Posts Tagged ‘bar’

By: Raul Parra
Email: rp@99sportsproblems.com
Twitter: ParraPalliative

The Lifeblood

You are it.  You are the thing that stands between a great night and a bad night.  You are the gatekeeper and in those bottles behind you are all the keys to all the kingdoms.  “How do you keep from being a shitty bartender?” you ask.  Below are some tips and advice from yours truly:

Don’t Sweat the Technique:

First, lets take you through a few moves to add to your arsenal.

  • Chilling a Glass – If you have the room try to store your glassware in a freezer or refrigerator.  If you do not have the room, it’s cool don’t frown, all you have to do is fill your glass with ice and water.  All the way to the point of no return… Once that is finished start to prepare the cocktail.  Grab your chilled glassware, pour out the ice and water, pour in your completed cocktail.  There you have it, one chilled glass.

  • Shaking –   If you truly want to be a master of mixology you need to learn when and how to properly use your shaker.  Shakers come into play if the cocktail you are making contains:  fruit juice, milk, eggs, cream, horseradish or any other thick ingredients.
  1. Fill the glass half of your Boston Shaker with 2/3 ice.
  2. Add the other ingredients.
  3. Place the glass half down, place the metal half on top and hit the metal end make sure it is firmly locked in.
  4. Make sure the metal half is down.
  5. Bring the shaker, one hand on the glass half the other on the metal, to the side of your head.  Shake vigorously for 10-20 seconds.
  6. Finish the process with the metal cup on the bottom.
  7. Rap the side of the shaker where the two cups meet to open it.
  8. Fit the inside of the metal cup with a Hawthorne Strainer, hold in place with your index finger, strain your chilled concoction into your hopefully already chilled glass.
  9. Enjoy.

Let’s try your new skills out:

Scottish Side Car

2 1/2 ounces scotch
1/2 ounce triple sec
1 ounce orange juice
Pour all ingredients into a shaker 2/3 full of ice cubes.  Shake well. Strain into a chilled Cocktail glass.
  • Muddling  Clearly this activity requires a…. wait for it… A MUDDLER!  Also, it would be wise to use a sturdy glass when performing this little diddy.  You definitely do not want to use grand ma mas fine China for this.  Place the ingredients at the bottom of the glass.  Use the flat end of the Muddler to smash vigorously.  So let’s try this little skill out:

Mojito

6 to 8 fresh mint leaves
3/4 ounce simple syrup
half a lime cut into smaller wedges
2 ounces light rum
2 ounces club soda
lime wedge for garnish
Place the mint leaves, simple syrup, and lime wedges in the bottom of a High Ball glass, MUDDLE WELLFill the glass with crushed ice.  Add the rum and club soda.  Stir briefly.  Add the lime wedge garnish.
  • Blending  If there is no stated ice amount in the recipe, fill the blender no more than half with ice.  Add ingredients.  Cover (duh.)  Pulse and blend.  Listen closely for the sound of the blender to change.  Puree until lumps are gone!  DO IT!:

Rum Runner

2 ounces Bacardi 151 proof rum
1 1/2 ounces blackberry brandy
1 ounce creme de banane
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
splash of grenadine
lime wedge for garnish
Pour in all the liquid ingredients into blender.  Add 4-6 ice cubes.  Blend and pulse until smooth.  Pour into wine goblet.  Add lime garnish.
 
  • “Salting” a Glass –  There is nothing worse than ordering a margarita and having half a cup of salt in it.  This little tip will help you not suck at garnishing drinks with dry ingredients.  First, you want to take your dry ingredients like salt, cocoa powder, nutmeg etc.. and put them in individual salt shakers.  Next, coat the OUTSIDE of the glass only with either your fruit of choice or a little bit of spirits soaked in a paper towel.  Take the coated glass over a sink and sprinkle your desired ingredient.  BOOM… FACED:

Margarita

Kosher Salt
Lime Wedge
3 ounce white tequila
2 ounces of Cointreau or triple sec
1 ounce fresh lime juice
Prepare the glass… the right way.  Pour all ingredients into a shaker 2/3 full of ice.  Shake well.  Strain into prepared glass.
 

So there you have it folks.  I hope some of you learned something today.  The rest of you… continue to be savages in world of gentleman and fine quaffed ladies.

Missed Part One?  It’s Right Here!

