ately, a lot of people I have met, and also my friends and colleagues seem to be falling into the abyss of the phenomenon I’d like to call “no time for life.” I am pretty sure you are all witnessing similar occurrences every
day. Do people seem somewhat rusty in conversation or in other types of communication? Do you feel like all of a sudden life is missing smiles and politeness, or that there is no sense of the present moment? Well, apparently this is all happening because people are busy and they don’t have “enough time,” as I have been told. But being busy and not having enough time does not exclude good manners… or does it? Being polite, stopping or at least slowing down for a moment and dedicating a few seconds seasoned with a smile to your partner, colleague, or friend - does it really harm anybody? Can we lose a job over that? In the past weeks I’ve had the pleasure of taking a holiday and visiting a couple of islands in Indonesia. Coming from the very busy and impersonal city of Shanghai, this part of the world really showed me a difference in terms of “natural hospitality.”
One of the best methods to “stop” time when we are under pressure is enjoying something sweet, a piece of chocolate for example.
This is a place where when you meet people, they smile at you and they even ask how your day was. They actually mean the question. No, it’s not about trying to sell you “stuff ” all the time, they are just used to it; it’s natural to them. Of course you’re in a country where the sun is up most of the time, of course you’re on holidays and of course the speed of Indonesian life is slightly slower than what we’re used to, but at the end of the day, aren’t we all human beings? Whether we are sitting behind our desks, serving customers in a packed bar, or just going out for a coffee and meeting random people, let’s try to stop for a second and dedicate the moment to the person we’re interacting with. Let’s try to be polite even when we are under pressure and “running out of time.” Because really, there is no such thing as having “no time,” as we are all used to saying. We do have the time, it’s just up to us how greedy we get about it. One of the best methods to “stop” time when we are under pressure is enjoying something sweet, a piece of chocolate for example. Isn’t a sweet moment one of the best cures? At the same time, sugars in various forms - sugar cane or sugar beet for example – are a “must” ingredient for the production of many great spirits and liqueurs, including Becherovka Original. That is why we decided to dedicate this issue to the world of “sweet living.”
Camper English from Alcademics will take us on a journey to Asia where we explore different types of sugar. While we are on the other side of the world, we make a stopover in Shanghai and interview Brian Tan, one of the best chocolatiers and pastry chefs in Asia. He opens up about his “Willy Wonka” life, his opinion on chocolate, sweets and cocktails. On our way back to Europe we catch up with another “Bohemian bartender” - this time in Moscow. Issue No 4 is also seasoned with some unconventional designers from Australia. They recycle used skateboards and make ultra cool sunglasses out of them. Awesome, mates! We can’t miss a dedication to the strong personalities and beautiful minds in history. Let us introduce you to the 19th century “Julia Child of Bohemia” - Magdalena Dobromila Rettigova. A passionate writer and cook, she is the person who wrote the very first Bohemian Cookbook back in 1826 and thus changed the culinary life of most Czech households. Dear Reader, We hope you enjoy our fourth issue as much as we enjoyed creating it for you. Na zdravi! George Nemec
That’s a fact Dacice is a town of 8000 people in South Bohemia. The sugar cube was invented here in 1843 by Jakub Krystof Rad, director of the local sugar company.
BOHEMIAN BARTENDER Roman Milostivy, Chainaya Tea and Cocktails, Moscow
BOHEMIAN BARTENDER | Roman Milostivy
hainaya Tea and Cocktails opened its discreet doors just over a year ago, and it soon became one of the most talked about bars in Russia. Its head bartender and concept originator Roman Milostivy has a repu-
tation of being a highly skilled, highly educated and wildly charismatic master bartender â€“ a rare phenomenon on the Moscow bar scene (and beyond). He invited us over to his cosy underground oasis to sample some of his supreme concoctions and to experience the true art of treating guests like royalty.
follow him downstairs, descending into a dimly lit Asian-themed maze adorned with manifold tearoom paraphernalia.
First you need to navigate your way through deeply confusing streets near one of Moscowâ€™s largest railway stations, then, right where two of the grim roads intertwine, there is an arcane passageway. After you cross it you spot large Chinese signs on a bright red wall. Then you press a buzzer and wait patiently for the
BOHEMIAN BARTENDER | Roman Milostivy
Despite his youthful looks, Roman already has plenty of bar experience, granting him a solid reputation on the international bar scene.
ruler of this hidden kingdom to come and greet you. You follow him downstairs, descending into a dimly lit Asian-themed maze adorned with manifold tearoom paraphernalia: there’s the dragons, the paper lampoons, eclectic knick-knacks, the unique bar tables with tiny decorations cleverly displayed underneath glass.
