By Anthony Caporale, School of Culinary Management

The average person can survive about three weeks without food. That same person will die after only three days without water. Our nomadic ancestors might easily have found themselves farther than a three-day trek from the nearest water source. Even today, many people in developing countries must walk an average of almost one hour a day to bring home fresh water.

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A keen sense of thirst is critical for our survival. This fact, which we all intuitively know, but rarely consider, leads directly to my Beverage Rule of Seven: since we can survive seven times longer without food than without water, beverage service needs to be seven times faster than food service to feel equivalent. For example, a 30-minute wait for food—which will seem interminable to a hungry diner—is equally distressing as a 4-minute wait for drinks. Ironically, with the advent of the mixology movement, our industry seems to have lost sight of just how large drinking looms in our subconscious.

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My job regularly takes me into the best bars in the world, and while I’m consistently impressed with the cocktails, I’m almost always frustrated by the service times. I recently visited three of New York City’s top cocktail bars one evening (I won’t name names, but all of them were listed in the upper half of The World’s 50 Best Bars), and not once did I receive my drink in less than ten minutes after I placed the order. In food time, that’s equivalent to waiting 70 minutes for your meal. Had I been dining, I’d have been out the door long before then—doubtless followed by the Chef de Cuisine with a fresh boot print on his or her derrière.

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I tell every new bartender I train what many veteran mixologists seem to have forgotten: bartending is not about making drinks, it’s about serving drinks. All good restaurants have target service times for each course. Fifteen to twenty minutes is common for entrées, and appetizer times are usually under ten minutes. Applying my Beverage Rule of Seven gives a target beverage service time of two to three minutes, which feels comfortable to most guests. Making a great cocktail doesn’t justify pushing that service time to eight, ten, or sometimes even fifteen minutes. Too often, the focus today is on the cocktail and not the guest.

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Drink recipes need to be created for cocktail menus, not resumes. The best chefs know that even the most sublime dish isn’t worth the menu paper it’s printed on if it can’t be executed in a reasonable time (and I’m talking under real-world conditions, not when there’s only one order in queue). You have to be able to deliver quickly when you’re four-deep and just skirting the weeds, otherwise you’re not making money. Mixologists need to relearn that lesson. No matter how good your cocktail may be, if you can’t consistently put it in the guest’s hands within three minutes, the recipe isn’t finished.

Last night, five ICE students competed head-to-head in the 17th Annual Calvados Nouvelle Vogue International Trophies. Hailing from the Culinary and Hospitality Management programs, the students were given the unique opportunity to train with Anthony Caporale, renown beverage expert and ICE Mixologist and Beverage Instructor.

Craig Joseph, Carol Arciniegas, Anthony Caporale, Edward Dickman, Anthony Causi and Ellen Richards

Craig Joseph, Carol Arciniegas, Anthony Caporale, Edward Dickman, Anthony Causi and Ellen Richards

The competition was held at the Intercontinental New York Hotel’s Barclay Bar, the first Calvados bar in the country, boasting more than thirty types of this traditional French brandy. From cream to chocolate, thai basil to jalapenos, the range of cocktails presented by the students truly demonstrated the spirit’s fruit-driven versatility.

Professionals from the New York Chapter of the US Bartenders’ Guild competed alongside the students, vying for the chance to compete in the Calvados Cocktail finals this April in Normandy, France.

Craig Joseph strains his ginger-inspired Calvados cocktail.

Craig Joseph pours his winning Calvados cocktail.

Culinary Management student Craig Joseph took home the prize with “The Normandy”. We look forward to seeing Craig at the finals in France and congratulate all the competitors on their impressive bartending skills!

"The Normandy"

“The Normandy”

The Normandy

By Craig Joseph

  1. In a mixing glass, muddle:
    2 pieces of fresh peeled Ginger
    1 strip of fresh Orange Zest
    3.5 cl Sweetened Fresh Lemon Juice
    1.5 cl Cherry Bitters
    0.1 cl Cinnamon (powdered)
  2. Fill mixing glass with ice and add 6 cl Calvados.
  3. Shake until the tin is frosted.
  4. Double-strain into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and peeled ginger slice.

