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April 2020

Use Wooden Liquor Bottle Boxes for Smoked Cocktails

Stefan Huebner of Dot Dot Dot in Charlotte, NC uses liquor bottle boxes to create a diorama for smoked cocktails. He writes: We repurposed Booker's Bourbon boxes for our smoking boxes. We put a metal ramekin inside with pecan wood and smoke it, put the glass in, and close the lid. An Instagram image of the drink is below. If you can't see it, follow this link. Read more →

Some Sustainability Book Notes

I've been reading a few sustainability books, most of which were written for consumers rather than bartenders, and am sharing a few notes on them, or highlights of things I found interesting. How to Be a Conscious Eater: Making Food Choices That Are Good for You, Others, and the Planet by Sophie Egan This book is geared toward the consumer rather than the bartender, so it may not change much about how you order for the bar. As a consumer resource I found it to be impressively useful and revealing, and balanced: no blind fear of "toxins" here. According to... Read more →

Advice from Christina Mae Padilla: G&T Teabags, Infusions, Reducing Napkin Use, and More

Christina Mae Padilla is a California bartender and ambassador for brands including Tequila Fortaleza. Use Less Napkins By Moving Them Further Away from Customers We also removed accessibility of cocktail napkins as people would grab a handful to spit out a piece of gum or 20 napkins to clean up 3 droplets of spill. Napkins were behind the bar and available upon request or if we saw a need. Citrus Husks as a Tea to Flavor Gin & Tonics After peeling and then juicing citrus, I would take spent lemon, lime, orange, and grapefruit husks and slice them down to... Read more →

Some Quick Tips and Good Ideas from the First Batch of Blog Posts

To coincide with the "soft opening" of I pulled together some of my favorite tips learned in the first phase of building this website. There are dozens more where these came from! 1. You can infuse spent citrus shells (after squeezing) into alcohol to get a good base start on flavored spirits and syrups such as falernum, citrus vodka, and spiced rum, as they'll do at Good Company in Boston. read more 2. Instead of "burning the ice" from the well at the end of the evening, bars including San Francisco's Trick Dog put it in a stock pot... Read more →

Cocktail Bar Sustainability Tips from Duke's in Healdsburg, CA

Tara Heffernon, an owner of Duke's Spirited Cocktails in Healdsburg, wrote in with several systems that the bar uses for sustainability. Burning the Ice Instead of burning the ice, it is transferred into kitchen sinks to melt. Most bars burn their ice with hot water, as ice doesn't melt in time to be replaced by fresh sexy ice the next day, especially with how many bars use high end ice like Kold Draft (which we do). Even our pebble ice doesn't melt fully overnight, just enough to be too soggy and gross to use, so sacrificing our labor by transporting... Read more →

A Milk Punch Recipe and Panna Cotta from the Remaining Curds from Allison Kave

Allison Kave, who is the co-founder of Butter & Scotch in Brooklyn, has shared recipes for both a Milk Punch and a Panna Cotta for the leftover curds from the punch. She writes, "I have repurposed these curds to make an absolutely ambrosial panna cotta. I'm certain they could also be used in cakes and quickbreads, or to fill cannoli, or in a range of applications where ricotta would be used, with the correct treatment. I also did a clarified eggnog version of this for a series I used to write for Bake From Scratch magazine; I started with the... Read more →

Tips from Aisling Gammill of Water Bear Bar in Boise, ID

Aisling Gammill of Water Bear Bar in Boise ID sent over tons of strategy for various sustainability improvements. Below are Gammill's tips. When to Use Acetic (Vinegar), Malic, and Other Acids Vinegar makes the best acid replacement. It is used usually in smaller amounts ex. .75 lemon is standard per cocktail, vinegar is more like .25 to .5 depending on the type of vinegar. I find that vinegar can make a wonderfully delicious sour, Daiquiri, Collins, or champagne topped something. It is a matter of balancing the acid, and not treating it necessarily like citrus when building. It is also... Read more →

Cranberry Shrub and Using the Leftovers to Make Cranberry Jam

These recipes come from Tamir Ben-Shalmon of Bull Valley Roadhouse in Port Costa, CA. The jam is flexible and a great way to save what you would think is waste. There was so much left over. The cranberry jam we make is a bit savory, and other hearty and earthy herbs work well. Rosemary is a great example. First year I did both and I think I added orange zest this year. The cranberry jam is also supposed to be a bit savory for Bull Valley so that we can control the sweetness for the cocktails. Cranberry Shrub: 450g fresh... Read more →

