Our project for charity!
Shaker Events and Shaker BarSchool South Africa have decided to support the Haven Night Shelter.
We at Shaker have decided to make something simple for all Facebook users to give their contribution to our 67 minutes of giving back tomorrow for Mandela Day
Nelson Mandela gave 67 years of his life fighting for the rights of humanity and since 2008 South Africans have been giving 67 minutes of their time supporting or serving their local community.
The celebration of Mandela Day aims to serve as a global call to action for people to "recognise their individual power to make an imprint and help change the world around them for the better", the Nelson Mandela
The first 67 new likes on Shaker Events Facebook page will mean 67 warm blankets we will deliver to the shelter tomorrow afternoon.
We have set a record target, if we reach 500 new likes on Shaker Events Facebook page we will buy another 200 blankets on top of the 67 blankets
We will be delivering the blankets tomorrow at 15h00, so get those likes in.
Thank you in advance for your support
Photo's will be posted up later this week
The Haven Night Shelter Welfare Organisation
The Haven Night Shelter Welfare Organisationprovides temporary shelter, physical care, social welfare and family re-unification services to adult homeless persons typically described as "street people" or "vagrants" in the Western Cape.
Established in 1978 in Cape Town, South Africa, registered as a Section 21 (a) (Not for Gain) Public Company in 1983. Registered as an Non Profit Organisation in 2000 and as a Public Benefit Organisation in 2004.
“No one should have to live on our streets”
“To get the homeless to a home”
To make available temporary shelter, rehabilitation opportunities, social welfare services, family reunification services, physical care and support to adult people living on the streets who are committed to reintegration.
To reduce the opportunities for people to continue to live on the streets
"There comes a stage in the downward path
of certain human beings at which point,
they literally can no longer help themselves.
At that point someone has to step in and give them a lift;
that is what THE HAVEN tries to do."
Orphanage Drinking Emporium
Previously on the alchemist says...we educated consumers and bartenders of an ingredient / product found within venues / establishments across the country that has beleaguered the industry within South Africa, the "bartender" of yesteryear and the "progression" of the bartender through grass root initiatives in Less is more and the lost art of cocktail making. The article published had raised many valid points for debate within the industry. You, the reader may have viewed the context negatively, bearing in mind all are entitled to their own opinion with regards to this.
alchemist and the City...a segment which will feature within the alchemist says... reviewing bars on a national and international basis. We start off with a venue that will arguably have an instrumental affect within the South African industry for competing venues to aspire to. Within my previous segment of No School like Old School , the resurgence of bespoke ice and the revival of the classic drink dating back during a period where the manufacture, transportation and sale of alcohol was prohibited. #Prohibition. The movement led to numerous speakeasy venues illegally operating within this period...Extra extra read all about it.
"I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, Scene IV.
Orphanage - [awr-fuh-nij] an institution for the housing and care of orphans. By definition, an organisation / institution. Within our industry, Orphanage is an underground, quirky cocktail bar situated on the corner of Bree and Orphan Street, Cape Town. A Victorian drinking den, a laboratory, a specialist emporium of artisan cocktails, elixirs and intoxications, committed to creating an unforgettable drinking experience to the consumer through smell, aesthetics, sound, feel and taste.
In 1918 a widespread influenza epidemic had affected large numbers of orphaned children in desperate need of care within the Western Cape of Southern Africa.
Groups of orphaned children would congregate at St Paul’s church on Bree Street as they were fed by The Reverend Sidney Warren Lavis. The street became known as Orphan Street and in 1919 the Rector set up one of the first children's homes ~ an orphanage for boys. Known as the St Francis Children's home, the orphanage cares for around 50 boys in need from the ages of 3 and up. Each month the Orphanage donates proceeds towards the home, because this type of tomfoolery has a social conscience too.
The idea / concept behind the Orphanage was to create a venue that was like no other. As an establishment we want to be considered "the" venue that pioneers / progresses the industry, educating consumers whereby creating a drinking experience within the South Africa market like no other
Elixirs , Potions and other alchemy, click here. Conceptualised and consulted by Shaker Bar School South Africa and...yours truly.
