Wednesday, December 03, 2008

AOTD in Spanish!

Art of the Drink is now available in Spanish on Practicopedia.com! Check it out to see how I would sound if my last name was Banderas (and I was much better looking).

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nokia N96


Nokia just sent me one of their new N96 video phones to try out, so I'll be putting it through its paces over the next few weeks. Look for some impromptu footage here on the blog as well as on the Nokia viNe site. So far, it looks like a pretty capable device for both still and video work on the fly. It's a little on the big/heavy side for a phone, but if the picture quality is what I expect the extra heft will be worth it: 5 megapixel camera with built in flash and video lights, Carl Zeiss lens, digital zoom, and it shoots MP4 video at up to 30 frames per second VGA. This is all married to a full-featured multi-media device that combines a digital media player, live TV, and web/e-mail connectivity with built-in wireless internet, true GPS, and all the features you'd expect in a top-notch phone. The key will be living with it to see if the integration truly works. I'm hoping it does, as it could be the first device that would allow me to replace a Flip-type camcorder, GPS, and smart phone with one fairly small unit that's with me all the time.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Supplies Do I Need?

Posted on the AOTD Forum by DanTheMan:

Q - I am thinking of putting together a small home bar. I am looking to invest in a shaker set, and there seem to be quite a few options. I can go 16oz, 18oz or 28oz. Which would be my best choice?

Also, what tools would you say are essential for someone just starting their bar?

A - My go-to shaker setup is a stainless steel 28 oz. tin (available at any restaurant supply store or online at sites like Instawares for under $3) paired with a standard 16 oz. pint glass (about $1) and a 4-prong stainless bar strainer (under $2). Since the whole setup costs less than six bucks, I usually keep two sets in the house for parties and one in the car just to be sure I have quality tools if called upon to bartend at someone else's place (which will happen all the time once people know you mix). Avoid consumer sets like those sold at Linens-N-Things, Target, etc., as they're way overpriced and just don't work as well.

Beyond that, all you really need is a bag of pour spouts (also available online or at a restaurant supply store for about $12) and lots of hand towels and you're good to go. If you want to get more complicated, I'd add a muddler (splurge a bit here and get the VIVA! Stick from New York Bar Store -- at $10 it's the best muddler I've ever used), a twister (for making citrus twists properly, under $10), and a 3.25" x 24" drink mat ($9). The next level would add a set of Store-N-Pour containers for juices, a glass rimmer for salting glasses, a bar caddy to hold cocktail napkins/straws/stirrers, and a garnish tray. Anything beyond that and you're basically opening a restaurant!

One thing people do tend to overlook when they're setting up a home bar is glassware, and ironically it's probably the most important element. Be sure to a have a good selection of commercial-quality glasses in all the standard service sizes: pint, white wine (for home use you can serve both red and white in these), highball, and martini glasses are the minimum. From there, you can add red wine glasses, champagne flutes, rocks, and cordial glasses. Again, I'd go to a restaurant supply store or online site like Instawares. If you plan on hosting a lot of parties, just buy a case of each and keep the boxes to store the glassware in a closet or garage when you're not using them.

Good luck and let me know how it goes!

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Episode 67: Shark Ice

Anthony travels to Positano, Italy, and discovers a new orange-flavored martini!



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Monday, October 27, 2008

AOTD In Positano!

So while I was in Positano on the Amalfi Coast of Italy doing a shoot for Taste TV, I headed to the bar at The Hotel Il Covo dei Saraceni where I was staying to meet Salvatore, the hotel's bartender of the last eight years and reportedly one of the best barmen in Italy. I introduced myself and started to explain to him about Art of the Drink, when he stopped me and told me he watches the show and began recalling his favorite episodes! Needless to say, I was blown away and of course had to film an episode with him right there and then -- so keep an eye out for a very special AOTD from Positano, courtesy of Salvatore!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Episode 66: Maverick

Anthony follows up his Baracktail with a new drink for the McCain fans!



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Episode 65: Baracktail

Here's a quick drink for you to enjoy while watching the election coverage - next up, a cocktail for McCain!



