Exploring Bar World Myths at Tales of the Cocktail

Taste Test

I’ve never sat in a classroom-like setting in regards to cocktails before, but when David Wondrich, Dave Arnold and Wayne Curtis are “lecturing,” you better choose your battles wisely. The Thursday of Tales of the Cocktail, they explored bar world myths for those eager to learn the truths and untruths of the cocktail world.

It’s time to get geeky with some bartending bullet points:

Dry Shake? From L-R: Cold, warm
  • Do you discard vermouth after it has sat around in the refrigerator for one month?

Ultimately, there is a difference, but it’s so slight that there may as well not be. Refrigerate always (this is a must), but oxidation in vermouth isn’t really a killer. I picked the “wrong” one (or in this case, the un-fresh choice), and preferred the cocktail made with 6-week old vermouth as opposed to the just-opened one.

  • Is dry shaking BS?

No. Shaking warm ingredients without ice makes for better aeration and emulsification in cocktails – especially with egg. Warm eggs are integrated into the cocktail better than cold, and this makes for a better creamy foam top. And by the way – it’s better to keep room-temp eggs at your bar than cold ones. Cold eggs give your bar that “wet dog” smell.

  • Fresh limes are always better.

Surprisingly, the room came to a majority opinion that the cocktail with 5-hours-old lime juice was favorable to the just-squeezed lime juice. Fresh-fresh lime juice is actually too tart.

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Class 302: Where Ice Is Turned To Shaved Snow

Green Tea Shaved Snow With Mochi and Red Bean

With Southern California “June Gloom” wearing off now thanks to July, it has me craving cold dessert. Cold as ice – or, cold as snow in this case.

Mango Shaved Snow With Mochi

I had heard about the “upgrade” to traditional Taiwanese shaved ice from Danny, Cathy and a few others, in that the condensed milk is actually folded into the ice for some serious creamy-sweet-cold integration. Whereas the plastic tops sealing cups of milk tea at boba shops were probably the last technology in Taiwanese desserts I was aware of, this one seems to be an actual revolution of dessert itself.

I can get behind that.

Pudding Shaved Snow With Syrup

When I saw that the snow actually came out in sheets, each dish was a massive landscape and sweet firestorm to behold. No more crunchy ice or uneven distribution of condensed milk from bite to bite. Just good ol’, cold, sweet, soft and creamy (yet airy?) goodness. You can get varieties with caramel pudding on the bottom and syrup on top, another with strawberries and mango. My personal favorites, though, were the mango-flavored snow with mangos and mochi (for some potent mango goodness) and the green tea-flavored snow with red bean and mochi topping (expressly for your matcha tooth).

On the weekend, you’ll be waiting quite awhile for a table at Class 302 (which is Taiwanese school code for 3rd grade, 2nd class) as they also serve food, but snow is hands-down the thing to get here. You’ll want some as we head deeper into the summer. Just remember: It’s even hotter in San Gabriel Valley, so bring friends to share flavors.

More Taiwanese discoveries to come at later dates… A girl’s gotta reconnect with her blood-native cuisine, right?

Mon – Sun

11 AM – 12 AM

Class 302
1015 S. Nogales St.
Rowland Heights, CA 91748
626.965.5809