Orphanage Gallery, click here
Shakespeare once wrote..."Can one desire too much of a good thing?" - As You Like It, Act IV, Scene I. From Rack & Ruin, Brimstone & Fire, Please Sir...More tea Vicar!
The introduction of sugar syrup and various products within venues / establishments across the country that has beleaguered the industry, the “bartender” of yesteryear and the “progression” of the bartender in South Africa through grass root initiatives...
Previously on the alchemist says, we caused a stir in stirred...not shaken. An article where this much debated subject has become more of a broad concept than a specific recipe with many variables than a fixed constant. For those that have no inclination as to what I am referring to, I suggest you dust off those Ian Fleming novels placed high above that rich mahogany bookshelf of yours. I recommend using a wooden spoon for reaching purposes.
While I am on the topic of stirring, I wanted to educate bartenders, consumers and venue owners within South Africa about an ingredient / products found within venues / establishments across the country. South African venue owners and consumers tend to deviate towards anything "sugar coated" #read between the hundreds and thousands as opposed to the lines.
Once upon a time...
Gomme syrup, an ingredient used dating before Prohibition. Interestingly, gum arabic, an emulsifying ingredient was added to sugar syrup to prevent the sugar from crystallizing, adding another dimension in terms of taste and texture to the once then timeless classics. Depending on the type of drink, not all drinks would call for sugar syrup, the addition of bitters, even a dash of lime / lemon juice can heighten and balance flavour to the overall taste profile of a particular drink. I am not inclining that it should not be present, realistically speaking, through experience all drinks will contain a sugar content, that is a given, majority of all alcohols will contain a sugar content regardless if none is present.
Society is constantly evolving to supplement supply and demand, especially within the service and hospitality industry. It is a constant evolving entity. We are living in an environment where technology plays an integral role within our daily lives. Information is literally within our grasps, various social media platforms are now educating consumers which have a direct influence on how businesses operate today. In most cases high expectations and standards have to be met within the service industry due to the current economic situation that is affecting the majority within South Africa. Does one need to compromise quality over quantity? What attributes towards this? The role of bartenders has a direct influence within the segment of the service industry as bartenders lack the technical ability and knowledge based on:
While every product has its place within the industry, different venues cater for different markets. Has the very essence of this once noble craft been lost due to the introduction of these "products" that have beleaguered the industry? The authenticity of the craft has evolved to either a 2 part process involving a spirit base and product that essentially contains all of the "essential" ingredients to manufacture the "perfect" Cosmopolitan / Margarita to reduce overall operating costs and increase profit margins within venues. Syrups, coulis (pureed fruit / vegetable) which contain excessive volumes of sugar, have compensated fresh produce / liqueurs due to cost, shelf life and simplicity of the product.
What happened to the "bartender", a proud and honourable profession guided by a rigid code of ethics? The bartender handling the finest and freshest of ingredients with such precision and understanding. The bartender who would construct a drink with such style, finesse and elegance. The bartender who would give an unforgettable drinking experience, ensuring that you had left the bar exultant when you had first arrived. The bartender who connected and built strong relations with his clientele. The bartender who exuded passion and enthusiasm. Do you know this bartender? For some of those seasoned within the South African industry, it seems almost like a distant memory.
Valid points have been raised for debate within this article, you, the reader may view this negatively. With every negative aspect there are many positives that can be drawn. Many influential figures within the industry are striving to better the development of the industry. With the introduction of many grass root initiative programmes that have been implemented by these companies, let us all strive to inspire and educate the bartender of today to be the bartender of tomorrow, maybe then it won't be such a task even though there is syrup involved.
James Bond and the theological debate surrounding the preparation of an iconic drink...
Above: James Bond insisted the water in his bath always be stirred
A dry martini, 'he said. 'One. In a deep champagne goblet.'Oui, monsieur... Just a moment. Three measures of Gordon's, one of vodka, half a measure of Kina Lillet. Shake it very well until it is ice cold, then add a large thin slice of lemon peel...Got it? ~ Ian Fleming, Casino Royale
Shaken...not stirred. The sole catchphrase that conjures images of Sean Connery wearing Tom Ford and bedding beautiful double agents whilst imbibing on a drink called the Bradford. A Bradford is a Martini which is shaken rather than stirred. Like the Martini, the origin of the Bradford is lost.
