Craft vs. Mass Produced Spirits

October 8th, 2015


Craft vs. Mass Produced Spirits

Bartender Journey Podcast number 130

·      Can you really taste the difference between mass produced and craft spirits?  I tend to think that in many cases you can…most especially in Gin and Rye Whiskey.  We’ll talk with Nick Yoder from Journeyman Distillery in Michigan.

·      MGP Ingredients, in Lawrenceburg, Indiana is a commercial distillery which since 1941 has been offering alcohol for wholesale purchase.  Some brands purchase spirits from MGP and bottle it under their own brand name, (sometimes barrel aging &/or other additional processes before bottling).

·      A Chicago man successfully filed a class-action lawsuit against Templeton Prohibition Era Rye Whiskey for deceptive practices.

·      Book of the Week:  The Negroni, Drinking to La Dolce Vita, with  Recipes & Lore by Gary ‘gaz’ Regan

·      Cocktail of the Week:  Rosemary Salted Negroni:

o   Toast fresh Rosemary and Sea Salt in a pan until the Rosemary releases it fragrance.  Discard Rosemary.

o   Using a sliver of Grapefruit, moisten the rim of an Old Fashioned glass.  Dip glass into prepared Rosemary Salt to rim the glass.

o   Add ice to glass, (ideally one large hand cut ice cube).

o   In a mixing glass add:

§  1 ¼ oz Gin, (I used Journeyman Distillery’s Bilberry Black Heart Gin)

§  1 oz Sweet Vermouth, (I used Martinez Lacuesta from Spain

§  1 oz Campari

§  Ice

o   Stir and strain into prepared glass

·      On the subject of Craft, during Tales 2015 distiller Chip Tate said during one of the seminars “I love Craft.  What is it??!”  He talks about how it started with beer and the eat local movements.  He talked about his barrels and how he checks each & every one personally when it arrives and he says he “learns things from his barrels”.


·      We also have audio from Tales Of The Cocktail 2015 – we chat with Marco Montefiori, US Market Manager for Amaro Montenegro.   Recipes from Amaro Montenegro’s event at Tales of the Cocktail 2015:


·      Monte Manhattan

-        2 oz. Amaro Montenegro

-        1 oz. Sweet Vermouth

-        2 oz. Prosecco

-        1 oz. Gin

-        Orange Bitters

-        Orange Peel

·      Montenegroni

-        1.5 oz. Amaro Montenegro

-        1.5 oz. Rye Whiskey

-        A Splash of Maraschino Liqueur

-        Garnish with 3 Brandied Cherries

The Monte Mule

-        2 oz. Amaro Montenegro

-        1 oz. Lime Juice

-        1.5 oz. Vodka

-        .25 oz. Peach Liqueur

-        3 oz. Ginger Beer

-        Mint Sprig

·      Toast of the Week:  Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.  —F. Scott Fitzgerald



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Not So Simple Cocktail Syrups

September 29th, 2015

·      This week we talk to Joe Raya, owner of the Gin Joint in Charleston, South Carolina.  He & his wife also make delicious syrups for bartenders called Tippleman’s.  There are 6 varieties and they are all awesome:

o   Burnt Sugar

o   Island Orxata

o   Falernum

o   Ginger Honey

o   Lemon Oleo Saccharum

o   Barrel Smoked Maple

·      Its Bartender Journey Podcast # 129 !

·      First lets do a cocktail of the week!  Its a Bourbon/Maple Old Fashioned using the Tippleman’s Barrel Smoked Maple syrup.  The syrup is made using barrels from Willett Distillery. I used about ½ oz.  I happened to have a lovely bottle of Willet Pot Still Reserve Bourbon, so I figured lets use that in our Old Fashioned!  It’s a pretty incredible Bourbon and it’s tempting to just drink it neat or with one ice cube, but I used it anyway -- 2 oz of Willet Bourbon in my quite decedent Old Fashioned.  I used Basement Bitters from Tuttletown distillery.  These are the guys that make the great Hudson Whiskey among other things and their bitters are great!

·      If you don’t have any Tippleman’s syrups yet, consider ordering some at  But meanwhile, try experimenting with a good quality maple syrup in your old fashioned.  Grade B is what is recommended for using in cocktails.  You might consider mixing it with a little hot water to make it easier to mix into your cocktail.  And if you don’t have the Basement Bitters, try substituting other aromatic bitters – Angostura is of course an awesome choice and widely available, but perhaps try experimenting with a few other brands too!

·      To make an Old Fashioned – mix the sugar (or syrup in this case) with the bitters in the bottom of your Old Fashioned or rocks glass.  Add the whiskey and some ice – ideally one big hand-cut ice cube and a twist.  Usually it would be an orange twist in an Old Fashioned, especially if it were a Rye Old Fashioned, but I used lemon in this case.  A little extra citrus “zing” from the limon goes better with the Bourbon and maple flavors.

