Posts Tagged ‘Veneto’

Just got back from a quick holiday to scenic and historic Coquitlam to visit my folks.

And like any good journey to the distant east, I come bearing alcohol.

The last time I visited my parents we settled on an evening of Old Fashions.  This past weekend almost became more of the same.  As I was heading out the door of the Veneto Lounge after a DJ set, head bartender Simon Ogden, asked if I wanted another Bulleit Bourbon Cocktail to add to my skill-set.

The Manhattan is considered one of the 6 basic cocktails.  If maybe.,.. you’re my wife for example, and say… maybe have every episode of Sex and the City on DVD, then you know about the Manhattan because that is what the girls drank. (also Frank mutha fucking Sinatra)

The Manhattan is basically 2 parts whiskey; 1 part sweet vermouth; a couple dashes of Angostura Bitter; stirred in ice; strained; with a maraschino cherry for garnish.

Like any great cocktail, the Manhattan is a place for the truly creative bartender to flex their brain and excel at dazzling your senses while remaining true to custom.

I don’t know if this is Simon’s “Manhattan” or just a recipe he threw together for me knowing what I can do and with ingredients that anyone can muster.

Simon’s Quick Manhattan

2 ounces of Bulleit Bourbon
1 ounce Cinzano Sweet Vermouth
2 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Combine and stir in ice until very cold.  Strain into an ice cold martini glass (or you know, plastic cup as case may be).

Slice off a hunk of orange peel… some spinnster may try and give you a Christmas orange.  Slap this person in the mouth, unless its your mother, then politely decline.  It should be a real orange.

Flame the peel and spritz the essence onto the cocktail.

Garnish with a Griottines cherry (this might be the challenging product to track down.  Historically you can use a Maraschino cherry.  Simon says; no cherry is better than anything radioactively red or use a real cherry.)

If you are throwing an “oh wow” party, splurge on the cherry.  Both my folks loved the cherries.  And the orange peel trick is a crowd pleaser too.

Questions, comments, concerns?  Making a cocktail is an easy and fun thing to do but you can always visit the Veneto and ask Simon.  He’ll answer your questions and show you how to do it.

And remember:  “(David A.) Embury stresses frequently that the drink will never be any better than the quality of the cheapest ingredient in it, and hence he stresses constantly the need for the highest quality spirits, liqueurs, cordials, and modifiers (fresh squeezed lemons, etc.)”

Go with yourself.

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I am always on the search for different textures and sounds to add to my DJs sets at the Veneto Lounge.

The “theme(s)” of the Veneto Lounge are Italian (Veneto is a region of Italy) and classic cocktails.

The bartenders try and revive and explore recipes from the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Great for cocktails but less so musically.

To help set the vibe in the lounge, Motown and early rock have always been a staple of my music sets (with modern indie rock and chillwave).

Trying to think of something more European and mod, I have started exploring the pop music scenes of France and Italy.

The journey led me to discover a few decent Italian singers of the period, but the treasure was a French pop style called “ye-ye.”

Its a very cool and slinky style that will transport you to the Mediterranean circa 1968.  I have no idea what these girls are singing about but I want to know all of them more carnally.

A name from the scene that you may of heard of is Serge Gainsbourg.  He wrote and/or performed many of the  standards of the time.  His style was very progressive, dark and sexual.

Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin – “Je t’aime moi non plus”

What a dishy number… Jane Birkin’s simulated sexual breathing?  yikes, someone hold me.  This song gets me hot and bothered just listening to it.

Gainsbourg was an interesting character.  One of the more hilarious stories was his involvement with 16-year-old ye-ye singer France Gall.  Gainsbourg helped her early in her career and penned some of her biggest European hits.

The thing with the French pop of the 60s was that it was innocent teenager music.  Generally sung by teen girls about finding that first crush and navigating those first awkward years of sexuality.

That’s cool, till you sprinkle in the dark mind of son of Jewish Russian Revolution survivors who then translated there way through Nazi occupied Paris during World War 2.

