Posts Tagged ‘Home Brew’

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

Out of my side vision (for you Kat Williams fans) I spy him,  barb wire tat, mesh trucker hat with some ironic slogan on it (“I’m with stupid… and it’s your mom).  He proudly slides another dollar into the internet juke box.  I can’t see what he’s typing.  I can only imagine the auditory onslaught I am about to feel.  The over produced voice of Ke$ha… the weak one syllable rhyme schemes of Mr. West (Best, Rest, Crest…. Chest.), or Nickelback.  Just Nickelback, that’s its own insult.  In the future we will be saying things like, “Loser? Dudes a Nickelback…”

The Bro waddles back to his own babbling tribe.  I over hear the word ‘Bomb’ with a idiotic mumbled prefix in front of it.  I just realized I am at a Bro Bar.  There are Heineken signs on the wall.  Another brightly colored advertisement informs me that if I bring my own fishbowl on Thursday nights… they’ll fill it with any color alcohol I choose for only $10.50.   I bury my face in my drink and try to sip the last of my $12 ‘craft beer’…. “bro… they’re leinenkugel fireside nut brown ales…. killer.”.

I glance up.  The Bro Bunch is singing now and when I see the dude with the wallet chain and Affliction t-shirt reach for his Skol Dip, I make a run for it.  I jut passed something that looks like a Snooki and narrowly avoid the skinny jean-skateboarder-rapper-graphic designer-t shirt maker-blogger-DJ-I listened to Dub Step first- dude.  Through the door now I see street lights and hear traffic.

I’m walking across a frozen tundra of urban desolation. There are buildings and structures and there seem to be shapes moving in them.  Bumbling potato sack people grasping at brightly colored shapes.  Strip malls abound.  They’re exactly that, STRIP malls,  they have stripped my glorious town of personality and integrity.  Were does a modern man seek adventure?  Where can he boast of his tales?  Is there no mead hall fit for his songs of victory and iniquity?  These thoughts swirled around in my head, colored smoke that seemed obscure my vision.  Here I was on the famed Route 66… and I was bored and disgusted with my surroundings.

Just then, without warning or notice, the smell hits me.  The sweet and sappy smell of hardwood burning in the distant ink black night…. chicken flesh being charred to absurd level deliciousness.  A smile creeps across my face.  I just realized what I have been missing.  It was calling to me… beckoning me.  I will obey.

The front of Cigars and Stripes (6715 Ogden Ave, Berwyn, Il, 60402) is unassuming enough, unless of course you walk passed on one of the nights were the 8ft Frankenstein’s Monster is hanging out in front… smoking his stogie.  If that’s enough to scare you off, you will miss all of the smoked BBQ glory that awaits you inside.  If Dracula had a frat house… this is it.  Colored lights pour their saccharine slime on beer bottles and the slithering rapscallions that occupy every inch of the halo shaped bar.  Neon lights extend their icy grip across the haggard floor, itching to grab a boot or perhaps a leather high heel.  As your eyes drift to and fro… up ward and on ward… you will spy many a curious object.  Skulls, half naked women, a velvet Elvis painting and a myriad of other strange relics.  You have some how peeled back the fabric of space/time and peered into the very soul of a tricked out hot-rod.

THIS is a bar.

The heart of that bar? A collection of craft beers at your drinking disposable and the most succulent BBQ you have every dreamed of, you get the impression this was put together for just for  you.  Carefully selected with the utmost care to ensure maximum beer orgasm.  It’s hard to imagine that just a decade ago Cigars and Stripes was a place to just pick up your stogies and hot sauce.  If you were lucky enough to own a low rider or hot rod,  you could take care of all your custom paint jobs as well.  Ronnie Lottz (the ring leader of The Cigars and Stripes circus, AKA Bar Owner), might very well be Berwyn’s only Renaissance Man.  His bio reads like a man walking the line of artisan and mad man.  Custom Car illustrator, BBQ specialist, one time Professional Wrestling manager and now illustrious bar owner.  I know what you are thinking, what do these past occupations have in common and how could they lead to creating the ideal night spot?

According to Mr. Lottz, each one of those past lives played an indispensable role in the creation of C&S.  When you hear him reminisce about hanging with his wrestlers on the west side of Chicago and traveling across the country getting a first hand education on BBQ, you can literally see the spark in his eye.  That spark indicates a deep love for what he is doing… and no one does it better.

“Good food is culture… not technique…” he says.

That’s exactly what Ronnie and his staff are doing, creating their own culture to share with the world and in this world of five dollar foot longs, cardboard pizza, ice cold chicken wings from B-Scrubs and stale seven dollar Miller Lites.. we need you more than ever Mr. Lottz.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.