27 February 2011

Where are Cocktails going?

Much like the wages divide that seems to be brought up at the minute whenever any conversation remotely touches on money, cocktails seem to be seeing a similar parting. We seem to be heading into an era where you have at one end the fruity, fun, aesthetically exciting drinks served in long extravagantly shaped glassware, which have a small fruit bowl attached to the top or a garnish that takes half the time the making of the drink does. At the other the cocktail that employs fewer ingredients, but meticulous mis en place meaning a simpler and swifter steps to make on the fly, catering to more elegant and regal market often with a nod to the classics and their methodologies.

Now, obviously this is not as bad a thing as the money/class divide debate, so do not think that is where I am heading with this. I don't really think either side is necessarily better than the other, both hold a market and both have a captivated audience who drink each style for different reasons.

The reason I bring this up is to highlight the absolute melange of cocktail styles, ingredients, methodologies and knowledge we have at our disposal. Whether it be the rich history that has steeped the bartending culture and the new range of old school re-printed books now easily available, or the very modern forward facing techniques that are taking front stage, often edging closer and closer to a absolute union between science and drink making. The stage is very much set to push boundaries and brek out of old routines.

With that in mind over the coming weeks I hope to bring you some insights into the world that is the Drink Factory Lab. What wonderful and misunderstood machinery they use and how all of the techniques can be applied practically and easily within any bar without slowing down service.

Ralph Laurens RR Launch at Liberty's

Drink factory continues to go where the cocktails go. This time round we were at Ralph Laurens new vintage/denim range launch at Libery's in London. The night played out to old school swing, and country tracks which made us feel like we were in some magical world situated somewhere between the wild wild west and Gangs of New York with a friendlier less angry group of gangs mulling around.

Cocktail were classicly faced with pefectly balanced and traditionally made Mint Juleps, consisting of ice smashed using a wooden mallet and a muzzlin bag, adding to the show and creating the perfect ice to serve this drink in. Also present were Sazeracs which took a small amount of coaxing but to our surprise were greeted with looks of pleasant surprise by all first timers, either not familiar with the drink or those not a big fan of bourbon. Rounding off the drinking was Tiger Milk. Served in a glass milk bottle complete with prohibition-esque paper straw this drink grabed peoples attention for more than it's intriguing appearance. Consisting of Kigo Shochu, almond milk and a hint of apple juice this drink went down well amongst fashions elite.

18 February 2011

Nowness.com The Selby meets Tony C.

A stunning insight into the philosophy and mind set of cocktails and an individuals approach.

Paul Tvaroh Interview


After 10 years in London running other people’s award winning gastro pubs and celebrity Hampstead hangouts, there was nothing Paul wanted more than to open his own place. His greatest achievement? Fulfilling this dream. On November 1st 2007 Paul opened Lounge Bohemia. Paul harks back to another era, seemingly more at home in the prohibition age than our whilst his drink remain comtemporary with obvious classic influences.

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?

Most likely new years punch made with the help of my granny at the age of 10 - czech "rum", white wine, tinned tropical fruit cocktail, tinned clementines and pineapple, plus all the juices. Served in a glass with a green glass monkey hanging on the side. Memories, hmmmm.

2. What are your 3 favourite drinks? With recipes if you have them; old, new and your own.

The two favourites from my own recipes have to be Sgt. Pepper - black pepper infused vodka, elderflower liquor & cordial, lemon juice and Old Castro - cuban cigar infused havana barrel proof rum with madagascar vanilla and orange bitters served over vanilla candy floss from a chilled cigar tube. A favourite from other people's recipes is Bohemian Iced Tea which creator, Alex Kammerling, has kindly let me have on my menu for the last 3 years - lemon vodka, Becherovka, Krupnik, peach liqueur, earl grey tea, lemon juice.

3. Tell us about a new flavour you have discovered recently.

Black cardamon. It has a nice smokey flavour.

4. If you could pass just one thing on to an apprentice bartender, what would it be?

Don't be afraid to experiment.

5. What does the future hold for yourself, and what do you see happening in the future within the industry?

I hope the future will be as kind as the past and I continue to have the opportunity to work in collaboration with people from other industries on creative projects, like my work with Hostem and the Gorilla Perfumers. Some say a tough economic climate can foster creativity and counter culture, it would be nice to see little more of that in the industry.

6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?

Positive feed back from the other side of the bar.

7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail (and presuming it could talk back to you and tell you its past), which cocktail would it be and why?

An Old Fashioned, it must have seen a few things whilst all that stirring was going on...

8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry?

Most of my influence comes from outside the industry, it can be anything from food to architecture.

9. If you were to break a bartending golden rule, what would it be?

All of them, I don't believe in rules!

10. Outside of flavour and the craft of the cocktail, what in your opinion affects the appreciation of cocktails the most?

Presentation is key, people love a bit of theatre and surprise.

11. If you were to champion a cocktail, which would it be?

A well made Tommy's margarita. Because my wife loves it.

12 February 2011

Hold on tight Drink Factory Fans. We are undergoing a bit of a revamp and will be coming at you with stacks of new content, interviews, drinks recipes, the whole lot very soon.........

Keep coming back and thanks for all the support so far!!!