Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Counter-culture Journals (文革)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

WANT TO BECOME A MEZCAL MASTER? GO WORK HERE

This is a subject close to my heart because I've always loved mezcal. It is one of those drinks with magic myths attached to it. But even without the myths, Mezcal is a tasty drink. I always buy a bottle during summer. -SJ Otto
From Liquor.Com:
Contributed by Kelly Magyarics
There’s much to learn about mezcal—so much that even certified master mezcalier Josh Phillips admits he’s not even remotely close to knowing everything. One notion he likes to squash as quickly as possible, though, is the misconception that mezcal is tequila’s smoky cousin. “We don’t carry many overtly smoky mezcals,” he says. “Instead, we try to emphasize everything else that is going on in the category.” Smoke, it turns out, is not its most interesting characteristic by a long shot.
“Mezcal is a product that is thousands of years old and made across an entire country. Every year, we learn new things, and that is what makes it exciting,” he says. To that end, the partner and general manager of Espita Mezcaleria in Washington, D.C., replicates for his staff his master mezcalier training. While the official program, overseen by the Mexican government, teaches denomination of origin, Phillips doesn’t believe that paints the whole picture. His proprietary version certifies “Espita mezcaliers” in three levels. To date, five staff members have completed the entire program, while several others have finished the first or second level.
Josh Phillips
Level one of the program focuses on the D.O. and legal definition of mezcal. (The short version is that it’s an agave distillate from regions in nine states in Mexico made from an approved list of agaves grown in those states, bottled between 35 and 55 percent ABV in an approved pH range and produced in a number of different approved styles.) It also covers how other regional styles differ from it and ends with a written test. “Most of our pre-shift meetings touch on topics this test covers, and we also have a written primer that all staff members get upon hire so they can begin studying from day one.”
The second level focuses on mezcal’s applications in the culinary and cocktail world. During a blind tasting of varietally typical ones, staff must identify five varietals or styles. “We’re not interested in identifying a brand as those change constantly, but if someone can’t identify a Tepextate versus a Mexicano versus a Tobala, they won’t move on in the program,” says Phillips.
For more click here.




Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter —Pope Francis is one of the more positive aspects of Christianity today


By SJ Otto
Easter is the highest holy day in the Christian Calendar. It's been a few decades since I left the Catholic Church. I now consider myself an Epicurean. So I'm not even a Christian. One thing I do like is the Catholic Church's present day Pope Francis. He was a wonderful change from Pope Paul VI, and Pope John Paul II. Those Pope had replaced Pope John XXIII, who was one of Catholicism more progressive popes. It was terrible to see such reactionary popes come, one after the other, to drive the church back to the middle ages.
I was raised a Catholic and went to a Catholic Schoolfrom Kindergarten through 5th grade. I also spent a year at Bishop Carroll Catholic High School. So I understood the church and its teachings well. My Catholic teachers tried to tell us the Church was no longer a political establishment as it had been in the Middle Ages. As I found out, that was not really true. From the Nazi pope, Benedict XVI, to anti-communist activists, such as Pope John Paul II, and direct meddling in election contests over the abortion issue, the church has been up to its eyeballs in politics.
It's not that Pope Francis in not political, but he has some of that left-leaning criticism of capitalism and the political politics of greed. While Pope John Paul II tried to destroy liberation theology, Pope Francis seems to almost be a part of that. If it weren't for liberation theology I probably would have left the Catholic Church a lot sooner.
I like this quote by Pope Francis:

“It has been said many times and my response has always been that, if anything, it is the communists who think like Christians. Christ spoke of a society where the poor, the weak and the marginalized have the right to decide. Not demagogues, not Barabbas, but the people, the poor, whether they have faith in a transcendent God or not. It is they who must help to achieve equality and freedom”. 

