With our landmark 100th episode happening, we knew that we had to meet with one of top bartenders out there, Charles Joly. To make it even more special we filmed this episode in front of a live audience at the world-famous tiki bar, Lost Lake. So, tune in as we take questions from the crowd & maybe even take a shot or two.
Now that craft cocktails are no longer just for bars, more and more people are expecting delicious drinks no matter where they are. This is in no small part due to cocktail caterers like Brea Wilske, of Bespoke: A Cocktail Catering, who are making incredible drinks for guests at events across the country.
Running the bar program at an award-winning bar is no easy task. Winning accolades and nominations is about much more than just making great drinks, but rather about creating culture and cultivating an atmosphere of excellence. To shed some light on this, we meet with Jillian Vose, of the Dead Rabbit, for some advice on how to create this environment for your bar.
This is cocktail that I came up with for the opening menu at Polite Provisions. When I look at the drink in retrospect, I like to tell people that I came up with the idea by trying to emulate the flavors of a vanilla mocha. Meaning I combined the flavors of vanilla and chocolate, with the charred oak of the bourbon playing the role of roasted beans. Not surprisingly, with that flavor combination, the drink went on to become extremely popular at the bar.
What I don't generally talk about as much, is how the drink was a complete accident which I never intended to make on purpose. In fact, I actually thought that I was reaching for the Marie Brizard Orange Curacao, as I was hoping to do more of a orange/whiskey/vanilla style drink. However, the Marie Brizard Orange Curacao and White Creme de Cacao look identical, so when I grabbed the wrong bottle, I didn't notice until it was time to taste it.
As to how the version with Orange Curacao came out, I wouldn't know. I never got around to trying it.
.5oz Creme de Cacao
.5oz Vanilla Syrup
GLASSWARE: Double Old-Fashioned
GARNISH: Lemon Wheel
Vanilla Syrup: Place 1 liter of white sugar into a large bowl or pitcher. Split & quarter 20 vanilla beans and add to the sugar. Pour 1 liter of BOILING HOT water over sugar and vanilla beans. Stir well & allow to sit for one hour. Strain and put in a container, label date and put in the walk in.
(To give the syrup a richer texture, mix 1.5 teaspoons of gum Arabic into the sugar & vanilla beans before topping with hot water.)
With the subject of diversity and equality being such an important topic in today's bar world, we decided to spotlight a bartender in the business who is tackling the subject head on. Shelby Allison is not only a co-owner of the award-winning tiki bar, Lost Lake in Chicago, but she is also one of the co-counders of Chicago Style, a cocktail conference dedicating to showcasing women and diversity.
This is a cocktail that utilizes fat-washing and sous vide in its creation, so if you are looking for some fun new techniques to add to your cocktail arsenal, than this drink is just for you.
1.5oz Sesame Japanese Whiskey*
.75oz Giffard Ginger Liqueur
2 drops Barrel Aged Soy Sauce (no cheap shit here)
GLASSWARE: Serve from empty Soy Sauce bottle & pour into Double Old-Fashioned over Ice
+ 4oz Sesame Oil (good quality)
+ 1 liter Japanese Whisky
1. Seal and then sous vide the mixture at 135F for 2 hrs.
2. Cool it in the freezer.
3. Once the fat is solidified strain out sesame oil with a cheesecloth.
In today's world of cocktails, there are so many career options for the bartender that it can often be difficult to navigate. To help layout the groundwork on how to balance work opportunities as they come in, we are joined by Morgan Schick, who tells us about what it is like to be a cocktail consultant who works with some of the country's top bars and spirits. In addition, he shares his philosophy on creating award-winning cocktail menus.
When it comes to delicious cocktails that never seem to get the credit they deserve, the Surfer on Acid is one of those drinks that has be damn near the top. When you look at the build of the drink it is genius in its approach and although, it was created in the early 1990s by Eric Tecosky (founder of Dirty Sue,) it bears many of the characteristics of the craft cocktail movement that would not take a hold of the country for almost another 20 years.
It is tropical, if not nouveau-tiki, in many ways with its combination of coconut, rum, pineapple and amaro. And if not for its unfortunate, and largely undeserved stigma, the drink would look right at home on the menus of today's top cocktail bars. With its mixture of island fruit and amaro, it can be as complex and intricate as any drink you could hope to encounter online or in a bar.
Although, the original version of the drink consisted of coconut-flavored Rum, Jagermeister & Pineapple Juice, when recreating the drink today, I tweak the formula ever so slightly, while still remaining true to the drink. Whereas, the version from the nineties was primarily served as a shooter, we moved this version to pebble ice or blended, to make it more of a sipper.
In lieu of the coconut flavored rum, we subbed a little bit of White Rum and Coconut Cream, and while the drink works wonderfully with the original Jagermeister, switching up the amaro can lead to all kinds of cool variations and possibilities. I generally lean towards Averna when making it, but have had delicious versions with pretty much any amaro that you can think of.
In addition, I hit with just a bit of lime juice to brighten the drink the up and give it some vibrancy. In effect the result is largely a Piña Colada with a healthy dose of amaro, but if you really think about it, that is what the original flavor profile was as well, except in the form of a shooter.
Here is the recipe for you below & feel free to click here if you would like a little more info on the drink's history.
SURFER ON ACID
1oz White Rum
.75oz Coconut Cream*
METHOD: Crushed/Pebble Ice
GARNISH: Lime & Pineapple Leaf
Created by Eric Tecosky
* I used Coco Lopez, but feel free to use whatever brand you like. Homemade is even better if you have the time to whip up a batch.
