Bartending Sober – Day 3

Developing new cocktails for an upcoming event in Toronto, and I followed my rules.

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Bartending Sober Day 3

Sleep: 8 hours

Weigh in: 125.5 lbs

Please note: This blog doesn’t necessarily need to be read in chronological order, but I do recommend going back and reading my Sober October rules for context.

Three days in, and I haven’t noticed any significant changes in my health just yet. I do sleep better; waking up feeling well-rested, waking up at a reasonable hour, and with the ability to feel more productive. Since the first of the month I’ve done 30 minutes of yoga every day. The exercise itself is more satisfying, because I know that I’m not just working off the sugar and carbs from the alcohol of the night before. Aside from my alcohol consumption, my diet is pretty healthy. I try to avoid processed foods, sugary soda drinks, bread, pasta and pizza, and increase my fiber and protein intake. I generally avoid dairy, mostly because I’m sensitive (dear god cheese is so good though.)

Today was a challenge in that I had to test out a new set of custom cocktails. Bryn and I worked on three new drinks for the Drinksmith event Starlight, Dark Night: A Universal Ball. The company teamed up with Dole and Absolut (Corby Spirits and Wine) for cocktail creation, and the event will be at the 519. If you want more information about the event read up on the Facebook event page.

In any sort of cocktail development you have to taste. There’s no way around it. I knew this going into Sober October, so this is one of my exceptions to the rule. When doing a ‘cocktail jam’ it’s easy to get carried away. Bartenders, for the sake of not wasting alcohol, will just drink their test cocktails. In the end this usually means shooting yourself in the foot, because you end up tired and too drunk to be productive.

The whole sobriety thing is a great way to avoid these problems entirely. I just took a conservative sip of each drink, and critiqued it accordingly. I don’t need to drink the whole thing to know if I like it. If you’re worried about wasting alcohol, which is expensive and no one wants to throw it down the sink, have a couple of tasting volunteers. Literally this means having a few people in the room whose job it is to drink your mistakes. Developing and testing out new recipes is hard, I’m not always going to get it right the first time.

With this in mind, always clarify any allergies with your volunteers. It’s easy to forget, and the recipe isn’t written down for your drinkers to review beforehand.

Bryn did most of the work, (Love ya buddy!) but in the end we semi-finalized three different cocktails for the menu. Each have a different taste and feel. It’s likely we’ll do this again closer to the date of the event. Our boss will have a look at it, give us feedback, along with any considerations from the sponsorships.

Afterwards Bryn and I went out for a drink and some snacks at Corvo. Corvo is a great Italian bar right in front of Clarence Square Park in the Spadina and King West area. I had a virgin adaption of a drink from the main cocktail menu. The Blue Seude was muddled, refreshing, and had dirty ice. The original cocktail has Disaronno, lime, blueberry, peppercorn, cucumber, and walnut bitters. My version just had the amaretto taken out, subbed in with more fruit and juice, and topped with a bit of soda for body.

My Mocktail at Corvo

Anyone is welcome to disagree with me on this, but I don’t feel the need to nix the bitters in a virgin cocktail. Bitters are more about the the flavour versus the alcohol content. The high ABV is meant to preserve the flavours, and you’d have to put a hell of a lot of bitters into a drink to get the alcoholic effect. If you need confirmation on how little alcohol from the bitters ends up into the final drink: try and dash out bitters to fill up a shot glass. I promise you it will take a minute.

Bryn settled on the Ruby 1919, a spritz cocktail with Aperol, Campari, blood orange, crodino aperitif, prosecco, and rhubarb bitters. It was on the bitter side, and makes me think of an Aperol Spritz/Negroni hybrid. Full disclosure, I tasted Bryn’s drink, and it’s definitely my kind of cocktail. Bryn wasn’t down with the bitter flavour, and actually tried to give it to me. I held strong and stuck to my delicious mocktail. Bryn ended up adding some orange soda to sweeten it up a bit. Nice try Bryn.

Overall, I’ve noticed today that I’m drinking more water than usual. This is something that I’ve always had trouble with, staying hydrated. I think this is partly due to the fact I just got back from Scotland. I’m still trying to readjust to the climate. Drinking more water is also just a replacement for whatever else I’d be drinking normally: beer. It’s one of my daily drinks, in the afternoon with dinner, and a few before bed. Instead I’ve just been drinking water. I bet this is the reason I’ve been sleeping so well.

1 comments on “Bartending Sober – Day 3”

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