It was many cocktails ago when I was dreading life behind the bar. Life as a casino barback was a freakin’ grind and while I liked the idea of bartending, I knew dealing out Bud Lights and Long Islands night after night was not in the cards for me.
Fast forward to today and I couldn’t be more excited about mixing drinks – The Temple Bar was gracious in asking me to be their guest bartender for a night and I give them a huge thanks for this awesome opportunity. There will be a special ‘Real McCoy’ menu featuring some of my favorite classic cocktails as well as some modern trends – Saturday, July 17th, 7 to midnight.
And if you have moment, this weeks Cascadia Weekly featured an article about The Real McCoy traveling bar and tonight’s event. Thank you Amy Kepferle for the kind words.
It’s been an action-packed month! To sum it up without writing a novel; I’ve had weekly events, made a few fresh additions to the menu (more on that later), boosted the booze collection, and had my first “hired” bartending gig. The setting for my first event was a 40th birthday celebration – complete with a 1980′s theme to the party (minus the hammer pants/leg warmers wardrobe). I felt it would only be right to accompany the awesome old school jams and 80′s pop culture trivia with cocktails spun to fit the vibe.
Here are some highlights from the evenings menu…
Miracle On Ice
gin. lemon. st. germain. champagne.
rum. dry vermouth. orange curacao. homemade grenadine.
gin. dry vermouth. orange bitters. creme de violette.
It was a fantastic event – I was excited and thankful to be called upon, and the birthday girl herself was gracious enough to give me the following feedback:
“Everyone was raving about your cocktails.” – Heather E.
And now…heads up on some upcoming events featuring The Real McCoy!
I’ll be bartending @ Purple Space for the first ever Ladies Night Tuesday, July 6th (a fitting subtitle might be 6th and The City…) There will be a plenty of pampering for the ladies, massages, jewelry blah blah blah…And cocktails!
If interested contact PurpleSmileWines – 360. 756. 0422
I’m also absolutely ecstatic to say I’ll be guest bartending for The Temple Bar Saturday, July 17th. Details soon…
A few years ago, I was a casual drinker. I could have probably told you the difference between well and top shelf tequila, but if you would have asked me about vermouth, I would have told you that I’ve never polished furniture before. Inspiration, a new direction, a jimgermanbar education and quite a few empty cocktail glasses later, I can tell you that vermouth is an essential ingredient for me and bartenders across the world. Far more than just a rinse of the glass when making a martini, vermouth is an unsung hero. It’s often overlooked and underappreciated, it’s like the offensive line of the liquor cabinet (sorry, NFL Draft still on the brain). Yet despite its seemingly humble reputation, The Manhattan, Rob Roy and The Martinez (one of the first true martinis) all feature vermouth. So how does such an integral part of so many classic cocktails rarely get the recognition it deserves?
For most people, vermouth isn’t typically bought out of desire but rather necessity – unlike our neighbors across the Atlantic. Drinking vermouth as an aperitif is still largely a European habit, thus making the selection at your local liquor store limited to boring impersonations of this delicious spirit. However, there is a new brand of vermouth popping up in cocktail bars across the country, I’d call it the Walter Jones of vermouth (too many football comparisons?) Dolin Vermouth de Chambery has been a welcome addition to The Real McCoy suitcase. Earning France’s only A.O (Appelation d’ Origine) certification for vermouth, in 1932, Dolin is held up to the same standards as some of the finest wines from France. Since the early 19th century Dolin has been produced in France’s Chambery region, recently taking advantage of a bland and overly sweet vermouth market in the U.S. and making its way west into our glasses. Using a secret collection of over fifty different plants and herbs, Dolin makes all three classic vermouth styles – Dry, Rouge and Blanc.
