Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Service is Key #2

OK. Ive done the service is key blog awhile ago, but seems like this subject needs to be re-visited. So here's an experience that I had at a VERY high profile hotel here in Chicago.... Note, when I go to a bar I do NOT announce that I am also a bartender, I just like to see what my counterparts are like with regular customers...Also I hate when people tell me that, so i tend to just let the bartender do their own thing..

Me: Hello, can I have an Aviation please?

Bartender: We don't carry those..

Me: "blank stare" ummmmm.. That's a cocktail.

Bartender: Oh well we don't have those.

Me: OK a Negroni then.

Bartender: "Shakes the Negroni.

Me: you know what, I'll just have a beer..

Now Ive been bartending and in the hospitality industry for a nice while now. And while Ive never claimed to be the best, nor am I afraid to look to others in the industry for tips and pointers.. This was UNACCEPTABLE!!!

There are about 20-25 drinks that every bartender should know. And be able to construct these drinks without any hiccups. Prep, measurements, shaken vs stirred, served on the rocks or straight up, and the Garnish. Especially when you are in a high paced environment as this bartender was in a 6 star hotel. This bartender will get guests from all over the world, from all walks of life, and will encounter some cocktails that are not of the "popular" genre and needs to be able to knock them out without any problems!!

Once again, Ive never claimed to be the best, and I learn something new each and every day, whether its from reading, or the fact that I took the AMAZING Mixology class offered by Southern Wine and Spirits and taught by the equally AMAZING Bridget Albert, or just seeking out the talents of my peers( Josh Pearson, Todd Appel, Daniel De Olivera, just to name a few, there are way to many to name), there is always room to get better and perfect your craft, So that you don't make the mistake of ruining someones cocktail. People come to the bar for an experience, and you are the gateway to them enjoying it, or never coming back to your establishment ever again! You make the decision of which you would rather have....

Until Next Time

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

We Are BACK!!

Hey everybody!

You know, I have been neglecting all my fans on my blog. Between guest writing for my good friend Cocktails 365, planning events here in Chicago for LeSin Vodka,  competing in drink competitions, and getting my business up off the ground ( DrinkxXx On Me Bartending Service) and oh yeah, every now and again stopping thru my bar to actually work a shift, lol.. Ive neglected my readers here. So I'M BACK!! Gonna keep it short, sweet, to the point. Keep you updated on events, new and exciting drink recipes, and share with you some of the people, places, and bars/clubs/restaurants I encounter in my search for the perfect cocktail.

I cant believe its been a month since I was at Tales Of The Cocktail. That was a week Ill never forget! My TOTC cherry finally was broken and I enjoyed every moment of my stay in NOLA. I met most of my twitter friends who I had been tweeting with since I first signed up to the Social Network.  Funny story, so I was tweeting with one particular gentleman all weekend, and trying to link up for cocktails or dinner but couldn't seem to find the time. So my last full day in NOLA started off at the Milagro Tequila Pool Party on top of the Monteleone. So while there was plenty of tequila, women in bikinis, I had some woman snatch my shirt off, and water guns filled with alcohol, it was one gentleman there who seemed to be calm amiss all the chaos. So we began chatting, talked RUM, took a couple pics and exchanged business cards. I took one look at his card and immediately it was who I had been trying to connect with all weekend!!! So with that, I want to introduce all my readers to a good friend of mine, Mr. Warren Bobrow...

I asked Warren to provide me with a short Bio so that you all can get a glimpse into this Amazing cocktailer, and a source of knowledge that I plan to consult with for any of my cocktail and spirit questions....

"I grew up on an organic/biodynamic farm in Morristown, NJ.

I am a food/wine and cocktail writer for the Wild River Review, (Princeton, NJ) NJ Monthly, Edible Jersey, Saveur, NYTimes travel section, NJ Savvy Living, NJ Life Health and Beauty, Chutzpah Magazine, Rambling Epicure (Geneva, Switzerland) Taste for Travel, (Sydney, Australia) DrinkGal.com, Drinking in America, ServedRaw.com, Morris County Daily Record, the Morristown Patch, and the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food/Drink in America. Ed.,2., on the topic of Biodynamic and organic food/wine. A cocktail writer for Foodista and also for Serious Eats".

