These Organic Tequila Cocktails Will Help Your Beverage Program Stand Out

These Organic Tequila Cocktails Will Help Your Beverage Program Stand Out

As a restaurant operator and bar manager, it’s hard to decide whether you should stay on trend or aim to be unique in order to compete. We say try to differentiate yourself from the rest by doing something different.

It could be a different recipe or developing a signature housemade mix, even incorporating a different utilization of a high-quality product can make a big difference.

In this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar our resident master mixologist, Oscar Castaneda, will demonstrate how to make two scalable cocktails to help your bar program stand out featuring Dulce Vida Spirits.

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Chef Eileen Andrade Aims to Make a Destination Out of Miami Suburb, Kendall

Chef Eileen Andrade Aims to Make a Destination Out of Miami Suburb, Kendall

"If I could describe my style of cooking, I would definitely say— bold," says Chef Eileen Andrade.

And “bold” is right as her restaurants serve up a combination of Cuban, Peruvian and Korean dishes.

There is no stopping this fierce Miami-based chef from accomplishing her goals.

In her mid-twenties, Eileen Andrade, opened her first restaurant, Finka Table & Tap in Kendall, an unassuming suburban Miami neighborhood. Now, the 29-year-old sits down with Foodable to talk about her newest restaurant concept, Amelia’s 1931, which she opened less than a mile away from her first concept.

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Tequila Recipes: Ultra-Premium Craft Tequila Cocktails Revive the Spirit

Tequila Recipes: Ultra-Premium Craft Tequila Cocktails Revive the Spirit
  • Foodable Mixologist creates Premium Artisanal Tequila Cocktail Recipes

  • Embajador shares their Ultra-Premium Craft Tequila

Today, Foodable unveils our brand new Smart Bar with our Master Mixologist, Oscar Castaneda. For such a momentous occasion, what else could we christen the set with than Tequila! Oscar introduces us to Embajador Tequila in 3 ways. Ever had sipping tequila? Well my culinarians, you’ll want to try this one.

Embajador Tequila produces premium 100% Blue Agave tequilas, offering incredible value to patrons.

For his first beverage, Oscar pairs the Platinum tequila with fresh mixes to match the quality of the spirit. Using a strong beet puree, homemade cilantro syrup, and a homemade jalapeno syrup (both using coconut sugar), he balances the tequila for a sweet and savory taste. Then in true Tequila form, he adds a lemon-lime sweet and sour mix giving a beautiful layered effect.

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Artisan Wine And Beverage Trends

Artisan Wine And Beverage Trends

Your beverage program can make or break your business. A well-run program can grow profits, as well as subsidize other initiatives within your operation that may be more costly. And yet, many bar programs are still underdeveloped. What does it take to elevate your program to the next level? Foodable gathered top beverage minds to discuss what makes a bar program great.

Success in this business comes down to the value you provide for your customers. Defined by the quality you provide for the price you charge, there are many ways to provide and build upon value.

The first thing Dan Pilkey of Paul Hobbs Winery reminds operators is that a beverage program can’t be contained in a rigid box. The lines between beverage and culinary can, and should, blur. At the very base, you need to provide the basics your customers can fall back on, but you should really strive to go beyond that.

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Top 3 Gin Brands As Ranked by Foodable Labs

Top 3 Gin Brands As Ranked by Foodable Labs

Did you know that the name ‘Gin’ derived from the Dutch drink ‘Jenever’?

Traditional Jenever, or Genever, was originally produced by distilling malt wine and adding juniper berries to mask the unpleasant flavor.

Now, the Gin category is considered one of the broadest since it can be made from any neutral spirit alcohol made from agricultural products like grain (barley, maize, etc.) or molasses.

Currently, there are three defined ways of producing Gin, according to the European Community Regulation 110/2008, which governs spirit drinks

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Former Versace Mansion Pours 24 Karat Gold Margaritas in Its Onyx Bar

Former Versace Mansion Pours 24 Karat Gold Margaritas in Its Onyx Bar
  • Miami Beach's Versace Mansion has a storied past but its present is just as luxurious.

  • 24 karat gold tile line the pool at the Villa Casa Casuarina, matching the opulence of the double king beds found in the hotels many boutique suites.