Ginger Pulp Tisane and Leftover Wine and Brine to Make Mustard

The following info comes from Chris 'Zeke' Hand. Mustard Using Leftover Brine, Vinegar, Wine, and Vermouth For brine and the dregs of wine and vermouth, I make mustard. Really, really good mustard. In short sauerkraut brine, pickle brine, all sorts of different vinegars, wines, vermouths and different verjus so as to make it "complex." I really need to work on my mortar and pestle skills so it isn't always "grainy" or get myself a better spice grinder. For vinegar, I just leave the bottle of wine losely open for about six months and then start adding it to vinaigrettes and... Read more →

Lacto-Fermentation Tips from Jennifer Colliau

Some bartenders are using lacto-fermentation as a way to create ingredients for the bar, use up leftover produce, reduce purchasing (by reusing containers instead of buying new products), and even fermenting leftover citrus and garnishes. Jennifer Colliau is the creator/owner of Small Hand Foods syrups, former owner of Here's How, and a bar sustainability consultant who worked on The Perennial and The Interval at Long Now. She has shared her base recipe and tips on lacto-fermentation below. For lacto-fermentation, you want a 5% brine. Dissolve 50g of salt into 950g water. Put your veg and aromatics into a jar, Cambro,... Read more →

Misc Tips from Luuk Gerritsen of Curacao

Luuk Gerritsen lives on Curacao and is the general manager of Kome. Some of the ideas below were developed at previous venues where Gerritsen worked, and he would also like to acknowledge Bar Manager Wesley Quinlan as partner in many of these recipes and procedures. Citrus Gerritsen says, "All our fresh juice will be frozen at the end of the night and agar-clarified the day after. [Agar clarification turns the juice clear and helps it last much longer.] We clarify and acidify citrus for bottled drinks. Also, blending it with a little zest can bring back the aroma." They freeze... Read more →

Preparing Dried Chickpeas for Hummus and Aquafaba from Fatima Hite-Igras of Palm House SF

The following is the preparation of chickpeas for aquafaba and for hummus (or whatever else you use cooked chickpeas for), from Fatima Hite-Igras , the Bar Director/General Manager of Palm House in San Francisco. I have used Aquafaba. I make it from dried chickpeas and we have used the chickpeas for hummus. It lasts about 3-5 days. We would usually make quite a bit since it takes at least a day to make. I have frozen in quart containers in the past and it preserves it and works just as well after defrost or if not better. Below is the... Read more →

Many Citrus Reuse and Alternatives from Boston’s Seth Freidus

Boston’s Seth Freidus formerly headed up the bar programs at Alden & Harlow and Waypoint. Later in 2020, he’s planning on opening his own bar in Boston called Good Company. The below is edited from emails from Freidus. Working With the Kitchen When we write menus, for kitchen/ food and bar/cocktails, kitchen managers, bar managers and myself sit down and collaborate for cohesive menus that cross-utilize as many ingredients as possible without having stale, boring, redundant menus. We write menus based on the season, and what will be readily available for high quality produce. From there we collaborate on using... Read more →

A No-Zesting Required Lime Cordial Recipe from Sidebar in Oakland

Jared Hirsch of Sidebar and Nickel Dime Syrups shared his recipe for lime cordial that requires no zesting of limes. Lime Cordial From Jared Hirsch of Sidebar 4 cups lime juice (reserve lime shells) 3 cups cane sugar 4oz vodka Using a cleaned jar saved from our olives, we pour the ingredients over the juiced lime shells (unpeeled) and refrigerate for 2 days before straining out the liquid, re-juicing the limes to extract as much cordial as possible. I've tried both just lime peels and whole spent limes and found very little difference, preferring the unpeeled limes the best, which... Read more →

Lime Acid Water, Acidified Orange Juice, and Cocktails in Which to Use Them from McClellan's Retreat

Brain Nixon of McClellan's Retreat in Washington, DC shared his recipe for Lime Acid Water, a lime juice replacement, and Acidified ("Corrected") Orange Juice, a way to make orange juice last longer and be more useful in drinks. Below the recipes for these ingredients are cocktail recipes that use them. Lime Acid Water Ingredients Amount Water 1 qt Citric Acid 16 grams Malic Acid 10 grams Ascorbic Acid 9 grams Cucumber 0.5 Preparation Method Cut half a cucumber into slices Soak in water for an hour Strain out Cucmber Combine water with remaining ingredients in blender and blend until acids... Read more →