My interview with Jennifer Colliau of Small Hand Foods was published in the San Francisco Chronicle today. She makes pineapple gum syrup for the Pisco Punch served all around town, plus orgeat and other syrups. Some highlights:
Q: Do you have a lot of experience cooking at home?
A: Oh yeah, with my style of cooking, I consider myself a confectioner. When I was a kid I made every recipe in the "Joy of Cooking" Candies and Confections chapter. I was like 9 years old going to drugstores looking for glycerin to make saltwater taffy. I was totally committed.
Q: Why do you think bartenders are seeking out these ingredients?
A: There are all these super-geeky bartenders, myself included, and the drinks we drink are so dry and not juicy and so austere. And we drink like old men. So you really start to pay attention to these tiny little things, like texture. There's this resurgence in egg white cocktails and gum syrup and paying attention to weight and body in the mouth.
Q: Are there any cocktail trends you're sick of?
A: Having variations of the same drink just by muddling different fruit in them. Some people are like, "What kind of mojitos do you have?" and we say, "Just the one - the mojito."