Paris Cocktails

February 1st, 2016

Paris Cocktails

Hear all about the cocktail scene in Paris with author of Paris Cocktails: An Elegant Collection of Over 100 Recipes Inspired by the City of Light.  This book is not just a cocktail book, but a boozy travel guide that can transport you to Paris, even if just in your mind.

Its Bartender Journey Podcast # 148.

Listen to the podcast with the audio player on this page or:



BevSpot is Software to manage your entire beverage program.  From inventory to ordering, pour cost and ways to analyze your usage and sales.  They are basically in the business of making your bar run more efficiently and more profitably. CEO Rory Crawford tells us a bit about what it does and how it works.  We are proud to have BevSpot as our new sponsor!

Go to and request an online demo.

Cocktail of the Week:

Modified Sidecar

·       2 ½ oz Cognac

·       1 ½ oz Grand Marnier

·       1 oz Lemon Juice

·       ½ oz Egg White or Aquafaba

Shake with ice and strain into a chilled Coupe or Martini Glass

Toast of the Week:

Here’s to our bills, and that one day we meet ‘um!

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Erick Castro from Polite Provisions

January 25th, 2016


Our guest this week is Erick Castro from Polite Provisions San Diego.  We talk about Cocktail Creation, Cocktail Competitions, and his new venture Bartender At Large.

Its Bartender Journey Podcast # 147.

Listen to the podcast with the audio player on this page or:


BevSpot is Software to manage your entire beverage program.  From inventory to ordering, pour cost and ways to analyze your usage and sales.  They are basically in the business of making your bar run more efficiently and more profitably.  I had a talk with Co-Founder & CEO Rory Crawford.  He’s going to tell us a bit about what it does and how it works.  We are proud to have BevSpot as our new sponsor!

Go to and request an online demo.

Cocktail of the Week:

Kentucky Buck
2 ounces bourbon
3/4 ounce lemon
3/4 ounce ginger syrup
1 muddled strawberry
2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake and pour into a Collins glass. Top with club soda and a lemon wheel.
Recipe by Erick Castro


Book of the week:

The Birth of Bourbon – A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries by Carol Peachee.

Toast of the Week:

This is a quote from Charles Henry Baker Jr.’s 1935 book The Gentleman’s Companion  — it wasn’t written as a toast, but it works as one:

“ Each  of our experiences that fetches joyous memory of some friend, place or adventure…is flaked with happy memory of a frosted glass, a smile and a sip of something perfect”.  Here’s to us.


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The Manhattan Cocktail

January 20th, 2016

A well made Manhattan is one of the most satisfying, delicious and classy cocktails you can drink.  Tony Abou-Ganim said its like "Frank Sinatra in a glass...holding one in your hand gives you an instant status of high class, sophistication and quality".

On Bartender Journey Podcast #146 we talk about this iconic Cocktail and a competition revolving around it.

Listen to the podcast with the audio player on this page or:

Woodford Reserve and teamed up for the Manhattan Experience Cocktail Competition.

  • To enter the contest, you must:
    • “Provide your 'ideal' recipe for the classic Manhattan Cocktail using Woodford Reserve Distiller's Select Bourbon, including the way you would serve it to guests”.
    • Provide a second cocktail: “An original Woodford Reserve Double Oaked Cocktail that showcases the flavor profile of Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and that you would proudly serve to guests in your own bar”
  • Among the judging criteria for the Manhattan segment of the contest are:
    • Optional Written Question
    • Insights and opinions as to what makes the Manhattan interesting and important
    • Comprehensive understanding of the Manhattan Cocktail

So to help us to understand the iconic Manhattan Cocktail a little better, our guest on the Bartender Journey Podcast this week is the author of The Manhattan Cocktail: A Modern Guide to the Whiskey Classic, Professor Albert W. A. Schmid.  He is
Professor & Director, Hotel-Restaurant Management & Hospitality Management Departments at Sullivan University's National Center for Hospitality Studies
Louisville, Kentucky.

