Bar Convent Brooklyn - Part 2

July 11th, 2018

Bar Convent Brooklyn Part 2!

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Bar Convent Brooklyn - Part 1

June 20th, 2018

We are live from the Bar Convent Brooklyn conference!  Adventures and a talk with our freind Vance Henderson from Monkey Shoulder!

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The Martini

June 6th, 2018

The Martini

“Martini, shake or stir”. Here’s my take on that.

James Bond ordered his Martini’s Shaken not Stirred because that is the EXCEPTION to the rule. If he had ordered just a “Martini”, it would have been stirred because that is the classic recipe.

If the guest requests it there is nothing wrong with shaking this drink, but you will never see a decent cocktail book that suggests you to shake a Martini.

The general rule is, if it has only spirits in it, you stir. If it has any type of juice in it, it is shaken.

When stirring a drink you are trying to chill it and also add water to it, or “dilute” it as we say. Try taking some gin and vermouth, put it in a bottle and put it in the freezer. Don’t stir (or shake) it with ice. That’s not a Martini. It will be too strong and it will not taste very good.

When stirring a drink with ice we are looking for a silky texture, which is desirable in a Martini or Manhattan style cocktail. When shaking a drink, like say a Margarita, you are looking to make a bright drink with some air bubbles introduced.

How long do you stir? I was at an event recently and in the swag bag was a bar spoon with a thermometer on the top. It was in Celsius so I was looking to get to about 0 degrees or a little colder. What I discovered was that I wasn’t stirring long enough.

You noticed I said “0 degrees or a little colder”. Interestingly enough, through some science that I may never understand, you can actually make the drink a little colder than the ice!

Dave Arnold, the upmost authority on the science of drink making, talks about that in his great book Liquid Intelligence. Tristan Stevenson also mentions it in his book The Curious Bartender. He and I talked about it when I interviewed him back in episode #122.

Dave Arnold’s Liquid Intelligence will be our book of the week. This book is highly recommended and a great resource. Dave is famous for using scientific equipment like rotovaps and centrifuges. I went a long time without reading this book, because I though “I’ll never have a centrifuge”, but he took what he learned using this equipment and uses it to teach interesting techniques and stuff you might not have though of otherwise.

In the book he also talks a lot about the effects of stirring and shaking. Interestingly enough, when stirring or shaking a drink, eventually equilibrium is reached and it wont cool anymore or dilute anymore. It will of course eventually start to warm up and the ice will start to melt, adding more dilution, but it can only get so cold.

This is helpful to know for a couple reasons, one of which is to keep in mind when building a large round of drinks. For instance if a Martini is the order, you might want to add the ingredients to your mixing cup, add the ice, but stir later. Or you can stir and let it sit there with the ice still in the cup while working on the rest of the round, then strain at the last moment. According to Dave Arnolds experiments, there won’t be much difference.

Does the size of the ice matter when shaking or stirring? It seems like the answer is, “not really” although that could be an entire podcast to itself. As a general rule it seems that once proper temperature is reached the dilution will be correct, no matter the size of the ice, although the one exception would be crushed or shaved ice.

The Martini is our cocktail of the week. What’s the best way to make it? The way your guest wants it! Ask a lot of questions when somebody orders one.

The history of the Martini is difficult to trace. David Wondrich, the ultimate cocktail historian will tell you so, and in fact does just that in his great book Imbibe!

In the late 1800’s the drink was usually made with Old Tom Gin, which is sweetened. Sometimes gum syrup was added. The “Dry Martini” appeared around the turn of the century, but it wasn’t dry in the sense that we think of it today. In fact one recipe published around that time period had a 1:1 ratio of Gin to Dry (or “French”) Vermouth.   The Gin was changed to a London Dry style gin or Plymouth Gin which is also not sweet at all.

Back in the day, Orange Bitters were always added, which is a really interesting addition to a Martini. Give it a try! I wouldn’t force it on an unsuspecting guest, but try it yourself, see what you think, and maybe suggest it to an adventurous customer.

Back to the amount of vermouth. I think the average consumer expects very little vermouth in their Martini, although it is becoming popular in Cocktail Bars to have a 1:1 Martini on the menu. It’s a wonderful drink this way, with the orange bitters and a lemon twist, but of course you need to have a quality vermouth that has been taken care of properly and is not too old. Please store your vermouth in the cooler! Write the day you opened it on the back label of the bottle. Ideally you don’t want to keep it more than a month after opening. At 2 months, throw it out! I use Vacuvin wine stoppers in my open Vermouth bottles. This is a very inexpensive item – about $12 – that pumps the air out of open wine bottles to help preserve it. They are perfect for Vermouth and other fortified wines as well.