Author Ian Fleming had James Bond name the Vesper, after Vesper Lynd, a double agent in Casino Royale. Informing his superiors of Vespers death and treason, Bond's closing words in the novel were "The bitch is dead now". Ironically, neither was to be heard of again.
Shaking versus stirring is one of the great theological debates surrounding the preparation of this iconic drink.
According to scientific research, Bond should have requested the drink to be stirred with a wooden spoon rather than shaken. For those seeking a scientific explanation: wood versus an orthodox stainless steel barspoon; metal, a conductive element increases the temperature in preparation of this much debated drink. The article also noted that the reasoning behind the secret agents preference over the stirred variation was; at the time vodka was manufactured with potato, which abdicated an oily residue. Argumentatively, Smirnoff, Stolichnaya, Finlandia and Absolut, all made appearances within the Bond series, all being grain based.
...bruising by definition is a loss in viscosity, a move from solid to liquid, one cannot bruise gin. There is one drink that does bruise that of a Bloody Mary should never be shaken, the tomato juice present within the drink thins with agitation.
Here are some facts with regards to shaking:
Despite spending my entire life managing the bar where the phrase was coined, is a stirrer more than a shaker. A gentle stir will allow the ingredients to blend smoothly and maintain the alcoholic content of the martini, whereas shaking with ice will dilute the alcohol quite significantly. Certain cocktails, such as those containing fruit ingredients, might be less of a problem to shake, but he’d never choose to shake a Vesper! ~ Legendary Barman, Alessandro Palazzi, Dukes Bar, St James's Place, London.
"The Hotel bar which some say concocts one of the world's best Martinis" ~ New York Times
Shaken and stirred variations of the Martini are dissimilar; they are also equivalent, in that neither has a firm validity on being "better" than the other. In a manner shared by no other drink, the Martini has become an iconic entity that has woven itself within the cultural tapestry of society. The subject has become more of a broad concept than a specific recipe with many variables than a fixed constant. Likened to the English language, the Martini is a constant evolving phenomenon. Shaken...or stirred, the question can only be determined by personal preference, taste and through experimentation to establish the consumers' needs in relation to the type of spirit base and vermouth, to the palate.
I hope not to hear of within the industry stirring a Martini with a Goldfinger.
Russian Standard Launch
Above: Certificate of Authenticity, Russian Standard is now available in major retail outlets in South Africa. Russian brides not included
Recognised in Russia as the benchmark for excellence, Russian Standard Original owes its name and quality to Dmitri Mendeleev's classic formula, commissioned by Tsar Alexander the 3rd for optimum balance and purity.
Russian Standard has come to epitomise vodka in the spirit of Russia, and in the process has become an iconic symbol of modern Russian life and dynamism.
The dramatic bottle design, inspired by the Ivan the Great Bell Tower in the heart of Moscow, evokes Russia's Imperial past, and the vital role that vodka plays in Russia's most elegant traditions.
Striking a balance between Russian heritage and the energy of modern life, Russian Standard Original is a masterpiece of technology, passion and craftsmanship.
One of the many benefits within my industry is of the privilege of being invited to events in the form of either; to compete in mixology related competitions, being part of a judging panel within these competitions, presentations/seminars to the launch of an alcoholic brand/s that have recently entered the country.
Russian Standard vodka, the number one premium vodka announced the launch of Russian Standard Original and Russian Standard Gold within the South Africa market. Present at the launch was Russian Standard Global Brand Ambassador Tatiana Petrakova, who conducted the presentation at Shaker Bar Academy Cape Town and Johannesburg respectively whereby introducing key members within the industry about the global positioning and growth of the brand within the vodka category.
In Russia, vodka is a national entity, when we drink, It is not about mere consumption but commemoration.
Although Russian Standard Original and Russian Standard Gold are only available within the South African market, members were fortunate enough to imbibe on the Russian Standard Platinum expression, a super premium vodka made only with the finest Russian ingredients. Russian Standard Platinum is filtered four times through charcoal and twice through silver impregnated charcoal, a production process / technique allowing an ultra clean finish with hints of aromatics.
