Avant Garde Cocktails & Cedar Ridge Distillery

August 12th, 2017

"Thinking outside the box."  Perhaps an overused phrase, but is an appropriate term for Summer Jane Bell's Seminar:  Shake Outside of the Box: Avant-Garde Cocktails.  Many great ideas were floated at this seminar.  Take a listen as Brian reads through his notes from this wonderful Tales of the Cocktail seminar.

Take a listen the podcast with the audio player on this page, or on:
Apple Podcasts
*Google Play Music
*Stitcher Radio 
for a slice of the Tales experience!

We also talk to Jeff Quint, founder and owner of of Cedar Ridge Distillery in Iowa, who is making farm to glass spirits.  We caught up with Jeff at Dicky Brennen's Bourbon House in the French Quarter during Tales.  We ate some oysters, sampled some whiskey and chatted about Jeff's Journey from Accountant to Distiller.

The American Distilling Institute named Cedar Ridge “Distillery of the Year", for 2017.

Plus, we catch up with Hazel Alvarado, as she tells us about the many industry events she has attended in NYC this summer, including the grand opening of the new Oscar Wilde-Themed Bar in the No-Mad neighborhood of Manhattan.

Book of the Week:
Beach Cocktails: Favorite Surfside Sips and Bar Snacks
Summer may be ending in a few weeks, but there's still time to up your "thirst aid" knowledge and add a few summery cocktail recipes to your cocktail library.

Cocktail of the Week:
El Presidente

  • 1 ½ oz Aged Rum Real McCoy 5 year
  • ¾ Dry Vermouth
  • ½ oz Orange Curacao
  • Bar Spoon Grenadine
    Stir with ice.  Strain into a chilled coup glass.  Orange twist.

Toast of the Week:
(From the book Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces)

  • May you have peace in you igloo, oil in your lamp and peace in your heart.
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Hot Mic - Podcasting for Bartenders

August 2nd, 2017

From Tales of the Cocktail 2017 in New Orleans:

·   Tales of the Cocktail 2017 has wrapped up, but it lives-on, with Bartender Journey!  We have a total of 8 shows planned with Tales 2017 coverage.  This is the second in the series.

On the show this week, we bring you the audio from our Tales seminar:  Hot Mic - Podcasting for Bartenders. 

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You Are Throwing Money Away!

July 26th, 2017

Sustainability is the hot topic in the Bar & Restaurant world right now.  How can we help the environment AND our bottom line at the same time?

Brian is just back from Tales of the Cockail 2017 with a fresh perspective! 

"If we knew what to do with it, it wouldn't be waste any more!"

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Summer Social

June 28th, 2017

It's the Bartender Journey Podcast No. 218 and as you know I’ll be attending Tales this year again but this time as a part of a panel titled: “Hot Mic: Podcasting for Bartenders”.


I’ll be presenting along with Kara Newman, our guest author on Podcast 193, Sother Teague, a friend and propritor of the new socially conscious bar, Coup, that donates all profits to charities and Damon Boelte, of Speakeasy Radio. Special thanks to our sponsor, Brooklyn Gin!


If you’re headed down, make sure to stop by my session, Wednesday morning and if not, why aren’t you going? We’ll make sure to post details both for Tales and session tickets on both our blog and Facebook page.


The Bartender Journey Podcast will be taking a production break for the next few weeks and will return with a full length episode on July 26th.


We have lots of great interviews already recorded, plus I’ll be collecting lots of great audio at Tales, including an interview with the great whiskey writer Lew Bryson.


Meanwhile, this week we’ll kick off the Bartender Journey Summer (School) Social and will be posting and sharing valuable content on our blog, www.bartenderjourney.net and Facebook page, Bartender Journey Podcast on spirits education, cocktail competitions, industry events and more, especially during Tales. Make sure you follow Bartender Joueny on IG and FB.


If you would like to contribute in any way you can, by writing a piece for Bartender Journey, leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or sharing the show with a friend, we welcome your input. You can go to BarternderJourney.net/contact to get in touch. We’d love to hear from you and maybe feature something you wrote on BJ. There is also our Tip Cup page BJ.net/TipCup.  If this show has helped you out at all or entertained you…if you’ve learned a little something, please consider contributing to our Tip Cup at /tipcup.


