Thad Vogler’s 31 Rules

The City’s Foremost Liquor Authority, Thad Vogler Starts a Quiet Revolution

From 7×7 magazine.

“Vogler easily reforms naive or even apathetic drinkers into believers by preaching his artisanal modus operandi; these converts include potential members of his staff and perhaps the people running the bars he’s helped design (the Slanted Door, Camino, Jardinière, Presidio Social Club, and Beretta, among others). But when they get their hands on this playbook for mindful bartending, lifelong disciples are made. “Thad is decisive and direct. He creates intrigue,” says his wife, Katherine Vogler, a nurse-practitioner. “He attracts very loyal friends and employees.” Arguably, this kind of magnetism comes in handy when leading a revolution.”


Thad Vogler’s 31 Rules of Bartending

1. Wash your hands frequently.

2. Don’t touch your face, hair, or anything else that will leave your hands dirty.

3. No fingers in glasses.

4. No hands over the tops of glasses—handle glasses by the stems.

5. Don’t tuck towels into your waist. Have a consistent place for towels.

6. Use a clean cocktail napkin under every drink, even if it’s water.

7. Use jiggers always.

8. Don’t ever pour on the back bar or into a glass in your hand.

9. Pour wine in front of, and in the direction of, the guest.

10. Taste all new bottles of wine that are being served by the glass.

11. When serving wine by the bottle, pour guests only half a glass.

12. Shake at right shoulder, with two hands, one drink at a time.

13. Don’t walk and shake.

14. All bottles on the bar top should have labels facing the guest.

15. No tags on bottles on the back bar.

16. No pour spouts on bottles on the back bar.

17. Place things gently on counters, on the bar top, and in the trash.

18. Aim to make as little noise as possible when placing empty bottles in the recycling bins and when returning the bar bottles to the speed rails.

19. The back bar is the blood pressure of the bar: Is it packed and beautiful? Does everything have a place? Is there clutter? Is it being wiped down daily? Are bottles being cleaned?

20. Same goes for the condition of the bar top: It has to be immaculate at all times. It is the single most important gauge of the quality of service in a bar.

21. Interact with your guest with service, not with conversation. What are you doing for this person right now?

22. Every time you approach a guest, give service— clean, offer, remove, or pour water.

23. Repeat to guests what they are drinking when you place their drinks in front of them.

24. When speaking with a coworker, face the bar— don’t turn your back to the guests.

25. No profanity.

26. No sexually explicit conversation.

27. Don’t point. Gesture with an open hand, and only if you must.

28. We are friendly servants, not friends who serve.

29. Don’t say you’re sorry; say, “Thank you for waiting” or “Thank you for your patience.”

30. Treat guests and coworkers kindly. Remember to treat diners in the way you would want your mother or your friends treated.

31. The check is always the last thing to be cleared away.

Revived Corpse

Our Sommelier was taking certification courses regarding Spirits & Cocktails.

She’d been attempting to get her head around Spirits and trying various things to be able to identify them blind.

I was chatting with her about it, and she said she would like me to make her a Corpse Reviver No 2, as she had just read about the drink.

As we were chatting, I discovered that her courseware suggested that Cocchi Americano be used in the drink.

I was, like, “Really!? The actual Sommelier course material suggests using Cocchi Americano in the Corpse Reviver No 2 instead of Lillet Blanc?”

She said that was so. “What’s the big deal?” little knowing she was talking to the person who started the whole Cocchi Americano vs. Lillet Blanc mess oh so long ago.

The Quest for Kina Lillet

Life’s little victories.

Turned out the Corpse Reviver No 2 with Cocchi Americano I made was new favorite drink, she even insisted I teach her to make them. Though perhaps she should have heeded The Savoy Cocktail Book’s warning, “Four of these taken in swift succession will unrevive the corpse again.”

Reverse Stagghattan

Towards the end of the night Monday, one of our regular guests came in.

I made him a few drinks from the list or related.

We were past close, he was the only person at the bar, but he wanted a finishing drink that was unique or interesting. I just wanted him to close out his tab, so I could count the drawer.

Being the perverse cuss that I am, I started from the Jerry Thomas Manhattan and extrapolated to the Brooklyn.

Reverse Brooklyn (or Reverse Stagghattan?)

1 oz 2013 George T. Stagg Barrel Proof
2 oz Cocchi Vermouth de Torino
2 Dash Luxardo Maraschino
1/4 oz Bigallet China China

Stir, strain. No garnish. It’s too late for that. All my tools are in the dish pit, I’ve already tossed all my peels, and moved the fruit back to storage.

