Category: video
General Cocktails, Rule 2

Outstanding Video on Cocktail First Principals

I just want to highlight an outstanding new video from The Mixology Guys on the Small Screen Network's YouTube cocktail channel. Embedded below it is a brisk 90 seconds of slow-mo drink pr0n and four bedrock principals in making any drink the best it can be. For those who can't watch it for whatever reason, here are the four elements that go into a truly good drink:
  1. Mix Ingredients. You might say, "duh", but until you understand why this is important, you don't really understand the Dao of cocktails. The purpose of making drinks is to produce a potable that is better in some fashion than any and all of its component ingredients. A few years back, I went to a session at Tales of the Cocktail where some of my favorite big names in the liquor industry discussed how seldom they actually drank cocktails any more. The gist of the argument from much of the panel was, "the distiller's art has reached previously unheard of heights. There are so many beautifully crafted spirits out there, it makes sense to enjoy them on their own to fully appreciate them." Fair enough. There are indeed many truly fine, expensive bottles of whiskey, brandy, rum, and even gin out there that are so crafted as to make them immune to the "improvement" of the mixed drink. But if you can spend your life drinking nothing but ultra-premium liquor with naught but the occasional splash of water or ice, you are either a wealthy alcoholic... or a brand ambassador. (Some might argue that the difference is that brand ambassadors are seldom wealthy.)
  2. Dilution. Enough said. Until you understand the effects of dilution, you can't really understand how to make a really great drink. Anyone who sneers at dilution on general principals doesn't know the first damn thing about cocktails.
  3. Temperature. Make sure your cold drinks are cold. (And your hot ones actually hot.) Ever get into a really good argument with someone and turn back to your Sidecar, only to discover it has gotten warm? Ew.
  4. Aeration of Ingredients. This is both perhaps the best element of this video, and the only part I have a quibble with. For the vast majority of mixed drinks, air is critical to making it the best it can be, for the reasons they outline beautifully. But not for all drinks. I strictly adhere to the "clear ingredients—no shake" credo. I like my Martinis stirred. I will call Child Services and report you if you shake your Manhattans. I don't muddle fruit in my Old Fashioneds, so I also don't add any soda. Air is amazing in what it can do to for drinks that can benefit from it. 90% of the drinks I make can, and I take great care to ensure that I apply aeration liberally there. But please, please remember that this rule is NOT universal!
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drinking, Funny, Political Controversies, Rule 4, Whiskey, Whisky

