First, let’s talk a bit about garnishes.
Cutting that fruit - It’s something we do everyday behind the bar, but nobody really talks about it! I say - take some pride in that task! You need a sharp knife to cut good looking garnishes. I carry all my bar tools with me in a bag and I have 2 really sharp small paring knives in there. It makes cutting the fruit a pleasure. These knives are very inexpensive and a worthwhile investment.
The pith - the white parts of the fruit - are bitter and can impart a odd flavor after it sits in a drink for awhile. Try to remove as much as possible.
Of course when cutting the lemons and oranges you want to remove as many seeds as possible. What’s worse than getting a lemon seed in your mouth when you are sitting at a bar, trying to make conversation?
It takes a little longer, but what you end up with is some nice fresh looking fruit.
How about twists? I love to do my twists a la minute’ or “to order”. I use my y-peeler and get a nice long thick piece of zest with no pith and express those oils over my drink.
A well done garnish gives a visual cue to your guest that this we put some attention and care into making that drink.
Herbs are tough to keep fresh. I’ve come up with this method for my mint, which does keep it pretty good looking for a while, but what I really want is a little garden just outside where I can cut mint right out of the ground more or less as I need it!
ASAP after the mint is delivered, I cut off the very bottom of the stem like you would if you had flowers you were going to put in a vase, so that it will drink up as much water as possible. Then place that bunch of mint in ice water, stem side down. Let it sit there around 20 minutes or so, but less time seems to be ok too. The cold water “shocks” the herbs, “setting” the color. Then drain the mint, but not bone dry. I’ll make small bundles that will fit nicely and fold the bottom of a paper towel over the cut stems then gently roll it all up so that the everything is covered. I’ll take my small bundles of wrapped herbs and put them in a resalable gallon plastic bag.
Every day or two I’ll change the paper towels, to keep it from getting mushy.
Cocktail of the Week
This is a delicious cocktail. I first had one at the Flatiron Lounge many years ago, it was a real ah-ha moment for me. It was absolutely delicious … I had never had one before. It just made me realize that a drink made with just 3 ingredients, if they are perfectly balanced and high quality ingredients to begin with is really what a perfect cocktail should be. I add a small amount of lemon juice to the classic recipe, which “brightens it up” a bit.
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