I noticed on TV today that Pope Francis took his name from one of the few Catholic Saints I really admire. His birth name is Jorge Mario Bergoglio. Saint Francis of Assisi gave up his wealth and dressed as a poor commoner. He had little interest in personal wealth. I admire that. We should all look up to people who tried to be commoners rather than $billionaires who fancy themselves as presidential material.
I don't plan to return to Catholicism. I'm doing OK with Epicurus. But I'm glad some good has finally come out of the Catholic Church. For too long that church has been a refuge for the powerful and greedy. Now they are giving back to the common people. That's what is needed in politics and religion —a sense that we should serve the common people and help the poor. Not worship the rich and powerful.


Saturday, April 08, 2017

Good Bye Don Rickles

Don Rickles Tribute - The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson

2 Newhart Roasts Rickles.m4v

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Thirsty King Cobra Sips From Water Bottle Amid Debilitating Droughts

I like these kinds of stories because it shows that animals that we perceive as evil or not really. These king cobras and other similar cobras are feared in India. Here at home most people seem to fear or hate snakes. This shows us how much we have in common with other species of animals, even those we fear. –SJ Otto

Here’s something you don’t see every day. Video captured a massive king cobra appearing to drink out of a man’s water bottle amid extreme droughts across southern India. The extremely venomous reptile ― described by Caters News as 12-feet long ― is seen turning to the higher ups, who cautiously pour the water while holding its tail and a hook near its head, presumably in case it turns on them. The people in the video are wildlife rescue workers, according to Caters.  The video was reportedly shot from a village in Kaiga township. A similar video uploaded to YouTube in 2014 shows a man sharing a drink with another cobra but in an unknown location.
For more click here.


Thursday, March 23, 2017

Mary Harren- peace activist - dies

Mary McDonough Harren has died yesterday. In KS, she was about the first person I met here in Wichita when I became politically active. I will miss her a lot and I know a lot of my friends will miss her. She was a major political peace activist and a firm anti-imperialist. I will be posting a full biography and obit later this week. -SJ Otto

Chuck Berry, a Founding Father of Rock 'n' Roll, Dies at 90

Chuck Berry, the singer, songwriter and guitar great who practically defined rock music with his impeccably twangy hits “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Memphis,” “My Ding-a-Ling” and “Sweet Little Sixteen,” has died. He was 90.
The singer/songwriter, whose classic “Johnny B. Goode” was chosen by Carl Sagan to be included on the golden record of Earth Sounds and Music launched with Voyager in 1977, died Saturday afternoon, St. Charles County Police Department confirmed. The cause of death was not revealed. 
During his 60-plus years in show business, Berry in 1986 became one of the first inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He entered The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame in ’85 and that year also received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. 
For the rest click here.
Chuck Berry - Johnny B. Goode

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

CAN BARTENDING MAKE ROOM FOR BEING A MOTHER?

It’s been more than a decade since bartender turned bar owner Lucinda Sterling got her start in the industry. She scored her first drinks-serving gig at the late Sasha Petraske’s storied Milk & Honey back in 2005. Having landed the job on a whim after driving cross-country from Colorado to New York with no real plan, she dove headfirst into the hospitality business, rising from cocktail server to bartender at Petraske’s West Village charmer Little Branch. 
Sterling’s career-first mentality didn’t leave much room for what some might call a traditional trajectory: getting married, starting a family, settling down. When I had asked her in passing about having kids, she said she never saw herself as a mother. But that all changed last year, when Sterling, at 39, found out she was pregnant. It was then that something changed in her heart, like an imaginary switch she never knew had been turned on. “I thought to myself, This might be my only chance,” she says.
It’s no secret that the hospitality industry can be tough on women, from not-infrequent incidents of sexism to inflexible policies for maternity leave and even just finding time to date with the erratic hours and late nights. “I think for women finding the right partner if you’re a bartender is the biggest challenge,” says Sterling. “It’s like you’re on the opposite side of your customers, who are coming in to your bar to go on dates and meet people after work. There’s a stereotype that women behind the bar are fun, like to go out and aren’t as serious.” For Sterling, things were further complicated by her professional activities outside of the bar, from consulting on menus to participating in cocktail competitions and developing recipes. “If you’re bartending full time and also working on personal projects on the side, dating might not be part of the work-life balance you need,” she says.
But what happens once you’re already pregnant? Eight months in, Sterling is still taking shifts here and there, admitting her level of agility and stamina behind the bar has greatly decreased. Though it hasn’t been easy, as a business owner, she has been able to rely on her staff to help pick up the slack and fill in the gaps where needed. “Middle Branch has always had such a great team of bartenders whose skills go far beyond bartending,” she says. “It makes them able to do jobs that fall outside just making drinks, from ordering ice to making sure we have the proper amounts and brands of alcohol behind the bar and just managing each other every night.”
For the rest click here.

