The 5 Best Ways To Find Cocktail Competitions

It’s not very hard to find bartending competitions and cocktail competitions. Here are our five suggestions we tell our students if they want to be competitive bartenders!

The first and easiest way for a beginner bartender to break into the bartending competition scene is to check out Liquor.com. They have constant updates and streamline the sign up process a great deal. There’s also a good deal of back and forth communication between the brand hosting the competition and yourself, so it’s fairly easy to keep track of all the rules!

A second way, is to join a local meetup or group of bartenders. Many times these groups will create grassroot contests between them and if the campaign gets big enough, it’s very possible for liquor companies to pay attention to them. These competitions, while not necessarily prestigious, tend to be a good opportunity to break nerves in a casual setting. Also, since it’s not focused on pleasing a brand, but rather pleasing their community, they tend to be a lot of fun for all attendees!

A third option is to join a bartending school. Some bartending schools like our own, are great places for getting information about these local communities and organizers. They can connect you directly with them if they hear something. Many times, speakers from brands or with industry know-how will come in and give lectures about future events that students can apply for or tips on how to be selected for an appearance at one.

A fourth option is to join the USBG, or United States Bartending Guild. Many brands will host small “USBG” exclusive competitions in local communities. These tend to be centralized competitions!

A fifth way, is to be so good at bartending and branding, that brand ambassadors will actively approach you to compete for a contest that they’ll be hosting. While this way has the least amount of red tape, you’ll have to be pretty good at networking to get to this point! By being a damn good bartender, using a combination of the above four points and by engaging with industry contacts, there's no doubt that you will get to this last one!

 

Our Five Favorite Cocktai Kingdom Exclusive Items!

If you like any of the bar equipment in our third floor bar and want to purchase it yourself, this is the page for you! We've recently partnered with Cocktail Kingdom, the source for much of our high end equipment, to offer our students special industry rates! For more information go to our students discount page here!

#5 Haru Stemmed Mixing Glass

Haru Kingdom.jpeg

Incredibly beautiful and one of my favorite of the cocktail kingdom reserve line, love the Japanese design-Haru means spring!

Purchase here: http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/reserve/haru-stemmed-mixing-glass

#4 Atomizer 50mL

One of the most elegant and simple atomizers on the market.

One of the most elegant and simple atomizers on the market.

Purchase here: http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/atomizer-50ml

#3 David Wondrich Muddler

David Wondrich Collection Muddler that has a hefty and powerful look.

David Wondrich Collection Muddler that has a hefty and powerful look.

Purchase here: http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/wondrich/wondrick-cato-muddler

#2 David Wondrich Punch Bowl

David Wondrich Collection Punchbowl that pays homage to the classical tradition.  The inscription comes from Cicero and means: Let us eat, drink, enjoy life, after death there is no pleasure - Marcus Tullius Cicero

David Wondrich Collection Punchbowl that pays homage to the classical tradition.  The inscription comes from Cicero and means:

Let us eat, drink, enjoy life, after death there is no pleasure - Marcus Tullius Cicero

Purchase here: http://www.cocktailkingdom.com/wondrich/punch-bowl

#1 Beachbaum Berry's Copper Plated Bar Spoon

Jeff Beachbum Berry's copper skull bar spoon.  The longer length and warm copper colors make it a versatile and elegant solution to much of your needs

Jeff Beachbum Berry's copper skull bar spoon.  The longer length and warm copper colors make it a versatile and elegant solution to much of your needs

Bartending in the Age of Donald Trump

BARTENDING IN THE AGE OF DONALD TRUMP

by Ori Geshury

President Donald Trump is everywhere these days and it’s not hard to see why. From the unprecedented campaign, to the most vigorous first weeks of an American Presidency in recent memory, there’s certainly a lot of change going on.  And whether you support him and his policies, disagree completely with everything he stands for and are a safety pin wearing member of the resistance, consider him to be a persuasive genius, or remarkably crass and dangerously ignorant, one this is absolutely certain: You are talking about him and there are huge implications happening across the world--especially for bartenders or people who wish to be bartenders.

We have people at our school that voted and who didn’t vote, who supported Clinton and supported Trump.  I’m not writing to voice an opinion on whether what’s happening is good or bad from a political standpoint, I’m a bartender and I don’t feel qualified to do so.  However, I do want to look at the way Donald Trump is impacting bartending, future job prospects, and how education is affected.

The first part of this article is going to focus on the current dangers you should be aware of that are happening to jobs, bartending or not.  Keep in mind that Donald Trump is not completely responsible for all these factors, they are the result of economic and political trends that have been boiling under the surface for decades.  If reading all of these makes you feel like the walls are closing in, and there is some serious trouble ahead, you’re not alone.  That’s the sentiment shared by the many prospective students we meet and talk to every single day.  I want to share them, not to scare you, but to give you an idea of that challenges that are out there so you can face them head on, and develop a plan to overcome them.

The second part of this article is going to focus on how for so many people, Bartending, and a career in beverage, can be a solution that seems tailor made for problems we seem to all be experiencing. 

PART ONE: THE DANGERS OF DONALD TRUMP


IT WILL GET MORE EXPENSIVE TO LIVE: EVERYTHING FROM GROCERIES, TO ELECTRONICS, TO THE COST OF FOOD WILL INCREASE IF FOREIGN GOODS ARE TAXED

Regardless of whether or not you support Trump’s threats to tax Mexican and Chinese products, it’s important to realize that it can greatly impact the purchasing power of the American consumer for years.  This is because our economy is so intertwined with other countries, that it’s impossible that taxes on their goods will not raise the cost of living for all Americans-at least in the short term.

