Daiquiri

The Perfect Daiquiri

 

At best bet i would say that there is only a handful of real bartenders left in the world.Now what i mean by that is a bartender who understands the concepts that are involved in making a simple drink well. It's an art form and is forgotten by many early on. One of those skills is making the perfect Daiquiri.

I read an article today by one of the chief drinks writers at esquire magazine, in which the guy in question as taken to having the recipe to a simple Daiquiri printed on the back to give to bartenders to get it the way he wants. All because he believes, as i do, that simple is better. so next time you are in a bar and ask for a Daiquiri and the bartender replies by asking whether or not you want that frozen or not and how much raspberry do you want in it, you have my permission to look them straight in the eye insult their mother and walk away before it becomes too much for you.

Remember young bartender...

Simple is better. Learn this unwritten rule right now and it will help you ten-fold when you progress.  

 

First we will have a look at the origin of the Daiquiri because it would be rude not to respect it.

Please note that many people have laid claim to inventing the Daiquiri from Cuban bar men to  American miners, but as always its the ingredients that deserve the praise. Rum and Citrus as had a long standing pairing since well before pesky settlers inhabited the foreign lands.

 

Cuba has a very complex past. Most of us only know of it as a Cold War foe of the United States, a very foreign country only a hundred miles away. It has been that way since Castro took power in the late 1950’s. First discovered by Christopher Columbus and claimed for Spain, this small island has been coveted by other countries for its entire history. It has a temperate climate, making it great for growing crops, and a location that was excellent for a stopping point after several months at sea. Spain was the primary owner of the island through most of its history, but it was not without a fight. The rich land attracted pirates and privateers from Britain and France to steal what treasures they could from Spanish ships. Once Spain allowed some flexibility in the colony’s trade, the floodgates opened and money came pouring into the coffers. They were filled primarily by two different crops; tobacco and sugar. Tobacco was very easy to process. Sugar was not. There was a complex system used to create sugar crystals, and the leftover molasses was a sticky mess to discard. This sets the backdrop for the creation of one of the finest cocktails in modern history: the Daiquiri.

During the turbulent struggle for naval supremacy, Spain and England traded blows around the edges of South America, the Caribbean, and anywhere there was water and unclaimed territory. Both sides used whatever means possible, including pirates and privateers, to gain an advantage in the resource rich Americas. The British were struggling to expand their foothold in the Americas; Spain was struggling to maintain the land they had, and the resources it was providing the ailing empire. The British were also struggling to stay sober on the seas. The sailors were provided a gallon of beer a day through a law passed in the 17th century. Due to the massive amount of beer they had to supply to a military force 4,500 miles away, a pint of rum was considered a fair substitute. It was easier to get, but far more potent. It was not until 1740 that someone was able to sober up the navy. Admiral Edward “Old Grog” Vernon ordered that the rum ration be mixed with water and citrus juice (usually limes) to dilute the potent spirit. This gave the English the edge of fighting a little more sober, and healthier. It also is one of the earliest known instances of the combination of lime juice, water, and rum, the base of what would become a Daiquiri.

Spain survived the encounters with Britain and held on to many of its American acquisitions for over a century, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, and other islands a little too close to home for us. It did not sit well with a United States eager to enforce the Monroe Doctrine, asking European powers to kindly stay on their own side of the world. The biggest of the conflicts caused by this was the Spanish-American War, and Cuba had a starring role to play. They were seeking independence from Spain, and Colonel Theodore Roosevelt advocated helping them achieve it. The U.S. landed troops on a beach named Daiquiri, just a short distance away from an iron mine in Santiago. This “splendid little war” allowed the United States to occupy Cuba and do what Spain had done for centuries before; profit from the vast resources of the island.

One of the people making a healthy profit was Jennings Cox. He was one of the first iron miners on the island once it was safe, and generally credited with creating the original Daiquiri. The story goes that while he was entertaining guests one night, he ran out of the gin everyone was enjoying. He went out and purchased the easiest liquor he could find, which was rum. Adding lemons, sugar, mineral water, and ice to the rum, he turned it into a punch for his guests. They loved it, and wanted to know what the name of it was. He did not have a name for it; it should have been called a rum sour according to the conventions of the day. Cox did not feel that was good enough for such a fine drink, so he named it for the nearby beach and called it Daiquiri.

