BBaF Podcast: Setting Up Your Home Bar With Ramsey Musk

Listen to: Setting Up Your Home Bar with Ramsey Musk”

The Coronavirus continues to keep many of us quarantined, and without the luxury of going out to bars and restaurants, there’s a LOT of home bartending going on. We’re here to help.

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast episode I sat down with Los Angeles bartender, Ramsey Musk – Bar Director of acclaimed Filipino restaurant, Ma’am Sir, and head camp counselor at CampOUT – a monthly jamboree and charity event for queer bar industry and friends.

We talk about the basics you need to set up your home bar, and Ramsey’s favorites and special go-tos during this time of quarantine. 

This week’s featured cocktail is Ramsey’s favorite new quarantine cocktail… 

Boy From Ipanema 
1 oz cachaca (Ramsey uses Avua Amburana Cachaca)
.5 oz pineapple liqueur (He uses Giffard)
.5 oz pineapple juice
.25 oz coconut liqueur (Mahina, but others will do)
1 oz ginger beer
Top with prosecco or the like! 

In a shaker tin add cachaca, pineapple juice and liqueurs with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into an ice-filled highball glass. Add Ginger beer and top with prosecco.

Join This Friday’s LIVE ChefsFeed Cocktail Class

Take Your Whiskey Cocktails to the Next Level”

Last week’s live ChefsFeed class – 3 Classic Whiskey Cocktails Everyone Should Know – was the virtual cocktail party I didn’t know I needed. I enjoyed it so much, I’ve decided to jump back in with another class. But this time I’m upping the game…

We’ll be exploring three more whiskey cocktails, building on the simple classics we discussed in the first class, and diving into a little more complex flavors and recipes.

The Boulevardier will be our boozy, stirred cocktail; The Penicillin, a variation on a whiskey sour, is a modern classic that calls for a blended and a single malt scotch; and like the Sazerac from last week, the Vieux Carre is an historic New Orleans original.

Join me as we dive into the history, classic recipes, and ingredients in all of these underrated classics!

BBaF Podcast Episode 93: USBG National Charity Foundation & Covid-19 Relief For Bartenders

Listen to Episode 93: USBG National Charity Foundation and Covid-19 Relief For Bartenders”

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, I sat down with  Kim Haasarud from the United States Bartenders Guild National Charity Foundation. Since becoming the face of the foundation, Kim has been fielding questions from all over the country about the Bartender Emergency Assistance Program’s COVID-19 Relief campaign.

So many, especially in the hospitality industry, are out of work and struggling and trying to make ends meet. The USBG Foundation is trying to soften the blow but has been getting blow back from those having trouble actually getting the funds they apply for. Kim is here to answer all the questions, break down how the foundation works, and to give tips on how to successfully apply for grant money from the foundation. 

Join My LIVE Whiskey Cocktail Class on ChefsFeed This Friday!

3 Classic Whiskey Cocktails Everyone Should Know

I sent a note out to a close group of friends the other day, and I thought I’d post something similar here to my foxy friends. Some of you guys have been with me from the beginning and have seen the evolution of Bit by a Fox – from the blog to events to the podcast, New York City to Los Angeles, around the world, and everything in between….

First of all, I hope you are all well and your friends and family are healthy and you’re all hanging in there as best as you can right now. It’s a weird time, and a sad time, and a magical time, and a crazy-making time…and a particularly boozy time, amirite?

While alcohol consumption has been up, the wine & spirits industry is taking a huge hit, especially the little guys – the local craft spirits and family run wineries and breweries. And, of course the entire hospitality industry is suffering terribly. As a freelancer, and business owner working in this industry, I’ve been scrambling to figure out what this new world looks like for me and my business. For the time being, it looks like everything is going virtual – events, experiences, and classes. And so…here we are! 

This Friday, May 1st at 4:30pm PST I’ll be hosting an hour long class with ChefsFeed3 Whiskey Cocktails Everyone Should Know

This will be live experience on ChefsFeed YouTube, and when you get a ticket you’ll get the link to take you to watch at the scheduled time. As a ticket holder, you can access the video any time after that. So if you can’t make it at that exact time, you can still watch and save and get the recipes.

ChefsFeed has been enormously supportive of the hospitality community – 100% of the ticket sales go to the host. This is the first time I’m doing this with these guys, and I’d love for it to go well, and to pack the “house” with those that know me. If you are able, I’d love to see you there. And if you can spread the word, I’d be so grateful. xo pr

BBaF Podcast Episode 92: Kings County Distillery with Colin Spoelman

Listen to Episode 92: Kings County Distillery with Colin Spoelman

For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast I spoke with Colin Spoelman, the Co-Founder and Head Distiller of Kings County Distillery – New York City’s oldest, largest, and premier whiskey distillery, and a leader in America’s craft distilling movement.

