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Showing posts from July, 2012

is perfection existing?

One of the big question on the stoney way of mastering your trade [I have learned to call it shokunin - which is all about craftsmanship and artisan - but in fact much more]:

Can there be any perfection?
I am inclined to say: No. 
But there were few occasions in my working life, when I felt a convergence to perfection. You can call it "in the zone". Things worked out in perfect balance; my mind just commanded the matter, which followed. It was like being one with the strings of the universe - this moments where usually very short - seconds, sometimes few minutes - yet, they were so memorable and are actually the reason, for the motivation of doing my job - yes and my confidence, that I am doing a good job.
But there is more, which can be in proximity to perfection - yes I dare to say they are perfect:
Fresh ripe wood strawberries, for example, harvested on their peak of ripeness, while they are comically small, they are able to fill up a room with their infatuating fragrance.

New Drinks for Rush IV

Folks, there are more drinks to come than those of the previous posts:


Rush Drinks I
Rush Drinks II
Rush Drinks III


So here we are:



Greyhound Highball This is another highball [I definitely have to write a post about promoting highballs] - instead of grapefruit juice of an ordinary greyhound, we will use our house made grapefruit soda. And we will rim the drink with a little cinnamon sea salt - of course it will be based on gin [what a question...].
Popcorn Sour This will be a drink, which is rather more complex and ambitious. It is actually a whiskey [speak bourbon] sour; the whiskey is infused popcorn and vanilla and finally fat washed with butter. As a craft sour, it also utilizes fresh lemon, rich syrup and glair [yeah - this is how we call egg white]. The bourbon [I plan to use Elijah Craig, which is in my eyes one of the greatest classic bourbons and definitely the best value straight whiskey on the market] becomes super smooth, due to the infusion - but the strength of the EC is still k…

How to treat ingredients - fruit liqueurs

You surely have read my blog post, how to prepare mint [otherwise you should do].

This was only one example, how to treat an ingredient beforehand, to ensure, to get really the best quality.
Fresh and impeccable ingredients are definitely one of the key components of craft bartending - and yet there is a lack of knowledge, which prevents us to excel - and compromise quality and consistency.
Fresh produce is one thing - and most bartender understand, if the ingredient is fresh, ripe and alright, and if not.
But what is about fruit liqueurs?

I am talking about liqueurs based on macerated fruit. Liqueurs like Peter Heering cherry liqueur, Chambord raspberry liqueur, the fruit crèmes [crème de cassis, framboise, mûre, fraises des bois, and so on]. I am not a big fan of having too many liqueurs [or syrups] in the bar; but a good crème de cassis or crème de mûre is definitely necessary.
Now until they are opened, a liqueur is quite shelf stable. It would be still important, that it is store…

First Aid for Bartenders

This post is crucial: bartender are hurt regularly. In a busy operation, front of house with loads of distractions, with sharp objects and breakables it is not a job, in which you risk your life regularly, but definitely you carry home small to medium blemishes from time to time.

I am not a doctor or a nurse [well my mother was...] - however during my time in "combat" in diverse bar environments, I have learned, how to doctoring myself most efficiently. And this I would like to share with you today.

But it is not only the accidents but also indispositions, which prevent you to do your work. Check out the most common problems and my advise to you:



Cuts:Cuts are the most common injury behind the bar. Sharp knives [blunt knives are even worse], broken glassware, sharp blades of blenders, even the plastic caps and seals of liquor bottles - virtually everything is waiting for your blood. Over the years I've got more carefully, so it doesn't really happen every week or so …

New Drinks for Rush III

Four more drinks, which I like to introduce to Rush:

Bellini Sgroppino
This drink is a fusion between a classic Bellini and a quite contemporary Sgroppino, which is a sparkling wine drink, featuring lemon sorbet. Here we substitute the lemon sorbet, with white peach sorbet, to create the bridge between sgroppino and bellini.


Basil Smash
There are only few drinks, which we keep as they are - the Basil Smash is one of them. Already recognised as modern classic- it was the brain child of Joerg Meyer, the owner of the fantastic bar Le Lion in Hamburg / Germany. It revives [as well as violates] the archaic category smashes with the changes of adding citrus juice and substitute mint with fresh basis. Not yet sure, if we will use Asian fragrant basil or the classic Italian rather sweet variety...


Ultimate Mojito
Now this drink was tricky. I wanted to depart the usual path, to vary the classic Mojito with any muddled fruit, fruit puree, syrup or liqueur. And I also wanted to stay clear of making…

New Drinks for Rush II

Continuing the series with the new concepted drinks and cocktails for Rush bar - here are the next contender:

Lemon Thyme Mule
Basically a Moscow Mule with lemon thyme infused vodka; no big surprises here - it features here just a bit more flavour and complexity than the original with neutral vodka.

Roselle Paloma
One of my all time favourite drinks is the Paloma - basically tequila with grapefruit soda. Here we are using dried hibiscus husks, to flavour the tequila [and it will have a beautiful ruby hue as well]. The grapefruit soda is house made and is only made with grapefruit zest [no juice], sugar and citric acid. Why citric acid? Well, read my post about sodas! And off course we will also add a bit fresh lime. Simple, delicious and complex!


Rush Spritz
The Spritz al Bitter [or often just shortly called spritz] is an aperitif, which became more and more popular among "hipsters". No surprise, that in the UAE it was largely unrecognised! We want to change this: We are using Cam…

Recycled Posts: Stop Vodka!

