Posts Tagged ‘Richard Boccato’

IF YOU LIKE PIÑA COLADAS – THE END

Sunday, June 27th, 2010

Getting To Frozen Drink Perfection
By Richard Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzalez of Painkiller, NYC

WHAT WE KNOW NOW WE’D LIKE TO SHARE IT WITH YOU

Presently, we would argue that the most popular incarnation of the Piña Colada usually is made with cream of coconut. Out of the combination of sheer boredom and a quest for personal enlightenment, we have personally tried to replicate every recipe that we have found for the Piña Colada. All of our efforts to recreate these “classic” drinks were made with silver rum and freshly extracted pineapple juice. We prepared them in blenders and served them frozen (although this detail is never specified in writing in the “classic” recipes). As stated earlier, the main difference (and the only one that ultimately matters) in the preparation of the Cuban variation of these rum and pineapple cocktails versus the Puerto Rican style is the use of coconut.

Through years of previous experience making cocktails we have discovered that drinks that have higher water content also need to be sweeter than a drink that is prepared with less dilution and without the assistance of ice in the vessel it is served in. Therefore, frozen cocktails like the Piña Colada have a relatively large amount of water with respect to a Daiquiri that is shaken and served up. From our experience thus far at Painkiller, we are fairly certain that it is safe to say that our frozen drinks have unusually high water content.

We will also say that it was concluded definitively in our opinion that due to the sweetness in cream of coconut that the “Puerto Rican” or “1954” Pina Colada is most likely the version of the drink that we all consider the prototype. All Cuban-style Pina Coladas that we prepared with coconut milk and/or coconut water were either too diluted or too bland.

Consumed on its own, cream of coconut is horribly sweet and difficult to work with in shaken drinks due to the density it adds (even more so in stirred cocktails). In frozen cocktails, qualities that are detrimental to shaken drinks like viscosity and sweetness become beneficial. The higher water content in Piña Coladas is brought into balance by the richness and sweetness of the cream of coconut. The addition of fresh pineapple and its high starch content bring the lighter alcohol and the highly dense cream of coconut into harmony within the cocktail. Let us continue on to the preparation of our own Piña Colada.

Preparation

At Painkiller, we prepare our Piña Colada by combining the following ingredients in a blender:

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IF YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS – PART TWO

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The Lore, the Legend, The Piña Colada
By Richard Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzalez of Painkiller, NYC

Like all great drinks, there are stories regarding the origins of the Piña Colada that are as rich and complex as its consistency. The thousands of myths and legends that are culled from the pantheon of cocktail folklore invariably fall somewhere between fact and fiction. With that in mind, we humbly submit the following thesis for your consideration.

Before we begin, we would like to acknowledge George Sinclair at www.thinkingbartender.com for his exhaustive research on the subject of the Piña Colada. We are fortunate to have access to this information and we could not justify our hypothesis without referencing Mr. Sinclair’s contributions.

By many accounts, the earliest mention of this cocktail dates back to the 1800‘s, when a Puerto Rican pirate by the name of Roberto Cofresi favored a drink with white rum, coconut milk and pineapple. It is almost futile to debate what his white rum may or may not have tasted like, the difficulties of juicing fresh pineapples in the 1800’s, or the fact that there is no written recipe for his “cocktail”. Cofresi died in 1825, and for all intents and purposes so did the story of his prototype for what we now call the Piña Colada. For the sake of argument, we will agree that a Piña Colada is simply rum, some form of coconut (we will explain why this matters later), and pineapple.

There are references to a drink called the “Piña Fria” (cold pineapple) in 1910. In an excerpt from “IN CUBA AND JAMAICA” by H. G. de Lisser, the author states that:

“You ask for “Piña Fria, and he takes a pineapple and peels it and cuts it into large chunks and pounds it up with white sugar and ice and water, and hands the concoction to you in a huge, thick tumbler, and you find it delicious.”

In essence, this appears to be a pineapple Daiquiri of sorts but the fruit is muddled, Caipirinha style. The argument could clearly be made that this is indeed the predecessor to the Piña Colada; however we believe that such an argument literally does not hold enough (coconut) water to be plausible. Furthermore, this cocktail is not “blended” or “frozen”. Commercial blenders were not highly prevalent in bars during the early 20th century since the device was invented in 1922 (the famous Waring blender did not arrive on the market until 1935). More importantly, a Piña Colada when translated into English means “strained pineapple.” This is not a reference to the juice itself but instead an indication of how the drink is supposed to be served. In Spanish, a more enlightening translation would be “strained/cored-out pineapple.” Therefore, a Piña Colada served in anything other than a cored pineapple is (technically) not a Piña Colada. Recipe references would do best not to omit such an obvious fact as the vessel that a drink should be served in when that information is specifically stated in the cocktail’s name.

In 1922, TRAVEL magazine mentions a cocktail of Cuban origin called the Piña Colada:

“But best of all is a Piña colada, the juice of a perfectly ripe pineapple — a delicious drink in itself — rapidly shaken up with ice, sugar, lime and Bacardi rum in delicate proportions. What could be more luscious, more mellow and more fragrant?”