All three styles are outstanding, lighter and carry more life than any other vermouth I’ve tasted. The Dry has grassy, white wine characteristics and is excellent in a Can Can cocktail (gin, St. Germain, Dolin Dry Vermouth). The Rouge (sweet) has the nose of tomatoes and apple skins, is golden-brown in color from dark, caramelized sugar and will make any Manhattan a “Man-thats good-hattan!” The Blanc is the sweetest of the three and is similar to Lillet - perfect on its own, over the rocks with a twist. So next time you are sitting at the bar, or hovering over the Gin section at the liquor store, be braver then I once was. Give vermouth a chance. And if you happen to seek out Dolin, I promise you won’t be disappointed.
* All three styles of Dolin Vermouth are available at Purple Smile Wines. $11.99 (375 ml)
This Easter will be one to remember…No eggs were hidden in the yard. No chocolate bunnies. I didn’t even have my mom’straditional ham dinner (sorry mom). Instead, some friends and I spent the holiday enjoying one of the most misunderstood liquors around, absinthe. Absinthe carries with it the lore of being a psychedelic spirit, that had been banned from the U.S. until just recently.
While absinthe was unavailable in the U.S. until just 3 years ago, the idea of it being a hallucinogenic is a misconception, trust me, I didn’t even see the Easter Bunny! It is however a delicious anise/wormwood flavored spirit on its own, or in a cocktail. My friends and I had the pleasure of tasting Lucid, one of the first absinthes to hit the U.S. market. Sipping it the traditional (Czech) style by burning a sugar cube then slowly dripping water over the absinthe, it turned the clear spirit into a cloud of green. It had appealing licorice flavors and a strong well-balanced complexity, making me believe absinthe does make the mouth grow warmer…
As for the cocktails…they were killer!
The Asylum: gin, grenadine, absinthe.
Corpse Reviver #2: gin, lillet, cointreau, lemon, absinthe.
Sazerac: rye, lemon, peychaud bitters, sugar, absinthe rinse.
Death in the Afternoon: champagne, absinthe.
Some of these classics will be appearing on The Real McCoy menu very soon…
As cocktail culture has been revitalized over the past few years, mixologists everywhere are dropping personal touches into their handcrafted concoctions. House bitters is a term you will see on menus at respected cocktail bars across the country, some of which are in our own backyard (Zig Zag Café and Tavern Law to name a few). Bartenders who put forth the effort to make their own bitters are given a certain amount of credibility I believe; you appreciate the craftsmanship behind the cocktail.
So…reusing an empty angostura bottle I recently put the cap on my own homemade bitters! Using a vodka base, I added anise, cardamom, licorice root, coriander, and cinnamon. I let that sit for about a week. I then strained the liquid and added lavender seeds and vanilla beans. After another week of rest I strained it into the bottle. I was pleasantly surprised on how it turned out and have already tested it with a few different recipes… My favorite: Gin. St Germain. Lemon. Lavender Vanilla Bitters.
Ever since I was young, I’ve always had the idea that I would someday start my own business. Ideas for that business would seem to come and go – the future remained cloudy. Within the last year, my vision has become more clear than ever. One day, I will open my own bar.
My love for the craft began around the first time I saw the film Cocktail, at the age of ten. With a sing-along soundtrack (Aruba, Jamaica oooh I wanna take ya…) and Elizabeth Shue, it quickly became one of my favorite rentals. Tom Cruise plays a down and out student turn consummate bartender. With every high-flying bottle flip and suave bar trick, Cruise made me believe that being a bartender would be the coolest job ever. Even at a young age, the idea of being someone people seek out for good drinks and good company appealed to me. I don’t think anyone really grows up aspiring to be a bartender though, and so as I grew reality caught up. Years passed and I never seriously thought about the craft…until now.
Now I feel I’ve found a passion that wont rest. I’m taking a great deal of pride in becoming a bartender dedicated to the art of creating a fine cocktail. Crafting my own infusions, syrups, tinctures and bitters. Studying the history behind classic cocktails. Honoring the traditions of the craft while paying close attention to the modern innovations being unveiled by the great bartenders across the country. My dream is that my dedication will lead to my ultimate hope for The Real McCoy; that one day my traveling bar will find a permanent home.