A panda walks into a bar and orders a bamboo. Whether he fires off a few shots and skips out on the check is another matter.
The Bamboo cocktail is old little drink, and no one else seems to tell the history of the cocktail better than the Japan Times. Created in Yokohama, Japan, by a German in the 1890’s for the foreign clientèle of the Grand Hotel, the cocktail seems to have undergone divergent evolution over the ages. Continue Reading
A drink as ridiculous as Death in the Afternoon deserves a ridiculous garnish
Quick: you’re working in a bar, and a customer asks you for a magic trick. What do you do? If you’re like me, with sausage fingers, zero dexterity, and terrible presentation skills, most sleight-of-hand techniques will normally be outside of your repertoire. Instead, reach for your bottle of absinthe (pastis will do in a pinch) Continue Reading
When was the last time you actually measured the amount of tonic going into a Gin and Tonic? Chances are, like many other rational bartenders, you simply filled up your glass with ice, poured a standard serving size worth of gin into the glass, and topped up the rest with tonic.
But how much tonic are you actually adding? That amazingly simple question is not so simply answered. The key, usually, is in the completely random arrangement of ice cubes in a highball glass. We have all seen how we get less ice cubes in a glass when, by complete chance, they happen to stack into a perfect little column of ice cubes. Continue Reading
Back in the 1920’s, people were, almost literally, going bananas. More commonly known as the Roaring Twenties, it was a golden era of scientific development, literature and art for some, but definitely not all. Art Deco, the 20th Century Express railway line, unprecedented economic gains, the victor’s thrill after the end of WWI… and testicular grafts?
On March 10th, the first ever Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition in Hong Kong came to a close. The finals saw the end of nearly 5 months of hard work by 64 entrants, culminating in the presentation of 10 cocktails by their respective creators, of whom, I am proud to say, many of my friends and I were part of. There’s not much I can say about the competition that can’t be said better by someone else, but it was truly an incredible experience. Continue Reading
So in between my day job and my real job, I was preparing for my entry into the 2014 Diageo World Class cocktail competition, which is, most people would say, one of the biggest event in the competition calendar.
One of the aspects of the DWC is that on top of a cocktail presentation and a blind tasting challenge, they include a written examination, which covers an impossibly wide range of topics, from facts about base alcohol, the origin and trivia of spirits and liqueurs, to the history and ingredients of cocktails.
Naturally, being a studious, academically minded fellow, I took to my preparations as only an Asian engineer can, slogging through texts and articles in every free moment, taking down even the most obscure of details. Information about various spirits and alcohol itself was easy to come by, being, after all, a matter of historical and scientific record. Unfortunately, when it came to the history of classic cocktails, it was anything but straight up (see what I did there?)
45ml Bacardi Superior Rum
15ml Lime Juice
5ml Grapefruit Juice
5ml Maraschino Liqueur
The Hemingway Daiquiri, also known as the Papa Doble, is one of those cocktails that are easy to get wrong. Fresh grapefruit juice can vary wildly in terms of acidity and sweetness, and with the small amounts under consideration, you can lose the flavour of grapefruit. In my personal opinion, I like to use more grapefruit juice than lime juice, and use the lime juice and additional sugar syrup to compensate for the variation in sweet/sour balance.
In terms of it’s history, the Hemingway was reportedly invented in Cuba, for Ernest Hemingway, who’s favourite cocktail, the Daiquiri, was slowly becoming poison for a man with diabetes. The sugar that is normally used in a Daiquiri is replaced with maraschino liqueur, which is as sweet with less glucose. Grapefruit juice is widely recognized for reducing the blood sugar level due to its low glycemic index.