Formerly associated with an upscale Chinese restaurant above,
the subterranean tea salon remained open after the restaurant was shut and then it was offered to Roman to take over. The original décor of the tearoom remained untouched; there was only one long bar desk added against the wall, and of course, bottles were brought to the simple back bar. Get seated at the bar and watch Roman and his team of hardworking colleagues masterfully prepare inventive cocktails, pour the finest tea from traditional Chinese tea ware or, for even more comfort, sit low in one of the pillow- lined booths for an intimate chat and a proper tea-house feel. Soft swing tunes perfectly underline the long gone times mood. A true Eden of peace in the middle of this dodgy ‘hood.
Roman pours tea first and lures you into an interesting discus-
sion; his neat conversational skills put you at ease right away. His attitude is down-to-earth, his voice quiet, yet naturally demanding attention. With spare, efficient moves he prepares drinks with unerring precision. He is confident and cool – no wonder he is one of the most celebrated bartenders in Moscow. Despite his youthful looks, Roman already has plenty of bar experience, granting him a solid reputation on the international bar scene. He honed his skills behind bars in Malaysia and has triumphed in several important competitions – including Bols Around The World in 2008, where he scored first place. Roman later won the title of Cocktail Ambassador for Pernod Ricard Russia for a year, subsequently traveling the country and preaching quality drinks and impeccable service. His demeanor shows he is passionate and intense; he will grant you and your drink the utmost care. That’s also why you will never see Chainaya unpleasantly packed – a strict door policy is enforced in a natural way by the locked entrance door; on Fridays and Saturdays only the lucky ones with a reservation can get in. But once they’re in, they become a part of the family. Roman sees his patrons as good friends – and treats them as such.
You’ll see him tirelessly adjusting the music, adding more wa-
ter to the tea pot – the temperature right on the money; then he’s swiftly cutting more ice, preening and primping this and that, making it all just perfect.
But drinks are not in the background. The cocktail menu is care-
fully thought through, with specials changing weekly. There are several Old Fashioned variations, Martinis and Negronis, some Sours (“The ladies need their drinks too”) and with it a few handpicked reds and whites. There’s no coffee; no fruity drinks either. Authentic Chinese food is served alongside drinks straight out of a small kitchen in plain sight.
Many cocktail recipes are inspired by the guests themselves;
Roman listens to his customers and then brings to the menu what they like or talk about. The rare spirits – many of them
BOHEMIAN BARTENDER | Roman Milostivy brought by friends from travels – are shared and sampled too: Roman’s hospitality aims to be boundless. There are no pourers on the bottles; everything gets drunk sooner rather than later in Chainaya. Talk to Roman for a while and you’ll see why the man is so famous: he is extremely knowledgeable, yet humble, a gracious host, a cocktail expert. To this add his signature disarming smile and willingness to listen – a true master of the bartending trade. He’ll be humming an old jazz song while whipping up a mean cocktail, without showy or flamboyant moves, with the pure and well-measured simplicity that he is such a fan of. Roman’s brainchild Chainaya was voted amongst the 50 best bars at Drinks International Awards in 2012, merely a year after its opening. And deservedly so – you will not find many places as charming as this one. It is the epitome of good times, a divine refuge from the city’s hustle and bustle, with great drinks, exceptional service and atmosphere to match. Though the place itself is not large, there is no shortage of character in this wonderful speakeasy. And the seemingly odd union of cocktails and teas have proven to be a great combo after all. It appears that tea has the ability to process alcohol in the body quicker, so you don’t suffer the proverbial “cocktail flu” the day after visiting Chainaya. But the truth is, experiencing this bar and meeting its barchef is well worth a slight headache.
A piece of sweet trivia Aztec Emperor Montezuma drank 50 golden goblets of hot chocolate, dyed red and flavored with chili peppers, every day.
BOHEMIAN BARTENDER | Roman Milostivy
La BohEme by Roman Milostivy
30ml Becherovka Original 30ml Calvados 5-7 ml Demerara Syrup “This cocktail was actually a result of the team work of my bartenders and the inspiration was taken from the Widow’s Kiss cocktail (Calvados, Chartreuse Jaune, Benedictine, Angostura). We simply mixed Calvados – Daron Fine was used – and Becherovka, 30ml each, plus 5-7ml Demerara or just brown sugar syrup. Old Fashioned style. I wanted to come up with something simple, something that can be used in bars all over the world. I really like the final drink and we will be now making and promoting it in Chainaya.”
Story of Becherovka The Alchemy th of the 13 Spring
Becherovka is not called the ‘Thirteenth Spring of Karlovy Vary’ for nothing. The liquor has an air of something mystical; it’s surrounded by bizarre stories and occult symbols.
ORIGINAL STORY | The Alchemy of the 13 Spring th
ou say thirteen is an omen of bad luck? Well, stand corrected. In many ancient cultures number 13 was considered sacred, and actually quite lucky. In the tarot 13 is Death – but not in the literal sense. It sym-
bolizes renewal, an ending of an old cycle and transition into a new, enlightened state. It stands for a new beginning and regeneration.
