Brooklyn Lager

Brooklyn-lagerIt seems like the fight between David and Goliath, but in reality it’s just a battle between beer brewers. Obviously, there are the megabrewers like Anheuser Busch and InBev which generate beer as a branded commodity and target the mainstream market. Then there are the smaller brewers who craft their beers more as an art and target people who appreciate variety and flavour. Brooklyn Lager obviously falls into the smaller brewer category, but they are a growing by leaps and bounds and are now considered one of the top 40 breweries in the US. Also, they just recently entered the Ontario market with Brooklyn Lager. I was happy to pick up a six pack to see what's brewing in Brooklyn.

Red Bull and Vodka

Red BullIn the cocktail world there are lots of trends. Right now the classic cocktail seems to be on the rise and the martini craze is slowly slipping into obscurity, thankfully. I hate when people come to the bar and ask; “What kind of martini’s do you have?” I have two, gin or vodka. Usually I’ll guide people away from the martini and into the world of cocktails served in something other than a martini glass. These people are easy because they have an open mind, the hard people are 20 something who think a Red Bull and Vodka is a cocktail and that’s all they drink.

Healthy Drinking News

Fruity CocktailRecently the news headlines have been reporting on some research that fruity cocktails may be healthy for you. This isn't the first study indicating health benefits from drinking alcohol in all its forms. The wine industry has been riding high on a wave of positive research and the beer industry is basking in some glowing research. But, the world of cocktails hasn't had much luck, until recently. The image associated with hard alcohol is still not very positive, but there may be hope on the horizon. Remember for anything alcohol related you should live by this statement; Drink Better, Not More.

Premium Canadian Whisky

Crown-royal-special-reserveMost peoples impression of Canadian whisky is that it is a rather uninteresting spirit with little depth. I think the reason for this is that of the four major whisky groups, Canadian whisky is the friendly, easy going one, and not surprisingly many people see Canadians the same way. There is the casual side to Canadian whisky, with its light flavour, but there are also some great Canadian whiskies. The products I’m going to be looking at are the reserve whiskies that the Canadian distillers produce. Most of these products don’t see much distribution outside of Canada, with the exception of Crown Royal.

Mixology Monday: Champagne

MM-14Champagne is an elegant drink that brings to mind the rich and famous, happy occasions and celebration. It is most often served, chill, on its own, garnished only with the glass it is in. But for mixologists and bartenders it is a great component to work with. You can take the tactile sensation of the champagne bubbles and combine it with sweet, sour or bitter components to create a completely new drink. So to see how you can improve champagne read on further and then head on over to Married…With Dinner to see what everybody else has done. 

Unexpected Employment Interuption

bartendingWell, in an interesting turn of events I am no longer working behind the bar at the restaurant, which I now refuse to mention. When I went into work on Thursday I discovered that the manager had replaced me. Really, it isn’t a bad thing, since I hadn’t really enjoyed working there since last October (2006). But, I did enjoy the guests, and the staff. The kitchen staff were by far the best crew that I ever had the opportunity to work with, true professionals. But on an interesting side note, the Chef handed in his resignation a week before I was let go. That might give you a little insight. This post is long, and I haven’t proof read it, so excuse the errors.

It is Quiet Because ...

The Art of DrinkWell it has been a little slow with posting this week because I’ve been working, ok obsessed, with my spirit inventory system, doing some stuff for Tales of the Cocktail and my other duties. The inventory system is database driven, like the cocktail database, which is also being worked on. You can see an example of a couple of entries with Mount Gay Extra Old Rum being the most complete. Eventually I’ll have everything I own in this database and the best part is that it will be searchable. I’m putting as much information into this database as possible, including whatever is written on the back label or box. Update1: I’ve completed the search function, so you can now search the databases (inventory and cocktail). There’s not a lot of info right now, but that will change soon. Update2: I’ve includes an liquor inventory page where you can start to see the list of spirits. The list items also conveniently link to the detail page.

Browsing the Cocktail Blogosphere Part VI

Browsing the Cocktail BlogosphereThe world of blogging continues to roll on. Every few months I find a few more cocktail and spirit related blogs that I add to my reading list. In the last few months the number of new cocktail related blogs has thinned out, so I’ve supplemented with a couple of spirit related blogs and a few industry related blogs. This isn’t anything new, but just an observation that cocktail blog growth seems to be stagnating. Also, anyone who has a blog should participate in the upcoming Mixology Monday blogging events (April 16, Champagne Cocktails). It is a great way to get links to your blog and generate interest in what you have to say on the matter. Blogging is only fun if people know about your site, otherwise you are just talking to yourself and that is just weird.

Iceberg Gin

Iceberg GinAdmittedly I haven't been a big drinker of gin. I've always been seduced by aged spirits like whisky, rum and brandy (cognac). I like the look of brown spirits with their deep golden brown tint and their enticing oak aromas of vanilla and spice. I've had lots of gin cocktails, but gin is usually in a supporting role, rather than the main character. I've had some gin martini's but aside from that, I've never spent anytime taste testing gin. The local liquormart (LCBO) doesn't have a great selection of gin, but they do carry Plymouth Gin, which I find works well in cocktails, so nothing ever jumps out at me and says “buy me”. Except when I decided to write about Gin & Tonics. I came across Iceberg Gin and decided to try this relatively new gin. Here's what I've discovered so far.

Good Technique Makes Better Cocktails

BartendingAt the bar I often get complimented on the quality of my drinks and cocktails. Some say the consistency is great, or that the flavours are nicely balanced, and sometimes it’s something they can't put their finger on. All of these things have to do with technique. When I watch people who don't often make cocktails, like a new barback that I'm letting help, they make a lot of simple mistakes that seem obvious to me, but maybe not to them. Most of this isn't secret bartender stuff, but, like a lot of other things in life, it is the little details that count. If you execute these little details, your drinks will taste much better and you can wow guests at home or start earning a good living behind the bar.

Gin and Tonic

Gin and TonicGin is not a spirit that I've worked with a lot. Sure, I've had a gin martini and a number of gin slings and fizzes, but when I look at my spirit inventory I only have one bottle of gin! And I call my self a "mixologist", well actually I don't like that name, I think bartender works just fine, but that is for another day. Anyway, I have lots of rum and whisky, so why haven't I looked into gin? Well it could be because gin hasn't received a lot of attention lately because its attention grabbing sister, vodka, is stealing the lime light. But, that's still not a reason because I don't drink vodka, so it is time for me to explore the world of gin, and what better way to reintroduce myself to gin than with a Gin and Tonic.

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