“When life gives you lemons, sell them and buy a pineapple. How to better your life 101.” – Davin Turney
The New Gwei-Lo cocktail incorporates pineapple in three fascinating ways.
First, there’s a dehydrated pineapple and espelette chili rock salt rim. Then, as you sip you engage the bright pineapple shrub, which is an ancient arabic technique for preserving fruit as a drinking vinegar rather than allowing it to ferment into alcohol. Finally, there are the excited finishing notes of the pineapple star anise bitters that mingle, in this case, with the amaro and chocolate bitters. This is one of the most challenging drinks to prep, but now most of the key ingredients are available through Ms. Better’s.
1.75 oz Overproof Rye Whiskey
.75 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Gwei-Lo Syrup (recipe below)
Rim: Ms. Better’s Pineapple Espelette chili pepper salt rim.
Shaken and dirty strained over ice in a half salt rimmed tumbler. *Baccarat Tumbler from Parched Penguin.
Gwei-Lo Syrup Mix
8 parts Ms. Better’s Demerara Syrup
2 parts Amaro Punico
2 parts Pineapple shrub – We make ours with equal parts fresh diced pineapple, organic rice vinegar and granulated sugar – macerated together in a large mason jar for 48 hours and strained.
1 part Ms. Better’s Chocolate Bitters
1 part Ms. Better’s Pineapple Star Anise Bitters
Mix together. Stir. Keep refrigerated when not in use.
| What A Bartender Observes |
I stand at an amazing vantage point every time I go to work.
I am a party to the experiences of people. I am free to join in their conversations or merely observe.
A fly on the wall.
I’ve seen sons come out to their parents. I have listened to a heartbroken spouse receive an admission of infidelity. My heart dances a little for people who say their first “I love you” to their partner on my bar. Final toasts to fallen friends. I’ve seen so much, it has forever changed me.
Then there are the interactions people share directly with bartenders.
Bartenders dance on a fine tightrope. We keep peace between rowdy guests. We make people look good on first dates. We share insights with the curious. We guide memorable experiences. If a bartender does that job well they hear many compliments. In the early stages it feeds our ego. It keeps us interested. But as the passion for the craft, the profession, takes deep root – we start to process the compliments differently.
This leads to the scenario of having a favorite bartender.
| Why We Visit Our Favorite Bartenders |
“I wanna show you something amazing!”
Why does someone say that they love to watch a bartender at work? Why do they bring friends to have them order the same dish, or drink that they enjoy? Of course we love dining for more than the simple need for nourishment. We dine for recreation. We dine as social beings seeking to connect. Bartenders, like chefs, craft consumptive art to feed those desires.
But is there more?
I had a guest sitting across from me at the bar recently. He turned to his date as he sat down and said, “This guy is an artist! Wait til’ he fashions you a cocktail. You are going to love it!”. He kept imploring her to watch my every movement as I built their drinks. He uttered the ‘artist’ compliment a few more times. Comments appreciated, even blush-worthy.
What was he saying, really?
I didn’t know him. Barely recognized him. He wasn’t a regular. He wasn’t trying to boost my ego. He was telling his date, ‘Look at this thing I appreciate. Doesn’t it add value to my potential as a partner?’. Similar to taking someone to an art gallery or a scenic vista on a first date – a drink at a cool bar is making a statement.
A claim of authenticity.
He’s saying, “Let me show you the cool things I’m in to. Get a sense of me, and maybe, fall for me”. Bartenders, like chefs, endeavor to provide quality and authenticity. Whereas most chefs create behind the scenes bartenders must produce balanced cocktails in a visually compelling performance for onlookers. We strive to be awesome at it, learning rituals of fluid movement and eye-catching flare. We work to add something to everyone’s night and be the “benevolent hosts” (A Jay Jones gem)
And then before the night fades – learning to take compliments with an abiding sense of humility.
justcocktails friend, Pamela Wiznitzer, named VillageVoice.com Best Bartender in New York 2014