NY Rye Week

October 20th, 2017

Rye Week

It is officially New York Rye Week as declared by the Governor and State Legislature of New York. In honor of this, there are many events happening in NY, especially New York City including two special industry events from Allen Katz at the New York Distilling Company. (As you may recall, we interviewed Allen on Episode No.225.)


The Bartender Journey team was fortunate enough to attend The Renaissance of Rye, the trade day kickoff event on Thursday, October 19th. This event not only featured one-of-a-kind discussion and tasting with agriculture experts in the field of grain science who specialize in so-called, 'Small Grains'.


In addition to the Rye panel, a batch of their own Horton Rye seven years in the making from an initial planting of 10 seeds was fermented and distilled. Additionally, every guest that attended was given the opportunity to sign the barrel, post it on social media and then return to claim a bottle of the whiskey from the barrel in 4-5 years. Friday, October 20th will be the trade tasting event from 2-4 pm featuring 20 great rye whiskies from North America.


On Saturday, October 21st is the Wild Rye Rumpus event that will feature the world premiere of Empire Rye, a new category of rye whiskey, a project began a few years ago as an homage to New York State’s pre-Prohibition rye whiskey-making heritage. To be considered an Empire Rye, the whiskey requires New York state grain and a minimum age statement of two years as mentioned in this week's New York Times article. The nine New York founding distilleries that will be releasing expressions at the event are

Black Button Distilling (Albany), Coppersea Distilling (New Paltz), Finger Lakes Distilling (Seneca Lake), Kings County Distilling (Brooklyn), New York Distilling (Brooklyn) , Tuthilltown Distilling (Gardiner), Van Brunt Stillhouse (Brooklyn) and Yankee Distillers (Saratoga County).



Author's Table Event featuring Jim Meehan in Brooklyn - Thursday, October 26th

The Author's Table is a monthly literary series featuring authors with a passion for spirits and food that share through writing. Jim will be discussing his new book, Meehan's Bartender Manual. $5 fee includes admission, $7 all night cocktails and happy hour specials. It’ll be held at The Shanty 79 Richardson St, Brooklyn. Proceeds will benefit the Brooklyn Public Library.


Industry Kickball Tournament

The Bartender Journey team is participating in the annual Industry Kickball Tourney sponsored by William Grant & Sons. Our host will be New York's own, Jen Marshall of Momentum, the brand agency for William Grant and former Beverage Director of Butter & Scotch. This all day field trip to MCU Park (Home of the Coney Island Cyclones) will include the bus ride, kickball, corn hole, cocktails and food. Monies raised goes towards disaster relief. 

Bartender Journey wants YOU to come with us so we are hosting an Instagram cocktail contest to kick off the holidays. Rules are as follows: 

  1. Follow the Bartender Journey on Instagram.
  2. Create a holiday (e.g. Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, etc.) cocktail featuring a William Grant & Sons brand.  
  3. Take a beauty pic and post on YOUR Instagram account with #bartenderjourneycocktail by Monday, October 30th, midnight EST. 
  4. We will reach out to you directly by November 1st to let you know that you've won and get your details to send you your ticket.
  5. Your cocktail will be featured as the Cocktail of the Week.


Further details will be available on the Bartender Journey site!


A few days left to enter the USBG Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition!


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Burlesque with Rosie151 plus Fruit Garnishes

October 11th, 2017

This week on the podcast we talk to Burlesque Dancer and Bartender Rosie. We caught up with Rosie a while back at Holiday Cocktail Lounge one night when she was behind the bar. Her stage name is Rosie 151.

It's the Bartender Journey Podcast Number 229!  Listen with the audio player on this page, or subscribe in Apple Podcasts, Android or Stitcher Radio.

First, let’s talk a bit about garnishes.

Cutting that fruit - It’s something we do everyday behind the bar, but nobody really talks about it!  I say - take some pride in that task!  You need a sharp knife to cut good looking garnishes.  I carry all my bar tools with me in a bag and I have 2 really sharp small paring knives in there. It makes cutting the fruit a pleasure. These knives are very inexpensive and a worthwhile investment.

The pith - the white parts of the fruit - are bitter and can impart a odd flavor after it sits in a drink for awhile.  Try to remove as much as possible.

Of course when cutting the lemons and oranges you want to remove as many seeds as possible.  What’s worse than getting a lemon seed in your mouth when you are sitting at a bar, trying to make conversation?

It takes a little longer, but what you end up with is some nice fresh looking fruit.

How about twists?  I love to do my twists a la minute’ or “to order”.  I use my y-peeler and get a nice long thick piece of zest with no pith and express those oils over my drink.  

