27 July 2011

Alex Turner Interview

Alex has been working in the industry for over a decade, during which he has travelled the world and is currently head of training at BBFB.

1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?

- The one that I considered my first ever cocktail was a Kahlua Kiss (equal parts Kahlua and amaretto with double cream floated on top). I was working at a cocktail bar in Oxford called Baedeker's back in 1989(!!!!) and this was one of the most popular drinks (it was the 80's after all). I had been working in bars before then but this was the first 'proper' cocktail bar. I had made lots of mixed drinks before then but they were usually concocted from my parents drinks cabinet and didn't really have names (or ice, or recipes, or any mixers)

2. What are your 3 favorite drinks plus recipes; old, new and your own?

Old - It does depend on where I am and who I'm with but you can't go wrong with whiskey sour (on the rocks) or a Grey goose 'tini (very dry, on the rocks with three olives)

New - probably a Paloma (Cazadores reposado, dash lime juice, topped with grapefruit soda) or Tommy's marg (I'm a bit partial to a strawberry marg as well depending on the weather)

My own - Blue grass sour (Woodford reserve, apricot brandy, lemon juice, orange wedge, caster sugar and egg white) - I created this for Whisky magazine competition a few years ago, lovely looking and tasting drink

3.Tell us about a new flavor you have discovered recently?

- I have been reading a great book called the Flavour Thesaurus that has some great ideas on flavour pairing, have not finished it yet and am hoping to discover the next big flavour in drinks!!!

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

- The customer is king!!!!!!!!!!

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

- I will hopefully be with Bacardi Brown Forman for a very long time to come, I have without doubt one of the best jobs an ex-bartender could ever have and I intend to keep developing my team and having a huge influence on the industry.

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

- Building up a crowd of regulars and them building friendships through the meeting in the bar and then everyone hanging out when the bar was closed. One of the nicest compliments I ever received was working behind the bar at Legends (long gone now) on Old Burlington st and looking up to see a couple of regular guests from a previous bar I had worked and them saying that they had been asking all over town where I was working and then how happy their were to have found me!!!

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?

- It would have to be the daiquiri; firstly to discuss its birth in Cuba at the turn of the 20th Century and to hear all the stories of the cantineros and of course to hear what it thinks of blenders, tinned fruits, hurricane glasses and parasols. One of the things I love about the daiquiri is how it can be all things to all drinkers; a simple, crisp and zingy pick me upper sipped at a bar in London to a disco drink with all manner of fruits, liqueurs and sometimes not even rum supped on a sun bed in the Canary islands!!!

8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?

- As some of the drinks I create are for large managed chains most of the names are influenced by popular culture as an example we have just developed a range of drinks for the Royal wedding with drinks like the Kiss me Kate and Sapphire engagement. Killer names are very important as they are in many cases what first attracts the guest to the drink.

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

-If you can remind me of the rules, I will quite happily break a few

10. Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?

- To me its all about the experience. Cocktails, like food served in a restaurant, are as much about the experience of drinking them as they are about the taste. A a bad experience can make a great drink taste bad and a great experience can make an ok drink taste amazing (as long as you are not some cocktail uber geek).

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

- The Pina colada is the future!!!!!

Fork and Shaker Interview with Joaquin Simo

Our friend Naren Young has just conducted this fine interview with Joaquin Simo, from Death & Co in New York. Great interview during which he had some very nice things to say about Drink Factories own Tony C

Check the interview HERE

Archive Cocktail - The Sugar Loaf Mountain (2006)

The Sugar Loaf Mountain Cooler
50ml Cachaça
25ml Lime
15ml Sugar Syrup
Top with Sugar Cane Water
Glass – High Ball
Garnish lime

Saying of the Week - Japanese Graffiti

"The high priest was so stingy he never once gave us shōchū to drink. What a nuisance!"