Lucinda Sterling and Middle Branch’s High Bridge cocktail, made with Landy VS cognac, Mellow Corn whiskey, simple syrup, lemon juice and Angostura bitters (image: Paul Wagtouicz / Matt Taylor Gross)

Friday, March 17, 2017

It's Another wonderful St. Patrick's Day- 2017

Saint Patrick was just a missionary. He probably did little to improve the lives of the Irish and instead came to the island to fill people up with mysticism. He never drove out the snakes because there never were any to begin with.
Many of us celebrate this day because we are all or part Irish. Some of us support Irish nationalism and the Irish cause, with the symbol of the Starry Plough.
For many people this holiday is just an excuse to get drunk. Maybe that is OK too. Don't forget to drink an Irish Car Bomb, an Irish Stout or (yuck) green beer. -SJ Otto




INGREDIENTS IN THE IRISH CAR BOMB COCKTAIL

.5 oz
.5 oz
Guinness Beer


Glass: 

HOW TO MAKE THE IRISH CAR BOMB COCKTAIL

Add the Baileys and Jameson Irish Whiskey to a shot glass.
Drop the shot into a half-pint of Guinness Beer.


Wednesday, March 15, 2017

More from "the spoken word" on Kirby's open mike night

By SJ Otto
It's been a while, but I finally made it to Kirby's Beer Store Open Mic Night, here in Wichita, this last Tuesday night. I usually use some props or some type of gimmick so it is more than just reading poems, or as I like to call it "performance art." But I ran short of time to get props, such as a cowboy hat for my Ronald Reagan ditty. So I just read the poems, or as us artsy people say, "I did spoken word."
It was a great night. We had a lot of musicians. Kirby's has a comedian open mic night on Monday. So I was the only one making talk in a joking manor.
The one new poem I read was:

Rap Clap

I wrote some rap,
It sounds like crap,
But it rimes,
And that's not grimes,
It's all that matters,
Just like TV with Jerry Mathers,
There's a butcher, a backer and a candle stick maker,
Hanging out with old Jim Baker,
He's a con and religious faker,
Cooking oats with lots of quakers,
I got a mac 9 commin' atcha'
Shoot off a round gonna' scratch ya,
Cruisen' wit my homeys,
And checken' out the ladies,
Cause after all, I'm just young and real horny,
I'm gonna vote and that's no joke,
Hillary or Trump I'm gonna choke,
50 dead in Orlando,
But I profit off the radio,
Kill 50 gays and you are evil,
Give lots of speeches cause you're the devil,
50 gays go to their grave,
You go to congress and your career is saved.

I did some poems from my earlier Poetry Corner posts such as:

"I Don't need reality, I got Dancing with the Stars"





To revisit these poems just click on the titles.


And of course we have this candid action shot of me doing my "spoken word."

Thursday, March 09, 2017

THE 2000S WAS THE WORST DECADE FOR MUSIC- EVER

Finally someone agrees with me that he music scene really sucks. Here is evidence that the music scene for rock and other progressive styles have suffered since the end of the century. –SJ Otto


Let's look at some of the many ways the 2000s tanked musically. Sure, we can look on the sunny side and find the silver lining - but those linings came with some very dark clouds that washed out the musical landscape. Based on input from the Songfacts Community, here's a consensus of what happened in the 2000s music scene that rubbed us the wrong way.

