Cheers m’dears! This week we got more flavored vodka coming our way (yay), a bunch of German craft brewers have come together to form the new Deutsche Kreativbrauer association, Imbibe reports on food safety in bars, the world’s first augmented reality menu is launched in London, and Grub Street investigates the pains and trials behind setting up a international pop up. Prost!
Berlin as a hub for creative cuisine: while that might not have been the case 20-30 years ago, we’re happy to report that it is right now. To celebrate, and further, this development Per Meurling of Berlin Food Stories got together with Arlene Stein of Terroir Toronto to set up Terroir Berlin: a symposium for chefs, gastronomers, and food professionals. The whole thing will take place May 13rd to 16th, with the highlight being the one day Terroir Berlin Forum on May 15th.
Stoli Launches Stoli Crushed
More flavored vodka for the masses! (Who are these masses calling out for more flavored vodka by the way?) Granted, according to Bevnet, Stoli vodka was the first company to introduce flavored vodka back in 1962. Stoli Crushed is made with real fruit juice and will begin its national rollout at American retailers in May. “Refreshingly juicy with a taste that is undeniably Stoli, it can be enjoyed on the rocks or with club soda, providing consumers with a premium cocktail they can experience anytime, anywhere”. Okay. Good news for our gluten-free friends, Stoli is naturally gluten-free (it’s produced using corn and buckwheat). Stoli Crushed comes in at 600 proof/30% ABV.
Announcing the new Deutsche Kreativbrauer Association
The newly formed association decided to announce themselves April 23rd, good timing seeing that’s Germany’s Tag des Bieres (day of the beer). Made up of 10 German craft brewers, the association’s manifesto aligns itself with their so-called “Natürlichkeitsgebot” instead of the much maligned “Reinheitsgebot”. One of the most important parts of the “Gebot”? The fact that all edible ingredients that are safe for consumption are allowed in beer. What you won’t find? Any colours, concentrates, essences, or artificial components. “Apart from promoting this set of rules the Deutsche Kreativbrauer association will provide members with legal support, networking opportunities, and use synergies in sourcing and buying raw materials”. Find more on this over at BrewBerlin.
How to Drink Ensure Safety in the Brave New World of Bartending
This brave new world of bartending is filled to the brim with innovation, DIY, and experimentation. What a fantastic thing! It also brings about it some kitchen/bar health and safety issues that one must be aware of. Last week Imbibe author M. Carrie Allan told a story about how she once contracted cinchonism “a type of poisoning caused by an overdose of quinine”. The culprit? You got it, a Gin & Tonic. A place that “had been making its own tonic with cinchona bark chips but had recently switched to cinchona powder, without making the necessary adjustments to the measurements in its recipe. They didn’t realize that using the powdered form would extract cinchona’s botanical components much faster”.
That’s scary, as a consumer you trust your bartender to know what they’re doing when they serve homemade concoctions. Innovation is all fine and dandy, but before serving one must ensure that it’s safe to consume. Allan points out that “many of the plants in the bottles we mix from came out of centuries-long traditions of herbal medicine”, which means one must be careful when handling them. Camper English and Avery Glasses gave a presentation on dangerous drinks at last year’s Tales, their takeaway message? “Understand your ingredients and put safety first”. If only it were so simple. Head on over to Imbibe to enjoy the whole article, it’s a good and extremely educating read!
The World’s First Augmented Reality Menu
Mirage, created by Jamie Jones (the Group Bar Executive of The Social Company), will launch at London’s City Social next month. The Cocktail Lovers announced that “Jones and City Social Bar Manager, Tim Laferla together with the very bright minds at Mustard Designs have spent the last 18 months making sure of it”. It works as follows:
“When you make a booking at City Social, you’ll be sent a link and invited to download the Mirage cocktail app ahead of your visit. Nothing too unusual about that perhaps but it’s when you arrive at the venue and order your drink that said app comes into its own. Each of the 12 cocktails on it is presented on a special coaster, point your phone or tablet in its direction and before you can say ‘blow my mind’, it starts to augment into intricate moving illustrations, framing your cocktail and creating a mesmerising mini movie – it literally does bring your drink to life”.
Of the menu Jones says that everyone with an appreciation for cocktails can enjoy it. “All of the drinks are inspired by the classics – I can honestly say that it’s the best menu we’ve released flavour-wise, the visual effects are a bonus”. That, my friend, remains to be seen.
Opening a International Restaurant Pop Up
“The most elaborate, challenging, and time-consuming team-building exercise you can do”, so says René Redzepi. And he would know, he’s currently on his third iteration of opening Noma elsewhere: first came Tokyo in 2015, then Sydney in 2016, and the 90-head team is currently operating out of the Mexican jungle in Tulum. Last week Grub Street published an article on the benefits of opening a pop-up version of your restaurant. Even though it sounds like a logistical nightmare, the plus side of the coin is glossy: keep your staff happy, gain inspiration in other kitchens/cuisines, and further your brand awareness. It’s also a great idea to keep your staff engaged and busy while the original location might be closed (such is the case with Noma) or renovating (like Alinea in Chicago).
I know we’ve said this a lot in this week’s inventory, but this article too is well worth the full read. It allows for fascinating insight into the hiring practice of many successful restaurants and also offers a glimpse into the psyche of Redzepi as he navigates the much-talked about pricing point of his Mexican pop up. Head over to Grub Street to read the full thing. Now!