This is the earliest known reference to Shochu and was "graffiti'ed" by two labourers working on a monks temple in 1559

Soxhelet Extractor

The first Soxhelet still was built in 1879 by Franz Von Soxhelet. Its main purpose is to extract soluble (lipids) from solids which would not be extractable through normal distillation methods. The main difference is that the solid is placed in a "thimble" which will then fill with condensed liquid from the solvent, which is being heated, below it.

Often used in chemistry for extracting fats, the Soxhelets purpose does not stop there. We have been experimenting with extracting flavour from wood for a few years as well as other solids we were unable to distill through normal means.

A simple breakdown of the process is.........

As the solvent is heated vapour will travel up the distillation arm and flood the section containing the solid material. The condenser will then cool the solvent after which it will drop back into the section housing the solid material.

The section containing the solid will slowly fill with the warm liquid from the vapour below. The idea is that some of the desired product, you are trying to extract, will then dissolve in the warm liquid. Once this section is full it is automatically emptied by a siphon. The liquid will then run back down into the base chamber and the process can be started all over again for as long as desired.

During each cycle some of the desired product will drip down into the bottom section, housing the solvent. After this has been done enough, or for a long enough period of time we are left with a very concentrated solvent.

Once the process is finished you can remove and concentrate the flavour by using a rotary evaporator, or through normal distillation methods.

Although not as quick and accurate as a Rotavapor The Soxhelet Extractor is a brilliant, and affordable alternative that means you can start experimenting with distilling your own ingredients. They are available through various science catalogs and easily found through google etc.

One word of warning though. Always be cautious of second hand stills as the may still contain residue from previous substances which may be poisonous to ingest.

1: Stirrer bar/anti-bumping granules 2: Still pot (extraction pot) - still pot should not be overfilled and the volume of solvent in the still pot should be 3 to 4 times the volume of the soxhlet chamber. 3: Distillation pat4: Soxhlet Thimble 5: Extraction solid (residue solid) 6: Syphon arm inlet 7: Syphon arm outlet 8: Reduction adapter 9: Condenser 10: Cooling water in 11: Cooling water out (image from wikipedia)

New York Times Style Magazine Article

Thanks to The NY Times Style Mag for posting up this great article about the one of a kind mini bars at the Zetter Townhouse. If you haven't seen it yet follow the link HERE to have a look.

Flavour of the Week - Orris Root

Orris root is probably best known for being one of the botanicals that is readily used in Gin and is also a very commonly used base note in many perfumes.

The rising price or Orris absolute has meant it is not as common as it used to be in the perfume world, often being substituted for Jasmin which is a third of the price.

The root itelf comes from the Iris plant and has been present in herbal medicine for many years. Part of the reason why it has become so expensive to use in perfumes is that it produces a relatively low yield of essential oil and also can take up to five years to dry out.

Orris root is also available as a tincture, essential oil or as a hydrosol.

Flavour - Floral, fragrant, slightly bitter, similar to violet.

13 July 2011

Drink Factory Lab Masterclass

We are now very happy to announce that the Drink Factory Open Day is GO!!

We only have 12 spaces, so they are extremely limited. Drop us an email asap detailing where you work, what you hope to get out of the day and how you heard about it. We will ask for some proof of where you work, so bring along either a card, payslip or something equivalent.

The day will run between 12 - 4 on Monday August 15th and is open to anyone from anywhere in the world!

During the session we will be giving practical demonstrations of the lab's machinery leading into tastings and showcasing what each piece of equipment can do for a drink.

We will also be talking about our
approach, and philosophy to cocktail creation, and how this, subsequently, translates into 69 Colebrooke Row and runs throughout the labs creations.

Questions and participation are more than welcome.
See you all there!!

To book email: giles@thedrinkfactory.com

Teh Tarik Man

Teh Tarik is a hot Malaysian drink made using black tea and condensed milk. We saw the one above and thought it was very cool(skip to 25 seconds in).........Then someone sent us this one which is just nuts....... bartenders on roller-skates doing 4 simultaneous Cuban pours any takers? Spike could they include this in world class??

