15 000 PEOPLE ATTENDED THE TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2009

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With the numbers now in front of me in my mailbox it seems that i`ve been to the biggest cocktail event in the world, 15000 people in a fairly small area and very much centered to mostly one hotel. No wonder the Monteleone lobby often was so crowded (but oh…the aircon that met me when getting in there after a 20 min walk was heaven)  It never took over 5 min before you met at least someone that you knew when entering there.

Everyone i spoke to who was there for the second time or more told me the same thing, the first time you get to the Tales you`ll be completely overwhelmed. And that´s true, you do – its no way you can really prepare yourself for the whirlwind of activites and awesomeness that is the Tales and that also is New Orleans – the heat of july included.

A good thing is – you can choose yourself how much of these activites you´ll attend to – but – your plans will most likely be changed more than once.

And here are some facts and the numbers from the press release that was sent out:

12,000 POUNDS OF KOLD-DRAFT ICE, 13, 884 MINT LEAVES, 11,250 LIMES AND 640 COCKTAIL RECIPES
TALES OF THE COCKTAIL 2009 BY THE NUMBERS


NEW ORLEANS – (August 2009) – Tales of the Cocktail, the internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine and culture held its annual event in New Orleans, Louisiana from July 8 to July 12, 2009. The event brings together the best and brightest of the cocktail community—award-winning mixologists, authors, bartenders, chefs and designers—for a five-day celebration of the history and artistry of making drinks. Each year offers a spirited series of dinners, demos, tastings, competitions, seminars, book signings, tours and parties all perfectly paired with some of the best cocktails ever made.

In its seventh year, Tales of the Cocktail hosted thousands of sippers, used 12,000 thousand pounds of Kold Draft ice, garnishes and more in the five days…Tales of the Cocktail 2009 by the numbers is below:

·     12,000 pounds of Kold Draft Ice
·     15,000 attendees
·     100,000 5-ounce Tales of Cocktail acrylic cups
·     13,884 mint leaves
·     14,000 lemons
·     11,250 limes
·     192 pounds of sugar
·     1,824 Driscoll’s Blackberries and Driscoll’s Blueberries
·     12,000 bottles of Fiji Water
·     74 Gallons Lime Juice
·     82 Gallons Lemon Juice
·     45 Gallons Grapefruit Juice
·     21 Gallons Pineapple Juice
·     25 Gallons Tomato Juice
·     75 Gallons Simple Syrup
·     10 Gallons Rich Simple Syrup
·     5 Gallons Honey Syrup
·     1400 Tropicana Orange twists
·     1200 Lemon Twists
·     1250 Lime Wheels
·     940 Lemon Wheels
·     950 Luxardo Cherries
·     450 Cucumber Wheels
·     400 Lemon Wedges
·     430 Lime Wedges
·     350 Stalks of Celery
·     48,921 items in the Swag Speakeasy
·     640 Cocktail Recipes in the Stir Your Soul Edition of the Tales of the Cocktail Recipe Book
·     25 Spirited Dinners at New Orleans Restaurants
·     10 partner hotel properties

About Tales of the Cocktail

Tales of the Cocktail is an internationally acclaimed festival of cocktails, cuisine and culture held annually in New Orleans, Louisiana. The event brings together the best and brightest of the cocktail community—award-winning mixologists, authors, bartenders, chefs and designers—for a five-day celebration of the history and artistry of making drinks. Each year offers a spirited series of dinners, demos, tastings, competitions, seminars, book signings, tours and parties all perfectly paired with some of the best cocktails ever made.

About the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society

The New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society is a non-profit organization committed to preserving the unique culture of dining and drinking in New Orleans and the storied bars and restaurants that have contributed to the city’s world-wide culinary acclaim. This organization supports members of the hospitality industry through education and the production of events like Tales of the Cocktail and, most recently, Trails of the Cocktail, a scholarship program for emerging talent in the New Orleans cocktail industry.

Every summer spirits from around the world descend on America’s most soulful city. Next summer will be no different as Tales of the Cocktail returns. Join us for a spirited schedule of cocktails, cuisine and culture that will stir even the most idle of souls.

Save the date for next year’s Tales of the Cocktail, July 21-25, 2010


For more information, go to www.TalesoftheCocktail.com

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EVER HEARD ABOUT STAN JONES?