Auto-Tune

The scourge of music technology! The most hated development in music since disco, Auto-Tune is that digital process which "corrects" pitch in vocal and instrumental performances. Now anybody can "sing"! Actually, your voice gets partially replaced with a robot voice. And it sounds that way. The more off-key you are, the more the robot voice takes over. You can literally record your dog, run it through Auto-Tune, and have a barking, singing robot. Of course, the technology will become more fine-tuned and less noticeable over the decades to come, so that we'll all eventually be listening to seemingly-perfect vocals with nothing but cold machinery behind them, and actual human singing will become a feat no more remarkable than playing a chess computer to a draw.

American Idol and Guitar Hero

Harmless, right? After all, it's just plain good fun, isn't it? Well, sort of. Winners of American Idol and players of the Guitar Hero / Rock Band series of video games start to think of themselves as musicians on the same level as professionals - and American Idol contestants get treated that way by the media, until the next season. Our beef is with the amateur-hour effect on music - and the fact that more bands are making their music "Guitar-Hero friendly," in the hopes of spreading their fame through the game. This causes the intricate solos to be replaced by Fisher-Price 1-2-3-4 riffs that a toddler could play.

Network Decay

Speaking of television, have you noticed that all TV channels start out with a specific category of content, and then they all gradually mush into the same pot of cognitively impaired "reality" shows? So, MTV and VH1, as you expand from one to two to five channels, could you, I dunno, show just one music video? Like, per year? Just humor us on this.

Music Genres We're Sick Of

Grunge is the cockroach of rock; it does not evolve because it accidentally found the perfect survival strategy the first time, so now it only needs to worry about reproducing itself as fast as possible. Emo, nu-metal, and sludge are all pretty widely hated and yet adored by a tiny cult. Good rap and hip-hop are awesome, but... is there any left? They're losing steam. Seriously! Go out and shock people again, rap and hip-hop! House/dance/techno is disappearing up its own derivative backside. And, oh, country, pop, and gospel get picked on, but no different from any other decade. Goth is still stuck in Hot Topic, and the more goths complain about Hot Topic, the more we see shopping there.

Hipsters

Everybody hates hipsters, which is silly, because hipsterdom is based on hating yourself. We should be caging them with Juggalos and making them fight to their death, except they'd both enjoy it too much (for opposite reasons, of course).

The Old Guys are Still Popular

Think about that. Do you know why Ozzy, Iron Maiden, AC/DC, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and The Cure are still touring and finding a new generation of fans? It's because we haven't found a replacement yet! This is painful and embarrassing. We're going to end up with Ozzy hobbling out onto the stage (The Canceled Retirement Tour 2033) with a walker and a colostomy bag going, "You haven't found anybody to fill my shoes yet? I'm bloody tired!

For the rest click here.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

ALL THE EQUIPMENT YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED FOR VACATION COCKTAILS



Vacations, particularly tropical ones, provide us with a unique opportunity to break away from the constant stresses of daily life while exploring all the beauty of a foreign locale. Whether you’re windsurfing in Tahiti or going full-on “no shoes, no shirt, no problem” in the Bahamas, there’s something about hopping a flight that seems to allow cares to melt away.
Sometimes, though, these locations are a little, well, lacking in the cocktail department. That’s why you should be prepared to take matters into your own hands. If you’re ready to step up your drink-nerd status to a whole different level, take the five recommendations of the bartenders below, and stuff these beloved items (and maybe the perennial favorite, the Coco Jack) into your suitcase.

1: CORE, SLICE, SIP, REPEAT

Sierra Kirk (bartender, Hale Pele, Portland, Ore.): “One of my favorite tools I use on a daily basis is my ratcheting pineapple corer and slicer. It’s effortless to use, and you get perfect pineapple rings. Slice off the top, extract the rings, cut out the core and put some notches in the top for straws, and you have the perfect tropical vacation drinking vessel!”

2: GIVE IT A TIGHT SQUEEZE

Ryan Kuntz (lead bartender, Noble Experiment, San Diego): “I recently visited Cuba, where there were citrus trees all over the island, but none of the bars used fresh juice in their recipes. I would bring a hand juicer to make fresh tropical cocktails.”