Saying of the Week - The Innkeeper

Rules of the Inn

No Thieves, Fakirs, Rogues, or Tinkers
No Skulking Loafers or Flea Bitten Tramps
No Slapping or Tickling of Wenches
Flintlocks, Gudgels, Daggers
To Be Handed To The Innkeeper

Flavour and Fragrance

Culinary and Fragrant Oils were one of the earliest items of commerce and were most likely spices, gums, and other fragrant plants.

Circa 1700BC fragrant plants and spices were being infused into fatty oils of olive and sesame for use in ointments who's main use at the time was for medicinal purposes. Around 3000BC in the Indus Valley (Pakistan) a teracotta perfume container and a primitive still were found. This places a still about 3,000 years before the date which was previously presumed. During the same period the Egyptians, as well as learning to write and make bricks were also importing large quantities of myrrh. Often famed for it's use in perfumes and medicine as well as finding fame for it's reference in the bible.
The Egyptians appear to have been the first civilisation to experiment and absorb perfumery into their culture. Several relics including a perfume vessel symbolizing unification from the reign of Tutankhamon have been found to all bear references to either perfume storage or perfume production.
  • The pots were made out of calcite and filled with spices such as frankincence which was preserved in fat. On openning the pots still gave off a faint odour, even after 3,000 years!
By 7th century BC Greece was established as a mercantile center for trading perfumes. Perfumes were sold in elaborately decorated ceramic pots, which are similar to jars you can buy in Athens today. Flavours most often sold included.
  • Lily
  • Thyme
  • Sage
  • Anise
  • Rose
  • Iris
  • The first real hard evidence of essential oils being distilled came from Herodotus' record of his methodology used in distilling Turpentine in 425BC

    The basics of perfumery looks to have begun around 300BC. As with many original methods of thought, at the time, Socrates was involved, if in an indirect way.

    His classmate Theophrastus was actually the first person to document all of the "perfume basics" including blending, shelf life, using wine with aromatics, substances that carry scent and the effect of odor on the mind and the body.

    By the 1st century AD, Rome was using about 2,800 tons of imported frankincense and 550 tons or myrrh every year. One Roman emperor spent the equivalent of $100,000 scenting just one party he was throwing. Apparently no "orgy" was complete without perfume.......I know that is my first priority when preparing such parties!.

    Mary The Jewesss
    We recently posted about the origins of the water bath its inventor and flash cooking, see the original post HERE. As well as being the creator of the "Double Boiler", or "Bain Marie", or "Marys Bath" she can also lay claim to being the creator of the first still, which she named the Tribokos. Consisting of copper tubing, ceramic pottery and metal, it was fairly crude compared to what we understand and use now days.

    Upon heating vapors from plant material and water would condense on the inside of the still, then trickle down and collect in a bottle. Not quite a Rotavapor but it served it's purpose.

    Her design, including many later modifications were used to distill essential oils, but also would prove useful for distilling alcohol. With this invention new doors were opening which invariably led to the birth of Alchemy.

    Flavour of the Week - Bergamot

    Bergamot is most commonly found, and famed, for being the main aroma and flavour in Earl and Lady Grey Tea.

    It is the fruit that grow on the Citrus Bergamia tree and blossoms during the winter. Located mainly in Southern Italy, however some production still exists in France and the Ivory Coast.

    The fruit itself is not know to be edible however the aromatic oil from the skin is highly sort after and used if almost half of all womens perfumes!

    Available readily as an essential oil Bergamot offers an interesting citric twist and distinct aroma to any cocktail.

    Flavour - Citrus, bitter, sour, aromatic, light.

    Archive Cocktail - Chamomille Cooler (2006)

    This is a whisky cocktail which has a sour base and chamomille foam layered on top. As you drink the cocktail the bottom, whisky, section is drunk through the foam so that you get hit by a combination of both flavours.