A well done garnish gives a visual cue to your guest that this we put some attention and care into making that drink.   

Herbs are tough to keep fresh.  I’ve come up with this method for my mint, which does keep it pretty good looking for a while, but what I really want is a little garden just outside where I can cut mint right out of the ground more or less as I need it!  

ASAP after the mint is delivered, I cut off the very bottom of the stem like you would if you had flowers you were going to put in a vase, so that it will drink up as much water as possible.  Then place that bunch of mint in ice water, stem side down. Let it sit there around 20 minutes or so, but less time seems to be ok too.  The cold water “shocks” the herbs, “setting” the color.  Then drain the mint, but not bone dry. I’ll make small bundles that will fit nicely and fold the bottom of a paper towel over the cut stems then gently roll it all up so that the everything is covered. I’ll take my small bundles of wrapped herbs and put them in a resalable gallon plastic bag.

Every day or two I’ll change the paper towels, to keep it from getting mushy.

As for cherries and olives - well luxardo cherries are just awesome and impressive in your drink. The luxardo cherries are expensive, that’s for sure, so if you are using them, don’t forget to factor that into the price of your cocktail. 

In Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s great  The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique he says that he likes to remove the cherries from their liquid and store them in brandy.

As for olives, he removes them from the brine, which of course is saved for making Dirty Martninis and he store the olives in Dry Vermouth.

Book of the Week:
The Bar Book: Elements of Cocktail Technique by Jeffrey Morgenthaler

Cocktail of the Week
Brown Derby
This is a delicious cocktail.  I first had one at the Flatiron Lounge many years ago, it was a real ah-ha moment for me.  It was absolutely delicious … I had never had one before.  It just made me realize that a drink made with just 3 ingredients, if they are perfectly balanced and high quality ingredients to begin with is really what a perfect cocktail should be.  I add a small amount of lemon juice to the classic recipe, which “brightens it up” a bit.

  • 1 3/4 oz Bourbon
  • 1 oz Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • ¼ oz Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Honey Syrup (1:1 honey dissolved in hot water)
  • Shake.  Grapefruit twist.

Unrelated Podcast Suggestion of the Week
Brought to you by Sudio Headphones, makers of high quality Bluetooth headphones.
Use the coupon code “BartenderJourney” for 15% off and to show your support for this show.

  • Our Unrelated Podcast Suggestion of the Week is Jordan, Jessie, Go. They are trained in improv comedy and really know how to make funny out of nothing...which is a skill that is very helpful behind the bar.  So give those guys listen on your new Sudio Bluetooth headphones.
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Security In Your Bar In Dangerous Times. Love for Las Vegas.

October 4th, 2017

Security Plans  for your Bar.  


The tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas this week have people realing.  It was just an awful, disgusting act, but you don’t need me to tell you that.  We send our best wishes to those affected,directly and indirectly.  I would imagine among other repercussions that this will affect tourism  in Las Vegas for some time, and will hurt our brother and sister Bartenders and other Hospitality workers in the pocketbook.


This is not the place to discuss the event itself. One issue that we have never talked about on this show is security.   I am certainly no expert on this subject, but it needs to be discussed.


Bars, restaurants, music venues etc are so called “soft targets”.  They are vulnerable, large numbers of people gather there.  We saw this in the Paris attacks, in Orlando now Las Vegas.


Ideally every business should write a disaster plan.  There are security consultants that can help with this, or you can write something up yourself, and I’m going to give you a free tool that almost automates the process.


One easy and practically free thing every bar should have, but many don’t is a LOG.  Everyday at the end of a shift the manager or bartender or both should write in a log book.  Even if nothing unusual happened, write that!  This is really important for legal reasons, for example - if you have to cut somebody off, or there is a fight or whatever.  There needs to be documentation.  Some places will even include things like the weather or seemingly unrelated details, but they can become important in the future.   The reason to do old school hand written logs in a physical notebook, as opposed to Google Docs or some other computerized solution is that these notes thoreticly can’t be altered after the fact.  The book needs to have pages that are not easily removed, so it needs to have bound pages - a spiral notebook is no good.

Next we can talk about exits. In the Las Vegas attack many many of the injuries were attributed to people getting trampled or hurt while trying to climb walls and other things like that.

I was watching a lot of CNN, in the hours and days after the Las Vegas attack.  One expert pointed out that human nature dictates people will always try to get out the same way they came in.  As I’m sure you know, the Las Vegas shooting occurred at an outdoor venue.  There were 4 gates used for entering, but 3 other large exits on the opposite side.  As in an airplane always locate the exit nearest you, keeping in mind it may be behind you - or maybe the opposite way from where you came in.  I heard one security expert say, “when I enter a place I’m already trying to figure how to get out”.  In fact the advice from a US Government document that I’ll talk more about later, suggests finding the closest 2 exits.