 

So Daiquiri was a mistake i can hear you shouting. No not a mistake, the drink already existed its just this fat cat stumbled upon it by mistake. Nevertheless, we can credit Mr Jennings Cox for bringing it to the rich palate.

 

The Recipe - Taken from Difford's Guide (the best i have ever tasted) 

Daiquiri black back ground

75 ml of a  good quality white rum. 

22 ml of freshly squeezed lime juice - see tip below

15 ml Sugar syrup

15 ml chilled water (omit if wet ice) 

2 slice of lime peel

 

The bitterness of the lime zests are the key in this drink. so peel the lime before squeezing to get your juice then take from the whole peel two slices of the lime zest and add it to a Boston glass with all the ingredients and shake. Fine strain into a chilled martini glass. and there you are, the best, the boldest and the more importantly the simplest.

Read, Drink and Be Inspired


Flair

The Need For Speed

 

Two of the most frequently asked questions that I am asked as a bar trainer is What makes a good bartender? And how can I become a better bartender? Suggestions for the first have included personality, confidence and sense of humour - all well and good but I can't see managers holding a personality training session can you? In fact there are four basic skills groups a bartender must practice and master. Firstly knowledge of products, recipes and the tools needed; secondly the ability to make good drinks at speed; thirdly to make the drinks with a defined style; and finally to be aware of the etiquette of drinks, drinking and service. The answer to the second question above lies in the answer to the first... identify your weak skills and work on them!!. Lets help you to become better bartenders, lets look at how we can make you guys faster!

 

THE NEED FOR SPEED
As we are all aware customers have a different sense of time to real people. One minute in real time feels like five minutes of customer time. So an unacknowledged customer or one who waits whilst the bartender leisurely makes drinks is an unhappy customer which makes unhappy managers which leads to unemployed bartenders. This is not good.
Of course a good bartender will always acknowledge a guest (if you remember that shops have customers and bars have guests and treat them accordingly you are already on the way to bartender heaven) to make them feel welcome and important. This is common sense. But the tricks of the trade about making drinks quickly are less obvious for the novice and in many cases the old pros. Put at their basic level the 10 commandments of quick drink making are:
1. use both hands. God gave you two so use them both. Freepour simultaneously, add a straw whilst filling up with a mixer, start ringing the order  into the till whilst pouring.
2. Freepour or die. No system in the world is quicker than the freepour, as long as it is done accurately ( and if not accurately then not at all).

3. The Set-up. Everything in the bar has its place and it should always be there. The secret to devastating speed is not having to look for anything because you know where it is (blindfold bartending anyone?)

4. Clean and prep as you go. You may think it is quicker to just bang drinks out and wait to clean shakers, get more change etc ... big mistake. A good bartender knows that they should be as close to perfect set-up all the time and will try to keep it like that.

5. Consolidate orders. Ask two or three customers for their orders to allow you to make drinks simultaneously. If you consolidate then you do the same actions less times which equals more speed.

6. Consider the 'working order'. Drinks which take the longest should be started first (blended ones especially) and the ones which take the least time should be done last.

7. Keep busy. Steady beats Busy's arse every time. If you work quickly and steadily all night rather than 'turn it on' when you have to then you'll do better... after all you don't go from first gear to fifth straight away in a car do you? work smart not hard, you need to have time to have fun.

8. Remember that it is efficiency of movement rather than speed of movement that matters... teamwork when it comes to moving in a busy bar is important or multi-tasking and only making one journey instead of many... the multi bottle pickup from the speedwell is a good example.

9. Always be practicing your speed... look at every order as a challenge.

10. Know your prices, your recipes and your customers...people respect a hardworking bartender who doesn't have to go to the till, doesn't have to look in a book and remembers what they had last time.

 

Speed is one of the most obvious skills needed for a bartender... a drink will always taste better if it doesn't take a long time to arrive and if one follows the basic rules and, most importantly, practice, then you can make great tasting drinks in half the time, make more money for your bar and/or you and in fact keep guests entertained... everyone likes watching a slick hard working bar team and despises a bar filled with sauntering dickheads who couldn't give a shit.


Cocktail History

History Of Cocktail Culture

 

 

History of Cocktail Culture

 

For as long as people have been drinking Alcohol, they have been mixing drinks. This dates back at least 10,000 years. From beer spiked with intoxicants to Wine infused with Thyme, it’s fair to say that the desire both to increase mood-altering effects of booze and to improve the taste have been with the human race for millennia and it doesn't seem to be leaving us quickly. It used to be that cocktails were for girls and rich men who bought them for girls who liked rich men.

