The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2016

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Page 58 of 100

58  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2016 Bit by Bit(ters) Just because you only need a few drops of bitters for a drink doesn't mean you should sacrifice quality—after all, as we all know, a couple dashes of bitters can make or break a cocktail. Solely sourced from natural ingredients, Berg & Hauck's Bitters are made in the Bavarian Alpine region in Germany, an area with a bounty of herbal extracts. Made in small batches and with an extra slow maceration time, its line includes: Aromatic, Orange, Celery, Creole, Lemon and Jerry Thomas—an expression dedicated to the famous bartender that has notes of cloves, angostura bark and cinnamon. Having a hard time choosing? The brand even offers a kit with several of its bitters—something for everyone and every drink. Above the Salt Not just for Margaritas, salt has become a more important ingredient in the cocktail scene recently. It can enhance flavors in a drink, along with adding a perception of a richer mouthfeel. With a market full of specialty salts, you are only limited by your imagination. If you want to add some smoke to your cocktail, try out San Francisco Salt Co. Whiskey Smoked Irish Sea Salt. Based on Oriel Irish mineral sea salt and infused with smoke from aged Teeling Whiskey oak casks, it introduces a powerful flavor boost to your cocktail. It will bring tasty new meaning to an Old Fashioned, but be careful: you may find your chef borrow- ing it more than you would like! Stone Cold You've made the perfect drink and served your customer, but if they don't drink it instantaneously, the ice dilutes and ruins your creation. How many times does this happen on a daily basis? To prevent this tragedy, consider investing in Whiskey Stones from Time & Oak. Don't let the name fool you: these can be used for more than just a dram (although they do a great job of saving a fine whiskey from dilution)—use them in any of your concoctions to keep the perfect flavor from first sip to last. Stealing the Spotlight Coming from the land of grapes, Stolen Fruit Cocktail Mixers hail from Sonoma County and were created by Healdsburg-based Chef Peter Brown and Dry Creek grape growers Doug and Susan Provisor. Based on the tradition of chefs using verjus (fresh-pressed juice from unripe wine grapes) to add life to their dishes, these non-alcoholic goodies utilize grape juice as a base for their unique flavor combinations, which include Jasmine Juniper Viogner, Lemongrass Ginger Sauvignon Blanc, Blood Orange Muscat, Hibiscus Grenache and Fig Grains of Paradise Zin. Who says wine lovers and cocktail enthusiasts can't find common ground? A Strong undation The building blocks of any great cocktail need to standup to the base spirit itself; if you decide to put a beautiful spirit in the same glass as sub-standard mixtures, you are doing both it and your customer a great disservice. So instead, look to these fine products the next time you add to your menu—you and your guest will not be disappointed! by Emily Coleman

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