Warren attended the Tales of the Cocktail as photojournalist/journalist.

Warren was a rum judge at the Ministry of Rum Sugar Cane Spirit Tasting Competition in San Francisco in 2010. He is also a rum judge for the Barbados Beer and Rum Festival in October 2011.

Warren prides himself on all of his cocktails being easy to prepare, and using organic and small producer ingredients when possible.   Rum is his medium of choice, although he published in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America on the topic of Organic and Biodynamic wines.  He's written about Bourbon for Okra Magazine in New Orleans and have work currently running in Serious Eats.com and has upcoming work in Foodista and Voda Magazine which is a good friend of mine here in Chicago.

The reason this blog post was so important for me to share with all of you, was because Social Networking when used properly and effectively can place you in positions where you will meet and be able to connect with AMAZING people. I probably would have never met Mr. Bobrow in my life, yet thru social media and both of our loves for this industry we were able to connect and he is someone who I can call friend. Cheers to you sir!

Hope you guys enjoyed learning about my friend and if you are on Twitter and Facebook, you can connect with Warren as well by Following these links...


Hope you guys enjoy reading this, and have as much fun as I had when I wrote it.

Until Next Time

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Serve Responsibly


My job is to create GREAT cocktails, and to provide an escape from everyday stresses. That's what the bar/lounge/club is, an escape. Whether its from your spouse, job, kids, etc, people come to the bar for many different reasons. Now because of the strength of alcohol, everyone hits their limit at different levels...

Now my job is to make sure that I serve you, and when I see you are getting close, or about to surpass your limit, to cut you off, and serve you RESPONSIBLY!! I am a responsible bartender. I don't want to see any of my clients(because you are more than just customers to me) to EVER leave the bar in a condition where they are putting themselves as well as everyone else around them, or on the road in danger.

All of this leads up to why I posted this today. I had a friend of mine stop by my bar last night. Had one to many, and when i saw she was fading, I started pumping her with water. She fell asleep at the  bar, and woke up trying to drive herself home... Wasn't gonna happen on my shift!! Took responsibility of the situation, took her keys(as she was by herself), found her a place to sleep it off inside the bar, AND drove her home and made sure she was in, sleep, and safe..

I'm sure the Bartender Gods somewhere are smiling down on me today! Too many times Ive seen colleagues allow people to keep drinking and drinking and drinking... and while its good for our pockets, its no good for your reputation... Most, if not all of us are BASSET certified and with that certification, we accepted the responsibility to be mindful of our customers, and serve them responsibly!!

Normally I don't preach and  I never try to get on a high horse, but after my experience last night(which I haven't dealt with since I 1st started tending bar) I felt the need to salute all my fellow bartenders/mixologist who take the extra steps to ensure a safe bar, and to those who don't, please take some time and practice using some discretion in dealing with our customers.. Remember if they leave your bar and get into an accident, WE are just a liable in that situation as they are! The bar can loose their license, we can go to jail, and its just a bad situation all across the board!

Just a little something to think about...

Until next time

Monday, May 23, 2011

The 2011 "Star of the Bar" Dante Lopresti

The NRA show is here in Chicago and its bringing out all the top stars in the restaurant and bar industry. Last year they had the inaugural "Star of the Bar" competition, and  a good friend of mine, Nathan Greene from Las Vegas was the first winner.

The contest consists of bartenders uploading a custom cocktail to YouTube, and getting people to vote for their drink. The top 6 will be invited to the NRA show to compete and the crowd will pick the top 3, then they will compete at a separate location to be crowned the "Star of the Bar"..

So will great honor and pleasure I present to you all the 2011 IWSB Star of the Bar, my good friend, Dante Lopresti..

