The science and art of making cocktails?

Shenanigans in Bucharest

Caught Wired’s piece about Shea Campbell setting his sights on mixology (cocktail making).

When Shea Campbell started creating his own drinks, he naturally relied on classic recipes. However, his background, both in engineering (he has a Masters in subsea engineering with specific interest in chemical erosion and interaction in Arctic sub-zero temperatures) and as a chef (you can taste his food from January at Noma, Copenhagen), helped him to think differently about how the bar industry approaches mixology.

I certainly think this is a good thing, because there is so much more than could be done with cocktails. Its a seriously under explored field and like  chocolate there is a category of artisan cocktails.

This is why I like to go new places and sample there changes to standard cocktails. Certainly can’t beat standing at a bar talking to a bartender who knows there stuff.

I’m still playing around now and then with my cocktail making kit, trying to make different takes on cosmopolitans. Been trying to make it with pomegranate juice (instead of cranberry) and raspberry liquor (instead of triple sec). Others include coffee sour, new chocolate & bourbon fashioned, etc. I won’t talk about the failed experiment adding triple sec to vodka martini! I have other experiments but I’ll save them for the new years eve party. The problem is I can do stuff which works for me but others, less so…

“My hope is that through education and interaction we can change the language of how we speak about drinks,” he says. “Rather than teaching classic recipes, it would be better to explain the effects of ingredients, so that alternate items can be chopped and changed. What we do right now is like teaching someone how to spell words without first giving them the knowledge to understand the alphabet.”

Now this would be great and very much needed. Almost a 101 for effects. All that knowledge is locked in the grey matter of bartenders up and down the world right now. Something closer to alchemy rather than chemistry.

 

Cocktails and Rollercoasters, how else to celebrate?

Google Cocktails

Its that time of year again when I celebrate surviving one extra year on earth, and for me its got to be rollercoasters and cocktails with friends.

So here is the schedule (which is weather dependant of course)

  • Sunday 7th April – I’m Gatecrashing Kate Reader’s Rollercoaster party at Thorpe Park, London. Something tells me we’re going to need to make use of this weatherproofing offer.
  • Wednesday 10th April – I’m consider I should do something simple like going out for a meal and bowling (yes they now have bowling in central Manchester), as I’m going to be out the rest of the weekend.
  • Friday 12th April – Its time for a Cocktail Masterclass at The all new Kahlua coffee house, can’t wait to make those Espresso Martinis (heck coffee and cocktails, it doesn’t get much better!). The guys behind the Kahlua coffee house seem to read my blog which is a little spooky and seem to have something special in store for me? What it is I have no idea but I’m sure its fun!
  • Saturday 13th April – I will be at the ORG North event but afterwards, its back to the fine cocktails all night, starting at the Alchemists and moving into Lola Cocktails later in the night.
  • Sunday 14th April – Its get up with a slight hangover, get on a train and head to Blackpool Pleasure Beach for even more Rollercoasters.
  • Monday 15th April – Sleep off most of the weekend… (smile, Zzzzz)

If your interested in joining the party at any of the points, you should know how to contact me already. Twitter might be the best way, as I will be using my extended life battery when ever possible.

To note at some point in May, we’ll be going to Alton Towers to finally experience the smiler! The plans was always to go but Alton Towers delayed the launch of the ride till May.

Decent cocktails or nothing please

Which cosmo came out of a packet?

The one on the left is out of a packet (just look at the nasty cloudy bog colour). The one on the right is fresh (see the pink and consistent transparency) plus note the froth on top and finally the lack of straws because cosmos are meant to be drunk from the glass not through the straw. Ideally if the orange peel is burned, there is a thin oily skin which is lovely to drink, just in-case you were in any doubt

This was going back a while ago… last year while I was down in South East London.

The Novotel Hotel Bar in Greenwich served me a Cosmopolitan while I was at the bar one night with mark boas, thornet, cyberdees and others… I was so shocked at how bad it was, I complained and got the manager to make me a fresh one. They said it comes out of a packet and that most customers don’t have a problem with it!

Me on the other hand, well I was bloody horrified and couldn’t believe they would serve up that much as a cosmopolitan. Worst still they were charging £6 for it! I was truly outraged…!

Once the manager made me a new one fresh, we talked about lighting the orange peel but he refused, so I did it myself. Anyway to prove the point about the packet cocktails, we lined them up on the side of the bar and took sips of each one.

They did give me the packet one for free but I still refused to drink it instead giving it to other Mozilla fest friends to taste and get there feelings about.

As you imagine the fresh one peed all over the one out of the packet, not a single person said the packet version was nicer or better, even the manager and the bar staff agreed.

The amount of times I’ve referred to this true story is the last few months is untrue. Its also the reason why I won’t put up with crappy drinks I don’t actually want to drink. I’d rather go thirsty or drink water…