Culinary no-no #650

Culinary no-no began on Father’s Day 2007, a beautiful summer day, when I wrote about grilling brats. And eating brats. And topping those brats. I was inspired by my wife, Jennifer who, in my admittedly unscientific opinion, ruins brats by squirting ketchup on them. Other dining taboos quickly came to mind. The original idea was to take this concept only a few months, till the end of summer and then pull the plug. Then the unexpected happened. People started reading Culinary no-no. Lots of folks. So we keep doing the no-no.

The ridiculous shutdown can’t last forever. Thank God almighty we’ll be free, released someday. We’ll be poised to let loose after weeks of restlessness.

Now this would be a great place to venture to and unwind.

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Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge on Milwauke’s near south side, open since 1938. From their website:

“When Bryant’s remodeled from a beer hall to a cocktail lounge, the wood floors were carpeted, the walls were papered, and a hi-fi stereo was installed behind the bar.  The new environment was the definition of a cocktail lounge with all the comforts one would expect.  It was during this time that the windows were blocked with shades and the lights were turned down.  A feature that is still an important feature at Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge.”

Let’s take a walk inside.

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That’s the main floor. Upstairs you’ll find the Velvet Lounge.

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Cocktails are a work of art.

“Bryant’s Cocktail Lounge is all about the cocktails.  We offer a truly unique mix of fresh ingredients, unique liquors, and time tested methodologies.  We rarely use flavored vodkas and we never use pre-made mixes.  We pour our soda from cans and what ingredients we can no longer obtain, we have made. It is surprising to many new customers that we do not have a drink menu.  Never have.”

And they are poured generously.

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This Milwaukee landmark has always been a terrific date destination. After I took a young lady there when I was about 19 she wanted to return. Not much longer she asked if we could go to the place that “serves those drinks in buckets.”

Think just the opposite of Bryant’s. I don’t mean decor or sound systems. Think something different drink-wise. Think quantity.

In the news this past week was the latest about a trend that’s not exactly revolutionary (it’s been around since at least the early 2010s), but has caught on far beyond the United States. In fact it may have been pioneered in Japan.

Not in the ballpark size-wise as a Bryant’s bucket is the mini-cocktail. You’ll get an idea  in these photos from the lounge “Smoke and Mirrors” in Singapore.

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Many are smaller versions of well-known cocktails, generally sized between a shot and a full drink.

For some time a ritual has been in place with bartenders from rival establishments. In short, bartenders got serious – even in the way they tried to impress one another. Bartender from Venue “A” visits “Venue B” where he/she is treated to an on the house shot-sized drink. They call it a “bartender’s handshake” which just may have ushered in the current wave of miniatures.

Why the buzz over not-so big?

Variety. Like a food tasting menu the same can be mixed up, like a flight, with mixed drinks.

Style. Minis can be considered a more refined way of cocktailing.

Again, variety. Don’t know which of four you’d prefer? Choose all four.

Getting home. Perfect for the designated driver.

Temperature. A cold drink stays icy cold.

Daytime. Much easier to take say at lunch.

Convenience. Ordering an extra mini takes less time and is less expensive.

Before dinner. It works well while deciding what to eat.

After dinner. Likewise can work well once dinner is over and before you’re headed for home.

But aren’t cocktail aficionados accustomed to a belt that’s worth their buck? How far would a Wisconsinite’s eyes pop out if faced with downing an Old Fashioned in a Lilliputian glass?

Andy Maturana, the owner of Rapt Hospitality, a full service, luxury catering, event staff, event planning and experiential production company in Manhattan, New York, admits the minis have caught on. Good idea especially if bartenders have time to whip up large pitchers of drink. But remember the bartender is mixing drinks that are fractions. It can be a hassle when customers guzzle their minis and request more minutes later.

“Mini-cocktails make regular-sized enemies,” said Maturana.

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One thought on “Culinary no-no #650

  1. Pingback: Culinary no-no #651 | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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