3: PEEL FOR FRESHNESS

Gui Jaroschy (lead bartender, The Broken Shaker, Miami): “The one tool to take to a tropical island would be an eight-inch chef’s knife. The beauty of tropical fruit is that it only needs very minimum preparation. Nothing beats the natural freshness of the fruit that falls right off the tree. You may only need to peel it and it's ready to eat, drink and infuse.”
For the rest click here.

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Poetry Corner- "I Don't need reality, I got Dancing with the Stars"

Welcome once again to Poetry Corner.  As before,  I got the urge to write some more poetry. So here are a few more ditties. –SJ Otto

"I Don't need reality, I got Dancing with the Stars"

Don't ask me about the ecology,
Don't care about the economy,
I don't know about the Trump Presidency,
Voted for Jill Stein and that set me free,
Because:
I wanna be dancing,
Dancing with the Stars,
Dancing, Dancing with the Stars,
I wanna dance,
Dancing with the Stars,
Don't ask me about health care,
I'm young, healthy, so I don't care,
Don't know where Yemen is,
I'd rather drink a sloe gin fizz,
Because:
I wanna be dancing,
Dancing with the Stars,
Dancing, Dancing with the Stars,
I wanna dance,
Dancing with the Stars,
I know nuthin' about ISIS,
I just flip on the TV and there it is,
I don't care nuthin' about standing rock,
Just make sure my music has no rock,
Because:
I wanna be dancing,
Dancing with the Stars,
Dancing, Dancing with the Stars,
I wanna dance,
Dancing with the Stars,
I don't care if you have a job,
I have one, so I click my TV knob,
I don't care about military drone-made mess,
Frankly my dear I couldn't really care less,
And though my life is a mess, I don't care because:

I wanna be dancing,
Dancing with the Stars,
Dancing, Dancing with the Stars,
I wanna dance,
Dancing with the Stars,
No one to notice what a looser I am,
As long as I'm part of this dancing scam!


"The Adventures of Reagan Hood" (AKA , "Heil to the Thief")
(This goes well to the tune of the TV theme song for "Adventures of Robin Hood")

Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, riding through the West,
Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, Oh what a pest,
Hero of the greedy, Feared by the needy,
Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, he's no damn good,

He called his profiteers, to gather in their lust,
Taking from the poorest folks, there lives have all went bust,
He went to worldly realms, to steel people's dreams,
Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, he's no damn good,

In the end he got Alzheimer's, he forgot his mind,
It really didn't matters, he was so unkind,
He left us in the dust, our dreams all to rust,
Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, he's no damned good,

He was treated like a hero, the press ate out of 's hand,
Progressives had to eat his dust, to right the country ran,
The lives his actions cost, working people lost,
Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, he's no damned good,

In Nicaragua the dreams Sandinistas tried,
He supported contra rebels, the people's futures fried,
With war and election cheat, he pushed 'em out in the street,
Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, he's no damned good,

Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, he robbed us good,
Reagan Hood, Reagan Hood, for greed he stood!

World War I revisited- Where is Cashier?

It was Saturday Night and we had just enough time for another panel discussion on World War I. The last few years have been the anniversary of World War I and this is the year the US joined in on the fight. We went to Kirby's Beer Store of Wichita, KS just as with our last panel discussions as with
Present tonight was myself Red Rob Blogger and Paul Harvey Oswald. Kenya Blue never made it and Casher O’Neill is missing in action. As Paul Harvey Oswald has explained it to me, Casher was sent to Europe for World War I observations. But he never made it back. Now he is missing in action and we suspect he is missing for good.
While at Kirby’s their TV had some rock bands playing on the tube. For a while I saw Anarchy in the USA by Mötley Crüe. Then I saw Muse playing from their new album Drones. Both sets seemed pretty good to me.
It was about this time that patrons of the bar were jeering an old and time worn rock band. Our serious discussion was interrupted by these hooligans. But we didn’t let it get the best of us.