We will have another podcast for you on July 26, 2017. Lots more great content to come. 

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Bartender Continuing Education

June 21st, 2017

We look at some education options - one in NYC and one online.

Its a short show this week, but we think you'll learn a little something, or at least learn how to learn!


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Ground to Glass Gin

June 14th, 2017

  • It's the Bartender Journey Podcast No. 216!  Listen with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on iTunes,Android or Stitcher Radio.

This time on the Podcast we talk to Colby Frey who is doing great work out in Nevada making spirits from “ground to glass” as he says. We’ll talk to Colby about his gins and some of the other spirits that he is producing at Frey Ranch Estate Distillery.

  • Cocktail of the Week:

The Pegu cocktail is a wonderful Gin drink. Great for summer. According to wikipedia the Pegu cocktail was “the signature drink Burma's Pegu Club. The club was located just outside Rangoon, and its members were those Britons who were senior government and military officials and prominent businessmen. The club was named after the Pegu, a Burmese river.” According to David Wondrich “We're not sure precisely when it was invented, but it had to be before 1927, when it turns up in Harry MacElhone's Barflies and Cocktails.” That book has been re-released with a forward written by Mr. Wondrich.

This is David Wondrich’s recipe from Esquire.com

  • 2 ounces gin – Frey Ranch dry gin.
  • 3/4 ounce orange curacao - I used Mandarin Napoleon
  • 3/4 ounce lime juice
  • 1 dash Bitters -- Angostura bitters
  • 1 dash orange bitters.

Shake with ice. Double strain into a chilled cocktail coupe. Lime wheel garnish.

Speaking of shakers, if you are in the market for a great shaker set, our friends from the Mixology Talk podcast just released a great one. The large tin is weighted and the small one is un-weighted, which is a great combo. They fit together perfectly.

If you would like to take your Bartending to the next level and get some extremely detailed training…you can do it online from anywhere, in your own time and we have a discount code for 20% off! The Mixology Certification Program, also from our friends Chris & Julia at Mixology Talk is an amazing resource.
Enter the code “BartenderJourney” and you’ll get a 20% discount!

There’s been a lot of talk about Sustainability in our industry lately. Our friends on the Bartender HQ just did a second episode dedicated to the issue and I highly recommend you check that out. They had a lot of great ideas for cutting down on waste on their recent episode.

Tales of the Cocktail is doing a full day Sustainability Summit for the first time this year. Its on the Tuesday of Tales, and I’ll be sure to attend as much of that as possible and report back to you.

Toast of the Week:

To the Holidays…all 365 of them!

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Gin Gin…It’s all about Gin. #WorldGinDay

June 7th, 2017

World Gin Day is the second Saturday of June each year. We will take this opportunity to dedicate an entire episode to Gin!