Perhaps it was the times. In the era of alchemists, the supernatural was treated with great respect.
Just take a look at a bottle of Becherovka. You can see right there that the Bechers had a knack for mysticism. Perhaps it was the times. In the era of alchemists, the supernatural was treated with great respect. And precious a liquor needed to be properly protected. Chemical experiments were only starting and the scientists who fiddled with strange matters in their labs sometimes mysteriously materialized when they were needed. Doctor Frobrig stayed at the villa At the Three Skylarks by mere chance – just when old Becher was concocting his potion. He left a note that helped Becher finish his recipe for Becherovka and then poof! He was gone, never to set foot in Carlsbad again. So what exactly is the meaning of the business cryptogram on every Becherovka bottle? It’s the original symbol of the Becher family. It has survived since the late 19th century when Gustav, son of Johann Becher, first registered it as one of the liquor’s trademarks. Although slightly amended, it is still used today.
The vertical line happens to be one of the basic elements of western iconography; it represents unity, authority and power. It also symbolizes yang, the active, powerful, masculine side of the universe. According to medieval almanacs the rectangular line hints at calculation of moon phases. Number four presiding over the whole cryptogram means stability, solidity, power, intellect, justice and omnipotence. It can also symbolize quintessence, the fifth and highest element above earth, fire, air and water. Let’s start at the bottom. Springs thrust out from a singular point, carrying vital minerals from the depths of the Earth. This is from where the herbs and spices derive their hidden healing power. They represent the divine force that nature offered to Johann Becher. By using his wit he was able to create medicine. If the conditions were right – e.g. the herbs should be collected at a specific time – the medicine became something of perfection. A unique and omnipotent potion. And this is the secret of Becherovka. The end product of a complicated and no doubt magical process not only aids those who suffer from stomach and other digestive problems, but it is also a popular drink. Because Becherovka was born when the moon was right and when the Earth was ready to share its healing secrets…
Tracing sugar The people of New Guinea were probably the first to domesticate sugarcane, sometime around 8,000 BC. After domestication, its cultivation spread rapidly to Southeast Asia, southern China, and India. There are records of knowledge of sugar among the ancient Greeks and Romans, but only as an imported medicine, and not as a food.
! d a b s l r
The gorgeous spa town Carlsbad, home of Becherovka, does not lose any of its wonderland charm when it gets chilly outside. We hope you will savor its atmosphere along with a cozy winter-time drink.
Legend has it that the freeze-out process was discovered by chance. While Becherovka was being exported to Russia, sediment appeared in the bottles. Nobody knew where it came from, until the engineers realized it was a result of extremely low temperatures, typical for Russian winters. In the end, this â€˜sediment incidentâ€™ helped to improve the product.
Brand Education | Freeze-Out!
on’t be fooled by the whimsical name. The freeze-out is a serious technological operation that the liquor undergoes before the final filtration. Becherovka is chilled to approximately 5 degrees Celsius below zero
and then held at such temperature for a couple of days. Why? you might ask. Becherovka is a 100% natural product. No artificial ingredients. Herbs and spices are mixed together according to a 200 year old secret recipe. What happens is this: the herbal extract in concentrated alcohol contains substances that change their structure when the product is chilled to low temperatures — a mild sediment may occur in the bottle. That doesn’t mean that the drink is off in any way! But since it may spoil the esthetic experience for the consumer, Becherovka engineers incorporated the freeze-out process. These folks are perfectionists.
Becherovka is a 100% natural product. No artificial ingredients. Herbs and spices are mixed together according to a 200 year old secret recipe.
The freeze-out preventively simulates conditions that may occur in the life of a bottle – while it’s being transported or when you carry it home from the store and baby, it’s cold outside. When the fluid is cooled 5 degrees below zero, the temperature-unstable substances separate from the dilution. After that they can be caught in a special filter, just like that. Becherovka has been using the technology for about 30 years now. Winemakers are fond of it too, for the very same reasons. The result of the freeze-out is a stable and clear drink, and it is achieved without any additives. Just the way we like it. Cheers!
Exotic import The 1st record of sugar in English is in the late 13th century. Cane sugar was an expensive import. Its price in 14th and 15th century England was about as high as imported tropical spices such as nutmeg, ginger, cloves, and pepper.
Not all “natural” products know how to be good-looking as well. We have found soulcrafted glasses that are not only environmentally responsible, they also look über-cool! As per usual, we want to share all new exciting gadgets and accessories we like with our community of Bohemian bartenders - with you.