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In 1977 a book was written by a man named Stan Jones.

He was a bar manager in California (he lived in the San Fernando Valley) with a great experience from both the restaurant and beverage industry. What sets him apart is that he wrote the first book for professional bartenders in some 30 years and that he did during a time that is likened to the dark ages of cocktail mixology as the art of mixing drinks was almost lost and replaced with a phletora of crappy drinks made from canned juices, cloingly-sweet liqueurs, instant powder-mixers and cheap vodka.

It was a time when real crafted cocktails was more or less forgotten and most people didn´t like the flavour of the spirits because their palates wasn´t used to it and preferred drinks where the taste of alcohol was either non-existant or thoroughly masked by a curtain of bad mixers.

And from there we have gone quite a long way until where we are now.

The book is called Jones’ Complete Bar Guide and contains no less than 4000 cocktail recipes plus in-depth history of cocktails including detailed notes on all the major and also many minor spirits categories. According to what i`ve heard Jones’ source for classic recipes was some edition of Patrick Gavin Duffy’s Mixer’s Manual and the 4th update of Mr Boston among others but i can`t confirm that.

Of course with that amount of recipes – all can´t be good and isn`t but you`ll definetily have a hefty treasure chest to dig into. You`ll also find many variations of the same drinks which can be quite interesting.

Anyway, the point is – he is much responsible for where we are today when we see a new renaissance of the classic cocktails. Important to note is that the CocktailDB uses recipes from his book and at the beginning of the cocktail renaissance that website was (and is) important and that has had an impact as well.

Today Jones’ book is a collector’s item and i think we owe this man a great deal of respect and honor. At the CSOWG Stan has been adopted our patron saint for the Mixoloseum and his stern look is always there to make  sure we don´t screw up our cocktails.

The awesome drawing of Stan for Mixoloseum was made by Dr Bamboo.

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Dr Bamboo wrote: “Waving a giant banner bearing Stan Jones likeness, they invaded a fairly sedate stretch of Rampart street and set up a base of operations from which both cocktails and cocktail knowledge would issue forth.”

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Pictures of Stan in the year 1976 and the book courtesy of Greg Boehm at Mud Puddle Books.

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Cachaca – Abelha Silver

 

From Bahia it hails – Abelha organic cachaca. I can easily say that this is the best cachaca i`ve had so far, its insanely good – so flavourful and tasty! I was actually surprised it was so good even though I expected it to be good. Up in Bahia is a farmers collective where they grow 100% organic sugar and that`s where Abelha starts its life. Its distilled in small batches in traditional copper stills.

Abelha is a small batch organic cachaca which means that no chemical products are used and the fermentation yeasts that are used are also cultured from the natural yeasts which grow on green sugar cane. Moreover the sugar cane isn´t burnt because for a cane to qualify as organic it must not be burnt prior to harvest. This is a very good thing as the air pollution from burning sugar cane fields is a huge problem.

Abelha produces two cachacas – Abelha Cachaca Silver which is the one i have tried and its a premium hand-crafted white, or rested (descansada) cachaca, with a clean flavour.

The other is the Abelha Gold which is s aged for 3 years in small 250L garapeira wooden barrels – the wood imparting a beautiful mellow tone to the cachaca resulting in a typical for the aging process a- full-flavoured, well-balanced cachaca. This one I haven´t tried yet but I bet its just as nice.

Abelha cachaca is certified by the IBD in Brasil, and the UK import is certified organic by the Organic Farmers and Growers.

So what about the flavour? as I said I tried the white cachaca and its really really nice  – with a hint of honey,  sugarcane and grass. A hint of the typical earthy flavour is there as well to remind you that this is cachaca. I can safely say this is the best I have tasted as far as cachacas go.

During the last TDN which was called “Beat The Heat” I made a drink with Abelha which I really enjoyed and to my joy others also liked it and it won that TDN gracing me with one of Trader Tiki´s awesome syrups! his stuff is really special and so goood! and here is the recipe for the drink:

Bahia Rose (Rosa da Bahia)


2 oz Abelha Cachaca
1 oz Aperol
1 oz fresh ruby grapefruit
0.5 oz fresh lime
0.5 oz simple syrup.

Shake and pour in saucer type of glass filled with crushed ice.

Garnish with a grapefruit rose and add two straws.