  • It's the Bartender Journey Podcast No. 215!  Listen with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on iTunes,Android or Stitcher Radio.
  • Use the hashtag #worldginday to tell the world what you are doing to celebrate Gin.
  • This week on the podcast we talk with Tristan Stephenson, Bartender, Bar Owner & Author from England. He wrote among others, The Curious Bartender’s Gin Palace, which is an amazing resource for gin knowledge.
  • Also, later in the show we’ll talk to the Frey’s who are producing wonderful Estate Grown Gins in Nevada. This is delishous stuff and so interesting that they are producing they are doing a grain to glass gin. Its rare for a gin maker to grow their own grain and distill and bottle it onsite.
  • The Cocktail of the Week has to be the Martini since we are talking all about Gin!
  • Martini’s are of course classically made with gin. Many consumers these drink vodka Martinis, in fact as a Bartender you can not assume one way or the other. Its best to determine first Gin or Vodka and then ask if there is a brand preference. Vermouth? If its good quality and fresh vermouth, its wonderful. On the other hand, if its not good quality and its been sitting in the well for 6 months, you can’t blame someone for requesting an extra-extra dry Martini, because it tastes terrible.
  • Ganish? Olives are the default, but a lemon twist is awesome! An orange twist is great too, and is traditional.
  • Bitters? Orange bitters are in the classic Martini recipe.
  • Glasswear? Of course the glass should be chilled, but what shape glass? The giant “Steakhouse Martini Glass” has become what many consumers expect these days, but do we really want to give our guests so much alcohol all at once? The martini glasses are difficult for servers to transport when full, and are no good for guests at a stand up cocktail party. Plus the drink gets warm.
  • Here’s how I made mine.
    • 2 oz Frey Ranch Gin
    • 1 oz Imbue Bittersweet Vermouth (from Oregon)
    • 2 dashes Regan’s Orange Bitters No. 6
    • Stir with ice
    • Stain into a chilled cocktail coup
    • Express oils from a lemon twist into drink. Rub lemon twist on rim of glass. Drop twist into drink.
    • Every time I get somebody trying to be clever at the bar and brings up “shaken not stirred” I always say “the reason James Bond ordered it ‘shaken not stirred’ is because that’s the EXCEPTION to the rule. It should really be stirred”. I was once served a Mantini in an airport bar that looked like a slurpy from 7-11. This guy shook that drink within an inch of its life! There was so much ice in the drink that it had more in common with a pina coloda than a martini. Some people will say shaking “brueses” the gin…I don’t know what the heck that means, BUT there should be no shards of ice in your Martini.
    • Another point of interest with a Martini – are we stirring this drink with ice just to make it cold, or is there something else going on here? Well do an experiment…mix up a batch of Martinis with what ever proportions you like – with no ice. Put half in the freezer to chill for IDK lets say 2 hours. Save the other half…keep it covered at room temperature.   After the one in the freezer is super cold, take the room temperature one and stir it with ice in a mixing cup for a good 20 seconds or so. Now taste the 2 side by side. The one from the freezer is going to be cold, but HOT from alchol…its too strong! The stirred one should be velvetly and pleasant to drink. Its been chilled, but also diluted from the melting ice…you are adding water to the drink. It’s an interesting experiment, and I hope you’ll give it a try. It helped me understand the Martini a lot better.
  • Speaking of experiments, we got lots of great feedback on last week’s lime juice experiment! Also on the sustainability in bars angle…and we thank David Eden-Sangwell from the Bartender HQ podcast for being our guest on that show and for bringing up the sustainability issue on his show. This is important stuff…to try to reduce waste behind the bar and lesson our environmental impact. David and his co-host Sam did an entire episode about it recently and are already planning another. I’ve been inspired by those guys to talk about it more and put it into practice at my bar.
  • I even heard from a listener who is working on a brand new bar program and he told me that he now plans to look into efforts to incorporate sustainability into the new bar he is working on!
  • Please help support the Bartender Journey Podcast by contributing to our Tip Cup Page!
  • Next week on the Podcast we will keep the Gin conversation going! We’ll talk to the proprietor of Frey Ranch Gin.
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Best Way to Juice a Lime

May 31st, 2017

Oh Lime, How Do I Squeeze You?

Freshly squeezed lime juice is one of the most important ingredients in a good Bartender’s arsenal. Pre-packed bottled stuff is no comparison.

But HOW is the juice being produced? A Motorized Commercial Bar Juicer is certainly faster, more efficient and produces a higher yield than a hand press, but is the resulting juice the same?

It's the Bartender Journey Podcast No. 214!  Listen with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on iTunesAndroid or Stitcher Radio.

Our guest on the show today is David Eden-Sangwell of the Bartender HQ Podcast. We’ll discuss the results of the lime juice experiment, plus the issue of sustainability and waste in bars.

Lime Juice Experiment:

I was curious about the effects of using different types of juicers on the finished juice. I had no idea just how dramatic the results would be.

In the Bartending Community we often talk about how the white pith of citrus is bitter, and should be avoided.

With the rotating cone of the Motorized Juicer, we must be pulverizing some of that pith, which will get into the juice, right? The oil from the zest will not be utilized at all, and will end up in the garbage.

When we use a Citrus Hand Press or stand up lever operated Commercial Citrus Juicer we smash the zest quite a bit. The oils from the zest must be incorporated into the juice.