IT IS MORE LIKELY THAN EVER BEFORE THAT YOU WILL LOSE YOUR LOW SKILLED JOB TO A COMPUTER

Globalization and computerization are threatening more entry level jobs than at any time in American history since the 1970s when we saw the gradual erosion of our manufacturing.  I’ve never seen so many articles on so many different news sources, that all say the same thing: The job market is going to drastically change, and the technology for this to happen is already available. 

Many of our students drive for Uber and Lyft, and we get our fair share of truck drivers as well, and they all are worried about driverless cars, because the technology is already there for safer, more cost effective transportation.  Columbia Professor Hod Lipson has written an amazing book on the subject and his interview with Tucker Carlson is worth a watch.

In addition to that are the more sophisticated robots used in manufacturing, McKinsey and Company, whom we had the pleasure of hosting an event for, even did some fascinating work explaining that up to 59% of manufacturing work is vulnerable to automation over the next ten years.  You can watch a fascinating PBS piece on this here.

And the more vulnerable ones are the one’s lowest on the totem pole.  This week we enrolled two students that all worked in the service industry, one from McDonald’s and one from Chili’s.  And their jobs are threatened by policies that McDonald’s and Chili’s have introduced in response to raising the minimum wage.

In light of these findings, it shouldn’t be surprising to read the results of an Oxford study that almost half of US jobs are vulnerable to computerized automation.  

TRADITIONAL EDUCATION AFTER HIGH SCHOOL HAS NEVER BEEN MORE EXPENSIVE

I’m 33, and of all the changes that have happened in my lifetime, I really can’t think of any as dramatic as how the cost of college is really creating different classes in our society.  It’s getting more and more expensive relative to the rate of inflation and shows no signs of slowing down.  When I was a kid my mom was able to pay for my private school and my dad’s grad school, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in cash without taking out any loans.  We were new to this country and were unable to get credit.  When I was 18, going to Drexel was pricey, but manageable with loans and working retail and summer jobs. 

It’s so different now.  I see single mothers stagnate and take extra classes at community college because completing their Bachelor’s degree seems so out of reach.  I talk to students from schools that were traditionally affordable, like Temple and Drexel where the plurality of our students come from, and see people in their early 20s well into six figures of debt.  A famous Bloomberg report shows just how high college tuitions have grown in the since 1978, 1225%!!!

UNLIKE OBAMA, TRUMP IS WILL REDUCE THE GOVERNMENT’S ABILITY TO SUPPORT YOU IF YOU LOSE YOUR JOB, HAVE TO PAY FOR SCHOOL, OR GET SICK

We don’t need to look at Trump’s zeal to repeal and replace Obamacare or his threats to defund PBS to know that conservatives traditionally like smaller government, and less support for health care, educational infrastructure, and social services.  The truth is that all Republican administrations invest less in financial, educational, and social support than Democratic ones.  These differences are part and parcel of the lines of contention between the two parties.

I’m mentioning this because of how it relates to my last point.  Under a Republican Administration, if you lose your job or get hurt, you will have less support from the state to help you succeed.  With the rise of automation, and the cost of higher education, this can create a perfect storm that wrecks our notions of economic and social mobility for Americans entering the workforce.

PART II: IS ALCOHOL A SOLUTION? HOW BARTENDING CREATES SUCCESS STORIES

While a chemist would certainly agree that alcohol is a solution, I want to explain what I mean

THERE IS GOOD MONEY IN BARTENDING

It’s relatively easy in a major city to be able to make $20-30 an hour as a bartender.  We know dozens of graduates from Aqua Vitae that make over 80k a year.  Jim Meehan talks about this in his groundbreaking presentation about the rise of the career craft cocktail bartender and the importance of health.  He says that bartenders should worry about health because many of them finish college and find that their income opportunities are greater for doing a job they love, than a soulless corporate job their degrees have qualified them for.  He cites a 60k a year figure in New York City, which I would say is even conservative for that area. 

BARS PROVIDE UNLIMITED OPPORTUNITIES FOR NETWORKING AND FOSTERING INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS

I remember a student of ours in the 90s who worked at the Pyramid Club specifically to get access to the lawyers and firms she wanted to apply for upon finishing law school.  My mom was able to support the family by giving her business cards away at the convention center and decorating people’s houses.  Since then, we’ve had hundreds of personal trainers, hairdressers, musicians, actors, dancers, writers etc. leverage their ability to bartend into developing and maintaining business connections and even romantic relationships.

One topic that isn’t explored enough is how positive reinforcement (getting a higher tip) for charisma, great technique, and persuasion can change someone’s ability to deal with people over months and years.  When I was writing the bar psychology portion of the textbook and researching authors like Cialdini, and the famous Cornell restaurant study  where a woman wearing a flower in her hair made 17% more tips, and teaching them to our students, I found that bartenders who had been in the industry for a year or so did most of these things automatically. 

It’s not hard to see why, people can lie and smile and laugh, but if they come to see you and tip you well it’s a clear sign of appreciation that cannot be faked.  This allows bartenders to more accurately judge how their attitudes and habits affect other people than the rest of us, which give them an advantage in every other area of their life.

There’s something else going on here too.  In the movie Crazy Stupid Love, Ryan Gosling and Steve Carrell do most of their dating in one swanky bar.  Watch the clip and imagine you are a bartender in a bar like this.  In a year you’d see not just hundreds but thousands of first dates, business meetings, interactions between human beings that go well and go poorly. 

