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Ride with Team Negroni

May 6, 2017

CCF_Print_logo1A_HiRes58b4a979e6cd3This years, Santa Fe is included in Team Negroni’s bicycle rides to raise money for the Helen David Relief Fund, and I am one of the riders. The ride is the first of many around the country with team leader Tony Abou-Ganim, aka The Modern Mixologist, and happens to be during Negroni Week and The New Mexico Cocktails & Culture Festival

The Helevent_photo590223a193870en David Relief Fund raises money to help bartenders battling breast cancer.  It was started by Tony as a memorial to his aunt, Helen David who was a two time breast cancer survivor and later died in her 90’s.

My mother and my grandmother both were also survivors of breast cancer before their lives were taken by other causes.

The goal is for each rider to raise $250, but I am not stopping there and have set a goal of $1000, so I am asking for your help.  Every little bit counts, so if you can find a few bucks in your proverbial tip jar to help out a great fund, please click this link and follow the very simple instructions.
Thank you for your support

Happy Holidays

December 6, 2016

So, I’ve been away for awhile.  Why the reason for the break?  It was needed.

For a long time now, and like many others, I have been writing about balance in the bar world.  I felt amidst much personal loss over the past 2 years that, though I am doing many things to keep my life in balance, I needed to check out for a time and reexamine every aspect of my life personally, professionally, and online.

Part of that loss was 4 people in the Santa Fe food & beverage world that were lost to suicide along with the unexpected passsing of my mother..  I am not posting this necessarily to talk about that other than it being a piece to my own personal puzzle in trying to keep things in check for myself.

Suffice to say, I am still around, I am still going strong, and I am back to writing.\ along with my daily work behind the bar.

So this is the first and again regular posts coming soon, and I have to say I have missed writing this blog.

Happy Holidays fro Santa Fe and The Santa Fe Barman


New Mexico Bartender Wins Last Slinger Standing

February 17, 2016

In New Mexico’s first year to participate in the Arizona Cocktail Week Last Slinger Standing Competition. Andrew Roy of Radish & Rye won the grand prize and brought home the trophy to New Mexico.


Team New Mexico: David Hernandez, Chris Milligan, Andrew Roy, Natalie Bovis, Andrew Gilbert, Michael Sebree (not pictured)

The competition included 16 bartenders from Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Utah, and New Mexico. Each round was a best 2 out of three single elimination strictly on the taste of a cocktail.  Seconds before each round 2 bartenders were given a previously undisclosed  base spirit and modifier and had 6 minutes to present 3 equivalent cocktails the the judges which included Andy Seymour, Bobby Gleason and Ian Burrel.

With many heavy hitting bartenders in the mix,  the competition was tough for all.

Andrew began his career in the bar business while attending St John’s College and was pulled from waiting tables and put behind the bar as a fill in bar back.  He enjoyed the shift so much that he asked to stay on.  Soon after Andrew trained as a bartender, and the rest is history

Cookoo About Cocoa

December 16, 2015

One of my favorite things this time of year is a nice hot cup of cocoa.  It started when I was a kid back in Georgia sitting around the fire (only heat in the house besides a couple gas furnaces) with my brother and cousins during the holidays.  My grandmother would make hot chocolate and toast for dipping as we gathered in the warmth of the roaring fire in the kitchen on the cold  Southern mornings.

Needless to say this wasn’t gourmet cocoa we were drinking, but the milk chocolate prepackaged stuff from some company. Those days are long gone, but I still love the memory and this is something I know share with my son each morning when he is with me.  And we have upgraded our cocoa to something a little better than Swiss Miss by making our own Hot Cocoa Mix. Being a bartender and lover of all things drink, this is also something that my son and I make for friends and family each year as gifts, because nothing in my opinion is better than a gift of drink, especially when it is homemade and from the hands and heart.

Before we get to the recipe and variations, let’s talk about cocoa powder: There are 2 basic types of cocoa powder: Natural and Dutch Processed (or simply “dutched”).  Natural cocoa powder is most commonly used for baking as it’s pH is below 7 (meaning it is acidic) and can react to baking with minimal leavening.  Dutch Cocoa is washed with a potassium carbonate solution neutralizing the acidic nature of the cocoa powder and raising the pH to 7 (or neutral acidity).  Dutch has a smoother less citric quality and flavor. There are also combinations of the two, which can be fun as well.  It;s primarily comes down to personal preference. There is also what’s called ‘black” or onyx cocoa which is a even more ‘dutched” cocoa raising the pH of the powder to 8 (alkaline) and is quite tasty as well (think Oreo cookie like)

So on the the basic powder

1 cup Cocoa powder of choice
2 cups organic cane sugar

Combine in a medium bowl or stand mixer using whisk attachment on low speed in fully combined.

Pretty simple right?

To make a cup of cocoa, simply heat 6-8 oz of milk in a sauce pan on medium heat (don’t boil it!) add 2 tablespoons of cocoa mix and a a few drops of vanilla extract. Pour into your favorite mug and sit by the fire (did I need to tell you to start the fire first?)

Now some variations:

Use Coconut or Almond Milk instead of regular milk

Add a few drops of peppermint oil/extract for a fun peppermint patty like flavor for the little kids
Peppermint Schnapps work great for the grown kids

Chocolate shavings hand whipped cream can make a great addition

Top with a little cinnamon (canela not cassia) for a Mexican style cocoa

and for the super adventurous.  Double the vanilla, spike with a shot of bourbon, add a touch of hand whipped cream, and sprinkle a few pecan pieces on top for a liquid version of a Bourbon Ball

Happy Holidays from The Santa Fe Barman