Archive for the Newsletters Category

Newsletter 62: Intensive Tasting with the Dions (& Matt!)

Posted in Newsletters on May 28, 2015 by becca

We switched up the format this month and trained our palettes with an intensive tasting hosted by the OCBC board. Chris & Gabrielle Dion opened up their well stocked personal collection thanks to Young’s Market Company and The Mixing Glass! We tasted through white spirits and aged spirits- vodka to brandy and used a handy tasting grid to identify tasting descriptors. Everything from limestone to fruitcake to dill were found and it gave us all a great baseline to rock a blind tasting where the members identified each spirit category, right down to the grappa wild card!


Intensive Spirit Tasting

Here’s a copy of the tasting grid, a great reference to keep training yourself on blind tasting and identifying spirits: Bar Tasting Grid

We started the meeting out with a punch from 320 Main:

Sbagliato Punch
1 part Gancia Americano Apertivo
1 part Sweet Vermouth
1 part Sparkling Wine
Green Apple garnish


Sbagliato Punch


and had a second punch to gear up for the blind tasting:

Raspberry Beret
2 parts Crater Lake Whiskey
1 parts Fresh Lemon Juice
.25 parts Housemade Raspberry Shrub
.5 parts Simple Syrup


For the month of June we will be participating in a Negroni Week launch party in lieu of our normal meeting! Monday, June 1st from 6-9pm at Mesa (725 Baker Street, Costa Mesa, CA), OCBC members are welcome to attend for a discounted door donation of $10. Of course, Inspire Artistic Minds is a great charity that supports our members so if you feel so inclined, you can still make the full donation of $20. The donation at the door will allow you to have up to 10 tastes of Negroni variations from participating bars! Some of your fellow OCBC members will be competing and you get to vote on your favorite drink so come down and support, it’s sure to be a great time. Full details and advance tickets are available here:

To get on the list for the discounted donation at the door, RSVP to by Sunday May 31st. Hope to see you there!

Newsletter 60: Beefeater & Plymouth Gin

Posted in Newsletters on April 3, 2015 by becca

Hello again OCBC, thank you to everyone who came out to our March meeting at 320 Main! We were excited to have Luke Ford, the English Gins brand ambassador, taste us through a few expressions of Beefeater & Plymouth and talk to us about these delicious gins!

Luke Ford addresses the OCBC

Luke Ford addresses the OCBC

After the tasting, we tried some awesome gin cocktails from 320 Main:

Virginia Dare
by Jason Schiffer – 320 Main
1 oz Plymouth Gin
1 oz St-Germain
1 tsp Aperol
Stir | Strain
Coupe Glass
1 oz     Champagne
Grapefruit Twist

London House
by Jason Schiffer – 320 Main
(Adapted from the classic Holland House recipe)
1.5 oz Pineapple Infused Beefeater Gin
.75 oz Cocchi Americano
.25 oz Luxardo Maraschini
.5 oz Lemon
Shake | Strain
Coupe Glass
Pineapple Leaf Garnish

Dean Nguyen serves up the London House

Dean Nguyen serves up the London House

We tried a fun exercise with our education this month and had members submit anonymous questions for us all to discuss. (and no, we weren’t just feeling lazy, this was well planned and also an awesome idea. really!) It was a great way to remind us all not to be afraid to ask questions, the purpose of Bartender’s Cabinet is to learn from our peers! Below are a couple of great questions we discussed:

  • What are the top 3 pieces of advice for creating a new menu for the 1st time?
  • How do you determine when a cocktail is properly diluted?
  • My bar doesn’t carry Benedictine or Cherry Herring, how can I fake it?
  • What is the process of fat washing a spirit?
  • Do you need to boil water when making simple syrup or syrups in general?
  • What are the top 5 cocktail books?
Anonymous Questions discussion

Anonymous Questions discussion

Our April meeting will be held on Monday, April 13th at 7pm in Costa Mesa. Our sponsor is the exceptionally delicious Park Cognac, If you’ve never tried it, you are in for a treat! We also are super pleased to have OCBC member Michael Rooney join us to present an education on bitters!