Keeping this in mind, if there were ever an incident where you work and you had to evacuate your guests, you may need to direct them to exits they are not aware of, including possibly through the back of the house.

Here in the U.S. we have the Federal Government agency OSHA (the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and according to their officail web site “Almost every business is required to have an emergency action plan (EAP).” 

Luckily on their web site you can Create Your Own Emergency Action Plan (EAP).  This is the free tool I mentioned a minute ago, and of course we will have a link on BaretenderJourney.net

This is their description of an EAP:

“An emergency action plan (EAP) is usually a written document required by particular OSHA standards. For smaller organizations, the plan does not need to be written and may be communicated orally if there are 10 or fewer employees.  The purpose of an EAP is to facilitate and organize employer and employee actions during workplace emergencies. The elements of the plan must include, but are not limited to:

  • Means of reporting fires and other emergencies
  • Evacuation procedures and emergency escape route assignments
  • Procedures to be followed by employees who remain to operate critical plant operations before they evacuate
  • Procedures to account for all employees after an emergency evacuation has been completed
  • Rescue and medical duties for those employees who are to perform them
  • Names or job titles of persons who can be contacted for further information or explanation of duties under the plan”

It goes on to say that most small and medium-sized entities will get their basic plans from this system in 10 to 15 minutes.  There is no charge for this.  So that’s a great resource and of course we’ll have links in the show notes.

This is just the tip of the iceberg with this stuff.

I referenced a Federal Government document a few minutes ago.  Its from the Department of Homeland Security and its called “Active Shooter - How to Respond”.  The conventional wisdom in this situation is Run, Hide, Fight.  This document details that.  Also if you go to youtube and search for Run, Hide, Fight you’ll find a video that is definitely worth watching.

Back to the document - it says “Remember that customers and clients are likely to follow the lead of employees and managers during an active shooter situation”.

I’ll read through some of this, and of course link to it on BartenderJourney.net

So this is Run part.

If there is an accessible escape path, attempt to evacuate the premises. Be sure to:

  • Have an escape route and plan in mind
  • Evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow
  • Leave your belongings behind
  • Help others escape, if possible
  • Prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be
  • Keep your hands visible
  • Follow the instructions of any police officers
  • Do not attempt to move wounded people
  • Call 911 when you are safe


Hide Out:

If evacuation is not possible, find a place to hide where the active shooter is less likely

to find you.

Your hiding place should:

  • Be out of the active shooter’s view
  • Provide protection if shots are fired in your direction (i.e., an office with a closed

and locked door)

  • Not trap you or restrict your options for movement

To prevent an active shooter from entering your hiding place:

  • Lock the door
  • Blockade the door with heavy furniture

If the active shooter is nearby:

  • Lock the door
  • Silence your cell phone, and I’ll add consider turning off vibration too.  It takes a few steps and might be difficult to remember in a stressful situation.  In iOS 9 and above you can go to Settings/General/Accessibility/Vibration/Off.  You probably don’t want to shut the phone off completely because  you’ll want the option of communication, plus sometimes the phone makes a bunch of noise as it turns off...so just something to keep in mind.  Back to the list of “If the shooter is nearby”
  • Turn off any source of noise (i.e., radios, televisions)
  • Hide behind large items (i.e., cabinets, desk)
  • Remain quiet
  • Try to Remain calm
  • Dial 911, if possible, to alert police to the active shooter’s location
  • If you cannot speak, leave the line open and allow the dispatcher to listen.  

I’ll add that as I record this in October 2017 the ability of 911 operators to pinpoint the caller’s exact location seems to have vastly improved over the last 3 or 4 years.  In an article I read on a website called govtech.com the operator is get the location of the cell towers within seconds of a call coming in.  A 911 dispatch trainer named Matt Langley is quoted as saying “If a phone is Phase 2 compliant -- most newer phones are -- the phones have better capabilities in sending cell towers GPS coordinates”.  “Then, dispatchers communicate with that tower, which communicates with the phone”.  “The caller's location if found from the cell tower is shown on an online map in front of the dispatcher. Not all states or counties have that capability”

Back to the Homeland Security Document.  Last resort - Fight.

