All posts filed under “Bar Supplies

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All About Bitters for Your Bartenders

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TGIF!  As part of our Friday Cocktail series, we are taking a look at bitters.  Bitters are, simply, a liquid extraction of various elements, such as barks, spices, and fruit peels.  “Bitters are like the spice rack of the cocktail world,” says Ira Koplowitz of Bittercube.  They can be used to tone down the sweetness of simple syrups, juices and sweet liqueurs, as well as adding depth, aroma, and flavor to a variety of cocktails.  A touch of bitters is the perfect way to finish off a Manhattan, and chocolate  bitters can be used to create a chocolate manhattan.  Orange peel bitters can add a slightly fruity and complex element to bourbon cocktails.  Classic barrel bitters contain smokey elements which can create an extra element of whiskey type flavors.  

But don’t stop at brown liquor – bitters play well with virtually every alcohol in your liquor cabinet.    Gin is another classic pairing.  Use Gin, Lillet Blanc, and touch of violet bitters to create a light and classic cocktail – garnish with a  Luxardo cherry for an old school and sophisticated twist.  A classic Bloody Mary for brunch can be punched up with a touch of barrel bitters and Worcestershire Sauce.  Make a champagne cocktail using a sugar cube soaked in bitters for the base on top of bubbly for a lighter, lower alcohol bitter cocktail.  Chocolate and spicy bitters are also a great finish for a classic margarita recipe, and smoky Mezcal will benefit greatly from bitters also.

Sourcing bitters for your bar is also fun, but consider making your own.  If you have a decent mixologist on your staff, he or she can easily whip up house creations which will save you money and give you clout for your own ‘house made’ recipes.  Bitters made in house can also be customized to the exact recipes and bar menu that you’ve created also.  Get creative with this and up your cocktail game – sophisticated palates will thank you!

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Shaken or stirred? A quick guide to how to mix your favorite cocktails.

shaken not stirred

TGIF!  As part of our weekly cocktail series, we bring you some handy tips on mixed drink prep.  James Bond famously asked for a martini, ‘shaken, not stirred,’ but – we hate to report: 007 was incorrect.

A classic martini contains dry elements which do not need to be shaken to be combined.  In fact, a shaken martini (or manhattan) may end up with ice chips as it’s a very delicate mix of similarly weighted liquors which requires only a couple brisk stirs and a strain in order to mix effectively.

So what’s the point of a shaken cocktail?  Anything with heavier elements, such as fruit (or a flip egg white cocktail) requires a vigorous shaking in order to combine the elements in the drink properly.  So shake up your daiquiri, your margarita, your cosmo, or any other cocktail which has thick, heavy ingredients which will require vigorous movement in order to meld them properly.

Delicately stir your full liquor cocktails – particularly those with gin or whiskey, as it is said that shaking can ‘bruise’ the liquor.  Below is a recipe for a classic stirred and a classic shaken cocktail to get you started.  Happy bartending!

Negroni 

1.5 oz sweet vermouth | 1.5 oz Campari | 1.5 oz gin | Orange twist to garnish

Combine all ingredients, minus the garnish over ice in a cocktail shaker, stir several times, strain into a chilled highball, garnish and serve.

Mai Tai

1 oz light rum | 1 oz dark rum | 1 oz fresh lime juice | .5 oz Orange Curacao | .5 oz Orgeat syrup | .25 oz simple syrup | mint sprig garnish

Pour all ingredients, except for the garnish, into a large cocktail shaker filled with two cups of crushed ice.  Shake vigorously to combine, pour without straining into a highball glass, garnish and serve.

 

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Brunch Tips – How to Create the Perfect Spread

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Pictured: brunch at Avert Brasserie

It’s Mother’s Day – the perfect day for brunch.  Fun, relaxed, and usually involving an adult beverage (or two!) brunch is a Sunday favorite.  Here are some tips on creating the perfect spread:

For a buffet style brunch: fresh and simple is best!  A raw bar, like the one pictured above, is a really lovely touch, but make sure you have the proper ice and refresh the spread often to keep things fresh and cold.  Including an assortment of jams, jellies, and spreads to go with your pastries is also a nice touch.  Another buffet tip – a Bloody Mary bar is a fun and interactive talking point to anchor your brunch spread!

For a full menu brunch: a variety of choices is best to please your guests.  Choose some sweet, some savory, and some traditional lunch items (sandwiches, cheeseburgers, etc) to make sure everyone can get what they want!  Eggs benedict is an easy favorite and can be dressed up with a variety of proteins from ham to duck breast.  Don’t forget to keep some items vegetarian/gluten free as brunch can be heavy on the carbs and bacon for those with dietary restrictions.  And finally, add sides!  Fun to share (and an easy upset for the servers) some small, shareable plates such as a grapefruit brûlée or fried brussels sprouts will elevate your brunch game.

For the drinks: Mimosas are classic, but why stop there?  Classic champagne cocktails can be fun and innovative.  Bloody marys can be extreme when they are loaded with different ingredients.  Particularly for Italian restaurants, don’t forget a selection of classic, seasonal bellinis utilizing different fruit purees.  Finally, offer some non-alcoholic beverage options: classic cappucinos and fresh pressed juices are easy, classic crowd pleasers.

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Launch of the First Craft Beer Summit

One of the best ways to improve your skills is to learn from someone else. As a bartender, you’ve sometimes got your hand into the undercounter ice machine for hours a day and don’t have time to learn more about the trade and how to make the perfect drink.

That’s how the online Craft Bartender Summit was born. The event offers online training for those who aren’t able to get away to go join a seminar. “For years we’ve heard bartenders say they want to attend educational seminars but can’t get their shifts covered or afford the cost of travel,” says the host of the summit.

The summit, held in April, will allow bartenders to practice their skills. “The presentations and seminars will focus on skills and challenges craft bartenders encounter behind the bar, such as craft techniques, business skills, product knowledge, and careers beyond the bar.” It should be very educational for all.

Bartenders will still have their hands in the undercounter ice machines, but they will be learning things which are valuable to increasing the bottom line in bars around the world.

To get to the free summit and to register, take a look at www.craftbartendersummit.com. Who’s planning on watching?

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Beer Cafes Cause Licensure Problems

Many factors play into opening a restaurant that serves liquor to its patrons, and we’re not just talking about having a working Scotsman ice machine. There is also the licensure that is required by civil authorities. In one Pennsylvania county, it’s getting harder to get a license because there are more players on the field.

You see, there are some supermarkets out there who want to open beer cafes in their grocery stores. Patrons can come in, do a little shopping, and then have a beer or two to relax before walking around a little more. Unfortunately, there are a finite number of licenses available.

This, means that the liquor licenses have to be auctioned off and the price is going higher and higher. When the new grocery cafes entered the game, the price of liquor licenses shot up at least $75,000. Because of that finite number and the distribution, prices are going up all around.

What can happen, though, is that bars who are no longer using their liquor licenses can auction them off to the highest bidder. In reality, the state doesn’t care who gets the license, as long as those who are operating have one. It becomes an amazing hurdle to overcome for those who want to serve liquor and beer.

Do you think that the number of licenses should be limited, or do you think that anyone who applies for one should receive one? Let us know in the comments.