industry news Feed

Both Lou Bustamante and I reached out to Julio Bermejo for a comment on the lime shortage that is causing great calamity in the cocktail world. Bermejo's world-famous tequila bar, Tommy's Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, goes through a heck of a lot of limes each week. Additionally, Bermejo has family and many contacts in Mexico to fill him/us in on what's really happening with the Mexican limes so often used here. He says: In the last three weeks, limes have gone from $23 / case to $110 per case. In my 29 years behind the bar I have never... Read more →

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The LA Times reported yesterday that under a new food safety law in California, bartenders are required to wear gloves when handling garnishes. "Changes to the California Retail Food Code that went into effect at the beginning of 2014 require disposable gloves or utensils such as tongs, paper or scoops to be used when handling "ready-to-eat" foods, which include sushi, bread, deli meats and fresh fruit and vegetables. Basically, nothing that won't be cooked or reheated before it goes out to diners can be touched with bare hands." So I decided it was up to me to design some new... Read more →

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When bars began rolling out drink programs with cocktails on tap and bottled cocktails a few years ago, one big question was whether they'd start hiring less knowledgeable bartenders because they wouldn't need to do any high-level mixology anymore. So far the question has been moot because every bar (that I've seen anyway) that offers these pre-batched cocktails also lists made-fresh ones on the menu as well. Until now. Two new venues have opened where all the drinks are made in advance. At the end of November, Michael Mina 74 at Fontainebleau Miami Beach opened with a menu listing only... Read more →

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For years, brunch bars and restaurants have offered Build Your Own Bloody Mary bars, where drinkers get a glass with vodka in it then can help themselves to the juices and mixers at a salad bar of sorts. But in this era of custom ordering cocktails, I think the concept can be extended. In a recent story for FSR Magazine, an industry publication for full service restaurants, I cover what some restaurants are doing and propose some suggestions. Various restaurants around the US are doing Build Your Own: Champagne Cocktail Bellini Boozy Lemonade Martini (your choice of bitters) Plus other... Read more →

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image from wikipedia If you're using barrels or wood chips to make barrel-aged cocktails, be aware that they can develop 246-TCA, better known as "cork taint." Cork taint doesn't only come from corks, it turns out; it can come from barrels. One way that it forms (in part) is when chlorine bleach is used to clean corks (or barrels). Wikipedia says, "Chlorinated phenols can form chemically when hypochlorous acid (HOCl-, one of the active forms of chlorine) or chlorine radicals come in contact with wood (untreated, such as barrels or pallets.) The use of chlorine or other halogen-based sanitizing agents... Read more →

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In the industry publication FSR Magazine (as in Full Service Restaurant) I have a story about after-dinner drinks. Finessing the Grand Finale SPIRITS // CAMPER ENGLISH After-dinner drinks explore new directions On many restaurant menus, after-dinner drinks are also an after-thought. But as the cocktail renaissance continues, bartenders are rethinking the dessert and digestif menus from the ground up. Some are pairing cocktails with desserts so that the drinks are better integrated into the overall dining experience. Others are collaborating with the artisan coffee roasters to boost the buzz. Yet others have expanded their menus to include unusual after-dinner spirits,... Read more →

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Coming not-so-soon (January most likely) in the former Tokyo GoGo spot on 16th Street in the Inner Mission of San Francisco will be the bar ABV. ABV is a partnership between Erik Reichborn-Kjennerud (owner of Dalva, Dalva Hideout), Ryan Fitzgerald (former Beretta bar manager and Del Maguey Mezcal brand ambassador), and Todd Smith (bartender at Dalva Hideout, distributor rep with Pacific Edge, founding Bourbon & Branch bartender). The specifics are likely to change a bit as they transfer the liquor license and build out the space, but here's what I learned in a meeting with the partners: The concept is... Read more →

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Sorry about the alliteration. I couldn't help myself. If you haven't read enough about batch and partial-batch cocktails here on Alcademics, I'll refer you to a story I wrote for the industry magazine FSR Magazine, for which I am the Spirits Editor. It stars such bartenders as: Joy Richard of Citizen Public House in Boston Matt Seiter of Sanctuaria in St. Louis Ray Gil of Batch in New Orleans Pal Tanguay of Tavernita in Chicago They are all doing different sorts of batching: flasks, punches, tap, and even tableside barrels. Mixing Cocktails in Bulk By Camper English Cocktails on tap,... Read more →

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