Good Spirits News 2.24.11

5@5 – Lu Brow “So I know what you are thinking: Good grief, in New Orleans we all drink in the morning, the afternoon, the evening and we consume heavy cream, sugar, eggs, pork, the whole nine yards. We do. I do. But not on a regular basis. This is Mardi Gras, the most fantastic time of the year in New Orleans. Lent is just around the corner and I’ll get back on my diet, start cutting out things that are white, and not eat bacon again for a long time.  Oh, shoot. I just remembered. The Saint Paddy’s day parade is exactly one week after the beginning of Lent. Moderation is not my strong point and one of the reasons I live in New Orleans.”

A Toast to the Oscars: Cocktails for that Academy Awards-watching party To put you in a proper Oscar party mood, we asked some of the Bay Area’s most creative mixologists to design a few cinematic cocktails, perfect sips while you watch flashbulbs pop and starlets strut. We chose well when we enlisted the help of Danny Chu from San Jose’s Fahrenheit Lounge, Bacardi Inc. ambassador Manuel “Manny” Hinojosa, Pixar’s Ryan Satchwell, and Bryan Ranere of Laszlo and Foreign Cinema in San Francisco.  We’re relieved to say, they dismissed our suggestion — anything on the rocks is an homage to “127 Hours” — in favor of some truly gorgeous concoctions, inspired by five of the 10 best film nominees.

Jeff ‘Beachbum’ Berry shares his tiki cocktail wisdom I do a lot of cocktail seminars around the country and in Europe now, and bartenders are all interested in these drinks, and a lot of them are really surprised to see what these recipes were in back in the ’30s and ’40s. Now you hear all this talk about farm-to-glass cocktails and culinary cocktails and all this kind of stuff, and they were doing that in the 1930s.  Don the Beachcomber had one drink called the Missionary’s Downfall. Yeah, a kitchsy name, but the drink had fresh mint, fresh pineapple, honey, fresh lime juice, peach brandy and rum. And if you entered that drink in a cocktail contest today, you would at least place.  It’s really a contemporary drink, and he invented it in the 1930s. Nobody was doing anything like that back then with cocktails, which is why his place became so famous and so popular.

Blue Sky bartender Paul Russell to stir things up at statewide competition Part of Russell’s influence on the establishment since being hired has been redefining “fresh” in terms of mixers. Often, Russell explains, restaurants will squeeze fresh lime juice on Monday, and still be using it on Friday. For Russell, if it’s no longer Monday, it can no longer be called fresh.  “I do it with new bartenders and managers that come here,” he says. “I’ll squeeze fresh lime juice and let it sit 24 hours. The day-old lime juice oxidizes so much that it almost tastes like floor cleaner.”

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