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Thursday, October 09, 2008

AOTD In Italy!

Just wanted to let you all know that later this month I'll be working with Taste TV (http://www.tastetv.com) in Naples, Italy, as the point man for their media contingent covering the Naples Chamber of Commerce Food and Wine Tour of the city. Look for some cool footage coming out soon and more details to follow here on the blog. Salute!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Episode 64: Daddy-O

Anthony and Charlotte return to Daddy-O and make their signature Bourbon martini.



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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Episode 63 - Rosie Lee

Award-winning bartender Charlotte Voisey joins Anthony at Daddy-O and makes her original rose-infused gin cocktail.



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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Episode 62 - Maker's Mark Old Fashioned

Anthony visits Devin Tavern to enjoy their Bourbon-glazed prawns and fresh-fruit Old Fashioned!



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Monday, August 11, 2008

AOTD - Now in Three Languages!

Just wanted to let you all know about a couple of cool recent developments. Sokuke.com (poised to become the YouTube of China) just selected Art Of The Drink for their site, and will be translating all of our episodes into Chinese and distributing them behind the Red Curtain to over 1 billion potential viewers. Similarly, DixiRed (created by the former owners of Recoletos, a major media player in Spain) chose us for their new web site aimed at Spanish-speaking viewers around the globe, and will be translating all of our videos into Spanish. This means AOTD will now be available in the three most widely-spoken languages in the world -- sweet!

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Aspiring Bartenders II

Here's another great e-mail I got that covers some good questions:

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Q: My name is Tasha, I LOVE your podcast, its' my all time favorite. I wait frantically for a new one to be updated (and watch the rest of them over and over). I have wanted to be a bartender for a matter of years (i am 19), my fascination started with my love of glassware and stemware, I like to collect unique and different sets i find.

I plan to attend a bartending school later on so that i can learn the basics of what i need to know. I have noticed from watching your podcast (and some others too) that many good bartenders not only know how to mix a drink, but the history, and fun facts behind it. I know that a 40 hour class will not cover a lot of information like that (but it does cover some). I was wondering how did you acquire your general knowledge. Was it just from being in the business for a long time or did you read a lot? I was also wondering did you have any suggestions of any good books that i could read to not only learn different recipes for cocktails, but other information too, such as history of cocktails, information on the different spirits and mixers, etc. or any other good books i should have on hand.

Another question i had was how did you get your start in bartending? What made you choose it as a career? Why do you love it so much? (sorry, it's just, when somebody is really good at something and you can tell that it's their passion, i get interested as to why).

As i dream to pursue a career in bartending I'm a little concerned that i wont be able to remember all the different recipes for everything. How do you do it? What helped you? Do you have any tips, words of wisdom, or advice in that area for an aspiring bartender?

P.S. i love the episodes when you visit the makers mark distillery, it gave me the idea to visit distilleries and wineries around my area to educate myself in a more hands on way.

************

A: Hi, Tasha! First off, thanks so much for writing -- I love hearing from people that are enjoying the series! A couple of your questions are answered on my blog, particularly those about how to get started in the business and bartending schools. As for my bartending education, I can point to three main sources of knowledge: 1) books, 2) other bartenders -- you can learn from them all though sometimes it's what not to do, and 3) lots and lots of hours behind the bar. There are a ton of good books out there, and the History Channel has some great specials as well. I tend to lean toward the books that offer more than just recipes, like Dale Degroff's classic "The Craft of the Cocktail," Anthony Dias Blue's "The Complete Book of Spirits," or anything by Gary Regan, and I also find that books which specialize in just one spirit tend to have more in-depth content (check out "Tequila" by Valenzuela-Zapata and Nabhan for example).

I got my start right out of college as a server working at Darryl's Restaurant in Durham, NC, and have been in the business ever since -- despite having degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science. Actually, I'm a little nuts and regularly apply my education to bartending, so when the methods I teach for building drinks differ from traditional approaches the reason can usually be found in fluid dynamics, thermodynamics, or chemistry. I know that sounds geeky, but you'd be surprised how much traditional bartending lore flies in the face of science.