I charged only $11, as he is a good customer. I am not sure what the price actually should be on this, $20? $30?

In any case, he thought it was maybe the best drink that he had had in any bar in a couple months.

Unlike the Staggerac, it WAS actually a good cocktail, and freaking delicious.

Curried Sweet Potato Soup

Both Mrs Flannestad and I feel like we’ve been fighting off bugs lately, just tired a lot of the time.

Might be allergies, or maybe just restless pets waking us up during the night when the neighborhood raccoons are out.

But a little homemade chicken soup never hurts.

image

1 Whole Chicken, Quartered
1 Carrot, roughly chopped
1 Onion, roughly chopped
2 Garlic cloves, smashed
1 tsp whole Black Pepper corns
3 Whole Cloves
1 Cinnamon Stick

Cover above ingredients with water, bring to a low simmer, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through. Remove chicken from water and rest until cool enough to handle. Strip chicken from bones, trying not to drop any on the floor, reserve, and return bones, skin, and cartilage to water. Cook as long as time allows. Strain Solids from stock and reserve.

image

1 large onion, chopped
1 inch piece ginger, skinned and finely minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder*
1 Pound Sweet potatoes
Reserved Chicken Broth
Reserved Chicken Meat
1 Can Garbanzo Beans
1 Tablespoon Curry Powder*
Olive Oil

Cook onion, ginger and garlic in olive oil until tender with one tablespoon curry powder. Add broth and sweet potatoes. Bring to a simmer and cook until the potatoes are tender. Puree soup with a hand blender, in a blender, or food processor. Return to pot, add chicken meat, remaining tablespoon of Curry Powder, and Garbanzo beans. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Check seasonings, and serve with a spoonful of Cucumber Raita** in each bowl.

*Curry Powder

1 tsp Whole Coriander Seed
1 tsp Whole Cumin Seed
1 tsp Whole Fennel Seed
1 tsp Whole Fenugreek
1 tsp Whole Brown Mustard Seed
4 Whole Cloves
1 Small Stick Cinnamon, Broken
1/2 tsp White Peppercorns
1/2 tsp Black Peppercorns
3 Whole Chili de Arbol
1 tsp Ground Tumeric

Toast whole spices in a dry pan until fragrant. Grind in Coffee Mill or Spice Grinder. Add Tumeric.

**Cucumber and Basil Raita

1 small Cucumber, peeled, seeded and sliced
Tops of 3 Green Onions, thinly sliced
2 TBSP Cilantro Leaves, thinly sliced
1 Cup Yoghurt
Orange juice
Salt, to taste

Toss Cucumber with salt and let stand in a colander for a bit. Rinse Cucumber and pat dry with towels. Chop Cucumber and combine with other ingredients. Thin slightly with orange juice, add salt to taste and chill.

Not-Groni

Oh, right, it’s Negroni week. Awesome. Another FoodBev industry circle jerk, like this industry needs an excuse to overindulge.

Oh, right, a portion is donated to charity. It’s for the kids, we’re drinking for the children.

Anyway, a friend stopped by the bar Monday and after he had sampled our blended and barrel aged Negronis on offer for Negroni Week, he said he wanted to venture off menu and try a Negroni variation with No 3 London Dry Gin, Cynar, and Vermouth.

Gin, Cynar, and Vermouth, you say?

I can do that!

I felt a bit inspired by the Chrysanthemum Cocktail for it, and came up with this “Not-Groni”, “Reverse-Negroni,” or maybe “Mixed Up Negroni”. I believe my friend was calling it a “Gron-i-mum”.

1 1/2 oz Dolin Blanc Vermouth
1 oz Beefeater Gin
1/2 oz Cynar

Stir with ice and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with Grapefruit twist.

Usually when people “lighten” Negronis, they increase the Gin and decrease the Campari and Italian Vermouth by equal parts. But, really, it is the sweetness of the Campari that is weighing down the drink. Swapping in a Blanc Gin for the Red Vermouth and pumping it up turns a digestiv cocktail into and aperitif.

Oh, oops, I didn’t use the No 3 Gin, how on earth did that happen?

If Only You’d Apply Yourself, Erik

Of all the criticism I have heard in my life, I would say this is probably the most frequent.

“You’re a smart person, Erik, if you’d only apply yourself, you could go far.”