Finally I have to say a word about the bottle labels, they are really nice! very rustic, colorful and crafty, made by Holly Wales and Anthony Sheret. The label actually reminds me of my fellow bloggers awesome garden.

Abelha is as far as I know only sold in London – a link is here: http://www.abelha.co.uk/where-to-buy-cachaca-abelha-in-london/

I don´t know when or if it will be sold elsewhere, I myself wouldn´t mind seeing it in sold in Sweden which is the same as hoping for Astor to fly from New York and settle in Stockholm. If you can get your hands on this cachaca you should´t hesitate to try it.

MxMo XLI: VODKA IS YOUR FRIEND

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And so its time again for the next Mixology Monday!

The one in July never happened..and good was that, i think many agree. For myself, i did completely forget about that one – wound up in the after-waves of the Tales and i don`t think i was the only one.

So what`s on the topic for this one? well…its actually vodka and our host Amelia at Felicia’s Speakeasy says:

The theme of August 10th’s Mixology Monday is “Vodka is Your Friend.” The recent high profile bashings of vodka interspersed with a few weak “yeah, buts…” left me wondering, is vodka the axis of evil, our most dangerous enemy? While it may not be the life of the party, experts agree: Vodka’s obituary does not have to be written just yet.

Thanks for hosting! this should be fun.

So there we go…let´s see now what to do with this spirit said to be the best selling spirit of all in many places. I`m not usually a vodka drinker despite growing up in a vodka country but i do for the moment have a bottle of Uluvka and then a 176 proof Balkan in my bar which so far has been used for infusions. I`m of the opinion that there´s not that much flavour in vodka but i do know that there are vodkas out there with flavour.

Its true though that becuase its quite flavourless its like an empty canvas for you to spread about your fresh local fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices. That´s the good thing. On the other hand i think its more fun to pair my mixers with various types of flavourful spirits..

When i was in New Orleans we went to a great place called Attiki and they served the best Bloody Mary i ever had (but it was made with gin.) Ever since i had that one its been in the back of my head to try to make a variation of it at home. And so now with vodka as a topic in this MxMo i  find a perfect opportunity to make a New Orleans style Bloody Mary.

I made some research on the net for various Nola style Mary`s and found a few recipes and then made my own variation.

NOLA STYLE BLOODY MARY

bloody-mary

* 2.5 oz tomato juice (i made from fresh very ripe tomatoes and added a tbsp tomato paste as well plus the bajou blast)
*2  oz vodka (Uluvka)
* 0.25 oz overproof vodka (Balkan)
* 0.5 tsp  fresh lemon juice
* 0.5 tsp  fresh lime juice
* 0.5 tsp prepared horseradish
* Worcestershire sauce to taste
* Louisiana hot sauce to taste
* pinch freshly ground black pepper
* pinch  Bayou Blast
* dash Peychaud´s
* 1 tbsp of the juice from okra jar
* Pickled okra, for garnish
* Green olives for garnish
* Black olive coarse sea salt to rim the glass

For tomato juice: Blend a couple of ripe tomatoes in a blender and strain. I also mixed in the Bajou blast here.

Prepared horseradish: Take a very small piece of horseradish and add 0.5  tsp cider vinegar and water and puree in mortar until smooth.

Bayou Blast: For one drink take a pinch ea of these things and mix them well: paprika, salt, garlic powder, onion powder,dried oregano,dried thyme, black pepper, cayenne. All dried spices.

Rim a tall glass with black olive coarse sea salt and set aside. Shake well over ice and double strain. Garnish with a pickled okra and 1-2 olives.

Sugarcane bar

SMUGGLER’S COVE INTRODUCES EURYDICE RUM

smugglers-cove1

A new rum made in California..now i do get a bit curious as to how this rum may taste.

Here is the press release:

SAN FRANCISCO, CA- Smuggler’s Cove, San Francisco’s forthcoming destination for rum and exotic cocktails, proudly announces Eurydice, a new rum crafted exclusively for Smuggler’s Cove. Handcrafted by the artisan distillers of St. George Spirits in consultation with Smuggler’s Cove owner Martin Cate, Eurydice (yur-id-ih-see) is a completely unique rum.

