For me, dynamic in life is not optional. One of the most rewarding facets of running a bar is the ability to take on so many different roles and perform a sea of jobs. You’re the administrator- answering emails, paying bills, taking inventory. You’re an event planner- coordinating events, providing entertainment, booking parties. You dabble in accounting. Payroll. Scheduling. You’re always mediating, creating solutions, leading a team, trying to set the best example. You’re obviously a bartender- hospitality, service, product, quality. And sometimes you get to be a chef- cooking, creating, experimenting.
Where I work, we not only have a menu of original cocktails, but we also have an extensive program of house made ingredients. Some stay forever, some rotate per season. We enjoy variety, we work hard to always provide it, and don’t believe that repurposing bottles from your back bar is the only way. We’ve realized from our time spent in the kitchen that you can create an ingredient that rivals any syrup or cordial that you could simply buy from the store.
Here’s a simple recipe that leads to a complex drink.
1 Liter of Vodka (I use Monopolowa, an Austrian potato vodka that carries flavor well due to its texture)
.75 Ounces Crushed Coriander (Only buy whole and crush with a coffee grinder or any other paraphernalia of the grinding variety)
¼ Pound Fresh Tarragon (Picked from the stem)
2 Cups Freshly Squeezed Carrot Juice
1 Cup Turbinado Syrup (I use a rich ratio of 2 parts sugar, 1 part water)
.25 Ounces Citric Acid Powder (It’s the “pucker”. Buy it on amazon, it’s cheap. It’s also a fun ingredient to experiment with)
Per Liter of Vodka:
Infuse .75 ounces coriander with 1 liter of vodka for 3 days, taste every day
Leave coriander and add ¼ pound fresh tarragon leaves for 4 hours, taste every hour
Strain through cheese cloth multiple times
Add 2 cups freshly squeezed carrot juice, stir, taste
Add 1 cup turbinado syrup, stir, taste
Add .25oz citric acid powder, stir, taste
Add 11 ounces of vodka to your final mixture
Mixture does not require refrigeration
The result is a high proof, complex cordial that is sweet and tangy.
Here’s the cocktail recipe I used. For bartenders, it is quick build in a high volume environment while still producing a thoughtful and unique cocktail.
Bells & Whistles
2.0 Ounces Coquette Pucker
1.0 Ounce Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
Shake with ice and serve. Garnish if you want to (I candied grapefruit peels using this recipe from Bon Appetit http://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/candied-grapefruit-peel).