Irish Hipsters Compare Their Booze to America’s

I've got two fun videos that entertain yet say a lot about drinking tastes and booze-making skills on either side of the Atlantic. The first is about beer, and the second is about whiskey vs whisky. In each we watch as a group of Irish hipsters...
So, what's the group word for hipsters? You know, a Murder of crows, a Bloat of hippos, a Congress of Owls...
Heh. A "Congress of owls"... You know, because owls are supposed to be wise, and Congress is, um, demonstrably not.
Yeah! Wait... You're getting me off topic in the middle of my interruption!
Now you know what it feels like!
Harumph. Names like this usually come from what the group is or does, like a Skulk of Jackals. And since a Nuisance of housecats is already taken...
OK. So these videos present us with a Pose of hipsters from Ireland blind-tasting booze. [caption id="attachment_10803" align="aligncenter" width="530"]Frasier T-Shirt in 2015? Yep, they're hipsters. Frasier T-Shirt in 2015? Yep, they're hipsters.[/caption] The first, I found via LikeCool. They take our Pose of Irishpersons two at a time and present them with an American beer in plastic cups. First they get all squee over the quaint, silly American custom of drinking out of cheap, convenient, clean, and safe drinkware. Then, they try Budweiser, High Life, Brooklyn Lager, Coors Light, and Sam Adams. Watch: I was initially surprised about how kind they were to the King of Beers, but only a little. See, here's my own little mental test of a drinker's character, when they start talking about beer. If they trash Budweiser, I know they are a snob with self-awareness issues. Budweiser is the very definition of drinkable, when it comes to fermented grain. No, there is nothing interesting about it, because there is nothing objectionable about it. If you can't enjoy an afternoon drinking a bucket of cold Buds, you have lost the capacity to just enjoy beer. and I feel sorry for you.
Some of you who know Doug are realizing about now that he has judged you in just this way in the past. Now, don't you feel ashamed?
As for the rest, the Miller and the Brooklyn get mocked, the Sam Adams get a little love, and the Coors Light gets exactly what it deserves. It's all fun and games as they mock American beer in every way that is reasonable to the Irish, and quite understandable to Americans. But here's the thing: they know all the beer they are trying is American. It gets a lot more interesting in the second video. Here, our intrepid drinkers are presented with a side-by-side samples of one American and one Irish whisk(e)y, and must choose which they prefer. They pick up little signs to signify their choice. If they see our guy, who-wishes-he-were-a-king-but-isn't-so-suck-it-Barack, they chose the Whiskey, and if they see their pasty white guy, who-totally-isn't-the-Queen-and-we'll-totally-punch-you-in-the-nose-if-you-suggest-he-might-as-well-be, they chose the Whisky. The results? Yeah, Michael Higgins doesn't get a lot of face time. The American's just crush the Irish in this test, folks. [caption id="attachment_10806" align="aligncenter" width="448"]USA! USA! USA! USA! USA! USA![/caption] To be fair, there isn't a lot of practical applicability to this kind of test. I would personally make the American choice in all three of these comparisons. But. Whenever I walk into a place and the bartender is clearly in the weeds, or just look like they couldn't mix a Rum and Coke without help, I always, always order a Jameson neat. Why? See my comments about Budweiser above. The Irish, they know brown liquor, though it might pain them to acknowledge it in the context of the contest we just watched. Why? Well, re-watch the first four seconds of that second video, or try out this little music video I made back when this blog (and my kids) were new to the world. abc
Bartenders, Funny, General Cocktails, Rule 5

The Cocktailosphere Has A New YouTube Darling

JaNee Nisonger, "LA's Hottest Bartender" The Cocktailosphere has a new instructional YouTube video favorite, JaNee Nisonger of Maholo.com. Sometimes it takes a while for us to discover the greatness in these kind of videos. It took nearly a year before our prior guru from the American Bartending School, and his special garnish Daiquiri was discovered and brought to us by Jeff Morganthaler. In this case, JaNee's work has been languishing in relative obscurity for almost four years, until it's sudden notoriety this week. I've seen this 1st video being passed around by everyone in my FaceBook and Twitter feeds from USBG members to an Irish priest Notre Dame law professor. Without further ado, let me present How to Make an Old-Fashioned: I learned a lot from this video...
  1. Either sugar cubes or simple syrup will make a drink sweeter than the other one will. Which one, I didn't catch.
  2. Using simple syrup instead of sugar cubes will make your finished drink "more liquidy".
  3. Use "orange slice wedges". More on this in a bit.
  4. Professional bartenders should use huge wooden spoons to muddle with.
  5. Be sure to use the special invisible Angostura Bitters that cannot be seen coming out of the bottle, even in extreme closeup.
  6. Use a glass as your ice scoop.
  7. "Three ounces" of bourbon will completely fill a pint glass.
  8. In other news, serve your Old-Fashioneds in pint glasses! (Perhaps you should also have this website engraved on the inside bottom of the glass)
  9. An Old-Fashioned is kind of like a Manhattan, but the orange makes it even better.
  10. To mix your Old-Fashioned, pour it back and forth between your pint glass serving vessel and your glass ice scoop which, by the way, isn't large enough to hold it all. This allows you to make the required "messes all over the place".
  11. Your finished drink should not fill your glass anymore, making it look like the bartender took a hearty slug or three for themselves before handing it over.
"Orange slice wedges"? This is what happens when you have an actress read a script, and she finds herself confronted with props that don't match her lines. Yes, she is an actress. She was a bartender in LA, of course she's an actor too. Here's her IMDB page to prove it. Read it all. She also appears to have taken a shot at a country music career. She also has a Masters Degree in education, and I imagine she's since the time of this video moved on to a high school teaching something other than mixology. My point in all the biographical info is to remind people that I'm having fun with this, but this train wreck of a video series was no fault of hers. Don't blame her. And yes, it is a series of videos, not just this one. abc
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