A big THANK YOU to Marc Tessier for sharing his story. Enjoy the read!
I’ve been an on again off again bartender for the past 6 years, but only started taking that career seriously about a year ago. After a trip to Victoria, BC for the Art of the Cocktail festival, I realized that being a bartender is not only about slinging sub par drinks. It is an art, a craft, and in order to perfect your craft, you must train. Men and women behind the stick are creating their own syrups, bitters, cordials, shrubs, preserves, etc… in order to be more creative with cocktail creations.
I’ve begun to do the same, and my first food related workshop was the “Preservation Workshop: Crab Apple Jelly and Dehydrated Apples.” I was preparing for a cocktail competition at the time, had crab apples in my recipe, but for some odd reason I was having a tough time finding them, and what few apples I had, I wasn’t sure how to manipulate them in order to keep that rich red color without having it turn brown within minutes or even seconds. I needed help.
This workshop not only helped me find an unlimited amount of apples, but taught me how to create jams or jellies with apples (or any other ingredient), and how to create a clear jelly or colored jelly simply by changing one step.
Clarifying cocktails is a big trend at the moment and using a clear jelly is my new little discovery to help achieve this. When I make my own ingredients at home, I go through a lot of cheesecloths because they can be a pain to clean so after a few uses I would just throw them out. I was able to buy an easily washable nylon straining bag from the instructor, which she got from Brewer’s Direct, and since then I have used very few cheesecloths.
For the second part of the class, I learned how to dehydrate fruit, which really came in handy and helped me create a cool little garnish for my cocktail. I had bought an Excalibur dehydrator but needed a little help with the prep to make sure everything dried out perfectly. The tips I got were great, everything came out amazing and I am very happy with what I learned at this workshop. I will definitely be attending more in the future and encourage any serious bartender to do the same. A cocktail culture is growing in Winnipeg and in order to stay on top, bartenders are going to have to take classes and keep developing and learning new ways to incorporate ingredients into their cocktails.
Written by Marc Tessier