Like the earlier “Piña Fria”, once again here we find no mention of coconut in any form. This is also a pineapple “Daiquiri”, and it was quite possibly served in a pineapple. It is around this time that the roots take shape for what we now consider to be the true forefather of the modern Piña Colada.

In 1926, there is mention of a cocktail called the “Pineapple Crush”

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IF YOU LIKE PINA COLADAS

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

An Unabashed Love Affair With A Frothy Coconut Concoction
By Richard Boccato and Giuseppe Gonzalez of Painkiller, NYC


ODE TO THE DRINK

At Painkiller (www.painkillernyc.com), the Piña Colada is a drink that we hold very close to our hearts for myriad reasons. Suffice to say that cannot hide our reverence, our lack of objectivity, and quite honestly–our unalloyed affinity for this cocktail. Our love affair with the Piña Colada began long before we began our respective journeys behind the bar, but we can say with confidence that we were inspired to rediscover this frozen treasure when Giuseppe was invited to participate in the Grand Marnier/Navan “On the Fly” competition at the 2009 Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans. The rules were simple: present the judges with a cocktail using the ingredients provided. Each contestant was presented with a secret grab bag of sorts, whose contents were handpicked by Jeffrey Morgenthaler. To most experienced bartenders this competition would have been a walk in the park had their grab bag contained the familiar lineup of ingredients that they work with on a daily basis at their respective bars.

Giuseppe reached into his bag and found that he didn’t have much to work with at all. He held in his hand a container of Funkin Piña Colada mix. That’s right, Piña Colada mix. This was going to be an arduous task to say the least–and the clock was ticking. He realized that if he was going to make an impression on the judges, he would have to go back to his roots. Cutty Sark and coconut water is a beloved combination on the island of Puerto Rico, where Giuseppe was raised. With his inspiration in mind, he prepared what would become the winning cocktail, a Scotch Piña Colada. Dale Degroff smiled when Giuseppe told him, “If I didn’t use the Piña Colada mix, my grandfather would have been very disappointed.”

Despite Herculean efforts by the champions of our industry to herald and preserve the classic cocktail, many of us have grown weary of seeing these drinks made poorly by those who would take shortcuts by using inferior ingredients and mediocre techniques. The rediscovery and advancement of some of the methods used to master the service of pre and post-Prohibition era classics have opened our eyes to the fact that it is imperative that we revisit the past in order to improve our collective future behind the bar. That having been said, it would appear that we are now respectfully looking beyond the punch bowls and coupes of the saloons and speakeasies, where we cut our teeth, and looking towards the sandy shores

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Top Cocktail/Culinary Minds Pick NYC’s Best Summer Spots

Tuesday, May 25th, 2010

By Kathleen Reynold/reprinted from www.kreyrecommends.com

Cheers to an amazing Manhattan Cocktail Classic (www.manhattancocktailclassic.com)! Five days and evenings of parties, seminars, tastings, luncheons, dinners…and of course, lots of cocktails. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to ask many of the notable bartenders, chefs, panelists and event hosts in attendance about their favorite things to do in New York City during the summertime.

Here’s what they had to say:

Eric Alperin (Co-owner, The Varnish [Los Angeles] www.thevarnishbar.comand former bartender, Milk and Honey, Little Branch): “I just love sitting on a bench in Washington Square Park www.nycgovparks.org/parks/washingtonsquarepark, relaxing and watching people as they go by. I could — and have — done this for hours. That and Mamoun’s Falafel (www.mamouns.com) add up to a great afternoon.”

Mario Batali (Celebrity Chef, Television Personality and Former James Beard Chef of the Year): “Pier 40 (www.pier40.org) . I really love going there to watch my kids play ball.” The Chef makes an excellent choice. My husband plays rec. soccer here, too, and it’s also fun (and free) to kayak through the Downtown Boathouse (www.downtownboathouse.org).

Jon Bignelli (Chef de Cuisine, wd-50 www.wd-50.com and Food Network “Chopped” Winner): “I love anywhere that lets you sit outside and enjoy an ice cold beer. Gowanus Yacht Club, for instance, or any beer garden.” When it comes to cocktails, he and others from wd-50 love PDT and Death and Co.

Richard Boccato (Proprietor, Painkiller, Co-owner, Dutch Kills): Richie offered another vote for Prospect Park, and spending a lazy afternoon relaxing there.

Francine Cohen (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Editor-in-Chief, INSIDE F&B): “Nothing beats peaceful, quiet al fresco dining. At least once a week I pack a dinner and take it over to Riverside Park where, at 88th Street and Riverside Drive, just south of theSoldiers and Sailors Monument and in full view of the Hudson River, there are two picnic tables and benches. It’s a terrific mini-getaway and there’s no bill at the end of the meal.”

