Friday Happy Hour: Daiquiri


Ok, kids.  Figured that every Friday would be perfect timing for a little Happy Hour cocktail segment.  So look forward to a post every Friday celebrating a few of my favorite classic cocktails.

As the weather starts to brighten up and spring takes over Kansas City, I thought it was perfect time for one of my favorite warm-weather classic: the Daiquiri.

First off, let’s set the record straight.   An original Daiquiri isn’t frozen.  It isn’t fruity, either.  And I certainly wouldn’t serve the thing with a parasol.  It’s an easy recipe that, like so many other classics, is still so easy to screw up royally.

Things you’ll need:

White rum: I love Appleton (from Jamaica), Don Q (from Puerto Rico), or Mount Gay (from Barbados); but when it comes down to it, it’s your cocktail at the end of the day, so make it with what you will.

Sugar: superfine white sugar typically works best.  Because it’s a finer grain, it emulsifies easier in cocktails.  And if you can’t get your hands on the stuff, making a 1:1 simple syrup with your typical granulated white sugar will work just fine.  I prefer the superfine sugar because it tends to lend the cocktail a sherbet-like quality that isn’t the same with simple syrup.

Limes: always pick smaller limes that aren’t too firm.  If you squeeze them in your hand, they should feel juicy, not like a golf ball.

Tools: 3-piece shaker or Boston shaker set.  Hawthorne strainer (the one with the bunny ears).  Hand juicer.  Cocktail spoon.  Jigger.

Ok, we’ve got all we need to mix us a Daiquiri.  The recipe is simple:

2oz white rum

2 barspoons superfine sugar (or 1oz simple syrup)

1oz fresh squeezed lime juice

Combine lime juice and sugar in your mixing glass or 3 piece shaker.  Stir together until sugar starts to emulsify.  Add rum and fill with ice. Cap and shake well for at least ten seconds.  Strain into a cocktail glass or serve over crushed ice or cubes.

Always remember: these recipes aren’t set in stone. Feel free to tweak them to your personal tastes.  All these recipes will be geared towards my personal tastes, because, well, this is my blog.

Hope you enjoy as much as I do.  I love how simple, bright, and refreshing this old Cuban beauty is. And as the weather warms up, this puppies are perfect on the deck.  And considering you only need a few things to make this happen and relatively easy cleanup, they are great poolside.

Women in the bar business

I had planned on writing about Super Tuesday today, but I came across an article that struck a chord with me in Class Magazine, an industry publication.

Believe it or not, I am actually in the bar business, not politics or economics; although those are two of my favorite hobbies. It’s a demanding, yet rewarding, job/career that I rather enjoy.  The booze, the people, the art: what’s there not to love?

And in my opinion, it’s a profession that doesn’t elicit the respect it deserves.  Anyone who’s done time behind the stick knows how difficult it is to remain congenial and hospitable while faced with the drunken masses.  It definitely requires immense amounts of patience, study, professionalism and a good deal of athleticism, not to mention acting as a poor man’s therapist.  The hours are long, the work is hard, and we bartenders depend upon the kindness of our patrons to make a living.  To be honest, it’s downright stressful.

But the piece by Jamie MacDonald and Sam Fish highlights a trend that is prevalent across our profession: the lack of female bartenders, especially within the craft cocktail scene.  Jamie makes an argument that women should be ‘nurtured’ in our work environment.  The sentiment seems to (and I’m sure somewhat unintentionally) lend credence to women needing what Sam refers to as a ‘crutch.’

Personally, I’m totally with Sam on this one.  The women in our business should be celebrated and treated as equals in our work environment.  Now that I just read that last sentence, I can’t really believe that even has to be said in this day and age.  But that certainly doesn’t mean they need to be coddled.

If one looks at some of the leading people in the bar business, you come across names like Julie Reiner, Charlotte Voisey, and Aisha Sharpe.  And maybe we’re a bit better at promoting this than the guys across the pond. Point in fact: Speed Rack.

Some of my favorite bartenders I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with have been female.  The dynamic behind the bar can be completely different with a lady tending alongside me.  And at Manifesto, the bar I currently run in Kansas City, we prefer having females on staff alongside the fellas.

But work ethic, creativity, attention to detail, endurance, and hospitality know no gender.  These are the aspects we celebrate at Manifesto; and be it man or woman, if you exhibit those qualities, how far you go or what you do with them is up to them.  I can only hope the same could be said at every other joint in the biz.

I’m not so naive to think that all things are equal everywhere.  And I’m not going to speculate as to why more ladies don’t enter our field.  But the ones that do should at the least be offered a fair shake by the rest of us, be it competing in cocktail competitions, or just slingin’ beers on a Friday night.  Show some respect.

Manifesto 2012

As exhibited by our quick look at the candidates, this presidential field is beyond weak. The Prez has left himself surprisingly vulnerable to this mashed-up bag of GOP disasters. It’s enough to make a political junky half-excited for what promises to be a most interesting election year while making me half-depressed to endure what is sure to be a mountain of bullshit rhetoric.

So I figured, ‘What the hell? We, the United States of America, deserve better.  And I’m sick of bitching about it. It’s time for action!”

Which is where Manifesto comes in.

If you didn’t know already, I run a little basement bar in Kansas City.  We have a pretty devout Facebook following, largely due to the ridiculousness of our status updates.  The bar itself is a full-fledged, attention-to-detail-oriented cocktail bar that, at first glance, delicately dances on the fence of snooty.  But we do our best to remind people that we are just a bunch of people inviting some friends over to their bar to have a good time.  And Facebook, in a weird way, allows us to keep things light.

So the other day, somewhat out of frustration, I announced on the Manifesto Facebook page that we, Manifesto, would be running for President of the United States of America.  And so far, it’s gotten off to a great start.

First things first (especially in this modern world of politics), we realized we needed a Super-PAC to take on the Mitt Romney machine.  So the Association to Stop Sobriety, also known as ASS-PAC, was born.  Not to mention that this fits in nicely with the War on Sobriety we’ve been waging in the basement for a few years now.  And hopefully with some cajoling, we’ll find someone to run the thing.

Well, the race is on.  And do yourself a favor and vote for Manifesto in 2012!