Raising the Bar on Bartending

Earlier this month on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” French Culinary Institute instructors Dave Arnold (director of culinary technology) and Nils Norén (vice president of culinary and pastry arts) dropped by to make some high-tech cocktails. “$25,000 of equipment went into making this Gin and Tonic,” they said, splashing liquid nitrogen that immediately evaporated on the wooden stage floor. “Did you ever hear about the two rude scientists that came to the talk show?” Fallon quipped. Click here to watch.

Bartenders are constantly raising the bar on each other, but perhaps none more than D.C.’s Todd Thrasher. Check out his menu for the Patron Tequila Epicurean Express, which ended its five-city run in Washington, D.C., earlier this month on a mission to raise funds for the St. Bernard Project in Louisiana. Thrasher, of Restaurant Eve and PX, was called on at the last minute to match a five-course dinner. For passed hors d'oeuvres, Thrasher cooked a mixture of Patron Silver, sugar, grapefruit rind, bay leaves, yellow cardamom pods and sugar at 160 degrees for two days to create an off-beat Paloma. For an oyster veloute, he served the Boozy Beginning (Patron Silver and Anejo, Ultimat Vodka and house-made dry vermouth); with the crawfish flan and paddlefish caviar, he chose Sangrita (Patron reposado, Patron Citronge, essences of tomatoes, chili peppers, lemon grass, citrus and lime). He served the Sweet & Spicy (Patron Silver, lemon gastrique, black pepper whey, frothy egg white and sweetened lemon juice) with Gulf shrimp ravioli with sweet corn; Tristan and Iseult (Patron anejo, Patron Citronge and jasmine honey chardonnay syrup) with cobia with honeysuckle, jasmine and potato pave; and Ruppert Holmes (Patron anejo, strawberries, roasted hazelnuts, hazelnut mint, house-made mint bitters, simple syrup and Lillet Blanc) with a dessert of tequila-macerated strawberries with brown-butter shortcake.

Todd Thrasher


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