Next thing to talk about is the glass. Those giant bird bath or “Steakhouse” martini glasses are ridiculous. Believe me I know. I Bartender at a Private Club, we use them. The Members expect nothing less. Those stupid things hold 8 oz if you fill it to the very top, which people seem to expect! That’s not one drink! That’s 4 drinks!

So what kind of glass is good? You often here me talk about a chilled coupe glass, which is ideal for a Martini.   For anyone who might not be familiar – it’s the old fashioned champagne glass that’s like a saucer or bowl with a stem.

Ideally we want the glass chilled in the freezer until the last minute, but if you don’t have a cooler to keep your glasses in, of course you can chill it with ice and water. Before you start making the drink, pack the glass with as much ice as you can fit and fill to the top with water.

For garnish, olives are traditional. If the guest doesn’t specify, its olives. One big or 3 small on a cocktail pic.   Always an odd number, an even number is bad luck. Ha. I don’t know why, but it is. I asked David Wondrich about this one time and he said “it’s a tradition and if you choose to perpetuate it, you should.” I said “I do! I do choose to perpetuate it!”

A lemon twist is my favorite. The best twists are made with a y-peeler. Then hold the twist over the drink and using both hands put it between your thumbs and index fingers and start to sort of fold it in half lengthwise. This expresses the oils from the drink into the glass. Its awesome. Personally, I actually like my Manhattan this way too.

So the Martini – seems like a simple drink on the surface, but there are some things to consider.

Dave Arnold, Don Lee and Greg Boehm, who founded Cocktail Kingdom, are opening a new bar in Manhattan. It should be opening any day now…that should be really interesting. Don Lee is a super smart dude and Dave really knows his stuff. Greg is a very interesting guy too. One innovation that I read about at this new spot is: those in a hurry can buy bottled cocktails from vending machines with a $15 token. I can’t wait to check this place out.

Your can still apply for Bar methods for the August 2018 session. I’m recording this on June 6, 2018 and applications are still open for a few more days. I did this course back in 2016 and trust me, you wont regret it. Its 3 days of education in Manhattan, with happy hours and dinners and parties. You stay in the awesome Park South Hotel and the price is extremely reasonable. Trust me. Apply at

Another great educational opportunity - BarSmarts Advanced is coming to Philadelphia on September 26. This is a full day of education for the likes of Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, Paul Pacul, the list goes on. For this you need to do the BarSmarts online course first. Check that out at

There are a few more sessions of CITC for this year with Gary gaz Regan. Not sure if he has any room left, but that is a wonderful experience. You can find out about that at

I’ve done all three of these educational experiences. I get nothing for telling you about them, but I just want you to know about them, because they are all amazing (and affordable).

I missed a few podcasts in the last few weeks. I have a lot on my plate right now family wise, I wont go into the details, but if you are interested you can scroll back in the feed to the show called “Real Talk From Bartender Journey”. It looks like things are starting to get better, so hopefully we’ll be back on track soon.

I am definitely going to Tales of the Cocktail this year – the trip is already booked, so I’ll have lots of great stuff for you from there as well.

Please follow me on IG. @ Bartender Journey

Here’s our toast:

May the chicken never be hatched that will scratch your grave.





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The Bowery Collective with Water Easterbrook

May 10th, 2018

Listen to the Bartender Journey Podcast # 253 with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts,  Android or Stitcher Radio.

This week on the show we talk with Walter Easterbrook who runs the Bowery Collective and is NY Brand Ambassador for Woodford Reserve.

This show is also generously sponsored by The Bowery Collective.

The Bowery Collective's yearly Arte Agave festival is coming up on June 29, 2018 at the Bowery Hotel in Manhattan.

Arte Agave is a unique celebración of fine agave spirits + arts + entertainment inspired by the richness of Latino culture.
Click for tickets.

Walter has been also running the Beyond the Bar series which helps Bartenders to advance their careers and move on to other opportunities if they wish.  If you'd like to get involved with future Beyond the Bar events, contact the Bowery Collective.

Every year at Tales of the Cocktail there is a big awards ceremony called the Spirited Awards.  This year they have added a new category for Best Video, Broadcast or Podcast.  Please help out by nominating Bartender Journey for this category.  Everything you need to know about how to do this is on this page.

Cocktail of the Week:
Brown Derby

This drink is named for a Hat Shaped restaurant that was once in Los Angeles called the Brown Derby.