Whether it was my English teachers in 6th Grade trying to teach me grammar, or my Math teachers in 3rd Grade trying to get me to learn my multiplication tables, or friends wondering over my puzzling, and often self defeating, career choices.

In point of fact, I can’t really apply myself in the same way others can. I am an intuitive, insightful thinker, not a methodical, plodding, stepwise, thinker.

I would, in fact, rather gouge my eyes out, than really learn multiplication tables, no matter how much it would improve my life.

The funny thing is, I am really good at memorization, but not in a conscious way. If I repeat things out loud, I can memorize pretty much anything: random numbers, letters, lengthy text, times tables, etc, but I can’t consciously pull it up, and don’t really understand it. It is as if I am reading it out loud for the other smart person who lives in my brain, and then can only access it, if that other person interrupts me with their insight.

I have to distract the Erik who lives from day to day to get any insight into my real thoughts and feelings.

Switchel-ish

Switchel

Switchel

An interesting American frontier drink is called “Switchel”.

Basically, Switchel is Ginger Syrup acidulated with vinegar instead of the usual citrus. As for where Switchel ends and Shrub begins, I guess Switchel is a subset of the Shrub superset. It must always contain ginger & vinegar, with vulnerabilities allowed mostly in sweetener and spice. Early recipes are usually sweetened with Molassses and/or Honey.

Fooling around with versions of my Ginger Beer, I wondered how it would be if I added some Vinegar, a la Switchel.

Initial versions were not that awesome, but it turned out a spiced, yeast carbonated version is really awesome. Probably my favorite Ginger based beverage so far.

Switchel-ish

1 Quart Water
3/4 Cup Washed Raw Sugar
5 oz Ginger, sliced
4 Very Spicy dried chile (Chile de Arbol)
1 tsp green cardamom seeds
4 whole cloves

4 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Yeast


METHOD: Bloom yeast in lukewarm water with 1 teaspoon sugar. Bring 24 oz water and all sugar to simmer. Add ginger and spices to blender bowl with remaining water and puree. (Blender works well for me in these amounts, but if you have a juicer that can juice ginger root, go for it.) Pour through cheesecloth to filter. Press as much liquid out of ginger solids as possible, I use a sturdy potato ricer. Add ginger juice, vinegar, and water to hot sugar solution and cool to lukewarm. Add yeast and bottle in clean sanitized containers, leaving some headroom. Seal tightly and place in a warm dark place for 5-8 hours, depending on temperature and how feisty your yeast is. Move to refrigeration when the bottles are firm to the touch. Yeast (tan) and Ginger starch (white) will fall out of solution. When serving, open carefully over bowl to catch potential over-foam.

I tried a bunch of frontier style booze add-ons with this, Jamaican Rum, Rye Whiskey, Bourbon, Genever, etc. I enjoyed none of them as much as the drink on its own.

Eventually I gave in and tried mixing it with the obvious choice, Dry Gin. Yep, that’s it.

Switchel-ish High Ball

1 1/2 oz Beefeater
1 oz Soda water
3 oz Switchel

Build and stir carefully in an iced Collins Glass. Garnish with crystallized ginger.

Milk Punch Spiel

A friend sent me the following questions, and I realized I had never really gotten around to writing up my conclusions or hints after making many a batch of clarified Milk Punch.

“I’ve been thinking about how effective it would be to make a clarified milk “stock” of sorts: heat milk and add to lemon only, then refrigerate and strain through cheesecloth. Then wouldn’t you be able to develop recipes a lot more readily than overnight batches? Once you get the flavor down you could do it all the regular way to make it clearer. Would you have a general proportion to make this stock with? Also, it’s only the whey left, right? So it would be more expedient to use non-fat milk?”

Haven’t I ever given you my Milk Punch Spiel?

As far as I can tell, the primary reason to make Milk Punch is so punch can be bottled and put down in a cellar for later use.

This is why Charles Dickens ended up with bottles of Milk Punch in his cellar inventory when he died.

Adding milk and filtering the punch through the curdled milk solids does an amazing job at fining and filtration. It removes pretty much any impurities down to much of the color from barrel aging or caramel color.

You should have seen the apple punch I made before filtering. It literally looked like really brown, cloudy apple cider. Truly disgusting. I was dubious that the Milk could filter it! I wish I’d taken a picture, so I could have a before and after!

As a bonus, filtering through the milk solids does an amazing job of “rectifying” harsh spirits and marrying the various flavors of the punch.