On the Bartender Journey lately, we’ve been talking a bit about cocktail competitions.  The new competitions page contains some upcoming contests and a few resources about how to best enter them and win.  By the way, the most important thing is READ ALL THE RULES.  Then read them again.

The deadline for the Manhattan Experience contest is Jan 31, 2016.

Cocktail of the Week #1:
USBG Manhattan Cocktail
  • 2 oz Rye or Bourbon Whiskey
  • 1 oz Sweet Vermouth
  • Dash Angostura Bitters

Stir with ice in a mixing cup.  Strain into a chilled Cocktail glass.  Garnish with cherry.

Cocktail of the Week #2:
Aquafaba Whiskey Sour
  • 1 oz Fresh Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 oz Bourbon
  • 1/2 oz Aquafaba (the liquid from a can of chickpeas)

Dry shake (no ice) all ingredients for at least 10 seconds.  Add ice to shaker.  Shake for at least 20 more seconds.  Strain into Old Fashioned Glass prepared with fresh ice.  Garnish with cherry &/or lemon twist.

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Bartending Events & Competitions

January 12th, 2016

Bartender Journey Podcast # 145

Listen with the audio player on this page or on:

·      The Bartender Journey Web Site

·      Subscribe on iTunes

·      Listen on Stitcher Radio

·      Subscribe on Android

This week on the podcast, its all about Bartending Events & Competitions!

Julia from the Mixology talk Podcast and Bar Above Blog is our guest.  She announces the online event - The Craft Bartender Summit!  This educational event will be held on April 17, 2016 and its FREE!  You can reserve your spot here.

Upcoming Bartender Events & Competitions:

·      Diageo World Class Lab

·      Diageo World Class Cocktail Competiton

To enter the Competition, you must attend at least one Lab, AND be a member of the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG).  Click for a free 60 day trial membership to the USBG.


Cocktail of the Week, courtesy of A Bar Above:

Favorite Things

·      1 ½ oz Light Rum

·       ½ oz Nocino          

·      3 Dashes Angostura bitters

·      2 Brandied Cherries


·      Combine all ingredients except cherries in a mixing glass and stir.

·      Strain into an Old Fashioned glass with one large ice cube

·      Garnish with two cherries on a cocktail pick

Book of the Week, courtesy of A Bar Above:

Lost Recipes of Prohibition: Notes from a Bootlegger's Manual by Matthew Rowley

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Mezcal & NY Times Cocktail Book

January 5th, 2016

We have two guests on the Bartender Journey podcast  # 144:

o   Steve Reddicliffe, editor of The Essential New York Times Book of Cocktails

o   Raza Zaidi - Wahaka Mezcal.  (We also talked about Mezcal with Misty Kolkofen in show #134)

·      Cocktail of the Week Cucumber, Salt & Smoke by Linden Pride

o   One 1-inch cucumber slice, chopped

o   1 oz Wahaka Mezcal Joven Espadin

o   1 oz Kappa Pisco

o   1 oz fresh lemon juice

o   1 oz simple syrup

o   Pinch of salt

o   1 large egg white, slightly beaten

o    3 drops of Peychaud’s bitters, for garnish

o   In a cocktail shaker, muddle the cucumber. Add the Kappa Pisco, Wahaka Mezcal, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white and salt and shake well. Add ice and shake again. Fine-strain into a chilled wineglass or coupe. Dot the drink with the Peychaud’s bitters and swirl decoratively.

·      This is a wonderful drink when served up.  I actually made it on the rocks because I received some extremely cool cocktail stirrer tops from Drynkware. They are made out of zinc alloy. The tops are then welded to stainless steel rods and the entire stirrer is plated in drink-safe, food-grade silver.  There is a robot, a bow tie, a mustache, a deer head, a camera and a cassette tape!  Some of you might not know what a “cassette tape” is – google it!  I used the Robot stirrer.  Not that it has anything to do with this drink, but I think its awesome. The stirrers come in a set of 6 as a variety pack or sets of 4 matching ones. And you can choose short or tall, for Old Fashioned glasses or Collins glasses.

