Some time last year, Metro Editor-in-Chief Sarah Meier flew to South Africa to join 50 of the world’s best bartenders, each representing their country, en route to the reputed World Class global finals, and see how their craft cocktails and concoctions would fare on the highest level of competition in the industry.
From turning her nose away from even the most harmless glass of wine, there she turned her year-long drinking hiatus around and became ultra discerning when it comes to determining the care, creativity, and the quality of the ingredients that went into her cocktails. Armed with everything she has learned on her trip, allow her to school you with her very own "Metro Woman’s Guide to being a World Class Cocktail Snob":
Embrace your base. A cocktail will generally have one base liquor; knowing which one best suits your palate will get you started in the right direction. Vodka, gin, whisky, tequila, rum? Select your poison, and the next level of options unfolds like those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books.
Sip, swirl, shoot like a lady. Leave the chugging of your youth where it belongs—in the past. Quality cocktails actually taste good, so you don’t have to throw them down your throat with reckless abandon. Taking little sips and alternating the cocktails with a glass of water will guarantee a lady in control until long after the clock strikes twelve.
Learn the lingo.
Prohibition - From the 1840s to the 1920s, the United States of America campaigned against the making, selling, and distributing of liquor. This was called the prohibition. It was enforced nationwide from 1920 to 1933.
Speakeasy - Hidden bars, often operated by gang members, during prohibition
Muddled - The act of mashing an ingredient (often fruit or leafy herbs) so that its juices are released and mix with the alcohol better
Bitters - A concentrated liquid potion of sorts created from the essence of spices, herbs, and other plant parts
Fat washing - A technique to add a savory spin on cocktails, bartenders add anything from melted butter to duck fat to alcohol, refrigerate it, then skim the fat off the top leaving the remnants of the flavor in the drink
ABV - Alcohol by volume, a basic measure of alcohol content represented in percentage (also incidentally the name of the speakeasy that World Class Philippine representative Kenneth Bandivas manages on Jupiter Street).
History 101. Distillers are extremely proud of their heritage and tradition; an art often passed down through generations of one family. Ketel One vodka, for example, is now in the hands of Bob Nolet, the 11th distiller of the brand, and the family pride that is Bulleit Bourbon is being safeguarded by Tom Bulleit. Knowing the stories behind the spirits that find their way into your glass not only gives a cocktail its context, but also serves as great small talk while enjoying them.
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Check out all these and more in the Metro December 2015-January 2016 issue, now out in major bookstores. Metro is available in bookstores and on newsstands for P150. Download the Metro Magazine app for access to all digital editions on your tablet or smartphone, available in Zinio, Android and Apple App Stores. Like Metro on Facebook (www.facebook.com/Metro.Magazine) and follow us on Twitter and Instagram (@MetroMagPH)