Dante's winning cocktail was the "Pink Lion" which is made up of Cazadores Blanco, Hum liqueur, Elderflower Lillet Blanc and fresh lemon... Needless to say if you haven't had one get your ass down to Mercadito's downstairs lounge, Double A, in the River North section of downtown and get this competition winning cocktail from the man himself!!!!

Again from a friend and a colleague, congratulations Dante!! Great way to represent Mixology in Chicago!!!

Check out the cool vid of Dante's winning cocktail here...
Until next time

Friday, May 20, 2011

RIP "Macho Man" Randy Savage

A truly somber day to wrestling fans all over the world as a true legends in the sport, Randy "Macho Man" Savage passed away today at 58. He apparently had a heart attack while behind the wheel this morning. As one of my favorite wrestlers this hurt me that he is gone. The match between him and Ricky Steamboat at Wrestlemania is a classic, as well as his life long feud with Hulk Hogan. After wrestling he became even more famous with his role in Spiderman, and moreso for being the face of Slim Jim( SNAP INTO A SLIM JIM!!!)

When news broke my good friends over at History of Drinking( follow them on twittter @drinkinghistory ) posted a couple of Randy Savage cocktails to always have a piece of the Macho man with us always!! Check them out...

Randy Macho Man Savage Cocktail

1 1/2 oz Vodka

1 1/2 oz Rum
Coca Cola
Glass: Highball
Garnish: None
Build in an ice-filled Highball glass. Top with Coke. Sub out the coke for Root beer if you want to make a “Miss Elizabeth”. (Also an RIP to Miss Elizabeth, who passed away in 2003)

Slim Jim Shake

4 sticks of Slim Jim/pieces beef jerky

4 cups whole milk
2 1/2 cups vanilla ice cream
2 tablespoons a- 1 steak sauce
Glass: Highball or footed milk shake glass
Garnish: Slim Jim

blend all ingredients pour into glass, garnish and “enjoy”.

*** Recipes adapted from Food.com and Whattodrink.com***

So to all wrestling fans and sport entertainment fans all over the globe, Raise your glass one time and say "oooooooooooooooo yeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhh" one time for the Macho Man!! You will be missed!!

Until Next Time

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bartender of the Week for 4-7-11


Trying something new with the blog. Along with reviews, drink recipes, and general blogging, I will be featuring a new bartender each week to profile. Ive done it in the past and had a few very colorful characters in the past, from Chicago's very own Fuzzy, to Atl's Mike, to Las Vegas own Poshly Chic cocktail service, and LaTonia Sanders.

So this week, since its coming back and needed a spark and new bartender, our feature will be the very sexy, and beautiful bartender/mixologist Erendida Harris.

All I can say upon initial talking to her is I would sit at her bar ALL NIGHT!!!! One word.......... Gorgeous!!!! But its alot more than just a pretty face to this bartender.... Erendida is a bartender at Vibe nightclub(Formerly Crobar) here in Chicago. But enough from me, Ill let Erendida tell you about her yourself.... Here's a brief Bio......

"I have always been in the service industry, I started working in a fast food restaurant at 14 in order to pay for me playing sports. As soon as I turned 21, I begged the manager to let me bartend or to let one of the bartenders show how to. But, since we already had "veterans" I wasn't given a chance until much later. But, I always watched how the bartenders bartended. It wasn't about "just making drinks", there was a science behind it and it intrigued me. It was more personal than waitressing and not as much work AND way more money... So when I was finally given my chance behind the bar, I soaked it all up. Tasting all the different liquors and wines we had was an eye opening experience because up to that point, all I knew was commercial brands of liquor. I looked forward to when beer, liquor or wine reps that would come in with new samples of products. I did some research on my own and taken a few of classes on spirits, but this is just one dimension of the whole bartending experience..."

Cant you see the passion she has for the industry.. I LOVE IT!!!!! But there is more to this beautiful ladies story...