SEASONING | Holloway
Where do broken skateboards go?
nfortunately, there is still no evidence that a board-heaven exists somewhere where all our split-in-half skate/surf/
snowboards would be revived to bask in eternal glory, forever riding the perfect urban/oceanic/mountain terrainâ€Ś There is something near-heavenly in Australia though. The incubatorlike company Holloway Eyewear cares for recycling and restoration. They care for their surroundings, for nature. These guys have come up with a rad way
not only to re-use a broken skateboard but to make even radder glasses from it. Handmade, of course. A direct transformation of something that cannot be of use anymore is the very definition of sustainability and preservation. Equally fantastic: these people know about design. Their â€œwoodenâ€? glasses come in great shapes and colors. Indeed, you will not only be saving the planet but simultaneously looking as hip as it gets.
What women and men want A recent study indicates that when men crave food, they tend to crave fat and salt. When women crave food, they tend to desire chocolate.
A Sampling of Sugars from Asia Camper english
Last year at Tales of the Cocktail I gave a talk, along with David Cid, about sugar, syrups and rum. A detailed write-up of that talk is on the blog Commercial Free Cocktail.
OUR GUEST | sugars from asia
s part of that talk I passed around a ton of samples of sugars to taste. Most of these sugars were purchased in Singapore by Michael Callahan, bar manager of 28 Hong Kong Street. He carried a full
suitcase of them for me, so he is awesome. Many of the sugars were taken home by seminar attendees (I encouraged it), or were no longer transportable, but seven of them made it back home with me. For those of you who werenâ€™t there to taste them in person, I wanted to write them up. It only took me five months to do it. Here are a few notes on the sugars.
Japanese Wasanbon Sugar This is the famous Japanese Wasanbon sugar. I picked up a packet in Japantown in San Francisco. It is labelled as â€œBaikodo Wasanbo.â€? Here is some information about wasanbon sugar: Wasanbon sugar is widely used in the world of Japanese sweets. Wasanbon is a domestically produced light yellow sugar that is made through a traditional Japanese manufacturing process and a particular specialty in the Shikoku region. As Wasanbon sugar is made entirely by hand and the process is quite detailed, mass production is impossible. Due to this and other reasons, the price
OUR GUEST | sugars from asia is higher than for ordinary sugar. The raw material is chikuto, a kind of sugarcane with a thin stem, and the manufacturing process is as follows: Squeeze the liquid out of the chikuto using a squeezer and make shiroshita by boiling the liquid down.
In the world of Japanese confections, the taste of sugar is the life of the sweet and is a treasured part of it.
Put the shiroshita into a big “boat” the size of a tatami (rushmat) and knead it while adding water. Put the kneaded shiroshita into a bag made of hemp on the outside and cotton on the inside and wring it. Place the entire bag into a “pressing boat” made of wood, hang weights down from the tops of the cabers and apply via through leverage. When pressure is applied, molasses is generated from the shiroshita. Place the shiroshita remaining in the bag, not the squeezed molasses, into the “boat” again and repeat the same process three to five times. The shiroshita remains in the bag and is sifted through a sieve after being dried. Wasanbon sugar crystals are fine, smooth and soft and melt in the mouth while generating an elegant sweetness. In the world of Japanese confections, the taste of sugar is the life of the sweet and is a treasured part of it. Tasting Notes: This stuff is delicious. It is soft and powdery and instantly melts on the tongue with a burst of beautiful pure sweetness and a slight afternote of molasses that you want more of (and I kinda hate molasses). Harmonious.
OUR GUEST | sugars from asia
Taikoo brand Okinawa Style Natural Black Sugar From the back of the package: Taikoo Okinawa Style Natural Black Sugar is made from the renowned Japanese sugarcane, adopting the traditional Okinawa style of production. It is rich in the aroma of sugarcane and suitable for people from all age groups to take as a snack during leisure time. Okinawa Style Natural Black Sugar is ideal for preparing traditional Chinese recipes such as ginger soup, black bean wine, vinegar stew, lychee fructus with longanae arillus soup. It is also a perfect match for making Chinese style desserts such as chilled myotonin and red dates congee. Another website says: Okinawan brown sugar is made from sugarcane grown in fields blessed with strong southern-island sunlight and minerals delivered by the ocean spray. Unlike other brown sugar, Okinawan brown sugar has a deep, rich flavor. Not only used as a condiment, Okinawan brown sugar pieces are consumed as a sweet accompaniment to tea for relief of fatigue. Brown sugar is especially popular among women for its high iron and calcium content and is used as part of a remedy for anemia. It is also popular as a wholesome food. Use this great product regularly as part of your everyday diet.
Opening this packet I would swear I was smelling old Swedish licorice candy! It has a thick, raisiny aroma that reminds me of the Swedish licorice pipes.