As for recipes, don't let them freak you out. This is what spooks most new bartenders, and the key to success is threefold: first, really try to understand why a drink is made a certain way. You'll find that there's often a method to seemingly maddening drink recipes, and many times the name will give you valuable clues to the ingredients (the classic example of this is the seemingly inscrutable Sloe Comfortable Screw Up Against The Wall, which actually breaks down very simply into Sloe Gin, Southern Comfort, Vodka and OJ for the Screw[driver], and Galliano for the Wall[banger, Harvey]. Second, get as much high-volume time behind the bar as you can to drive those recipes home -- working a busy service bar is my favorite way to keep sharp. Finally, never, ever be afraid to look up a recipe, especially if the alternative is making the drink incorrectly. Always keep a good recipe book behind the bar and read it during dead times (after you've cleaned and stocked everything).

Hope this is helpful, and keep me posted on your career. Thanks again, and if a visit to the Maker's Mark distillery is on your agenda tell them I said hello!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Episode 61: Fresh Sour

Anthony shows Leah how to make fresh Sour Mix for all kinds of cocktails!



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Monday, July 14, 2008

Episode 60: Classic Cocktails - Margarita

Leah returns to learn the classic recipe for a top-shelf Margarita!



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Monday, July 07, 2008

Aspiring Bartenders

Wanted to post a great e-mail I got today along with my response. I hope it's helpful to other aspiring bartenders out there:

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Hello Anthony,
My name is Ishi.

I am SERIOUSLY considering bartending as a career or at least a hobby. However I am only 14 years old therefore legally I can only sit back and watch your Art of the Drink podcasts and cant get in on the action until 21.

First off I went to [a bar school web site and] I don't know if I can trust their claim about turning someone pro in 1-2 weeks.

I watched one of their videos and they made their Zombie quite a bit differently. They also said it was one of the best tasting ones...What is your opinion on that?

Also, any pointers you can give me for later on?

Thank you,
Ishi

**********

Ishi,
Thanks for writing! I think you have some great times ahead of you if you choose to pursue your interest in bartending! Also, keep in mind that in many states you can actually start bartending when you're 18 as long as you're under the direct supervision of someone who's 21 or over -- check your state liquor laws. I'd highly recommend that you get a serving job (waiter) as soon as possible, as that's the best and fastest way to get behind the bar -- I always promote my best servers to bartenders, and almost everyone else does as well. Steer clear of bartending schools -- they make the owners lots of money, but usually don't do much for the students. Again, the best servers get the bartending jobs.

Barbacking is also a great way to get some experience and get in line for a bartending job, but many bars don't use barbacks and the positions can be tough to get because they're more scarce. Be sure to keep learning from all the great free resources on the web (like Art of the Drink!), read books, and watch the bar when you're in restaurants. One of the things you'll find is that there are often as many recipes for a drink as there are bartenders making it, and everyone will tell you theirs tastes best. The key is to watch for correct preparation and technique -- you'll learn to tell the pros from the joes pretty quickly. Remember, bartending is more than just sloshing liquor into glasses -- we need more educated bartenders who really love what they do. Help me spread that philosophy, and I'm sure you'll do great!

Thanks again!
-Anthony

**********

Quick clarification on the above: Don't confuse bartending schools with Safe Alcohol Service classes (like ServSafe and TIPs). I can't recommend the latter highly enough, but they don't get into bartending techniques or recipes at all.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Episode 59: July 4th Pina Colada

Anthony and Leah celebrate Independence Day with a red, white, and blue pina colada!



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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Episode 58: Absinthe

Always wanted to try absinthe? Anthony and Leah show you the traditional way to prepare the world's most mysterious spirit.



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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Episode 57: Memorial Day Sex On The Beach

For Memorial Day, Anthony shows Stephanie two versions of Sex on the Beach.



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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Episode 56: Classic Cocktails - Manhattan

Anthony heads down to Loretto, KY, and brings back a classic Maker's Mark Manhattan!



