Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from May, 2013

Last Day at Viceroy... Hello tomorrow

Today was my last day at the Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi and at Skylite.I am a biylt.melacholic... but it is the right time and the right.thing to leave...
While I created the beverage menus and and did a lit of training, I focussed here more on the business aspect. Very successful indeed - however this is just not my passion about. I am leaving, because I have to do again crazy stuff behind the bar. Lets hope my new job will make this possible.

Innovation in the spirit business: Is it innovative to bring a gin with some slightly different botanicals on the market?

The rant is going on! This time: Gin.

There are definitely quite a lot of great gins on the market. And if you ask me, these are mostly the ones, which are carried by more than 45% alcohol.

As gin is literally in all mouths, the spirit industry continues to push more new gins out. But I am questioning the reason.

Yes - a very specialized bar could taste every single gin cocktail with different gins and decide, which gin to use. However lets be honest, with business on one hand in mind and marketing on the other hand, most bar owners, managers and bartenders will settle either way on their pouring gin or on a gin, which finds quite some recognition under the customers.

So the question remains - how many gins do you really need in a bar.
If you see it pragmatic here the result:

Standard [London Dry] gin - usually around 40%.This is your Gordon's, yes your "normal" 40% abv Bombay Sapphire, your Beefeater and maybe also your Plymouth. Yes I know, Plymouth is not a London Dry…

Overrated trends and "Wine and Coke". Doesn't work with me.

There was the linkedin discussion, about popular trends which are overrated.
And after a lot of thoughts I came to the point, that nowadays, pretty much is overrated.

This is what I contributed to the discussion:

Dominik M.J. Schachtsiek • I believe, that every single trend nowadays get to a point, which is definitely overrated!

• Avant-garde mixology - became overrated [especially by the press]
• Farm to table mixology - became overrated
• As well as the very similar culinary mixology ["bar-chefs"]
• Even historic drinks usually are overrated [Martinez and similar]
• And yes - bartenders and bars are usually as well overrated.

I think this is not necessary a phenomenon, which you can find in bars. Look at the overall culinary trends nowadays - watch foodnetwork. Everything gets exaggerated to the excess. As well as most other industries [look into the car company - Porsche is unveiling a 800+ hp supercar - and people are complaining, that it has less hp than the LaFerrari or the …

Going the full length in modern mixology - Darcy O'Neil's quest for Abbott's bitters

Darcy O'Neil - over at artofdrink.com created below youtube video - as well as did the whole quest you learn about.

Truth has to be told - the "movie" is quite long and a bit tedious - however for geeks like me, it is amazing to see the quest of an amazing mixologist for creating an authentic product.

For me it is one indication, that bartending is going through to a whole new level.

Please don't forget to visit Darcy's blog and like the video - and preorder your Abbott's bitters replica, which might be just your chance in a lifetime to buy and use it.




How to drink Shōchū

Folks - if every post would be so easy as this one...

Nice video of the guys of the youtube channel "JapanShochuOfficial" - and this is their website.

Enjoy!



Should a cocktail be delicious?!

The topic of todays post keeps on looming - so why not picking it up?

Should a cocktail be delicious?

This is a serious question. For a person, who tastes occasionally cocktails and don't have really a lot of insight, it might be obvious: "off course - a cocktail must be yummy."
But for bar flies and drink connoisseurs, it becomes more vague.

Lets have a look on the most popular, recognized and "decorated" cocktails:

Martini CocktailManhattanOld FashionedClassic MargaritaMojitoNegroni / AmericanoSidecarClassic DaiquiriMint JulepWhiskey Sour Out of those 10 drinks, non is "dessert tasty"; and if you are not used "proper cocktails" at least four out of ten are "repulsive". The other 6 would be not so extreme - but also not delicious in a conventional sense.
Don't get me wrong. I love all of these drinks and I really enjoy of ordering them, if prepared properly. But then there is even more emphasis on the question "should cock…

MxMo LXXIII - Witches Garden

It is quite a while since the opinionated-alchemist joined a Mixology Monday - and this is really a pity. mixologymonday.com.
The reason is, that MxMo to a certain time, was not "shooting" consistent monthly - and then after nothing really happened there, I just forgot to check back on
You could also give the blame to Apple, who stripped off its RSS reader from Safari [my preferred browser].
Anyway - I always liked MxMo's - and I am happy, that I checked back a couple of days ago to join again.


Now, May 20th the new Mixology Monday [which is here only a day or so away] is the next party happening. And instead of missing another blogging event or cheating [using the scheduled posting feature of blogger] I am just posting now my contribution. Hope you are forgiving me all…

Mark Holmes over at Cardiff Cocktail is hosting the 73rd MxMo. In his words, this time it is all about Witches Garden:

As far back as we can look, the use of fresh herbs have been prevalent in the world…

Dear Readers - thank you very much for your support! I have reached 60,000 views.

Thank you so much, to all readers for following my blog! When I changed last August from my little [bad SEO'ed] iWeb account, to the blogger platform, I was not sure. It still doesn't feel as natural to do some posts as the Apple program - but hell did the views skyrocketed!