And another website puts it more plainly: Many Western women like to eat chocolate for comfort during their period, but Japanese women like to eat black sugar. For Taiwanese women, eating black sugar during their period is also a very common custom, probably because Taiwan is a former colony of Japan. They really eat pieces of sugar like its candy. Actually, the minerals like iron and calcium do help ease the tension and discomfort of a woman’s period. Of course the calories of the black sugar do produce a lot of energy for this difficult time too. Compare it to a cup of hot chocolate on a winter’s day. Ginger and black sugar tea is a popular drink in almost every part of China. Apart from warming up the body, ginger tea also helps to cure colds. Tasting Notes: Opening this packet I would swear I was smelling old Swedish licorice candy! It has a thick, raisiny aroma that reminds me of the Swedish licorice pipes. The taste isn’t as dramatic as the aroma; a soft and gentle licorice that I can totally see enjoying as candy rather than sweetener.
Bitter... sweet!! Becherovka owes its essential pleasant sweetness to a completely natural, highest quality sweetener. The sugar in Becherovka comes from fine sugar beet molasses from a small Czech village of Vrbátky.
OUR GUEST | sugars from asia
Thai Gula Merah Jaggery Powder From the package, “Star Brand Jaggery Powder is a natural sweetening substance made by concentrating sugar cane juice without any preservatives and colorings. It can be used in brewing coffee, tea, and chocolate drinks and in preparing cakes, kuih, syrups, and desserts.” Tasting Notes: It doesn’t have a strong aroma, smelling like dusty dirt for the most part. In the mouth it tastes of soft molasses mixed with super high sugar notes. Kind of disjointed, as if they just mixed one good light sugar with a too-sweet one.
China Rock Honey Sugar First off: Best.Name.Ever. The package doesn’t have much information in English. It says only, “Ingredients: chrysanthemum, sugar, honey, water,” so it appears it’s some sort of a mix. It’s definitely processed and shaped into these rectangular pieces that look a lot like Rice Krispy Treats. Tasting Notes: It doesn’t smell like much of anything, and the flavor is mild as well. It’s crunchy like some sort of sugar candy with only a light molasses taste. I don’t taste any honey flavor. Oh well, at least the name is great.
OUR GUEST | sugars from asia
Small Lump Sugar The only English words on the package are the ingredients (sugar and water) and “Product of China.” The lumps are in the size of giant crystals, the average size being about that of Chiclet gum. Tasting Notes: It smells only slightly of molasses but mostly just like rock candy. The lumps don’t taste like anything at all until you bite into them, and then it’s just like plain sugar, but a lot less sweet than typical white sugar.
Ueno brand Kurosato sugar Ingredients: black sugar. This one I also found in San Francisco and it seems a lot like the other Japanese black sugar mentioned above. Tasting Notes: It smells just like the other sugar too - Swedish licorice, but a little darker and more heavily baked. These chunks are much larger than in the other package and their flavor far more white-sugar-sweet. Less interesting than the other, similar brand.
OUR GUEST | sugars from asia
Gula Melaka Coconut Candy The ingredients of this package are coconut and sugar. Inside the package are four cylindrical, molasses-colored pieces of the candy. Tasting notes: The smell is delicious, like a combination of maple sugar candy and molasses. The taste is also a bit like maple sugar candies, but more in texture than in flavor. Generally it’s more brown sugary than anything else. I don’t detect any coconut flavor.
Orange Suga This sugar I think Michael Callahan just bought in bulk in Singapore. I asked him for some more information about it. He says: This is the famous “Orange Sugar.” It is sold as you see it (in baggies) in all the Wet-Markets throughout Singapore. The base is a granulated Gula Merah (Palm Sugar). The coloring comes from additives. I have not found out what the original coloring agents were,
OUR GUEST | sugars from asia
nowadays they use modern food dyes. The color is to brighten up a local sweet dish called “Putu Mayam,” a variation on an Indian dish adopted by the Malay people. The dish is all white and the Orange Sugar brings color and also allows you to see how much you have added. It is wildly inconsistent and I am certain some of it must be carcinogenic. I love playing with it for making syrups as it brings a nice hue and tone to the drink with its touch of pink. Tasting Notes: It doesn’t smell like anything. Though it looks powdery, it’s actually really small granules. The flavor is just of sugar, but it is pleasantly mild in sweetness. Nothing earth-shaking, but pretty nonetheless. For more information on sugar from around the world, check the Sugar Spirit Project index at this link: www.alcademics.com/sugar-spirit-project-index.html
Camper English The author of this piece is a well-known blogger and independent bar industry journalist Camper English, who writes about cocktails and booze for many respected publications. You can find his fine work on his widely popular website www.Alcademics.com.