I used the following method to make my comparison.

I squeezed total of 18 limes – 6 each with the 3 different methods.

To evaluate the effect of the zest, I used a Y-Peeler to remove the peels from the limes for method #2.

Method #1: Waring Commercial Bar Juicer

Method #2: Hand Pressed – No Zest

Method #3: Hand Pressed – With Zest

Juice Yield (after fine straining):

  1. 6 ½ oz
  2. 5 ¾ oz
  3. 5 ¼ oz

Color of juice:

  1. Darkest green – a little muddy
  2. Most pale of the three
  3. Green hue

Aroma of juice:

  1. Citrus, yet “flat”.   Smells of over ripe melon, not so much like lime.
  2. Lime & citrus. Acidic.
  3. Light, flowery, alive, bright.

Taste of juice:

  1. Acidic, unappealing, not a strong taste of lime – just acid.
  2. Lime & acid.
  3. Saline, Lime, Fresh, The most balanced of the three. Vibrant.

I made Daiquiris that were identical, with the exception of the lime juice.

Daiquiri Test
-1 oz Real McCoy Silver Rum Aged 3 Years
-½ oz Lime Juice
- ½ oz - less 10 % - Simple Syrup

Taste of Daiquiris:

  1. Lime flavor not very pounced. A little artificial tasting. Bitter on the back palate.
  2. Fresher, but a little flat. Acidic.
  3. Sweetest of the three, yet most appealing and complex. Fresh and interesting. Adding .75ml (=0.4oz) more lime juice, (with an “eyedropper”), made it perfect…the best of the three by far!


The difference was striking. Method #3 produced far superior results over the others. The Daiquiri was vibrant, fresh, and complex. Method #1 was flat, one dimensional and less fruity.

So, it looks like the motorized juicer will be gathering dust in my bar, and we’ll be setting the lime juice oils free with the hand juicer!



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Bar Insitute, USBG & Dad’s Hat Rye

May 24th, 2017

This week on the Bartender Journey Podcast we have not one, but two guests -- plus two road trips!

It's the Bartender Journey Podcast # 213!  Listen with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on iTunes, Android or Stitcher Radio.

  • At Bar Institute in Brooklyn, we spoke to Mr. Josh Davis. He’s a Bartender, and a fine Gentleman from Chicago who also recently started working with Bar Institute.
  • We also talk to Mr. James Menite who is a Bartender at the iconic Plaza Hotel. Another fine Gentleman from NYC, who also is the vice president of the local USBG Chapter. We talk to James on a USBG day trip to the Dad’s Hat Rye
  • Book of the Week:
    Cocktails: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks by Klaus St. Rainer. Mr. Rainer is owner and bartender at The Golden Bar in Munich Germany. This is a nice book with lots of great cocktail recipes and some good advice too.
  • Cocktail of the Week:
    Smooth Criminal
    (Bartender Journey variation)
    From our Book of the Week
    • 1 Large Chunk Fresh Pineapple - Grilled
    • 1 ¾ oz Rye
    • 2 tsp Orange Curacao
    • 1 tsp Luxardo Maraschino Liqueur
    • 1 tsp Simple Syrup
    • 1 Dash Angostura Bitters
  • Muddle the Pineapple. Add remaining ingredients. Shake with ice. Double strain into a Highball glass filled with Fresh Ice. Grarnish with a piece of grilled Pineapple and a sprig of mint.
  • How do you take care of your mint behind the bar? If you have a good method, please let us know! Post your ideas on the Bartender Journey FB page!
  • USBG NY had a great time spending the day with the very small team of great people that produce the delicious Dad’s Hat Pennsylvania Rye. As mentioned, we spoke to John Cooper from Dad’s Hat Rye on Bartender Journey #102
  • You can get more information about the USBG at org
  • Bartender Journey really wants to get you involved and get to know more about you. PLEASE visit net/survey. You can record the answers to the questions with a voice recorder app on your phone and email the file to brian@bartenderjourney.net. Alternatively, on that same page, there is a link to a google form where you can just enter your answers. We’d really appreciate it!
  • Toast of the Week:

The Lord gives us our relatives,

Thank God we can choose our own friends!
-From the book: Toasts: Over 1,500 of the Best Toasts, Sentiments, Blessings, and Graces Compiled by Paul Dickson


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Bartender Spotlight Series - Craig Schiedlo

May 17th, 2017

Today we’ll be talking to Craig Schiedlo. He’s a Bartender and good friend from our USBG NY chapter.

