This week on the Bartender Journey Podcast we talk with Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller Jeff Arnett at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference. It's the Bartender Journey Podcast #204! Listen with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on iTunes, Android or Stitcher Radio..
Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 whiskey follows all the requirements of Bourbon, with the addition of a charcoal filtering process.. Legally called the "Lincoln County Process,” by the state of Tennessee. also known as “charcoal mellowing" or locally "the extra blessing" , it occurs before Barrelling. And just to be sure, Jeff informed us that they have the official letter from 1941 from the Alcohol Bureau.
Quick Facts about Jack Daniel's
*Myers Lemon Oleo Sacrum Syrup
As you may know Sasha left this world way too early in August 2015. But Sasha inspired a generation of Bartenders, not only those who were trained by him, but many, like myself that never had the opportunity to work with him. This Book, A Spot at the Bar is another wonderful offshoot of Sasha’s Legacy.
There are many great recipes and photos in here, but a lot of other useful stuff as well. There is an entire section on Bartender’s Choice. This can be challenging for a Bartender. In the book Michael talks about how to do it best. There is a series of questions to ask - in a certain sequence - to figure out what this guest would enjoy.
Michael said in the book that Sasha taught his students that “working hard behind the scenes allows you to look effortless in front of your guests”. Wise words from a wise man.
Cocktails in the Country is a great experience, which I was honored to attend in the Summer of 2016. It is run by the man I call the Yoda of Bartending Gary (gaz) Regan.
It normally costs $250, but we have a discount code so that you can study with gaz for only $100!
Cocktails in the Country (CITC) is 2 days of education, learning the gaz approach to “Mindful Bartending”. Plus, practical skills making original cocktails behind the bar. It takes place in the Hudson Valley, just over an hour north of Manhattan.
Included in the cost is transportation from Manhattan, lodging for the evening, most meals, classes with gaz and cocktail making with your 9 new best friends.
Here’s how to get your discount:
To participate in CITC you have to be a working Bartender and have worked in the Hospitality Industry for at least 3 years.
Bar Institute Econo
Toast of the Week:
In Beer there is strength
In Wine there is wisdom
In Water there is bacteria
-Audio & Text by Brian Weber
It’s been quite a week in the cocktail world. Our community is in turmoil. People are upset. Nerves are raw. It all started with a Facebook Live video of Ann Tuennerman, Founder and Executive Director of Tales of the Cocktail during Mardi Gras wearing blackface.
It would be easy for me to ignore this topic altogether and avoid any controversy, but I feel that would be a disservice to our Bartender community. In fact, the Tuennerman’s themselves have done everything they can to be transparent.
Ann Tuennerman and her Husband Paul Tuennerman, who was co-owner and chief business officer of Tales, were on waiting to ride on a Float in a Mardi Gras parade. They rode with the Zulu, Social Aid and Pleasure Club, when they went “Live” on Facebook.
The Krewe can invite non-members to ride with them on their float, which is often considered quite an honor. It is not uncommon for non-members to pay hundreds or even thousands of dollars for the privilege of riding on a float. This money goes toward the cost of producing the floats and funding the “throws”, which are the things given out from the floats to the parade attendees. We usually think of beads being thrown from the floats, but some Krewes will give away more elaborate items.
Tradition dictates that everyone riding on a float hide their face, usually with a mask, but sometimes with makeup. In fact, it’s the law. The Zulu Krewe, and everyone invited to ride on their floats, wears Blackface instead of a mask.
It is this code that allows me to stand up against oppressive behaviors weather they be institutional, systemic, or individual. This week, while maybe unintentionally, that behavior was exhibited by one of our industry's most powerful leaders, Ann Tuennerman.
I want to be very clear on my stance as to what was posted on her page. The Zulu parade and the celebration of New Orleanian black culture has never been my issue. I understand what Zulu is and the history of the Zulu face painting.
An explanation of WHY you had the Zulu paint on is what should have been the caption.”
You can read the rest of the letter here.
Ann said in her first of 2 pubic apologies:
“Earlier this week, I rode in a Mardi Gras parade with the Zulu organization, in which participants, both people of color and of all races, traditionally wear blackface makeup, and shared photos of myself in costume on social media. I now recognize how deeply offensive this is to many, and I am sincerely sorry. It was a naive and inconsiderate action, the consequences of which have made it clear that I have much to learn. Regardless of anyone’s intentions, we all have to take responsibility for our actions, especially those of us in positions of authority. As an industry leader, I assume full responsibility for my actions, and am ready to listen to all those who I have angered and hurt in the process.”
