Friday, December 30

2005 Year in Review

2005 is coming to a close and so is the first year of barmixmaster.com. I hope all of you readers out there has gotten as much out of this as I have putting it together. Every topic I sit down to right about I research thoroughly and I always learn something. I have a lot of fun with this site and I wish I had more time to write in it. My New Years resolution is to write a post once a week at the very least.

Let’s re-cap some of the highlights for the year:

  • BarMixMaster.com was launched on February 10, 2005... Everything has to start, I'm sometimes asked where "BarMixMaster" came from and the simple answer is that it was the best domain name I could find.

  • The start of the Bar Fear category of posts. This section of posts is an attempt to alleviate the fear of walking up to a bar and ordering a good cocktail for the libation novice.

  • I was shoot down in flames over the Cocktail Cooler idea. Boy that was stupid. :)

  • The start of the Old Stand-By category of posts. This section of posts talks about the long standing families of cocktails.

  • I really slammed a Mexican joint. :o

  • I dared to asked the question, "If classics aren't ordered very often, should bartenders still be expected to know how to make them?" The Classics

  • Probably the one post I got the most positive feedback on was my development of the Standard Cocktail Spectrum. I spent nearly as much time on the graphic for that article as the article itself.

  • I reported on the June 2005 Museum of the American Cocktail Seminars held in New Orleans.

  • I got all deep and philosophical in... Exceeding Expectations

  • I wrote about the all important H2O in... Hey! There is water in my cocktail!

  • Gave the ol' how to measure ingredients in... Measuring the Pour

  • Then... I ran from a damn hurricane that really messed up our world down here in NOLA. Thanks to the kindness and support to all the cocktailians out there to Save New Orleans Cocktail Hour!

  • Talked about how to bottle the fun in... Bottled Cocktails

  • The long awaited Manhattan post.

  • My new bumper sticker campaign... Nix Sour Mix

Currently the site is receiving 230 unique visitors a day and since its inception has received over 70,000 visitors this year, which I know, is not a huge amount but it's a start.

The site is a #1 hit on Google for most of the post titles. Try it!!!

Overall a great year! I have a lot planned for 2006. Plans which might include the launch of a new mixology resource that I've been a part of... you'll just have to wait and see.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to spread the word about good cocktails.

Cheers!!!

Brad

...the bar mix master has spoken.

Tuesday, December 27

10 Ways To Know You Have Had Too Much

The holidays often inspire people to imbibe a little too much. The following are 10 ways to know that you have had too much to drink this holiday or any season.
  1. You are hot even though it is 30 degrees and you are standing outside with no coat
  2. You are talking more than normal
  3. (sorry this is gross but true) Your urine is clear
  4. A close friend says, "I never knew that about you."
  5. You think singing karaoke is a good idea
  6. You are smoking a cigarette even though you don't normally smoke; especially if you light the wrong end.
  7. You are drinking a J├Ąger Bomb
  8. You are yelling instead of talking in a normal voice
  9. You are wet in a place you normally are not (say, by falling into a spa)
  10. If you have had more than 1 cocktail or shot per hour

If any of these things are true, you should stop drinking immediately and start drinking water. If the party still has a way to go, eat something, and wait 2 hours. Typically, depending on your weight, a person can handle 1 cocktail or shot per hour. If you take two cocktails in one hour you should wait another hour before you have another.

One thing you can do to help you count your cocktails is to keep the stirring straw from each drink in your pocket, look at your watch and see if the number of straws equals the number of hours you have been at the party. If not... slow down.

Now, if I can follow my own advice I'd be in good shape.

Cheers!!

Saturday, December 24

It's A Wonderful Life

Nick:

Look mister I'm standing here waiting for you to make up your mind.
Clarence:

That’s a good man. I was just thinking… …of a Flaming Rum Punch

No, it’s not called that and it’s not nearly cold enough anyway. Wait a minute, wait a minute, I got it. A mulled wine, heavy on the cinnamon, and light on the cloves. There we go, off with you lad and look lively.
Nick:

Hey look, mister - we serve hard drinks in here for men who want to get drunk fast, and we don't need any characters around to give the joint "atmosphere". Is that clear, or do I have to slip you my left for a convincer?