Enter the too adorable for words France Gall. Serge Gainsbourg wrote a song for her called “Les Sucettes” (lollipops).  Long before my ganger Lil Wayne took this delicious candy and made it sinisterly wicked, Serge had an innocent 18-year-old girl on stage singing a song she knew nothing about.

Hilarity ensued, some scandal, a little embarrassment… and a song that Serge Gainsbourg described as the “the most daring song of the century” was born.

France Gall – “Les Sucettes”

Now this is a song you include on your “I like you, but I like you more when you’re getting down” mixtape.

When France discovered the true meaning of “Les Sucettes” she was mortified and sad.  She felt that the “adults” around her used her and later in career she was very resentful of the early ye-ye years.

Having read her story and downloading a couple key tracks, I have developed a retro-active crush on this French doll.

It makes the song “Poupee de cire, poupee de son” (doll of wax, doll of song) all the more foretelling.

France Gall – “Poupee de cire, poupee de son”

“Poupee de cire” was a big hit for Gall and it would get an English make-over from English 60s singer Twinkle.

The song will help give you Anglophones a heads up on what the ye-ye songs of the 60s were all about.

Twinkle – “A lonely singing doll”

Its an interesting snap-shot of the “pop-star.” Serge Gainsbourg says of this song (he wrote it): “The songs young people turn to for help in their first attempts at discovering what life and love are about, are sung by people too young and inexperienced to be of much help and condemned by their celebrity to find out.”

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On the weekend I DJ at a lounge in Victoria called the Veneto Tapas Lounge.

They make up their cocktails using premium liquor and ingredients. Something I never really cared or thought too much about before unless I was drinking with Dave Sawchuk or my buddy Bob.

I’ve been playing Motown and chillwave records there since December/January of last year and I’ve slowly been learning about the bartender craft.

Right now Solomon Siegel and and Simon Odgen quarterback the drink menu in the lounge and Simon shared with me the art of the Old Fashioned.

The Old Fashioned is often considered to be the first “cocktail” and was invented in Kentucky in the mid-to-late 1800s.  It was the drink of civil war veterans! Basically the cocktail is spirits, bitters, sweetener, water.  Yum.

At the Veneto I learned to add some orange and lemon zest to the equation and delicious.

On the weekend I tried to track down some Bulleit Bourbon which is Simon’s pick for the Old Fashioned.

Sadly, the backwoods of Coquitlam could not provide and seeing as my old man was out of real Kentucky Bourbon I grabbed a bottle of Maker’s Mark (another good Kentucky Bourbon that is popular at Veneto: I paid $42 for a bottle).

The bitters for a Veneto Old Fashioned is easy as they use the mainstream Angostura Bitters. You’ll remember I found this bitters at Save-On Foods.

Start your glass with a sugar cube and a few dashes of bitters with an easy splash of bourbon.  Let that sit there while you slice off two pieces of orange peel and one of lemon.

Get the knife in there and shave or cut away all the pith as its not delicious.

What you do next is what separates all the Old Fashioned makers as they have their way of adding the orange and lemon which I can’t really explain.  You’ll have to watch Simon or Josh or Katie do it sometime.  I tried to copy them as best I could at a dinner party and my Old Fashioned served… but they were no Veneto.

Muddle the the first orange peel in the glass with the sugar and bitters.

In a tumbler, pour two ounces of bourbon and stir with ice then strain into your Old Fashioned glass with your sugar/bitters/orange.  Add two ice cubes (or however many you want).

Then you release some of the lemon zest in the drink and drop the lemon peel in.  Finally you take your last orange peel, heat it with a lighter over the glass for a few moments and squeeze it into the glass.  A cool little fireball should happen. Don’t be scared, be brave! That is the fun part.  Then twist the orange peel and drop it in.

Your drink should smell yummy, like a fruit punch.

Then sip and get ready to get rose cheeked!  This beverage packs a smooth but deliberate punch.

Go with yourself.

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