Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Sombre Sign-out dedicated to Mick.

Given my horribly static and arbitrary contributions to the food and drink stratosphere in terms of blogging, I find this a perfect Saturday in the tropics to sign out, once and for all, as the FlavourCowboy.

Fortunately for you dear reader, this blog isn't going to be about me (definitely my least favourite topic of conversation!), but is instead dedicated to the fallen solder: Mr Mick Edmonds.

Mick's existence was spent every bit in the same way as so many of us the bar & hospitality industry. Giving a tricky craft a solid punt whilst trying to make his way in the world around us. What haunted Mick I'll leave out of this post for respect for the wee man, but I know one thing for certain, and his tragic passing has only solidified my resolve.

The theme has gnawed at me for some time, but now it's clear to me and it seems Mick has left one last message scratched into the bartops of our lives; we as a community aren't getting to know each other enough, and because of that - definitely aren't looking after each other enough! We spend so much time talking shit, and shop, on Sunday drink fests and at industry events that we too often miss the opportunity to build a closer bond with each other.

A closer bond means fuller knowledge of our peers, and sure it's hard work, uncomfortable and taxing on our trust - but then, and only then, are we in a position to properly and truly help each other when times get tough! You never know what's really going on with the person you're sharing a bevvie with until you sincerely ask.

Mick, I didn't know you well enough, and I'm sorry like so many of us that I didn't see it mate - all I can leave, if this is an epitaph, is the shell promise that I'll try harder from now on, as I hope we all do.

Sail well mate.

Deo Optimo Maximo.

Cowboy out...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Is It Just Me?

Asia's full of weird and wonderful stuff - and much of it is well worth investigating. Ok you can keep the Phoenix Claws (chicken's feet) and fried frogs legs etc, but fresh gin botanicals in the supermarket? Hell yes!

Following is a little collection of some of the left-field discoveries that I've made in my first month in Singapore.

It's an amazing world and as each culture imitates another, there's bound to be bits falling through the gaps of understanding:

It's gotta be said however, Western concepts do tend to get steered in a funky direction when they get exposed to interpretation!

Take this fella for example. Sure the title's a little bit...questionable, but what are they trying to say in that first tasting note!?

Are we all going to be awkwardly trying to get to the bathroom pitching tents afterwards? What about the ladies?? Aye-oh!

I spotted this whizzing by on a sushi train and had to grab the shot. WTF does that mean!? I mean, I'm not sure if it sounds awesome, or entirely scary!

I'm taking ideas and comments on that one - please put me out of my fear of ravenous Egyptian microchips tasting my sushi intermittently from the inside out. Yikes.

Sorry, I'm not dropping bank on Coffee Sauce Chicken until someone I trust recommends it. No dice.

He he he he this might just be me, but I think this is hilarious and amazing! Why hasn't anyone offered me waffles with my menu earlier!!? Come on World - catch up!

Considering this was my meal - yeah, not so funny. I now appreciate their menu's bold claims that "you'll never forget our famous jumbo dog". No shizzle.

What is this abomination? Probable the greatest snack food on Earth has been seriously molested by an Asian flavour renegade - perhaps a member of a sleeper cell bent on the destruction of all things sacred.

Who knows, but considering I didn't man up for
the ridiculous 15 clams (they'd best be amazing for that!) maybe I'm missing out on something..

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Asian Food Tech Goodness!

Look a little closer at the labeling on this pack.

What an awesome advancement on technology! This's a small blog in a tepid attempt to get my pen flowing again, and what a great place to start with our ol' mate bacon.

How it comes that we've been subjected to bacon from only one source for all these centuries almost defies belief! I'm so grateful to the cheeky Asian food tech who's offered us such an amazing conciliatory boon, but I'm equally confused that they chose to limit their thinking to beef.

What I want to see proudly adorning our shelves is the whole animal gamut. Lamb bacon, duck bacon, rabbit bacon. You know what? Fuck it. Fish bacon! Rock the lot out; it'd be rad!!'s certainly interesting living in Singapore, and I'm sure that there's going to be plenty more random posts just like this one which'll continue to flow while my curiosity lasts. Truly nothing is sacred, but it's good to see the pig getting knocked off the dais once in a while, life's enlivened by a bit of healthy competition after-all!

Take it easy cats,


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Lists, lists, lists...

A surprise blog from an increasingly shithouse blogger! Who'da thunk it.

When the chips are down and the general hum-drum of life is really starting to piss you off, there's nothing quite like escaping into the fantasy world of cocktail list creation. It is simply awesome. Seasonal flavours get mashed into modern and classical cocktail technique, and bartenders up their game in the ever-ending quest to out-do each other and to make something bangin'.

The process is also wonderfully Darwinian, where only the fittest survive, and for that to happen - bar folk need a simple and one eyed dedication to flavour. The most interesting challenge for us all with that in mind is to produce drinks that are different from the channels most invariably groove into (even the best at this game get stuck in ruts creating similar style drinks with fond ingredients - my particular foibles are Aperol and apricot brandy, which I must conciously avoid when creating drinks!).

Added to that wee dilemma is the need to keep shit simple - never again shall the Ginger days resurface when cocktail dinosaurs ruled the menu landscape seventeen ingredients high (unfortunately I'm not exaggerating). Well, they may resurface - but I'll be there with a spiked 2-by-4 and a grim smile! Simple, new drinks are the holy grail of the cocktail bartender where few parts mixed equate to a greater and transcendental whole.

Produce quality is another corner of our nexus which seems does not get paid quite enough its due - a perfectly fresh and seasonal mango when shaken into quality rum, tenderly pressed lime and quality syrup (or powdered sugar) makes a daiquiri in a whole different league than someone bashing one out with puree and hours-old lime! When was the last time you heard a bartender get excited like chefs get excited in the face of some stunning seasonal produce? Yeah that's right - hardly ever. That folks is balls.

