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    Episode 211 – The Science of “Switched” Cocktails with Iain McPherson

    What’s shakin’ cocktail fans?Welcome to episode 211 of The Modern Bar Cart Podcast! This time around, we’re joined from across the pond by Iain McPherson (@thecocktailpanda). He’s the owner of the Edinburgh cocktail joint Panda & Sons, which was honored as a 2020 member of the World’s 50 Best Bars.A lot of bars get recognized on this list for their exquisite service, lavish ingredients, whimsical concepts, and intoxicating atmospheres. But aside from checking all those boxes, Iain and his team are raising the stakes by exploring a high-tech rendition of an age-old booze modification technique. This “freeze-thaw” spirit jacking method, which is the focal point of our conversation, is called “switching” or “switch finishing,” and many of the world’s top mixologists are obsessing over this process the same way they did with milk clarification and fat washing a decade ago or more.In this fascinating deep dive with bartender and ice cream fanatic Iain McPherson, some of the topics we discuss include:How a childhood love of frozen treats, a fascination with lucid dreaming, and a stint at Italy’s most hallowed gelato university led Iain to explore the largely untapped universe of freeze concentration.Why this process – first pioneered by German “Eisbock” makers – has affectionately and efficiently come to be known as “switching.”Then, we break down the process, including how to use switching to modify both ferments and distillates, what tools you’ll need, and some of the experiments that have yielded the most interesting results at Iain’s bars.We also cover why switching produces more pure flavors than heat- and pressure-intensive techniques that employ traditional stills or rotovaps, a few important precautions to keep you and your guests safe when making and enjoying switch-finished products, what the future holds for freeze-thaw mixology, and much, much more.As we discuss in the interview, you can literally be the first person IN THE WORLD to pioneer a “switched” rendition of your favorite cocktail. Freeze concentration is still in its infancy, and the barriers to entry are extremely low when compared to other techniques in the molecular mixology space, which is exactly why our great, great, great grandparents were using it to make boozy winter beers and concentrated ciders.Featured Cocktail: Princess Mary’s PrideBut before we explain why switching is the next exciting frontier in the professional and home bar world, let’s take a moment so that you can make yourself a drink. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 209 – Through the Looking Glass with Deke Dunne

    Combine your ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, give em a good, hard shake, then strain into a highball glass or a double rocks glass over ice, top with a splash of sparkling water or club soda, and enjoy.If you’re following along at home, you’ll recognize the Cancha cocktail as a Daiquiri made with honey syrup and lengthened by a dealer’s choice amount of carbonated water. It’s a drink that’s popular in both Trinidad and Cuba, where rum and lime are a very popular combo, and for some reason it seems to have a more medicinal heritage than the classic daiquiri. Perhaps that’s from the honey syrup, perhaps it’s that late Victorian association between carbonated water and health benefits, or maybe it’s just because the Cancha is a feel-good cocktail.This drink can be found on Allegory’s “Passage to the Somewhat Familiar” section of their cocktail menu, along with a Cold Brew Negroni and a Tequila drink called the Infante because sometimes when you’re surrounded by surrealist murals, you need to ease into happy hour with a drink that makes sense. From there, it’s a choose your own adventure, and the possibilities may very well lead you down your own mixological rabbit hole.Show NotesIf you find yourself in Washington, DC, you need to check out this gorgeous hotel and grab a drink with Deke and his team at Allegory. If you walk in the front of the hotel, you’ll continue past the front desk into the library, then turn right through an unmarked door into the speakeasy.The following gallery features a scenes from muralist Erik Thor Sandberg, as well as some of the cocktails you can enjoy at Allegory. All photos are courtesy of Kimberly Kong. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 208 – Recipes Aren't Enough

    Combine these ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, give it a good, hard shake until it’s well chilled and properly diluted, then strain into a double rocks glass over ice and enjoy. And if you’re in the market for a garnish, we might recommend an expressed orange twist.A couple things to note about this drink:First, it’s a big boy. We’ve got 5 full ounces of liquid ingredients before ice and dilution, so when we say “a double rocks glass,” we mean it. But the nice thing is, it’s not a booze bomb. It doesn’t contain more alcohol than any other classic drink you’ll find on a cocktail menu, but it really gets its legs from the complex fruit profile it offers.Next, we need to talk about the infused ingredient, the “Hibiscus & Magnolia rum.” When reading this, we were thinking it involved those weird almost “pine-cone-like” fruits you’ll find on a magnolia tree during the summer and early fall. But in fact, Magnolia refers to the magnolia berry, also known as “five flavor berry,” which is a Chinese variant of the Schisandra family. According to Wikipedia, it’s called this because it contains salty, sweet, sour, pungent (spicy), and bitter flavors all in one berry, so you can see why it would be an intriguing ingredient for an infusion. If you’re looking to source these, we’d recommend locating some dried Schisandra berries online and using those for your infusion.In terms of weights, measures, and timing, Kurt recommends you infuse about a quarter ounce each of dried hibiscus and the magnolia berry seeds in about 20 ounces of rum over the course of 2 weeks. The key advantage here is that you get to pick your rum, so we would recommend going with something in the “white” or “light” spectrum so that the infused flavors don’t have to compete with a bunch of desserty barrel notes.Like most cocktails in The Infused Cocktail Handbook, the “Paint the Town Red” cocktail is an opportunity to learn about ingredients you might not have worked with in the past and to really delight your guests (or yourself) with a cocktail that’s a great deal more complex than the sum of its parts. LEGGI TUTTO

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    Episode 205 – The Atlas of Bourbon & American Whiskey with Eric Zandona

    This episode’s featured cocktail is the Texas Grog. To make it, you’ll need:2 oz (or 60ml) Bourbon (bonus points if it’s Texas bourbon)2 oz (or 60ml) cold water (preferably filtered or distilled)½ oz (or 15ml) orange juice (fresh squeezed if possible)½ oz (or 15 ml) simple syrup2 dashes of an Aromatic bitters like AngosturaCombine all these ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake vigorously for about 10 or 15 seconds, then strain into a double-rocks or bucket glass over ice, and enjoy. According to Eric Zandona:“In the 19th century, several travellers observed Texans drinking in a wide array of grog shops, taverns, saloons, and ornate hotel lounges. Texan grog shops were most likely simple drinking establishments that served beer and a few simple cocktails, ‘grog’ being a term used to describe a mixture of spirits, water and citrus juice. Given that grapefruit, oranges and a variety of other citrus fruits have grown in the Rio Grande Valley on Texas’s southern border since the time of Spanish colonization, and early Texans were known for their fondness for whiskey, it’s not a stretch to imagine locals mixing these simple ingredients to make a refreshing drink.’ We love this cocktail not just because it’s a laid back proto-cousin of the whiskey sour, but also because it features ingredients that naturally occurred in a very specific environment. You go to the Caribbean, you drink rum. You go to Japan, you drink Sake and Shochu. When you go to Texas, there’s two things you can reliably count on: there will be whiskey, and you’ll more than likely be able to get your hands on some local citrus. LEGGI TUTTO