Wine is DEAD I was told at the CIA Flavor Summit  the three Martini lunch is back.., especially retro cocktails and everyone wants to make, muddle, shake and emulsify them. We want to recreate our favorite drinks from the prohibition era, yet someone has to mass produce this stuff so the casual dining chains don’t miss out on all the fun! Its cocktail week in San Francisco, the annual celebration of our dynamic beverage culture, and this week we are celebrating the history of bars, bartenders and cocktails of the past of San Francisco. I won a ticket on biteclub to attend this two hour class with H. Ehrman, chief cocktail ambassador, owner of Eixir bar san Francisco I not only know how to shake and stir but I also know how to slice a lime in half and make a frothy egg white top. H. Ehrman got very scientific on us and demonstrated how raw egg whites are used in cocktails to make a frothy foamy top, while giving body and viscosity to the final beverage (viscosity = thickness = mouthfeel in case there is still confusion on this word!). I also learned all about gum arabic syrup, which can be bought and added to cocktails to again, help with viscosity. “What exactly is in gum arabic sugar” someone asked from the back of the room… and I am sorry to say that Culinologist-despite having taken GUMS 101 with Alan Freed from Gum Technology back in 2005, did not remember exactly what gum Arabic was.. I so much wanted to stand up and say… “Gum arabic, also known as gum acacia, chaar gund or char goond, is a natural gum made of hardened sap taken from two species of the acacia tree; The gum is harvested commercially from wild trees and is a complex mixture of polysaccharides and glycoproteins that is used primarily in the food industry as a stabilizer” but of course I only know that because I just looked it up in Wikipidia and at that moment at the Elixer Bar in San Francisco, my mind went blank and I was not able to show off my Culinology knowledge!


Other food industry opportunities were brought up (of course our teacher didn’t know that, he just thought he was giving out good wholesome advice!) In Cocktail world lime juice should be squeezed and prepared as close to the final service time as possible because there is a huge difference in flavor (even when refrigerated) over a 5 to 7 hour timeframe. Orange juice holds out a bit better because of the additional sugar but in general-fresh is best. I say, just call vita- pakt  and get there concentrated frozen citrus juices and thaw out what you need a few minutes before the night begins, but that’s just me, thinking R&D like! Other ways industrial types can make mass produced drinks taste just as good as what those fancy San Francisco mixologists make-how about using some of the shelf stable blends from Giraffe Food and Beverages they do custom, they have their own line and their stuff is really fresh tasting. Their strawberry could easily be used to duplicate the Rouge the cocktail recipe with muddled strawberries that I posted here and they also have new age superfruits like acai and lychee and blueberries too!


In addition to all the food science that I picked up in this class, I also learned how to shake, pour, strain, slice limes and squeeze limes in a citrus juicer. All good stuff for real mixologists, but industrial, well, we have our own shortcuts-is this bad.. no-its reality! Not everyone can afford the 14 dollar Barbary Flip or Pisco Punch, the offical cocktail of San Francisco, why should only the rich get to have fun! Traditional flavors that are available for the masses-that’s what we do, that is our mission!


I left my cocktail 101 class wit a copy of Imbibe Magazine which I read on the plane to Chicago. This magazine is a great way to fully immerse yourself into cocktail mania! I learned which is the best grenadine brand Stirrings which is the worst (I won’t say, you will have to buy the magazine or go online to find out!),a home bar guide, Cynar, Italian ARTICHOKE liqueor.. which by the way, is one of those vegetables that wine people are always having trouble pairing with!


Cocktail culture is here, enjoy it, drink it up and industrialize it!!


The Barbary Flip-the official Cocktail of Sa Francisco Cocktail Week 2009

1 oz sagatiba velha cachaca

¾ ounce sky infusions pineapple

½ oz Benedictine

1 oz fresh lime juice

1 fresh egg white

Driscoll Farms Stawberry Slice and Angostura bitters for Garnish


Combine all the ingredients in an ice filled shaker and shake for 20 to 30 seconds, or until well chilled. Strain through a fine strainer intoa chilled champagne coupe glass and garish with a thinly sliced strawberry that has been doused with the Angostura bitters.


About rachel zemser