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The Martini Cocktail - significance of the gin.

 I have just watched how Martini produces their vermouths. It is extremely interesting. I always thought, that the company is using extracts of herbs which they just purchase externally. However I could learn, that they are making their own botanical spirit and adding this to the wine. It is for sure different than vermouth producers which are aging the neutral alcohol (or the wine) with the botanicals - but the method is different - not necessarily worse.  However this video sparked a question to me: what makes a good Martini cocktail.  First thing (sorry Martini & Rossi) - is a good vermouth. While Martini Rosso is not bad at all - and their Riserva Products are even quite good, I wouldn’t really suggest to use the normal Extra Dry. The Ambrato? Maybe - or Noilly Prat. Or Dolin Extra Dry... But here is the thing: how much vermouth are you using? Now we are arguing since decades about the ratio. Bat you know, what we haven’t really put into consideration: the gin!  Look - it is no
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Gin making - and the headache with the louche

So - I have just completed my first test batch of my “New West Africa Gin”.  The botanicals are quite unique - instead of other gins, which are “balanced” or have a rather citrussy and floral note, this is packed with spices...  As I used a ton of botanicals (but did cut of a small amount of heads and a generous amount of tails) the spirit came clear into the my distilling container - however then when I watered it down (to ca. 47% ABV) it just punished me with a solid louche. I researched in the internet, and most website suggested, that you have to cut of more heads and more tails or chill filter it. All of these things will result into a clearer spirit, but also with far less botanicals. I tasted the first 10ml of foreshots, and they were not “funky” at all - very solid - actually very good (despite of a really high alcohol content).  I made a “high essential oil” gin before (basically it was a dating gin - this is a story for another time...) and the gin was also cloudy. However af

Why inclusive employments are still problematic in hospitality

 So I have read an interview about inclusive employments in hospitality - and this had especially people with disability as topic.  While I 100% support inclusive employment I am also aware of the current status quo in hospitality. Point is, that hospitality jobs are still very tough. Probably tougher than ever. Point is, that the profit motive is as strong as ever - and from my perspective I haven’t worked in any place, where there have been a reasonable cushion of employees (meaning, sufficient employees, so you won’t have an issue when people fall sick or resigning (and you cannot find anyone immediately to replace).  Fact is, that inclusive employment works only, if you have a surplus of man-hours. And yes - it not only would enable being inclusive but also offering better training, happier employees, happier guests (which are served by happier employees) and so on. But as long as the profit margin is the only thing which counts, we are far away of being inclusive and it will never

How to calculate the right ratio of syrup to soda

Sharing knowledge - that’s why we are here… Have you ever wondered how to make a perfect forest berry soda? How much syrup do you need to add to get the right balance of sweetness and flavor? Well, I have created a handy google-sheets calculation that will show you exactly how to do it. Making soft drinks is all about ratio. You can’t just sweeten them by taste, because it won’t come out right. You need to follow a standard formula that ensures consistency and quality. The general rule is to aim for a 10:1 ratio of water to sugar, which means 10% of the liquid (by weight) should be sugar. However, this can vary depending on the type of flavor you are using. For example, you might want to use less sugar for sweet aromas like berries with vanilla (about 9%), or more sugar for spicy (e.g. ginger!), smoky or bitter aromas. Think of tonic water, which is one of the most sugary drinks out there - we are talking about up to 13% sugar content. But how do you measure the sugar content of your s

Lyre’s White Cane review

As we have seen several times on this blog, alcohol free spirits are often a hit and miss. While e.g. Darcy O’Neal made a compelling argument, that there are no good alcohol-free gins (because of science!), there are several products I felt are reasonable good.  Having said this, for a long time I have made some house-crafted syrups. The infusions are quite good - and I would love to make them without sugar, however sugar is the best (and most “natural”) preservative - and a lot of products just won’t give you a good result. One of the homemade versions of a liquor was my N/A Campari clone. Honestly, it had a lot of flavor, but was pain to make. There have been so many botanicals your head would spin... Lyre’s came then on the market, and their Italian Spritz is really good. I mean it. And their Amaretti is also as good as alcohol-free beverages become. I don’t think, that anyone can make something better at home. But I always wanted to get the Lyre’s White Cane especially for virgin m

This just might be just the ultimate egg-white replacement?!

Some might know about my specific but deep aversion against egg white cocktails.  Maybe it originates to the fact that I am (apparently) a super taster (nothing to be proud of- it is not a superpower... you are just a super taster or you are not).  But when somebody serves me a cocktail made with egg whites, I can drink it in minute 1 - latest after minute 3 - it is literally disgusting for me: think about wet dog, molded carpet, or someone who didn’t dried properly his laundry - and everything together. Long story short: I cannot drink it anymore.  Now there has been some replacements: I came across aquafaba years ago - I guess I was one of the first bar-people who discovered it for cocktails (it has been already an established thing for vegans). Very soon I discovered that the advice to use the aquafaba in chickpea cans are a dead end. Sure- if. you are using “canned lemon juice” and/or sweet-sour mix, you might find it also ok. But for a high quality bar - drinks taste salty and jus

Drink Masters - top or flop?

First of all I read several articles about Drink Masters. And I have been baffled - would my colleagues be so much worse than chefs or other people in the business? To spoil it here and now: absolutely not. Sure, there is some serious egocentrism going on- but this is TV after all. Usually the same applies for chefs. It seems though, that the same stereotype is still persisting - which doesn’t happen in other areas of the culinary arts (or any other industry): making mixed drinks cannot be serious - and you cannot be a professional in this craft. I absolutely don’t agree. And while I have been consistently cringing for one or the other decision or quote, I have been equally surprised and (I cannot “say” this loud) even impressed and inspired by some presentations or turns some bartender took. Obviously the show never went too deep. And let’s face it: the selection of spirits seem to be sponsored (the premise that the “bar has everything” was just not true - movie magic - and a lot of r