By: Raul Parra
Email: rp@99sportsproblems.com
Twitter: ParraPalliative

We have all dreamed of opening a bar.  You usually get the bug right after the credits to Cocktail roll at 2 in the morning and you were too wasted to get up and grab the remote.  Now you may not have the scratch to go out and buy a building and start building your empire, but you may have room in the dining room or living room to set up a little home bar.  Below is a list of tools, tips and recipes to get you on your way.  Now please enjoy part one of The Home Bar.

Tools of the Trade:

Here is a list of tools that you will need to make any concoction that you can ever dream of, some of these are more important than others, it just depends how far down the rabbit hole you want to go.

  • Bar Spoon:  This little dude is long, has a twisted shaft and is adorned with a tear drop liked spoon.  I know what you’re thinking ladies, but this is specifically for making drinks.  Pretty handy for stirring with one hand.
  • Bar Towels:  Cleaning up messes and shining the glassware.  It’s always good to have a few of these bad boys laying around.
  • Blender:  Love daiquiris and margaritas?  Well then you’ll need one of these puppies.  If you can afford it go with a nice metal one instead of plastic.
  • Boston Shaker:  The essential tool for cocktail mixing.  It consists of two cups, one metal and the other glass.  The metal cup is placed over the glass and the two are then shaken until the mixture inside has been fully incorporated.  When you separate the two halves, if poured from the metal cup use a Hawthorne strainer, if pouring from the glass cup use a julep strainer.
  • Bottle Opener:  Well…. yeah.  (Using a lighter to open a bottle is also an option, if you’re a mac daddy pimp and know how to do it.)
  • Can Opener:  You know it.. you’ve used it.
  • Champagne Stopper:  You don’t want your bubbly to go flat… this guy will help you.
  • Church Key:  If you don’t want to go with just a bottle opener you can get down with one of these little buddies.  The pointy end can be used to pierce the top of tomato or coconut juice cans.
  • Juicer or Citrus Reamer:  Who wouldn’t want fresh OJ for their Mimosas?
  • Citrus Stripper and Zesters:  Into making fancy garnishes or adding that potent zest to bring out the flavor of a cocktail?  Then you’ll definitely need one of these.
  • Coasters or Cocktail napkins:  Do you respect wood?  Well we do.  Don’t leave those unsightly water stains on your bar and don’t let your friends do it either.
  • Cocktail Picks: For picking up garnishes… don’t use your fingers… bunch of savages in this town… I swear.
  • Corkscrew: Absolutely essential tool for opening corked bottles.  If you don’t know what a corkscrew is… you probably should not be drinking.
  • Cutting Board: You have to have a clean place to cut up your garnishes.
  • Glass Pitcher:  For storing juices or punches that you have created.
  • Ice Bucket: This little guy is vital.  Almost everything you will create will involve ice.  No one wants to be running back and forth from the ice maker to the bar every time you want to make a cold drink.  Save yourself the running game.
  • Ice Scoop: No one wants your filthy hands on their ice.
  • Jigger: Usually metal, hour glass shaped device that usually has a 1 once measure on one side and a one and a half once measure on the other side.  However, they do make different types of jiggers so make sure to check yours.
  • Muddler:  Usually a wooden and pestle shaped.  This nifty dude is used to crush ingredients at the bottom of a glass.
  • Cocktail Straws:  Used for mixing your drink in the glass and sipping.
  • Speed PourersA removable pouring spout that allows the bartender to pick up bottles and pour immediately.  It is also the essential element used for “count pouring” which we will discuss in the later sections of this article.
  • Strainer:  There are two types available for bars.  A Hawthorne Strainer and a Julep strainer.

Now, that’s not too bad of a list is it.  In fact you probably have most of these things already buried in a junk drawer somewhere.  So what’s next?  Well, what are you going to serve all these lovely drinks in?

Glassware:

There are over two dozen different types of glassware that you can stock your bar with, however before you run out and buy a new collection of stuff think about how much entertaining you actually do.  How many times a month do you entertain?  On average how many peeps do you usually have over?  What are the tastes of your guest?  For instance, if you don’t find that you and your scumbag friends drinking too many glasses of champagne, don’t go buy a dozen champagne saucers.  Below is a list of bare minimums to get the party cracking.

  • Beer Glass or Mug 16-20 oz
  • Pilsner Glass 10-20 oz
  • All Purpose Wine Goblet 8-14 oz
  • Champagne Flute 6-9 oz
  • Cocktail Glass 4-12 oz
  • Collins Glass 8-14 oz
  • Shot Glass 1-3 oz
  • Rocks Glass 5-6 oz

The Home Bar Part Two: Tame the Beast!