The classic recipe is:
2 oz Bourbon, I’ll use Woodford Reserve today.
1 oz Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup – 1:1 ratio Honey dissolved in hot water – its best to measure by weight, not volume.
Shake with ice.  Strain into a chilled coup glass.

Brian’s altered recipe:
2 oz Woodford Reserve Bourbon
¾ oz Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
¼ oz Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
1/2 oz Honey Syrup
¼ oz of an olo sacrum syrup made with the rinds of the Grapefruit, (recipe below)

Take the rinds of the Grapefruit before you squeeze it – peel it with a y-peeler or vegetable peeler.  Put in a zip lock bag and add some white sugar.  Mix.  Seal the bag, removing as much of the air as you can.  Let that sit for at least an hour at room temperature.  Add a little warm water to dissolve the sugar mixture and strain it.

Book of the Week:

Bourbon Curious by Fred Minnick.  The sub title is “A simple tasting guild for the savvy drinker”.

We want to thank the Bowery Collective again for sponsoring the show. 

If you are in the New York area, definitely check out their events, like Arte Agave on Friday, June 29th 2018 at the Bowery Hotel.  Go to and click on the Events tab to see all the events.

As it says on the on the Bowery Collective’s web site “we create meaningful experiences.  If need help organizing a cool event, get in touch with Walter.  There is a contact button on

Make everyday a Masterpiece.

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Bacardi Legacy, BCB, Bar Methods

May 3rd, 2018

Listen to the Bartender Journey Podcast # 251 with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts,  Android or Stitcher Radio.

This time on the podcast we talk with Bacardi Legacy Global Finalist Moe Isaza. Bacardi Legacy is one of top 2 or 3 most prestigious cocktail competitions in the world.

Also, coming up is Bar Convent Brooklyn. This is an industry conference and is the first time it is being held in The U.S. It is an offspring of Bar Convent Berlin. We speak with Paula November who tells us all about it.

We also want to let you know about an amazing educational opportunity. Bar Methods is run by friends Chris Bidmead and Suzanne Freedman - they do an amazing job.  Its held at the Park South Hotel in Manhattan this year the dates are August 26-29, 2018.   Applications are now open. You can register at

Book of the Week:

Bay Area Cocktails: A History of Culture, Community and Craft by Shanna Farrell. It’s an interesting read about the rebirth of Cocktail Culture. Obviously it focuses the San Francisco area, but it talks about the recent history of the craft cocktail movement

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Beautiful Booze

April 26th, 2018

This week on the show we talk to Natalie from Beautiful Booze. She travels the world taking amazing photos of her boozy adventures.   She talks to us from Italy.

We’ll talk about cocktail photography and also hear about how she travels full time.

Listen to the Bartender Journey Podcast # 251 with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts,  Android or Stitcher Radio.

Check out Beautiful Booze on all social media and the web site:

Cocktail of the Week:

I was inspired by a post on Natalie’s Beautiful Booze web site. She did a Burnt Citrus Margarita.

I had a bag of Mandarin Oranges so I thought I’d grill a couple of those and juice them. I just cut them in half and sprinkled a little turbinado sugar and grilled them on the BBQ for a few minutes. I also made some Mandarin Orange round slices for garnish and grilled them as well.

Grilled Mandarin Margarita:

  • 2 oz Reposado Tequila
  • 1/2 oz Grand Marnier
  • 1 oz Grilled Mandarin Orange Juice
  • 1 oz of freshly squeezed lime juice.
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 2 Dashes Orange Bitters
  • Black Lava Sea Salt for rimming glasses
  • Grilled Mandarin Orange Round for garnish

    Rim outside of glasses with Sea Salt, leaving a portion of the glass unrimmed. Shake all liquid ingredients with ice. Add fresh ice to rimmed glasses. Strain drink into prepared glasses. Garnish with Orange Round.

Book of the Week:

Drinking Distilled – A User’s Manual by Jeffrey Morgenthaler.

Mr. Morgenthaler’s new book Drinking Distilled – A User’s Manual is, as it says in the title it’s a USER’S Manual. It’s mostly about how to drink like a grown up. There are sections on what to drink when, and for what occasions, how to act in a bar, (should you use your phone at a bar, is it ok send someone a drink at a bar?)

You may have heard me recommend his first book The Bar Book. It is the first book I recommend when someone asks me for a “learn how to Bartender book”. Not just recipes – it’s a manual of how to Bartend.

Jeffrey Morgenthaler was our guest on Bartender Journey on podcast #113

If this show has helped you out, entertained you, informed you, please consider supporting Bartender Journey with a small monthly pledge to our Patreon Campaign.  For the price of a Frappuccino each month you can show your support for this show and help keep it going.

