Thursday, June 11, 2009

Jose Garces Sends His Village Whiskey Bartenders To New York For Last Minute Fine Tuning

The cocktail program at Village Whiskey was set way back in April.

By then, Bar Manager Paul Rodriguez already had an impressive list of 16 original drinks ready to debut.

From the press release:
An exciting array of 16 House Cocktails, developed by bar manager Paul Rodriguez, will be divided into two categories, Prohibition, or classic cocktails, and Repeal, more contemporary, modern takes. The venerable Manhattan will be a mainstay, mixed using house-made bitters. In addition to their own bitters, other one-of-a-kind, house-made mixers will be offered.

Classic “Prohibition” cocktails will include: Old Fashioned, with Noah’s Mill 114-proof bourbon, Boissiere Italian vermouth, Fee’s Brothers oak-aged bitters, cherry and orange; Sazerac with Sazerac rye, Herbsaint absinthe, Peychaud’s bitters and lemon; and Philadelphia Fish House Punch, a favorite of George Washington’s interpreted by Chef Garces in the style of his wildly popular sangrias at Amada and Tinto, with rum, brandy, peach brandy, lemon, lime, orange and maraschino.

Contemporary “Repeal” cocktails will include: Village Idiot, Fighting Cock Kentucky straight 108-proof whiskey with The Bruery Black Orchard seasonal black wheat beer and ginger; The Latin Quarter Club, Cazadores reposado tequila, Flor de Cana rum, Johnny Walker Red, grapefruit and grapefruit bitters; and Sansom Street Flip, Charbay blood orange vodka, seasonal fruit and egg white. Cocktails will range in price from $11 to $18.
Sounds pretty great, right? (The Village Idiot is going to be amazing. And, hell, there's even a flip.)

Yes, well, apparently Jose Garces wants to make sure his barkeeps are at the very top of their game when Village Whiskey debuts — which should be *fingers crossed* very shortly.

He recently sent two of Village Whiskey's main "mixologists" to New York City to sharpen their skills.
Philadelphia barkeeps, in a wonderland of spirits, are tutored in creating alcoholic alchemy. The results are coming soon to an eatery near you.

The six visitors stood in white lab coats, staring at the incredible bounty they'd stumbled upon: floor-to-ceiling shelving displaying a library of $400-plus bottles of tequila, boutique sakes, rare piscos from Brazil, vodkas and gins from around the world, and exotica such as dehydrated grasshoppers, flavored foams, dragonfruit puree, cashew water, banana blossom sugar, 30-odd kinds of honey, and on and on.

For bartenders from Philadelphia, where spirit selection is limited by the State Store system, it was an especially shocking vision. "I thought my head would explode!" said Katie Loeb (last of Chick's Wine Bar; currently opening the revived Oyster House on Sansom Street).
Loeb was one of six bartenders who traveled to Kingsbridge, Bronx, to visit this Willy Wonka factory of drink-slinging operated by world-famous bartender "Liquid Chef" Junior Merino.
On hand were Phoebe Esmon (Chick's Wine Bar and the Ugly American); Tom Pittakas (Alison Two); Andres Sanchez (Positano Coast); and Keith Raimondi and Stephen Seibert (both of the Garces Restaurant group; both currently working to open Village Whiskey).
Elisa Ludwig documented the trip for a piece in the Inquirer.

A good pull quote came from the article's close:
"It was an intense day. . . But every time we come together to do something like this it really helps us strengthen Philly's cocktail culture," Seibert said. "It helps us push the limits of what we can make."
Strengthen away, good sir. Strengthen away.

Learning to create alcoholic alchemy: Philadelphia barkeeps, in a wonderland of spirits, are tutored in creating alcoholic alchemy. The results are coming soon to an eatery near you. [ Philadelphia Inquirer ]

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1 comment:

Katie M. Loeb said...

The bartenders weren't "sent" to New York by Jose Garces, they were invited to attend the seminar. Junior Merino contacted me to put together a group of Philly bartenders and a local journalist to attend an all Philly session of Liquid Lab. It was an honor to be invited to hostess the event.