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Eau de Vie

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SUPER SIPS

December 31, 2011

Memorable cocktails that rise to the top of the list
Stories curated by and photos by Jason Rowan (except where noted)

Photo by Virginia Miller

Most publications are busy prognosticating; focused on the year ahead, projecting trends and anticipating the future. But at INSIDE F&B we decided to take a moment before rushing pell-mell into 2012 and invite you to join us in relieving some stress that always comes with looking ahead. Instead, stop and smell the proverbial roses as we take a look back at some of the spirit industry’s best drinks tasted around the world.

Simon McGoram, Drinks Editor, Australian Bartender Magazine (boozebraggart.blogspot.com/)

The best drink I had all year had to come from one of the more unlikely places in Australia – Katoomba in the Blue Mountians in NSW. Once upon a time it was known as Sydney’s playground – especially during the roaring twenties with Gatsby-like characters parading around in finery. Now the place attracts only a few weekend tourists with its beautiful art deco cafes and hotels remaining for the large part empty and falling into disrepair.

I was up there with my partner for a Valentine’s Day getaway – with February being the middle of summer down under we were expecting swelter. Instead a cool mist hung eerily over the whole town as we walked up the steps of the Carrington Hotel for a pre-prandial tipple. The hotel by the way looks like something out of The Shinning and sure enough during the middle of the week the place was empty and spooky.

We were sat next to a roaring fire in an anteroom next to the grand 1930s ballroom. I was expecting that they might manage a decent G&T but I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the cocktail offering. I ordered an Old Cuban – an Audrey Saunders masterpiece that had somehow found its way to this country town. My partner had a Bramble – a Dick Bradsell modern classic from London. The drinks were good. Not exceptional. bBut it was the more the fact that in rural Australia I could order drinks created by the best bartenders of London and New York whilst being transported to almost untouched art deco setting. I thought truly cocktail culture has come of age and perhaps one of America’s greatest inventions can be enjoyed at all ends of the earth.

Stephen Myers, Illegal Mezcal
(www.ilegalmezcal.com)

Drinking a Negroni at an outdoor cafe with a beautiful girl and a great friend on the Sardinian coast as the sun set over a Phoenician ruin and a lighthouse. Rather than the 1:1:1 ratio of the drink on its own it was all the elements of the time, place, people and the great drink itself that made it my best drink for 2011.

Philip Gandevia, cocktail bartender, Eau De Vie, Sydney
(eaudevie.com.au/)

We were having a meeting at Eau De Vie, going over our recipes and making sure that our techniques were uniform. We mentioned a Bijou (equal parts gin, Dolin and Chartreuse, orange twist and discard) and I made a casual statement that of course it was always stirred. One of our team, Taka Shino, demurred, saying that he always shakes his. Not only was this interesting in terms of discovering an inconsistency but it was also something I’d never entertained for this cocktail. “Well, let’s try them,” I said and we made side-by side identical Bijous, mine stirred and his shaken. When we tasted them I was fairly shocked to discover that I preferred the shaken. It was an excellent reminder that the junior bartender can show the senior bartender something Continue Reading…

Don't Miss

DON’T MISS – BROOKLYN HEMISPHERICAL BITTERS

March 4, 2011

By Francine Cohen

Photo © Jason Rowan 2011

One night, in the darkened basement of the Ace Hotel NYC, an industry pal reached into his pocket and said, “I have something for you.” Quickly our curiosity was satisfied, and dismissed was any fear we had that a “present” delivered in the carnival atmosphere of the 42Below competition might be risqué, when he handed us a dark brown apothecary bottle with dropper top. On the label…Sriracha Bitters.

Couldn’t wait to get to the bar and put them in a drink; the savory spiciness of the sriracha was so enticing that an immediate taste test on the back of our hands (and the hands of intrigued bartenders standing nearby) was necessary. Eyebrows up, eyes wide open was the universal reaction; these bitters packed a heated punch.

Though one respected bartender pointed out he’d prefer to break down the components and use real sriracha sauce in his drinks to get both the flavor and the heat he desired we all concurred that in bars where the “do it from scratch” ethos wasn’t the philosophy that Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters Sriracha Bitters added an exciting punch to ordinary (and not so ordinary) cocktails.

Perfect for both those craft bars, like White Star in Manhattan and Eau de Vie in Sydney, and more mass market neighborhood joints where a little pop goes a long way, Brooklyn Bitters Sriracha Bitters (and the rest in the line) are big winners.

Brand co-founder, Jason Rowan, shares the origin of this new line of bitters. He says, “Last spring when Mark Buettler was heading up the bar program at Dressler I’d stop in frequently and we’d consult on recipes and ideas. When he expressed an interest in experimenting with bitters I pretty much insisted he follow through–all his cocktail experimentations had been aces and I wanted to see what he’d do with bitters. The Sriracha bitters were the most improbable and awesome idea, but the more single flavor, seasonal ones like Rhubarb, Strawberry and Meyer Lemon wound up working really well, too. A big part of the concept was to be able to add the flavor of something fresh like peach into, say, a Manhattan, without altering the chemical makeup of the cocktail significantly.

The name came about after I’d travelled to Sydney and hung out at Eau de Vie (www.eaudevie.com.au), where they took a couple sample bottles I had and went to town with creating new, odd, and delightful drinks with them. They bar team was pretty insistent about wanting more. Upon returning we rallied and came up with a name that alluded to their trans-hemispherical birth, and recruited our designer pal Greg Needham to come up with some labels. We shipped those off to Australia and they’ve wound up being featured on Eau de Vie’s menu, which is incredibly gratifying. And after we handed some out to bartender friends we started getting requests for more. We set up proper production at The Bedford in Williamsburg, where the bitters are heavily featured on their menu. The new team at White Star is making good use of them, too. “

For more information about the entire line of Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters (Apple, Black Mission Fig, Blueberry, Meyer Lemon, Peach, Rhubarb, Strawberry) go to www.brooklynbitters.com. To buy them online go to www.formaggioessex.com