What do you think would happen to your ability to form relationships, and nail an interview for any job you wanted?

(Side note: The Old Fashioned scene in Crazy Stupid Love is one of the few examples of cocktails in movies that really works.)

BARTENDING PROVIDES THE OPPORTUNITY TO ADVANCE YOUR CAREER

If you’ve ever seen the movie Cocktail you’ve got a pretty good idea of how bartending worked in the 90s and early 00s.  While there were some great bartenders out there, and David Wondrich was writing for esquire as a voice in the wilderness very early on, there just wasn’t too much innovation going on.  The best bartenders lifted weights, flipped bottles, worked fast, and eventually started their own bars.  Luis Bermudez, our old head instructor and former Head Bartender at Cuba Libre, exemplifies the absolute pinnacle of success here.  He got into bartending after the Navy, won best Bartender in Philadelphia in a competition at the legendary 90s nightclub/palace Egypt, started a bar with Diego from top 40 radio station Q102, became a firefighter, and now owns properties all over Philadelphia, Miami, and Costa Rica. 

But the differences now are incredible.  Never before have there been so many opportunities for bartenders to advance, bar management, brand ambassadorship, competitions, lectures, writing reporters on HARO.  The options for bartenders who want to advance without shelling our half a million dollars and risking everything to open a bar are tremendous.

Luciano Spensierato, who took classes with us when he came over from Italy, and whom we helped get a job at Xfinity Live when they did job fairs before they opened, and currently helms the exceptional bar program at Gran Caffe L’Aquila, is an example of how a bartender can increase his standing.  Jeff Bowell, who moved to Las Vegas, helped open Revel in Atlantic City, and now NOTO in Philadelphia’s Chinatown, is another good example.

BARTENDERS CANNOT BE REPLACED OR OUTSOURCED, BECAUSE PEOPLE DON’T GO TO BARS TO DRINK ALCOHOL

I recently read a great article by sfgate on why people go to bars.  San Francisco is considered a first tier city in the bar and restaurant industry, with its higher income residents, emphasis on locally sourcing fresh ingredients, and care in presentation, you’d think the experience of food and drink would be at the forefront of the article, instead the author writes:

"to work, talk, cheat, chat, smoke, investigate, read, stare, eat, fight, study, use free Wi-Fi, listen to music, be the old dude at the bar, ask for directions, meet a friend, make a friend, borrow money, have fun, and sometimes because there is just nothing else to do."

This really goes to the heart of what I’m trying to explain.  We can’t turn into computers, and we don’t have much control of political and economic change.  But we can leverage our own humanity, build our own network of friends and allies, and create opportunities for us to make money now and later, all by embracing a job that let’s us do all of these things simultaneously: Bartending.   

Because of all these reasons, a part time job or career in Bartending has never been more attractive.  However, I do want to end with one more thing:

LEARNING TO BARTEND IS INCREDIBLY CHEAP

Unlike traditional education, that balloons in price year after year, you can study at Aqua Vitae Institute for under a thousand dollars. By the end of it you will feel confident enough to work behind any bar.

If you’ve gotten to the end of this article, it’s certain that you’re at least a little bit curious about how we can help you reach your goals through bartending.  I really encourage you to reach out to us here!

Related: Bartending School information

How Do Restaurants and Bars Find Great Bartenders

How To Hire Bartenders and Service Staff

While high tech recruiting firms an average of $16,000 for a hire, a restaurants and bar ability to be able such an amount for talent is extremely rare. Instead, most restaurants choose to do hiring independently. This usually means placing a "now hiring" ad on the door for onlookers to see--and hopefully apply.

Besides the now hiring ad, the most common way restaurants find bartenders is through a referral or word of mouth. This is when someone puts in a good work, says they know whats expected and will fit into the culture of the bar almost immediately.

Online has also become a very powerful tool for finding bartenders. Many bar owners that post online bartending job ads are in an immediate need for a person fast, or they need to hire a large amount of people. Partially because most bartenders aren't tech savvy, but also because of tradition, many if not all job postings remain on Craigslist. However, this isn't set in stone and does vary greatly based on city.

Recently in Philadelphia, there has been some pretty great competition to Craigslist. One of the more popular ones, especially in Philadelphia, is known as Culinaryagents. This website has given a huge revamp and focused on connecting hospitality professionals around the world to finding a job. The users of this website tend to be younger, but are very eager to learn and excel in their field.

Just because these are solutions that are common, doesn't mean it's safe to say that every city in the world will work the same. In fact, you might be losing on a huge pool of applicants if you aren't proactive with what you do! If you ever get stuck, the solution is to network with others! Talk with other restaurateurs across the country and asking them if they know anyone good looking for a job. You can also ask, if it's a small city, where they post jobs and how they hire, trying to copy there example.

All over the country, there are thousands of network events, many are free, which are hosted by universities like Drexel's philly chef conference or the ncbshow. If there isn't any, you can always start your own on a website like meetup!

Aqua Vitae Institute can also connect to a network of hundreds graduates for free of charge by just filling out the hire a bartender form here. If you have preferences like height, personality type, beer experts or flair bartenders, we can vet our people and match with those we think might be a decent fit for the bar's image for you ahead of time and streamline the process greatly.

If you would like more indepth strategies to finding staff or need help retaining staff, Aqua Vitae Institute also offers a Bar Leadership Course. Contact us for more information!

Related: Bartending School and Cocktail Classes

 

Why does Ouzo and Absinthe turn cloudy when water is added?

