Bartender v.s. Mixologist

Does this turf war exist, or am I igniting one?

I just read an old interview with Ryan Magarian, a local mixologist who works with Kathy Casey Food Studios. He asserts a difference between a bartender and a mixologist, claiming a bartender to be more like a line cook and a mixologist to be more like a head chef. Taking the analogy one step farther, he seems to claim that a mixologist is an artist, while a bartender simply does the grunt work. This implies bartenders lack artistic vision.

That may be true of some bartenders, but I always have a problem with blanket statements such as that. I personally consider it part of my job to create new cocktails, to ensure consistentcy in recipes and to display some sort of artistic vision in our menus. It's an overly simplistic view to assume bartenders don't respect their crafts while mixologists do. It might be true to say that for every bartender who truly cares about his craft there are hundreds more who only sling drinks for tips while they work toward a different career, to state flat-out that only mixologists care about their craft is, in a word, wrong.

I can't stand when people call me a mixologist or a bar chef. It's embarassing. I'm a bartender, and damn proud of that. Everything Magarian claims for himself as a mixologist, I find to be inherent in my job description.

All of this may just be hair-splitting semantics, but my own definition of mixologist would be simply someone who creates cocktails but doesn't earn a living tending bar. If Magarian no longer works behind a bar, that'd be fair to call him a mixologist.

Overall, however, I've a feeling Magarian is just trying to seperate himself from the common bartender. Me, I'm proud to trace my lineage from Jerry Thomas (try explaining how that guy was not an artist) to the flair bartender wowing the crowd on a Saturday night, to the server feeding cans of Budweiser to thirsty blue-collar workers at your local hole-in-the-wall.

Bartenders are equal parts line cook and executive chef. To suggest otherwise is neither accurate nor fair. There is no doubting Magarian's talent, nor his resumé, and I have tremendous respect for his devotion to our craft and his contributions to our cocktail library. I only wish he had greater respect for bartenders.


I'm not an expert in my field, let's just start there and get that out of the way. There are numerous sites out there that thoroughly cover the full range of topics in the cocktail and spirit world, and if they don't, the massive library going back over 100 years does. So what can I contribute that's new??? Not sure, but I'm going to pitch a few pennies and see....

My first penny is my own experiments with falernum.

Falernum, for the unitiated, is a syrup/sweetener used in tropical drinks, sometimes with alcohol, sometimes without. Here in Seattle, it is difficult to get a hold of , though the non-alcoholic version by Fee Brothers is now available at DeLaurenti near the Pike Place Market. The alcohol version, however, is unavailable. If you're anything like me, when something is unavailable, I become obsessed with obtaining it somehow (like Creme Yvette, Dave Embury's book etc.) When I learned there were recipes out there to make your own, well, I just had to take a crack at it.

I was first introduced to falernum by Kacy over at the Zig Zag Cafe here in Seattle. (A profile on the Zig Zag will have to be forthcoming, as it deserves a blog entry of its own...). The taste of fresh lime, cloves, almonds was unlike anything I'd ever had. Kacy told me they'd gone through a series of batches until they settled on their current recipe. He gave me the ingredients off the top of his head, but didn't have the proportions with him. He also told me the process, but by then I'd had a few Corn-n-Oils and his instructions were lost in the vapors...

Paul Clarke detailed his own trials and errors on his website, and his latest batch looked like a good place to start, so I gleefully ripped off his instructions without his permission, brought in Kacy's ingredients, and went from there.

The Ingredients
6 oz Cruzan 2 year white rum
9 limes
40 cloves
40 whole allspice berries
1.5 oz ginger (by weight)
Pure vanilla extract
Pure almond extract
Homemade simple syrup

And now for Paul's instructions... with some, ahem, liberal adjustments...
*Zest the limes, being careful not to slice so deep you get the white pith (a microplane grater works best for this), then set the limes aside
*Julienne the ginger (i.e. cut into matchstick strips)
*Add into mason jar, along with the rum, cloves and allspice berries
*Piss off your significant other by taking up room in the refrigerator, right next to your homemade pimento dram, various grenadines and other infused syrups
*Let it sit with optimum serenity overnight

*The next day, strain the solids from the infused rum through a cheesecloth, pressing on the solids to extract all the goodness
*Dump the solids into a saucepan, along with 1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar, essentially making an infused simple syrup. Heat water until sugar is dissolved.
*After it has cooled, strain syrup into mason jar and mix with the rum
*Add juice pressed from the 9 zested limes held over from the day before
*Add two tsps each of vanilla extract and almond extract
*Wait 24 hours, then, Dr. Frankenstein, test your creation in a much-deserved drink

How does it turn out? At first, the lime and clove dominate, but eventually every ingredient integrates. This falernum keeps it's snappy lime flavor, and the spices and flavorings stay in the background where they belong.

