Archive for the ‘party’ Category

New….well, uh, news!

December 14, 2008

Hi everyone!

Thanks for all the comments and emails about the UKTV appearance on ‘Market Kitchen’ this Friday! To be honest, they meant a ton because I was where I belong whilst the show aired–behind the stick mixing drinks–so I never saw it! Here’s hoping one of my more techno-savvy colleagues TIVO-ed it and either way I believe the good folks at ‘Market Kitchen‘ will continue airing it, so maybe 25 years from now when I’m all settled down I can watch a re-run right after an ‘Obama: The Greatest President Who Ever Lived’ special starring one of Will Smith’s kids.

In the meantime I’m traveling a bit right now and just wanted to keep you up to date.

I’m heading to Istanbul this week for an amazing event:

Gap and Apple have teamed up to present fashion that matches each Ipod Nano Chromatic–and I’ve been fortunate enough to get the exciting chance to create a cocktail to match each Ipod as well! I’ve never worked solely on a colour-basis for cocktails so this is quite a fun challenge. I’ll be posting the cocktails I’ve created in the next few weeks, but in the meantime check out the website here to see the campaign.

One more quick news item was a wonderful feature from Danny Ronen and Jenn Faringdon of the Tasting Panel magazine that just was forwarded on to me. The Tasting Panel is by far the top industry magazine for all-things-bar and I’m humbled for a feature in their Trends:London issue. Best of all, half way through the interview Danny and I realised we attended the same high school! Nice one! Check it out here.

Following this, I’ll be in the US and San Francisco–one of my favorite bar towns–and up to the lovely (and confirmed spiritual vortex of) Mt. Shasta, California. No, not to find myself…but to mix up some drinks for a very special group of folks in the wild-er-ness of Northern Cal. Should be quite a time!

More to come but just wanted to check in on a chilly London day. Cheers and happy pre-holiday madness to all!!


Joe McCanta’s Never-Fail Hangover Relief Shake!

November 9, 2008

This is something I’m working on for an up-coming article and thought, do to the nature of the kind folks who visit this blog, I’d pass my never-fail cure on! One other quick note that I’m not using for the article (as it has to be 100% non-alcoholic) is to put 7 strong dashes of Angostura and 7 Peychauds bitters to help as well!

Happy Imbibing,


Joe McCanta’s Never-Fail Hangover Relief Shake!

When we overindulge one of the first things we lose is hydration in our body, followed closely by vitamins C and B. This is a deliciously spicy and hydrating, vitamin-packed morning after cure. We sue C-powered juice, raspberries and pineapple, kidney-cleaning cardamom and cayenne and stomach-soothing ginger and banana which acts as a natural antacid.

50 ml Orange Juice
4 large chunks of Pineapple
8 Raspberries
1 Ripe Banana
1 thin slice of fresh ginger
250 mls Soy Milk
Pinch of Cardamom
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
Pinch of Salt
Pinch of Cinnamon

Blend all ingredients for as long as your pounding head can stand it.

Keeping Myself Honest

October 31, 2008

To all the good folks who so kindly have sent me emails and are reading this new attempt at reaching the google-sphere THANKS! And especially thanks for your patience. As many of you know if you’re in the industry, this time of year is absolutely crazy and it seems the credit crisis has only had a positive effect on those of us who provide the much needed booze to drown sorrows in.

It’s due to this rush that I’ve been so lacking in my updates. But that’s not all–I think I get a little carried away with all the writing. Anyone who’s met me in person knows that I can talk…and talk…and talk….and talk…and oh, talk! It seems this same loquaciousness comes out in my blog entries but as some good friends recently put it to me: “Blog’s aren’t exactly novels…keep it simple, keep it informative, and most of all keep it short and to the point!”

Well put. So to keep myself honest I’m going to try an experiment. 1 cocktail recipe a day. That’s it. 1 a day that I’ve NEVER before created. Some may be rubbish (although hopefully not) and some may be a bit lame…but I’ve never challenged myself to invent every single day. Usually I work in bouts of creativity…such as yesterday’s meeting with the folks at Buffalo Trace where I inadvertenly created about 8 new recipes. I’m a big believer in being prolific with the hypothesis that 1 out of every few things you write, invent or dream up will be brilliant. So let’s have it a go. Today’s cocktail:

A Date to Remember

Garnish with a 3 brandied cherries on a rosemary skewer.

There you have it…easy and simple. And a great autumn creation to boot. We’re serving it tonight at Saf and Chef Chad Sarno’s already getting loopy on them…well not quite, but soon.

Please tell me your thoughts on these cocktails and any ingredients I use. Also if you make at home, let me know how it turns out.

Cheers to all!