I also believe that the cream in the Milk does a sort of fat washing, which gives some of the unctuous flavor you get for the punch. That is why I have always used whole milk.

I have also had the best results using Straus, as they don’t homogenize their milk.

When I’ve used other Milk, I’ve had a hard time getting clarity.

David Wondrich has suggested that the best way to filter Milk Punch is through a filter used for filtering Biodiesel. I’ve never really investigated, but from my cursory reading, it is possible that using the correct combination of filter mesh size and materials, you could do some sort of pressure filtration.

Another thing I’ve been thinking about is using a centrifuge to separate the milk solids.

On the whole, though, the thing is, once you have a well developed milk mesh in your filter, it really is the Milk Solids which do the best job filtering the punch.

Anyway, I don’t know if just combining whey with punch base will really be even close to simulating Milk Punch.

For what it is worth, I understand that Dillon & Alex have made Milk Punches an important part of their work at Novella. Amusingly, when I last talked to Dillon, he was like, “What do you do with all the cheese?” Apparently, they are accumulating a lot of it.

Sadly, after acting as filtration for booze and the less nice elements of the punch, I do not really think you can do anything with the cheese. It just tastes nasty.

Over the 2013 holidays I visited a bar in Chicago. They were serving a basic brandy based clarified Milk Punch. Chatted a bit with the bar manager re: filtration and he said he makes a habit of leaving the milk in the Milk Punch overnight. That it makes filtration easier.

So, I made two batches based on the exact same infusion: one where I left the milk in overnight and another where I did my usual of only leaving the milk in for a half an hour and then filtering the punch through the solids.

He was right, the milk essentially turns to hard cheese, making getting the milk solids out of the punch really easy and filtration a breeze.

However, after filtering the milk solids out, the punch is not very clear with a lot of darkness from tea and spice floating around. I left it to sit over another night and it did settle out pretty well.

However, giving our restaurant manager a blind tasting between the two, he strongly preferred the one where I used my usual process.

The punch where I did the usual method has the unctuous nature that I enjoy and the ingredients taste mellowed and well integrated. The fruit in the punch is clear and much more apparent.

The overnight steep of milk tastes really harsh by comparison. Strongly of booze and the fruit is not as clear. Also, it seems much thinner, more bitter, and kind of nasty. Basically, like a not very good day old plain punch you have chilled in the refrigerator.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Prep.

Prep.

If you looked at the pictures on the Posole Post, you might have noticed that there was more prep on the table than was used in the Posole.

I also made another soup, one I’ve made variations on over the years, Pureed Squash and Apple Soup.

I often make this with Indian spices, Curry and Ginger, but when I mentioned that this time, Mrs Flannestad pointed out that we already had one spicy soup in the Posole, so maybe the second should be mild and simple.

You’ll notice that there is a lot more mirepoix in this soup. If you’re making a vegetarian soup, you always need to up the vegetable content of the soup to make up for the lack of meat flavor components.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

2 Onions, chopped
2 Stalk Celery, chopped
2 Carrots, chopped
1 tsp dried Thyme
1 tsp dried Tarragon
Olive Oil

1 Medium large Butternut Squash, peeled and roughly chopped
4 Apples, peeled, cored, and roughly chopped

1 Cup Apple Juice
1 Cup Dry White Wine or Lillet Blanc
Salt & Pepper

METHOD: Sweat onions, Celery, Carrots and herbs in Olive Oil until tender. Add white wine to deglaze and cook off a bit of the alcohol. Add Squash, Apples, and Apple Juice and cook until squash is tender. Puree in a food processor or blender.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Guinness Ginger Bread Cake.

Lastly, for Dessert I made this Guinness Ginger Bread Cake originally from the Gramercy Tavern in New York.

It is delicious and easy enough to make that even a non-baker like me can pull it off.

The use of leavening in a cake is first recorded in a recipe for gingerbread from Amelia Simmons’s American Cookery, published in Hartford in 1796; I guess you could say it is the original great American cake. Early-19th-century cookbooks included as many recipes for this as contemporary cookbooks do for chocolate cake. This recipe, from Claudia Fleming, pastry chef at New York City’s Gramercy Tavern, is superlative—wonderfully moist and spicy.
Ingredients

1 cup oatmeal stout or Guinness Stout
1 cup dark molasses (not blackstrap)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cardamom
3 large eggs
1 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
Confectioners sugar for dusting

Special equipment:

a 10-inch (10- to 12-cup) bundt pan

Accompaniment:

unsweetened whipped cream

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Generously butter bundt pan and dust with flour, knocking out excess.

