Throw a rock in Hong Kong in any direction. Chances are, you’d hit a stock broker. Or his accountant. It stands to reason then that someone would finally open a stock market themed bar modeled after the kind seen in Barcelona, New York City, and London. The one that’s opened in Hong Kong is called Wolf Market, and follows along the same line of thought that governs the other stock market bars; prices for spirits start off at a low, but the more guests order a particular drink, the higher the price rises. According to the press, the drink prices rise until they hit a certain limit, at which point the ‘market’ crashes and brings all the drinks back down to a low. Continue Reading
Just last month a good friend of mine back from Boston University finally decided to take the plunge with his college sweetheart, so I of course hopped on a flight to drink to the couples everlasting happiness. Now of course the wedding was fantastic, and I wish the happy couple all the best, but for me the highlight of any trip is doing the rounds at the liquor stores. Hong Kong, for all its strengths, still lingers at the tails of the new craft spirit movement, meaning that many of the most exciting products can only be found by people going overseas. It’s become an integral part of my planning for any trip to bookmark any notable liquor stores as well as cocktail bars in each city I visit.
When is loads of booze a bad thing?
An impossible thought, I know. The more the merrier, many people would say. Bartenders are, after all, competitive creatures, and one such measure on the mixology-o-meter is the number of rare and obscure liqueur and spirits on one’s back bar.
A fully loaded bar certainly does have its advantages. First off, it is an impressive sight; both inviting and daunting, a well lit wall of bottles gives a bar a certain charisma. And few bartenders can deny it feels good to thoughtfully twirl his (or even perhaps her) mustache and coyly ask a guest if he’s ever had such-and-such amaro when in all probability they have not, and then mix it into their next drink. Finally, there is the advantage of versatility; tastes and preferences vary wildly from person to person, and having access to a large arsenal of spirits and liqueurs allows you to cater to even the most finicky of individuals, or even perhaps update your menu at the drop of a hat.
But what is the cost of setting up a bar this way?
When I first started bartending, barrel aged cocktails were all the rage. First came the Old Fashioned, then came the Manhattans, Negronis, and any other classic cocktail you could think of. At my own workplace at the time, Fatty Crab, we aged a Boulevardier and a Rosita, with a good deal of success; we had six 5L barrels from Buffalo Trace going at any one time, and we would bottle the cocktails in old Sipsmith gin bottles when the cocktails saw enough time in the barrel.
Now that I’ve been placed in charge of the drinks program at a brand new bar (more details on that here), I thought it was finally time for me to create my own aged cocktail. But where to begin? Continue Reading
I apologize for the pun.
No, not really
Previously, I wrote about the manufacture of probably the most highly regarded soju in Korea, Andong Soju. Though I would like to say more, I thought that the post was probably long enough. Here, I hope to cover some additional facts about Soju that I couldn’t go over before.
I’ve been picking up on a recurring theme during my time in Europe. In the Old World, families play a part in grand designs, starting off businesses that pass on for generations. Previously, I wrote an article detailing my visit to the Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, Netherlands, but today I’d like to talk about my time in Burgundy, at a lovely little liqueur producer called Joseph Cartron.
I would like to think I’m a lucky guy. Clearly, I’ve had a good run in the last couple of weeks; during my MBA course, I made it to the finals for a global competition on supply chain management, scoring me a free trip to the Netherlands! Now, I’m a man who likes to make good use of my time, so as soon as I was done managing a virtual cosmetics company in Zwolle, I took it upon myself to visit the famous Nolet Distillery in Schiedam, just a couple of hours away to the southwest. (Not too many photos this time folks, no cameras allowed inside the distillery)