Ann’s second public statement titled Gratitude from Ann Tuennerman and a Determination to Embrace Change begins: “Through publicly acknowledging the pain Paul and I have caused to many in our industry, we hope to demonstrate our sincerity, transparency and commitment to facing this head on. We've taken ownership of our actions and comments, and they are in no way a representation of our staff or the hundreds of others who work to bring Tales of the Cocktail to life each year.”
Living up to this promise, on Monday 3/6/17, Ann did a live Facebook video interview with Ashtin Berry. Ashtin is a Bartender in New Orleans and happens to also be a female person of color. Ashtin has really taken great steps toward moving this conversation forward in a productive manner.
Ashtin said in a FB post before the interview “Tomorrow will be a step on a long road towards the more inclusive industry we deserve. I encourage everyone to ensure that their engagement does not end tomorrow.”
She goes on to say
“I have sent to Ann that we will be using to provide context and background for our conversations”.
These are 4 links Ashtin sent to Ann:
The video interview was in fact very productive. Ann really took responsibility for her actions and showed an honest desire to do everything she can to keep the conversation moving ahead and advance diversity in our industry.
I encourage you to watch it from start to finish. You can find it on the Bartender Journey Facebook page.
As soon as the story broke I asked the opinion of a Bartender in NOLA.
He said: “Zulu is known for celebrating Black culture, but blackface is just not the way. There’s so many better ways to support that. I haven’t completely formed an opinion, but people are worked up”.
In his resignation note, Paul wrote, “My comment to Ann about blackface prior to the Zulu parade was meant to be a husband’s innocent teasing of his camera-shy wife, not a belittlement of others. In retrospect, the words were insensitive, hurtful and just plain dumb and I feel horrible for the pain they have caused.”
In Ann’s first written apology she wrote:
“My purpose here is not just to apologize publicly; I do not believe an apology excuses anyone of their actions. My purpose here is to acknowledge my ignorance and to open myself up to critique; to take my first step toward becoming someone more capable of listening to those who I have hurt and understanding the ignorance of my own actions.”
Prejudice and discrimination are never fun, whatever form it takes: Racism, sexism, ageism, whatever. Hell, I’m a white man in America, and I’ve even been insulted and pissed off by ads that say “wanted female bartender”. Is that even legal? Or “submit a picture with your resume”. To me its just a non-issue…I mean black, white, male, female, little person, downs syndrome…anyone who is passionate about it can excel at making drinks and being hospitable.
These events have had far reaching effects.
The mainstream media has pickup up on the story - The Washington Post published an article about it.
Another friend from New Orleans tells me there is talk of making the Zulu Krewe change their tradition of wearing blackface…and locals are not happy about changing this 100+ year old tradition.
And then the question of “What’s going to happen at Tales this year”?
Tales is a whole economy unto itself. Brands and attendees come from all over the world. The conference is only financially viable due to the Brand sponsorship. Will any of them be scared off this year? Will attendees decide not to go?
Ann’s talk with Ashtin Berry was a great first step towards healing, and I do believe that she will use her position as an industry leader to follow through and do whatever she can to promote diversity in our industry. Tales actually released a white paper, before all this happened, called Diversity and Barriers to Access in the Bartending Industry.
I believe Ann’s apology to be genuine and she that has a true desire to help people – of all kinds.
There is a story I heard from a Bartender once. This wasn’t in an official press release from Tales or anything like that…it was just Bartenders talking. There was a bar in NOLA that got robbed one night. Even the tip jar was taken. Tales showed up the next day with cash to help out the bar and the bartenders.
We’ll go back to my New Orleans Bartender friend to wrap this up. He said “I think Tales is a great thing and I hope the dust will settle. That being said…maybe the silver lining is the realization that black people as demographic are under represented in the Cocktail World”.
Here’s our weekly toast. Its credited to St. Augustine who lived in the 13th century and is considered the patron saint of brewers, printers, theologians.
Insomuch as love grows in you, so beauty grows. For love is the beauty of the soul.
Bar Institute is hitting the road for a six week tour stopping in 25 cities in the US and Canada in the Spring of 2017. Its the Bar Institute Econo Tour! In each city, they will be hosting a one day Bar Institute session featuring 3-5 classes and a popup event, which will incorporate the information from the classes into service each night. They’ll be asking for only a $5 donation for admission to the classes and the drinks in the evening. All proceeds will benefit charity.
Along the way, they've identified social justice issues that will serve as the centerpiece of the weekly focus for each region. This is so awesome! They will be in a bunch of mid size cities – many of which don’t have cocktail conferences very often, if ever. If you’ve never been to an event like this and the tour is coming near you…I hope you’ll go!