The world of brandy is so vast & intriguing, but for many of us, Pisco still remains shrouded in mystery. To help us gain a better understanding of this often misunderstood spirit, we decided to sit with Romina Scheufele, a fifth-generation maker of Pisco, and listen to her share the truth behind this world-class spirit.
Most everyone that is familiar with my approach to cocktails knows that I always look to the classics when I am looking for inspiration to creating new drinks. Pretty much, every single time I try a new ingredients or liqueur, without even thinking my brain automatically begins to shuffle through templates in which I think I could build off of. While I know that sparkling rosé is by no means a new ingredient, when I was working on new drinks for the Polite Provisions menu a couple of years back, I realized that I had never created a drink using it as an ingredient.
When I tasted the sparkling rosé on its own for inspiration, I was immediately taken by the scent of wild berries & vanilla, and just knew that I had to somehow make a variation on my favorite sparkling cocktail, the French 75. Knowing that rum is often rich with deep vanilla, I instinctively reached for a nice white rum and our house raspberry syrup to bring out the fruit in the rosé.
While that first draft of the drink was great, I found that it was missing just a little something. That little something missing ended up being a couple of dashes of bitters, as is often the case.
1.5oz White Rum
.75oz Lemon Juice
.75oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Peychaud's Bitters
METHOD: Shake & Strain. Top w/ 1.5oz Sparkling Rosé.
GARNISH: Grapefruit Twist
Genever was one of the most important spirits in the early days of the craft cocktail, so its nice to see it coming back to the forefront of the bar world. We recently got our hands on a bottle of Old Duff Genever, an authentic Dutch Genever, and decided to make one of our favorite cocktails. It adds the vibrant notes of fruit and rich herbal to the natural malty character of beautifully made Genever.
.5oz Simple Syrup
GLASSWARE: Double Old-Fashioned
GARNISH: Lemon Twist & Raspberry
*I obviously used Old Duff Genever, but feel free to use whichever brand suits you.
Running an international events company can be hard work, especially when you are working with bartenders and cocktails. However, Lindsey Johnson and Liz Porter of Lush Life Productions manage to do just that, all while spreading the gospel of community, education and quality spirits.
When you look at the early days of mixology and into the late 1800s in particular, it is interesting to note what a large role that Cognac played in this era. Yet, even with the craft cocktail renaissance in full-swing, it seems that many still see Cognac as a spirit meant only for sipping neat and in stirred cocktails.
Yet drinks like the Brandy Crusta & the Champ Elysees are perfect examples of shaken cocktails that perfectly showcase Cognac and its potential in drink recipes.
On that note, here is a recipe that I came up with for the Bourbon & Branch menu back when I worked there back in the day. I hope you like it & please don’t hesitate to share with me your favorite refreshing Cognac recipes.
.5oz Apricot Liqueur
.5oz Simple Syrup
2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
GARNISH: Lemon Twist
While the Last Word is possibly the most well-loved equal parts cocktails out there, there are plenty of others that deserve just as much attention. This is one that we love that was invented by Ian Scalzo of Horsefeather, in San Francisco. It a blend of herbal & citrus liqueurs that are tied together with the unmistakable touch of Oaxacan Mezcal. It is absolutely delicious & we recommend you try one soon.
.75oz Yellow Chartreuse
2 dashes Orange Bitters
GARNISH: Orange Twist
Created by Ian Scalzo
On this episode we explore the Kansas City cocktail scene with two of the cities top bartenders, Derek Branham and Andrew Olsen. In addition to talking about the local food & drink, we also discuss the challenges involved with creating atmosphere at a bar and how that relates to sound & lighting.
As some of you guys might have heard, my team at Polite Provisions & I are going to be headed to Lost Lake in Chicago for a two day takeover the weekend of March 10th & 11th. Since the theme is going to be Kentucky meets Tiki. I decided to feature one of my favorite original recipes. This one is a tropical bourbon cocktail that I came up with for one of the early menus at Boilermaker, my bar in the country. Due to its simplicity, it took off around the city and even ended up on the menu at Dear Irving, which was an honor, as it is one of my favorite bars in the city. The inspiration came from the fact that you don't see American whiskey in enough modern tiki drinks, which is strange when you consider that the flavors in Bourbon & Rye lend themselves quite well to traditional tropical spices. So, this was just my way of taking something old, and making it feel new again.
.5oz Simple Syrup
2 dash Angostura bitters
METHOD: Crushed/Pebble Ice
GARNISH: Mint Sprig & Grated Cinnamon
*Something 50% abv or higher works really well here. Think Old Grand-Dad Bonded or Wild Turkey 101.
On last week's episode of the show, Stacey Swenson & I discussed our love affair with 90s cocktails. Of all the drinks from that era, one of our favorites that doesn't get its proper dude has to be the Scooby Snack.
At its core, it is essentially a Piña Colada with the addition of honeydew melon. Although, originally served as a shooter, we thought the drink was way too delicious to drink so fast, so we decided to serve it over crushed/pebble ice.
Here is the recipe below & we hope that you enjoy it as much as we do.
1oz White Rum
.75oz Wray & Nephew
.5oz Lime Juice
1.5oz Honeydew Juice
1.5oz Coco Lopez
METHOD: Crushed Ice (or Blended)
GLASSWARE: Hurricane Glass
GARNISH: Whipped Cream & Pineapple Leaf
Adapted by Erick Castro & Stacey Swenson
Since the food & drink scene in Palm Springs has been growing by leaps and bounds over these last few years, we decided to meet up with the crew from the award-winning cocktail bar, Bootlegger Tiki, and hear all about it. Tune in & listen as we talk about the tropical cocktails & the rich history of Hollywood's favorite desert town.