 

By Hillery Wheeler

Anthony Caporale

I’m the type of New Yorker who prides herself on her cocktail knowledge. If you’re looking for a $30 “apple-tini”, I’m not your girl, but when you want a proper martini or require fresh lime juice in your gimlet, I know just the spot. So I was humbled and surprised to attend a holiday mixology class – “Nogs, Flips and Syllabubs” – where I only recognized the name of one of the three drinks.

Apparently, I’m not the only syllabub novice. According to our instructor, Anthony Caporale, these frothy delights have fallen out of favor over the last century. When you learn their origin (the foam traditionally came from adding warm milk – straight from the cow’s udder – to a drink) it should be no surprise that that our sanitation, homogenization and pasteurization obsessed society got a little queasy over creamy cocktails. However, in the today’s mixology movement, nogs, flips and syllabubs are making a comeback.

Frothing egg whites and mixing up some yolks.

Frothing egg whites and “flipping” some yolks.

As with most recipes involving raw protein, here there is an implicit safety plan. The sanitizing agent for the egg is the alcohol itself, which kills any lingering bacteria, making that creamy Sherry Syllabub more than safe to drink. With the frothy consistency of a milkshake, these drinks (despite being associated with cozy winter nights) are typically served cold. That is, unless it’s a “flip”. Much to Caporale’s chagrin, no bars seem to be making flips the traditional way, which is to insert a hot poker fresh directly into a syllabub, causing it to froth so aggressively that it ‘flips’ over the side of the glass.

Anyone who’s hand-beaten egg whites knows modernity has its advantages, but – with a dash of Caporale’s creativity – improving on the past might be the best way to discover a new drink. Cheers!

Maker’s Mark Egg Nog

By Anthony Caporale, as featured on Art of the Drink

Ingredients

12 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 liter Maker’s Mark Bourbon
1 pint heavy cream (very cold)
1 pint milk
fresh nutmeg

Instructions

1) Separate egg whites and yolks into separate bowls.
2) Beat whites to soft peaks.
3) Beat yolks until smooth.
4) Add sugar to yolks and beat until pale yellow.
5) Add 1/2 liter bourbon.
6) Fold egg whites into mixture.
7) In a separate bowl, pour heavy cream and beat to soft peaks.
8) Fold cream into egg mixture.
9) Add pint of milk, stir well to combine.
10) Transfer to punch bowl and garnish with freshly-grated nutmeg.

ICE’s Culinary Management Instructors are seasoned industry professionals who are still active in the industry and working on their own projects while teaching classes at ICE. Here on DICED, two of our Instructors, Julia Heyer and Vin McCann, have regularly been looking at topics and trends in the industry, shedding light on some complicated issues and sharing their in-depth expertise. This week, Julia and Vin are taking off the gloves and putting their own spin on things to watch for 2012 — without holding anything back.

Vin McCann
Julia, let’s kick the New Year off on the right foot, or at least the foot a good portion of the blogosphere kicks off on. Like every columnist, blogger and expert, let’s address trends for 2012… On second thought, forget that! How about a page out of the Jimmy Cannon book of tricks; “Nobody asked me, but…”

Nobody asked me, but the term “foodie’, descriptive of virtually everything and nothing needs to go the way of the pet rock.

N.A.M.B. can the cutting edge, self-appointed experts in the industry please stop trying so hard to create new trends. I don’t need flowers frozen into the ice cubes floating in my drink, or some arcane atomized substance posing as a cocktail.

N.A.M.B. trend identifiers ought to have to put their money where their mouths are when they prognosticate about the future, or, at the very least, publicly own up to their lifetime accuracy percentage. Roulette wheels have more predictable outcomes than restaurant “trend” predictions.

N.A.M.B. sooner or later there has to be an end to the discovery of new, exciting, hitherto unknown vegetables.