"What I personally love about my job, is the freedom I have. I get to dress however I want, do my make-up however I want, and style my hair however I want. I get to dance all night and I talk to people who I would have never met on a regular basis. I get to make up new drinks and have my customers taste them (most love my lil concoctions). I work at night only a few nights a week and that is enough for me to pay all my bills  and then some.  I get to be invited to some pretty kick ass events... I could go on and on about all the perks. But what I really motivates me IS seeing people smile. I know, I know, It sounds soooo cheesy, but I know my role in your day. You come to the club for a release of everyday life. You want to escape from your constant reality and get lost in a moment. And as a bartender, all I can hope is that I want to be a positive experience for you. That's why I dance and sing all night. That is why you will always see me smiling or laughing. That's why I start up conversations with strangers at my bar. That is why I always want say Hi to everyone that I recognize.  That is why I do some cornball, goofy thing when I know your watching me... To make you smile. I like to think this is my small contribution to the world right now :)"

I asked Erendida what bartending meant to her, and this is her answer...(Honestly I love this answer as it embodies everything I feel a bartender should be)........

"I have met so many amazing people, I have had the pleasure to work with some of Chicago's best bartenders, I have heard so many amazing djs, I have seen some amazing performances... truly, it has been an amazing time.

I have such a different view on this industry and I love it. For a person like me, bartending has been an ideal job for where I am right now in my life. It has given me a different perspective on what I can be in this industry, and it's so cool, because I can be whatever I want and I actually get to use my degree (well kinda). I can be a bartender,, I can be a therapist (no license but I will lend on open ear), I can be a host, I can plan an event, I can manage the place, I can train people... it's truly is empowering.

Bartending has taken me to a place where I never thought I'd be and I look forward to see where it takes me..."
So when in the Chi and looking for a place to party and hang out have a good time enjoy some great drinks, stop by Vibe(1543 N. Kingsbury) and visit Erendida. I'm very sure,  considering how passionate she is about the industry, and the fact that she truly enjoys being a bartender, you will not be disappointed!!
You can also follow her on twitter at @Dida34
Hope you enjoyed this weeks featured bartender as she is Mr.Mixx approved!!!!!
If you are a bartender/Mixologist and would like to be featured, shoot me an email over to DrinksOnMeinc@gmail.com or tweet @MrMixologist or @DrinkxXxOnMeInc and we will get you featured in the coming weeks.
Until next Time

Thursday, April 14, 2011

****Bonus Post***** The Royal Wedding Punch!

One more thing about spring season, is that is WEDDING SEASON!!!!!. And the most famous and talked about wedding is right upon us... the Royal Wedding!  My good friend Dan Warner( Beefeater Global Ambassador) is paying tribute to The Queen Mum who enjoyed the mix of gin and Dubonnet, and  has updated the classic cocktail with the refreshing flavors of pomegranate (representing life, regeneration and marriage in Greek mythology), lemonade (an American balance and length to the punch) and Angostura bitters (the most classic, famous punch ingredient). Sounds like the perfect drink for the newlyweds!! So without further adieu, here is Dan Warner's Royal Wedding Punch!!!

Dan Warner’s Beefeater Royal Punch

2 parts Beefeater London Dry Gin
1 part Dubonnet
1 part pomegranate juice
2 parts fresh lemonade (American style)
Angostura bitters to taste


Serve in a large punch bowl (if you don’t have a punch bowl, a large, deep casserole dish will do the job) and garnish with wheels of lemon & lime, mint sprigs and pomegranate seeds.

Chill the punch with lots of regular ice cubes or make your own fruit ice cube by freezing oranges and lemon slices with water in a plastic container (ice cream tub or similar).

So here's a Cheers to the Royal Couple, and a Big BIG cheers to my main man Dan for sending me his Royal Punch recipe... Maybe I can get him to make my punch whenever I decide to get married????

Until Next Time


Well its finally spring here in Chicago... Or what we Chicagoans consider to be spring. No snow on the ground, couple real nice days, motorcycles, BBQ's, and the best part of spring to me... Spring Cocktails. Some of Chicago's best restaurants, bars, and clubs are switching their menus over to some very tasty, refreshing, spring cocktails. The focus is on light spirits(Gin, Vodka,Tequila) and fresh ingredients.  I'm even trying my hand a making my own Limoncello and Orangecello and some new spring infusions that I will be debuting later this month at a few events I'm working.

