Cocktail City — Part 1

Bar None

with Debbian Spence-Minott

Thursday, January 24, 2019

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Every day our bartenders/mixologists are asked to make cocktails whether classic or new. However, what exactly is a cocktail? The first recorded definition can be traced to May 13, 1806. A reporter of New York's The Balance and Columbian Repository asks, 'What is a cocktail?'. The response: A stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters. So, what about ice? Remember, at that time, refrigerated ice was not yet invented. It was not until 1834 that the first working vapour compression refrigeration system was built. The first commercial ice-making machine was invented in 1854. Today, bartenders use ice for two purposes: to dilute the cocktail; and as a cooling agent for these delicious creations.

The Cocktail City series highlights the works of Jamaica's bartending and mixology professionals. Our first four bartenders were assigned the following spirits:

 

1 Rum Fire White Overproof Rum — a product of Hampden Estate, located in Trelawny, Jamaica, Rum Fire is a 63%ABV white overproof rum, known for its beautiful high ester aromas and for igniting your cocktail passion and experience.

 

2 Jameson Irish Whiskey — a blend of pot still and fine grain whiskeys that is as versatile as it is smooth. Jameson is a balance of spicy, nutty, and vanilla notes with hints of sweet sherry and exceptional smoothness.

 

3 Courvoisier VS — a cognac renowned for its finesse, depth, aroma, and harmony.

 

4 Absolut Elyx — the luxury expression of Absolut vodka. The Elyx is a single-estate, copper-crafted, luxury vodka with an unparalleled silkiness.

 

Let's Meet our Bartenders

 

1 Nicole Ebanks – Junior mixologist and recent graduand of the Academy of Bartending Spirits & Wines. Nicole is the bartender at Dancehall Hostel.

 

Thursday Food (TF): What do you like about Rum Fire White Overproof Rum?

Nicole Ebanks (NE): Rum Fire uplifts any cocktail, especially those categorised as juicy drinks/cocktails.

TF: What do your clients like to drink?

NE: My clients are mainly European, and they like to drink the Jamaican Mule, which I create using Rum Fire. My clients love our signature house cocktail the Rum Fire Sorrel.

TF: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

NE: I want to be a travelling mixologist, experiencing and exploring different cultures and sharing my Jamaican style of mixing cocktails with the world!

 

2 Trevor Luke (TL) – Senior mixologist and recent graduand of the Academy of Bartending Spirits & Wines. Trevor is a bartender at The View Bar, Marriott Courtyard.

Thursday Food: What do you like about Jameson Irish Whiskey?

TL: I believe it is the best whiskey and has a consistent taste profile. Jameson is my first choice for making whiskey cocktails.

TF: How would you describe your bartending style?

TL: I am a classical mixologist but still modern. Slick not flashy, hence my code name: Cocktail Blaque!

TF:: What's the typical profile of your clients? And what's their preferred drink?

TL: My clients are mainly business travellers and corporate professionals seeking a taste of Jamaica.

TF: Tell us about your five-year goals.

TL: I want to move the Jamaican cocktail culture from blended drinks to more innovative cocktail expressions. I will use bartending as a canvas exploring new ideas such as molecular mixology.

 

3 Samoy Gardener (SG) – (Bartender in training). Possesses a keen eye for detail and is quite talented in garnish creations. Gardener is one to watch for 2019 as not only is he creative but he also has a charismatic persona that can engage any audience.

Thursday Food: What do you like about Courvoisier?

SG: I love that it's smooth and versatile.

TF: How would you describe your bartending style?

SG: I love mixology, but my area of specialisation is in garnish creation and presentation. I like to create unique pieces sometimes with a twist, but very attractive and not so traditional.

TF: What is your five-year goal?

SG: To be a leading mixologist in Jamaica and the Caribbean, known for outstanding creations and showmanship. I experience great pleasure in seeing the customer amazed once their cocktails are presented.

 

4 Maurice Chong (MC) – a part-time mixologist, however, very talented, experienced and professional. Maurice has represented some of Jamaica's leading adult beverage brands.

Thursday Food (TF): What do you like about Absolut Elyx?

MC: The Elyx brings character which is unusual for vodkas. The copper pot distillation brings out a unique expression and flavour.

TF: Describe your bartending style.

MC: I am classical. Classic with a contemporary twist.

TF: How would you describe your clientele?

MC: Mainly sophisticated cocktail consumers and corporate professionals who like simple yet classic drinks.

TF: What are your five-year goals?

MC: I want to promote and further solidify the Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists Limited (JUBAM). I want to expand my knowledge of the adult beverage industry and grow my career as a mixologist consultant within the adult beverage industry.

 

The Jamaica Observer Table Talk Food Awards 2019 committee has announced an inaugural designation of Bartender of the Year. Who will be nominated? Who will win? Bartenders/Mixologists are you ready? Continue to follow @jamaicaobserver and @bartendingacademyja for more information about this very prestigious and exciting nomination and award.

 

Reader's Feedback:

Imagine if we embraced life's moments big and small, without reservation. Together, we might fill the world with contagious joy. Please share with me your cocktail experiences or comments on the above article at debbiansm@gmail.com, or follow me on IG @debbiansm #barnoneja.

 

Debbian Spence-Minott

An Alumna of the US Sommelier Association

CEO of the Academy of Bartending, Spirits & Wines

President – Jamaica Union of Bartenders and Mixologists (JUBAM) Limited

Every day our bartenders/mixologists are asked to make cocktails whether classic or new. However, what exactly is a cocktail? The first recorded definition can be traced to May 13, 1806. A reporter of New York's The Balance and Columbian Repository asks, 'What is a cocktail?'. The response: A stimulating liquor composed of spirits of any kind, sugar, water, and bitters. So, what about ice? Remember, at that time, refrigerated ice was not yet invented. It was not until 1834 that the first working vapour compression refrigeration system was built. The first commercial ice-making machine was invented in 1854. Today, bartenders use ice for two purposes: to dilute the cocktail; and as a cooling agent for these delicious creations.

The Cocktail City series highlights the works of Jamaica's bartending and mixology professionals. Our first two bartenders were assigned the following spirits:

 

1 Rum Fire White Overproof Rum — a product of Hampden Estate, located in Trelawny, Jamaica, Rum Fire is a 63%ABV white overproof rum, known for its beautiful high ester aromas and for igniting your cocktail passion and experience.

 

2 Jameson Irish Whiskey — a blend of pot still and fine grain whiskeys that is as versatile as it is smooth. Jameson is a balance of spicy, nutty, and vanilla notes with hints of sweet sherry and exceptional smoothness.

 

Let's Meet our Bartenders

 

1 Nicole Ebanks – Junior mixologist and recent graduand of the Academy of Bartending Spirits & Wines. Nicole is the bartender at Dancehall Hostel.

 

Thursday Food (TF): What do you like about Rum Fire White Overproof Rum?

Nicole Ebanks (NE): Rum Fire uplifts any cocktail, especially those categorised as juicy drinks/cocktails.

TF: What do your clients like to drink?

NE: My clients are mainly European, and they like to drink the Jamaican Mule, which I create using Rum Fire. My clients love our signature house cocktail the Rum Fire Sorrel.

TF: Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

NE: I want to be a travelling mixologist, experiencing and exploring different cultures and sharing my Jamaican style of mixing cocktails with the world!


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