·      New on – the Events page and the Tasting page.

·      Toast of the Week:
May your glass be ever full,
May the roof over your head be always strong,
And may you be in heaven
Half an hour before the devil knows you're dead.


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Irish Whiskey with Tim Herlihy

December 29th, 2015

Irish Whiskey Part 2 with Tim Herlihy - U.S. Brand Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W.

Its the Bartender Journey Podcast # 143

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

  • On this episode of the podcast, we talk with Irish Whiskey Part 2 with Tim Herlihy - U.S. Brand Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W. (Part 1 here).  We met Tim at Swift Hibernian Lounge and had a great chat!
  • You can enter the Cider Shake Cocktail Competition (before December 31, 2015).
  • PLEASE vote for the Bartender Journey Cider Shake entry!  Click here to go to youtube and vote "thumbs up" for Brian's video!
  • Egg whites in Cocktails, Part 3:  "Aquafaba" - the brine in chickpea cans - apparently is a great substitution for egg whites in cooking and in making cocktails!  The advantages of Aquafaba over egg whites:
    • Cheap and plentiful
    • Reduced risk of Salmonella
    • Guests may be more accepting
    • Vegan
  • There was recently a great article on Tales of the Cocktail's web site about substituting Aquafaba for egg whites.
  • Book of the Week:  Speakeasy: The Employees Only Guide to Classic Cocktails Reimagined.
  • Dushan Zaric, co-author of the Speakeasy book, recently gave a great seminar at the Tampa USBG's Repeal Day Conference called "Health, Wellness & Other Things -  How to Work a Shift & Not Get Upset".  You can find Dushan's PowerPoint presentation for this seminar, as well as all his others here.
  • Cocktail of the Week - The O’Sherry
    • 1 ¾ oz Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey
    • ½ oz Sweet Vermouth
    • ¼ oz Sherry
    • Chocolate Bitters

    Stir over ice.  Strain into a chilled cocktail coupe.  Express oil from a lemon twist.  Garnish with lemon or raisins and mint on a cocktail pick.

    See the Documentary "The Irish Pub" on Amazon Prime Video with a Free 30 Day Trial!

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Irish Whiskey Part 1 and Cider Shake

December 25th, 2015

Its Christmas time and things are busy around here!  A short episode this week with Part One of the interview with Tim Herlihy, U.S. Brand Ambassador for Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey.

Plus, the Cider Shake Cocktail Competition is on!  Enter at  Whether or to you enter yourself, PLEASE vote for my video!  Click here and give it the thumbs up on youtube!

Happy Holidays!
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Gum syrup (or “Gomme” Syrup) in Cocktails

December 16th, 2015

·      This week on the podcast, we talk about alternatives to Simple Syrup, how to win at competitions and revisit egg whites in Cocktails.

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

 Bartender Journey Podcast # 141

·      What is Gum syrup or (or Gomme) Syrup?

Jennifer Colliau, founder of Small Hand Foods, describes it this way: “Gum syrup is simple syrup with gum Arabic  added to provide texture. Gum arabic doesn't have much flavor on its own, although I use organic sugar in my gum syrup, which has a light molasses flavor and gives the syrup a light amber color. Gum syrup is best in drinks that don't have any other ingredients that add viscosity, like Old Fashioneds, Sazeracs and Juleps.”

o   So what is the gum Arabic that Jennifer mentioned? It is an all natural resin harvested from the Acacia tree.

o   Jerry Thomas used Gum syrup in many of his recipes.

o   Small Hand Foods makes many wonderful products, including:

§  Gum syrup (See Whiskey Cocktail recipe below)

