Thursday, May 29, 2008

Maraschino Confusion and Cocktail Recession

I have decided to use my humble digital outlet as a soap box today. I really find it criminal that people who consider themselves a part of the bar industry on a professional level do not have an understanding of what Maraschino is. Here is the Wikipedia page on it, which is pretty complete as far as I am concerned. I cannot stress enough how frustrating it is when bar people conflate the liqueur for the glow-in-the-dark plastic sugar balls meant to garnish sundaes, or worse yet, the toxic juice that has been stewing for weeks in a the garnish tray insert on the bartop. The average guest is almost never up on their Maraschino lore, which is completely understandable because lets face it, the backbar is loaded with bottles full of stories that are really only interesting to a select (and noble!!!) few.

However, for someone who considers himself a beverage professional to not be familiar with this classic bar staple....

The impetus for this rant is a recipe of mine being butchered in an industry magazine this month. While I am not all that concerned about anyone thinking that I would use '1/2 maraschino cherries' in a drink (pros know better, others...oh well), the fact that this slipped through the editing process kind of irks me. I know I am coming off whiny and nit-picky here, but things like this worry me.

Cocktails are hot right now, we all know this. Any reasonable person knows also that this is not going to last forever. I personally think there is actually going to be a bit of a lash-back in a few years. There are too many incomplete and overreaching programs in the world and they are going to spoil many guests taste for cocktails. The only way my career and craft are going to have a future is if enough of us have built righteous programs based on technique and education to withstand this 'cocktail recession.'

So spread the love...make a proper cocktail with maraschino for someone today. Here is one I like if you get stuck.

Improved Tequila Cocktail

1 1/2 oz. Blanco Tequila

1/2 oz. Maraschino

1/4 oz. Absinthe

1 hit bitters (I use a coffee/chocolate/cherry tincture, use whatever you think is clever)

Stir gently over ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lemon zest.

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