Voters in nine states got to make their opinions known on marijuana last November, and they spoke loudly in favor of it. Eight of the nine ballot initiatives to legalize or deregulate pot passed, officially making cannabis legal for medical … Continue reading
If you’re a bartender looking to simplify your daily grind, it’s time to get back to the old fashioned basics. Here are five simple and inexpensive things you can do today to make that behind the bar job shine!
1. Cut with a knife and not with a peeler
As my friend Gary Regan teaches in his “Cocktails in the Country” bartender training – when an orange is presented for use as a garnish, cut with a knife and not with a peeler. You would think that a peeler is faster because on a busy night and you have that orange in your hand and you want to go faster. A conundrum when you are slammed- at the very least. But one that is easily solved. Ditch the quick peeler in favor of your trusty companion. What is it? The basic item, your paring knife. It’s an elegant tool and it connects you with the past, the mastery taking your time. Of conscious bartending. You will learn over time not to let this knife out of your sight, lest it come back with a broken tip, or you see it being used to open thick cardboard boxes. Use this paring knife when you cut all of your citrus. It’s a bit slower on the peel, but far more rewarding to your guest when you take your time and connect with the zest. It smells better too for some reason.
2. Ice is nice. Pretty simple, right?
I’m convinced in my time working in the liquor industry that there is good ice, but more often than not, there is lousy ice. I think that the use of quarter cubes is taking advantage of the guest by diluting their drink. The quarter cube should only be used in a water glass. Cocktails just look and taste better with a larger cube of ice, preferably a round or a square shape instead of a slice. I am an intellect with ice- it’s important to me. Ice is the most important ingredient in a craft cocktail. Ice can make or break that event of dining out so don’t give your guests a glass of diluted top shelf liquor for their hard earned money. Encourage your bar-back to use silicone trays to make large ice cubes to show off your expensive, top shelf whiskies. The guest remembers how impressive this looks in their glass and will tell everyone about their ice experience. If the sky is the limit, consider having Glace Ice in your bar. They make perfect rounds and cubes. I’ve rarely seen anything like them. If you are in NYC, I’m told that Hundredweight is the way to go. Out here on the perimeter we have ice companies, I’d ask for a 50-pound block and ask (nicely) if they would consider cutting 1 pound chunks out of the block. You can train your staff to hand cut ice for a drink. It’s a class act to be seen cutting your own ice.
3. Natural and Organic
Now more than ever with the utter explosion of natural and organic foods, the attention is poised towards the liquor industry. How do you make a product that tastes delicious and captures the consumer’s interest in eating (and drinking) more healthfully? Fortunately, there is a green colored label that appears on the liquor bottle that shows that the product is certified Organic. It reads USDA Certified Organic. To drum up sales, side by side tastings can be organized for your guests. Organic vs. non-Organic liquors (and beers) will drive sales, it’s well proven. Certainly the conversation that includes craft liquors made from organically grown ingredients couldn’t hurt from the standpoint of more sales. Your guests are already doing their shopping at Whole Foods, so you know they are eating better, why not drink better too? An organic liquor like a vodka may start an entire pathway of liquid driven education for your guest. Then you can start juicing all your citrus fresh. (We can always hope). And that’s not even scratching the surface of Biodynamic and Organic wine production. There is a lifetime of spirits education available to your guests that costs absolutely nothing and makes your bar staff the go/to for learning of all kinds. Which of course adds to sales and your bottom line. Make it fun!
4. Bartenders need something to do, everyone should have some sort of side-work
Bar staff should be always cleaning glasses, doing something with their hands, instead of tapping at their phones. If you are like me, having started in the food industry as a lowly pot-scrubber/dish washer back in the mid-1980’s (way before cell-phones), I’m pretty particular about caring for fine glassware. Certainly the modern equipment is more sophisticated now in this era of fast and casual dining. The new mechanized technology certainly does a better job with clarity due to modern chemicals and judicious applications of heat. I like to offer an old-fashioned approach that is very effective for putting an extra shine on the glassware. Add a few capfuls of regular white vinegar to a spray bottle with plain tap water. Spray inside the glasses with this mixture and wipe with a lint free cloth. The finish will be sparkling and the white vinegar neutralizes any remaining odors that sometimes linger inside the dish machine. Clean all the liquor and the wine bottles that are around the bar with this mixture. I like to use a colorful French style kitchen towel. It’s fun.
