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.
There was a huge gap in my blog posts, and thats primarily because I felt suffocated at my post in The Ocean. Good news is that I’ve resigned from my position there, and will be starting a new job soon. Yay!
While I polish up some articles that have been stuck in limbo since forever, have a gander at some new entries in my Original Recipe section
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
You could be the diva of the dive bar, the resident at a primo hotel bar, or fancy yourself the master of the craft at a fancy cocktail bar, but nothing will prepare you for work as a non-bar nomad.
By non-bar, I mean the entirely unsuitable area some client has designated in his kitchen as the place for his guests to collect drinks, or even worse, that god-awful 4ft long folding contraption somebody had the audacity to call a ‘bar’ that’s been set up at a convention hall for some corporate function. Now I can’t say I’m a veteran of these private events, but I think I’ve done enough work at the non-bar to divulge some of the helpful tips below for the entrepreneurial bartender so that he or she doesn’t ruin their first ever private event and earns the chance for repeat customers and a little extra cash in their hand.
Now that I’m back in HK, I’ve been trying to get my original cocktail page up to date by filling in the pages with photos of the cocktails. I’ve updated the Madam Marguerite and Bohemian Sour with a cocktail photo.
Since these cocktails were contributions to the menu of a consultation client, I had the shoot at that very same bar, but I’ll be honest, the bar isn’t the best for photographs. Poor lighting, odd backdrops, an tiled bar that doesn’t look great in a closeup… It doesn’t help that the cocktail garnishes hasn’t been very well implemented after I signed off on the project; management made an odd choice in glassware, the accessories are the wrong size, or the wrong type all together. If I have time, I’ll try and do a shoot again with the garnish and glassware faithful to the image I had in my head.
On the plus side, I’ve learned a valuable lesson. Even if you provide a detailed description and set of instructions for someone, its not enough to ensure that they follow through on your concept. Everything, and I mean everything, even the things you think should be taken for common sense, should be provided on a sliver platter.