I can remember that my all time views after 4 years of www.opinionated-alchemist.com via iWeb was around 6,000 views.

Now not even one year later on blogger, we are talking of 60,000 views - which are even growing day to day quite stable.

Well yes - I am easier to find.

By the way - the most read post was my post, which compares ginger ale with ginger ale.
Thank you very much google - a lot of people are looking apparently for an answer here.
Second most successful post was my post about the El Diablo. I never thought, that this drink can be so successful - yes, I like the drink, but who knew, that so many people join my taste?
And then on a surprisingly "low" number 3 - was the "perfect mo…

Hire for Attitude - Train for Skill?

This post is quite dear to my heart - and I thought long time ago to write it up.

Todays management is focussed on "hire for attitude, train for skill". But we can't deny, that there is a certain decline of real skill in the global hospitality industry. I am not focussing on few markets, which flourish in craft bartending [Manhattan, Bay Area and few other spots in the US, certain parts of Germany, Paris, London]. Fact is, that in most areas, craft is in the decline.

The HfA-TfS could be one reason for it. Why? Let me explain.

I am working now one_and_a_half decades in hospitality - and especially in the luxury hotel industry. I exactly joined one bar, only, which was working on an adequate level of bartending [by the way, it is a bar, which you would expect the least this kind of quality - only thanks to Ralph Adamski, who was the bar manager].
All other bars had quite poor drinks, a mediocre beverage portfolio and not knowledgeable bartenders or bar waiters.

I believe…

Dave Arnold - now he is a mad mixologist

Yes- I called him mixologist - not a bartender. He worked before for the CIA [yeah - lame joke - but really it is the Culinary Institute of America] - but now he works as the mad scientist behind Booker & Dax in New York City.

The technique he is using is pretty cool - as well as totally wild. Not sure, if I would use so much nitrogen and the centrifuge even if I would have access to it [you could much easier agar-clarify your juice as well - a technique also from Dave Arnold - which I have discussed on this blog].
I also would not chill the drink so much down, that it becomes slushy [I doubt, that a partly frozen drink is perfectly carbonating]. But hey, who am I…

Anyway - besides of some slightly dumb remarks of Andy Seymour - the host of the show, this episode is pretty awesome.



Don't forget to like and subscribe to their youtube channel tasted, if you like it.

Bartender, Mixologist or only Barman?

We have a serious issue in bars about denominate the positions.

Analogue to "hipsters hate hipsters", serious bartenders reject to be called mixologist. The reasons are simple. After the term became known in the public, a lot of bartenders used this word - unfortunately also a lot of people who are inexperienced.
"Call me simply a bartender" is a trend, which is as unnatural and spineless as the desire to be called a mixologist, without the skills. Because lets be honest - even those, who state this, doesn't want to be seen as "normal" barman [or woman]. They want to be seen as specialists and experts. Hence the bartender title, will confuse people, who are not "bar affluent". What is the difference between the position of a bartender in a pub or dive bar to a bartender in a craft bar?

But lets have a look on the different titles, we are using:
I am using for the "official" words apple dictionary - which I found most suitable for s…

Ridiculous funny alcohol ads

I have already seen before that Mr. Tequila Ulric [Nijs] posted this youtube video on his facebook wall - but I just had time now, to check it out. And it is so unbelievable funny, that I have to post it here...

So here we are - one more ridiculous funny beverage ad on www.opinionated-alchemist.com


Q Ginger - and just another soda review

When I am shopping my usual stuff, like groceries, I always explore things, which I don't know. A couple of days ago, I found Q Ginger in one local hypermarket [LuLu].

I have to say that both, my ginger ale and ginger beer are very tasty - and I didn't expected, that this ginger ale "blows my mind".

The label however is quite bold:
"“It should be the aim of every bottler to bring its brand of ginger ale to the highest possible perfection, since a bottler’s products are judged for better or worse by the merit or lack of merit possessed by its ginger ale.” - WB Keller, editor of the National Bottlers Gazette. 1893.
Something happened. Today, ginger ale comes in two disappointing options. A high-fructose laden soda with a slight ginger flavoring or a ginger beer that combines garish amounts of ginger with loads of sugar.Q Ginger is something different. Not too sweet, but clean and crisp with a gingery bite and real depth. We’ve used the best ingredients we could fi…

What is the best cranberry juice in the bar?

A good friend of me "whatsapp'ed" me today and asked for my expertise:
"What is the best cranberry juice?"

I would loved to just let him know the brand - however it is not that easy.

What do we understand of cranberry juice?
One of the biggest [maybe the biggest producer] of cranberry products is Ocean Spray. And: it is well regarded. Problem is: it is not a juice!
Wait - what?
Ocean Spray doesn't produce a juice - they produce a juice cocktail - which translates into a lot of water, a lot of sugar, some taste-balancers as citric acid [nothing against this really] and a minuscule portion of juice - usually around 3%. Yes they have something which is called 100% juice. Which is on one hand true, on the other the biggest deception ever. Because you don't get 100% cranberry - you get a mixture of juices of concentrate - most of the time apple and white grape and a bit of cranberry.