In fact, I’ll make a deal with you. Fill out the form here.
We will randomly choose at least 2 people that fill out the form before April 2, 2017 and send you some swag, provided by Lush Life, the parent company of Bar Institute. This is for USA residents only please.
To win, you’ll have to both fill out that form and upload a picture of yourself at Bar Institute Econo. Put the picture on Instagam with the hashtag #BartenderJourneyBI
See the Bar Institute Econo Tour Dates here.
It's the Bartender Journey Podcast #202! Listen with the audio player on this page, or subscribe on iTunes, Android or Stitcher Radio.
A group of 25 Bartenders from the U.S. and Canada were treated to an amazing experience on this trip. We saw one of the farms that Patrón contracts with to supply them with harvested agaves. We enjoyed lunch at the beautiful Hacienda Patrón, and then given a thorough tour of the distillery, (more about this later).
Director of Eduction for Patrón Chris Spake – was our host and guide for the trip.
Patron works with about 10 agave farmers to source their agave.
So, as I said tequila must be made from AT LEAST 51% Blue Weber Agave. Quality tequilas such as Patron are made from 100% Blue Weber Agave. If you see the word “Mixto” on a tequila bottle…run away! This means they are mixing lower quality sprints into that bottle or adding raw sugar before distillation to save money.
To make it even more confusing, a Mixto tequila does need to state “Mixto” that on the label. It is usually labeled “Tequila”, (as apposed to “Tequila de 100% Agave”, (or similar wording)
There is a certain extremely popular tequila that is behind almost every bar, which will remain unnamed here, that IS a Mixto, but does not state it on the label. Carmel coloring may also be added.
The “Jimador’s” use a tool called Coa to harvest the Agave plants by hand. They separate the leaves and roots from each agave
Patron contracts with these farmers and guarantees them a price per kilogram when they plant…they do not necessarily need to do this, but Patron thinks it’s the right thing to do, and it ensures a reliable supply in the future. These plants take at least 5 years to grow, and like any commodity, the price fluxuatues. It can be difficult for the farmers to plant something, and take care of it for 5 years, and not know how much they will be paid for it when it finally matures.
The agaves are split by hand with axes into 4 pieces and immediately fed into an oven where they are cooked with steam for exactly 79 hours.
It gets a little complex because after coming out of the oven the agaves are split into two different, but similar methods for the remainder of the process. For the silver Patron that everyone knows (their most popular SKU), its blended together at the end. For simplicity’s sake we will just follow one path here…which is the Tohana method, (Patron does produce the Roca line, which is the Tohana only product and are amazing).
So following the Tohana process – as I said the agaves are cooked for 79 hours. A Tohana is a giant heavy wheel made from Lava Rock. It goes around and around in a circle crushing the cooked agave. Its basically shredding the agave, but it forces the juices in and out of the fibers.
The fibers are then separated from the liquid. The fibers will be sent to the composting area. The liquid is mixed with yeast and then sent to 10,000 liter pine barrels where it will ferment for 3 days.
This liquid will be strained and sent to copper pot stills. Patron uses quite small stills for the first distillation, and even smaller ones (with a slightly different shape), for the distillation.
After the second distillation, we have Patron Silver. It is sent to the bottling facility where each bottle is packaged by hand. Its pretty reparative work, but the people that work in the bottling facility are very fast and efficient. Interestingly, the assembly line stops for 15 minute out of each hour so the workers can stretch and get a quick break. This is of course to avoid repetitive stress syndrome.
Last week, Bartender Journey crossed the border and Brian enjoyed a few days at the Patron Hacienda in Mexico. You’ll hear all about on an upcoming episode!
Meanwhile, the Bartender Journey Team kicks off the 5th annual Unofficial Bartenders’ Week hosted by the USBGNY chapter today with a live taping of Bartender at Large sponsored by Lot 40 and featuring special guest David Wondrich , “The man who helped spark the cocktail movement — and keeps feeding it" (Washington Post). David was our guest on Bartender Journey Podcast 110.
In addition to Unofficial Bartenders’ Week events, we’ll be at the 13th annual Whisky Live NY that features tastings, bourbon-infused dinner buffet, whisky cocktails and live entertainment.
This year’s highlights include
We’ll be updating the Events page tonight with new events. Follow along on the Bartender Journey Facebook page for pics, videos and more!