N.A.M.B. the endless expert pontificating about the nutritional value of foods is really sapping the fun from food and beverage. Let’s face it — none of us are going to live forever, and 50 is not, nor will it ever be, the new 30.

N.A.M.B. does anybody really believe that in a list of “101 best restaurants” that the author can objectively qualify the difference between number 68 and number 69, or even 89 for that matter?

Julia Heyer
Vin, wow. You seem to have missed my sunny disposition. Let me start by asking you, did your sense of humor drown over New Years? Perhaps eggnog prepared by a “foodie”? May I recommend a bottle of fancy champagne and maybe some scorzonera stew to brighten the mood? It’s a new year, a reset button, and you did ask me, so… More…

Have you ever spent the holidays with Galliano, Strega, or Fernet-Branca? I was fortunate enough to have a few drinks with them during ICE’s Italian Holiday Cocktail Party recreational class led by A.J. Rathbun. No, they’re not European philosophers, they’re Italian liqueurs.

A.J., an award-winning food and entertainment writer and poet who often travels in Italy, briefed us with a little background information on Italian liqueurs. Typically semi-bitter and high in alcohol content, the liqueurs are often mixed with other spirits to make refreshing cocktails.

When it was time to mix drinks, we began the evening by making a Sbagliato, a spin on the classic Negroni. It is made with equal parts sweet vermouth and Campari, and topped-off with sparkling wine (A.J. recommends Prosecco, as it’s slightly sweeter than Cava or Champagne) and a slice of orange for garnish. More…

The holidays are just around the corner and for me, that means it’s time to obsessively plan festive get-togethers. It’s that time of year when you can never have enough homemade chicken stock and bourbon in the freezer. I consider myself a great cook, but when it comes to alcohol, a gin and tonic is about as creative as I get. I took Anthony Caporale’s Culinary Mixology recreational class last week hoping to add a new trick to my repertoire of party ideas. Now, I’ll be adding something new to my holiday soirées — culinary cocktails.

So what exactly is culinary mixology? It’s the incorporation of herbs, spices, and vegetables into cocktails. After we got a feel for cocktail making with classic culinary cocktails like Bloody Marys and Mint Juleps, we got a little more adventurous with a few goodies from the fridge. Red bell pepper added an amazing kick to a mojito. We charred thyme on a grill pan to add a hint of smokiness to a limoncello and gin cocktail. After hollowing-out a massive pumpkin, we filled it with an apple rum punch — the longer the autumn beverage sits in the pumpkin punch bowl, the more the pumpkin’s flavor infuses the punch. Anthony even showed us how to infuse bourbon with smoky bacon, then added maple syrup and bitters to make PDT’s famous Bacon-Infused Old Fashioned. More…

ICE’s Culinary Management Instructors are seasoned industry professionals who are still active in the industry, working on their own projects while teaching classes at ICE. With such a wide range of experience between them, we decided to ask Julia Heyer and Vin McCann to take a closer look at some of the trends and culinary businesses we keep hearing so much about. In this edition they take on celebrity chefs and whether you need to have a name to be successful in the food business.

Julia Heyer
Last week, a restaurant marketing and PR manager told me that in a certain town in this country, you could not put a restaurant on the map without a chef attached to it. Owners don’t count. Managers or hosts are uninteresting. Unless there was a chef (preferably hot, young, tousled-haired and tattooed) or at least a mixologist to promote — and you know how I feel about mixologists — it wasn’t going to work. The press, organizations and consumers in the market demanded it. So she insisted.

Vin McCann
Clearly this PR manager hasn’t yet, in the words of our formerly beloved LBJ, discovered that there is a “difference between chicken s–t and chicken salad,” and that food is only a part of the brand formula that makes restaurants successful. This issue is also not unrelated to the ‘celebrity’ movement in the proliferation of spirits brands where the so-called celebs (have you noticed the low hurdle for who qualifies for the moniker lately?) fall flat on their faces when they rely solely on their notoriety. The ‘celebs’ are surfing against the tide of declining wealth, rising costs, lasting recession and ‘celebrity fatigue.’ More…

ICE’s Culinary Management Instructors are seasoned industry professionals who are still active in the industry, working on their own projects while teaching classes at ICE. With such a wide range of experience between them, we decided to ask Julia Heyer and Vin McCann to take a closer look at some of the trends and culinary businesses we keep hearing so much about. In this installment, they take on the world of “mixology.”

