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’ve added three new cocktails to my Original Cocktails list. Have a look, make it at home or at work (assuming of course your place of work allows drinking on the premises) , and let me know what you think!
Cocktail Concept: Her Eyes
Cocktail Concept: Il Sale Della Vita
Cocktail Concept: Caribbean Espionage
Don’t you love weddings? I do. They’re always great fun, especially when you’re not working at one. Amirite lads?
I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the lovely isle of Mauritius to attend my friend and mentor’s wedding. Now naturally, being a bartender, I made it my mission to find time to visit one of the many rum distilleries on the island. Having written an article on New Grove, I wanted to visit their distillery as well, but unfortunately with my limited window of opportunity, I was only able to squeeze in one visit. But what a visit it was!