The Louche Effect is the name given when water is added to Ouzo and Abisnthe that turns the liquid into white. The science behind it is actually quite normal and tends to happen when adding essential oils to water. Effectively, what happens is that the water is reacting with a “hydrophobic” chemical in the reaction. Thujone, for example, the main flavoring in Absinthe is oil based and hydrophobic. Ouzo, as well, is made from Anise and fennel oil.

This effect was first described by Wilhelm Ostwald in 1896 and is known as the Ostwald Ripening effect. In simple terms,

The Ostwald Ripening effect occurs when an added ingredient creates a reaction that no longer puts the initial compound in equilibrium either due to the PH level changing, temperature changing and the number of common ions changing (the ability for the alcohol to bond with the oil). As alcohol and water share relatively the same PH level, the biggest changes in the Louche effect occur from temperature colder absinthe will cloud up faster than warm absent. Next, as more water is added, the Louche effect will become increasingly clear.

Further Reading:

  1. М.Лифшиц, В.Слёзов // ЖЭТФ 35, 479 (1958); I.M. Lifshitz; V.V. Slyozov (1961). "The Kinetics of Precipitation from Supersaturated Solid Solutions". Journal of Physics and Chemistry of Solids. 19 (1–2): 35–50.
  2. Voorhees, Peter W. "The theory of Ostwald ripening." Journal of Statistical Physics 38.1-2 (1985): 231-252.
  3. How Solutes affect ionic compounds

Related: Learn to be a great bartender at Aqua Vitae Institute's Bartending School

The 5 Most Inspiring Bartending Instagrams

By Ori Geshury

Garnish and presentation is something that bartenders have strong feelings about.  Just like we try to find the best value spirits that allow us to make high quality drinks at a reasonable markup, we're always looking for ways to up the presentation of our drinks while making them at volume.  

Bobby Huegel wrote a great post asking for recommendations on different instagrams to inspire the staff at Houston's The Anvil, to re-examine their garnish game.  I was familiar with a  few, but they surprised me with their variety and creativity.

Here are some of my favorites:

1) Tenzin is the Fred Astaire of cocktail presentation.  By sticking to the basics and introducing playful and whimsical elements, they make you smile.  And they are so easy to imitate and learn from, there is nothing especially complex about them. 

Of all the accounts I followed, there are iconic images that kept sticking in my mind: The kimchee layered on top of block ice, the umbrella in the winking santa mug, the single maple leaf.  The Japanese soda served trash can style in a Tiki Mug.  A wellspring of simplicity, inspiration, and fun.

2) Stir and Strain There's a voluptuousness to these pictures, with their abundance of cream, baked goods, and slight messiness, that makes you hungry and thirsty on an elemental level, which is what we often forget that great food and drink photography is designed to do: Erase the boundaries of space, time, and freshness and speak directly to the stomach through the ether of the internet.  It's playful and casual, opulent and elegant, and especially recommended for dessert lovers.

3) The Punch Room In stark contrast to the softness of Stir and Strain, the hard, clean, sharp drinks and furniture of Charlotte's Punch Room are contrasted by the southern warmth of sunshine and rich leather, and candlelight and streaked marble.  Garnishes are minimalistic but feature some of the most artfully laid out punch bowls I have ever seen.  The handle is well deserved.

4) Express and Discard When Paul MacDonald was featured as a Zagat favorite instagram account, my first thoughts weren't to congratulate him, they were to congratulate Zagat for their eye for talent.  Paul has been a perennial fixture at Philly's top cocktail bars, from Farmer's Cabinet to A. Bar, and now to the recently reopened Friday Saturday Sunday.  It would be cliche to call his reserve and simplicity Zen, but there something austere in it.  The apple and pear fans, dehydrated citrus, peels paired into m's and w's, frame the cocktails and prepare the drinker for the depth of flavor they're about to experience. 

5) Jacopo Falleni For superhumanly playful, unselfconscious extraverted cocktails, nobody can hold a candle to the great Italian bartenders.  Jacopo's instagram, with fast cars, pasta, suits, and smiles makes even the garnishes feel garnished.  Though this insta might offend the more "sensible" craft cocktail mavens, it's impossible to deny the breadth of his talents: Limes carved into footballs, immaculate pumpkin fleur de lis, and cocktails that are simple, unrefined, and crowd pleasing.

Ask Aqua Vitae Institute Part 1

By Ori Geshury

I'm having some trouble with my first bartending job.  It's at one of the most popular fine dining bars in Center City Philadelphia and I'm working with some great people. I get along really well with the owners and the senior bartenders but I'm having trouble with one of the junior bartenders.  He insists I make drinks differently from the way I've been taught by the senior staff, limits my customer interaction, orders me around more than the senior staff, and generally gives me a tough time.  I'm trying to think of the best way to resolve the situation.  Should I confront him about it?  Should I go to management?  Should I just grin and bear it?

Answer:

Even the best bartenders have to work in a team.  If it's a great bar, they'll always start you off at the bottom of the totem pole because there is a lot of information to learn.  Some of that information is written and that's the easy stuff.  But most of what you have to learn isn't written down.  It's how the team works together and their individual personalities, how they handle being under stress and in the weeds.  It's what bathrooms to use, it's the squeaky door that needs to be checked and oiled if need be everyday.  In short, it's the culture of the bar and every person in it. 

In this particular situation, it's a pretty simple answer.  You learn what the junior bartender does and do everything you can to support them in doing the best job possible.  If you have a question about a recipe, or a change in protocol from another bartender, you can ask them politely about it, but always defer to the bartender you are working with.  Some bars are looser than others, no matter how great the reputation is, but all bartenders will have quirks and wrinkles and habits that differentiate them. 