Eurydice starts with the fresh-pressed cane juice of 100% California-grown sugar cane. The cane, grown in Southern California, is harvested and crushed at St George Spirits’ Alameda facility where it is fermented with two strains of wine yeast designed to accent the fruit and floral notes of the cane.

Eurydice is then distilled in an alembic pot still and aged in two different barrels: a re-toasted French wine cask, followed by a used bourbon barrel to develop subtle vanilla, brown sugar, and butter notes. The final product marries these characteristics to the light, dry, floral qualities of an agricole-style rhum for a unique rum experience.

Eurydice is a 100% California grown and produced artisan product. The name derives from Zerene Eurydice, the California state butterfly. Eurydice was produced in extremely limited quantities and will be available exclusively at Smuggler’s Cove when it opens to the public this fall.

For more information, please visit http://www.smugglerscovesf.com/ and sign up on our mailing list to get all the latest news.

About Martin Cate:  http://www.martincate.com/

About St. George Spirits: http://www.stgeorgespirits.com/

Contact Martin Cate at info@smugglerscovesf.com

Sugarcane bar

MEZCAL – DEL MAGUEY

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The nose of the mezcal reaches me, its earhty…and smoky…but not overwelmingly so – in a pleasant way it invites you to take a sip.

Its a long time i wanted to try out Del Maguey mezcals and at the Tales i got my chance during their session Agavepalooza. I also got my chance to finally bring home the samples which were laying about in the US with this beautifully handcrafted spirit from the villages in Oaxaca, Mexico using old traditional methods. I was amazed to learn that even airborne microbes at different levels in the air affects the flavour of the mezcal.

In this video Ron Cooper from Del Maguey explains the myths and the seven factors that affects the quality and flavor of the mezcal. You should really watch this video, its very interesting.

In short, those seven factors are the following:

Plant Species – there are about a dozen maguey plants that produces good mezcal, so the plant variety is important as each one gives different flavours.

Altitude – its here the airborne microbes plays their role and at every 300 feet up (100m) its different species of microbes. These airborne microbes affects the fermenting. In commercial tequila and mezcal production chemicals are used but in the production of Del Maguey they wait between 4-30 days to let the airborne microbes start the fermenting.

The soil – Different soils are used, and soil definetily adds a flavour component. Del Maguey uses a soil type that is called tierra amaria. Its a well drained granite-rich soil thus letting the water drain off fast which is very important as water from the soil is not good for the maguey as water through the roots and up in the plant makes it bitter. Instead the plants opens up its poores in the night and absorbs moisture.

Wood – the kind of wood that is used to heat the rocks that roast the hearts on gives off different flavours.

Water – the water of the village also has a flavour effect and the water is used after the hearts are ground and everything is placed in tanks or vats. Different village waters affects the flavours.

The hand of the maker – This is that magic personal touch that every producer of mezcal adds to the product and its possible to by blind tasting tell which village and which specific producer has made a certain mezcal.

Time – is one of the most important factors in a good mezcal – as mezcal is a real slow-food product – this is how flavour is made.

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DEL MAGUEY MEZCAL

Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal is produced in different tiny remote villages in the state of Oaxaca, Mexico and each Del Maguey mezcal carries the name of the village where its produced. Only two ingredients are used – water and the heart of the maguey (agave) plant.The traditions used in the production are over 400 years old.

Over hot stones the hearts are roasted in a pit in the ground, covered with banana leaves, woven palm-fiber mats or other plant material and finally earth for 3-5 days absorbing flavors from the earth and wood smoke and oils on the rocks.

After roasting the pinas are removed from the pit and being rested covered by palm mats in the shade for a week – they begin to ferment naturally with the help of airborne microbes.

The roasted hearts are then ground by horse-power into a mash followed by a long natural fermentation period in wooden vats – its here the water of the village plays its role as well as its own yeasts and microbes. Then its slowly distilled twice – in wood-fired clay or copper stills.

The mezcal has both social, ceremonial and medical uses among the villagers and is very highly esteemed.

I received four samples of Del Maguey mezcals and i`ll try to describe them as good as i can:

CHICHICAPA

Made in the village of Chichicapa south of Oaxaca, this mezcal has a lightly earthy nose. It has a earthy flavour too with a hint of smoke and which stays long with you. Its also a bit sweet, a very nice mezcal indeed. Its like a premium all-round mezcal good for both sipping and mixing.