Bring stout and molasses to a boil in a large saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in baking soda, then cool to room temperature.

Sift together flour, baking powder, and spices in a large bowl. Whisk together eggs and sugars. Whisk in oil, then molasses mixture. Add to flour mixture and whisk until just combined.

Pour batter into bundt pan and rap pan sharply on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake in middle of oven until a tester comes out with just a few moist crumbs adhering, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on a rack 5 minutes. Turn out onto rack and cool completely.

Serve cake, dusted with confectioners sugar, with whipped cream.

Read More Epicurious Link to Recipe

Chicken Posole

Rancho Gordo Posole.

Rancho Gordo Posole.

The other day I happened to be at the Ferry Building during the day. Since there is a new Rancho Gordo store at the Ferry Building, I couldn’t resist taking a look at the products on display. Technically, I was shopping for Beans to use for Red Beans and Rice on Fat Tuesday, but I had a hard time resisting purchasing Posole.

I used to make Posole for Pasqual’s Southwestern Deli in Madison, Wisconsin back in the day, but I haven’t made it at home ever. Just seemed a little troublesome. Canned Posole kernels suck and the whole soaking and cooking thing for dried fresh hominy is time consuming.

But, we had some folks coming over for dinner, and I figured no time like the present.

I looked at a few recipes for Posole on the Internets, but didn’t see any that were exactly what I wanted to make: Chicken with fresh Poblanos and pureed dried chiles. So, I just sort of went with what I felt like making. FYI, the heat in this is mostly coming from the Poblanos, but they are highly variable. The ones I got this time were pretty zippy, but sometimes they are no spicier than green peppers. If you feel like you need some extra heat, add cayenne peppers either as powder or to the dried chile sauce.

It turned out well, so mostly writing it down here, so I don’t forget what I did, and in case someone who was over wants to make it themselves.

If anyone else is looking for something similar, and feels ambitious, give it a try and let me know what you think.

Posole, Finished

Posole, Finished

Chicken Posole

1 Chicken, Cut into quarters
1/2 Carrot, coarsely chopped
1/2 Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Stalk Celery, coarsely chopped
4 Whole Cloves
1/2 tsp Whole Black Peppercorns
4 Sprig Thyme

1 Pound Posole

12 Guajillo Chiles, stemmed and seeded
8 Dried Cascabel Chiles, stemmed and seeded

1 Carrot
1 Onion
1 Stalk Celery
4 Cloves Garlic, minced
Olive or other cooking oil

Cooked Chicken Meat, Chopped
8 Small Zucchini, Chopped and sauteed
8 Poblano Peppers, roasted, skinned, stemmed, seeded, and sliced
1 Tablespoon fresh Thyme, chopped
1 Tablespoon fresh Oregano, Chopped
Salt

Cilantro, chopped
Radish, thinly sliced
Avocado, slices
Lemon or lime wedges

METHOD:

The Day Before: Soak dried posole in plenty of water. Place cut up chicken, onions, celery, carrots, and spices in a large pot. Cover with water. Bring to a low simmer and continue to cook until chicken is done. Remove chicken meat from bones, cool, and refrigerate. Return bones and skin to pot. Continue to cook as long as time allows. Strain solids out of stock, cool, and refrigerate.

Drain posole and add to large pot. Cover with chicken stock, bring to a simmer, and cook until it begins to be tender, about an hour and a half. When Posole is tender, salt generously.

While you are waiting for Posole to cook: Cover dried chiles with water, bring to a simmer, and cook until rehydrated. Puree cooked chiles in a blender or food processor and run through a sieve to catch seeds or large pieces of chile skin. Reserve chile puree. Sautee zucchini in oil and reserve. Sweat garlic, onions, celery, and carrots in oil until tender. Deglaze with dry white wine or vermouth and add to Posole pot. Add cooked and chopped chicken to Posole pot. Add Zucchini to Posole pot. Add Roasted Poblanos to Posole pot. Add Chile Puree to Posole pot. Simmer over low heat. Serve with Radish, Cilantro, Avocado, and Lemon wedges for garnish. It will be even better the next day. Makes about 5 Quarts.

Roasting Peppers.

Roasting Peppers.

Dried Chiles.

Dried Chiles.

Prep.

Prep.

Posole, Pot

Posole, Pot