  • Next time on the Bartender Journey Podcast a lot more about the United States Bartender’s Guild James Menite, who is the vice president of our local USBG NY chapter. We’ll talk about some of the great benefits of joining and also about his job – bartending at the the iconic Plaza Hotel.

Cocktail of the Week - from our guest on the show this week – Craig Schiedlo
The Wind Tunnel:

  • 2oz Cedar Ridge Rye
  • 1/2 oz Marie Brizzard Anissete
  • 3/4 oz Lemon Juice
  • 3/4 oz Simple Syrup
  • Orange Flower Water.
    Strain over a Collins glass garnished with a lemon wheel anise star and a spray of orange flower water.

Book of the Week:
The World of Spirits and Cocktails: The Ultimate Bar Book 2011
by André Dominé

Amazon Review:
“This book thought me more than I imagined it would. It got me through some of those Customer interactions that I knew we're coming my way. It filled my brain up with facts and information that I would not have found elsewhere.

Unfortunately, this book is out of print and its about $85 on Amazon! But maybe try The Bar Book, or The Complete Cocktail Manual: 285 Tips, Tricks, and Recipes

Bar Institue:

One Fair Wage Campaign

  • According to com:
    “The restaurant industry is America’s fastest growing economic sector; it's also among it’s lowest paying. Tipped workers are paid a separate, lower minimum wage that starts at $2.13 an hour at the federal level — a rate that hasn’t changed since 1991.”
  • “Although employers are legally required to “top off” a tipped worker’s pay when tips don’t add up to at least the minimum wage, enforcement is so lax and disorganized that wage theft has reached epidemic levels.”


One point that was brought up at Bar Institute was that many consumers are now interested in where their food (and beverage) was grown - was it organic, local, even how were the farm workers treated & paid enough? Maybe the conversation about “how are the restaurant workers treated and are they paid enough?” will open up.

There is a well known shortage of good bartenders, so just please make sure you are getting paid what you are worth…obviously being a real asset to the establishment puts you in a good spot. Find out more onefairwage.com.

Apparently its World Gin Day on Saturday June 10, 2017. On the next show we’ll talk all about gin with Tristan Stephenson, who has a new book called Gin Palace.


We have a special 20% discount on VIP tickets to the Whisky X in NYC! Join Hazel on June 8th  for whiskies, food trucks, live music and more! Use offer code WHXHAZEL to get these perks:

  • Meet and greet 60+ whisky ambassadors and distillers and enjoy premium pours
  • Chocolate Whiskey truffles  from Louisville’s Art Eatables
  • Complimentary cigar at the Club Macanudo onsite lounge
  • Swag from Hudson Made personal care products
  • Free cocktail and a haircut from Blind Barber
  • Access to the Food Truck caravan
  • Access to the onsite US Barrels Cooperage pop up
  • VIP area access to Grammy winner Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys live concert

Free shuttle bus from local train stations and the first 500 attendees get a $25 Uber Voucher.

Buy your tickets at www.thewhiskyx.com and use offer code WHXHAZEL to get your $60 VIP ticket.

Hazel hopes to see you there!

  • Which best describes you?

    • Working Bartender
    • Working Bar Back
    • Aspiring Bartender
    • Cocktail Enthusiast
    • Spirits Enthusiast
    • Other?
  • If you are working Bartender, how many years experience? 
  • How did you discover Bartender Journey?
  • Where in the world are you? 
  • Do you have any suggestions for the Bartender Journey Podcast, subjects you'd like covered, or questions you'd like answered on the show? 

Go to bartenderjourney.net/survey for the list of questions, then record the answers on your phone with a voice recorder app. Email it to me at brian@bartenderjourney.net and you will probably hear yourself on the show! And don’t worry if you mess up…just start over or keep going…we’ll edit it to make you sound good.




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