Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Food & Wine Cocktails 2008

The new Food & Wine Cocktails 2008 is available now. I look forward to getting this book every year, so I was excited to pick up my copy. I love this book because it represents the latest trends in cocktail culture. The recipes are all hand selected by Editors Kate Krader and Jim Meehan (Can you say PDT and Pegu Club?). These are the hot, new, recipes that grace the best cocktail lists from around the country.

What else makes this book so great?

It features:
  • over 150 recipes from some of the coolest bars and restaurants in the country.
  • fantastic recipes for my Jose McGregor, and Jeff's Batida Rosa.
  • incredible photography featuring gorgeous glassware.
  • the names and addresses of bars, clubs and restaurants in major cities across the country, making it a great traveler's companion.
  • a directory of some of the best liqour stores across the country.
  • a "cocktail clinic" section covering the tools and techniques of the professional bartender.
  • alcohol free "mocktails."
  • recipes for loads of delicious bar food.
Food & Wine Cocktails 2008 should be available at your local bookshop, supermarket or newsstand. If you can't find it locally, it's available at the big online book stores as well.

Food & Wine Cocktails 2008
Edited by Kate Krader, Jim Meehan and Colleen McKinney
Food & Wine, American Express Publishing Corp.
ISBN 1-932624-25-2


Friday, April 18, 2008

Cocktail Ambassadors

Last night I had the opportunity to attend a Mixology 101 class offered by H. Joseph Ehrmann's Cocktail Ambassadors. Cocktail Ambassadors offers a range of courses that explore basic bartending, mixology, fresh market cocktails and even seasonal, holiday cocktails. They can also develop specific courses to address specific needs for corporate meetings or promotional events.

H explores the difference between a shaken and a stirred Manhattan.

We learned how to use all of the basic bartenders tools through the hands-on creation of several different cocktail recipes. H also covered techniques that take the home bartender to a higher level of professionalism and skill.

H explains the proper use of the Boston Shaker.

While we were practicing our skills and making cocktails, H kept us entertained with anecdotes and interesting bits of cocktail history.

A Mixology 101 student practices the art of "flaming" an orange peel.

We prepared several different cocktail recipes and explored variations on each recipe. H was able to answer questions and offer individual instruction to each student.

Participants using their new mixological skills.

I think the courses are suitable for bartenders and aspiring bartenders of all levels. Even as a professional bartender, I found the class entertaining and interesting. Everyone in the class was having a great time. There is an on-going series of events scheduled in the San Francisco Bay area this summer. The Cocktail Ambassadors website has a complete schedule.

If you need to set up your home bar, plan a corporate event, or just tune-up your bartending skills, contact H at Cocktail Ambassadors to set up a custom program for you.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Mixology Monday - Golden Compass

When I invented this drink I didn't know there was a movie called Golden Compass. See, the drink is golden, and it's served at the Lion & Compass. Golden Compass. Get it?

Anyway, the theme for this Mixology Monday is Fruit Liqueurs and our generous host is Anna at Morsels & Musings.

The Golden Compass was one of my entries for this years' Grand Marnier Mixology Summit. Entries for the summit had to fall into the categories of dry, sweet, highball, or free-form. The Golden Compass was my dry entry. I wanted it to be a really dry, elegant aperitif and used the sweetness of the Grand Marnier for balance.

Golden Compass
.5 oz. Grand Marnier
1.5 oz. Plymouth Gin
.5 oz. Pinot Grigio
Healthy dash of Fee's Old Fashion Bitters
Garnish with a flamed orange peel.

The Pinot Grigio should be a really dry, crispy wine to make this drink work. I've also had good results substituting Lillet or Dry Vermouth for the wine. This is a good one for experimentation.

With a theme involving Fruity Liqueurs, I figure there will be an assortment of sweet and fruity concoctions to try. This one might just be a little different. Find out over at Anna's recap.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Mixology Summit, 2008

I've just returned from the Grand Marnier Mixology Summit in Vail, Colorado. The event was organized by Grand Marnier, who selected 100 creative bartenders from across North America to get together and spend some time talking about bartending, cocktails, and Grand Marnier. There was also time for socializing, bartending, dining, and enjoying 15 inches of fresh Vail powder.

If you want all the details, Lance J. Mayhew blogged his entire Mixology Summit experience on his website. I had the chance to meet some great bartenders from all over and I hope to do some Bartender profiles here at the Cocktail Hour. I'll also cover some of the more interesting recipes I saw during the event in the coming weeks. This week the Google Gadget, "Daily Cocktail" is also featuring recipes from some of the attendees of the event.

Andy Seymour concentrates on a batch of Grand Marnier Cocktails.

Jonathan Pogash holds up the bar.

James Macknyk and Todd Appel, both from Chicago, sample some of last years' Grand Marnier cocktail entries.

Leo DeGroff puts the finishing touch on a batch of Perfect Storms.

I'll leave you with one of the recipes we enjoyed at the opening night reception at Larkspur Restaurant.

Perfect Storm

1.5 oz. Grand Marnier
.5 oz. fresh lime juice
3 oz. Ginger Beer

3 drops Angostura bitters

Combine Grand Marnier, lime juice and bitters in a mixing glass. Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice into a highball glass. Top with ginger beer and swirl. Garnish with a lime twist.