There are also some other brands around, which might feature a higher fruit …

B*llsh*tting Deluxe: The Bum Chuck Chuck Cocktail

Folks - I have to show you this video of the Small Screen Network. This is how I feel very often, when "celebrity bartenders" are explaining what they are doing [but they mean it seriously].

Enjoy:




My favorite part is the potato sugar: stir it every 12 minutes for several days… rofl.

How not to make a strawberry daiquiri!

I had once the apocryphal pleasure to get to know Kathy Casey. It was a Hoteliers Middle East round table and I was quite soon annoyed, due to the pink_cloud _world of Kathy and her partly bizarre understanding of mixology.
You have to understand, that she is a professional chef [however if I see her knife skills I am not so sure about that] - turned bartender.

Sometimes its difficult to be me - and I have occasional problems to stay diplomatic, if the topics become too peculiar. However I guess, that not exactly everybody hated me after this event…

A couple of weeks ago I was surprised to see Kathy on the small screen network. Truth has to be told - this online network signed on really great guys - Robert Hess, was the first one - but also Jamie Boudreau has his show and Jeffrey Morgenthaler did also several videos there.

Other than these 3 guys, I don't really vouch for the expertise for Ms. Casey. Please don't hate me - but lets just check out this video - featuring a Stra…

The Humidor Hack

If you are cigar smoker, people who offering you cigars are often playing with your emotions…

Especially in hospitality [in those countries, where smoking is still allowed to a certain extend] cigars are often in a horrible state. Too dry, too inconsistently stored, even sometimes too humid.

At home, you have a different problem - you have to replenish the water in the sponges quite regularly. And if you are regularly going through a time, which is more demanding on work, and you lack the time to take care of your humidor, your sticks become dry and unsmokeable.

Anyway - I have developed a hack, which would keep your cigars perfectly conditioned and very little work is involved.


Buy an external laptop fan, which fits into your humidor! Make sure, that it is not battery powered. Honestly - I have seen years ago a incredible expensive humidor, which had a battery powered system. Incidentally I have also seen, that the batteries ruined the whole system, as batteries tend to leak in a hum…

One underutilized tool: the steam juicer

The rave is all about technology in the bar [and kitchen].
Many bartenders are using culinary powders [starting from xanthan gum over agar-agar to methyl-cellulose and sodium alginate], smokers, sous vide and even some are using advanced [and incredible expensive] rotary evaporators.

What I haven't seen anywhere in "mixology" is the use of a steam juicer. This apparatuses are readily available in countries which have a lot of stone fruits - especially in Europe and North America.

The disadvantage:

the juice will taste more like your tetra-pak juice [ok, fresher and better] - not as fresh and unadulterated as mechanical extracted juice.Some fruits [especially the heat sensitive fruits] are just not working: especially any citrus fruits.
The big advantage:

if using a sterilized bottle, this juice has a very long shelf life. you can use fruits which are usually pulpy and not great in drinks: peaches, apricots, pears and so on. the result is a pretty and clear juice without p…

Fenugreek leaves

Just a quicky (mainly to try out my new Android Blogger app):I bought today fenugreek leaves, which seems to be here a not unusual seasoning herb (bought it out of curiousity).
And; it is not bad at all. Taste a bit like herbs like thyme, oregano and dried basil - hint of a savory note.
Will try to make a herbed soda out of it ...As disclosure: I've read yesterday the new eMixology and there was an article about "fassbrause" a German (or better Berlin) soda made with herbs and malt extract... this has to be followed up...

What inspires me: Chef Joan Roca

Have a look on the youtube video below. Chef Joan Roca is explaining "his world".



I believe on one hand, we can learn from chefs - but on the other we have to be very carefully not adapt without realizing, that we are in a different business.
Bartender are not "liquid chefs". We also handling maybe mankind most dangerous drug. Just to play with childhood memories and throw some ethanol in it, would not cut it for me.
But this should not be criticism - it might be just a reminder, though.
By the way: Chef Roca is chef of the No. 1 restaurant of the San Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants of the World! Give him some respect...

Soda reviews Thomas Henry

I have seen Thomas Henry sodas on the mixology.eu blog before.
The company from Berlin is advertising, that it was co-created by experienced bartenders.
And now it is available here in the UAE.

Visual:
The small 200 ml bottles look good. Its modern, but also classy. Well done.
The ginger ale, is quite dark, if compared with Schweppes. The ginger beer [called Spicy Ginger] is off white medium-opaque. The bitter lemon has the same half-translucency however with a hint of green. The soda, elderflower tonic and tonic water are clear [it seems, that the tonic has a hint of blue - but I could be wrong].

Nose:
The ginger ale smells quite gingery. Nice.
The tonic has a quite sherbet nose [you know- the bubbly fizzy powder, you had as a kid]. Hints of citrus… pleasant.
TH Bitter Lemon has a very pronounced citrus zest smell - maybe a bit on the oxidized citrus side - but overall good and much better than Schweppes.
The TH Spicy Ginger surprises with a dried ginger nose - almost pure powdery gin…