From Russia with love, Vashe Zdorovie...here is to your good health
Bringing home the bacon...an expression widely used in boxing, and it is in that sport the expression first became widely used. Gans fighting for the world lightweight championships in 1906 received a telegram from his mother before the fight. "Joe, the eyes of the world are on you. Everybody says you ought to win. Peter Jackson will tell me the news and you bring home the bacon."
This form of expression has no correlation within my article. If it was somewhat misleading I do express some form of regret for those thinking the article would educate those on ways to significantly raise their monthly salary.
For the bartender and the benighted, this is a technique that has been used within the industry by venue owners and seasoned bartenders to add another dimension to the consumers drinking experience within their menu...a multi-sensory drinking experience.
"Every single cocktail is unique, simply because it has its own personal story behind it. We are not trying to break the rules, we are simply creating one."
Seasoned bartenders understand that every spirit is unique in terms of; aroma and complexity. Bartenders are refining techniques, infusing spirits in different forms to extract /impart certain flavours. Infusions need not be alcoholic, water and natural sugars can also be infused. The higher the alcoholic proof, the greater the rate and more pronounced extraction of flavours are present. When higher proof alcohol is utilised, bartenders refer to the infusion as a tincture, highlighting a single imparted flavour.
Relatively established within the industry, apart from South Africa, fat-washing is a multi-sensory technique, infusing certain meat fats which impart certain aromas and flavours into a complimentary spirit base.
For those in search of scientific explanation...Fat is non-polar / hydrophobic, alcohol will contain water which is polar / hydrophilic, preventing fat fluidifying. Alcohol is both polar and non-polar allowing both water and fat compounds to fluidify, allowing flavourful compounds from the fat to impart into the alcohol whilst separating the actual fat. This method, combined with the higher freezing point of fat versus the lower freezing point of alcohol allows the fat to solidify. Similarly, the same process is utilised in the manufacturing of perfumes and other cosmetology related aspects.
What we noticing in the industry with regards to fat-washing are very interesting flavour combinations. Duck fat infused with Rye Whiskey, smoked Prosciutto with Mezcal / Scotch whisky, preferably from Islay, where the whisky has a distinctive smokiness due to the high peat content, etc. "Though this be madness, yet there is method in't" ~ Hamlet Act II, Scene II
Is the technique a mere trend within the industry? If one reads between the lines, not only am I educating you, the bartender on a technique, I am educating the consumer with regards to the industry and how it has evolved.
Within my experience, there has been a global shift in attitude towards the craft of bartending, whereby the bridge between bartender and culinary artisan has ever increasingly shortened, bartenders have become integral to any venue, understanding the demands and needs of the "consumer" on a daily basis. Drinks are being recognised as a culinary art form / expression where bartenders are creating an unforgettable drinking experience to the consumer through smell, aesthetics, sound, feel and taste.
In time, consumers who appreciate the art of fine dining, will appreciate the craft of bartending is not a mere trend...but a profession.
Bols Around The World
Do you add flavour? You might be thinking...is that a question or the title of my next article? Quite accurately, one is a question and the other is the title of my next article.
With World Class underway, an international programme funded by Diageo Reserve, Bols, the world's oldest distilled spirit brand, dating back to 1575 has launched a programme to identify the most inspiring, talented and charismatic bartenders from across five continents. Within the next three months, bartenders will be competing for 12 places at the Grand Final to be held in Amsterdam in May 2012 where competitors will have to compete in 3 heats that will evaluate the three facets of the true bartender. This year five leading personalities of the industry will compose this highly acknowledged jury chaired by Rob Rademaker, Bols International Brand Ambassador.
Heat 1 is underway where 10 bartenders from each country will be selected to progress to phase 2 of the competition. From there 3 from each country will progress to Heat 3 where the winner of this Heat will be named the finalist to represent that region.
A fantastic eight day global tour, visiting the best cocktail bars in four different cocktail capitals of your choice: Capitals like London, Tokyo, Sydney, Buenos Aires, Cape Town, New York, Los Angeles to name a few.
