Thursday, May 13, 2010

Mixology 101

A glass of delightfulness, compliments of Bradstreet Crafthouse Restaurant

Tuesday evening, I attended a mixology seminar at Bradstreet Crafthouse Restaurant in Minneapolis.  For those who have not visited Bradstreet, it is something special, a big-city bartender-y oasis here in our little hamlet.  And what fun it was. . . on the tasting menu were four classic cocktails - Gimlet, Dark and Stormy, Margarita, and Old Fashioned, which had been stripped down to their chassis and rebuilt with house-made bitters, syrups and pristine fresh juices per the cocktail stylings of our hosts: Toby Maloney and Jason Cott of Alchemy Consulting.
  The results were mind-blowing incarnations of what each cocktail ought to be, in a perfect world - still familiar, but so much better than one ever thought they could be.  Also on the tasting menu was the Juliet and Romeo (Plymouth gin, fresh lime juice, mint, cucumber and rosewater), my favorite Bradstreet cocktail and another Alchemy brainchild.

Toby and Jason are wellsprings of cocktail lore.  Over the course of the evening, they covered flavor pairing, mirroring, ice, and the curious term "or-gan-a-lep-tic" (akin to an art/science of 360 degree cocktail sensory stimulation), among countless other tidbits.  One may have wondered, as a cocktail geek often does, about the optimal temperature for a martini.  Well, Toby knows, and the answer was as clear as a perfectly tumbled shaker of gin and vermouth . . . 22 degrees Farenheit.  And how does one stumble upon this information?  Toby's answer, nor surprisingly, was that he and a cohort concocted martinis, shaken different ways, with different amounts of ice, different kinds of ice, in every viable combination, and lined them up to taste each with mathematical precision, one after the other.  (We suspect that 'Martini Night' is the night that Toby sustained his "mysterious bartend-ing injury", but he's not telling . . . )

I would attend another Alchemy seminar in heartbeat, however, Toby and Jason do not typically present to cocktail laypersons regarding their craft, reserving their knowledge for cocktail professionals.  Therefore, it is a great comfort that their formulations can be sampled daily at Bradstreet.  I for one am not sure I will be able to drink a Gimlet anywhere else, ever again . . .


Michelle (JSTK Julia)