So in a very Martin Luther King kinda moment - I have a dream. One of a cocktail list where simple awesome spirits and liqueurs are married intuitively, and highlighted by great produce, wines, bitters, sherries, conserves, spices, molecular technique (that works well) and everything else that's awesome with cocktails. A list that reads like heaven. A list that upon reading a drink's ingredients you go "ooooooooooooo".

I wanna go "oooooooooooo", and hopefully when I go to work tonight and try some of our new menu ideas out on the punters - I might be able to get one or two of those myself. here's to hoping were all about to invent the next negroni!


Monday, August 30, 2010

The Frat Years

See this guy...He's Ronny Sullivan, and good at snooker. I am not Ronny Sullivan, and snooker is very bloody hard!!
We lucky few who're Ketel 1 fraternity members got spoilt last night by getting to play our own snooker tournament while drinking too many martinis. Dressed up like a bunch of dandies, we looked the part but largely sucked (except Logan, who was apparently born holding a cue).
The problem, and beauty, of snooker I guess is that everythings so far awar! I felt most of the time like I needed a 9 iron instead of a stick! Somehow we came second (by the grace of my crapness we could've won it), but I sank three (that could even be a lie) coloured balls in the whole evening! Balls. Literally.
Not content with that however we all trucked down to Alhumbra to watch a rum cocktail comp, drink tequila, have a chuckle, drink more beer and swing outta there to more watering holes. Last reports were of me trying to enact the Manny Pacquia v Floyd Mayweather fight with various people, falling over a table and getting cut off at Black Pearl. Somehow it took me 45 minutes to walk home - but I fared better than Hippy who decided to go for a bike ride with painful results!
Big ups to Greg for being a good troop-leader, and Hip and Cash Money for taking out top prize...and Serena for winning a trip to Jamaica, mon!
Now I'm gonna try getting fins herbs, the classical delicate herb mixture to work in a drink. We'll see...anyone got any chervil out there?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The 1st Annual Fergie Awards!

In a tip-of-the-hat to the Uk bar scene's underbelly awards (or whatever they're called), and in the spirit of the awards season, I'm pleased as punch to open nominations for the first annual Fergie Awards!

The Fergie's is a very tongue-in-cheek gala celebration of all those things which make the Australian Bar Industry both funny, crazy and ridiculous. It's named in honour of anyone who's letting down the team out there, a la Fergie in the Black Eyed Peas!

So here and now, without further pomp or ceremony, we present to you the categories for nomination in this year's awards across the period of '09 - '10:
  1. Best munter performance.
  2. Best dork drink.
  3. Worst new product.
  4. Biggest bar geek.
  5. Messiest industry relationship.
  6. Worst haircut.
  7. TP's Hottest Piece Award aka The Batting above Their Average Award for hottest girlfriend.
  8. Human wastecan award - for the industry figure showing their body the least respect!
  9. Worst classic cocktail comeback (some things should remain in the past).
  10. Best bar prank.
  11. Best use of overproof rum.
  12. Outstanding banter award.
  13. Most popular foreigner award - for the journeyman bartender.
  14. Biggest whinger about "we did it better here" award.
  15. Biggest service embarrassment award (for that golden performance in the line of duty).

So! Now that we've seen how much fun we're going to have, I invite all to wait patiently while I set up a Facebook page so all and sundry can submit their nominations over the next few weeks. Once we've got all the nominations I'll post the finalists and we can start getting our vote on!

On a final note for now, I'd like to take a quick minute to speak towards our philosophy and infrastructure. The Fergies are a (largely) harmless celebration of stuff in the industry the we normally "can't" talk about. Nominees should be both pleased and embarrassed depending on their category, yet the categories themselves have been selected to defy malice. No hatin' is intended here (consider if you will, some of the categories we chose to leave out!), and the awards will be decided on 100% industry voting!

Leave not, your workmates safe.

Adi + conspirators!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Legends of the Cabinet

Do you have any memories growing up of your parents liquor cabinet from childhood?

It's a typical piece of everyday furniture that sits idly by until you turn fourteen or fifteen - when it's transformed into an Alladin's Cave of contraband and possibility.

I'm sure many of ya's have fond recollections of the moonshining days when we skimmed minute quantities off each bottle and mixed them into a rank new beast. A beast responsible for many swaying teen moments and nasty hangovers!

But think more closely to what was really lurking in there. No wonder we all got sick! Stale and half empty liqueur bottles from the 80's, cheap Scotch and random spirits that your folks would never drink like tequila, and nasty obscure rum. The Gordon's is the only thing that seemed to enjoy a regular workout!

Shelved into this sorry collection however, were a few products which never really got their time to shine! I guess it's fair enough that most parents wouldn't know where to start using 'em - but it suck that things like Grand Marnier, Drambuie, Stones Green Ginger Wine and Benedictine always seemed to get overlooked.

Enough lamentations however. Now that most of us are of the current generation to get their breed on - we can effect change into this vicious cycle of stomach corrosion. If we all maintain tasteful liquor cabinets with shrewdly chosen bottles, we can break the family tradition of bad moonshining!

When my kids are ripping me off as teenagers - they'll be drinking only the best, and hey, maybe I'll get my own back by grouping bottles together strategically! Imagine the look of disgust on a teenagers face when he grabs gin, Campari and sweet vermouth (yeah I'm gonna keep my vermouth in the cupboard, so what?? It's an un-cracked unit!) and "accidentaly" mixes a Negroni! Boo-ya.

Who's gonna have the last laugh then!? Yep, it's gonna be me.

Mwa ha ha ha haaaaa