Founded in 2010, Kings County was New York City’s first whiskey distillery since prohibition. They are just now celebrating their 10 year anniversary. This was a fun deep dive into the history of Kings County, and a look back on the seismic changes in craft distilling and American whiskey over the course of this last decade.

Kings County Distillery Founders: Colin Spoelman and David Haskell

BBaF Podcast Episode 91: Distilleries Race to Make Hand Sanitizer in Response to Covid-19

Listen to Episode 91: Distilleries Race to Make Hand Sanitizer”

Hundreds of distillers across the country are now producing hand sanitizer to help fight COVID-19 – creating and packaging a product most of them knew nothing about just a month ago. For this week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast, I interviewed a number of people to get an idea of the scope, and all of the moving parts that went into this quick turnaround. 

Eral Gokgol-Kline is the Founder + Managing Principal for The Vale Fox Distillery – a small batch distillery that is just under a year old, and located in the Hudson Valley in New York State. Eral spoke to the thought process and challenges behind this pivot to making hand sanitizer.

Becky Harris is the Founder and Chief Distiller of Catoctin Creek Distilling, out of Purcellville, Virgina. Becky, along with her husband Scott, has been making some of the best award-winning rye whiskey in the country for over a decade now. But her attention this past month has been directed at creating hand sanitizer and helping other distillers around the country to do so as well. As a member of the board of directors for the American Craft Spirit Association, she’s helped to write the handbook on how distilleries can make this shift. 

Chris Swonger, President and CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States – DISCUS is also a guest for this week’s podcast. I wanted to speak to Chris about the distilling spirits industry as a whole, the quick changes our country is making to accommodate the distilling industry, and what this means for all of us going forward.

BBaF Podcast Episode 90: Camper English & Cocktail Safe

Listen to Episode 90: Camper English & Cocktail Safe

On this week’s Bit By a Fox Podcast we have return guest, Camper English – San Francisco-based cocktails and spirits writer, speaker and educator. You may know Camper as the pioneer of the “Directional Freezing” technique in order to make clear ice. Camper is THE ice guy. But that’s another episode. I had Camper on the podcast to talk about Cocktail Safe – his nearly year-old website dedicated to safety in cocktail ingredients and techniques. Both his blog, Alcademics and the Cocktail Safe site have been getting a LOT of attention lately due to the fact that there has been discussions around anti-malarial drugs being an effective treatment for Covid-19. Camper also happens to be an expert in quinine, tonic water and cinchona bark, and so I thought it would be good to have him on to set the record straight on all of this.

https://www.cocktailsafe.org

BBaF Podcast Episode 89: Eric “ET” Tecosky & Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice

Listen to Episode 89: Eric “ET” Tecosky & Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice

This week’s Bit by a Fox Podcast is a welcome distraction from the awfulness going on out there. It features the ever charming and inspiring Eric “ET” Tecosky – veteran LA bartender and founder of Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice. We talked about his early days in the LA bar scene, his home away from home – celebrity hotspot Jones Hollywood, and life as an entrepreneur for over a decade in a changeable cocktail landscape .

In these uncertain times for bartenders and service workers in general, it was inspiring to get an up close and personal take on what it’s like to start your own drinks industry brand, the hustle it takes to make it happen, and how to stay in the game when you have so much stacked against you.

This week’s featured cocktail is a spicy Paloma variation with touch of Dirty Sue olive juice, served up.

SLAP & TICKLE
1 ½ oz Herradura or other quality tequila
2 oz Fresh Grapefruit Juice
½ oz fresh lime juice
½ oz Agave Syrup (1:1)
2 slices cucumbers
5 drops salty Angels Tears* Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice
3-4 drops (or to taste) Spicy Stuff**

Muddle cucumber. Add all ingredients except soda to ice-filled shaker. Shake. Add 1 oz of Q soda water. Fine strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with cucumber slice. 

*Angle Tears – in a dropper bottle add ½ oz Dirty Sue Premium Olive Juice and 3 ½ oz spring water.
** Spicy Stuff – in a dropper bottle add 2 small, chopped habanero peppers. Fill with 100 proof vodka. Let sit for a few hours before use

COVID-19 is Crippling the Hospitality Industry. How Can We Help?

It’s an unprecedented time. With the Coronavirus sweeping the globe, I think it’s safe to say pretty much everyone is feeling a little anxious right now…at the very least!

