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The way to make better watermelon juice: leave the juice behind...

It would be overstated that I have been on a quest to make watermelon juice. I think too much of variety of juices is... boring and unnecessary. And I have had the stance: who needs watermelon juice anyway?
But here is the problem - even if watermelon is about the most horrible fruit based beverages you can put into your mouth (never tried it: but I guess that pruno cannot be much worse) guests are still ordering it. And I do think: WTF???

Let’s first of all understand why watermelon isn’t that great:

Ripeness: There was a “hack” which said, that you should get round watermelons (as they are apparently female and sweeter than elongated male ones), you should go for a brown and dried stem and not a greenish one (as the melon then was harvested ripe), and that you should use ones with big yellow spots (the watermelon lied in the sun - and the yellow spot supposed to be the place where it lied on the floor in the sun) and it should have some “spiderweb” like scars (I forgot the reason) -…
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Is a warm Martini cocktail with 50-50 ratio still a Martini cocktail?

This post is directly related to the article: Are Martinis better at Room Temperature  ...on
To be honest, I was pretty upset and maybe slightly disgusted when I read the title. Because I know, how bad a drink can be, if the temperature isn’t right (that means extremely cold). When I though read the article through, I had a bit of an insight and I think, that it isn’t necessary wrong. Well - only one thing might be wrong - a slightly chilled drink, which has a ratio of 50-50 and has added water, isn’t necessary a Martini Cocktail anymore.
The question is that: what makes a (real) Martini Cocktail? Wait a minute - this was more of a rhetorical question. Or at least: think about a Gin Fizz and a Tom Collins first before you answer.
Not only the ingredients make a cocktail, but rather the (main) ingredients, its character, its size, its presentation (...). And especially when it comes to character, a warm martini wouldn’t be a martini.
Chacun à son goût. Personally I wouldn’t …

A Cock-Stock-Tail? The chicken infused cocktail

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I am not a big fan of using a lot of crazy ingredients. Well - this isn't completely true - it is more the random use of crazy ingredients.

Rizki, one of my head bartenders and me were discussing today the cocktail for a competition. He had the brilliant idea to use lotus leaf (which is very vegetal but rather very delicate) - and he also opted for gin and for pomelo.

We discussed to do a lotus leaf liqueur and use "soured pomelo juice" - and the whole drink supposed to be a type of collins.

It turned to be a pretty nice drink - however it lacked something special. It was all pretty bright, acidic and citrus'y - with underlying aromas of the gin (Bombay Sapphire).
So we discussed to use the peel of pomelo to enhance the lotus leaf liqueur. However this wasn't enough.
I don't really know anymore how it happened, but suddenly I remembered that Mezcal producer in Mexico are producing a celebratory …

The opinionated respond on "making money while breathing fire"

Our bartending industry seems to be divided: there are the "craft bartenders" with suspenders and impressive mustaches (nowadays also with tattoos of bartending tools) and "dive bartenders" which are all about speed (and have probably a more rustic look - but still have tattoos of bartending tools).
Frederic of had this post which cemented these two philosophies: My middle talk on Friday at Tales of the Cocktail had one of the more curious titles, namely "Make Money while Breathing Fire." The name was not about breathing actual fire but how bar teams can differentiate into the greeter and the speed person/drink maker. The panelists were JJ Goodman (owner of London Cocktail Club), John Lermayer (Miami's Sweet Liberty), and Zach Patterson (West Holywood's Melrose Umbrella Company) with moderator Adrian Biggs (Bacardi ambassador). 

The premise of the talk was that with the cocktail renaissance, there was a lot of pressure i…

White noise of aromas

Did you know, that Campari Bitter mainly taste like Grand Wormwood (Artimisia Absinthium)?

While re-opening the Italian restaurant in my workplace, I intended to recreate Campari Bitter without alcohol - Fauxpari Bitter if you like. As I am not into artificial coloring, but as "bug-juice" is also not really available here, I used hibiscus to color the drink in a deep red. And then I infused all type of herbs and spices into water (used my immersion circulator to steep the mixture for 3 hours at 65C).

The spices I used:

Dried orange peelCorianderThyme (dry)Rosemary (dry)Oregano (dry)Black pepperSzechuan pepperSage (fresh)CinnamonAllspiceJuniperBay leafToasted cassia barkCarawayVanillaFenugreekCelery seedsFennel seedsStar aniseAnise seedsGreen cardamom Well I made two batches - one, with less ingredients (and less hibiscus) and one with all ingredients and more.
When I did the first batch, I didn't used water for the infusion but tonic water. I thought that the bitterness …

State of the bar in Hong Kong

So... I finally visited Christofer here in Hong Kong. It has been too long (and too long just local vacation with some rare exceptions in Dubai).

HK was one of my choices to visit, not only because its coolness, but also because of its bar culture.
It is very difficult to rate bar culture from afar. Often it is more the state of marketing than the real quality of the bar - hence experience s a very important part of making yourself the picture.

So I went to a couple of the more advanced places and know now more.

Antonio Lai seems to be here hugely successful, and he seems to just hit the sweet spot between mass compatibility and advanced mixing technique. I visited one of his “outposts” Quinary. It seems, that he is the closest, what a bartender/mixology could come to a celebrity chef. The cocktails were good - I had a carbonated drink (Perlini) with lemongrass redistilled gin. I think this was the most innovative technique I have seen. And it worked - the lemongrass was bright and z…

Which brands to use? David vs. Goliath?

I just read today a newsletter of Jörg Meyer (owner of the amazing bar Le Lion Café de Paris), that he has silently taken almost all products of DIAGEO from his shelves - as well as other brands of multinational spirit companies. And I can very much sympathize with that.

Unfortunately if you are in Dubai, it isn’t that easy - as these companies co-own the liquor suppliers (hence getting support as well as reasonable pricing is without the brands basically impossible). I also don’t have exactly the same pragmatism as Jörg. I am not necessary against brands only because they are owned by multinationals. Except of course, that these companies reasonably bad screwed up...

But I do agree, that if companies are managing with their red pencil and do quality downgrades, because of profit efficiency it really pisses me off.

These are my points I do consider:

Several expensive ultra-aged rums (e.g. Ron Zacapa) using sugar, to smoothen out the palate.Deceptive labeling (e.g. Zacapa’s “23 sistema…