With the passing of Gary Regan last weekend, the bar world lost one of its…
I was in Boston a couple of months back, attending the Boston Cocktail Summit. It was a grand affair that culminated, from my point of view, in me being roasted, Friars Club-style, by some of my best friends in the business. They were far too kind to me.
I keep a file of cocktail recipes sent to me by bartenders that I deem worthy of testing. The testing, however, is becoming more and more time consuming, simply because few bartenders in this second decade of the 21st century are content to use only readily available ingredients in their drinks.
Salvatore Calabrese is one of the world’s finest bartenders, and I say that from dealing with the man himself – for a couple of decades – and from knowing many bartenders he has trained over the years.
By Gaz Regan. “What do you like to mix with Cynar?” fellow cocktail scribe Warren Bobrow, who writes for the likes of Foodista.com and the Williams-Sonoma blog, asked me recently. And I had to admit that I’d never really fooled around with this Italian aperitif/digestif. It wasn’t entirely off my radar, though.
A few weeks ago I was in the City of Light for just one night, and I was told to try the drinks at Candelaria. The place is nestled at the back of a taco shop, it packs an earthy vibe, and the drinks there are top-notch. I gave the bartenders at Candelaria a little test, and they passed with flying colors.
I was in the middle of reviewing the recipes that have been sent to me during the year when I came across a cluster of drinks submitted by the good folk at Rickhouse in San Francisco.
When Stan Vadrna applied to come to one of my Cocktails in the Country workshops in 2005–that’s the year that my jumbled records indicate–he told me that the reason he wanted to join the class was because, and I quote, “Knowledge is God.” And Stan Vadrna is certainly a guy with a huge thirst for knowledge.
You can also think about giving money to that homeless guy that you pass on the street every day. And if you do that, do yourself a big favor–look into his eyes and ask him how he’s doing. Then wait, and actually listen to his answer. You might be surprised at how rewarding this can be.
Did you notice how much that sentence annoyed you? Try this one: You should be nicer to people. Or hows about this: You should get a new job. Those statements really piss people off, right? Even when they offer good advice.
As bartenders, though, if we can do our best not to get upset, we’ll be doing ourselves, our bosses, and our customers, a huge favor. Remember that the bartender is the one person in the bar that everyone counts on. If we lose it, if we fail to understand what’s going down, if we get irrational, or out of control in any way, shape, or form, then we’re not doing our job properly.