A one year Bols Platinum Ambassadorship that includes two trips to Amsterdam for intensive training and an all expenses paid visit to a world class bar show like Tales of the Cocktail, Manhattan Cocktail Classics, Bar Convent Berlin, Cocktails and Spirits and many more.
The Prize for the Eleven Finalists:
A One year Gold Bols Ambassadorship which includes one additional trip to Amsterdam for intensive Bols Ambassador training and an honorary contract to represent Bols in your own country at different seminars, trade shows and courses. It is a perfect platform for your bartending career and you will be able to meet some of the most influential people in the industry.
All National Winners:
All country winners will receive a Bols Around the World 2012 National Champion Trophy and a Limited Edition Bols Barrel Aged Genever signed by our Master Distiller Piet Leijenhorst.
For more information visit www.bols.com
South African bartenders...How do you add flavour?
150 Years of bringing people together
To commemorate 150 years of bringing people together, Bacardi inconjunction with Shaker Bar Academy and the alchemist says are giving away a bottle of Bacardi Reserva. A collector’s item as it is not currently distributed within South Africa.
To stand a chance of winning this prize, contestants must email their Full Name and answer with the subject field: Bacardi Reserva Giveaway to email@example.com and follow @alchemist_says twitter account. Competition is open to contestants within South Africa only.
What year and where was the Bacardi Distillery founded?
The Bacardi Bat Device...one of the most iconic brand trademarks within the spirits industry. A symbol of health, good fortune and family unity according to Spanish and native Taino Indian lore which has a symbolic connection.
Bacardi rum bottles are easily recognised by their elegant shape and classic colour, called Georgia Green. The distinctive green hue dates back more than 100 years and has been the colour used for all Bacardi Superior (Carta Blanca) rum bottles.
Upon purchasing his first distillery in Santiago de Cuba, Dona Amalia, Don Facundo's wife noticed a colony of fruit bats that hung from the rafters within the distillery. During a period where the inhabitants of Cuba could not read, the rum maker needed a distinguished symbol. Dona Amalia was credited for rendering the symbol, shortly thereafter, his creation became known by the people as el Ron del Murciélago or “the Rum of the Bat.” 150 years later the Bat Device proudly graces and adorns every bottle of Bacardi since 1862.
The King of Rums and the Rum of Kings. In its 150 year history Bacardi rum has won more than 400 awards, making it the world's most awarded rum
On this day in 1862, Bacardi was founded in Santiago de Cuba when Don Facundo Bacardi Masso purchased a small distillary. After years of experimenting, Bacardi revolutionised the spirits industry by adding steps never before used in rum making. After careful and systematic experimentation with a variety of ingredients, aging methods and blends, Bacardi founder Don Facundo offered up the first samples of a new, smooth, light-bodied spirit the world now knows as Bacardi Superior Rum.
His descendants continue to produce Bacardi rum, the world’s best selling and most awarded rum, under its original and proprietary formula, using the pioneering process including distillation, controlled fermentation, charcoal mellowing, filtering, aging and blending techniques he created and mastered in Santiago de Cuba in 1862, 150 years ago.
To really understand Bacardi one needs to know the name Bacardi has three meanings: it is a Family, a Company and a Brand. Each has evolved during the course of the 150 years since the establishment of the Company.
When the threat of Prohibition loomed large in the United States, Bacardi saw a window of opportunity. In preparation, Bacardi management formed a corporation, dividing stock shares equally among President Emilio Bacardi, First Vice President Facundo Bacardi and Second Vice President Enrique Schueg. Each principal held stock valued at more than 1million US Dollars.
On October 28, 1919, the U.S. Congress passed the Volstead Act forbidding the manufacture, transportation, import, export, sale and consumption of alcohol in the United States. As you can imagine, that was not good news for the burgeoning Bacardi, especially since three years prior the Company opened an office in New York City and was faced with having to deplete 60,000 cases of inventory. What was Bacardi to do with all its rum? Bacardi executive Enrique Schueg, who would later become the Company’s fourth chairman, acted quickly by issuing Bacardi “wet stock” a move that would place a value on each case of Bacardi rum as a share.