BRIAN TAN PASTRY CHEF & CHOCOLATIER CHINA – SHANGHAI
DIALOGUE | BRIAN TAN I met with Brian a few years ago when he asked for some bar-related recommendations. Since then we became very good friends. In the first part, I interviewed Brian simply because there were still things I did not know about him. I snapped a couple of pictures while we were having fun, and finally, inspired by a day full of talking, drinking, and eating, I free-styled a handful of cocktails matching Brian’s chocolats.
Part I: INTERVIEW
What brought you to Shanghai? I was a pastry chef on the other side of the world at the Four Seasons Resort on Nevis Island in the Caribbean. When the offer to become the pastry chef for the new St. Regis Hotel in Shanghai came, I knew I wanted to be part of hospitality development in such a rapidly growing city. What made you think that the world of chocolate was something you wanted to master? Actually I’m more a pastry chef than a chocolatier. Chocolate is one of my favorite things to work with and to enjoy. Why? Sometimes you are not able to precisely describe the love you feel, right? What is your recipe for success? I strongly believe in passion, hard work, determination, and also in a bit of luck, but this recipe is not mine; I believe it’s generally applicable. Success is also hidden in the act of meeting many people – being friendly and open.
sugar in large doses can be harmful but that applies to anything. Life is about balance, right?
When you opened your HOF (House of Flour), was your intention selling the best chocolate products paired off with cocktails? Why cocktails? I see many similarities between the world of “pastries/chocolate” and the world of “cocktails.” I have always admired well-crafted things in general, and if there is anything within our trade that I really respect, it’s the craft of the cocktail. A few years ago, we did not have many cocktail bars in Shanghai and I wanted to pioneer both of my loves. The love for chocolate/desserts and pastry, and the love for cocktails. What do you think have cocktails/drinks and sweets/ chocolate in common? Temperature, balance, texture and presentation all play a big role in both worlds – perhaps also in life in general. Do you use liqueurs for making deserts? Definitely yes. They help us enhance the flavor, lift up certain elements, and allow us to play with different textures. They help us hold the aftertaste and play with it for much longer. We love liqueurs.
What is your opinion on sugar? Do we actually need it? Oh, first of all, I would not have a job without sugar. But seriously, sugar in large doses can be harmful but that applies to anything. Life is about balance, right? Sugar gives us flavors, different textures, different colors and never ending experiences. Yes, we need sugar. It seems to me that desserts in other parts of the world are much sweeter than Asian desserts. With cocktails, it’s the other way around. Can you explain why? It’s a cultural thing. The Asians weren’t brought up to eat as much dessert as people from the West. Most Asian desserts have a liquid form; a handful of sweet desserts have a rice base. Western influence came only later. Asian people love to eat fruit after their meal and they view it as dessert due to the sugar content; it’s also considered lighter than western desserts. They love really ripe and sweet fruit, and they would rather have their sweet fruit than a sweet dessert because fruit does not make them feel sinful. So you could see how it applies to cocktails, especially fruit-based cocktails. It’s something more familiar for them. Also, a cocktail is still a very western thing and it takes time to evolve.
DIALOGUE | BRIAN TAN What is the best chocolate you have ever had? What type? And where? I had a chocolate from Pierre Marcolini; the cocoa bean was from Equator, a single origin bean. It was floral, with a hint of jasmine and a nice balance of acidity that completely took me by surprise. It was in France. Who are the best “chocolatiers” in the world? Your inspirations. Most artisan chocolatiers in France, Belgium and Japan who all have their distinct personalities. What’s the worst-tasting chocolate you have ever had in your life? The fake mass-market chocolate from the supermarket in which they substitute the cocoa mass with cocoa compound. That’s cheating, not chocolate. When choosing high-quality chocolate, what are the criteria we should consider? Is it similar to choosing wine, for example? It’s different than choosing wine. We have to see the surface, whether it’s free of lumps, how it shines and smells; we need to snap it to listen to the sound and hear if it’s crisp, bite into it and melt it to taste the cocoa, the balance, the acidity and the after taste.
Why eat dark chocolate? Dark chocolate has the potential to have the largest quantity of cocoa solids – at least at 70%. This means that 70% of the chocolate is from the cocoa bean and less from added sugars, oils and perhaps other fillers. Thus the antioxidants in dark chocolate surpass pecans (14% less) and red wine (25% less).
DIALOGUE | BRIAN TAN
Would you share some strange flavor combinations that work surprisingly well? Chocolate – chili, chocolate – carrot, chocolate – salt. You can try combining it with durian, candied cherry tomato, vinegar, jackfruit, Sichuan pepper, soy sauce and many other things. Does the temperature of the chocolate influence its flavor profile? Any similarities with wine or cocktail tasting? It influences the texture of course, but yes, it does have a great impact on flavor as well. Chocolate will melt instantly when the temperature is higher than 25 degrees Celsius and this will affect its crunch when you bite into it. Warmer chocolate loses its acidity—slightly colder means more acidic. Also, do not expect too much character if your chocolate is sitting in the fridge. Please finish the sentence: The Chinese cocktail industry needs more . . . serious Chinese bartenders who want to learn the skills . . . and less “it’s just a job and a salary” attitude. My favorite cocktail is . . . Moscow Mule . . . because . . . I love anything with ginger and I am not a strong alcohol drinker. The best chocolate in the world is from the people who made it with love, from the bottom of their hearts. Sounds like a cliché, yes, but it’s true.