The drink to test it on? The Corn-N-Oil, of course...

2 1/4 oz. Cruzan Blackstrap St. Croix rum
3/4 oz. your freakishly delicious new falernum syrup
1 dash Angostura bitters

Build in a rocks glass, garnish with a lime wedge, dutifully squeezing it into the drink.

Dance Around the Maypole

Happy May Day to all the socialists and Wiccans out there. Today is the day of my first post, and I'll have to lobby Wikkipedia to add my blog to it's May Day page. This will allow non-socialists and non-Wiccans the ability to celebrate May Day as well.

So, my initial 'Cocktail of the Day' selection begins on International Workers Day and on a pagan holiday. I'm not sure if there is an over-arching meaning to this, but my cocktail selection will most certainly have to reflect the spirit of the day.

I am not aware of any pagan cocktails (though a quick Web search revealed some bizarre ones, such as the Witches Brew on, which doesn't read well).

Ahem, on to the socialist inspired cocktails then, of which there are a few. We could select any of the classic Cuban drinks, as I'm sure Fidel Castro would encourage. 'La Floridita', 'El Presidente', a 'Mojito' or two, a 'Cuba Libre', the 'Papa Dobles', heck, any Daiquiri would do today as well. In fact, I strongly recommend drinking your way through the entire Cuban cannon. My initial feeling, though, is that today is not the best day to honor those glorious Cuban barmen who kept Hemingway and countless other thirsty expats satiated during the dark days of Prohibition. Plenty of other days on the calender to raise our collective glasses in their memory.

So today's 'Cocktail of the Day' and this blog's initial selection goes to 'The Communist'. This recipe is from my favorite cocktail author Dr Cocktail aka Ted Haigh, from his book 'Vintage Spirits & Forgotten Cocktails'. If you don't own this book, get it; Dr Cocktail deserves to be wealthy.

1 oz gin
1 oz orange juice
1/2 oz cherry brandy
3/4 oz lemon juice

A gin and juice cocktail. Snoop Dogg would be proud. Power to the peoples.

Cocktail Recipes

* Absinthe Frappe - Absinthe, sugar, water
* Aku Aku - Rum, peach liquer, mint, lime juice, pineapple, simple syrup
* Alfonso - Dubonnet, sugar, Angostura bitters, Champagne
* Algonquin - Rye, pineapple juice, dry vermouth
* Americano - Campari, sweet vermouth, soda water
Ancient Mariner
* Anejo Highball - Rum, orange curacao, lime juice, Angostura bitters, ginger beer
* Aperol Sour - Aperol, lemon juice, simple syrup, orange bitters
* Applejack Old-Fashioned - Applejack, maple syrup, Fee Brothers Whiskey Barrel Aged bitter
* Arsenic & Old Lace- Gin, creme de violette, dry vermouth, absinthe
* Ascot - Bourbon, Amaretto, peach bitters, star anise
* Astoria - Gin, dry vermouth, orange bitters
* Aviation - Gin, lemon juice, maraschino liquer

* Batida Rosa - Cachaca, lemon juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, simple syrup
* Bee's Kiss - Light and dark rum, honey, cream
* Bellini - White peach puree, prosecco
* Blinker - Rye, grapefruit juice, raspberry syrup
* Blood & Sand - Scotch, sweet vermouth, cherry brandy, orange juice
* Blue Moon - Gin, lemon juice, creme de violette
* Bobby Burns - Scotch, sweet vermouth, Drambuie, Angostura bitters
* Boulevardier - Bourbon, Campari, sweet vermouth
* Black & Tan - Rye, blackberries, mint, simple syrup, lime juice, ginger beer
* Bramble - Gin, creme de mure, lemon juice, simple syrup