    Step 1
    800ml Water
    3 Sheets of gelatine
    30g Chamomile powder
    5ml Vanilla extract
    75ml gomme
    stir gently
    cover with Clingfilm and heat for 2 minutes in a microwave

    Step 2
    Add 15g ovoneve

    Step 3
    Use hand blender until coherent

    Step 4
    Strain into siphon using sieve and funnel

    Step 5
    Add N2O, shake and chill.

    Step 6
    Layer on top of drink

    06 July 2011

    A very big thank you to Notcot.com and Tasteologie for this great article. We hope you enjoyed your time in the lab!

    Click HERE to have a read if you haven't seen it already.


    Frozen Drinks Anyone...?

    I came across this machine a few years back, and at the time was trying to persuade the company to lend us a freebie that we could use for the Bar Show. Unfortunately, this never came off, and as I'm sure people will notice they never really exploded in this country quite like they appear to have in Japan.

    They work on a fairly simple idea of keeping liquid liquid even when it is below freezing. Once it is taken out of the machine and you agitate the molecules (posh for shake it a bit) and then pour the liquid freezes into what you can see on the video below.

    You can do this with any liquid, fizzy drink, juice, whatever. It is probably fun and style over substance but you can imagine the look on customers face if you poured something like this into a glass for them.

    Pre-made liquid frozen margerita or daiquiri anyone.....?


    France and the Enfleurage Process

    In 1656 the popularity of scents and a new fashion for "perfumed gloves" began to spread across France, there was even a Perfume Guild set up in Grasse. The use of perfume became so widespread and grew so fast that it lead to the court of Louis XV being dubbed the "Perfume Court".
    During the 16th and 17th Century, Grasse (Southern France) became a centre for growing, extraction and distillation of essential oils.

    This meant France quickly became the perfume capital of the world leading to large scale cultivation and processing of valuable plants for oils such as rose, becaming centred there. It was the place where techniques were developed and refined.

    The Enfluerage process was also refined in this region. It was a very long and arduous process that required a vast stock of the base raw material. However if done correctly it could produce pure oil with an extremely refined flavour profile.
    The process entailed laying out flowers, such as jasmine, on trays of fat.

    These trays would then be leftto sit in a luke warm room. During which time the fat would seep into the flower absorbing the oils and flavour from it. Later, through traditional distillation the fat would be extracted and then concentrated into an absolute.

    Unfortunately the process is rarely used today as relative to the amount of work put in, it gleans a fairly low yield. (We know this from experience. About a metre squared of Jasmine Flower left us with around 5 ml of pure oil after distillation.)

    The technique came back into "Fashion" for a while once the film "Perfume - The Story of Murderer" was realeased and we saw a small rise in use-age from boutique perfume producers. However compared with the technology and techniques now available it is bound to fall by the wayside if favour of more cost worthy and effective techniques once again.


    Archive Cocktail - Luna Martini

    This is a drink that was invented back in 2003 in collaboration with Ian Wisniewski the renowned drinks writer and vodka expert. The idea was to create a new vodka profile for a vodka martini with existing vodkas. To make our "own" blend if you like, so we did vodka tastings and matched a couple of them that we thought would make for an interesting blend (it also had to go with the vermouth). Finally after much deliberation we came up with.........

    2 parts Moskovaya
    1 part Sichwha
    1/4 part Martini dry
    one dash angostura
    lemon twist.

    I particularly like how the earthyness of the Sichwha underpins the drink. I think this gives you a little something more to hold on to than your average vodka martini.

    Flavour of the Week - Ylang Ylang

    The oil has in the past been referred to as "the poor mans Jasmin", In response others have re-named it "everbodys ylang-ylang".

    Very often used in perfumes as an alternative to Jasmin, or as an addition to any floral based scent, ylang-ylangs flavour is probably something most people come across or recognise without being aware of what it is. The essential oil is also used often in aromatherapy for it's medicinal purposes.

    Native to the Philipines and Indonesia where it is used readily for boths medicinal and ritual purposes.