One of the worst things you can do is to go up the chain of command and complain.  New hires are evaluated for their ability to fit into the existing culture first and foremost.  Later, when you are an established and valued part of the staff, you can work on improving communication and cohesion. 

Related: Bartending School

How To Use Alcohol as a Tool For Personal Transformation

By Ori Geshury

This article represents a breakthrough I've had after struggling with these issues for fifteen years.  One of the most challenging elements in a bartender's life is the fact that we work with alcohol.  As our superlatively talented instructor Jeff Bowell once said in conversation:

"Nobody starts a fight over food.  Nobody ends a marriage over food.  Nobody ends a life over food."

In so many different ways, our relationship with alcohol determines the quality of our lives.  I recently read the heartfelt forward of Sasha Petraske's widow.  Sasha was the most prolific legacy builder in the world of craft cocktails, died young in a manner that was-at the very least-exacerbated by prolonged abuse of alcohol. 

Many bartenders have spoken out this.  The three most notable are PDT's Jim Meehan, who talks about the need for balance, exercise, and meditation.  Jack McGarry, who talks about his struggles with depression and alcohol abuse that were treated by therapy, sobriety, and marathon running.  Giuseppe Gonzales, who makes the remarkable case that most people who have been in the industry long enough to really know it, don't drink:

7. All of the old-time bartenders are sober. “Find me a guy who’s been doing this for 20 or 30 years — not a consultant, not a mixologist, but a bartender who’s worked behind the stick everyday, and ask me if he still drinks — you’re not going to find one,” he says. “You realize at some point in your career, sometime in your 40s, ‘you know what? I’ve got a family and I want to be able to do other things.”

At the same time, we know that alcohol is responsible for tremendous good.  We know that alcohol likely played a major role in starting civilization itself!  We know that moderate drinking has the ability to extend life, protect against a host of degenerative diseases (the scariest being heart disease, and stroke), increase sex drive, and even boost immunity

Is Alcohol Good or Evil?

Prolific alcohol journalist Camper English has a mind bending section on his website entitled, good booze/bad booze.  He compiles all of the major studies that say alcohol will help us live forever, with all of the major studies that say it's a poisonous carcinogen, and lumps them all together.  It's wonderful in the cognitive dissonance it invokes as almost everyone has taken a "side."  

What If Alcohol is both Good and Evil?

If we accept both the good and the bad of alcohol as likely true, and decide that we want to keep drinking, as most people in the western world have, how can we we use it as a meditation to transform ourselves?  

What if alcohol is an opportunity for us to stop seeing the world in black in white, in terms of good and bad, healthy and unhealthy, logical and illogical, work and pleasure, joy and suffering?

What if we can create harmony by finding the balance between opposites, and expressing that creatively through the practice of making drinks, and our relationship to alcohol?

If either of these are true, then would that mean for our quality of life?

 

The Three Ways Juices are Clarified

There is a lot of misinformation about clarifying juices all over the internet. There are countless news articles heralding a new discovery among bartenders like the use of curdled milk (casein is a positively charged fining agent), while others herald agar agar (another positively charged fining agent) as the newest and best way to clarify a liquid. However, rarely do these bartenders mention the science behind it and just tell you to use that ingredient like its some new sensationalist discovery

. While there may be other ways, below is a primer of the three primary ways juices are clarified in a real world scenario.

Using a Centrifuge


The first is to put the liquid through a centrifuge. A centrifuge spins a liquid incredibly quickly and will separate the mass of the liquid by its specific gravity.

However, most people can’t afford a centrifuge, it can greatly affect taste due to the added heat, and they are very easy to break when not used by trained professionals.

The following three clarifying agents are what is most common in the industry:

Using an Enzyme

Pectin is a polysaccharide found in plant cell walls and its where the pulpy fibrous part of juice comes from. It’s not completely digestible and many food companies add pectin as a fiber like cellulose or lignin. As a result of this usage, pectin is extremely colorful and has a very rich texture. But that texture is not always desired in liquid.

Adding a little bit of pectinase will, over time, destroy these walls and get rid of much of the texture.

Because pectinase is an enzyme, the only thing adding more will do is increase the rate of reaction In fact, you will rarely need a couple of drops for a liter of juice. Other ways to speed up the reaction is to increase the temperature to around 55 degrees C. Be cautioned, if you make it too hot, you will kill the enzyme.

Using a Suspension - Positive and Negative Charged Fining Agents

Positively Charged Fining Agents

These fining agents are used to attract negative ions to them. These fining agents have “cations” which means they attract negatively charged molecules to them. Agar Agar, Gelatin are some commonly used positively charged agents.

Negatively Charged Fining Agents

In addition to using a positively charged fining agent, many brewers and fermentors use a negatively charged fining agent. These fining agents have “anions” which means they attract positively charged materials to them. The most common one of these is a material Bentonite. However, others like Silicon Dioxide are becoming extremely affordable in the processing.

You will likely need to use both of these to clarify a liquid. The reason is one fining agent will take the positively charged ones, and the other will be used for negative ions. A more complete list of these agents and there properties can be found here. For more information about Bartending Classes go here.

What Is The Best Job To Have If You're Too Young To Bartend?

By Ori Geshury

I just talked to a girl, who is very serious about bartending, but won't be 18 for almost a year. She was wondering what job would be the best for her to prepare to be successful in the industry

She also happened to be going to school in New York, and surrounded by dozens of high quality, 3rd wave coffee shops.  The answer was obvious:

She also, apparently, happened to be going to school in New York, and surrounded by dozens of high quality, 3rd wave coffee shops. 