The opulence of the Villa Casa Casuarina was established during its former existence as the Versace Mansion. But not even a fraction of the lavishness has been lost since it was purchased and transitioned into a boutique hotel by the Victor Hotels Group in 2013. The pool is embedded with thousands of gold tiles, the breezeways are dotted with intricate fountains, and in Gianni Versace's former kitchen there now lives a cozy bar, exclusive to guests of Gianni's, the hotel's private restaurant. 

Watch the episode above for some awe-inspiring views and mouth-watering cocktails that live up to the mansion's luxurious past. 

Cocktail No. 1: 24 Karat Golden Margarita

Recipe:

  • Allaire Aged Crystal Tequila
  • Grand Marnier
  • Lime juice
  • Simple syrup
  • Orange juice

Cocktail No. 2: Passion in the Mansion

Recipe:

  • Passion fruit infused vodka
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Citrusy infused syrup
  • Top with champagne
  • Garnish: Passion fruit seeds, dragon fruit

Cocktail No. 3: Julep Spoon of Cilantro

Recipe:

  • Cilantro
  • Organic agave nectar 
  • Angostura bitters 
  • Homemade spicy bitter  
  • Woodford Reserve Rye
  • Garnish: Hand full of cilantro
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Kapow! Noodle Bar: A Funky, Fun, New Restaurant in Boca Raton, Florida

Kapow! Noodle Bar: A Funky, Fun, New Restaurant in Boca Raton, Florida
  • Kapow! Noodle Bar is a Top 10 restaurant on the Boca Restaurant Guide.

  • Kapow! Noodle Bar is a Must Stop When Dining in Boca Raton.

Kapow! Noodle Bar in Mizner Park, located in Boca Raton Florida, offers Asian fusion with a funky and fun atmosphere.

The restaurant serves small plates, dim sum and dumplings, gyoza tacos, noodles and rice, salads, entrées, and desserts with locally sourced ingredients.  

Some of the dishes include the Pork Belly Ramen Tonkotsu, which is made of fresh wheat noodles with a six-minute egg, preserved bamboo shoot, and Hon shemeji; the Mongolian Short Rib Bao Bun with pickled fresno, green apple, Thai basil, and sambal; the Saigon Duck Pho with Jurgielewicz Farms duck, bean sprouts, Thai basil, banh pho noodles, and lime; and the unique twist on the pad Thai dish with traditional banh pho noodles, coriander, bean sprouts, egg, lime, and peanut.

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Trends to Expect in 2018 for Food, Beverage, Restaurant Operations and Concepts

Trends to Expect in 2018 for Food, Beverage, Restaurant Operations and Concepts

Every year, the landscape seems to alter within the restaurant industry and the transition from 2017 to 2018, is shaping up to be no different.

The year 2017 brought us an exploding market in fast casual pizza concepts that happened during the midst of a downward spiral in sales across much of the fast casual, quick serve, and full-service restaurant sectors.

This past year also continued with more food and beverage transparency; including the use of more organic, sustainable, and locally sourced product. It also brought forth rising labor and overall operating costs, a substantial jump in online ordering and delivery options, and the increased importance of company culture, as well as, the focus on overall guest experiences.

What does the year 2018 have in-store for the restaurant industry? It can be challenging to navigate all of the different trend reports available online, but let’s focus on these core attributes; food, drink, operations, and concepts.  

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Foodable Labs Ranks Top Mezcal Brands

Foodable Labs Ranks Top Mezcal Brands

In the past 90 days, 328K beverage influencers have mentioned the spirit: Mezcal.

Mezcal originates from Mexico and it’s made from the plant agave— just like tequila. What’s the difference between the two, you ask?

Well, technically tequila is considered a type of mezcal but all mezcals are not the same as tequilas. The main reason why is because mezcals are ANY agave-based liquor made from ANY type of agave plant grown ANYWHERE in Mexico. Tequilas in the other hand are strictly made from the Blue Agave plant.

Now that we understand the difference, let's get back to mezcals.

One of the things that is so exciting about this spirit is the fact that it can be made out of over 30 different types of agave plants. Another is the distinct artisanal process to produce mezcal.