CREMA DE MEZCAL

This one is my favorite, it`s hands down outstanding with a full creamy flavour and a hint of smoke lingering in the background and which slowly grows on you. I spent the entire last night in New York sitting on a rooftop terrace under the stars sharing a bottle of this awesome mezcal with a good friend and so I have fond memories linked with it as well. Its so easy to sip it…. According to Del Maguey this mezcal is made “for women only – and a few strong men”.

Its made in Oaxaca and is a combination of Miel de Maguey (unfermented syrup of the roast agave) and Mezcal San Luis del Rio. I cannot enough recommend this one.

SAN LUIS DEL RIO

Omg..this one is NICE! no wonder Crema de Mezcal is so tasty if it has this one in it. Its earthy, its deep, its spicy and a bit of smoke. Its citrusy too in the nose, so pleasant and my second favorite of these four awesome mezcals.

San Luis del Rio is appr 8000 feet above sea level and south of Oaxaca.

SANTO DOMINGO ALBARRADAS

This mezcal is pretty light and also fruity with a hint of the typical smoke. Its as smooth as the others, very nice and flavourful. If I were to mix with this one I would be careful to not use too much other flavours but rather mix with few ingredients.

Santo Domingo Albarradas is located at high altitude in the high Mixe (Mee-Hay) region south of Oaxaca.

OVERAL IMPRESSION

Well what can i say? Del Maguey is the top notch of mezcals. Of course I haven`t tried all mezcals but Del Maguey is good. In New Orleans I also tried the Tobala which is made from wild Maguey that grows in the shade of oak trees at high altitude. The Tobala is sweet and fruity as well as spicy.

Another interesting mezcal I tried was the Pechuga – triple distilled – which is made with wild mountain apples and plums and is only made by the end of the year when these are in season. Other things they add is pineapples, red plantains, figs, almonds, hazelnuts and uncooked white rice.

Furthermore – and this is interesting – a whole chicken breast with skin removed is suspended by strings hanging over the still for 24 hrs and this is the final 3rd distillation.The vapor passes over the chicken breast and condenses it to a clear liquid and only the bones remain. My memory of tasting it is that it was good – no surprise – and spicy, smoky and nope – I didn`t detect any chicken flavour in it but maybe others do.

I like the colorful labels on the bottles too, a bit childlike, very happy and gets me to think about sunshine.

The only final conclusion I can make is that I must try to get more Del Maguey mezcals and never be out of the Crema.

Mezcal is traditionally sipped, and a good mezcal is indeed a wonderful sipper but is also more and more used in cocktail mixing – and that`s part of the reason why i write about cocktails with mezcal as I think it deserves to be used much more. It`s also a very interesting spirit to work with and adds an interesting flavour and may also be floated, rimmed etc.

I recently made a batch of the hibiscus tisane that is called jamaica and I wanted to try it with mezcal, lime and agave syrup. Its a very simple cocktail with only natural ingredients where the mezcal adds some fire and smoke to the tangy lime and jamaica.

SMOKY CLOUD

jamaica-cloud-cocktail

The name comes from that the mezcal is produced in Oaxaca, which is the historic home of the Zapotec and Mixtec peoples – mixtec meaning “place of the cloud-people”.

2 oz Del Maguey mezcal chichicapa
¼ oz agave syrup
¼  oz bitter seville orange syrup
0.5 oz fresh lime juice
Top with Jamaica

Shake over ice and strain into a glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with a speared orange wedge and a lime twist.

This cocktail turned out to be very light, fruity and refreshing with a punch of smoke from the mezcal. You may also use just agave or simple syrup if you dont want to make your own bitter seville orang syrup which is very simply made by making a simple syrup with 1:1 (or 2.1 if you prefer) light raw cane sugar and water, then adding 5-6 tblsp of bitter seville orange marmalade. Then cook it for a while , cool and strain.

As for the jamaica just follow the recipe here. If you cannot find hibiscus flowers to make your own jamaica you could use just orange juice or maybe something different like cranberry or pomegranate?

JAMAICA

2 cups water to 2 handful of dried hibiscus flowers
3 oz agave syrup
Boil for 5 minutes
Cool for 2 hrs

When cool, strain and bottle.

If you get a chance to try Del Maguey just do it.

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There´s something mysterious in the feel about mezcal, something ancient… and it transports you.