My good friends over at Beefeater and Plymouth supplied me with a few new spring cocktails that i will be using at an event the end of this month, so I decided to share them with you all as well.... I mean hey, who doesn't love cocktails, and Gin cocktails at that... So here you go....

Market Fresh Millionaire

Beefeater Gin
Sloe gin
Grand Marnier
Apricot brandy
Pomegranate juice
Lime juice

Shake all the ingredients in an ice filled cocktail shaker, large screw top jar or jam jar. Strain into a coupe glass or small wine glass.

English Garden featuring Plymouth and elderflower

Plymouth Gin
Apple Juice (Cloudy/Pressed)
Elderflower Cordial

Fill Hi-ball glass with ice. Pour in the Plymouth Gin. Pour in the apple juice and elderflower cordial. Add juice of lime quarters. Stir and add cucumber garnish

Beefeater Honey Fig Sour featuring Beefeater

2 PARTS Beefeater Gin
1 PART Fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 Small egg white
(optional) 1 TEASPOON honey
1 fig

Use a rolling pin to crush the fig with the honey in a large screw top jar or cocktail shaker. Add all the other ingredients and ice and shake hard for 1 minute. Strain into a short whisky tumbler filled with ice cubes. Garnish with half a fig and lemon slice.

Silver Bronx featuring Plymouth

Plymouth Gin
Sweet Vermouth
Egg White
Orange Juice (Fresh)
Dry Vermouth

Fill mixing glass with ice. Add the Plymouth Gin, vermouth's, orange juice, and whisked egg whites (optional). Shake well. Strain into a martini glass

So I hope all of you get a chance to try the wonderful Spring cocktails. They are definitely the kind to be enjoyed on the back porch, relaxing on a warm spring night enjoying the breeze with someone special. And if you aren't a big Gin fan, these are some drinks that can ease you into the Gin experience. I find when i work that people are scared of Gin. You get the whole "Gin makes you sin" or "Gin makes me want to fight".... Ive even stated those sentiments before I got into this industry. But all in all Gin is one the most mixable spirits. Well "Quality Gin" is a great spirit. And the good people over at Beefeater and Plymouth put out an excellent product. They are all Mr.Mixologist Approved!!!....

If any readers have any good Spring time cocktails that they would like to share, send me your recipe and a picture of the cocktail to DrinksOnMeinc@Gmail.com and possibly have it featured as the drink of the week..

Until Next Time

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Product Review---> Moon Mountain Vodka

Last week I had the opportunity to visit Diaego offices for a Happy Hour Event. Now for those that don't know, Diageo represents some of the top liquor brands in the industry. Tanqueray, Meyers Rum, Zacapa, Captain Morgan, Johnnie Walker, etc... So a happy hour event there meant a smile on my face by the end of the evening.

But instead of the norm, I was introduced to Moon Mountain Vodka by my good friend and Mixologist Lynn Hiouse. First thing I said to myself was, uh oh here we go, ANOTHER vodka... But I was pleasantly surprised at the product. Moon Mountain vodka mixes very well, and works good naked. Has a clean taste and 3 flavors..... Traditional,  Coastal Citrus, and Wild Raspberry.

Moon Mountain is small batch, and copper pot distilled, which aids in getting the smoothness,purity and overall very clean taste. What really interests me in this is that it is crafted from Organic grain and purified water. Master Distiller Gerry Webb explains how he goes about distilling and creating this great vodka here.... http://www.moonmountainvodka.com/aboutus/index.html

Now on to the cocktails...(Which is the point of this blog.... heh heh) These 3 cocktails were created by Mixologitst Lynn House from right here in my hometown of the CHI!!! She is an amazing bartender and someone who I look up to and look to for advice in my journeys to become a better bartender. But she really put her foot in these drinks... Soooo here they are....