This week on the show we’ll talk to Brian Hoefling, author of Distilled Knowledge: The Science Behind Drinking’s Greatest Myths, Legends, and Unanswered Questions.
In our chat with Brian Hoefling we challenge some of the myths, old wives tales and half-truths about alcohol. We'll talk about fermentation, distillation and aging. Add in some science about mixology and it adds up to a great conversation!
Just a couple days before recording this episode of the podcast, I did not know that in less than a week I’d be traveling to Mexico as a guest of Patron Tequilla! I’ll be staying at the Patron Hacienda where the Tequilla is produced. I’ve spoken to other people who have taken this trip and every one of them raves about the experience.
I’ll have the portable audio recording gear and will be bringing you adventures from Mexico and Patron Hacienda.
There is a lot coming up for you on the podcast – we’ll be talking with the Master Distiller of Jack Daniels Jeff Arnet, Sam Ross of Milk and Honey Fame, a really interesting and smart gentleman named George Bressler, we’ll talk to the Brand Ambassadors from Monkey Shoulder, Drambuie and Black Bottle Scotch, plus author and bartender Lou Bustamante.
Below is one of the diagrams from the Book Distilled Knowledge by Brian Hoefling. Diagrams by Leandro Castelao.
A virtual tour of Patron Hacienda:
It has been quite a Journey! The Bartender Journey Podcast has been going strong for nearly 4 years. We have spoken to authors, bartenders, bar owners and major influencers in the industry.
Join us for some clips from past shows, (Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich, Jim Meehan, Gary 'gaz' Regan, Dave Pickerell) plus a discussion with fellow bartender and podcaster Ozeal, (No Permission Needed podcast).
Garnish: orange twist
On the Podcast this week we talk to Jake Corney (GM) and Derik Cortez (Head Bartender) of Jazz Tx in San Antonio, Texas.
Toast of the Week:
The Story of San Antonio Cocktail Conference:
In San Antonio there is a famous Steak House restaurant called Bohanan’s. It’s been around since 2002. It is on the second floor of a building directly across the street from the Orpheum Theater.
Years ago there was a bar in on the first floor of the building below Bohanan’s.This bar was unrelated to Bohanan’s with separate ownership.In 2008, this bar went out of business and Mr. Bohanan decided he would take over that space and have a bar of his own.
Mr. Bohanan realized that this bar was going to be the first thing people saw when they walked in – the “face” of the restaurant. He wanted it to be very special. He traveled to New York to see the serious Cocktail Bars of Manhattan. Visiting Milk and Honey, he realized that Sasha was the man he wanted to shape his bar. He hired Sasha to consult on the Bohanan’s bar.
Sasha was not a man to do things halfway. He spent a lot of time setting up that bar and training the staff. He fell in love with the city of San Antonio.
In 2012 Sasha founded the San Antonio Cocktail Conference (SACC). The organization is a non-profit and donates all profits to Children’s Charities. SACC is a great event for the hospitality industry in this up and coming city.
Tragically, Sasha left this world in August 2015, just three months after marrying Georgette Moger-Petraske.
His obituary in the New York Times said “Mr. Petraske’s role in the modern cocktail revival is difficult to overstate”.
In Sasha’s one and only book, Robert Simonson says in the forward, “Until about a decade ago, I didn’t much enjoy going out to drink. Sasha Petraske was the first bar owner I ever met that shared my vision of what adult drinking could be”.
The conference is now done in Sasha’s honor.The wonderful Georgette led a toast to Sasha with classic Daiquiris – which was Sasha’s favorite cocktail.She donated a painting of herself and Sasha to Bohanan’s.The portrait was painted by Dale DeGroff’s wife Jill, and presented to the Petraske’s as a wedding present.
I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Petraske personally, but his presence was certainly felt at the conference and his mentorship shaped an entire generation.
Toast of the Week:
"To Absent Friends...
to those we have met
to those we have yet to meet
to those who have left us for a while
and to those who have left us forever,
let us lift our glasses and drink a toast
that they may abide in our hearts
to absent friends"
This week on the podcast we talk to David Eden Sangwell. He is from England and has a podcast of his own called Bartender HQ. He works for a restaurant group and oversees the bar program for about 8 bars and restaurants. Its a "dueling podcast"!
We hear about the wide-ranging Beverage Program that David oversees, Cask Conditioned Beer and Cocktail Conferences.
Cocktail of the Week - Brown Derby
Fresh grapefruit juice
Brown Derby (Modified)
2 oz Bourbon
Fresh grapefruit juice
.5 oz Fresh Lemon Juice
.25 oz Grapefruit Olo Sacrum syrup