In order to liquidate the Company, Enrique Schueg created 60,000 shares that he sold as “wet stock” to the public and dissolved the Company by distributing one case per share. A remarkable thing happened for Bacardi when Prohibition got fully underway. Prohibition in the United States prompted American tourists to flock to Havana, Cuba for fun and cocktails. Bacardi was their drink of choice, so much so that a popular international airline promoted the slogan, “Fly to Cuba and Bathe in Bacardi rum.”
Since Prohibition made spirits advertising illegal, Bacardi rolled out a clever and successful promotional campaign using postcards playing up the allure of Cuba’s bars and nightlife. One caption read, “Cuba is great. There is a reason. Bacardi.” Fortune Magazine said Prohibition had “caused Havana to become the ‘unofficial’ United States saloon.”
Unsurprisingly, Bacardi was the center of Havana’s historic heyday. El Edificio Bacardi, the Bacardi Havana office building and one of the city’s first skyscrapers, was home to the most popular bar in Havana: a black-and-gold bar frequented by celebrities, Bacardi family members and their guests. Production of Bacardi rum increased so quickly during the Prohibition years that the Company had to build a larger facility in Santiago de Cuba to keep up with demand. Profits enabled expansion outside of Cuba during the 1930s, with distilleries opening in Mexico and Puerto Rico. The facility in Cataño, Puerto Rico, is now the largest premium rum distillery in the world and home to the Casa Bacardi Visitor Center, the second most visited venue in greater San Juan today, playing host to more than 230,000 visitors each year.
In 1888, Bacardi rum was appointed “Purveyor to the Royal Spanish Household” by the Regent Queen Christina Maria, mother of the King of Spain Alfonso XIII.
Due to continual threats by the government of Fulgencio Batista, including its nationalisation of Bacardi for one day, Bacardi executives moved to safeguard the Bacardi rum intellectual property and secret formula. The Company strategically moved the trademarks, other intellectual property and the coveted strain of yeast out of Cuba before the revolutionary forces took control. Such vision saved the Company and Bacardi rum.
When Cuban revolutionary forces illegally seized the Company’s Cuban assets on October 14, 1960, Bacardi already had already established operations in four other markets, the United States, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Bahamas. The coveted strain of yeast continues to provide Bacardi rum its signature taste and unique balance today, and remains under tight security.
Today, Bacardi rum is a premium brand with authenticity and heritage that stands the test of time. It truly is a brand that connects people in memorable ways. Through 150 years of organic growth and acquisition. Bacardi has a presence in more than 150 markets around the world.
Coincidentally 2012 may be the year of the Dragon according to Chinese astrology, the 4th February...will mark the year of the bat.
May your year be filled with health, good fortune and family unity
Upon only writing several articles, I feel as if I have been doing this for several years...writing that is. Tending bar...longer. The most recent being Breaking the Ice, an article I spent almost a week compiling due to many hours spent reading article upon article containing contradictory yet interesting facts about the importance of ice within the industry, which has somewhat brought a trend / resurgence into bespoke / crafted ice into many of the finest venues across the globe. Venue owners and bartenders are acknowledging that the quality and type of ice has a direct influence on the type of drink being constructed. In Straight up with...I interview none other than the legend that is Gaz Regan, a man well respected across the globe, who also had his views on the myths of ice surrounding the industry.
So what does ice, a ubiquitous ingredient, and a living legend have in common you may ask? History. Having recently watched a 3 part series on the History of Prohibition and reading numerous articles on the resurgence of crafted / bespoke ice, I noticed somewhat of a trend, classic cocktails and speak easy venues.
The biggest trend to date in my opinion is the revival of classical cocktails. Seasoned bartenders are now turning to perfecting classics like the Manhattan, the Negroni, Corpse Reviver #2, Old Fashioned, the Sazerac and many more. Dry shaking and throwing are two methods that dated back to the early 1800's along with the renowned Blue Blazer, taking into consideration only the simplest of ingredients were utilised. Bartenders are now turning to homemade bitters, vermouths, tinctures and spirits with aroma and complexity. Will the revival of classic cocktails be a mere trend? Not necessarily. In my opinion this resurgence will not only educate inexperienced bartenders but consumers alike on the history and importance of classic cocktails, and what influence it has within the industry. This will lend to a greater foundation of bartenders entering the world of bartending, inspiring them to conceptualise on innovative cocktails that stem from the classics.