The distillation process is over two centuries old and it involves burying and slow roasting the heart of the agave plants in wood-fired earth pits with volcanic rocks. Have you ever tasted mezcal neat? Did you notice a smoky flavor? This process is how you get that distinct taste!

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How To Better Profit From Crafted Cocktails

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Crafted cocktails are not a new invention, but from the days of the good old “Harvey Wallbanger” to today’s gastronomy driven “Old Fashioned,” they have evolved to complex, costly, and labor-intensive items.

“What is a crafted cocktail?,” you may ask. First off, nothing pre-made out of the bottle mixes—Fresh, fresh, oh did we mention you need freshness in your drink? That would consist of using real fruit juice made to order or prepared the day of. Please keep lime-in-the-bottle out of the bar and remember to use fine liqueurs with no artificial flavors and opt for natural flavored syrups. Fine spirits stay away from the well brands. You just can’t make it work, this is not the way to save or cut costs on the main showpiece.

So, many barmen and women think they should just stay behind the bar, but this is wrong. Today’s crafted cocktails are full of exciting ingredients from spices to fresh herbs, and use co-kitchen ingredients like pork fat, tomatoes, and fruit and vegetable scraps.

Here are some tips to keep it crafty and profitable:

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  1. Pick fine spirits for your cocktail. A little goes a long way here. A one ounce fine whisky pour in a cocktail will standout versus a two ounce well whisky. People ordering crafted cocktails are becoming more knowledgeable and will seek a small batch liquor when selecting. Yes, a fine liquor will cost more than a well brand, but lower pours will aid your costs.

  2. Batch make some of the more labor intensive items like fresh juices, and syrups during prep. They should be stored in glass not plastic. This will save labor and timing and you can control your usage throughout the day. You can also calculate your yields from your raw ingredients.

  3. Know your COSTS! Use measuring tools like jiggers to calculate costs. Set a cost goal that you are comfortable with and gives the customer value. Many times, owners are surprised to find out their cocktail list is costing them 40 percent just in products.  Know before you pour.

Formula:

Total cost of ingredients divided by the sale price equals the cocktail cost percentage per menu item. 

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  1. Keep all cocktail production under three minutes each. This has been one of the biggest speed bumps for many bar programs. Time is money, and customers don’t want to wait until their meter is out. How to make a crafted cocktail within a reasonable time? Train bar staff and know what items can be prepped beforehand and still be fresh within the given shift. You can pick off mint leaves and precut some garnishment. People still want to see the whole process, but if the bartender is making cocktails for a table away from the bar, this will not matter, as the taste and level of freshness will be the same; so saving the show for the bar top is not short changing anyone.

  2. The kitchen has a wealth of free ingredients you can use to make syrups and garnishments from just scraps. Ask the chef what he is throwing out—peels, herb, stems and more. Michelin star restaurant, Providence, in Hollywood uses many kitchen scraps in their cocktail program daily, and bar manager Kim Stodel had no previous cooking knowledge but has learned from on-staff chefs how to best utilize ingredients. It would also be great to include your chefs on your cocktail creations, as they will give you insight on which free kitchen scraps you may be able to exploit.

  3. Ask your supplier what crafted spirit specials they have. Many times you can work out a deal for case discounts and/or refunds if you just place the liquor brand name on your cocktail list. We have more small batch spirit companies than ever, and they are thirsty for business and willing to give a break in cost for a spot on your list and sales. ASK ASK and ASK and you will find a fitting brand willing to invest in lowering spirit costs. Spirit companies are willing to do joint promotions, which will also aid you in costs. Ask for package deals being offered with other items, like ginger beer. Also remember that many times your sales rep will be forgetful in offering, so you have to keep asking every week.

  4. Changing up the menu and keeping it seasonal will also keep costs down, as many of the fresh items, such as citrus and herbs, will rise in costs as they fade out of season. Use the seasons as your guide for refreshing your cocktail menu; it’s a great way to keep your cocktail menu from going stale.

When creating crafted cocktails, the end goal is to make a refreshing beverage that will leave a lasting memory on your guest.  So many bar programs end up with a list of ingredients longer than a French cookbook; don’t get caught up in making it complicated, and just keep the glass full of value and quality.