Oscar Party Prep: Champagne Punch

The Oscars are upon us! Whether you're hosting a party at home, or serving alcohol at a well-loved bar, choose a delicious bubbly drink for your Oscar Party attendees.

A champagne punch is a festive addition to any occasion!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup triple sec or Grand Marnier
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1/2 cup Chambord, or other raspberry flavored liquor
  • 2 cups unsweetened pineapple juice
  • 1 quart chilled ginger ale
  • 2 chilled (750 ml) bottles dry Champagne
  • 2 cups raspberries
1. In a large bowl or pitcher, combine the triple sec, brandy, Chambord and pineapple juice and chill covered for at least 4 hours or overnight. 2. In a large punch bowl, combine the triple sec mixture, the ginger ale, Champagne and ice cubes if desired. 3. Garnish punch with raspberries and serve.

If you need a recipe that's more tailored to the individual, but still packs a punch, try a French 75!

Ingredients

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 tsp sugar (superfine if possible)
  • 1/2 oz lemon juice
  • 5 oz Brut champagne
1. In a cocktail shaker, combine the gin, sugar and lemon juice and shake well with cracked ice. 2. Fill a Collins glass partway with ice and strain the gin mixture into it. 3.Top off with champagne.

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Cocktail Culture is Killing Bartending

An article on SeriousEats.com asks if cocktail culture is killing the art of bartending. The writer, Michael Neff, says that the nostalgia for vintage cocktails has birthed a "cocktail culture" where drinks like the Manhattan are king - despite whether or not anyone actually likes them. This nostalgia is alienating the only people who can tell us whether or not these drinks are any good. Those people are the consumers.

Neff states:

"Much of the current cocktail trend is based on nostalgia, and it is difficult to say it, but many cocktails that we now call "forgotten classics" are forgotten for a reason. They have the shine of history, and we're told we are supposed to love them, but they're too sweet, they lack balance, and they kind of suck.

The Jerry Thomas Manhattan (2-1 Whiskey to Vermouth, Angostura Bitters, with a dash of Cointreau) tastes like syrup. It certainly doesn't taste like whiskey. But it's the earliest written recipe of the Manhattan, and people are told that it's how a Manhattan is supposed to be made. Choke it down if you can, but don't dare say you don't like it. Who the hell are you, anyway?

This is a big problem for all of us. The consumer feels judged (because they are), and walks away feeling smaller than they walked in."

That judgement, Neff notes, happens when bars push vintage cocktails on their menus. These heavy-hitting drinks taste much stiffer, are much stronger, and sometimes lack the balance of many modern cocktails. Bartenders who work primarily in cocktail bars serving these nostalgic drinks may forget that today's consumer has a different palate than the consumers of yesteryear. He goes on to say,
"The upside to this upswing in mixology is that we have the privilege to stand on the shoulders of giants and have taken the cocktail to a realm more respected than it has ever been before. We have more ingredients, better spirits, and the combined culinary history of the last hundred years to guide us in our current experiments. It's exciting, and I'm honored to be a part of it. The obsession with recreating cocktails in their original form stifles the creativity of people who want to push drinks to taste better."
What do you think, readers? Do you prefer the newer, more complex drinks? Or will you stand by the old standards?

AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol – sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 from AACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

What is a Mamie Taylor?

"...The Mamie Taylor was named after a Broadway singer and appeared around the turn of the last century, but within a few years it fell completely out of fashion. In 1900, it was the most popular cocktail of it’s day, and more than a century later, few people have ever heard of it—or Miss Taylor for that matter. Yet this drink has led to many variations that we do remember."

-SummitSips.com

The Mamie Taylor is a base for many popular drinks today and follows a simple formula that any bartender will recognize: Spirits + ginger ale or ginger beer + lime juice and garnish. Mamie Taylor is specifically made with blended scotch, and is said to be one of the most "deceptive" drinks out there, since it is so refreshing as a warm-weather drink.

Here are a few news snippets from the turn of the century, regarding the Mamie Taylor:

"The News", 5th July, 1900 "The latest hit on these hot days is a nice cool "Mamie Taylor." They are delicious."

"Kansas City Star," August 12th, 1900 “The Mamie Taylor, for whom a certain seductive summer drink was named by an admiring bartender.”

"Washington Post," 26th January, 1902 "With the dawn of a hilarious New Year there has been evolved for the delectation of New Yorkers a new form of liquid exhilaration. It has not yet reached Broadway, but seems to have been wafted from the chilly West and found an abiding place on Park Row. In whose brain the great idea originated is still a mystery, but when he discloses his identity his fame promises to eclipse that of the inventor of the Mamie Taylor..."