From The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, a somewhat despondent Dorothy, repeating several times to herself "There is no place like home ", like fashion, history once again is repeating itself, within the industry "There is No School Like Old School"
Ice...the fastest moving ingredient in any venue / establishment. One can never have too much. In saying that, it is the most overlooked and ubiquitous of ingredients to prepare and serve a great tasting drink.
Ice...the fastest moving ingredient in any venue / establishment. One can never have too much. In saying that, it is the most overlooked and ubiquitous of ingredients to prepare and serve a great tasting drink.
Frederic Tudor is widely regarded for being the man responsible to pioneer the distribution of harvested ice from lakes in New England. His development and refinement of the harvesting process enabled shipments throughout America, the Caribbean, and Europe and as far as India. By early 1840, Tudor's ice was well distributed across the globe. The accessibility and quality of ice initiated a transformation in drinking trends and cultures across the globe.
"Ice is the Soul of the Drink. Venue owners and bartenders are acknowledging that the quality of ice utilised is just as important as the quality of their spirits, raw ingredients, juices and mixers, which has an overall bearing on the finished article to the choice of glass and garnish used."
Most ‘machine’ made ice / cheater ice displaces from the tray at around 32 degrees Fahrenheit which equates to 0 degrees, which starts to melt instantaneously upon leaving the refrigeration unit. Upon reaching the ice-well, it remains upon orders being placed, temperature increases and with the addition of your ingredients can total up to 25% of the drink volume. This in turn yields very thin and insipid flavours.
Larger 'cubes' will have lower dilution rates as opposed to smaller 'cubes'. Smaller 'cubes' have a considerable amount of surface area of which the liquid has to interact with and as a resultant of lower heat exchange and dilution rate for the same amount of weight as larger cubes, while smaller cubes have a higher drink displacement aka (dilution rate).
The resurgence in crafted / bespoke ice has been one of the biggest trends to date featuring in many of the finest venues across the globe to provide the customer with the ultimate drinking and visual experience. To differentiate all levels of their service, venue owners and bartenders are acknowledging that the quality of ice utilised is just as important as the quality of their spirits, raw ingredients, juices and mixers which has an overall bearing on the finished article to the choice of glass and garnish used.
Many venues who can supplement such a program are few and beyond. The advantage of such a program lowers operating costs within a venue, as the cost involved is time and preparation, bearing in mind this depends on the type of venue. A venue that caters for mass orientation would not implement such a program due to the skill, technicality, time and high risk factor involved. Carving, cutting and polishing of ice is a skill that cannot be acquired over night, hence the skill, technicality and high risk factor involved. Kold-Draft ice machines, whereby water is filtered by reverse osmosis produces dense and quality ice (99.9 % impurity free) in various sizes, on a larger scale has become the standard piece of equipment implemented in several venues. This is of the opinion an ideal / advantageous solution even though the cost implications to purchase and implement such a system are costly. Distributors of luxury ice such as Glace Ice, design the Mariko Sphere, being spherical in shape it yields a low dilution rate (20-40minutes per serving)
Ice either chills the drink or acts as a mechanism to drive air molecules into the liquid when shaking. This is what we call aeration. Depending on the technique and type of ice, a great taste profile in terms of taste and texture can be achieved. This is evident in the Japanese Hard Shake which creates a cloudy appearance when utilising certain citrus / acidic fruits, egg whites and dairy. A method known as Dry Shaking is required when utilising egg whites. Firstly, on a scientific approach, there are two types of physical stresses involved here. Denaturation occurs whilst whisking, which attaches the liquid through itself, thereby creating a force which unfolds the protein molecules. The latter occurs through the addition of no ice known as Dry Shaking. This is the resultant of air molecules being driven into the egg whites which causes the proteins to appear out of their natural state.
Stirring allows for bartenders to control the rate of dilution, especially in drinks like the Old Fashioned and Manhattan, which are built delicately over time to achieve a certain consistency and taste profile of robust and complex flavours.