Take action against the active shooter

As a last resort, and only when your life is in imminent danger, attempt to

disrupt and/or incapacitate the active shooter by:

  • Acting as aggressively as possible against him/her
  • Throwing items and improvising weapons
  • Yelling
  • Committing to your action

Disclaimer:  Remember this is not me telling you to do this, its the US Federal Gov’t’s Department of Homeland Security.


When Law Enforsement Arrives

There is more on the document - I won’t read it all, but basicly raise your hands - these guys just got here, they don’t know what’s going on - we don’t want to put them in a situation where they have to make a split second decision resulting in a mistake.  Of course follow their commands.  Understand weird stuff could happen, like they could potentially throw you to the ground or something for your own safety.  Don’t get in their way by yelling or screaming at them for help, just quickly exit the same way they came in.

There are more recommendations for Preparing for and Managing an Active Shooter Situation.  I’ll let you read through them all, but the one that stuck out to me is to “activate the emergency notification system when an emergency situation occurs”.  Now in a small bar its going to be pretty obvious to all that something is going on, but imagine a Hotel or even large restaurant with multiple floors and a noisy kitchen in the back.  Something to think about.

Alright, last week I started a segment called “Unrelated Podcast Suggestion of the Week”.  Well we are changing it already.  This week its a related podcast and more than a suggestion I’m going to call this homework for you.  The podcast is Nightclub Security.  It looks like they only produced 21 episodes with the last one posted in 2014, but its a great show from the guys at Nightclub Security Consultants, who I met at the Nightclub & Bar Show a few years back.  In particular, I’d like to you listen to episodes 4 and 5  called 6 Important Tips to Manage a Major Violent Incident in Your Venue and Ep. 005 – How to Document a Major Incident in Your Venue respectively.

As the name implies, they do Security Consultancy as well as bouncer training both in California and online.  You can find them at nightclubsecurity.com

Our “Related Podcast Homework of the week” is brought to you by Sudio wireless bluetooth headphones.  Use the coupon code “BartenderJourney” for 15% off these great headphones at sudiosweden.com or use the link in the show notes.  These headphones sound great, look really sharp and are well made.  I’ve been wearing the over ear model constantly in bluetooth mode when listening to music and podcasts.  They come with an aux cord so you can plug them in if you want to, which if you think about it is a great feature, because if you are on a long trip and you exhaust the batteries you can plug them in and they will work until you get a chance to charge them again!  They have wireless in ear or earbud models too.  Check them out and remember to use coupon code “BartenderJourney” for 15% off and to show your support of this show.

Don’t forget to do your homework - I’ll be grading it!  Listen to the Nightclub Security Podcast Ep 4&5. 

We didn’t do a Cocktail of the Week, because after watching the news this week, I think I’ll just have a whiskey..neat.

Here’s our toast:

Here’s a health to everyone,

Peace on earth, and heaven won.

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Cocktail Culture - New Haven CT Edition.

September 27th, 2017

On this week’s Podcast, our good friend Hazel Alvarado who works with me on the show, journeys to New Haven, CT to check out their cocktail culture and chats with Dan Rek, Beverage Director for Fork Hospitality and Tim Cabral,one of the owners of New Haven’s oldest Tavern - The Ordinary.

I told you last week that I heard from the fine people at Johnnie Walker.  They are releasing just 39,000 bottles of Johnnie Walker Black The Director’s Cut in conjunction with the release of the film Blade Runner 2049, starring Harrison FordThe film is directed by  Denis Villeneuve who collaborated with Master Blender Jim Beveridge to create this wonderful variation on Johnnie Walker Black.  It’s absolutely delicious.  Smokey like the original, but a little richer, rounder and even a bit fruitier.  Its 49% ABV as opposed to the 40% of the original.  Johnnie Walker Black is a great scotch...a classic, and I really enjoy this riff on it.

It comes in a really interesting futuristic bottle.

The original Blade Runner Movie was based on the book by Philip K. Dick called:

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? So we’ll use that amusing name for our Cocktail of the Week!

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

  • 1 ½ oz Johnnie Walker Black Label The Director’s Cut, (or substitute Johnnie Walker Black Label)
  • ½ oz Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur
  • ½ oz Grilled Pineapple Juice (Juice from slices of Pineapple that have been grilled on each side for 3 mintues.)
  • ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Honey Syrup (1:1)
  • 1 Dash Fee Brothers Molasses Bitters (or substitute Angostura Aromatic Bitters).
  • Freshly Ground Nutmeg

Shake all ingredients except Nutmeg with ice.  Double strain into an Old Fashioned glass with one large ice cube.  Grate a small amount of Nutmeg on top.  Garnish with a wedge of grilled Pineapple, preferably skewered on a Hip-Stirrer Metal Robot Swizzle Cocktail Stirrer.