Things have changed, for the better! A cocktail in hand is a must, lets look into how we got to be in this great cocktail age we now live in.

 

A long time ago.

The arrival of sugar opened up a new era for producing drinks. By medieval times the rich were spicing up their ales with sugars & spices from the Middle East, where sugar originates from (India). In fact they loved sugar so much that women would regularly blacken their own teeth in order to give the impression that they could afford so much sugar that their teeth were rotten. so any excuse for adding extra sugar was snapped up by these medieval hipsters in the form of drinks.

 

Fast forward...

By Shakespearean times mixing drinks was big news. Probably the most enduring cocktail produced found its origins in India –

Punch. Based on 5 ingredients, Spirit, Sugar, Water, Citrus juice & spices. Crudely similar to the cocktails of today... It made it sway into the theater culture and cocktail drinking was worn as a badge of honour when impressing socially.

 

Fast forward...

At the turn of the 19th century, just as the word cocktail was making it’s print debut, many significant developments were also made. such as by 1800 Ice became for sale in America. A big plus for the bartender.

In the middle of the 19th Century in North America the production of other spirits and liqueurs began. Among the immigrants were people from all over Europe who implemented their knowledge of distillation in their new home. The world needs immigrants.

Around the turn of the century, the American Bar was already an integral part of life in American society. The import routes from Old Europe worked, and many spirits came into the country, and with it came the American enjoyment and pleasure of experimentation with nothing standing in the way. There were countless cocktails invented, many of which died a death, but some became world famous.

in 1967 Artificial Carbonation was achieved & refrigeration arrived on the scene. These are all developments which aided the cocktail to be brought to a mass global market, and from then it’s popularity became infinitely expandable.

For me the link as always been between cocktails and the fashion of the day. James Bond drinks Martinis (Vespers to be exact) and girls wearing 'cocktail' dresses. Young desirable couples on their way to cocktail parties etc... etc...

 

Put simply. Drinking a cocktail makes you look better...

 

(this is very brief and designed to make you look at the drink in front of you and be inspired to find out more)

 

ernest hemmingway

Because everyone wants to be Ernest

 

But where does the word 'cocktail' come from? comment below with the most plausible in your head.

 

The dictionary should be able to tell us but my guess is that the monk that was doing the writing at the time was too drunk to spell it so gave up as the word Cocktail’s origins are lost according to the Oxford English Dictionary. Some possible Explanations are:

 

Cock-ale was an old English ale, spiced with a ground-up red cockerel mixed in – the word became applied to other drinks (Containing niether of these ingredients) and gained a T.

 

In a Mexican Tavern, English Sailors noticed that mixed drinks were stirred with the root of a plant known as colo de gallo, or in English ‘Cock’s Tail’. The Sailors brought the name to England and thence the US.

 

There are many more suggestions as to the origin of the word. what do you think it originates from?

 

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Gin Production

Gin Production

PRODUCTION

Gin as come a long way since being made in bathtubs, so next time you are sipping on your Gin and Tonic outside in the sunshine then spare a thought for how that drink was made. There are several different ways of making Gin. In all these ways, the gin producer has to buy the neutral alcohol base from an outside supplier. If it is a grain spirit, it is usually from wheat or barley, however, the neutral spirit can come from any source.

 

Cold Compounding – This is the process used in making cheaper (supermarket) gins rather than distilled gins. A neutral spirit is used as a base to which oils and flavour essences are added to give the notes of juniper and other botanicals. The flavours are not ‘fixed’ into the spirit and are therefore lost very easily once the bottle is opened. This process makes a gin often referred to as ‘bath-tub’ gin.