RED ROB BLOGGER: Wow! This is the same year of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia. A lot of blogs have been writing articles about this.
The Russian Empire collapsed with the abdication of Emperor Nicholas II, and the old regime was replaced by a provisional government during the first revolution of February 1917 (March in the Gregorian calendar; the older Julian calendar was in use in Russia at the time). In the second revolution that October, the Provisional Government was removed and replaced with the Bolshevik state.
March 12, 13, 14 part of the Russian Revolution began. It took the form of rioting.
On March 13 Prince Golitsin was removed from office. Since the extinction of the Korecki family in the 17th century, the Golitsyns have claimed dynastic seniority in the House of Gediminas. Notable members include Vasily Vasilyevich Golitsyn (1643-1714), Boris Alexeyevich Golitsyn (1654-1714) and Dmitry Mikhaylovich Golitsyn (1665-1737). All this was in vain when the Bolsheviks won the revolution and all aristocracy was wiped out.
By October of 1917, the Soviet had completed their revolution.

PAUL HARVEY OSWALD: This is the 100th anniversary of the US getting into the war. On April 6 the US declared war on Germany. This was close to this time that the French Amiral Charner was sunk by a German sub of the coast of Syria. The ship had been rescuing Armenians.
Other ships that were sunk in that war include the Greif and the Alcantara, in 1916. That took place in the North Sea. Hey, it shows a suspicious lifeboat with a guy who looks just like Casher.

RED ROB BLOGGER: Wow! Sounds of Silence by Disturbed. (That was playing on the TV.)

PAUL HARVEY OSWALD: It was in 1917 that the Turkish Grand Vizior Said Halim Pasha resigned. He looked at that picture of soldiers. It looks like Casher using a barrel velocette.

RED ROB BLOGGER: It seems like Turkey has had its share of weird leaders and it has them even today with Turkish President RecepTayyip Erdogan. He is a real fascist.
I read about the changes in uniforms at the beginning of World War I. Some French troops entered WWI were wearing the old red coats. An observer thought he was looking at a poppy field where a battle had taken place. When he got closer he realized it was a field full of dead French troops.

PAUL HARVEY OSWALD: I just saw a high level meeting by the Germans, with a guy that looks just like Casher, with an eye patch, a monocle and a spy spatial. It looked like him. after the meeting broke up he was leaving with the monocle and eye patch.
Maybe it was him. Who knows. He has never come back.  
So we both admitted that Casher has gone to be in the past. But we will not forget him or his contributions to this panel.

RED ROB BLOGGER AND PAUL HARVEY OSWALD:discussing the Great War.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

BARTENDERS EXPLAIN WHY THEY WOULDN’T BE WHERE THEY ARE WITHOUT THE KITCHEN

Here is some more tips on drinking, bartending and eating, from Liquor.com:

There’s no two ways about it: The cocktail world has been progressing ever deeper down the rabbit hole of culinary influence for some time now. Whether a bar is influenced by a complementary in-house kitchen or using comparatively unusual ingredients (horseradish, turnips or turmeric, anyone?) to up its booze game, the line between bartender and bar chef is increasingly blurry. Even garnishes frequently resemble standalone, outlandish snacks these days. (We’re looking at you, over-the-top Bloody Marys.)
The knowledge that can be shared between bartenders and chefs about building flavor profiles and experimenting with complementary (and perhaps unusual) ingredients can be an invaluable, symbiotic relationship, offering a completely new perspective and complex, thoughtful dimension to drinks.

Below, seven bartenders outline the greatest lessons they’ve been able to transfer from the kitchen to the bar, from cooking in Grandma’s kitchen to a magic ingredient that revolutionized an entire cocktail menu.

1. ALBA HUERTA ON MOVING AS A TEAM

Julep
“There’s one particular thing I’ve learned about building bar programs from restaurants,” says Alba Huerta, the owner of Julep in Houston. “Almost two decades ago, the kitchen is where I first saw respect for the job. Watching a kitchen team work in unison is like sitting in front of the world’s greatest orchestra. Communication, timing and temperatures rule their universe. Add the element of customer service, and the same rules apply to any cocktail bar program.”