* Caipirinha - Cachaca, lime, simple syrup
* Canton - Jamaican rum, orange curacao, maraschino liquer, grenadine, Angostura bitters
* Champagne Cocktail - Champagne, Angostura bitters, sugar cube
* Chartreuse Swizzle - Chartreuse, falernum, lime juice, pineapple juice
* Choke Artist - Cynar, tequilla, sherry, orange bitters
* Chrysanthemum - Dry vermouth, Benedictine, absinthe
* Citron Buck - Absolut Citron, creme de cassis, ginger simple syrup, ginger beer
* Clermont Smash - Mint, falernum, bourbon, lemon juice, peach bitters
* Cocktail a'la Louisiane - Rye, Benedictine, sweet vermouth, absinthe, Peychaud bitters
* Corn-N-Oil - Cruzan Blackstrap rum, falernum, bitters, lime
* Corpse Reviver #2 - Lillet, gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, absinthe
* Creole Resolution - Lillet, grenadine, sugar cube, champagne

* Dark And Stormy - Goslings rum, ginger beer, lime
* Dead Man's Dram - Demerrara rum, brandy, falernum, pimento dram, 1/2 & 1/2
* Death In The Afternoon - absinthe, champagne
* Delicious Sour - Applejack, peach liquer, lime juice, egg white, simple syrup
* Deshler - Rye, Cointreau, Dubonnet, Peychaud bitters
* Diamondback - Rye, chartreuse, applejack
* Drink Without A Name - Vodka, Chartreuse, Cointreau
* Duwamish Julep - Bourbon, mint, blackberry liquer, Angostura bitters

* Eastern Sour - Bourbon, lemon juice, orange juice, orgeat, simple syrup
* El Diablo - Tequilla, lime juice, creme de cassis, ginger ale
* Eldwerwilde - Gin, elderflower syrup, absinthe, Angostura bitters
* Expatriate - Pimm's, ginger syrup, champagne

* Floridita - Rum, sweet vermouth, grenadine, lime juice, white creme de cacao
* Fort Washington Flip - Applejack, Benedictine, maple syrup, egg
* French 75 - Gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, champagne
* Friar's Pint - Gin, cardamom-infused Guinness, sherry, simple syrup, Angostura bitters

* Ganesvoort Fizz - Rum, Drambuie, lemon juice, Peychaud bitters, soda water
* Gentleman Johnson - Bourbon, iced tea, Cointreau
* Gimlet - Gin or vodka, Roses lime juice
* Gin-Gin Mule - Gin, lime juice, mint, ginger beer, simple syrup
* Gypsy - Gin, lime juice, maraschino liquer, elderflower liquer

* Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch - Strohs rum, absinthe, lime juice, orange juice, simple syrup, cherries
* Hoskins - Gin, Torani Amer, Cointreau, Maraschino liquer, orange bitters
* Hurricane - Light and dark rums, orange and lime juices, passion fruit syrup, grenadine, simple syrup

* Ines - Gin, Amaretto, dry and sweet vermouths
* Irish Coffee - Irish whiskey, hot coffee, whipped cream, sugar

* Jaguar - Tequilla, Amer Picon, green Chartreuse, orange bitters
* Japanese - Brandy, orgeat, Angostura bitters
* Jasmine - Gin, Campari, lemon juice, Cointreau
* Jolly Roger - Dark rum, orange juice, falernum, Angostura bitters

* Last Word
* Limon Fresca - Gin, lime juice, ginger beer, simple syrup
* Little Italy - Rye, Cynar, sweet vermouth

* Maharajah Burra-Peg - Cognac, champagne, sugar, Angostura bitters
* Mai Tai - Jamaican rum, Martinique rum, lime juice, orgeat, Cointreau
* Manhattan - Rye or bourbon, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters
* Margarita - Tequilla, Cointreau, lime juice
* Marmalade Sour - cachaca, orange marmalade, lemon juice, orange bitters, egg white
* Martini - Gin, dry vermouth
* Milk Punch - Brandy, rum, simple syrup, whole milk
* Mint Julep - Bourbon, mint, simple syrup
* Mojito - Rum, mint, lime, simple syrup
* Monkey Gland - Gin, grenadine, orange juice, absinthe
* Moscow Mule - Vodka, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters

* Nacional - Rum, apricot brandy, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters
* Negroni - Gin, Campari, sweet vermouth, orange bitters
* Night And Day - Cognac, Grand Marnier, Angostura bitters, champagne
* Nirvana - Rye, Amer Picon, maraschino liquer, Benedictine
* Noa Noa - Demerara rum, lime juice, Angostura bitters, mint, brown sugar
* None But The Brave - Brandy, Jamaican rum, pimento dram, lemon juice, simple syrup
* Nui Nui - Rum, pimento dram, cinnamon syrup, vanilla syrup, lime juice, orange juice, angostura bitters

