Tales of the Cocktail asks if homemade ingredients are best

on 25/07/11 at 1:05 pm

Booze News

On Saturday afternoon the final seminar took place at Tales of the Cocktail. Appropriately enough, after days of obsessing about every aspect of drink making, the topic was “Hand Crafted Cocktails: How Far Is Too Far?” Staged as a lively debate, the seminar asked whether bars wouldn’t be better off buying their bitters, syrups and sodas instead of making them from scratch.

Representing the do-it-yourself position were Cameron Bogue, formerly the bartender for famed chef Daniel Boulud and now the beverage director for a Canadian restaurant chain, and consultant Ryan Magarian, who also co-founded Aviation Gin. On the side of the manufacturers were Joe Fee, whose company Fee Brothers sells a line of popular bitters, and Craig James, who makes the British soda Fentimans for the North American market.

The two sides locked horns in a good-natured battle over issues such as quality, consistency and cost. The audience gave the bartenders the win for quality, particularly after sampling Jack Rose cocktails made with both homemade and manufactured grenadine. But even Bogue and Magarian admitted they often use pre-made ingredients from high-quality manufacturers like Fee Brothers and Fentimans. The manufacturers delivered a knockout blow when it came to consistency. And which team won on cost remained unclear.


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