A bar to call home

September 23, 2008

One of the most exciting parts about bartending across the globe is running into a bar you wish you worked at. That definitely happened tonight at the Hawksmoore in London. Following a boring trade convention (however one which I found an amazing Organic Cachaca and some divine Finnish Cloudberry liqueuer!) my associate and I headed to a much touted bar right around the corner from mine. Not only did I taste some fantastically made cocktails but–low and behold–I actually LOVED the bartender. A french chap who SWEARS he’s Polish–he did what every right-minded barkeep will do: asked what I wanted, asked my likes/dislikes, and made me a cocktail based off of that. Granted when asked to make a Ward Eight he stared at me like a deer in headlights–and he made his Martinez with Luxardo Maraschino (a personal vendetta I have on that product) but he was extremely knowledgeable, passionate, and above all had a je ne sais quoi quality that makes every bartender approachable if not a candidate for your new best friend. Oh–and did I forget to mention running into an old friend/barkeep from Green and Red and discussing the finer points of his Toredor–one of my favorite cocktails of the last 6 months molded with El Tesoro Reposado Tequila, Apricot Brandy and Lime Juice….divine!!!

Bronx Battered

September 22, 2008

Winston Churchill whilst debating with Lady Rudolph drunkenly one night was once called out.
“You sir, are drunk!” Ms. Rudolph commented.
“Yes my dear, and you are ugly…tomorrow I will be sober”

One of the hardest things about being a bartender (and in some respects especially a sommelier) is dealing with the varied tastes that customers may have. Indeed it’s the hardest but also the most exciting because it you get someone who understands their likes/dislikes the dance begins–you can chat on and on about the balance of a particular drink or the tannin (or lack there of) of a glass of wine. But every now and then (and not to give too much away but it just happened NOW at my bar Saf) you run into someone who won’t be happy. I actually understand completely the mindset and think it’s a natural response to how exacting us bartenders have become–we forget that sometimes it’s very off-putting for the average ‘joe’ as it were to discuss the finer points of the Bitter Truth Orange Bitters and Regan’s. That being said I always welcome the chance to turn a guest onto a classic recipe because (until tonight) I’ve found that 9 times out of 10 the recipes of yesteryear are so well balanced, and so delightfully simple while yielding a complex taste that it can cause a moment of revelation for said guest. Tonight’s guest however was on a mission. My bartender Aaron made one of the most superb cocktails I’ve tried in a while–a delicious and surprising mix of Pisco, Hayman’s Gin Liqueur, Freshly muddled grapes, Cointreau and a secret ingredient that was a divinely balanced cocktail! But with a look as sour as the secret ingredient, the patron declined saying she tasted a ‘compote’ in the glass.
Enter super-mixologist who thought he’d save the day by making a Bronx with the Beefeater Crown Jewel, Carpano Antica Formula, Dolin Dry and fresh OJ. Wrong. Even though she said she wanted something ‘stronger–no no no it’s all wrong.
The thing is it’s my fault–but I don’t know, every now and then you encounter tastes that just can’t be decyphered. Ultimately as a bartender we need to read the minds of our patrons and deliver them the best cocktail they never thought of…but every now and then someone just wants to cause a fuss.
Anywho…moral of the story is…well, I’m drinking the most delicious Bronx I’ve had in a while.
And she’s sober. Tomorrow I will be sipping a Bronx~!

Shrub it off!

September 19, 2008

My newest favourite cocktail was found last night after quite the stressful day–what a great thing about working in the restaurant biz…if all goes to hell you’re never that far away from a lovely glass of wine, a cocktail, or really sharp knives. Just kidding.
Seriously though, getting back to London has been a bit of a ‘hit the ground running’ type of experience which are the kind I normally thrive on-however it’s taking a bit longer than I expected (hence the lack of posts from my promise of one-a-day). The very first night I returned Saf Restaurant was hosting a party for Ethical Fashionistas soon to be in Paris but now celebrating London Fashion Week. It was fantastic and people gobbled up the organic food of Chad Sarno as well as my cocktails which included the Safia–a lovely mixture of strawberry, basil, Juniper Green Gin, chamomile and lime and the Spiced Apricot Martini which uses Apricot infused vodka, ginger, lemon and agave. The event was quite the success we wanted it to be as evidenced by the press.
Anyways, one of the more interesting meet was with Heather Mills who was a really lovely person, not at all what the tabloids have made her out to be. A truly passionate individual who is looking to make a change. Chad is in New York this weekend helping her feed 1000 Brooklyn kids better school food–! So if that’s not something to praise I don’t know what is.
We’ll be seeing her again along with a certain Ms. Moss who’s quite the fan of the food and drinks too!
So what’s the favourite cocktail….I gave a hint but stay tuned!