* Oaxaca Old-Fashioned - Tequilla, mezcal, agave nectar, Angostura bitters
* Old Cuban - Rum, mint, lime, Angostura bitters, simple syrup
* Old Fashioned - Rye or bourbon, Angostura bitters, simple syrup
* Old Pal - Rye or bourbon, sweet vermouth, Campari
* Opera - Gin, Dubonnet, maraschino liquer, orange bitters

* Papa Dobles Rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, maraschino liquer, simple syrup
* Paloma - Tequilla, lime juice, grapefruit juice, Sprite, salt
* Paloma Mi Amante - Tequilla por mi amante, lime juice, Sprite, grapefruit juice, salt
* Pearl Diver Punch - Jamaican rum, Demerara rum, Puerto Rican rum, lime juice, orange juice, Pearl Divers Mix, falernum
* Pegu - Gin, lime juice, Cointreau, Angostura bitters, orange bitters
* Philadelphia Fish House Punch - Rum, cognac, peach brandy, simple syrup, lime juice, orange juice
* Picon Punch - Amer Picon, grenadine, soda
* Pimms Cup - Pimms No. 1, lemonade, 7UP
* Pink Lady - Gin, Applejack, grenadine, lemon juice, egg white
* Pisco Punch - Pisco, pineapple, gum syrup, water, lemon juice
* Pisco Sour Pisco, lemon juice, simple syrup, egg white, Angostura bitters
* Planters Punch - Jamaican rum, lime juice, orange juice, pineapple juice, grenadine, Angostura bitters
* Police Gazette Cocktail - Bourbon, dry vermouth, grenadine, simple syrup, Angostura bitters, orange curacao, maraschino liquer
* Pusser's Painkiller - Pussers rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut, orange juice, nutmeg

* Queens Park Swizzle - Rum, simple syrup, mint, Angostura bitters
* Ramos Gin Fizz - Gin, lemon juice, lime juice, egg white, orange flower water, simple syrup, cream, soda water
* Red Hook - Rye, Punt e Mes, maraschino liquer
* Reveillion - Calvados, pear eau-de-vie, pimento dram, Punt e Mes, Fee's Old Fashioned Aromatic Bitters
* Rosemary Gimlet - Gin, lime juice, rosemary syrup
* Rosewater Rickey - Gin, lime juice, rosewater, bruleed cherries, sugar, Angostura bitters mist, soda water
* Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail - Rum, lime juice, Cointreau, falernum
* Rubicon - Gin, maraschino liquer, lemon juice, rosemary, green Chartreuse

* Saratoga - Rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters
* Sazerac - Rye, simple syrup, Peychaud bitters, absinthe
* Scofflaw - Rye, lemon juice, dry vermouth, grenadine
* Scorched Earth - Cognac, Cynar, sweet vermouth, flamed lemon twist
* Seventh Heaven - Gin, grapefruit juice, maraschino liquer, mint
* Sidecar - Brandy, Cointreau, lemon juice
* Silver Lining - Rye, lemon juice, Licor 43, egg white, soda water
* Southside - Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, mint
* Spumoni - Campari, grapefruit juice, soda water
* Strega Daiquiri - Rum, Strega, lemon juice, orange juice, orgeat
* Swami - Pisco, lime juice, green Chartreuse, grapefruit bitters, simple syrup

* Tailspin - Gin, green Chartreuse, sweet vermouth, orange bitters
* Test Pilot - Rum, Cointreau, falernum, lime juice, Angostura bitters, absinthe
* Tipperary - Irish whiskey, sweet vermouth, green Chartreuse

* Verona - Rye, Aperol, Dubonnet, grapefruit bitters
* Vesper - Gin, vodka, Lillet
* Vessel 75 - Bourbon, Peychaud bitters, maple syrup foam (egg white, maple syrup, water, lemon juice
* Vieux Carre - Rye, cognac, sweet vermouth, Benedictine, Peychaud bitters, Angostura bitters

* Union - Hendricks gin, rosewater, creme de cassis, mint, champagne

* White Lady - Gin, Cointreau, lemon juice, egg white
* White Russian - Vodka, Kahlua, cream
* Windemere County Julep - Bourbon, Applejack, maple syrup, mint
* Wisdom of Pele - Rum, more rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, falernum, honey, cinnamon syrup, Fees whiskey-barrel aged bitters, vanilla liquer

* Yeh Yeh Yeh - Bourbon, blonde Lillet, Lillet rouge

* Zaza - Gin, Dubonnet, orange bitters