As always, to maintain the quality of service, presentation, space, food and drink we are limiting the capacity to 40 and must insist on RSVPs. Please get your RSVP in early and send it to Let us know if something comes up so we can make your spot available to someone else if you can’t make it.

Hope to see you there!

Newsletter 59: Suerte Tequila & Leblon Cachaca

Posted in Newsletters on April 3, 2015 by becca

THANK YOU to our friends at Playground, especially Mr. Jarred Dooley, for hosting an awesome meeting and THANK YOU to Leblon Cachaça, Ms. Cari Hah & Mr. Scott Haro as well as Suerte Tequila & Mr. Aidan Demarest for sponsoring another fun & educational OCBC meeting!


OCBC at Playground

Suerte Tequila is a relative newcomer to the spirit category but the family behind it has been producing this excellent product for a long time. Aidan gave us an insight to the history of the brand and their distillery in Atotonilco El Alto. Check out more info at

Tasty Cocktail #1 from Jarred Dooley

Tasty Cocktail #1 from Jarred Dooley

Leblon Cachaça was a wonderful treat! Cari guided us through the company’s history and the difference between artisanal cachaça and industrial cachaça. She encourages everyone that hasn’t tried Leblon in the last three years to give it another shot as they’ve made some improvements to their product. We also got a special treat, a taste of the unfiltered still-strength cachaça from the 2014 harvest!

Tasty Cocktail #2 from Jarred Dooley

Tasty Cocktail #2 from Jarred Dooley

We were treated to awesome cocktails from the Playground bar before diving in to our education for the evening!


Sugar Education with Jason Schiffer

Types of Sugar

Check out the handout: Types of Sugar

OCBC founding member, Jason Schiffer, clued us all in to a little passion project (aka nerd-out) he’d been working on- types of sugar and their differences. For an ingredient that goes into nearly all our recipes, most of us don’t have a full understanding of how sugar is made or the differences between our options. An admittedly non-comprehensive overview of saps (including sugarcane, agave, and maple) and nectars (honey and coconut) was laid out which included a little background into their processes.

Check out this eye-opening video behind the making of refined sugar:

A more intensive education was promised for the future, in the meantime, there is plenty of great info out there to learn about the sources of each sugar. Play around with different types and see what you prefer!

Thank you to everyone who attended, we’ll see you next time!

Newsletter 58: Wine 101 with Henry Wine Group

Posted in Newsletters on January 29, 2015 by becca

We started off our year doing something we like to do from time to time, we broke away from our cocktail focus to study up on wine! A very big THANK YOU to The Exhibition Room in Long Beach for donating their space for this event, we love this bar and if you haven’t been yet, go Go GO!!

Our presenter for the evening was Mr. Kevin Butler of Henry Wine Group, he gave us a great background on wine making and tasted us through a line-up of whites and reds. Here is a copy of Kevin’s Wine Basics

Kevin Butler - Wine Basics

Kevin Butler – Wine Basics

We all had our favorites, here is a recap of the wines we tasted (all are available through Henry Wine Group, so hit up your local rep!)

  • 1A: Slingshot Sauvignon Blanc 2013 , Napa Valley ($12.00 front line)
  • 1B: Tariquet “Classique” 2013, Gascony, France ($7.00 front line)
  •  2A: ZD Chardonnay 2013, California ($25.33 front line)
  • 2B: Zerran Garnacha Blanca 2013, Montsant, Spain ($12.00 front line)
  • 3A: White Hart Pinot Noir 2012, Central Coast ($18.67 front line)
  • 3B: Vega Sindoa “El Chapparal” Grenache 2012, Somantano, Spain ($10.00 front line)
  • 4A: Medlock Ames “Bell Mountain” Cabernet Sauvignon 2011, Alexander Valley ($38.67 front line)
  • 4B: Terredora Taurasi DOCG 2008, Italy ($22.83 front line)


Wine Bottle Service Techiniques

OCBC member Matt Ellingson gave an amazing presentation on high-end vintage wine bottle service. Some great pointers to remember were to consider the sediment in the bottle like a snow-globe, always pull, present, decant and serve the bottle in the same position it was resting. Also, when decanting, always pour over a light (an LED flashlight is recommended) and watch for the smokey wisps to appear. That is your sediment and your signal to stop pouring. The smell of a corked wine should be obvious, it smells like Pirates of the Caribbean, when you come across one use it as a training opportunity.