Industry news from Bar Institute:

“This unrelenting hurricane season has already caused unspeakable damage from Texas to the Caribbean. And, as our dear friends in Puerto Rico prepare for another very serious storm in Hurricane Maria, we have made the choice to postpone Bar Institute San Juan in the interest of everyone's safety and out of respect for the limited resources (including power, water and food) that are now available on the island. 

The new dates are 1/29-1/31 2018”.


Oct 23-25 – Portland, OR

Nov 13-16 – New York, NY

Jan 29-31 – San Juan, PR


We have posted last week on BartenderJourney.net about NY area industry events for hurricane relief. Look for the link under the show notes on the site for this episode.  If you are doing something too and would like to let us know about what your bar is doing to help, let us know on the contact page.


I think as a Bartender (or even an enthusiast who throws a lot of cocktail parties), being a great conversationalist is a great skill to have.  You need to have lots of stuff to talk about – knowing a little about a lot can help your conversation skills.    Podcasts are a great way to learn stuff – and you listen to podcasts!  I know that for a fact because you can hear me talking right now!

So I thought we’d try out a new segment called Unrealted Podcast Suggestion of the Week.


We’ll do a podcast suggestion that has nothing to do with Bartending, cocktails or spirits.

And since you listen to podcasts and most likely do a lot of that listening on headphones, our Unrealted Podcast Suggestion of the Week is brought to you by a great headphone company called Sudio.  They make great quality wireless Bluetooth headphones, which btw, if you are still using headphones that you physically have to plug into your phone you are nuts!  


These Sudio headphones sound great!  It’s a shame that over the last couple of decades we’ve been increasingly sacrificing sound quality for convenience. Sudio also has a wireless earbud style model.  And if you use my coupon code BARTENDERJOURNEY you can get 15% off any model.  Go to sudiosweden.com and make sure you use coupon code BARTENDERJOURNEY for 15% off and to show your support for Bartender Journey!


So our Unrealted Podcast Suggestion of the Week is Showcase from Radiotopia, a new podcast from Radiotopia featuring original series from emerging and leading radio producers around the world. The current series, Ways of Hearing, is a six-part series about listening in the digital age from acclaimed musician Damon Krukowski. It’s a really interesting and podcast about the transition from analog to digital. It’s a fascinating discussion and expertly produced and I hope you’ll enjoy it.  It’s a limited run series and all 6 episodes.  If you have a suggestion for Unrealted Podcast Suggestion of the Week I’d really love to hear it!  Send me an email at brian@bartenderjourney.net with “podcast suggestion” in the subject line.


Oh hey!  I was a guest on another podcast.  As you may know, I bartend at a Private Club.  I was recently featured on the podcast called Private Club Radio.  If you are interested in hearing me on another podcast, or if you happen to work in a Private Club, check out Private Club Radio.  We’ll have a link to my episode in the show notes on bartenderjourney.net.


If you are a Bar or Restaurant owner, this week on our resource page, we have a link to a couple articles about insurance.  Not the “sexiest” of topics, but definitely an important and necessary one. Learn about General Liability Insurance, Business Property Insurance and Workers Comp from Embroker Insurance.


We’ve also included the Northeast contact information for additional questions.

And here’s some legalese: The article posted is not an endorsement and is for information only; rules may vary by jurisdiction.


Oh boy, here we go again with TOTC drama.  If you remember, back in March 2017 there was a huge uproar in the Cocktail community about a picture Ann Tuennerman, founder of TOTC posted.  She repeated an insensitive remark made by her husband Paul Tuennerman, and in the photo, Ann was wearing blackface.  It’s an old Marti Gras tradition and I won’t get into the details, but I covered all this very thoroughly back in episode #203.  I’ll have a link with the show notes or search back in the feed for the episode called Diversity Awareness (& Some Turmoil) in the Cocktail World       


Shortly after all this happened, Paul stepped down from his position at TOTC. Tales formed a Diversity Council. Which according to their web site:  “This Council composed of professionals from across the industry and outside of the industry, will work towards implementing progressive initiatives and monitoring their progress over time. This process will be completely transparent, and each initiative will be documented and made viewable to the public”.   Paul didn’t attend Tales this year as far as I could tell and the 15th TOTC was awesome as always.  It was feeling like the healing was beginning.


Then last week, 9/22/17 the website Neat Pour broke the story that Paul would be returning to the organization.  Ann announced this to the Diversity Council in an email.  The Council was not consulted at all and in fact Diversity Council Co-chair Colin Asare-appiah publicly resigned his post immediately.   There was uproar and lots of posts on FB.  People were pissed off again.