A FEW FACTS ABOUT CHOCOLATE AND ITS TEMPERATURE 18C – working temperature in the “chocolate preparation room” with humidity of 50-60% 13-16C – storage temperature for chocolate 18-20C – best temperature for tasting chocolate 1-2 weeks – storage time, once the packaging is open, chocolate starts losing its flavor and aroma
GEORGE MEETS BRIAN WEST MEETS EAST COCKTAIL MEETS CHOCOLATE
DIALOGUE | BRIAN TAN
The basic formats of use, according to pastry chefs: 1. Bonbon, truffle, praline This serve is something we could compare to a single serve of good quality whisky, rum, or any other liqueur served as it is. 2. Cakes, pastries Compares to something we pull out of the fridge and serve immediately without further preparation. Perhaps a bottle of beer? 3. Desserts Prepared just before serving – à la menu. Compares to a “martini” cocktail in style. What martini would you like? What flavor or style? 4. Drinks Hot chocolate, ice chocolate, flavored teas, or combinations of cocktails and sweet elements. Based on the specifications I received from Brian, I wanted to freestyle some cocktails in his Wonka bar. While I was taken on a “journey de chocolat” in one of Brian’s bars, I tried to whip up some easy serves with Becherovka and a few other ingredients. My goal was to find a matching serve for each of the categories mentioned above.
DIALOGUE | BRIAN TAN
1. COCOA SWING WITH chocolate truffle (bonbon, truffle, praline) Choc. origin / Venezuela Choc. notes / floral – low acidity – long finish of cocoa Cocktail recipe 1 part Havana 7yr. 1⁄4 part Becherovka Original 1⁄4 part cherry brandy 2ds. Chocolate bitters Stir with ice and strain into glass, no ice, and twist of orange.
The best tasting cocoa beans come from Venezuela, Madagascar, Guiana and Ecuador.
2. WALL NUT JOURNAL WITH walnut fudge brownie (cakes and pastries) Choc. Origin / blend of chocolates Cocktail recipe 1 part bourbon 1 part Becherovka Original 1⁄2 part coffee (sugar reduction) 3ds. Walnut bitters mint leaves Stir with crushed ice “julep style” and garnish with mint.
DIALOGUE | BRIAN TAN
All regions are called “grand crus,” and if the chocolate is not blended, then it’s called “single origin.”
3. spongy FASHION WITH Mandarin chocolate mousse (desserts) Choc. origin / Madagascar Choc. notes / citrus – tangerines – high acidity – fruity finish – low bitterness Cocktail recipe 1part Becherovka Original 1part Lillet rouge 2ds. Orange bitters Stir both parts with ice and pour over fresh cubes of ice, spray with mandarin zest on top and garnish with pistachio sponge.
4. POR – CE – LAN WITH shot of pure hot chocolate (drink) Choc. origin / Guiana Choc. notes / palatable bitterness – fruity – complex finish – warm bouquet Cocktail recipe 1part Calvados 1⁄2 part Becherovka Original 1part fresh tangerine juice 1⁄2 part honey water 1⁄2 part of egg white Shake hard with ice and strain, garnish with cocoa powder.
DIALOGUE | BRIAN TAN
About Brian Tan
dream to express his creativity through food led Brian to pursue a career of a highly qualified pastry chef. In his earlier years, he was a crucial member of the team that pioneered the successful opening of The
Ritz-Carlton Millenia Singapore. Later, during his time working at The Langham Hilton in London, he was offered the opportunity to return to the Four Seasons Company as an Executive Pastry Chef in Nevis, the Caribbean. In 2000 he spent 6 months preparing The Regent Sydney (Four Seasons Company) for the famed Sydney Olympics as a member of the Pastry Task Force. An invitation to join the St. Regis Hotel in Shanghai followed. ‘The Pastry Wizard’ achieved the ultimate creative freedom when he opened his own establishment. That spurred him to take a bold step towards the opening of the House of Flour in 2006. To date, Brian Tan’s innovation and hard work has brought about a series of successful House of Flour establishments.
The best tasting cocoa plant from Ecuador is just about to vanish, due to our human impact on Mother Nature.