·      Book of the week is Its All About The Guest by Steve Difillippo. 

·      The subtitle of this book is Exceeding Expectations in Busines and in Life The Davio’s Way.

·      Steve is a great businessman.  In his book he has lots of great lessons for us, including: “every decision you make: is this going to make things better for the guest?”

·      There will always be demanding guests who are ready to get upset about nothing.  They will require a lot of attention, but you can’t let that distract you from the other guests.

·      Figure out how much it costs to make what you are selling, otherwise you may be loosing money without even knowing it.

·      Its not just WHAT you do, its how people PERCEIVE what you do.

·      Our Toast this week: ‘tis better to spend money like there's no tomorrow
 than to spend tonight like there's no money!


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End of Summer Tiki Party!

September 23rd, 2015

This week we raise a glass and toast the Summer of 2015 with some Tiki talk (& Tiki Cocktails!)

It’s Bartender Journey Podcast # 128 - Tiki Edition!

Listen with the player below or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

We talk with Nicole Weston – coauthor of Tiki Drinks -Tropical Cocktails for the Modern Bar.

·      Since it’s a Tiki Party , let’s get to our cocktail of the week right away!  Its an authentic Mai Tai.  We will use the recipe from Nicole’s book:

o   1 oz aged rum

o   1 oz rhum agricole a style of rum originally distilled in the French Caribbean islands from freshly squeezed sugar cane juice rather than molasses.  I didn’t have any on hand, so I substituted Lablon Chasasa, which is the Brazilian spirit distilled from sugar cane juice.  We talked about Cashasa in episode #124.

o   ½ Orange Curacao

o   ¾ oz Lime Juice

o   ¼ oz Orgeat

o   ½ oz Simple Syrup

o   Shake that all up serve over crushed ice

During the interview we talk about:

·      Different kinds of rum/different regional styles

·      The book’s great photographs and fun garnishes!

·      Syrup recipes used for making Tiki Drinks

·      The “lineage” of Tiki in the US is well laid out in the book:

o   Don’s Beachomber Café in LA 1934 (Later renamed Don the Beachcomber).

§  During Prohibition (1920-1933) Rum was not too hard to get.  After Repeal, Americans went back to gin and whiskey. Rum supplies were high and the price was low.  Don the Beachcomber used that to his advantage.

§  The place was popular with the Hollywood stars.

§  Recipes were secret…even the bartenders didn’t know all the ingredients they were using!

o   Victor Bergeron (Trader Vic).

§  Owned a bar in Oakland CA & in 1937, he transformed it into a Polynesian “Paradise” – he called Trader Vic’s.

§  He franchised and about a dozen of those are still in operation!

o   These places were popular, but the craze really took off after WWII when servicemen returned from the South Pacific & Hawii.

·      Tiki Revival now – why?

§  Inspired by the Fresh Juices of the cocktail movement?

§  Renewed interest in cocktail history?

§  Tiki drinks are not meant to be taken too seriously, (maybe nice contrast to some cocktail bars that do!)

·      Also mentioned on the show this week – Beachcomber Berry’s Drinks of the Caribbean.

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Flyover - Craft Cocktails in Middle America

September 15th, 2015

On Bartender Journey Podcast # 127 we talk to a Dan & Adam who are building a Craft Cocktail Bar & Restaurant in a relatively small town in Missouri.  How will Middle-America react?

Listen to the show with the player below or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

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Beautiful Booze’s Natalie

September 10th, 2015

·     This week on Bartender Journey Podcast # 126, our guest is Cocktail Blogger Natalie from talk about how to get great photos of your cocktail creations and also her imaginative original cocktail recipes.

·     Also, we make up a Tiki recipe featuring Falarum syrup.  We named “You Don’t Know My Mind!”  Recipe:

You Don’t Know My Mind!

1 oz Silver Tequila

1 oz Anjo Rum

1 oz Lime Juice

¾ oz Tippleman’s Falernum

Regans Orange Bitters

Angastora Bitters

6-8 Basil Leaves

Slap Basil Leaves and add to shaker.  Add remaining ingredients and ice.  Shake.  Double strain into a tall glass with crushed ice.  Garnish with a Strawberry and a sprig of Basil.

