The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2011

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Page 52 of 132

TALES OF THE COCKTAIL Charlotte Voisey (left), Ambassador for William Grant & Sons, tries to stay dry as Hendrick’s Brand Ambassador Jon Santer cuts a block of ice with a chainsaw. Chainsaws and Swizzle Sticks by Jenny Adams / photos by Jenn Farrington SCIENCE AND HISTORY COME TO THE FORE AT TALES ON TOUR IN VANCOUVER F orget the boas and fedoras. At the first-ever Tales on Tour held in March in Vancouver, British Columbia, Charlotte Voisey, Portfolio Ambassador for William Grant & Sons, was wearing a plastic poncho. Beside her, Hendrick’s Brand Ambassador Jon Santer was sporting a plaid flannel shirt—and wielding a chainsaw. The poncho was to guard against the spray of ice chips flying off a 300-pound block of ice as the buzzsaw rendered it down to perfectly clear cubes. “We realize that you are not going to go to work this afternoon and change your entire ice program,” offered Jon Santer, to a crowd of more than 200. “The point of us talking about ice is to make you aware of the type ice you do use and to use it in a correct manner for your cocktails.” Science and history were clear trends in the seminars. In the ice seminar, Charlotte Voisey explained the history of ice in drinks. Ice changed the worldwide scene, setting the stage for the appearance of a graduated cylinder and digital thermometer. Santer employed both to show that shaking a cocktail with clear hand-cut ice produced less dilution in the finished drink than shaking with regular ice or even Kold Draft cubes. The less water on the surface of an ice cube, the less dilution occurs when shaking. The science resonated with attendees like Chris Keil, owner of 1022 South in Enthusiastic attendees. Front row (left to right): Jenn Hegstrom, bartender, Pope House Bourbon Lounge, Portland, OR; Wendy Miller, Seattle LUPEC President; distiller Todd Buckley; cocktail enthusiast Michelle Hathaway; John Ueding, Bar Manager, Trellis, Kirkland, WA. Back row (left to right): Rocky Yeh, Portfolio Ambassador, The Proof Collection; Andrew Freedman, bartender, Liberty, Seattle; Chris Keil, owner, 1022 South, Tacoma, WA; Cody Rossen, Northwest Diplomat/Brand Ambassador, Maker’s Mark. 52 / the tasting panel / may 201 1 Tacoma, Washington. “There is a bigger trend to look at our jobs more analytically than we might have in the past,” he offered. “I love the way each session seemed to dig into the profession’s history, and then push boundaries teaching new advances for the future.” For Wendy Miller, President of the Seattle chapter of LUPEC (Ladies United for the Preservation of Endangered Cocktails), the initial decision to attend was to promote her new iPhone app “Seattle Cocktail Culture,” but she learned some science as well. “For me, especially as an enthusiast and being on consumer side of the bar, understanding ice now changes my choice of drink and where I drink,” she explains. Miller’s buddy Mark Madsen, a cocktail enthusiast from San Juan Island, Washington, attended Dave Arnold’s seminar “The Science of Cocktails: New Techniques behind the Bar.” “Arnold did a live demonstration of clarifying lime juice with agar,” explained Madsen enthusiastically. “He then went into how to use various kinds of carbonations—really the science behind drink creation. I ran out and bought xanthan gum after the session. He showed us how it acts as an emulsi- fier and a thickening agent. I can’t wait to use it in my Ramos Gin Fizzes!” Tales of the Cocktail takes place in New Orleans, July 20–24.

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