Our friend Jackie Summers, member of USBG NY and proprietor of Sorel Artisinal Liqueur sits on the Diversity Council.   He posted a very detailed note late friday night/ saturday morning that begins “Time for some facts.  Hopefully this will add some clarity”.  I won’d read the entire post but it is clear that Paul’s reinstatement, just 7 months after the original incident was very disturbing to the Diversity Council as well as the community as a whole.   Later in Jackie’s post he says “While I consider whether or not to continue my own future involvement, my concern is that this sequence of actions may prove more divisive than the incident itself.”


 As I said, all this happened on Friday.


One day later, on Saturday evening  9/23/17 the following email


Tales of the Cocktail Co-Founders Step Down


“Co-Founders, Ann and Paul Tuennerman, will be transitioning away from their roles in producing the world’s renowned cocktail event, Tales of the Cocktail, effective immediately.


Melissa Young, who has served as Director of Operations for the past nine years will assume the reigns of the operating company behind the event, MOJO911, LLC, as President.”


The press release goes on with a quote from Ann:


"We have devoted our professional careers to the hospitality industry even before the formation of Tales of the Cocktail and the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society).  Our goal has always been to create something lasting that can benefit the industry and the people of New Orleans well beyond our years. This allows that to continue," said Ann R. Tuennerman.)


There is another quote from Paul, but no mention of the controversy or the timing of this decision.


“It has been an honor to spend the last fifteen years working within the industry to create something extraordinary. I am fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to work alongside some amazing bartenders, spirit producers, authors, and educators, from around the globe. While Ann and I have mixed emotions, we are excited about the next chapter in our lives, and look forward to watching the event continue to evolve and flourish,” said Paul G. Tuennerman.

So congrats and best of luck to Melissa Young.  She’s a super nice and smart lady and it will be very interesting to see what the future brings for TOTC as the baton is passed to the next generation!


Toast of the Week:

May we get what we want,

May we get what we need,

But may we never get what we deserve.


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Tasting Whiskey with Lew Bryson

September 14th, 2017

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Hospitality, plus More from Tales of the Cocktail 2017

September 7th, 2017

We are talking about Hospitality today, our book of the week is Setting the Table: The Transforming Power of Hospitality in Business.

  • Cocktail of the Week:
    Singapore Sling
    This is one of those drinks that everybody has heard of, but doesn’t get ordered very often and a lot of people have no idea what’s in it.
    I borrow this recipe from Tristan Stevenson’s Book The Curious Bartender: The artistry and alchemy of creating the perfect cocktail
    1 ¼ oz London Dry Gin
    2 oz Cherry Heeing Liqueur
    Barspoon of Benedictine
    ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
    2 dashes Aromatic Bitters
    Club Soda to top
    Build in a Highball glass (or sling glass). Stir with ice. Top with Club Soda. Lemon garnish.
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Warren Bobrow, Mezcal: At Suite Silenceo & House of Elyx

September 1st, 2017


Warren Bobrow, Mezcal: At Suite Silenceo & House of Elyx

  • We talk with our friend Warren Bobrow. We caught up with Warren at a pool party on the rooftop of Hotel Montelegone during Tales of the Cocktail 2017.
  • Also, we travel to Suite Silenceo and House of Elyx for two amazing Tales of the Cocktail events, and learn more about El Silenceo Mezcal and Absolute Elyx.
  • Take a listen to the Bartender Journey Podcast No. 224 with the audio player on this page, or on Apple Podcasts/ Google Play Music/ Stitcher Radio for a slice of the Tales experience!
  • A yearly Tales event that is just awesome every year and gets better all the time is the House of Elyx. Elxy is Absolute’s high end expression. We’ll talk with Jonas Tåhlin.
  • House of Elyx was also at a new location this year: Latrobe’s on Royal, (Royal Street that is).

At House of Elyx they serve drinks in unbelievable copper vessels. The first drink I was handed was the Silly Rabbit, and it was served in a life sized copper rabbit!

Cocktail of the Week:

Silly Rabbit 

1 ½ oz Absolut Elyx

½ oz Manzanilla sherry

½ oz Fresh pineapple cordial*

½ oz Freshly squeezed pineapple juice

¼ Freshly squeezed lime juice

2 oz Perrier Jouet champagne 

Vessel: Copper Rabbit

Garnish: None

Method: Shake all ingredients except Champagne in a cocktail shaker. Add Champagne. Strain into copper rabbit over cubed ice, cap with crushed ice.

