Thanks to shows like Mad Men, it's clear that the ritual of the cocktail hour — a time in the late afternoon where potent drinks are sipped and savory snacks are nibbled — is poised to make a comeback. A recent book, Sips & Apps ($19.95) by Kathy Casey, further promotes the idea by providing happy homemakers with a plethora of modern and classic cocktails, and a handful of incredibly tasty-sounding bar snacks. To learn more about this bartending guide keep reading.
Cocktail week has come and gone here in San Francisco, and while I enjoyed a class on house-made bar ingredients, the star of the celebration was the cocktail — or, I should say, cocktails! San Francisco's bartending scene is incredibly unique, not just because there is an emphasis on fresh, in-season products, homemade ingredients, and wild creativity, but because of the camaraderie. The bartenders don't keep their recipes and ideas a secret, they share them with each other, making for an atmosphere that is educational, thriving, and fabulous. Here is a look at some of the concoctions that were made for the event.
Last week it was Cocktail Week here in San Francisco and I was lucky enough to attend a bunch of the events. The highlight was Thursday's bar school — a day of education. Since I'm an avid home mixologist, I checked out the House-Made Ingredients How-To taught by Jeff Hollinger, general manager at Absinthe, and Neyah White, bartender extraordinaire at Nopa.
In the drinks industry, both Jeff and Neyah are pioneers when it comes to creating bitters, cordials, tinctures, syrups, etc. The duo has made it its mission to bring back the craft of cocktail making one bottle of bitters at a time. To check out their tips for making bar ingredients at home and see a gallery of images from the class, read more
It's Cocktail Week here in San Francisco and after attending several of the events, I can't stop thinking about mojitos, mixology, and Manhattans. Since many of you don't live in the city by the bay, I thought it would be cool for you get in on the fun by taking this classic cocktail quiz. I'll list the ingredients and you select the name of the drink. Disclaimer: you may find yourself craving a potent libation!
If you plan on making lemonade or a batch of cocktails that require fresh citrus juice, be sure to use citrus that is at room temperature. According to Food & Wine Cocktails 09, refrigerated citrus will yield up to a third less liquid than fruit at room temperature. To bring cold citrus to room temperature quickly, soak the fruit in really hot water for five minutes before squeezing. Ironically enough, when a recipe calls for citrus zest it's best to use the fruit right out of the fridge.
Do you normally store your lemons, limes, and oranges on the counter or in the fridge?
- Learn how to properly cook with rhubarb and strawberries.
- Learn how to properly cook with rhubarb and strawberries. — Epicurious
- What makes a great bartender? — The Atlantic
- One reviewer wonders: are newspaper restaurant critics becoming obsolete? — Serious Eats
- Celebrate the Obama's 100th day in the White House with a delicious dinner menu. — Chow
- A wreath made out of radishes is a surprising Spring decoration. — The Kitchn
- When it comes to perfect plating, white pedestal servers are incredibly versatile. — Simply Stated
His advice is something of a no-brainer, but definitely worth mentioning: when it comes to making any drink, from a mojito to a martini, always place the ice in the shaker last. Adding the ice before you incorporate the other ingredients can severely dilute a drink. Within the time it takes to walk to your liquor cabinet and grab the vodka, the ice is already melting in the cocktail shaker. It makes perfect sense, and I hate to say it, but I've been sipping diluted drinks for years!
Do you always save the ice for last?
Recently Lucas Bols, the spirits brand behind Bols Genever, announced a unique series of classic cocktails seminars. The discussions would happen four times a year in both New York City and San Francisco. Along with the city by the bay's best bartenders, I was lucky enough to score an invite to the first seminar, "The History and Influence of Bitters." Here, I give you an account of the event.
With Mardi Gras parades and festivals going on today across the country and a handful of restaurant weeks still going strong, this week's a great time to pay a visit to your favorite food events: If you live anywhere nearby, celebrate dungeness crab season in Northern California, as well as the beginning of Florida's strawberry season. And if you're attending the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, perhaps I'll see you there!
Got any fine food events that you see left off this list? If so, chime in below. Will you be going to any of this week's events?
- New Orleans, LA: New Orleans Mardi Gras — Feb. 24
- St. Louis, MO: St. Louis Mardi Gras — Feb. 24
- New York, NY: NYC Restaurant Week — Feb. 24-27
- Chicago, IL: Chicago Restaurant Week — Feb. 24-27
- Orange County, CA: Orange County Restaurant Week — Feb. 24-28
- San Francisco, CA: Dungeness Crab Week — Feb. 24-Mar. 1
- Houston, TX: Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo Championship Bar-B-Que Contest — Feb. 26-28
- Minneapolis, MN: Minnesota Monthly Food & Wine Experience — Feb. 26-Mar. 1
To see the rest, read more