Super Secret Bar Tips
Measuring, part 2
So here is a good one about measuring. I told you already how important measuring was, and I hear you saying "But wait a second, I see Ray just pouring right from the bottle, and his drinks are tops" Well, here is a little secret: Ray knows his pourers. Any quality speed pourer will deliver at a constant rate. So, what you do is grab a jigger and start pouring, counting the seconds until you get to one ounce. With most speed pourers this will be in the area of about five seconds. So five seconds is one ounce, 2.5 seconds, 1/2 oz. 10 seconds is two ounces and so on. I use this method for all but the most exacting drinks, and with a little practice, it works well. It also speeds up your mixing and serving time. I wouldn't use this for amounts under and ounce till you get "the feel" for your pourers, as well as which ingredients are not crucial in the amounts. An example of this is that a Gimlet is not going to suffer if you are a hair over on the Roses Lime, but as I said before, you can easily ruin a Martini or Negroni with too much or too little vermouth.
I used to buy all my syrups. but not anymore.
Take about a cup of sugar, and slowly add boiling water while stirring. As soon as all the sugar is dissolved, stop adding water.
Now you have simple syrup. Use it anywhere (and in the same amounts) as you would use sugar.
Now, add a couple drops of pure vanilla extract and well, hey now! you have rock candy syrup!(or RCS for short)
Now take that RCS and add a couple drops of almond extract, and, can you guess? no? ...Orgeat!
Now go to your local grocery store and go to the spice isle. See all the extracts there? Lemon, Banana, Coconut, Mint... Yep, you can make syrups out of any of them.
Sure, you can just pour a bunch of 151 on the top and let her go up like an overfull Tiki torch, but, I like my eyebrows. Not to say that I am against the occasional "wall of fire" on the bar top, I mean that is what you keep a good seltzer bottle on hand for anyway. But, there are a couple of things that make a nice flaming drink, well, nice. One is a long lasting flame, and the other is a nice color to the fire. So here you go: First of all, no parasol, unless it is a bowl drink, and you can put the parasol way off to the side. Next take a lemon or an orange slice and float it in the drink. Then put a sugar cube on the fruit slice. Now put a small amount (like a quarter of a teaspoon) of 151, or better yet, everclear on the sugar cube. light it with a match. Don't use your Zippo, as fluid can leak into the drink. Mmmmmmmm fire....
First and most important is, lots of it. You can go through a lot of ice in a cocktail party. Also if you have any rocks drinkers, here is a neat trick. Make a separate batch of ice cubes using boiled water. They will be super crystal clear, and have "the look". Also, your ice is only as good as your water. if you have nasty tap water, you will have nasty tap water ice. Also, always use cracked ice, or the smallest cubes you can get.
Buy as many of these as you have room for. Unless you have a wet bar with full plumbing, nothing is more of a drag than having to keep washing out shakers. One way around this is to keep a pitcher of water and a bucket behind the bar. When you are switching drinks, you can fill the shaker about half with water, give it a good shake, dump the water in the bucket, and your shaker will be clean enough for most drunks. Oh, and do not reuse your ice unless you are making the same drink.
Get your self a neat looking blank note book, and keep track of stuff that happens in your bar. it is a great way to remember new recipes, good drinks, bad drinks, who was there, etc. I also like to jot down a few notes in my drunken stupor. Makes fun reading later. Also, if you keep track of how much booze you go through, it is a good gauge of how much you will need next time.
No matter what your friends tell you, there is only one cure for a hangover and that is time. There are some things that can help you not want to die however. Why do we get a hangover? well there is a lot of science and study showing how there are these things called cogeners, and how different types of booze have different amounts, and that these cogeners are what cause the hangover. But I actually think there is this stuff called booze, and if you drink it in any amount, you are at risk of a hang-over. Beer and Vodka give me the worst hangovers, Rum and good Scotch about the least. I think it is different for everyone. the only way to be sure you will not get a hangover, sadly, is to not drink. If you do get a hangover well, here are a couple tips. First, no drugs. Most pain killers only make it worse on your liver, and in some cases can cause more damage or even kill you. Best defense is to drink all the water you can before you pass out for the night, and again in the morning. Then go eat. what I do is go out for breakfast and order both a coke and a coffee, and drink both in alternating sips. This works wonders for me. Also, I like hot spicy foods, like eggs with lots of Tabasco. Also some fresh air, and (yeah right) mild exercise, like taking a walk to 7-11 for some flaming hot cheetos.
Back to the Booze!