of doing things. So watch out
25ml Sloe Gin
15ml Nettle Cordial (cassis can be substituted)
20ml Cranberry Juice
Shake and pour into tall Catalina style glass first
25ml Bacardi Carta Blanca
1 Bsp Mango Puree
1 Bsp Passion Fruit Puree
1 Squeeze Lime
20ml Orange Juice
Shake well and pour slowly over the first layer
Garnish with two straws of different lengths tied together with an orange twist.
W is for waiting. Waiting for Julio Bermejo’s new place Tres Agave and waiting for Green and Red (or is it Red and Green… damn) the new temple to tequila with the guys from The RedChurch and tequila fans the WCC.
X is for Xavier Padovani. Yet another London based French loon with Jules from Trailer. A true Drinker and Friend of Bartenders he is the driving force behind Aqua Vitae, the new society dedicated to all things aged and cereal based www.albannach.co.uk.
Before Monkey Shoulder he supported Woods 100. It is rare to remark on spirit reps but Xavier is well worth mentioning (and its gives me an X which I bet some of you were wondering how I would cover it)
Z is for Zappa. Gotta love a man who says “You can’t be a real country unless you have a beer and an airline – it helps if you have some kind of a football team, or some nuclear weapons, but at the very least you need a beer.”.
So thats me done again for another month or so. Keep drinking only the good stuff and keep learning and keep spreading the word… 881 of you now.