  • The team was generous enough to share all the recipes of the cocktails served at House of Elyx this year and we have them for you below. The recipes and lots of professional photos from the event can also be found at BartenderJourney.net/elyx.

Book of the Week:

The Craft Cocktail Compendium: Contemporary Interpretations and Inspired Twists on Time-Honored Classics by Warren Bobrow. His original drinks are so, unique, original and fun.   In this book he also explores the classics.

A glass in the hand is worth two on the shelf.


Elyx House at TOTC 2017 cocktail specs


The Elyx Martini 

2 ½ oz Absolut Elyx

½ oz Lillet Blanc

Vessel: Cocktail coupe

Garnish: Lemon zest 

Method: Stir all ingredients over cubed ice in a mixing glass, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garish


Elyx Spritz

1 oz Absolut Elyx

1 oz Lillet Rose

Top Fevertree Elderflower tonic

Vessel: Highball glass

Garnish: Lemon wheel

Method: Build in highball glass over cubed ice, top with Elderflower Tonic, stir gently and garnish


Pimp My Mule

1 ½ oz Absolut Elyx

½ oz Fresh Raspberry Cordial*

½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice

Top Ginger Beer

Vessel: Copper mule cup

Garnish: Fresh raspberry and candied ginger

Method: Build over cubed ice in a copper mule cup and top with ginger beer. Cap with crushed ice and garnish


Cold Fashioned 

1 ½ oz Absolut Elyx

½ oz Oloroso Sherry

½ oz Cynar

½ oz Demerera syrup

1 oz Cold brew coffee

Vessel: Rocks glass

Garnish: Orange zest 

Method: Stir all ingredients over ice in a mixing glass. Strain over ice in a rocks glass and garnish  


Bloc Party 

(Compliments of Leo Robitschek)

1 oz Absolut Elyx

1 oz Cream sherry

1 oz Fino sherry

½ oz Yellow chartreuse

½ oz Red bell pepper juice

½ oz Freshly squeezed lime juice

¼ oz Fresh Vanilla Cordial*

¼ oz Fresh Passionfruit Puree

Vessel: Copper Squirrel

Garnish: None

Method: Shake all ingredients and strain into copper squirrel over cubed ice, cap with crushed ice and garnish


Fennel Countdown 

2 oz Absolut Elyx

¼ oz Suze

¾ oz Fresh Fennel Cordial*

2 oz Freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice

½ oz Freshly squeezed lime juice

Vessel: copper coupe

Garnish: grapefruit zest

Method: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, strain into a chilled cocktail coupe and garnish


Tangerine & Olive 

1 oz Absolut Elyx

1 oz Italian bitters 

1 oz Sweet vermouth

½ oz Freshly squeezed tangerine juice

1 oz Tonic water

1 dash Rhubarb bitters

Vessel: Rocks glass

Garnish: Dehydrated orange & green olive

Method: Stir all ingredients in a mixing glass, strain into a rocks glass over ice, top with tonic water and garnish


Silly Rabbit 

1 ½ oz Absolut Elyx

½ oz Manzanilla sherry

½ oz Fresh pineapple cordial*

½ oz Freshly squeezed pineapple juice

¼ Freshly squeezed lime juice

2 oz Perrier Jouet champagne 

Vessel: Copper Rabbit

Garnish: None

Method: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker, strain into copper rabbit over cubed ice, cap with crushed ice.



2 oz Absolut Elyx

1 oz Lillet blanc

4 oz Jasmine needle tea

1 oz Freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 oz Orange blossom & jasmine honey

½ oz Butterfly pea flower extract

Vessel: Rocks glass 

Garnish: No garnish

  • Method: Freeze in a slushy machine and serve
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Maker’s Mark with Jane Bowie

August 25th, 2017

This week, we continue our Tales of the Cocktail 2017 coverage. This is the 5th of 9 planned episodes about Tales 2017.


  • We will talk with Jane Bowie from Maker’s Mark. During Tales this year, I was invited to a Maker’s Mark event at Dicky Brennen’s Bourbon House. The Bourbon House had purchased a full barrel of Maker’s 46.
  •  Quoting from the invitation I received to the event, The Bourbon House is “the first in Louisiana to have created its very own Maker’s Mark® Private Select™. This is a first-of-its-kind barrel program that allows retail customers to customize their own personal Maker’s Mark by finishing fully-matured cask strength Maker’s Mark Bourbon in a single barrel made up of their custom selection of ten total oak staves, resulting in over 1,000 possible selections”.
  • Take a listen to Podcast No. 223 with the audio player on this page, or on Apple Podcasts/ Google Play Music/ Stitcher Radio for a slice of the Tales experience!