GN STUDIO | Cookie tini
Inspired by all the chocolate knowledge of Brian Tan, I started bringing some of his ingredients into my “bar playground”.
nspired by quite a few good friends around me, I decided to have a go at sticking my curious bar fingers into some dough. I wanted to create a last-
ing connection between the “Willy Wonkas”/pastry masters, and “us”/bartenders. I am always amazed by the artistic cre-
ations our mothers, girlfriends and other female chefs come up with when it comes
to Christmas cookies. My wife is making
one of the best types and I can proudly call
2 table spoons vanilla sugar
her “the pastry chef of my life.” Inspired by all the chocolate knowledge of Brian Tan, I started bringing some of his ingredients
120g icing sugar 350g whole meal flour
into my “bar playground”. Coconut water is
2x egg yolk
not only the most common soft drink in Asia,
250g unsalted butter
but also, according to Mr. Adam Elmegir-
grated fresh lemon peel
ab, the best cure for headaches. While put-
30ml Becherovka Original
ting together this issue for you guys, I kept getting invitations for the “Bobby Burns” cocktail anniversary, which was another influence on my endeavors.
Bake in preheated oven at 180 Celsius for approximately 10 minutes. Let the cookies rest and then dip in melted chocolate from Madagascar. Garnish cookies with dried coconut.
Inf luences and inspiration: 1. Bobby Burns – his anniversary 2. Wicked wife – her cookies 3. Dr. Adam Elmegirab – coconut water 4. Brian Tan – chocolate 5. Becherovka Original – tasting notes Now, I have got my boundaries sorted so it’s time to have some fun. Would you care to join me?
GN STUDIO | Cookie tini
20ml Becherovka Original 20ml Havana 7yr. 20ml Lillet rouge 2ds. Chocolate bitters
Sugar & Lard Magdalena Dobromila Rettigova
ouldn’t you agree that modern (bar) cuisine, perhaps a bit tired of the tyr-
anny of the super-healthy foods, is once again turning back to tradition? We think so. That is why we want you to meet Magdalena Dobromila Rettigova. Let us introduce you to the 19th century ‘Julia Child of Bohemia.’ Some modern chefs might say that Rettigova’s recipes are leg-
endary but quite outdated in their heavy use of lard, oil, butter, and other synonyms for fat. But hey, it’s 2013 and David Chang is dominating New York’s culinary scene with dishes that ooze bacon and butter – and he certainly isn’t alone. What are picklebacks if not a return to a tradition of full, enhanced taste? I’m getting half a pork butt, and with my whiskey, I’ll have a shot of pickle juice please! Where there’s lard, large doses of sugar can’t be far off. The cold dark months of winter call for more than a proper dose of fat and a strong drink. Naturally, we need comforting sweets too!
The first Bohemian cookbook was born, with a title as flavorful as its contents.
And for a whole-hearted, soul-and-belly-warming recipe for baked yumminess, we rely on Rettigova. After all, she was the chef who laid the groundwork for Bohemian cuisine. At first only German-speaking, Rettigova learned Czech through her husband, a writer and a revolutionary. Both were active in the Czech National Revival movement and Rettigova aspired to be a writer. She taught young girls how to cook and how to make good wives. She managed to combine her passion for writing and food in her acclaimed book of collected recipes. The first Bohemian cookbook was born, with a title as flavorful as its contents. A Household Cookery Book or A Treatise on Meat and Fasting Dishes for Bohemian and Moravian Lasses is still a legend. And to this very day Rettigova remains the most famous Bohemian chef. Her cookbook is a must-have item in every decent Czech kitchen and Bohemian foodies are well aware that they owe the preservation of recipes for their most beloved Bohemian dishes to her.
From the chapter Cookies and Various Good Things we picked a simple (and bar-friendly!) recipe for Marzipan cookies. “Wipe 3 lots* of butter in a bowl, add a quarter pound ground sugar, half a lot ground cinnamon, a quarter lot ground cloves, finely chopped peel from half a lemon, a lot of sweet and 4 bitter almonds, grated with skins, throw an egg in there, mix it well, put in a quarter pound nice flour, put it out on a flour-dusted baking board, roll it flat into two stalks thickly, cut out four-corner bars from it, just like those small marzipan cookies, place them on a white-wax wiped baking tin, wipe with egg, put halved almonds on top and bake slowly.” *1 lot = 16 grams. Or so we managed to google.
BOHEMIAN BAR MAGAZINE 04/2013
Editor in Chief George Němec Publisher Bar Magazine s.r.o. Director Vlado Krajčovič Managing Editor Lenka Jíleková Editor Maria Modrovich Language editing Chris Barickman Technical director Martin Komora Photography George Němec, Miroslav Vích, Magdaléna Straková video Viktor Cicko MUsic Music in Bohemian Bartender video by Kevin MacLeod via Creative Commons art direction, Art and Illustration Marek Dolník www.barmagazine-digital.com
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