kBlue J Syrups are a salubrious new find on the market. As anyone who reads my cocktail writing knows, I'm passionate about the best ingredients available. I seek local ingredients whenever possible and I am determined to find flavor as my go/to for cocktailian excellence. The talented bartenders in New York City at Employees Only get it about using fresh CULINARY ingredients. They ALWAYS use the very best in their craft so I too seek the best ingredients possible when forking over my hard earned dollars for a drink.
It just SUCKS when you go to a lounge and get served something made with less than stellar ingredients! Or they make the mistake of using the drink gun to serve me sour mix for my gimlet...
That garbage that gets squirted out of a drink gun is just obscene!
Like a fine restaurant, a fine cocktail lounge or even the corner mixology style bar has the responsibility to use the best ingredients available, no matter what the cost! There is something to be said about quality. That should never, ever be forgotten. I'd gladly pay a bit more for quality. Don't assume that I won't know that difference. I do and quickly. If you serve me quarter cube ice you are screwed in my eyes... No matter what the other ingredients are (which, no doubt will be cheap, speed rack crap) there to fool me. I'm not fooled. I know this business from my years of working in white table cloth dining as a trained chef. What qualifies me? ACF and Johnson/Wales. No, graduating from culinary school or doing a fancy apprenticeship won't make you a chef. What makes you a chef are years of tasting good food. And then preparing them... Your cocktails are equally important.. Screw this up and you've lost me forever.
Working in a fast food restaurant doesn't count. You need to learn what things are supposed to taste like. Get yourself a good bottle of Bourbon Whiskey like the Baby Bourbon from Hudson Spirits. Then find a bottle of Blue J. Syrups and read my attempt to make you into a better bartender.
Syrups and bitters are not my newest obsession, but they help me create drinks with my ears open. Perhaps this is because my new book, Apothecary Cocktails, Restoratives from Yesterday and Today focuses on healing bitters, tonics and elixirs. Fruit and herb based syrups were originally invented to make the medicines easier to take.
Not a bad thing to do in my mind.
Sitting in front of me are two new bottles of syrup that arrived yesterday. Actually they arrived several weeks ago, it took until yesterday and a gentle poke by the inventor, Jason Albaum to encourage me to review his gorgeous syrups. True, I have dozens of bottles of syrups at home and yes I like all of them. This makes my task even more difficult. No, I won't tell you which ones I like the best, but from where I am sitting right now, mixed in the correct manner the Blue J. syrups are world-class indeed!
2 cocktails from my twisted Cocktail Whisperer's pages created for Blue J.
The Henry Hudson Fizz
1/4 oz. fresh lime
1/4 oz. fresh lemon
2-3 dashes DRAM Honey Chamomile Bitters
1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water (plain, for the fizz)
To a Mixing Glass, fill 3/4 with ice
Add all the liquid ingredients and stir to combine (except for the Perrier, that goes in last)
Strain into two rocks glasses with one large hand cut cube of ice to finish
Garnish with pinwheel of lemon and the Perrier for the fizz
Second Line Cocktail for two
Very soon I'll be in New Orleans for Tales of the Cocktail. This little mind-bender will souse two of you into disarray. Just like at Tales!
1 oz. Blue J. Syrups Earl Grey and Lavender Simple Syrup
1/4 oz. Lime
1/4 oz. Orange
1/4 oz. Lemon
(all freshly squeezed!)
1 oz. Perrier Sparkling Natural Mineral Water, Pink Grapefruit.
(2 total- 1 oz. in each drink)
A few dashes of the Hudson Spirits Basement Bitters
To a mixing glass fill 3/4 with ice
Add all the liquid ingredients except for the Perrier and the Basement Bitters
Stir well to chill
Strain into short rocks glasses with a large cube of ice inside
Add a few splashes of the Basement Bitters
Garnish with a grilled pinwheel of orange
Warren’s first book, Apothecary Cocktails is being published by Quayside/Rockport Books in November 2013.
He has globally published over three hundred articles on everything from cocktail mixology to restaurant reviews.
He's a bit more than an amateur bartender who believes that fresh juices and great ice are essential to a cocktail.
If you don't agree that fresh juices are essential, let's talk about what you do now and why you should use the best ingredients!