Inventory for June 29th, 2014
An American and a Londoner dabble in fermented cocktails, info on ticket sales for Bar Convent Berlin 2014, and a Neat Kickstarter project that caught our eye.
We’re not going to lie. This week has been a tough one. So many events left and right gave us little time for some much-needed relaxation and it doesn’t look like it’ll let up anytime soon. That’s Berlin summer folks, every day something new! Not that we’re complaining though, we still have time to read and hole up at home with a good drink. How busy could we really be?
The Art of the Fermented Cocktail
Creating a drink used to be simple. Spirits were distilled, aged, mixed into a cocktail then served. No more. Over at Punch magazine Carey Jones explores the story of two bartenders who, completely unrelated to each other, both began working with yeast and mold to explore the impact it has on texture and flavor in drinks.
Ryan Chetiyawardana of White Lyan in London has a background in biology. Every one of his biological aged cocktails is pre-batched and bottles. They include no fruit, no juice – too unpredictable. Few ingredients give Ryan the control he needs. Everything from controlling the amount of minerals in the tap water to cutting back the proof of his spirits, which is why his foray into biological aged cocktails seems out of character. As soon as a living organism enters the game there are certain variables which are impossible to fully control.
Consulting with Harvard microbiologist Rachel Dutton to understand what various microbes might contribute flavor wise, Chetiyawardana’s first started with a whisky based drink. The Magnus Reserve is made by producing gooseberry wine with fruit, herbs and yeast. The yeast eats the sugar, creating alcohol and other byproducts. Scotch whisky is added, elevating the ABV enough to stop fermentation. Finally the wine-whisky combination is diluted with water which has been steeped in fruits and herbs to impart a tannic note.
His next experimentation is planned with koji mold, which breaks starches into sugars and is used when making sake, producing glutamates which are the essence of umami.
Over in San Diego Jeff Josenhans of the Grant Grill is making cocktails using the champagne method. For his Mule he cold soaks muscat grape juice, fresh ginger and Cascade hops together. After several weeks the infusion is filtered, champagne yeast is added and the mix is allowed to ferment in a bottle. Resting on its own yeast before Josenhans adds sugar and vodka before re-corking, the process takes approximately three months. The result is a fizzy cocktail which evokes the classic Moscow Mule.
We’re not jumping to conclusions just yet though, this is far from being the dawn of a new cocktail age. Both Chetiyawardana and Josenhans produce off-site, and Josenhans cites the large-scale production through his partnership with Temecula’s Middle Ridge Winery as the reason his aged creations are still on the cocktail list three years later. But there’s no denying it: A new technique draws in the eager community of bartenders who are itching to try their own hands at it. Some fail spectacularly, some succeed. This is what moves the industry forward.
Ticket Sales for Bar Convent Berlin 2014 About to Start
It’s that time of year again! The ticket sale for Bar Convent Berlin 2014 is just a hop away. Now in its eighth year, the convent was designed as mix between a congress and a trade show. This October, during Bar Convent Berlin 2014, around 60 talks, seminars and tastings will be held, opening the space for communication and transfer of knowledge. Bar Convent Berlin was founded and is still managed by Bastian Heuser, Jens Hasenbein and Helmut Adam. All ex-bartenders.
MIXOLOGY Magazine is proud, official partner to BCB. Subscribers of the print magazine are entitled to a discounted ticket if they purchase online. Ticket prices are 35,- EUR online and 45,- EUR at the box office. Stay tuned for more information here.
Neat Kickstarter Project
The best way to enjoy your spirits is in a glass that allows for maximum evaporation. Everybody knows that, right? American producers of the “Neat” spirit glass were unhappy with what the market had on offer, instead opting to import hand-blown glass which claims to be the perfect drinking vessel to enjoy your spirits. Designed to allow a large evaporation area, your nose hits the sweet spot while drinking, completely avoiding nose burn.
The Kickstarter project is aimed at bringing production back to the States. A can-do spirit and love of the craft is visible in every fibre of the project, but at press time $3,897 out of $20,000 were pledged with only 10 days to go.