Good Spirits News 5.10.11

Can the Manhattan Go Suburban?  It is possible to construct a better cocktail on a mass scale, as I learned when I met Kent Bearden, until recently the master mixologist at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The MGM is, in effect, a self-contained city, employing about 300 bartenders at 29 venues, each with its own cocktail menu. Four years ago, the hotel switched over to all fresh juice and higher-quality ingredients. Manhattans at the MGM are now made with an eight-year-old bourbon, West Indian orange bitters, and brandied cherries. The margaritas get a lime squeezed fresh into the glass, not a slug of sour mix. And Bearden says the numbers work for them: upgrading from mix to fresh lime juice added only eight cents per drink, but allowed the MGM to bump up the price of a margarita considerably without customers’ complaining.

Aging makes for killer drinks  What happens to cocktails when they age? For one thing, they oxidize a little when they are aged in bottles, which results in a tightly integrated, complex drink that shows a tad more complexity than a freshly made mixed drink.  Aging cocktails in wood adds yet another dimension to the finished product, and this is dependent on the barrel chosen for the project. If the barrel is new, then tannins from the wood, wood sugars and various other wood-related components flavor the cocktail. But if the bartender chooses to age drinks in a cask previously used to age, say, sherry, then the sherry that soaked into the wood will bring even more notes to the drink.

Bacardi Superior Rum Legacy Cocktail Competition Winner Announced  “The inspiration to create this cocktail came when I was looking for a signature drink for my new bar in Lyon,” said Marc Bonneton. “We have a classical approach to cocktails and are inspired by recipes that have been passed down through the years. With my legacy cocktail I pay tribute to Henrico C. Ramos, who created his on cocktail (Twist on a Gin Fizz) for the opening of the Imperial Cabinet in New Orleans, 1888. By switching the gin for Bacardi Superior rum and the orange blossom water for Green Chartreuse (a product local to Lyon) I obtained a very different cocktail but with a similar aromatic structure and distinct texture. Following the example of the Cosmopolitan (which is a twist on a rum cocktail from the ’30s), I hope the Marco’s Bacardi Fizz will thrill and stimulate people around the world, making it a new classic.”

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