Setting the B.A.R.
We went over so many cool things at B.A.R., yesterday. I don't have time to go into it all but let it suffice to say that at 9 in the morning, Steve Olson and David Wondrich walked us through a quick demonstration in at-home pot-stilling. (It's not legal to do this at home, kids... and they certainly did not sugest we do it. They were showing us how liquor is made. However, you may want to try it anyway... Just don't hold me responsible for suggesting it if you poison yourself with methanol and such.)
A quick recap of yesterday's highlights from the gin and vodka tastings:
Gin tasting - You may be surprised which gin came out (unanimously) at the bottom of the pile. Let's just say its very popular and quite expensive. (I won't name the brand in this post, though.) Other gin news: Martin Miller's got dissed as "the cartoon version of Hendrick's," which is a shame cuz I quite like it. Old Raj got lots of love. And we tried the Bols Genever... slightly yellow color, slightly sweet... not even on the U.S. market yet. But, look for it. This is a big gin trend coming down the pipeline...
Vodka tasting - Finlandia got big props from both Paul Pacult and Dale DeGroff. (Yes, Dale works with Finlandia. He and Tony Abou Ganim teach the Finnishing School - which I took 2 years ago. Great crash-course in mixology, fyi. Still, both Paul and Dale tout Finlandia as the best 'bang for the buck' on the market today. Paul gutted the goose, having dropped it from 4 stars back in 1999 to 2 stars today. They heavily touted Van Gogh chocolate as a good flavored vodka. And, Paul's favorite vodka du jour... Xcellent from Switzerland. Who knew?
I have so much more to tell you but will leave it here for now... and remind me to tell you how great it was to end the day at P.D.T. (Please Don't Tell) sitting around the table with fellow students from Boston, Philly, Connecticut and New Orleans, with a few L.A. pals at the bar. Uniting the country through cocktails.