Please follow Bartender Journey on Instagram @BartenderJourney.

Toast of the Week:

To the thirst yet to come.

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Blast from the Past! The Return of Vano!

April 18th, 2018

On Bartender Journey Podcast episode #250 we are honored to welcome back former co-host of the show: Vano!

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Imbible with Micah LaMon

April 11th, 2018

Micah LaMon is our guest this week.

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Social Media & Marketing for Bars and Restaurants

April 4th, 2018

Today on the show we talk to Michael DelRosso.

Owner/Creative Director of Union Square Advertising which does Advertising, marketing, printing and social media strictly for the hospitality industry.

He has some great insights for us about Social Media for Bars and Restaurants.  You’ll definitely want to hear what he has to say.


We have TWO original cocktails for you this time, which were so generously given to us by fellow USBG (United Bartender’s Guild NYC members).

For the two orginal cocktail recipes, plus lots more info see the show notes for this episode here.

    Book of the Week:
Social Media: Marketing Strategies for Rapid Growth Using: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube

This book teaches you the strategies of using the social media to improve the income of your business, with clear concepts.  It covers the major Social Networks and can help you if you are trying to do social media for your business yourself.

If this show has helped you out, entertained you, informed you, please consider supporting Bartender Journey with a small monthly pledge to our Patreon Campaign.

Please follow Bartender Journey on Instagram @BartenderJourney

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Ouzo and Grappa

March 29th, 2018


  • Today on the show we talk Ilias Mastroganis, who makes Mastroganis Ouzo and Grappa out in Washington State.


  • Book of the Week:

Road Soda Recipes and Techniques for Making Great Drinks Anywhere by our friend Kara Newman. This is a fun little book about making drinks in Planes, Trains and Hotel Rooms, or wherever you might be.

  • Every year TOTC runs a competition to determine the official drink of the year for Tales. There is a cash price. They award the prize at the yearly Toast to Tales which is the official kick off of the event. This year the theme is the French 75. Enter here.
  • Our sponsor this week is Shaker and Spoon cocktail club. They’ll send you a box of great ingredients every month – enough to make 4 portions each of 3 great craft cocktails. You just need to pick up one bottle of whatever spirit is called for that month. These are all original recipes sourced from awesome bartenders all around the US like our friend Cocktail Guru Jonathan Pogash, Souther Teige, Pam Wiz and lots more.

The next box is the Rum Wild box. Order by March 31 and you can get in on this. If you use the coupon code “Bartender” you’ll save $20! If you don’t get your order in on time, don’t worry, shaker and spoon will be doing another box next month! It’s a great way to open your cocktail making horizons.

Each box comes with all the syrups, bitters, garnishes, mixers, citrus you need to make some delicious craft cocktails. Plus you get recipe cards for each drink.

The boxes are put together by Mike and Anna in Brooklyn and shipped out to you monthly. You can always skip a box if you prefer.   Go over to – there are lots of great how-to videos to check out there and I hope you’ll sign up for Shaker and Spoon cocktail club and save $20 and show your support for this show by using the coupon code “Bartender”!


I went to a couple interesting events this week put on by our friend Walter Easterbrook and sponsored by Woodford Reserve. It was called Beyond the Bar. There was a life coach - Tom Summers, a really smart business woman named Natalie Freihon and Lynnette Marrero.

Walter is going to continue this series with small sessions of 10-12 bartenders where they will have interaction with the top professionals

- Finance

-Personal branding

- PR media 
-Wellness and more

If you are in the NY area and want to get in on this, let me know and I’ll get you hooked up. Shoot me an email at


Besides being the Woodford Reserve brand ambassador, Walter has a company called the Bowery Collective. One of the Bowery Collecitve’s biggest event of the year is Arte Agave. But in the meantime, put this date on your calendar if you are or can be in the NY Area Friday June 16. It’s a very cool event held at the beautiful Bowery Hotel in Manhattan. Its a Unique celebration of fine agave spirits and Arts and Entertainment, inspired by the richness of Latino Culture”.

  • Cocktail of the Week:

El Diablo

1½ oz. reposado tequila
½ oz. crème de cassis
½ oz. fresh lime juice
2–3 oz. ginger beer

If this show has helped you out, entertained you, informed you, please consider supporting Bartender Journey with a small monthly pledge to our Patreon Campaign.

Please follow Bartender Journey on Instagram @BartenderJourney

Toast of the Week:

Laugh and the world laughs with you.

Weep and the world laughs at you.

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