Make a punch of the day. It’s easy and inexpensive. One of the great ways to get rid of products that are at the bottom of the bottle is by making a punch of the day. And since this is the end of many bottles, you should always use the very best juices available. This makes the use of the end of the bottle impossible to detect.
There is nothing wrong with doing things simply and with love. A smile goes a long way. Remember the guest is coming to see you, it’s just not the other way around. Don’t ever forget that!
By Warren Bobrow January 30, 2017
Cowen and Company’s recent 110-page report on the state of the cannabis industry further proves that cannabis sales do take a bite out of liquor sales, a fact that the powerful liquor industry cannot ignore.
Azer authored an article entitled “Legal Cannabis is Weighing Heavily on Beer’s Buzz,” stating “In our initiation on the U.S. Cannabis industry, we asserted that increased use of cannabis presents a risk to alcohol, in particular distilled spirits (that over-index to men) and mainstream/economy beer. Data for Colorado (Denver only), Washington and Oregon support this conclusion.”
The Nielsen (liquor industry) report shows definitively that beer volumes in Denver have fallen specifically because of legal cannabis sales at all levels of the industry, and Cowen and Company’s research further states: “To be sure, admitted annual adult cannabis use of 14% falls well below the 70% that drink alcohol, and the 25% that smoke cigarettes. However, with the category having added at least 10 million consumers over the last 12 years, and with momentum building in terms of popular support and legislation, the cannabis industry is poised to generate meaningful growth. Over the last decade we have seen incidence climb for both alcohol and tobacco, across the total population, though alcohol looks to be under pressure.”
Alan Brochstein, chartered financial analyst from the investment research firm New Cannabis Ventures said, “My own view is that the legalization of cannabis for adults is a long-term issue for the alcohol industry as consumers are allowed to substitute one intoxicant for another. The impact will be slowed to a great degree by the lack of legal social use. This is why I am watching the developments in Denver so closely, as three years after legalization, one still can’t go to a restaurant or bar and enjoy cannabis publicly.”
It would appear that the liquor industry will be paying close attention to cannabis as an unwelcome competitor going forward.
While society should be celebrating the reduction in drunks on the street, fewer car accidents caused by intoxicated drivers, falling rates of domestic abuse and increased productivity due to fewer hung-over workers, it seems that those negative consequences of alcohol abuse must be tolerated as long as the investor class continues to line their pockets with liquor profits—unless, of course, they can co-opt the cannabis market and cash in on that as well.
You can keep up with all of HIGH TIMES’ marijuana news right here.
|4 Greenish Cocktail Cherries|
|.5 Ounce (15 ml) Cannabis-infused Vermouth|
|Seasonal Wildflower Blend|
|1 Ounce (30 ml) Bourbon Whiskey|
Muddle the Greenish Cocktail Cherries with a wooden muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon, then top with the vermouth.
Continue to muddle for 30 seconds to combine the flavors.
Cover with the crushed ice.
Top with the bourbon, then dot with aromatic bitters.
Don’t have two: one should be more than enough.
Warren is a formidable force in the food and cocktail industry. Aside from being a master mixologist and chef, he is also an accomplished writer for various publications, as well as an author of four acclaimed books, the latest of which is Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics: The Art of Spirited Drinks & Buzz-Worthy Libations.
We had the pleasure of interviewing Warren and learning more about creative and entrepreneurial journey:
Can you tell us about your background?
I graduated from college with a degree in film from Emerson University in Boston. The industry didn’t smile upon me, probably because I had family in the biz and there were strict nepotism rules in the 70’s and 80’s. So I had to find something to do that wasn’t television and motion pictures. Fortunately, my parents took me to Europe with them (my late father did international law) over the years and our extensive travel and love of culture rubbed off on me. We were not hotel room diners, we ate in local places, local food/drink was the basis of my upbringing. So this influence had a major hold upon my dreams and ambitions. And growing up on a farm in Morristown, NJ that was my family’s gentleman’s farm- with horses and crops sharing the fields- certainly influenced my future endeavors. I was encouraged strongly to learn about farming, especially organic and Biodynamic techniques.
I learned to cook at the knee of Estelle Ellis, who was our family cook when I was a boy. I’ve also taken ACF and Sommelier’s classes and attended Johnson/Wales when it was located in Charleston, SC. I’ve spent time in kitchens all over starting as a pot scrubber then graduating to a dishwasher. I’m trained professionally as a saucier, soups- stocks- sauces.
How did you get into mixology?