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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Episode 55: Lychee Martini

Anthony shows you how to add some Asian flavor to your next martini!



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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Episode 54: Easter Spring Awakening

Stephanie returns to welcome back Spring with an AOTD original cocktail.



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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Episode 53: St. Patrick's Day Nutty Irishman

Anthony and Stephanie show you how to make a Nutty Irishman for your St. Patrick's Day celebration!



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Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ordering Martinis

From the Facebook Fan Page:

Q: Anthony, I'm having trouble figuring out about what exactly I like in a martini (and if it is a martini). I like being able to drink a chilled vodka (with olives) with no "aftertaste". I simply love being able to sip on the drink and taste that vodka, I like it to be smooth.

I'm from Oklahoma, so I can't tell if the bartenders around here don't know if I'm just not wanting a martini. The way I understand it, vermouth makes it dry, so I don't want that, but without it, its just vodka. So should I order a shot of vodka chilled with olive garnish?

I've been following your resources for quite a while, and I just think you do such a great job, I really feel like I'm getting the full story and richness of alcohol's culture when I listen to you. So keep up the good work, we really appreciate it.
-David S.

A: Couple quick things: to be a "real" martini it's gotta have both vodka (actually gin is more traditional, but vodka is more popular) and vermouth. Otherwise, as you said, it's just a glass of chilled vodka with olives. Now having said that, a glass of chilled vodka with olives is exactly what some people want.

Second, removing vermouth makes it dry. So, while a traditional (or wet) martini has about 4 parts vodka to 1 part vermouth, a dry martini usually has just a dash of vermouth.

Now to get what you're looking for (and you're by no means alone in this taste preference) you'll need to order an extra dry martini (translation: no vermouth at all). More precisely: an extra dry Grey Goose martini up with olives (translation: Grey Goose vodka chilled and strained into a martini glass with no vermouth, no ice, and olives as a garnish as opposed to a twist).

Any decent bartender will be able to transform that order into exactly the drink you want. If they get it wrong, go to a different bartender.

Thanks for the feedback!

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Storing Liquor & Other Essentials

Q: Love the show. I just discovered it & I've watched every episode (ok, almost - I think there are 6 I've not gotten to yet). I don't make many cocktails at home and I don't entertain often. I'm curious if there are any special precautions or steps to take to store liquor, liqueur, bitters etc? I'm wanting to stock up my bar for the times I do entertain, but not throw the money away if it's all going to go bad before I use it. Thanks, keep up the good work.
-Ben

A: Great question -- I'm gonna post this on the blog as well. Storing liquor is painless: just keep the bottles tightly capped and most liquors can be kept for decades (fruit flies are your main adversary here, and caps defeat them nicely). Same for bitters and nearly anything with an alcohol content greater than about 20% (40 proof). Low-alcohol liqueurs (30+ proof) will be fine as well. Mixers need to be refrigerated once opened (and even then are only good for about a week), and that's also a good idea for Rose's Lime Juice and Grenadine (though both will do fine at room temp for weeks, even opened). Wine should be finished off within about 24 hours of opening the bottle unless a vacuum or nitrogen re-corking system is used. My standard setup for infrequently used bars is as follows (all can be kept at room temp except where noted):

-Full liquor/liqueur selection, tightly capped.
-Good wine selection, unopened.
-Single-serve grapefruit, pineapple, orange, and tomato juice cans (all usually easy to find).
-12-oz. cans or bottles of cola, diet, lemon-lime, ginger ale, seltzer, and tonic.
-Cranberry juice and lemonade/sour mix either in an unopened bottle or single-serve cans if you can find them.
-Bitters, capped.
-Grenadine and lime juice, refrigerated if opened.
-Salt, pepper, sugar.

Unfortunately, you have to buy fruit and other garnishes fresh, though maraschino cherries, olives, and cocktail onions will keep for a while in the fridge (actually, I think maraschino cherries and cockroaches will be the only things around after a nuclear war). Believe it or not, ice is usually where people come up short when hosting impromptu parties. Hope that helps, and thanks for the feedback!