Many of us are stuck in our homes, and if we’re lucky, we’re working remotely. But for those people who have lost their jobs – of which there will be many – the anxiety and dread and uncertainty about the future is all-consuming. For anyone working in the service industry, it’s a dire situation.

The restaurant industry could lose $225 billion in sales during the next three months, forcing the elimination of as many as 7 million industry jobs…”

All the States That Have Closed Restaurants and Bars Due to Coronavirus

Restaurants and bars have been forced to close throughout the country, effecting millions of people who rely on the service industry to pay the bills. While some distilleries are getting creative, and pivoting into the hand sanitizer business, bars and restaurants are limited in what they can do.

For restaurants, most are relying on a swift delivery businesses to stay afloat – as well as gift cards. And some states, after a change to laws allowing liquor delivery, will now allow bars to deliver cocktails and wine. Because there is so much precaution around the virus, however, and to keep overhead down, the only employees doing the prep and deliveries are often times the owners of the business itself.

I’ve found myself feeling helpless and wondering how I can help the people in this industry that I care so much about. I’ve compiled a list of resources for people in and outside of the hospitality industry that I thought might be helpful. Because I’m in Los Angeles, some of these are more locally focused, but there should also be links to national organizations in here as well.

5 Ways You Can Help Your Favorite Bartenders Right Now

HELP OUT A BARTENDER

Below is a list of restaurants and bars that have put together GoFundMe pages for their workers. I wish I could drop ALL money into all of these accounts.
Los Angeles:
Ma’am Sir
Bar Flores, Lowboy, Adamae, Wolf & Crane
Gold-Diggers
Big Bar
Death & Co. – New York, Denver, LA
Here & Now
Here’s Looking at You
The Mermaid
Bar Stella
The Pikey
Las Perlas
All Day Baby
Melrose Umbrella Co
Caña Rum Bar
Redbird – 100% of gift card sales through the end of this month will go to financially support their team

New York:
Bar Goto and Bar Goto Niban
Misi|Lilian|Grovehouse
Nitecap
NoHo Hospitality
Fausto
Contra|Wildair
Alameda
Due West
BLT Steak Bar
Casa Nela
Hunky Dory
Leyenda & Clover Club
The Up & Up
Subject
Versa
Diamond Reef
Rockwood Music Hall
West 3rd Common

Portland, OR:
Voysey

HELP OUT THE BAR & RESTAURANT INDUSTRY

What to Say to Your Representatives to Advocate For a Restaurant Bailout

There are a lot of petitions going around to help the hospitality business stay alive. I’ve signed all of these. I invite you to do the same!
Federal Financial Relief
Change.org Petition: Keep New York’s hospitality scene alive. Bar & Restaurant Bailout! 
Change.org – Economic Aid for California Hospitality
Change.org – Small Biz Bailouts in Hospitality

LINKS FOR RESTAURANT/BAR WORKERS

List of resources for restaurants & restaurant workers in light of Coronavirus. Includes info on unemployment exceptions. 
Restaurant Workers Community Foundation

Aid For Bartenders During Bar Closures
Unemployment Websites by State
Local and nationwide resources that may provide some relief for laid-off restaurant workers
Disaster Unemployment Assistance
USBG – Bartender Emergency Assistance Program
The California WARN Act – Protections for Employees After Mass Layoffs
Bartender Quarantine Schedule
Restaurant Workers Relief Program with Nancy Silverton & Makers Mark

LINKS FOR BUSINESS OWNERS

Resource Links for Operators in Hospitality
Cherry Bombe – Resources for Businesses Impacted by the Coronavirus

BBaF Podcast Episode 88: Cocktails with a Twist with Kara Newman

Listen to Episode 88: Cocktails with a Twist with Kara Newman

This week on the Bit by a Fox Podcast, we have return guest – New York-based food, wine, and spirits writer Kara Newman on the show.

She discusses her sixth cocktail book, an interactive sort of choose your own adventure book called Cocktails with a Twist. We also invent what we think should be a new classic cocktail, talk about babies making martinis, and our love of vermouth, gin and aquavit. 

This week’s featured cocktail is one Kara and I came up with in my living room just mere moments before the interview – riff on a Gin & It, the ‘Vit & It! 

‘Vit & It – served up in a Nick & Nora glass
2 oz Aquavit 
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
Orange Bitters
garnish: Orange twist 

Stir the aquavit and vermouth in an ice-filled mixing glass until sufficiently chilled. Add a few dashes of orange bitters. Strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass. Twist the orange peel over the glass to extract the oils. Garnish and enjoy.

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