I’ve been mixing only since 2011 or so. Mixology is new to me. I started as a bar back at 50 years old! No jobs for bartenders without experience, so again I started at the bottom and worked my way upwards.
How did you transition into making cannabis infused cocktails?
I’ve always enjoyed weed, since 14 or so when I smoked it at a concert at Madison Square Garden. I’ve also cooked with it. Made brownies. Got really stoned. I transferred my interest and passion for ingredients to Cannabis and my talent in the cocktail arena. The Cocktail Whisperer is my moniker.
How have your family and friends reacted to your involvement in the cannabis field?
My father was so disturbed when he learned of my 4th book that he disowned me. I have friends who appreciate what I’ve accomplished but in the broader reach the liquor people are concerned about weed and the weed people are concerned about liquor.
What challenges have you encountered starting out? And what challenges do you still encounter now?
Being poor. Unable to make a living. Going into bankruptcy…that sort of thing. But finding my way and hopefully making myself a success on my own and with my own talent. Challenges? Drugs are BAD!
“It would be nice to see the day when I don’t have to worry about getting arrested for my craft.”
Who are your favorite chefs?
Martha Lou of Martha Lou’s Kitchen in Charleston, SC and Marco Pierre White– the youngest three Michelin star chef in the world. Such passion! Bar influencers, I’d say, Jerry Thomas, Chris James, Gaz Regan, Francis Schott, and Dale DeGroff.
How do you make a great cocktail?
[Use] the best craft spirits money can buy… spirits not tainted by caramel coloring, added sugar, glycol, you know- garbage spirits- I don’t use them. I suggest you don’t either. It makes sense to use craft spirits, because what I do is the highest form of craft.
What is your signature drink?
They are seasonal of course, but for the winter- I love a Bourbon Milk Punch made with Barrell Bourbon that has been infused with Cherry Pie ( a strain of Cannabis) with vanilla, heavy cream, Demerara syrup and milk with ice and Angostura Bitters. I’m also thrilled by the Mezan Guyana Rum with Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup finished with bitters infused with THC.
“The weed world is an intellectual one.”
What advice can you give to chefs/mixologists who want to get into this industry?
Be prepared to be under the influence of Cannabis and have to explain things. What kind of things? Hmmmm. just let your creativity show. And don’t cut off your fingertips while talking. Knife skills are so very important.
Remember, in most places in the country, cannabis is illegal. You must NEVER bring cannabis infused liquors into establishments with liquor licenses. Why? That should be pretty clear. Follow my instructions, experiment and by all means test the results on yourself- not on your friends!
And because I was able to convince my publisher that drinking Cannabis is far preferable to smoking or eating it, we went ahead and published this brand new book.
My first book, Apothecary Cocktails offered my view of the type of ‘cocktails’ that may have been enjoyed in the early apothecary.
And in full disclosure, no!!! I’m not a doctor. Nope. But what I am is a celebrated mixologist and former trained chef who is fascinated by flavor.
So indulge me for a moment while I let you know that Cannabis appeared in the early pharmacy, not as the much vilified Snake Oil- but- quite possibly the only ingredient that actually cured anything? I’m not sure- because again, I’m not a doctor- I don’t even play one on television. But I do know that Cannabis has been used in the healing arts for many thousands of years. Way before this is your brain on drugs. (I saw this commercial again the other night.. funny!)
I wrote Cannabis Cocktails to play with flavor. It gives the whole bagel recipe. You shall have the ability to decarb, to infuse and to create some pretty fun drinks. Or if you don’t want to use alcohol with your Cannabis, there are some Mock-Tails, like my Vietnamese Iced Coffee with Cannabis Infused Condensed Milk… (the perfect medium is high fat condensed milk… try it!)
There are no edibles in the book. And I will say this and say it again. Know your raw ingredients. Use tested Cannabis… Remember what you learned about eating spicy Thai food. Start slow. Don’t have more than one cocktail per hour or more!
I’ll be sharing with you some of my creations and hope you enjoy trying them. Meanwhile, this is how you can order my book(s).
I can be reached on Twitter: @warrenbobrow1
Cannabis Cocktails… Available on Amazon!
Tuesday February 7, 2017 @6:00 p.m. 495 S 4th Street, Columbus Ohio 43206
CORS in February should be all about the love between two spirits, right? This month we showcase rum’s amazing ability to embrace others… Spirits, that is. In fact, rum and its many styles integrate beautifully in a cocktail glass with its cousins, from bourbon and rye to mezcal. Join us Tuesday 2/7 at 6:00 p.m. as we continue to celebrate the versatility of rum. Meet the brilliant Warren Bobrow, the renowned Cocktail Whisperer, traveling from the Garden State to share his wealth of boozy knowledge and unbridled enthusiasm with Central Ohio Rummers!