By: Raul Parra
Email: rp@99sportsproblems.com
Twitter: ParraPalliative

Everyone has that one friend, pal, amigo or knucklehead in their life that seems to be stuck in perpetual devil horned bliss.  He couldn’t tell you about the state of the country. However, if you wanted to know every amalgam of every Metal/Hard Rock band since 1970, he could oblige you.  In detail and with NO QUARTER spared  (See what I did there?).  You’re getting the picture now.  You can see the image of his face beginning to form in your mind.  As hard as you try not to, you can still see his sleeveless t-shirts…

Manowar?

Venom?

Pantera?

Flames and voluptuous half naked women dance on the black fabric background.  It doesn’t matter if you can’t remember the wardrobe perfectly, cause they are all the same.  You’re smiling now and thinking of the great times you’ve shared… Axl Rose inspired shouting sessions in your Mom’s Old Buick, you know the one that smelled like spoiled milk and burnt out brain cells.  Also, the time you destroyed the local jocks in an all you can drink Jägermeister competition.  Metallica would have been so proud of you.

As that goofy smile fades you begin to think, “What ever happened to that guy?  I don’t see him much any more.  I could use another night like that!”

I know what you’re saying.  Well smarty pants Raul…. where would YOU go to double fist booze and head bang till you concuss yourself.  Well fear not, after you’re done tracking that Goober down, I have the perfect bar for y’all.

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Lock Down Bar and Grill (1024 N. Western Ave, Chicago Il, 60622, 773-451-lock) is the ideal place for you two Bro’los to drink some beer and share the story about the chick you were both sleeping with in high school (“Dude!  I swear I didn’t know!”).  Unless you’re a filthy Communist and you hate America you probably love burgers and BOY HOWDY does Lock Down deliver.

Running up and down the menu, my finger anxiously scanned for a familiar face.  I saw some words that I recognized, cheeseburger and mac and cheese.  However, they all seemed to have mutated into a more powerfully delicious monster of culinary dominance.  I began to sweat.  Surely a drink would calm my nerves.  A sultry eyed beauty (Thanks Katie!)  rewarded me for my lack of moxie and brought me a cold one. Bürger Beer is like PBR’s hotter, younger and less STD infested cousin.  I sucked it down in what seemed like one gulp and turned my mind back to the problem at hand.  My stomach was screaming that is was empty.

Then I saw it.

Or maybe it saw me.

It extended it’s sweaty jewelry encrusted hand from beyond the two dimensional world of the menu and gripped my throat until I croaked out, “I’ll have a Big Elvis.”

“The Big Elvis” is a 10 oz burger, charbroiled to juicy perfection, topped with slightly melted peanut butter and caramelized bananas.  If that isn’t enough to make you go from six to midnight, the crispiest of bacon ever makes an appearance as well, dropped down on The King’s crown like propaganda pamphlets spouting delicious swine rhetoric.  You couldn’t have paid me to stop smiling.

Oh, I wouldn’t dare forget to mention the green onion, bacon and bread crumb infused Mac and Cheese.  Kraft ain’t got shit on you Lock Down.  They call it MAC and cheese for a reason.  Cause you Mac’d on Kraft’s girl, stole her, and afterwards made Kraft OFFER you his shoes and made him hold your pocket.  Pimp shit.

“Holy Flat Screen TVs Batman!” I blurted out with greasy bits of burger flying onto the table.

Why so many?  I thought.

There must have been at least a dozen TV’s beaming at me.  For a moment my imagination ran away from me.  Had I unknowingly strolled my way into a Project MKULTRA inspired testing center, where nefarious dudes used subliminal messages peppered in metal and hard rock DVDs to convince me to kill a pop star of their choosing?  Would I leave this place and jump on the nearest plane, purchase a gun from absent toothed Hill William at a Swamp O’ Rama, then find Chris Brown and shoot him in his face?

Nah.  These nice folks just love their music.  Also, I might be losing my mind.

They didn’t go cheap on the sound system either.  Every thunderous uttering of the kick drum was heard loud and clear.  The crispy high end voice of the guitars soared like mythical thunder birds from the inner sleeve of your withered and semen stained copy of AD&D.  They nailed the virtual concert experience for sure.

My belly was full.  My beer can empty.  My senses battered from rock and/or roll. What else could a red blooded American male want?  The answer is nothing.