The answer seemed obvious to me:

Start as a barista.  

Every city has Thursday night throwdowns where baristas compete with each other to see who can make the best latte art.

Dealing with customers:

Caffeine affects people in a very different way than alcohol does, it stimulates adenosine receptors, promoting alertness, energy, and tension.  Alcohol relaxes inhibitions, and promotes mild euphoria. 

Because of this, many people rely on coffee to kickstart the day, and will be in a worse mood without it.  If you can handle them, the crowd bartenders deal with will seem easy by comparison.

Attention to detail - From weekly cuppings where taste is developed, to technical closing checklists and handling espresso machines that cost more than starter cars, coffee culture rewards the kind of obsessive attention to detail that is essential in a bar.

If you're under 18 and have a passion for the industry, try to get a job in a 3rd wave coffee shop.  The reason 3rd wave coffee is better than national coffee chains is that you'll learn more learning with the owners, than you will following a procedure that is set up by a higher power, or corporate entity, such as what happens within Starbucks. You will also get a larger variety of sampling and be exposed to way more of the culture than you would be if you stayed in a chain.

If you'd like to start bartending school click this link!

Learn to Make Oleo Saccharum with Nathan Weigert

Oleo Saccharum is one of the most delicious lemon concotions ever. Using the lemon peels, you extract the oil with sugar and get a delicious lemony syrup with very little acidity. This is one of the best ingredients you can use for cocktails and the editor of our textbook and educational consultant, Nathan Weigert will show you how to do it in the video below!

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Champagne and Sparkling Wine: Understanding What To Buy and Labels

Written by Ori Geshury with help from Nathan Weigert

Bad boy novelist turned wine writer (and Gossip Girl guest star) Jay McInerney once observed:

"Nobody ever said I want you to pour sparkling wine all over my naked body."

Champagne has such an incredible reputation for elegance, luxury, and decadence, but does it deserve it?

First, I want to give a little bit of a background about how sparkling wines and Champagne came to be and how they've been marketed. There are many legends of how sparkling came to be created, but my favorite is the story of Monk Dom Perignon.

The story begins in the 1600s, where the monks were making wine in the Champagne region of France. But Champagne had a problem. The region was too cold and the wine in the cellar would always stop fermenting just a little bit too early--causing still wine to be carbonated. This problem was known as refermentation. Thus, bottled wine from Champagne had a quirky problem that many other regions didn't have. Their beautiful wine, would sometimes, have bubbles, or worse, just magically explode!

Dom Perignon, however, decided that was enough was enough. There was a bright side to Champagne after all and a few exploding bottles wasn't going to stop him from showing the world that. Champagne was absolutely delicious. When winemakers all over threatened the region of having defected wine, Dom Perignon invited all his fellow monks around him. He famously told them, "Come Quickly, I am tasting the stars!"

Champagne may be the first Sparkling Wine and it is full of beautiful history. But it is not the only one. Here is a cheat sheet for your sparkling wine purchases:

  1. CHAMPAGNE The traditional gold standard of sparkling wine. Aged "sur lie" and have tasts which range from chardonnay grapes which are lean/crisp with lemon, to green apple and minerally to rich and full pinot noir champagnes with aromas of brioche, toffee and baked apples.
  2. CREMANT means creamy in French, denoting sparkling wine made in the "Methode Champenoise" in any other region other than Champagne. The quality is often comparable as grapes used are very similar. However, there is still quite a difference in terroir.
  3. PROSECCO Made in Italy in the Charmat method. It is not aged "sur lie" as Champagne is.  As a result, the flavors are simpler and more to the point (like apples and pear), with a little bit of sweetness.
  4. CAVA Spain's sparkling wine which vary greatly in quality. Some are extremely high quality and are comparable to the some of the greatest Champagnes in the world. Others are made more similar to prosecco and are bottled quickly! Knowing brands is extremely important!
  5. FRANCIACORTA is from the Lombardy egion Italy, made in the Methode Champenoise. A lot warmer than northern France, and they tend to be riper and fuller than its French counterpart. In exchange, they lack a lot of the acid and mineral qualities of champagne.
  6. AMERICAN SPARKLING WINE Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the most common varietals. Some are made in the Methode Champenoise, but many are not. In general, cooler growing regions are better bets because the acidity in the grapes is preserved.
  7. SEKT Sparkling wine made in Germany.
  8. MOSCATO D’ASTI & BRACHETTO D’ACQUI Sweet sparkling wines from Northern Italy, delicious as an aperitif or with dessert.

Sparkling wine has four levels of sweetness, which will be printed directly on the bottle. Here is a guide to understanding them:

  1. Extra-Brut: Driest kind of sparkling wine, the yeast has eaten absolutely all of the sugar.
  2. Brut: Most popular type of sparkling wine. The wine is dry, but there is just a hint of sweetness. The winemaker stopped the fermentation process just before the yeast ate all of the sugar.
  3. Extra Dry: Dry, but not as dry as Brut or Extra-Brut, noticeably sweeter but not sugary sweet. Prosecco is most often Extra Dry.
  4. Demi-sec: Sweet sparkling wine, usually drink with desert, as there a noticeable sugar.

The Difference between Rose and normal Champagne is either the addition of red wine or the addition of black grape skins in the fermentation process. However, due to the perception of consumers and the market, many Rose champagnes are also sweeter and more full-bodied than their white counterparts!