Matt Ellingson - Service Technique

Matt Ellingson – Service Technique


Our next meeting will be held on Monday, February 2nd at 7pm in Santa Ana. Our hosts will be Aidan Demarest from Suerte Tequila as well as Cari Hah from Leblon Cachaca! It will be a treat to hear from these two, you dont want to miss it. Plus, we’ve been nerding out on types of sugars lately so we’ll be presenting an education on that!

As always, to maintain the quality of service, presentation, space, food and drink we are limiting the capacity to 35 and must insist on RSVPs. Please get your RSVP in early and send it to Let us know if something comes up so we can make your spot available to someone else if you can’t make it.

Hope to see you there!

Newsletter 57: Grand Marnier Holiday Punch Party

Posted in Newsletters on January 29, 2015 by becca

Always one of the most fun meetings of the year, we enjoyed our Holiday Punch Party in style at the Balboa Bay Resort! A big thanks to OCBC member Ian McDermott for hosting us and the whole staff for a wonderful evening. Grand Marnier went all out with an amazing presentation, a tasting through their delicious line-up which also included Kappa Pisco! We enjoyed punches from the OCBC board, tasty food from the A&O kitchen and a fun tobacco-infused dessert.

Punch Recipes
(Thank you to OCBC member Robert Hoover for the great pics!)

Fruit Loop Punch

Fruit Loop Punch

Fruit Loop Punch
Gabrielle Dion -The Mixing Glass

Combine a gallon of milk per large box of fruit loops. Leave them over night in the fridge in a Cambro. Strained through a chinois.
Then I made a 1:1 simple, hot process simple and infused kaffir lime leaf for 15 minutes after heating to 190f. For every qt I did 8-10 leaves that I smacked before tossing in.
Lastly the specs:
3oz Fruit loop milk
1.5oz Kappa Pisco
1/2oz kaffir lime simple
I did the servings for 50 and only had shell ice, so I used that for the dilution and buzzed it with an immersion blender.
I found it didn’t need a ton of dilution as the milk is already a weak and it was tastier served on ice.

Peace Co. Punch
Matt Ellingson – Club 33

2 parts Kappa Pisco
1 part Fresh Lime Juice
1 part Jarabe De Andes
.75 part Egg White
Batch all ingredients together and whisk vigorously to incorporate egg white and create texture.  Add ice for service once texture is created.

Jarabe De Andes
750ml Torrentes White Wine
750ml Honey
20 cracked Green Cardamom Pods
20 Dried Rose buds

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil.  Stir until honey is incorporated.  Lower heat and simmer for 20 minutes.  Let cool and bottle for use.

Grand Marnier Crusta

Grand Marnier Crusta

Grand Marnier Crusta
Jason Schiffer – 320 Main (Adapted from a recipe by Steve Olson)

1.5 parts Grand Marnier
.5 part Fresh Lemon Juice
.25 part Maraschino Liqueur
Angostura Bitters
Combine all ingredients, add bitters to taste and dilute with crushed ice.
Garnish with a large Lemon Twist and Sugar Rim

Ricky's Grand Marnier Punch

Ricky’s Grand Marnier Punch

Ricky’s Grand Marnier Punch
Ricky Yarnall – Henry Wine Group

Coconut simple syrup
Lapsang infused comb 9 gin
Mango black tea infused Grand Marnier
Hot water
Pineapple whipped cream
Toasted coconut garnish

Blind Tasting Challenge

We all participated in a fun blind tasting challenge to see who could most correctly identify a series of spirits. This exercise is always a great challenge, we encourage you to try it at your bars!

The winners were:

1st place Winner: Eriech Empey of Cocktail Musings

2nd Place: Sara O’Shea from Bruno’s Trattoria

Congratulations guys!!