Hatching Free Range Ideas

The San Antonio Cocktail Conference

In cocktails on January 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm

ImageThis last weekend, I drank for charity. I attended the second annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference. Surprisingly, I learned a lot about cocktail theory — what makes a good cocktail.

  • High proof liquor makes better cocktails than lower proofs because the flavor is stronger.
  • The word alcohol has the same root as alchemy.
  • There are 5 dimensions to consider when mixing and designing cocktails:
  1. The dominating flavor
  2. Mouth feel
  3. The balance between sweet and dry
  4. Contrast of flavors
  5. Complexity

Here’s one of my favorite cocktail recipes, shared from the woman who manages the bar at the W Hotel in Austin.

  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part frambois liquere
  • 1 part ginger liquere
  • 2 parts whiskey

Shake vigorously with ice and serve over ice. Quite lovely. I didn’t even know really that I was a cocktail person. But what was even more surprising is that Eric, who is a total beer person, discovered that a cocktail or two is a lovely thing. There were some really grand bartenders here, who have elevated the cocktail to a gourmet event.

I spoke to Adam, the bar manager at Barriba Cantina, who told me that St. Germain is the bartender’s ketchup. And his favorite cocktail recipe is:

  • 1 tequila
  • 2 champagne
  • 1/2 St. Germain
  • 1/2 fresh grapefruit juice

That wasn’t what he was serving however, but I’m going to try it because the cocktail that he created was also wonderful. It was:

  • 1 fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 St. Germain
  • 2 whiskey

Shake, again vigorously and pour over ice. Top with 1 part green Chartreuse and add a large piece of grapefruit peel, which you run around the rim of the glass and then place inside. He said, “Don’t bother with little twists. If you use a big one (about 1 x 3) people can also use it as a stirrer.” Hmmm.

How did I recall these recipes in a sea of liquor and cocktails? Evernote!!!!

There were many notable discoveries over the two evenings I spent of the three that were offered. And some things that seemed to me to go beyond adventure into just plain weird, .like the tea sandwich that was white bread, sardine, salami and kim chi. Not a bad taste but lordy, the breath that came back from that would remove paint.

I also was able to recall through great examples, what it was like to be young and foolish, from the beautiful young women in cruel shoes all over the stairs at the Majestic to the painfully embarrassing drunks with more money than sense. I have been those people in my past minus the more money portion. Okay, maybe that’s not true for I surely have had more money than sense, even some times when my pockets were empty.

  1. Thanks for sharing! I so enjoy “traveling” to these fun things via your words!

  2. The convention was fun and informative! Wonder what vodka, grapefruit juice and St. Germain would be like. Must do R and D with you.

  3. Looking forward to more cocktail alchemy.

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