This might be one of my most straight forward posts, I have ever written. I was just annoyed, that everyone was [and still is] so fascinated about vodka - a spirit, which is just popular due to the immense marketing budgets, the spirit companies are investing.
If you think about it, it is really bad - they could the money otherwise and more responsible - vodka is the spirit, which only worsen alcoholism and the other negative effects of alcohol - yes it is undistinction-able, which makes it so dangerous [and popular under teenager and heavy drinkers].
Anyway - enjoy the post of the past:


I really do not want to get disliked... or lets say, it is not my main aim. But this topic lays close to my heart. Long time I’ve struggled with vodka - especially its popularity! Now, I don’t mean that we should erase vodka from the surface of the world! It is not a claim like stop polluting the environment (...); it is just meant for mixing and even more specific - only related to the concept, which …

Linked In Discussion about Vodka

We have had a vivid discussion about Armenian brandy in one of the Linked In discussion boards. George, a fellow which has an open minded approach posted this reply below:


So really? Vodka doesn't lack character?

I have to admit, in the diverse vodka tastings I have attended, the different vodkas really had different tastes. Problem here is, that the differences are extremely subtle. Drink a "proper" spirit before or in between the different vodkas and you would have problems to acknowledge any subtleties.

But the biggest problem is, that vodka is internationally not consumed the original way. That means with a piece of bread, the chilled vodka straight up [in a oversized shot glass] and optional a chaser.

I really believe, that this Russian vodka drinking ritual [see youtube video below] is the way how to drink vodka - and only then the different distinctive characters make sense.

But really vodka is consumed almost 100% as mixed drink - mixed with Red Bull [argh], ora…

The Daiquiri by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Jeffrey's page, is one of the blogs, which are worth to drop in from time to time.
He got a bit lazy these days with blogging [yeah the rage is all about cheap ass twittering].

However, that what he posts is great and usually creates quite a stir in the cocktail world.

Last master piece is a video about making a Daiquiri. The video is hosted by the Small Screen Network [Robert Hess has a show there as well as Jamie Boudreau].
Now his introduction on his blog is totally understated and humble [I hate him for this]. If you check out then the video - it is just amazing. One of the best made footages about drinks, I have seen for a long time. Yeah - there is some envy in my undertone...
Anyway - you have to check this out - as well as his blog!



Only objection is, that a classic daiquiri is made with light rum - but I can forgive Jeffrey for this - aged rum taste much better in this cocktail.



Banner on www.opinionated-alchemist.com

Folks,

I just realised, that you have a bit annoying banner on my website [to be precise below the posts].
This is the company, which sold me the domain and which offers the service of domain-forwarding [as I don't want to pay extra for the website forwarding, they are placing this banner on my page].

Long story short, if you don't like to have the banner there, just visit my blog via
http://opinionated-alchemist.blogspot.com

For the moment, this is totally without ads.

Thanks!

New drinks for Rush I

First of all, not all cocktails are totally new in the menu. I kept some cocktails like they are [though I haven't seen drinks like that in the UAE, yet - so for here they are new] - some I gave a mild update... you will see:







The Last Word
Yeah - I had to put this on the menu - as this is a kick-ass cocktail. Really complex and challenging, it is the antipode of an easy nightclub cocktail. 


Rush G&T
I believe, that you can only convince guests, to get to your more... outlandish creations, if you do some simple drinks right. This gin & tonic will feature a healthy dose of gin [not only 1 shot which is standard, if you are ordering a normal g&t], but also adds orange bitters and a corresponding garnish - a spear of rosemary with a lemon and lime wedge. Later on, I will do my own tonic water - however for this I would need quinine, which is not easy to get in the ME.


Rush Cod
People in Rush [especially on the busy promotion nights] are rather club'ish - hence I need to offe…

New concept menu - for Rush bar

While I am waiting for the new season in Skylite, I didn't wanted to leave Rush with their old menu.
It is kind of typical Middle East - trapped between the dark ages of mixology and the early cocktail revival [shortly after the millennium].

So I gave it some thoughts and some love and came up with a short list of cool cocktails.

It is not yet revolutionary - I am still lacking most of the equipment I need, to really move things into the future - however the drinks are unique and cool - and probably not seen in Abu Dhabi or Dubai.

In the next couple of weeks, we have to implement those; that means, get them approved, scheduling tastings, doing the costing, doing a new menu and so on and do forth.

Here on my blog, I give you the unique opportunity to have a sneak peak; one drink at a time.

Unfortunately I can't yet post pictures [they will follow, when we perfected the recipes] - but I am sure that you have enough imagination...

So stay tuned...

Drink Categories II

I have started with Drink Categories I - and presented sours, fizzes, collinses, rickeys, highballs and cocktails.
I don't want to go towards Tiki drinks - I think they are reflecting a completely different approach to bars - which is not me.
However there are still some other classic drinks, which were not mentioned.
JulepsThese drinks are a staple from the more Southern states of the US; the most popular are the classic Mint Julep on Bourbon base and the Georgia Mint Julep which is made with brandy and apricot brandy.Ingredients are:Spirit [> 6 cl only a spirit is used; 4 cl if in combination with a liqueur]Sugar [optional another sweetener like liqueurs]WaterMintMint is traditionally used only as flavor and then discarded. A lot of fresh mint is used as garnish.Juleps are served on fine crushed ice and preferable in a silver or pewter cup.Juleps are usually not using any juicesSmashesWhile smashes were before also a quite strict category with a lot of parallels with juleps, …