 

 

 

Top Bartending Classes in Philadelphia

Top Bartending Classes in Philadelphia

Price: $895.00 — Purchase Bartending Classes Here 

 

Bartending is one of the most recession-proof jobs you can have. Customers drink when they’re happy. They drink when they’re upset. It doesn’t matter if you are old, young, or in between! Many people want to learn bartending to increase their income or to have flexibility in their life. 

Aqua Vitae Institute offers some of the top bartending classes in Philadelphia and aims to train every single student to reach levels of knowledge they never thought of before.

These are some of they ways we do it:

  1. First, our bartending classes are designed to actually teach a class, and not just send you off with a bartending certificate. We focus on streamlining the important points in such a way that you can learn the basics in just three weeks, as well as a few helpful advanced techniques that will put you over the edge when employers are looking to hire.
  2. Secondly, we have a textbook that we update regularly with input from the city’s top bartenders. We also go to firsthand sources like brand ambassadors and liquor companies. When you study bartending at Aqua Vitae Institute, you are studying with the best and are learning from people who are incredibly passionate about the bartending industry.
  3. Third, while most bartending schools and classes rely on baseless memorization, we focus more on our flavor and use recipes as guidelines to be creative and have graduates feel confident to make their own cocktails. Our goal isn’t to teach recipes, it’s to teach independence. It’s to make alcohol enjoyable and to give any graduate of ours the feeling that they can make delicious cocktails anywhere. Moreover, if they don’t know the answer to a question, that they will be put in touch with an expert who can answer that question.
  4. Fourth, Aqua Vitae Institute doesn’t leave you out after you graduate. We offer lifetime job placement assistance and will work with you to help you get a job anywhere. We work with managers across Philadelphia to give their own advice and start from resume building to how to write a cover letter and interview tips. We are a one stop shop for all your job placement needs!
  5. Fifth, we offer flexible scheduling. Whether you want to take weekend, evening, or day bartending classes, we are there for you. 

Related: How to Study for Bartending School

How To Write the Perfect Bartending Resume

 Written by Alexander Johnson and edited by Or Geshury

The Bartending Resume

We call it the bartending resume, because a bartending resume needs to be different from any other resume you've built for any professional job.  If you're going to be a banker, or you're a teacher, or you're a mechanic, and on the side you want to bartend, your resume needs to not be your mechanic resume, your resume needs to not be your teacher resume, because at a bar and restaurant if you've taught middle school for six years, that's not as relevant as if you went to bartending school.  So we need to tailor and cut and paste your old resume, and turn it into a whole new resume.

How The New Resume

That's going to detail relevant job experience, Another thing I see a lot is, people who have been in the industry for a while, have a two page resume, a three page resume.  When a restaurant or bar gets a resume, it's in a stack of resumes as high as a bottle.  They are looking for fun facts, they're looking for bullet points, they're looking for quick snippets.  They're not looking for long paragraphs.  You really need to make it jump and pop.

I was in an office one time with a restaurant manager looking over resumes, she saw a resume that was two pages, without even looking at the name, she said: "Two pages!"  Balled it up and threw it over her shoulder.  Things are so faced paced, my manger doesn't have time to eat or use the bathroom let alone read and look at three pages or two pages of a resume.  

Short and Sweet

So short and sweet, we're going to list the last three places we've been at, three relevant job experiences, we're going to outline what we did there, and we're going to try and use number whenever possible.  If I said something like for Job Placement, I placed 30 jobs a month for Aqua Vitae.  And if I said for the 2nd bullet point is "Passionately finding students jobs, by creating question and answer based content for Aqua Vitae.

Your Bartending School Experience

This is absolutely crucial because it outlines your base of knowledge and your foundation. It also shows that you are willing to invest in yourself in order to improve in this field.

Responsible Service Certifications like RAMP and ServSafe

These show additional training and benefits to the bar in terms of saving money on insurance, reduced risk, upselling ability, and versatility behind the bar.

Showing Extra Individual Knowledge

Things like additional training in wine, beer, coffee etc. Visiting distilleries and breweries, joining the United States Bartenders Guild, and in general moving forward and pursuing your passions in food and beverage go a long way to differentiate yourself from other applicants who show up for tips and a pay check.

MOST IMPORTANTLY Make Sure You Update Your Contact Information

Before my experiences hiring and working with students, I never really thought about this, but it's surprising how many times people forget to update their contact information to reflect their newest cell phone number or the e-mail that they check the most often (most people have an e-mail they started in high school, a more mature e-mail with their first and last name, and an e-mail they use primarily for work, make sure you put one that's professional and that you're actively checking).  It's much more common than you'd think, so do a quick check at the end of updating your resume to make sure all the relevant information is up to date.

Our Three Famous Punch Recipes for Cocktail Events

Punch is a classic drink with five ingredients. It has spirit, citrus, sweet, spice and water. Use our three Punch Recipes to impress for your next cocktail and mixology event!

Opening Punch

Serves 8
8 oz Jamaican Rum
4 oz Triple Sec (or other orange flavored liqueur)
4 oz Lemon Juice
12 oz fresh apple cider
8 oz Ginger Ale
8 cinnamon sticks (optional)

Shake Rum, Triple Sec & Lemon juice with Ice.  Strain into punch bowl.  Add Cider and soda. Chill.
Serve 5oz per guest.  Add cinnamon stick to garnish.


