Archive for December, 2008
Bartenders are no longer bartenders, they are mixologists; and yesterday’s mixologists, the people who really took the craft seriously, need a way to differentiate themselves from the mainstream. Many of these mixologists followed in the footsteps of our culinary brethren, we have finally arrived at the latest buzzword and title for those who are truly committed to beverage excellence…Bar Chef.
In Toronto, Frankie Solarik believes in the concept so much, that he has opened a bar to pay tribute to the philosophy, and aptly named it “Bar Chef.” http://www.barcheftoronto.com Each cocktail is hand crafted from a massive variety of ingredients presented fashionably on the bar, bringing the guest into the experience as their cocktail is being created.
I dropped by on his second day of operation and had a cocktail made with style and passion that I haven’t seen in this city. While it takes a little longer to get a beverage like the Cold Smoked Manhattan that I ordered, the presentation is impeccable and the final cocktail is well worth the wait.
It seems that a lot of people are getting their noses out of joint about the term molecular mixology, the press certainly seem to love it. Whatever you choose to call it, molecular mixology doesn’t have to be difficult, and really has to do with changing states. From a liquid to a solid, or liquid to a gas most commonly, but something as easy as a flamed orange zest, or an infused foam, by definition is molecular mixology. Whether you consider yourself a molecular mixologist, a bar chef, bartender, or simply someone who enjoys mixing at home, the recipes that you enjoy were at one point simply an experiment.The hallmarks of a good Bar Chef are their commitment to fresh, hand crafted ingredients and infusions, and consistent experimentation. Fresh ingredients make great cocktails. While pop guns and towers are certainly convenient, their cost effectiveness days are numbered. Post mix syrup, is made up of 80%-90% corn syrup, and with global demand for ethanol (a corn based alternative fuel) continues to rise at an unprecedented rate, the days of fountain soda are numbered. With cost effectiveness in question and real quality benefits to using fresh squeezed juices, the choice is really simple. If you need more convincing, find a local bar chef and compare your fluorescent green amaretto sour to their version made with fresh lime, simple syrup, bitters and egg white. There is no comparison.
The eternal question… what came first, the chicken or the egg… in cocktail terms, I’m reasonably certain that eggs were used in beverage applications long before chicken was ever thought of in a beverage sense. Molecular Gastronomy is certainly bleeding directly into the bar as establishments like Singapore’s Tippling Club continue to raise the bar on many levels. In cocktail terms the process of converting the physical state of a liquid drink into a solid, or a mist is often called molecular mixology. Whatever you choose to call it, cocktails served in an altered state can certainly have an element of cool to them, but before you go converting an entire menu to molecuar recipes, make sure that they’re executable at your level of business.
This is the first bar that I have seen that rivals Der Raum in Melbourne in both style and pure commitment to stretching the way we think about cocktails.
You be the judge. What came first, the chicken or the egg?
Bars like Der Raum and Tippling Club get that people will pay for and tell their friends about experience, and this blog post proves it. When was the last time you read a story about Burger King or Dairy Queen that didn’t have something to do with salmonella… and here we are back again at the chicken…