Distilled Gin – The aim of making a gin is to extract the essence of the botanicals into the spirit and then reduce its abv with water before bottling. Different gin producers will use different botanical recipes and methods of infusion but they will use one of the following methods:
One-Shot Method – With the one-shot method, juniper and the other botanicals are macerated in the neutral spirit and water according to the distillers’ recipe. This maceration my go on for up to 48 hours. The botanicals are strained off and the spirit is poured into the still. The distillation occurs in a copper pot still. Some producers will distill with the botanicals in the still to further fix the flavours in the gin. Water is then added to the gin before bottling.
Two-Shot Method – This is quicker method and saves on still usage (therefore more economically viable). In this method, a much stronger mix of botanicals is used in the maceration and distillation process. This is used as a concentrate and mixed with neutral spirit alcohol to increase the final volume. Water is then added to the gin before bottling. The main brand using this method today is Gordon’s Gin.
Vapour Infusion Method – With this technique, the botanicals are not macerated with the neutral spirit. They are placed in a basket or cage in the neck of the still. The alcohol vapours pass over them during distillation and pick up the flavours for the gin. The main brands using this method today is Bombay Sapphire and Hendricks (the Carterhead Still).

 

WHAT IS OLD TOM GIN?

Old Tom Gin (or Tom Gin or Old Tom) is a lightly sweetened Gin popular in 18th-century England that now is rarely available. It is slightly sweeter than London Dry, but slightly drier than original gin

The name "Old Tom Gin" purportedly came from wooden plaques shaped like a black cat (an "Old Tom") mounted on the outside wall of some pubs above a public walkway in the 1700s England. After a pedestrian deposited a penny in the cat's mouth, they would place their lips around a small tube between the cat's paws. From the tube would come a shot of Gin, poured there by the bartender inside the pub.

Old Tom Gin was formerly made under licence by a variety of distillers around the world; however one was recently re-launched by Hayman's distillery based on an original recipe. The first written record of Old Tom Gin being used in the Tom Collins cocktail was the 1891 book, The Flowing Bowl: When and what to drink by William Schmidt .


Gin

Dutch Courage

Gin

It's Gin, lots and lots of good old Gin...

A DEFINITION FIRST OF ALL: Dutch Courage

There are two legal classifications of London gin – ‘Gin’ and ‘Distilled Gin’. ‘Gin’ is a flavoured spirit with a minimum strength of 37.5% abv with the main flavour being juniper. A ‘Distilled Gin’ must be made by a process in which the juniper and other natural flavourings are distilled with the spirit in a pot still.
There is also an Appellation around Plymouth Gin in that it must be made in Plymouth.

(appellation = a legal term which is centred around geographical location)

 

BRIEF HISTORY

Gin has a long and dark history starting in Italy in the 11th Century when monks were flavouring distilled spirit with juniper.

The first recognizable ancestor of gin is credited to a Professor of medicine at Holland’s Leyden University called Dr Sylvius.

Gin has a long and dark history starting in Italy in the 11th Century when monks were flavouring distilled spirit with juniper Click To Tweet

British soldiers fighting in Holland during the 17th century found the spirit, which they called ‘Hollands’ and may have brought it home. It is the ‘Hollands’ that gained the nickname ‘Dutch Courage’ as it gave the English soldiers the heart and resolve to fight away from home. Its true English popularity came when William of Orange became King of England in 1689 (King William III). He declared war on the French and supported the war by banning all French imports, which included brandies and wines.

With no Cognacs or wines, rums had not yet been established and whiskies being drunk only by the Scots and Irish, Genever (abbreviated to Gin) became the drink of choice. To re-enforce this, the government passed a law 1690 encouraging the distillation in England of brandy and spirits from corn.

This meant that anybody could distil grain spirit for an extremely low tax. Hundreds of back-street distilleries sprung up with only a handful making good products. By the 1720’s, London’s streets were awash with gin, much of it made with bad or poisonous ingredients and sold cheaply from street vendors. It was nicknamed ‘mother’s ruin’ as many addicted women neglected their children in favour of getting dosed up on gin.

To tackle this problem, the government passed a series of laws from 1729 to restrict the sale and distillation of gin while encouraging beer production and sale. By the 1760’s the situation was under relative control with the poorer classes back drinking beer in back-street taverns.

In 1825, the government again tried to free the trade in spirits. This time, to compete with beer taverns, the gin sellers opened up large, opulent establishments known as ‘Gin Palaces’. The hard liquor was a welcome change to the repressive factory conditions of the industrial revolution in England. Unfortunately, as before, entire families were getting drunk in these new venues so taxes were raised to make spirits expensive and beer cheap again. Long live beer!

Using history as our model... All we need to do is invent a horrendously strong drink that can't be taxed and then taxes on beer will be lowered. Someone get on this now!!

Did you enjoy our brief overlook on Dutch Courage?