Long drinks such as Smashes, Julep's and notably Swizzles (Served tall in chimney style glasses that have been packed with crushed ice and gently agitated with a barspoon / multi branched lele twig from Martinique ) call for crushed ice as the flavours present are strong and aromatic, needing additional dilution. Crushed ice provides the drink with a more refreshing approach, in turn to pace the rate of dilution, extending the life span of the drink.
In closing, the two most important aspects with regards to ice in drinks is the reduction in temperature and dilution. This is dependent on how much one is willing to invest in doing the small things well. Once you have used quality ice...it is really hard going back.
Diageo World Class: Raising the Bar
Ke Nako (It is time) the official slogan used for the 2010 Fifa World Cup. You might be deep in thought as to why I would be referencing this particular Sotho word within this article. For our international viewers, the Sotho - Tswana languages are a group of closely related Southern Bantu languages spoken in Southern Africa. One of the 11 official languages spoken in South Africa.
South Africa...it is time, it is here, World Class has finally landed. The search for South Africa's finest is underway, where contestants will be put to the test through various heats consisting of various challenges. Only one can claim the coveted prize of representing South Africa, where the winning contestant will be jettisoned to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to compete against 46 of the finest bartenders across the globe, judged by some of the most revered names in the industry -Simon Difford, Dale DeGroff, Salvatore Calabrese, Peter Dorelli, Gary Regan, Hidestsugu Ueno and Daniel Estremadoyro to claim the highest accolade within the bartending world...Diageo World Class Bartender of the year.
The overall winner will:
Publish a cocktail book, co-written by Simon Difford and distributed internationally.
Act as the global representative for World Class, travelling across the globe as "The World's Best Bartender" over a 9 month period.
Be the face of the World Class retail campaign in High End Stores worldwide.
Become recognised as the global media spokesperson for the art of mixology.
Have an open invitation to visit the Reserve Brand Distilleries
Become part of the World Class Guru family and take part each year in the Global World Class Final as a mentor/judge.
"Diageo Reserve World Class Bartender of the Year is the pinnacle of bartending. It represents the culmination of a year long search for an individual that personifies the modern art of mixology, complemented by some of the finest spirits ever produced ~ Simon Difford, Founder of CLASS magazine and author of the Diffords Guide"
The Crowne Royale Plaza Hotel, Rosebank, Johannesburg was the setting for what would be a 3 day World Class event, which was assisted by Shaker Bar Academy, South Africa. Global World Class Ambassador, Spike Marchant of the UK was present alongside Chantelle Horn and Alex farnell of Brandhouse, South Africa, to further discuss the importance of the programme and what it entailed.
World Class is an international programme funded by Diageo Reserve, seeking to identify the finest and most passionate bartenders currently plying their craft in the most prestigious bars across the globe, elevating the bartending profession, celebrating and bringing consumer trends to life. Currently in its fourth year running, World Class is heralded by many within the industry as the "Olympics" of the bartending profession. Throughout the Global Final, bartenders will compete using brands across the Diageo Reserve portfolio and master distillers and blenders will be on hand to impart their knowledge of the exceptional spirits - Ketel One® vodka, Cîroc® vodka, Tanqueray® No.TEN™ gin, Don Julio® tequila, Zacapa® rum, Johnnie Walker® Gold Label™ and Blue Label™ Blended Scotch Whisky.
Why is the World Class programme an integral part of Diageo? Rudi Paoli, Managing Director of Diageo Reserve explains "Diageo Reserve is growing three times as fast as the rest of the industry, World Class is the biggest investment in the on-trade. The on-trade is at the heart of our business model. World Class educates and inspires people, we are learning from bartenders, listening to them. It is a win-win situation"
Bacardi Bartender Hamper Worth R500
Shaker BarSchool South Africa in conjunction with Bacardi Superior Rum, the No.1 selling rum in the world, hosted a competition whereby participants were given the opportunity to win an exclusice Bacardi Bartender Hamper valued at over R500 by answering the following
Q:"What is the No.1 selling rum in the world?"
Wrapped in a classic leather pouch and packed with all the essential equipment you would need to man any cocktail bar, it was needless to say there was a great response and despite many entries, there could only be one.
Congratulations Mr. Darren Hoffman of Cape Town
Enjoy and remember...
Keep Shaking !!