TUCK Room with Adam Seger

March 21st, 2018

Today we talk with Adam Seger, Chef Bartender/Corporate Sommelier at iPic Theaters and TUCK Hospitality Group.  Upstairs from the iPic Theater at South Street Seaport is the Tuck Room. Adam invited Hazel and myself in to the secret room behind the sliding bookshelf.  


Among other things, Adam and I will talk talk about cocktails on draft.  Also, a little bit about wine knowledge for Bartenders.


Book of the Week:

Adam Seger recommends Kevin Zraly’s Windows on the World Complete Wine Course.  You’ll hear him talk about it in the interview, so we’ll make that our book of the week.  


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I went to an interesting seminar this week.  Dale DeGroff gave the talk called I’ll Take Manhattan.  It was sponsored by Woodford Reserve. Dale used the Woodford Reserve Rye to make a batch of Manhattan’s, but without bitters.  We each had 5 small portions of the Manhattan in front of us, and 5 small cups of 5 different bitters. We went through and smelled each of the bitters and added a couple drops of each to our Manhattan’s.  Then we tasted through them all and talked about what we all smelled and tasted. You’d be amazed how different each of these tasted! The Angostura Aromatic bitters were first, and actually, of the five, they were the least bitter, which interestingly made that Manhattan seem to be the sweetest.  Just as sour balances the sweet in a Daiquiri or Margarita, bitter works in a similar manner.


Dale’s point in all this was to show you don’t have to use a lot of ingredients or obscure ingredients; just put the right ingredients in your cocktial.


Cocktail of the Week:

Manhattan experiment.  


Try this experiment:  Make a batch of Manhattans with no bitters - you can do 2:1 whiskey of your choice, use 2 parts of that Woodford Reserve Rye or other whiskey.  

1 part red vermouth.  

(Or you can do as Dale did for us:  4 parts Rye, 1.5 part Dolin red vermouth and .75 Dolin white vermouth).


Stir with ice until very cold.  Then strain it into 4 glasses. Add one type of bitters to the first 2, and a different to the second 2.  Then do 2 different garnishes. Cherry and Orange twists are the most popular. I happen to love my Manhattan with a lemon twist.  Of course expressing the oils from the citrus is key. Using a Y-peeler is the best way to make a twist where you can express the oils really well over the top of the drink.  


Use the Y-peeler to cut your twist.  Myself and many other bartenders cut twists to order for freshness.  Put it between your thumb and index finger and pinch it slowly to spray the oils into the drink.  If you want a fun party trick - hold a match or lighter and express the oils through the flame. It flares up for a second like a magic trick.  If you do this over your drink it will of course give a different flavor. Dale DeGroff revived that trick in the 1980’s when he was running the bar program at the Rainbow Room.  It was reportedly invented by bartender Pepe Ruiz in Beverly Hills for the Flame of Love cocktail created for Dean Martin.


The point of all this is to show how one small change to a cocktail can make a big difference.  I think it also points out just how important every single ingredient is to the final drink.


Toast of the Week:


Don’t walk in front of me,

I may not follow.

Don’t walk behind me

I may not lead.

Walk beside me

And just be my friend.


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