Puff, Puff, Drink…
When getting intoxicated in only one way isn’t enough!
Sure you like to get high, and you like to get drunk. But if what you really want to do is get drunkly high or highly drunk with style, then the book Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics by perma-happy mixologist Warren Bobrow, is the book for you.
Some say alcohol and cannabis don’t mix. Those people are just doing it wrong. Booze before Bud, head hits thud… but Bud before Booze is a breezy cruise. And Both blended together can be badass.
Bobrow’s book is a collection of 75 recipes of cannabis influenced cocktails and drinks designed to bring the buzz. But beyond cocktails, you can create special tonics, syrups, shrubs, bitters, compound butter and exotic infused oil to use in any drink, or to start your own Apothecary in the 1890s.
Begin your day with coffee, tea, and milk-based cannabis beverages to bring in a super Sunday hanging around the house listening to aaallll of Sting before heading to your local Broga class (Bro yoga: for dudes only). Or get an afternoon pick-me-up with gut healing shrubs and mood enhancing syrups before chowing down on Mickey D’s on your “cheat day” cuz the cravings are craaaazy today. Make cooling lemonades and sparking herbal infusions to soothe the fevered brow after that big fight with your boyfriend about who didn’t soak the dishes enough. Then have an after dinner herbal-based cannabis drink for relaxation at the end of a crazy high day cuz you didn’t realize you didn’t have to try all the recipes in one day. The options are intoxicatingly endless with Cannabis Cocktails, Mocktails & Tonics.
Energy drinks… hmmm. Maybe because I’m neither a millennial, nor “out of energy”, but quite honestly- I’ve never had one.
The entire multi-billion-dollar energy drink market- completely ignored by myself. I have no desire- none at all– to see what it’s like to mix Red Bull with Vodka. That’s amateur hour stuff, which in my opinion, sends all the wrong messages on drinking responsibly.
Thus, when I received a bottle of Hackamore recently, I didn’t open it at first. The 1-liter bottle filled with a crystal clear liquid stated on the frosted part of the bottle- Premium Energy. Are the millennials growing up and drinking a higher quality energy drink? Which part of Energy was I not seeing here? Aren’t all energy drinks safe to drink and therefore- premium?
Marketing in this segment of the industry is so oblique. I wouldn’t know premium from non-premium as I’ve never even put a Red Bull to my lips, mixed with vodka or not. Just not on my radar.
So, I opened my liter bottle of pure energy (premium!) and touched a bit on my tongue. The flavor was not unpleasant, a hint of citrus- forgive my trepidation, without any alcohol levels, you really don’t know what you’re getting into unless you try it. Should I try Hackamore on an empty stomach? Mixed in with my espresso? Probably not such a good idea, so I put a couple drops on my tongue. The texture is rich and selfless- I neither disliked it, nor found it reminiscent of any liqueur. The product does not contain alcohol (probably a good thing) nor does it really go much further into what it might do to you if you drink too much… (not a good thing).
This product is absolutely magnificent in its genre. There is nothing that compares with it. Sure you can go out and buy an energy drink – there are hundreds of them. But none of them can speak the language that Hackamore speaks. It’s the perfect base for craft cocktails of all sorts. Add a few ounces of this to your favorite bowl of punch and your guests will run on pure inertia for hours and hours… You can call it the rapid fire punch. I can only imagine the conversations.
The Rapid Fire ‘Mezan XO Rum Premium Energy Punch’
- 3 Quart Freshly Squeezed Orange
- 3 Quart Freshly Squeezed Roasted Grapefruit Juice (split grapefruits, sprinkle with Demerara Sugar and roast for ½ hour at 300 degrees, cool and juice)
- ¼ Pint Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- ¼ Pint Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice
- 12 oz. Double Simple Syrup- 2:1 ratio- ‘sugar in the raw’ to boiling water
- 16 oz. Hackamore Premium Energy
- 750 ml bottle Mezan XO Jamaican Rum
- Angostura Bitters
- Peychaud’s Bitters
- Mix all the ingredients in a punch bowl
- Add 20 or so shakes of both Angostura and Peychaud’s
- Stir and serve.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love the winter. Just in someone else’s dream. You see, I’m less fond of the slop and the slipping on the ice leading to a fall…or worse! It gives me something to complain about. When a truck splashes a pedestrian — speaking in the first person of course — well, it makes me want to drink. Or at least to make a drink.