·      Natalie and Brian met at the Monkey 47 lunch at Tales Of The Cocktail this year.  Here are recipes for the Cocktails that were served at the event:

Wickets and Tea - Pamela Wiznitzer

1.25oz Monkey 47 Gin

1 oz white tea infused blanc vermouth

.5 oz lemon infused water

1 dash of absinthe

Preparation: Stir, serve up with lemon oils


By Land or By Sea - Gregory Buda

1 oz Monkey 47 Gin

1 dash Regan's #6 orange bitters

1 dash Pernod Absinthe

0.5 tsp Nardini Acqua di Cedro

0.25 oz Dolin Genepy d'Alps

0.25 oz Blume Marillen Apricot Eau de Vie

1 oz Alvear Pale Cream Sherry

Garnish: orange twist 


Spirit Animal- Sean Hoard

1 oz Monkey 47 Gin

.5 oz Benedictine

.5 oz Maker’s Mark

Garnish: orange peel

Preparation: Build, stir with ice, and strain over a large cube in a rocks glass. 

·     Listen to the show with the player below or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

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Cocktail Competition, Vodka Distilled & more

September 2nd, 2015

This week on Bartender Journey Podcast # 125 there is a lot going on!

  • Mandarine Napoléon cocktail competition in New Orleans during Tales of the Cocktail 2015.  We talk with owner of Mandarine Napoléon Marc de Kuyper and get a chance to talk to some of the bartenders competing in the contest...and taste their cocktails!  See below for pictures and cocktail recipes from the event!
  • We also talk to Tony Abou-Ganim about his book Vodka Distilled: The Modern Mixologist on Vodka and Vodka Cocktails.  Tony is also the author of The Modern Mixologist: Contemporary Classic Cocktails.
  • The Cocktail of the Week is Warren Bobrow's "An Offer Of 250 Jamaican Dollars" made with Mezan XO Jamaican Rum.  Recipe below!
  • We experiment with the Vacu Vin, a device that helps preserve your wine after opening the bottle.  The results were impressive and surprising!
Take a listen the show with the player below on the Bartender Journey Web Site or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio
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Cachaça and Caipirinhas! National Spirit of Brazil.

August 26th, 2015

We get a lesson on making Caipirinha cocktails from owner of Leblon Cachaça, Steve Luttmann!

Cachaça is the national spirit of Brazil and the base spirit for the Caipirinha cocktail.  Find the Caipirinha recipe below.

Also, we pay tribute to Sasha Petraske, who left us way too soon and left a hole in the Bartending community.  Quoting from the New York Times article about Sasha's passing, "Mr. Petraske’s role in the modern cocktail revival is difficult to overstate."

Mix up a Classic Daiquiri with the recipe below and join us on August 31, 2015 at 9pm (you local time), as we raise a glass to Sasha Petraske, founder of Milk & Honey and inspiration to a generation of Bartenders.

Listen to the Bartender Journey Podcast # 124 with the player below, or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher radio.

Classic Daiquiri Recipe:

2 oz Silver Rum

1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

3/4 oz Simple Syrup

Shake with ice.  Double Strain into a chilled coupe glass.


Leblon Caipirinha Recipe:

2 oz Leblon Cachaça

1/2  a lime, cut into wedges

2 tsp Superfine sugar or 1 oz Simple syrup

Muddle the lime and sugar in a shaker. Fill the shaker with ice and add Leblon Cachaça. Shake well and serve in a rocks glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

View the Hey Bartender movie by becoming a member of Amazon Prime.

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Let’s Talk Tequila!

August 19th, 2015

Jacques Bezuidenhout joins us for a great chat about Tequila.  Jacques is the Brand Ambassador for Partida Tequila.  We talk about the process of growing the Agave plants and distilling this traditional spirit.

We also mix up some Tequila Cocktails and experiment with Bar40 Bitters.

Listen to the podcast with the audio player below, or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.

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The cocktail is colder than the ice??

August 12th, 2015

On the show this week we talk with Bartender and Author Tristan Stevenson.  It’s the Bartender Journey Podcast # 122!

We talk about cocktail science, whiskey, his books , and how to taste spirits.

Tristan Stephenson is the author of

·    -The Curious Bartender: The Artistry and Alchemy of Creating the Perfect Cocktail

·   -The Curious Bartender: An Odyssey of Malt Bourbon & Rye Whiskeys

·    -The Curious Barista's Guide to Coffee

Also mentioned on the show this week:

-Beachbum Berry's Potions of the Caribbean

See Tristan make his elaborate cocktail: Mr. Hyde’s Fixer Upper!

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Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur

August 4th, 2015

This week on the Bartender Journey Podcast we chat with the charming Anne-Louise Marquis, Brand Ambassador for Grand Marnier.  We have a great chat about Anne-Louise's experience as a young bartender in Manhattan, about the iconic Grand Marnier Orange Liqueur, and about the life of a Brand Ambassador.  A fascinating conversation!

Listen with the audio player below, on the Bartender Journey web site, or subscribe on iTunes or Stitcher Radio.
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