Mulled Wine

Serves 6
1 cup apple cider
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon wine
2 oz honey
2 cinnamon sticks
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
4 whole cloves
3 pieces of star anise
1 oranges, sliced, for garnish

Combine the cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

Eggnog

Serves 6
2 large egg yolks
2 oz sugar
1/4 cup half-n-half
1/4 cup whole milk
1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup Jamaican rum or cognac or bourbon
Pinch freshly grated nutmeg (plus more for serving)
Pinch kosher salt

Add yolks, sugar, and nutmeg in a large shaker.  Stir with a barspoon or whisker and then shake.
Combine dairy, booze and salt to shaker.  Shake.
Add Ice.  Shake until glass is chilled (around a minute of full shaking).
Serve in cups topped with a little extra nutmeg grated right on top.

 

How To Study for Bartending School Part 2 - Understanding Our Teaching Philosophy

Working in the hospitality industry is very demanding. You are expected to learn flavor and pairings, menu items, customer service scripts, and so much more.  In addition to that, if you want to move up in this industry the amount of information you need to absorb and assimilate keeps going up.

The trick is that none of the programs focus at Aqua Vitae Institute focus on simple memorization-it is furthered by the belief that people are conditioned to learn to pass tests in school and then forget the next day. Instead, the education philosophy at the institute is a three pronged approach.

Aqua Vitae Institute blends theoretical learning, with practical drink making, with advanced techniques.  Because of that, learning how to learn is really important and it's something that most other schools don't focus on and what separates us from any of our competitors.

Here are some of the methods we focus on in class and what you should pay attention to when you study back at home:

1. Say It Out Loud!

Have you ever had to memorize a song?  We've discovered that many people struggle to memorize music without actually attempting to sing the song. Instead, they can listen to a song hundreds of times and only a few phrases--likely the chorus, will be remembered by them.

The major way we simulate this process is by pairing people up into groups of two or three. One person will make the drink and the other two will coach the person making the drink on what they are doing correctly or incorrectly with a answer sheet. After every few minutes, they will switch turns. This allows people to speak out the recipes to other people, while also helping ...

2. Writing It Out!

One of the key components we use to train people is having them flash cards. The reason is that it associates learning with something more practical and artistic--it also helps to internalize some of the mneomonic devices we teach in a concise format. For example, Martinis and Manhattans being a certain type of cocktail and in a certain type of class. It also allows a place for word clues like the phrase "Very Tragic Landing" for the Kamikaze becoming shorthand for:

Vodka, Triple Sec, and Lime Juice

3. Doing It!

Aqua Vitae Institute doesn't have conventional school desks and painful school chairs set up. We have a bar and a lot of equipment.  We also have a library, but after reading theoretical knowledge within a book, instead of it just sitting in your brain as a cool fact and being forgotten, we recommend our students to use our facility in order to see and prove theories. You might find that many of the things even the most popular bartending books have pictures of or create recipes for, just aren't going to work out in practice! Instead of focusing on what is in a book, it's important to understand what actually works in the real world, and focus on memorizing that.

By doing something and making it happen, you'll begin to retain that association as something that is more real than a theoretical book.

Related:

How to study for bartending school part one
Learn more about Bartending School and Cocktail Classses

The Difference Between Liquors and Liqueurs

Or Geshury

Liquor vs. Liqueur

One of the most confusing things to me when I started to bartend was the differences between liquor and liqueur.  It's something that seems pretty simple, so it's easy to gloss over, but actually is a great way to develop your mental model of seeing the world of drinks and how they are constructed.  Here is everything you need to know!

1) Pronunciation:

Because English doesn't use set pronunciations, it's easy to tell how much of a newbie someone is, by whether or not they can say a word correctly.  Therefore, the first thing I like to teach is pronunciation.

Liquor is pronounced Li-Kore and liqueur is pronounced Li-Kerr, like the supermodel whose ex husband punched Justin Bieber.

2) Process:

A liquor is made by distilling alcohol, starting from a mash similar to beer or wine, then making it into a more concentrated form like vodka, brandy, or whisky.

A liqueur is made by adding a sweetener (usually sugar) and some kind of flavor to the alcohol base.  In order to be called a liqueur, the cut off is that the sweetener (sugar, honey etc.) has to make up at least 2.5% of the weight of the finished product.

3) Liqueur vs. Cordial

While the meaning of liqueur is pretty straightforward, the meaning of cordial is a bit more up in the air.  It can either be used in the same way as liqueur (which is common practice nowadays), to differentiate between liqueurs made from herbs, and liqueurs made from fruits and-to a lesser extent-dessert flavors like chocolate and coffee.  It can even mean a really sweet syrup in the UK, where they call something like Rose's lime syrup, rose's lime cordial.

In my opinion, this is a terrible shame, because we should celebrate the wonderful richness of herbal liqueurs and the sweetness of fruit cordials by using those terms to describe them.

One of the drinks that celebrates the interplay between herbal and fruit is the Last Word, a drink that has spawned hundreds of jazz like variations. 

Last Word Recipe:

1 Part Gin (3/4 oz)
1 Part Lemon Juice (3/4 oz.)
1 Part Green Chartreuse (3/4 oz.)
1 Part Maraschino (3/4 oz.)

Shake and Strain, then add a Maraschino cherry garnish!

How To Break Down A Last Word Into Any Other Cocktail

Here's how the recipe breaks down into a ratio that bartenders can use to create an infinite variety of pleasing drinks:

1 Part Liquor- Something strong, which gives the drink character and backbone.
1 Part Sour- Something sour, which gives the drink freshness and astringency (we'll talk more about basic cocktail balance in a future article).
1 Part Liqueur (Herbal) - Something sweet and herbal, which balances out the sourness and adds complexity.
1 Part Cordial (Fruit or Dessert) - Something sweet and usually fruity.

Shake and Strain, try to match the garnish with the cordial to compliment those flavors.