When I’m weaving tales of woe, the last thing I want to be is thirsty. But not being a heavy drinker has its benefits and failures. I would have to explain how I came to use weed and liquor in the first place and unless you were in New Orleans at the Pharmacy Museum, you’d never know.
So it stands to reason that if the weather is cold outside, I want to get warm. And the best way to do that is with drink and a fine Indica Strain. I want couchlock. I want to feel like a warm cashmere blanket is bathing my bones in thick heat. There is much to be said for this feeling and it is all good.
The Difficulty of Winter Walking is more than a metaphor; it is the name of this cocktail:
The Difficulty of Winter Walking
- 2 oz. Cannabis Infused Aged Jamaican Rum (I used OG Kush-decarbed at 240 degrees for 45 minutes- for my Cannabis, then infused for a period of time).
For the rum element, I like my rum to be funky from the use of a Dunder. What is a Dunder? It’s a wild yeast that lives in the dunder or muck pit. Sort of like a sourdough only much funkier. No way do you ever want to see one. But the rum? It’s salubrious!
- 4 oz. Grilled Pineapple Juice- Grill slices of Pineapple on a grill and cool, then juice. Charred is great!
- ½ oz. Freshly Squeezed Lemon Juice
- ½ oz. Raw Honey Simple Syrup
- 2 oz. Sparkling Water
- Pinch of Sea Salt, like Maldon (flaky)
- Coconut Water Ice — just like it sounds: freeze a tray of coconut water into ice. Do it now!
- Angostura Bitters
To a Collins Glass: Add the Coconut Water Ice. Add the OG Kush infused Jamaican Rum to a mixing glass with the 2-3 cubes of regular ice- save the coconut water ice for the cocktail. Add the Grilled Pineapple Juice. Add the Lemon Juice. Add the Raw Honey Simple syrup (1 cup raw honey to 1 cup of hot, not boiling, water. let cool.). Stir until chilled. Add the Coconut water ice to the Collins Glasses. Top with your mixture of rum, pineapple and honey/lemon juices. Finish with a splash of Sparkling Water and the Angostura Bitters. Top with a puff of Sea Salt and serve.
Now, for my next trick…
Here’s a punch I named after my most favorite bar in Miami Beach, (so far anyhow): The Broken Shaker.
The back story is my family owned a home on Hibiscus Island in Miami Beach. And it was a grand Spanish style home that sprawled over several acres of land, which is a lot for anyplace in this area. The Broken Shaker is located in the Freehand Hotel and the designer of the original property designed my grandparent’s home. It’s uncanny for me to enter this hotel/hostel because from the moment that I entered the door of the Broken Shaker Bar, I felt right at home. I’ll name this punch after the name of my grandparent’s home: Shangri-La.
Shangri-La Punch. The tour boats still go in front of the mansion today saying it was the home of the founder of Geritol and Serutan. But no more. Too bad, but time goes on.
The use of Fruitations Tangerine Soda Syrup is brilliant because the second you open the top, the punch is absolute perfection because of the utter quality of the ingredients.
Shangri-La/Broken Shaker-style-Roasted Fruit and Rum Punch
- 1 bottle Jamaican Rum infused with the strain of your choice
- 4 bananas
- 2 pineapple
- 4 pink grapefruit
- 1 orange
- 1 bottle Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup
- 1 Bottle Seltzer water
- Angostura Bitters
- Couple pinches of sea salt, like Maldon
- Fresh Thyme
Pre-heat an oven to 350.
On a silicone oven proof tray, add slices of the bananas, pink grapefruit slices, the pineapple (peeled and cored and sliced) and the orange. Roast for 30 minutes, let cool and then muddle into a punch bowl, try to get as much juice into the punch as you are able. Augment when necessary with freshly squeezed juices (they don’t appear in the recipe- so add as needed, depending on how many you are serving)
Add the Fruitations Tangerine Soda and Cocktail Syrup. Add the Seltzer and the Angostura Bitters. Top with the sea salt and a bit of fresh thyme- no wood. It’s bitter!
Never more than one per hour please!
– See more at: http://thefreshtoast.com/drink/wrap-yourself-in-the-warmth-of-these-cannabis-cocktails/#sthash.zSFlGsfd.dpuf