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Bartender as Pastry Chef

Bartender as Pastry Chef

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Published by applejak
As kitchens and bars cross-pollinate, American bartenders find inspiration in dessert ingredients and techniques.
As kitchens and bars cross-pollinate, American bartenders find inspiration in dessert ingredients and techniques.

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Published by: applejak on May 20, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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 With its floating mini-meringue, this citrusy vodka-and-Tuaca-based cocktail from mixologistKathy Casey is like pie in a glass.
    K    A    T    H    Y    C    A    S    E    Y
Spring 2009
ver the years, the men and women workingbehind the bar have taken on many differentroles: Apothecary, advisor, bouncer andmixologist are some of the most prominent. But lately, asmany bartenders push the boundaries of their craft in anattempt to expand the definition of the cocktail, they’retaking on the role of pastry chef.“The pastry chef and the mixologist have more incommon than either of them do with the head chef,”contends Jackson Cannon, bar manager of EasternStandard Kitchen & Drinks in Boston, a high-end bar andrestaurant where drinks like Blueberry Thrill andRaspberry-Lemon Fizz add sparkle to the seasonal menu.
Since the pastry kitchen and the bar employ so manysimilar types of ingredients, including sweeteners, fruitsand spices, crossover seems inevitable.“The pastry area is such a great place to look foringredients and inspiration,” says Kathy Casey of food-and-drink consultancy Kathy Casey Food Studios andLiquid Kitchen in Seattle. “There’s a plethora of sweeteners, for instance, and pastry routinely uses coulisand purees, which definitely go well in today’s cocktails.”Some well-known pastry chefs have been getting moreinvolved on the drinks side of the restaurant business.Pichet Ong, chef and owner of P*ong restaurant and theadjoining Batch bakery in New York City and author of “The Sweet Spot,” was the only chef participating in the2008 Marie Brizard Cocktail Challenge, but expect morecrossover in future contests. Johnny Iuzzini, executivepastry chef at Jean Georges and author of the recentlyreleased “Dessert FourPlay,” pops behind the bar regularlyat PDT, one of New York City’s cocktail hot spots. Thename stands for “Please Don’t Tell,” and the place isaccessed through a vintage phone booth in a hot dogjoint; it’s one of a growing group of hush-hush, speakeasy-style establishments cropping up in major cities.
Dessert cocktails like the grasshopper, a cool, after-dinnersip of crème de cacao, crème de menthe and vodka shaken
walks into a
As kitchens and bars cross-pollinate, American bartendersfind inspiration in dessert ingredients and techniques
with ice, have been around seemingly forever.In the late 1990s, bartenders fully exploredthe possibilities of chocolate martinis andsuch, and Michael Waterhouse, bartenderand owner of New York City’s Dylan Prime,patented the terms “Caketails” and “Pietinis”for his wildly popular sweet-cocktailcreations.The form is evolving further, as the latestand greatest renditions keep pace withcutting-edge desserts. Todd Thrasher,sommelier at Restaurant Eve and bar whiz atPX, both in Alexandria, Va., has had greatsuccess with such creations as the Butter“Nut” Craig, a pie-inspired drink combiningbutternut squash, spice bitters, Pyrat rum andGrand Marnier. He’s also known for poachingpeaches in Riesling and for his recent
Dessert Drinks Create Incremental-Sales Opportunities
Not every operation has the time or the resources todevise special dessert drinks, but David Commer, owner of Carrollton, Texas-based Commer BeverageConsulting, has some cost-conscious tips for makingdessert drinks a value-added proposition for anyrestaurant. Commer works with national multi-units todevelop new drink ideas and keep bar programs on- trend. While sales of both desserts and after-dinner drinks may suffer in the economic downturn,Commer thinks that combining the two as dessertdrinks could spark incremental sales.“People see [dessert drinks] as a lighter, lower-fatalternative to dessert, and they can get the flavors without all the calories,” says Commer.
Create New News:
The rule of thumb inselling cocktails, notes Commer, is offeringsomething new to capture the first sale. A dessertdrink can do the trick. Capturing the second sale isa matter of making the drink delicious andcraveable, which also means creating one that’snot overly sweet and is sized right.
Follow the Food:
“Rather than be generic with your dessertdrinks, look to your dessert menu and recreate your best-sellers inliquid form,” advises Commer, who used this tactic when working with casual-dining multi-unit Tony Roma’s. The chain’s R&D team wanted to turn its Apple Crisp a la Mode into a drink, and Commer helped create the Apple Crisp Tini, a blended martini featuring Absolut Vanilla Vodka served in a martini glass and finished with adrizzle of caramel syrup and apple-crumb topping.
Key to the apple crisp cocktail is the crumb topping.Tony Roma’s used the broken bits and pieces of crumb topping from the menued dessert’s ingredients. “We were able to use product that would have been loss or waste to create a signature drink,” saysCommer, who suggests working with vendors to repurpose existingingredients on a larger scale.
Slim Down:
Commer is experimenting with low-fat vanilla yogurt to turn high-calorie drinks like the mudslide into a more smoothie-likealternative that “still satisfies a sweet craving, but without the hugecalorie intake.”
Spring 2009
 At Jack Astor’s Bar & Grill, a frozenraspberry twister combines lemonand raspberry Smirnoff with ices of  the same flavors. Raspberry liqueur provides the final touch at the table.
    J     A    C     K    A     S     T    O     R      ’     S

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