By: Raul Parra
Email: rp@99sportsproblems.com
Twitter: ParraPalliative

I want to root for Brixie’s (9526 W Ogden, Brookfield, IL, 1.708.387.0050). I really do. Any bar that has the cojones to have 32 different craft beers on tap and over 40 some-odd beers in bottles and cans, deserves to be applauded in my book.

However, like most modern bars that I have been encountering lately, they are going through an identity crisis.

Is it a classic Bar and Grill? Their kitchen is capable of delivering scrumptiously juicy burgers and crispy hand cut fries, if it’s open and if they have a cook employed at the moment. Sometimes it seems as if Bobby Fischer mans the grill in the kitchen, I’m always searching for him. Which is a shame because I want to be stuffing a Brixie Burger into my already french fried greased mouth. Alas, it seems as if the proprietors of this sagging establishment are putting me on a forced diet that could have only come from the depths of a Nazi’s brain. You are only allowed to smell the fryers and grill top wafting the spirits of meals past into the air, don’t ask for one; or the Gestapo will come round back and kidnap you!

Is it a sports bar? They have TVs and a projection screen and they use these devices to display sporting events. Yet, certain bartenders tend to play their music through an Ipod during sporting events, instead of the game audio. Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to experience the horrible hippie, trip hop, first wave of ska bullshit that said bartender plays. It’s awful, it sounds as if Dave Mathews is shitting on Bob Marley in a reverb chamber and the Sex Pistols are running the sound board.

Look, I am a musician and I have been in plenty bands, I had to learn from experience. Music is a lot like religion, if you are not already into it, no one wants a stranger shoving it their face like chloroform soaked rag. People like what they like. No one at a bar cares what the bartender is “in to.” Especially if you’re there to watch “the game.”

Side note: If you are in a band and you’re fortunate enough to have stumbled across our world changing Blog, hear me and hear me well. Never grace the stage at Brixie’s. Their lack of basic acoustic knowledge transforms you into a low-fi 8 track tape playing out of a Omni, inside of Osama Bin Laden’s cave of death, moments before the Seals dropped down and gave him the old “What For”. It’s basically a giant cave that swallows vocals, thins out guitars and makes drums sound like tin cans.

Anywho… I digress.

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Is it a place to check out cool and interesting craft brews? It certainly could be. I didn’t stutter, mainly because that’s impossible to do in print, 32 DIFFERENT CRAFT BEERS… 32 cervezas artesanales diferentes … XXXII VARIIS ARS BEERS. Someone clearly loves to get their beer on. However, where is that person? Besides having the latest brew shoved in my face, it’s rare that I would have a single conversation with a bartender (Save Bruce) about the complexities of… let’s say… a stout. I almost always feel lost when I approach the altar of beer that is their tap selection. I wish I had a Phantom Beer Genius there to hold my hand and tell me:

Phantom Beer Genius: “Everything is going to be ok… here hold this Dog Fish Head 120 Minute…. feels good right? Go on take a sip. Did you know that 120 Minute IPA is brewed to a colossal 45-degree plato, boiled for a full two hours while being continuously hopped with high-alpha American hops, then dry-hopped daily in the fermenter for a month and aged for another month on whole-leaf hops!”

Raul: “Wow, this is delicious and you are so imformative thank you so much.”

Phantom Beer Genius: “No problem Raul, this is my job and I enjoy it. By the way, knock knock…

Raul: “Who’s there?”

Phatom Beer Genius: ” Your friend the Phantom Beer Genius and I’ll always be here for you.”

Doesn’t that sound amazing?

So am I dissing the Bro’s over there by da Brixie’s? Kinda… but kinda ‘nah. I think it is just suffering from a symptom of the times. Bars trying to cater to every single type of drinker out there instead of letting their freak flags wave high.

If you want to be the bro bar with college games blarring over the TV’s and people still pretending to be in their mid to late 20’s, tongue banging jello shots into their suck holes while simultaneously taking stock of their GHB stash in the cut out hole of their Birkenstocks. Go for it.

Do you want to be that creepy Mexican bar on the corner next to the Botanica, that you’re white friends are scared to go in because they play “Mariachi Music” till 3 a.m. and they heard everyone in there has a knife? Go for it.

Have aspirations of being the bar with no sign? Serving traditional, Post-Civil-War… yet Pre-Yoko-Beatles-Era Martinis? Go for it!

Just whatever you are or trying to be.. be true and pick SOMETHING. You can’t do everything or at least you can’t do everything well. Give your bar a personality and hopefully that personality is akin to you and your staff members. Your patrons want to be a part of your story, now give us the plot so we can play along.