§  Raspberry Gum Syrup

§  Pineapple Gum Syrup

§  Passion Fruit Syrup

§  Grenadine

§  Orgeat (See Bourbon Lift Cocktail recipe below)

§  Tonic Syrup

§  Yeanman Tonic Syrup


·      Whiskey Cocktail
-Adapted from Jerry Thomas, How To mix Drinks, 1862 and borrowed from

o   2 oz bourbon

o   ¼ oz Small Hand Foods Gum Syrup

o   2 dashes Angostura bitters

o   1 dash orange bitters
(I used Angostura)

o   1 4-inch strip of lemon peel (no pith) (or orange peel)

o   Rub lemon peel around rim of an old-fashioned glass. Place peel, Gum Syrup and bitters into the glass. Press peel with the back of a barspoon several times to release oils. Add bourbon and a couple large ice cubes and stir for 15 seconds.

·      Comparing this version to the same cocktail made with Simple Syrup instead of the Gum Syrup, I found the Gum Syrup version more "viscous" and “substantial”.  It tasted more like a cocktail than the Simple Syrup version, which tasted a bit like “sweetened whiskey”.

·      The More Cowbell Cocktail

o   1 oz Gin

o   3/4 oz Lemon juice

o   1/2 oz Aperol

o   ½ oz Cardamaro Amaro

o   .13 oz Gum syrup

o   Lemon peel

o   Shake with ice.  Serve up -Double strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

·      Bourbon Lift Cocktail
The cocktail equivalent of a New York egg cream, this rich and fizzy bourbon drink is absolutely delicious.


o   1 1/2 oz  Bourbon

o   1/2 oz Heavy cream

o   1/2 oz House Spirits Coffee Liqueur or other coffee liqueur

o   1/2 oz Small Hand Foods Orgeat

o   Club Soda

o   Glass: Fizz or Collins

o   Dry shake all ingredients except Club Soda.  Add ice to shaker.  Shake again.  Strain into tall glass without ice.  Fill with Club Soda.  Foam should exceed rim of glass.

·      More about using Egg Whites in Cocktails (part 1 here).

o   Jeff Morgenthaler emailed to clarify why he beats his egg whites before adding to the shaker:

§  “The reason for beating the egg white is so you can measure it correctly, and so that it’s already pre-beaten to minimize the dry shaking. 

§  We do it at the bar, and I always do this at home. You can use a fork to do it, it doesn’t need to be beaten to hell.”

o   Another option for cocktail foam is to add it on top of the otherwise finished cocktail from an iSi charger.  Sometimes gelatin is added to make the foam even more stable.  The foam can even be flavored, as Jamie Boudreau does in this video.

o   Kellie Thorn, beverage director for Hugh Acheson and bar manager at Atlanta's Empire State South adds a little olive oil to her Fall Sour Cocktail to help with emulsification.  You can see a video of Kellie making this cocktail on the Tales of the Cocktail web site.

How to Win at Cocktail Competitions.·     

At the Tampa USBG Repeal Day Conference recently, Nick Nistico gave a great Seminar on this subject.  In 2013 Nick won more cocktail competitions than any bartender in the world.  Here are some notes from his seminar:

o   Preparation is how you win.

o   Winning is a habit.  So is loosing.

o   If you don’t get accepted, cancelations happen all the time – send an email to the organizers and be a very gracious looser – say how excited you were to be considered and if there are any cancelations, to please keep you in mind etc

o   Know the Brand!  Very important to know everything you can about the featured spirit, but also any modifiers you use – you don’t want to put a competitor’s brand in your drink!

o   Ask Brand Ambassadors about the direction of the brand – for instance, you might use a modifier from the brand’s portfolio, but the Brand Ambassador might tell you “oh, we are phasing that out!”  If that’s the case, it could cost when it comes to the judging.

o   Find out who the Judges are – google the shit out of them!  Example, Nick found out what university a judge went to, acquired a cocktail napkin from that university, and placed it down in front of that judge.