Alex Day (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Traveling Bartender Extraordinaire): “Right at the height of summer, say mid-August, when the sweltering humidity declares victory on any semblance of sweat-less dignity, there’s little I love more than getting on the B61 bus until it dead-ends in Red Hook, walking to the pier and sitting with an ice cold lemonade and a decent book. Even with the ridiculous heat, there’s always a breeze that makes it all bearable and allows this Oregon boy to enjoy the outdoors. In those moments, a NY summer is tolerable. Most the rest of the time, it just ain’t.”

Meaghan Dorman (Head Bartender, Raines Law Room): “My favorite thing to do in the city in the summer is to feel like I’m not in the city at all. I love Prospect Park late afternoon, on a blanket with my pug and a couple of friends.”

Simon Ford (Industry Visionary and International Ambassador): “I like to wander the streets of Dumbo on sunny Sundays. The art galleries, coffee shops, waterfront, book stores,Jacque Torres chocolate shop, flea market and Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory all make me happy. Also, nothing beats a good pub garden. This summer I will be seeking places out that are showing the World Cup!”

Lindsey Johnson (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Founder/CEO, Lush Life Productions, Blogger, Brown, Bitter and Stirred): “I spend mornings in Prospect Park, then swing into Joyce for an iced red eye. Next I head towards Brooklyn Flea to find trinkets (including vintage cocktail gear) and some of that delicious street cart lunch. I usually end the day cranking out emails on my deck.”

Jason Littrell (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic, Bartender, Dram and Organizer, The Three Hour Tour): Jason knew his pick right away. “The beer garden in Astoria. Amazing!”

Michael McIlroy (Panelist, Manhattan Cocktail Classic and Bartender, Milk and Honey, Little Branch): Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, Michael always enjoys paying homage to his heritage. And what’s the best way to do that? “Drink at McSorley’s,” he says (the renowned Irish pub dating back to 1854).

Sasha Petraske (Proprietor, Milk and Honey, Little Branch, White Star, Dutch Kills, The Varnish [Los Angeles] and cocktail consultant): Sasha honed in on a classic New York City spot: “Grand Central Station or honestly, a cab to JFK” (admitting to another trend among New Yorkers who escape to avoid the city heat). He also enjoys strolling the semi-deserted streets of the Financial District post-closing bell. As a former Battery Park resident, I tend to agree — it feels like the city is all yours after Wall Streeters and tourists head out of town.

Selena Ricks (Blogger, The Dizzy Fizz and Organizer, The Dizzy Fizz Tastemaker’s Punch): “Wake up early and take the LIRR to Long Beach and be one of the first people on the beach. It’s just the early risers and the surfers, and I sprawl out on my blanket and enjoy the calm before the throngs of beach-goers arrive. It’s nice to know that a 45-minute train ride can get me to a clean beach where I feel miles from the city.”

Audrey Saunders (Founder, Pegu Club): Although Audrey is known for her killer gin cocktails, when it comes to Summer activities, she prefers good old H20: “I like chilling in a body of water, whether it be beach, lake, or pool. I can float for hours. If there’s a stream, I like to kick my shoes off and stick my feet in.”

Lesley Townsend (Founder, Manhattan Cocktail Classic): “I love bringing my dog during off-leash hours to Prospect Park.” Lesley also noted the stellar picnic potential. “To avoid using plastic cups, I bring Reidel stemless glassware and a bottle of champagne” (so she doesn’t have to worry about a wine corkscrew).

Phil Ward (Proprietor, Mayahuel): Phil didn’t name one spot or activity in particular, but discussed how he loved the freedom of spending more time outside and meandering around the city’s streets.

My pick? For me, it’s all about the private rooftop. I admittedly tend to cringe when friends suggest visiting public roof bars, only because they’re usually packed and come with poor drink quality plus high prices. Of course, having your own outdoor space is ideal, but you can become an honorary deck guest with just about anyone by bringing quality drinks and / or tasty foods if you’re ever invited over (please note, I enjoy bubbly and chocolate covered-strawberries).

What are your favorite NYC Summer picks?

GILLIGAN COULDN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH OF THE MANHATTAN COCKTAIL CLASSIC THREE HOUR TOUR

Friday, April 16th, 2010

The Skipper and Mary Ann were just a warm up act for this boat cruise taking you around the world in five cocktails.
By Francine Cohen

On May 16th, from 6-9 pm. The Manhattan Cocktail Classic’s Three Hour Cruise is sure to be a once in a lifetime seaborne event where guests have the opportunity to see the world through five cocktails.

Presented by Moët Hennessy USA www.mhusa.com, and the Tippling Point, The Three Hour Tour was created by noted NYC bartenders, Jason Littrell of Death & Company and Dram, and Louis 649 bartender/manager Gianfranco Verga on a boat that sets sail for a sunset cruise tailored expressly for this country’s committed drinkerati.

While the ship is running on diesel, this party will be fueled by stunning cocktails from some of the nation’s most accomplished bartenders including:
Richard Boccato (Painkiller/Dutch Kills, NYC)
John Lermayer (The Florida Room, Miami)
Jacqueline Patterson (Heaven’s Dog, San Francisco)

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