Johnny Cocktail has been VERY busy!

There are many more posts to come so stay tuned. This Blog is getting ready to see quite the face lift!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

March Madness

In a Shot:  Johnny Cocktail has created the Sugar Daddy, Whiskey Ginger  Fizz # 2, won an award for the Sweet Cherry Rye, survived Mardi Gras, conquered St. Patrick's Day and hosted his first Irish Whiskey tasting!  WOO!

Let's start by saying:  Better late than never!

I  hate to mis-represent for folks who are heavy into sports.  One of the many clashing differences I have in this business is that people come to bars to watch the game.  I do not watch the game.  I work during it.  I will admit, my wife has got me hooked on watching the Olympics and in high school I never religiously followed but LOVED boxing matches.   Once I turned twenty one and found how much fun drinking was while playing, I became a huge sucker for bowling, darts and pool though I was never any good at them, I continue to play them still.  I did chess in elementary and as a kid played basketball with friends, though I never did any of that stuff professionally (i.e. high school) or as a team.  I have a brother in law who is a tennis instructor so I get behind the net during the summer and my father is an advocate for golf so because of him and a sous chef who brought me to Top Golf in Kingstowne, VA once upon a time, enjoy playing that one as well (though none of these am I any good at all I must state) -  so for me, writing, drinks and drinking keep this month a blaze!

To my fans, KNOW I get excited about camaraderie and therefore LOVE a big game like Super Bowls, World/Stanely Cups, Finals and Finishes as much as everybody else.  I just....don't need the build up like everyone else, but I can find a good time when the game is on, TRUST ME

I need to begin  with the cocktail of the month in FEBRUARY.  There were several attempts at making one thing than the next, of course by this point they are all just blurs in the past.  I was tossing everything to the wind from beets to spice rubs to licorice.  Chef suggested a cocktail using Amish Sweet Sorghum, a molasses like syrup made from cane.  Sugar cane made absolute since to blend it with a rum, I started with a popular spiced rum and KNEW that it needed something more savory and strong and decided to use Sailor Jerry's Navy Spiced Rum.  Mixing it with lime juice seemed a no-brainer and in collaboration with our new head bartender, Paul Costanza, I agreed to add some vanilla vodka to the mix.  This is when the caramel, the chocolate, the toffee really started to show up.  I wanted just a little something else, a thicker texture and a fruity aspect to add to what was becoming a manhattan inspired variation of a chewy candy.  A little home made grenadine added that final edge.  Paul and I agreed to call it the Varga Girl, inspired by a prohibition era poster sweet heart.  It was once we introduced it to Christy Pryztawik who leeped from her chair and exclaimed she didn't feel like she was with a Varga Girl, rather it felt like she was with a Sugar Daddy.  Thus the name was born! 
Now!  Coming off of the celebrated February win for the Sweet Cherry Rye cocktail (Expect to see these cocktails again once cherries return to season) - The Next Rounds on Me has been very busy whipping up Mardi Gras libations such as Hurricanes and Sazeracs to making drinks up as we go on busy nights (A brandy based Sazerac, a Sazerac inspired Manhattan, a pisco and red grape based something or other and I have done up a great sweet tart lime cocktail I think we'll see on an up coming spring cocktail list!

Whenever March hits, I always get excited about St. Patrick's Day - I do love me a Mardi Gras, we had a live band this year and I was up at the front of a conga line that formed in the middle of the restaurant!  It's a fun holiday filled with lots of great food and good libations so I always try to fit the cocktail of the month into that medium.  Last year was the incredibly delicious but hard to sell Irish Malt.  It was a true to life malted milkshake with vanilla icre cream, malt powder, espresso, Irish Whiskey and Bailey's.  It was my very first attempt at creating a dessert cocktail for the restaurant.  I'm not huge on dessert drinks myself, tasty as they are I just hardly ever buy them.  But this thing tasted like a chocolate malt ball candy and anybody who had one cried or laughed as they finished it, but the world is not steering towards these sorts of libations and I think the ice cream, malt powder and caffeine scared off the clientele I serve.

Sometimes it just has to be back to the drawing board.  The year before that I had made a Whiskey Ginger Fizz cocktail, a combination of lime juice, orange juice, club soda and Bushmill's Irish Whiskey muddled with fresh ginger slices.  It seems so long ago, but people absolutely loved it.  So after many  failed attempts to create something grand, I decided to return back to the drawing board and use what's worked in the past with a revamp.  In it's entirety this cocktail is called the Whiskey Ginger Fizz # 2.  Using Jameson to muddle with the ginger this time around, I substitute the orange juice with Grand Marnier, keep the lime juice and this time I topped it with a natural ginger beer.  This drink has been a huge hit all month and was proven a huge response during St. Patty's!

I believe I should dedicate a full blog to my Irish Whiskey tasting in Food Matters from this month, I feel it will be far too lengthy an attempt to combine with all this other hoopla so without further aDEW I move to blog # 2!

Yes, absolutely no shame what so ever


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