o   Simplicity usually wins.

o   Prepare, practice and bring everything you need – bring more than what you need.

o   Go to the venue sometime before the competition for dinner or drinks.  Don’t show on the day of the competition as a stranger.

o   Be dressed and groomed – think “is the brand going to want to put me on the cover of a magazine?”  Nick changes his shirt just before going on.

o   Introduce yourself to the bar back maybe tip him!  Be nice!

o   Ask yourself at the competition – do you really want to watch the contestants that go before you??  Maybe not - it could undermine your confidence, (or make you over confident!)

o   How to loose – If you loose:

§  Be Thankful

§  Congratulate the winner

§  Follow up

o   A Bar Above has a PDF that you can download about winning Cocktail Competitions and also lists upcoming Competitions here.  Some of the main points on the document include:

·      Follow the rules. Not most of the rules. All of them.

·      Find the judging criteria and build your entry


·      Use the sponsor’s product, and avoid using products

from competitors’ portfolios


o   Another source for locating Competitions from Good Spirits News is here


·      Toast of the Week:
"May neighbours respect you,
Trouble neglect you,
The angels protect you,
And heaven accept you." 

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Repeal Day Conference – Tampa Florida

December 9th, 2015

Repeal Day Conference – Tampa Florida

Bartender Journey Podcast # 140


This week we take the show on the road!  We visit the United States Bartender Guild – Tampa Chapter.  This was the Tampa USBG’s second educational conference, which is paired with their Repeal Day Party Gala.


Listen with the player below, on the Bartender Journey Web Site or subscribe iTunes or Stitcher Radio.


Repeal Day is the celebration of the end of Prohibition on December 5, 1933.  An anniversary worthy of an epic Party! 


The educational conference in Tampa was amazing, informative and fun. The Repeal Day Gala on Saturday December 5, (2015) was incredible!  With four floors of craft cocktails, wonderful food and exciting entertainment, it is an event to look forward to all year!


The conference is aimed at bartenders and enthusiasts who are looking to learn, improve, network and move to the next level.


The Repeal Day Gala is open to anyone looking for a great time!  Proceeds benefit the USBG Tampa chapter and various charities including Because Of Ezra, which helps kids with neuroblastoma cancer.


·      During the Conference, we got a chance to record interviews with:

o  Tampa USBG President - Ingrid Rodriguez

o  Flair Bartending Expert - Rob Husted

o  National Brand Ambassador for Heaven Hill Brands – Lynn House

o  Master Ambassador and Chief Innovations Officer for Angel’s Envy – Wes Henderson

·      Cocktail of the Week #1:
The Girl Next Door

o  2 oz Kappa Pisco

o  1 oz Orgeat Syrup

o  1 oz Fresh Lime Juice

o  Shake and strain over crushed ice.  Top with 1 oz Ruby Port.

·      Cocktail of the Week #2:

o  2 oz Whistle Pig Rye Whiskey

o  .5 oz Orange Liqueur such as Cointreau

o  .25 oz Demerara Syrup

o  1 Dash Chocolate Bitters

o  1 Dash Aromatic Bitters

·      Book of the Week:
The Birth of Bourbon – A Photographic Tour of Early Distilleries.  Beautifully photographed using a technique known as high-dynamic-range imaging, which produces photos with rich saturation, intense clarity and full spectrum light.  A great gift for the Bourbon lover in your life, (or yourself!)

·      Toast of the Week:
May the friends of our youth be the companions of our old age.

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Repeal Day Party Send Off

December 1st, 2015

Its a short podcast this week, as we head off to Tampa Florida for the U.S. Bartender Guild's Repeal Day Party.

The Tampa Chapter of the USBG hosts an event with seminars, tastings and of course parties to celebrate December 5, 1933, the day that Prohibition ended!  This is a traditional day for bartenders to celebrate!
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