"The Post Standard", 7th March 1902 "It was while Miss Taylor was the prima donna of an opera company playing at Ontario Beach, near Rochester, in 1899," he said, "that she was asked with a number of other members of the company to go out sailing on the lake. As the day was hot and the breeze rather strong, the party returned after a few hours longing for some cooling refreshments. When Miss Taylor was asked what she would have she expressed the wish for a long but not strong drink--in fact, a claret lemonade. When the drink was served it was very evident that it wasn't a claret lemonade, for it looked like a delicious long drink of sparkling champagne. On tasting it Miss Taylor found itmuch to her liking, but asked to have the flavor softened with a piece of lemon peel. When this was done the new combination drink was declared a complete success. Bystanders had been watching the proceedings and noticing the evident enjoyment with which Miss Taylor and a few of her friends relished in new drink they finally asked the hotel keepr what drink it was that was being served to them and without hesitation the hotel man replied "a Mamie Taylor" and the name seemed to meet with instantaneous favour and has become famous all over the country."

Drinks similar to the Mamie Taylor are the Moscow Mule and the ever popular Dark and Stormy.

Part of becoming a better bartender is being knowledgeable about your drinks. Thinking of becoming a bartender? AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol – sign up today and you’re eligible to win $100 fromAACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

Recipe: Use Your St Germain

cocktail splashThe history of the popularity of St-Germain liqueur isn’t long - it is by many accounts the “it” liqueur right now, and its popularity seems to have come out of nowhere. Made from elderflowers grown in the French Alps, St-Germain is refreshing and mixes well with many different ingredients. It’s slightly sweet and a bit floral, and the St-Germain cocktail could be called the thinking woman’s Cosmo. In other words, if you've got a client you want to impress, having a bottle of St-Germain stashed away will up your stock. A good mixologist will have St-Germain on hand.

There is no denying its prominent place on the best cocktail menus from L.A. to London. This is also a high-quality liqueur is made from delicate flowers and is best when used in a simple recipe. This recipe is the most straightforward way to appreciate St-Germain’s flavor short of sipping it straight.

St-Germain Cocktail

Ingredients: 2 parts champagne or dry sparkling white wine 1.5 parts St-Germain 2 parts club soda

Instructions: Fill a Collins glass with ice. First, add St-Germain, then champagne, then club soda. Stir well, and garnish with a lemon twist.

If you haven't got a bottle of champagne open, there are a few other ways to enjoy this delicious liqueur:

Elderflower Collins (Cocktail) - Gin, Lemon Juice, Soda, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur

French Apple Martini (Martini) - Lemon Juice, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Vodka

Part of becoming a better bartender is being knowledgeable about your drinks. Thinking of becoming a bartender? AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. AACEA is hosting a raffle for students enrolled in our alcohol server training classes - sign up today and you're eligible to win $100 from AACEA and Len Riggs. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com.

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It's Pimm's O'clock

On a hot day, there's nothing more refreshing (and British!) than a Pimms Cup to quench your thirst. We've found, though, that there aren't many out there who know what a Pimms Cup is.

"Pimm's is a gin based liqueur favored by the British. Resembling tea in color, the flavor is reminiscent of currant and is both spicy and citrusy. It's one of the official drinks at Wimbledon, as well as polo matches and other upper crust, gentile sporting events. The drink varies from recipe to recipe, but generally includes sparkling lemonade and/or ginger ale and is garnished with refreshing slices of cucumber, oranges or lemon. "

Pimm's is also sometimes mixed with champagne (or a sparkling white wine), and called a "Pimm's Royal Cup"

We found a recipe - via Well Fed - for making your own Pimms Cups from scratch. Generally, we use bottled Pimms (whose recipe is apparently very secret). You can find Pimms at any Washington State Liquor Store.

Classic Pimm's Cup Recipe:

  • 2 oz. Pimm's No. 1
  • 1/4 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • Ginger ale
  • Ice cubes
  • Tools: barspoon
  • Glass: highball
  • Garnish: cucumber
Pour Pimm's and lemon juice into an ice-filled glass, top with ginger ale, stir and garnish.

Or to make a Pimm's Cup pitcher for your next garden party:

  • 2 oranges, cut into half-moons
  • 2 lemons, cut into half-moons
  • 1 Persian cucumber (see Notes) or one 3-in.-long piece English cucumber, washed and sliced
  • 2 cups Pimm's No. 1 (see Notes)
  • 4 cups Sprite or other lemon-lime soda
  • 6 to 8 large sprigs mint, crushed gently, plus a few loose leaves
Fill 2 pitchers 1/4 full with ice. To each, add a layer of orange slices, a few lemon slices, and a layer of cucumber slices. Repeat the layering. Pour in the Pimm's and Sprite, dividing between pitchers, and mix with a long-handled spoon. Poke mint sprigs and leaves down into drink. Divide drink among 8 tall glasses, with a few slices of fruit and cucumber in each glass, along with some mint leaves.

We've found that bartenders who wish to make a Pimm's Cup without its main ingredient (the bottled liqueur) usually mix one part gin with one part red Vermouth and 1/2 part to 1 part of triple sec or Orange Curacao.

Part of becoming a better bartender is being knowledgeable about your drinks. Thinking of becoming a bartender? AACEA provides alcohol server training which promotes responsible service and sales of alcohol. To get your alcohol servers permit in Washington visit www.aacea.com

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