2. JOEY HOUGHTALING ON LEARNING IN GRANDMA’S KITCHEN AND FROM THE FLAVOR BIBLE

Phoenix Cocktail Club
“My background in flavor profiling dates back to being a young child and helping my grandmother cook for the holidays,” says Joey Houghtaling, the co-founder of Phoenix Cocktail Club in Milwaukee. “I watched and learned so much from her over the years. [As an adult] I’ve tried to learn everything I could from people around me who are successful chefs or bartenders. I was never really the kind of person who wanted help learning, so at first, even though I had the palate, I wasn’t sure about how to translate that into making drinks.
“My first attempts consisted of me going to a grocery store, buying every sort of produce and trying to make something happen. I quickly learned that wasn’t going to work, but then I found The Flavor Bible (Little Brown and Company, $38). Seeing the flavors in print helped make my senses open up, and I started to understand how a lot of different flavors worked.
“It was about five years ago that someone told me I should start matching drinks with food I loved. I had been winning some local competitions but had a creative block. This is when I really started to research different techniques of incorporating flavors into spirits through methods such as fat washing, infusing, creating and mixing different bitters and using different compound syrups. I entered a Manhattan competition where my inspiration came from barbecue: I smoked a coupe with cherry wood, then made a Manhattan with bacon-fat-washed bitters.”

3. GREGORY WESTCOTT ON FINAL TASTE-TEST APPROVAL

Hinoki
“[Our chef’s] mastery of flavors really gives the cocktail program a culinary advantage,” says Gregory Westcott, the bar manager at Hinoki & the Bird in Los Angeles. “His feedback is always the final step in making sure the cocktails are ready to be placed on the menu. What better palate to give feedback than a chef’s?”

4. MORGAN WEBER ON HOW CULINARY (AND COCKTAIL) OPPOSITES ATTRACT

Haitian Divorce cocktail at Eight Row Flint
“My favorite creative moments while developing drinks, without a doubt, always happen when I’m bouncing ideas off our culinary director, Vincent Huynh,” says Morgan Weber, the beverage director at Eight Row Flint in Houston. “He has an amazing palate and brings to the table decades of cooking and eating experiences that have shaped his unique approach to food.
“Not having the same background in cocktails that I do, Huynh is not encumbered by ‘too much cocktail-focused education.’ He understands where I’m coming from with the classics but constantly throws out ideas based on his cooking experiences. The drinks that accidentally come out of those R&D sessions are consistently the most interesting that make it onto our menus, like the Haitian Divorce, which came from a discussion about how to incorporate the flavors into a Tiki-style cocktail.”

5. CARI HAH ON SELF-TAUGHT CULINARY CREATIVITY


“I come from the opposite perspective, because I’m a bartender who has never had the opportunity to work with a great chef or the benefit of having a full amazing kitchen to utilize for the bar,” says Cari Hah, a bartender at Big Bar in Los Angeles. “Every bar I have worked is just a bar with bar food or a place where the kitchen and bar don’t necessarily work in conjunction with each other.
“I wouldn’t call this a disadvantage, because it has forced me to be creative in how I prep ingredients and work with the space and limited equipment that I have. But I definitely have experienced great envy when I hear my peers talk about how much their chefs help out and offer advice on culinary techniques that I would love to learn. I don’t think there is better or worse. There is just different. I have been able, though, to figure out culinary techniques in a rather DIY way since I don’t have expensive equipment (e.g., sous vide, a big range-top stove, dehydrators, vacuum sealers, etc.), so I am very imaginative in that way.”

6. JASON STEVENS ON SHARING BETWEEN THE BAR AND KITCHEN

La Corsha Hospitality Group’s Boiler Nine
“Before we began planning our food and beverage menus [for upcoming locations], chef Joshua Thomas and I discuss what is available locally, then create a deck of ingredients we both want to focus on,” says Jason Stevens, the director of beverage and bars at La Corsha Hospitality Groupin Austin. “We break each ingredient down to all of its usable parts and work together on how we can use the whole of the ingredient. The kitchen is using Rio Star grapefruits for suprêmes? The bar can use the peels for citrus cordial. Our overall food and beverage program has more synergy when we approach it this way.”

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