Julia Heyer
I recently had the best Pina Colada I’d had since one in a Tiki Bar in Hawaii in 1996. There were more eclectic options on the sizeable cocktail list, and Guiseppe, the man behind the bar kindly explained them without the snooty pretentiousness one is so often assailed by in bars with these days. As we were pondering between classics such as a Zombie (one per guest…) and unusual tropical concoctions, my friend B. asked: “So, do you have a mixologist that created some of these drinks for you?” Guiseppe’s face turned stony — very much like the Easter Island figure jar holding the fuzzy pink flamingo drink stirrers. “We are Bartenders,” he said (the voice implied a capital B). I immediately took a shine to him.

You cannot open a food-related publication nowadays without being assaulted by some hyped story about a mixologist — armed with handlebar mustaches, tattoos, a pipette and a love for obscure bitters and mainstream liquors — protruding the myth that they can change how you feel through the amazing beverages they, and only they concoct. Note to mixologists: It is the liquor, not the bartender that tends to do that, unless you add unusual conversational skills and a nice dose of eye candy to the mix.

Vin McCann
Julia, we actually agree. How sharp can one’s taste buds be on the second drink, never mind the third? We drink to relax, socialize and slip into a slightly altered state of consciousness. Liquor and hospitality nurture the effort. Historically, good bartenders, aside from making drinks, served those purposes quite well. They were not the center of attention but stirred the social mix on the other side of the bar. They joked, recounted the ball scores, commented on the news, listened to personal sagas and shepherded their guests to quiet enjoyment. In my mind, there’s a Hall of Fame for my favorite Bartenders, but the list might take up the balance of this post. Suffice it to say, not one was a mixologist.

It sounds like Guiseppe’s a throwback. He appears to want nothing to do with the ever-increasing hype. It’s a cocktail for Pete’s sake! It may be possible that some career bartenders suffered intense cases of “chef envy” and launched the “mixology” movement. Why shouldn’t they jump on the bloviator bandwagon? They just want a piece of the action. What are tips compared to feature pieces in the Times, and the promise of a book contract? Let the house made artisanal vermouth flow! More…

As we head into the weekend, it’s time to think about sitting back, relaxing and enjoying some leisure time. Nothing says Friday like a simple, stylish cocktail. Try this one from ICE’s Texas Steakhouse class. According to ICE Recipe Editor Dan Stone this twist on a classic comes from the popular Trudy’s restaurant in Austin. We’ve added tomolives, a little pickled green tomato introduced to us from our resident  mixologist Michael Cecconi, as the garnish.

Ingredients

2 ounces tequila, such as Sauza Hornitos
1 ounce Cointreau
1 ounce lemon-lime soda, such as Sprite
1 ounce orange juice
Juice from half a lime
Tomolives or green olives for garnish More…

After a first session filled with the histories and flavors of spirits, our Bartending 101 class was ready for the behind-the-bar portion of our education. As we eyed the mixers, muddlers, shakers strainers and bar spoons set out for us, master bartender Anthony Caporale walked us through the basics of setting up, and running a bar. There were a few key set-up factors to take into account, whether you are arriving for work at a professional bar or just setting up your own home bar.:

* Every Little Step: in a well constructed bar environment the bartender should have to take no more than one step in any direction to be able to make 90% of drinks.

* Sanitation Station: There are tons of state-mandated guidelines for sanitation, but there are a couple that even home bartenders should follow: 1) Keep anything you would serve out of reach of the patrons (i.e. garnishes, bottles, etc.) 2) Nothing that touches your hand should touch something you’d put in the drink (i.e. ice. NEVER cool liquor bottles by putting them in the same ice you will be serving drinks over, nor should you use glasses to scoop ice). More…