    Ideally the hydrosol is best used for drink making purposes otherwise the food grade oil or even essential oil can be used, however the flavour profiles shade and are much less complex and full.

    Flavour - Floral, light, rich, lychee, jasmin, sweet.

    Saying of the Week - Seattle

    "I broke the cork and the cork broke me " - Seattle

    01 July 2011

    Joshua Fontaine and Carina Interview

    1. What is the first cocktail you ever made?
    Carina: Ron Medellin añejo (colombian rum), 2 lime wedges, salt rim, on the rocks
    Joshua: Gimlet

    2. What are your 3 favorite drinks plus recipes; old, new and your own?
    C: (Old)
    6cl Cognac XO
    fresh mint leaves
    2 dash of Peychaud's bitters
    1 dash Angostura bitters
    1 bar spoon of sugar
    Julep Cup
    Garnish: 2 sprigs of mint, powder with a little bit of sugar on top

    J: (New)
    TURF WAR (Katie Stipe, Vandaag NYC)
    5cl Linie Acquavit
    2cl Lillet blanc
    1 bar spoon Luxardo maraschino
    1 dash orange bitters
    1 dash absinthe
    Garnish: lemon twist and green olive

    C: (Own)
    1,5cl Dolin Genepi
    1,5cl lemon juice
    3cl Pimm's
    1cl mezcal Del Maguey vida
    top with Jarritos Tamarind soda
    Garnish: cucumber slices and mint spring

    J (own): ROUGE GORGE
    2cl Rittenhouse Rye 100 Proof
    2cl Santa Teresa Selecto rum
    2cl Dubonnet
    1cl Punt e Mes
    Stir, strain, orange zest squeezed from 15 cm above the drink

    3. Tell us about a new flavor you have discovered recently?
    C: Well more than a new flavor is a new color, red cabbage infused in gin for 2 minutes brings an amazing natural purple color!

    4. If you could pass just one thing, on to an apprentice bartender what would it be?
    J: Cleanliness is next to orderliness is next to pre-shift stocking-ness is next to godliness!
    C: Trust in your personality and read the newspaper.

    5. What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the future in the industry?
    For us, our immediate future entails building a strong team around us at Candelaria so we can have a bit more time to expand creatively and work on new ideas to make the best establishment possible. We are lucky to have found some great people who share our curiosity! And we are working on cultivating a customer base open to new or unfamiliar flavors.
    In the industry, I don't know if it IS happening, but I would like to see less of a barrier between wine, beer and spirits. Most wine people I know don't really care for cocktails or spirits, and most cocktail people I know don't know much about wine. I think there is much knowledge to share which could result in some interesting libations and a deeper overall understanding of the different categories of alcoholic beverages.

    6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar?
    J: My biggest satisfaction has been to have the opportunity to create my own place with friends, for friends, and have a great response from the public at large to a new style and concept for Paris.
    C: For myself, the passion that generates discovering new flavors and new products, meeting producers who share their "savoir-faire" and their own passion too. For my guests, surprising people and earning their trust so they enjoy drinking your creations and spending time with you at 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?
    J: I'd like to meet the Sidecar and hear all the crazy stories she'd have about swinging 1920's Paris!

    8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)?
    J: The amount of sleep I have gotten the night before, the weather, the music and my overall mood.
    C: I studied ethnology and anthropology and actually to enjoy traveliing to the roots of spices and flavors and the different cultures from which they come.

    9. If you where to break a bartending golden rule what would it be?
    J & C: Contrary to popular wisdom, the customer is not always right! Sometimes it's better to listen to what they are looking for, then gently steer them down the road less taken to begin to expand their palate. The rewards can be greater (and sometimes much worse!) for both parties.

    10. Outside of flavor and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most?
    J&C: The atmosphere of the imbibing environment: lighting, music, temperature, and most importantly, the company with which you are sharing your time.

    11. If you where to champion a cocktail which would it be?
    J: A gin Martini, not extremely dry and definitely not dirty, with a twist of lemon.
    C: A well-made Aviation.