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