  • Patron is sponsoring an educational event.  It’s in Cleveland on September 12, 2017 at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center.  It’s a full day of education with Breakfast, Lunch and Happy Hour included and there is no cost to you! RSVP here.


  • BarSmarts Advanced will be conducting daylong sessions, providing education and hands on mixology instruction, plus testing and certification. Its taught by Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, Paul Pacult, Steve Olson, Doug Frost and Andy Seymour.  At the end of the day you do a practical exam where you prepare three drinks for one of these gentlemen, so you might be making drinks for Dale DeGroff or in my case David Wondrich.  To qualify you have to do the online course first.

Cocktail of the Week:

Maker’s Boulevardier

1.5 parts Maker’s Mark Bourbon

0.75 part Sweet Vermouth

0.75 part Campari or Aperol

Maraschino Cherry for garnish

Stir with ice, strain, garnish and serve.


Book of the Week:

The Alcohol Textbook by T.P. Lyons $299.95

Whisky: The Manual by Dave Broom $12.34

Let’s go to Dicky Brennen’s Bourbon House.

  • I toast you with a very special bottle that I have not tasted yet.  It is a Maker’s Mark Private Select.  “Exclusive Oak Stave Selection By Bill Samuels Jr.”  Hand written on the label it says “110.9 Proof/55.45 % Alcohol by Volume”. On the back it is hand signed by Bill Samuels Jr.  


Here’s to the bottle which holds a store
Of imprisoned joy and laughter!
Here’s to this bottle
Many more bottles,
And others to follow after.


Tasting Notes

Color:  Amber to Orange

Nose:  Strong alcohol right away. Chestnuts.  Stone Fruit - Plums, Fresh Cut Wood, (like a beautiful brand new Bar!)  Rugged Leather, Fresh Herb or Grass

Taste:  Toast.  Burnt Orange Peel.  Peach Pie.

Mouthfeel:  Luscious.  Silky.  Refined.

Finish:  Strong alcohol.  Carmel.  Toasted Oak.


Impressions:  Wonderful and sophisticated Bourbon.  Adding a little water makes this something I want to drink everyday! Too bad the bottle will run out eventually.


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Tales of the Cocktail 2017 - Continuing Coverage

August 16th, 2017

On the Bartender Journey Podcast this week, we continue our Tales of the Cocktail 2017 coverage. This is the 4th of 9 planned episodes about Tales 2017.

  • We will talk with 2 very interesting ladies:

    • Laura Bellucci – Lead Bartender at Sobu in New Orleans
    • Aisha Sharpe – Brand Ambassador VDKA 1600
  • Take a listen to Podcast No. 222 with the audio player on this page, or on Apple PodcastsGoogle Play MusicStitcher Radio for a slice of the Tales experience!

Cocktail of the Week:
Courtesy of Aisha Sharpe and VDKA 6100
Spicy Kiss

  • 2 oz VDKA 6100
  • 4 Chunks Watermelon
  • 1 slice Jalapeno Pepper, plus some for garnish
  • ½ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup

Muddle the Watermelon and Jalapeno. Add the remaining ingredients & ice. Shake and double strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Brian’s Note: Or try it as a tall drink, served over ice in a highball glass with some seltzer.

Book of the Week:
The Bloody Mary: The Lore and Legend of a Cocktail Classic, with Recipes for Brunch and Beyond

During Tales Absolute a Bloody Mary Bar and I met author Brian Bartels who is passionate about this Brunch Staple. The book is filled with variations on the timeless Bloody Mary, plus history and tips for setting up for a Brunch party. There are ideas for Infused vodkas, like Cilantro, Bacon, Shiitake and more. Great book for getting ideas about upping your Bloody Mary game!

At the Absolute Bloody Mary Bar there were four or so variations on the Bloody Mary. I choose a green one. There were tons of garnishes to choose from and customize your drink. There displayed them cleverly in hanging mason jars, with a little hand written chalk board behind each.

If want some great online Bartending education, check out the Mixology Certification Program from our friends at the Mixology Talk Podcast. Enter the code “BartenderJourney” for 20% this extreemly detailed on-line course.

Bartender Eductaion Opportunity:

If you are anywhere near Cleveland Ohio Patron is doing a Full Day class for you to learn about all Tequila. There is no cost to attend. You just need to RSVP and get yourself there on September 12, 2017. It will be held at the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center.
Suggestion: get yourself a room at the hotel. Enjoy yourself, learn a lot, and be safe!

Toast of the Week:

One sip of this will bathe the drooping spirits in delight beyond the bill of dreams.


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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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