G’day, fans of Kathy Casey. My name is Keith Waldbauer. I’m the new guy, her recently brought-on Associate Mixologist. Really nice to meet you. I’ll be contributing to this blog from time-to-time, and I thought it might be a good idea to take a minute to introduce myself and let you know not only who the heck I am, but, also, what we’re up to here at Liquid Kitchen.
I’ve been bartending in Seattle for several years now, most recently having helped open Barrio, the new Mexican restaurant/cocktail bar on Capital Hill. Prior to that, I manned the bar at Union, the flagship restaurant in the Ethan Stowell empire. Through that time, I’ve been featured in the Seattle Times, the Seattle Weekly, the Seattle Post Intelligencer, the Stranger and Imbibe Magazine. Last year I was nominated for a Rising Star Mixologist Award from StarChefs.com. The man I lost to, Jim Romdall, is the bar manager at the current bar I work at, Vessel. Vessel, if you have not been, is widely considered to be one of the best cocktail lounges in Seattle, if not the world. If you’re ever downtown and feeling thirsty, hit us up on 5th Avenue right next door to the Fifth Avenue Theatre…. we’re pretty good at scratching that itch.
So, okay, that’s me. It’s nice to meet you. Now that we’re all caught up, let’s talk about what we’re up to at Liquid Kitchen.
It’s currently 9:15 a.m. in New Orleans, 7:15 a.m. in Seattle, and I’m sitting in the lobby of the Hotel Monteleone, epicenter for the Tales of the Cocktail event held here annually. The people walking around me are the luminaries of our tiny little piece of the culinary world; world-famous bartenders and bar impresarios, cocktail book writers, spirit representatives and enthusiasts. In short, the entire galaxy of the world cocktail culture/revolution gathered together within a single hotel. And Liquid Kitchen is smack dab in the middle of it.
So, while Kathy Casey, Cameo McRoberts and I wait for drinks at the understandably understaffed hotel bar (the world-famous Carousel Bar, home of the classic Vieux Carre cocktail, recipe to follow), we’ll be filing posts on at least 20 percent of the shenanigans, seminars and events. If you were here with us, you’d know that 20 percent is a rather generous number… but let’s not get into that just yet. Instead, let’s talk about the events and seminars we’re partaking in.
Yesterday, actually, was a busy day for us. Kathy was an integral part of two panels, one regarding managing the rising costs of goods, the other involving beverage consultation. Kathy is, as you know, uniquely qualified to speak on these topics. Her background as both chef and bartending consultant gave the audience a perspective unlike anybody else here at the conference and she was magnificent. Outside of the conference, Kathy, Cameo and I have eaten very very well; it’s New Orleans, after all. Yesterday was lunch at the world famous Napolean House with muffulettas and Pimm’s Cups. Dinner last night should be its own epic blog posting, but let’s just say I’ve been looking forward to returning to Cochon for a year now and it DID NOT disappoint. We were accompanied by Liza Zimmerman of Cheers magazine and her wonderful and hilarious posse.
The week ahead has days chock-full of events and laughter and good times just like yesterday. I love this time of year. Keep track of us on Kathy’s Twitter if you get a chance…. it’s not quite like being here, but it’s close enough.
As promised, the recipe for the Vieux Carre cocktail, invented here at the Hotel Monteleone by a bartender named Walter Bergeron sometime in the 1930’s. It has all the hallmarks of New Orleans and, chances are, if you mix one RIGHT NOW, Kathy, Cameo and I will be sampling one at the same moment in New Orleans.
The Vieux Carre Cocktail
3/4 oz rye
3/4 oz cognac
3/4 oz sweet vermouth
1/4 oz Benedictine
dash Angostura bitters
dash Peychauds bitters
Stir in a mixing glass with ice, strain into your best old-fashioned glass with fresh ice, then zest and garnish with a lemon twist. And, finally, raise your glass in the direction of New Orleans. If you do it right now, Kathy, Cameo and I will likely be raising our own glasses in the direction of Seattle.