- Frank Capra’s, It’s A Wonderful Life

Merry CHRISTmas Everyone!

Saturday, December 17

How To Mix Drinks : Jerry Thomas

The Professor, Jerry Thomas wrote the original bartender's guide in 1862. His book How to Mix Drinks was the very first recipe book for bartenders. The book includes 236 recipes all made the 1800's way. It includes most of the Old Stand-by cocktail categories. He gathered these recipes as a result of his world travels as the first celebrity bartender. Mixologist owe a lot to the man that first captured the cocktail in print with so much detail... so I had to include something about him on the site.

Jerry also invented a dangerous drink, that you would have a very difficult time finding anyone to make for you these days, called the Blue Blazer. The Blue Blazer is a cocktail that contains boiling water, warmed Scotch whisky, and simple syrup. The drink is not dangerous because of its potency it is in the method by which it is mixed. The liquid is set on fire and poured between two metal mugs. When done correctly a blue flame flies from one mug to the other.

This is all information that has been rehashed on many cocktail websites, but the interesting part of all this is that his famous book is now available free of charge. The copyright on books expire 70 years after the death of the author, who died in 1885 in this case, and that time is long since past. So because this information is now public domain it is for fair use and available on-line via our friends at the Art of Drink http://www.theartofdrink.com/book/.

The Art of Drink folks took the time to organize the text by chapters and they are working on creating the index. This is an awesome resource.

Keep in mind while looking at the recipes that this book is circa 1800's so you will see some odd ingredients and measurements but the general concepts translate very easily.

Saturday, December 3

Fizz

The Fizz is another in the Old Stand-By category of cocktails. Fizzes were most likely first invented shortly after the appearance of carbonated water (club soda, seltzer water, sparkling water).

Carbonated water and the method to make it was discovered by Joseph Priestley when he suspended a bowl of water above a beer vat. He published his method to create carbonated water in 1772 in a paper titled Impregnating Water with Fixed Air.(10)

The Fizz is similar to a Sour in that it has a base liquor, sweet, and sour ingredient. But, to make it a Fizz the drink is served in highball glass filled with ice and topped with club soda. The club soda makes it fizz, hense the name. The most basic and probably the first Fizz is the Gin Fizz.

Gin Fizz:
2 parts Gin
1 part Simple Syrup
.75 parts Lemon Juice
Fill Club Soda

In a highball glass add the first three ingredients. Pack the glass full of ice then top the glass off with the club soda and stir.

A Tequila, Scotch, Bourbon, Rum, Vodka, Sloe Gin, etc... Fizz can be made in the same fashion just replace the Gin with the other base liquor. However there are quite a few other cocktails that use the Fizz modifier in the name, for example: Texas Fizz, Pineapple Fizz, South Side Fizz, and so on. But probably the most famous Fizz is called the Ramos Gin Fizz.

Sometimes called the New Orleans Fizz, Henry Ramos invented it back in 1888 down in the Big Easy. He and his brothers kept the recipe a secret until the late 1920's. (11) Its been said that in its hay-day in New Orleans the cocktail was made by the gallon and served to thirsty patrons who lined up down the sidewalk.

Ramos Gin Fizz:
1.5 parts Gin
.5 part Lemon Juice
.5 part Lime Juice
.5 part Cream
1 Egg White
1 Tbs Powdered Sugar
4 dashes Orange Flower Water
.25 part Club Soda

Shake all but the last ingredient with ice for a least one minute and pour into a highball glass. Then top with the club soda.

Fizzes are not ordered very often at bars these days. So, if you do order one don't be surprised if you get something unlike what you make at home. And, just like the Sour you are very likely to be served this drink using a Sour Mix.

Personally, I'm not a huge fan of club soda. I find the taste of it undesirable and often substitute ginger ale or tonic water, but those are used in other stand-bys entirely. However, many people find it refreshing. So give the Fizz a try and see if you like it or perhaps another old stand-by will strike your fancy.