New Moon

2 oz Moon Mountain Traditional Vodka
1 oz fresh cucumber juice
.5 oz lemon juice.
.5 oz simple syrup

serve up in a cocktail glass

Morning Glory

1.5 oz Moon Mountain Coastal Citrus Vodka
.5 oz Campari
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.25 oz grapefruit cordial

splash of tonic
serve over ice in a rocks glass

Moonlight and Roses

2.0 oz Moon Mountain Wild Raspberry
.5 oz fresh lime juice
.75 oz rosehip syrup

serve up in a cocktail glass

I had the privilege to taste all 3 of these cocktails and by far my personal favorite was the New Moon. I don't even like cucumbers, but that drink was the drink of choice. The Morning Glory tasted very similar to a screwdriver, but was very tasty. The Moonlight and roses was very good as well, but I tend to prefer the raspberry flavor naked.

So if you are looking for a Organic, reasonably priced Vodka($19.99 a bottle) Moon Mountain is definitely your best bet!  You can find Moon Mountain on these websites...


Until Next Time

Monday, January 31, 2011

National Brandy Alexander Day!!!

Today is National Brandy Alexander Day. So glad that cocktails have their own holidays..   Gives us yet ANOTHER reason to Imbibe.Personally I'm waiting on National Cognac Day!! But that's another story. The Brandy Alexander is a drink that was created early in the 20th century. Early stories say that it was created in London in 1922, for the Countess of Harewood's wedding. After a little research I found out that it was originally based off a Gin based cocktail called the "Alexander"

Now what is a Brandy Alexander you may ask??? There are a few variations of this great cocktail but Ill give you the one I learned to make when I first began bartending.

Brandy Alexander
1 1/2oz Brandy
1oz Dark Creme de Cacao
1oz Heavy Cream/Half and Half

Mix all ingredients with ice in a shaker or blender. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Now this drink can also be made frozen which Ive found that most people like as well.  Blend the ingredients with 2 scoops of ice-cream instead of the cream/Half & Half, and a scoop of crushed ice, and serve in a tall wine glass.

Found yet another variation of this cocktail which is called a Panama, which uses light Creme de Cacao instead of dark.

So now that you know what a Brandy Alexander is(think milkshake with a kick!) and you know that today is the National day, go have yourself one today!! And with the snowstorm we are expecting here in Chicago, a Alexander would be a great after dinner cocktail for me this evening!!

Until next time

Friday, January 14, 2011

Product Review- Penn 1681 Vodka

Yesssss!!!! Just what the world needed... ANOTHER Vodka company!!! But this time I was a litte more interested than Ive been before. So when I got the follow on twitter from Penn 1681, I wanted to test it out immediately.

So thru some negotiating and tweeting with the good people over there, I was shipped a bottle of Penn 1681(along with a few other goodies, but those are for future blog posts). The bottle looks amazing! By far one of the most decorated and intriguing bottles Ive seen. Really stands out and would most definitely be an eye catcher on the back bar, or on the shelves of a liquor store. So on to the best part  of a review... The TASTING!!!

First, a little background info about this excellent spirit. First off it made right here in AMERICA!!!  It was named after the year that King Charles gave William Penn the land that became what we all know as Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania is known for its agriculture and is one of the leading areas for Rye. Yes this is a Rye Vodka. Penn is crafted from several different organic rye from different farms in Pennsylvania.

My personal taste and opinion.... Out of all the Vodkas Ive tasted(and its been many) I actually like Penn 1681. Its a different taste, very clean, very smooth. This is a vodka that can be enjoyed alone or in your favorite cocktail. I made a couple Martini's(extra dry and dirty) and it paired together very well. Now it does have a little Burn, But its burns sooooooooooo good!!  I will say this. Its more of a drinker's vodka. Most beginners wont like it, but someone who is looking for a great substitute for some of the vodka that's out on the market now, and want something with a refined taste,  would truly enjoy Penn 1681.

So next time you are looking for something new to try, get your hands on a little Penn 1681 Vodka!! You will not be disappointed!! Check them out on these sites..


Until Next Time