The Bacardi Brown Forman Brands (BBFB) Training Team brought their mobile roadshows to Imbibe Live! This week, offering four different sessions to show visitors.
BarLifeUK have seen the Training Team in action a few times now, and they always put on an entertaining show, blending practical knowledge with theory and sometimes a little science. We particularly enjoyed the ‘Around the World in 6 Drinks’ and ‘Seasoned, Toasted and Charred’ sessions.
In the former, the evolution and development of cocktails was illustrated by a journey that starts in the early 1900s with the New York Sour, then to Cuba and The Daisy de Santiago, followed by Paris and the Blue Lagoon.
Next came The Singapore Sling (if you need to ask where this comes from, go to the back of the class), Japan and the Finlandia Grapefruit Sour before returning to America and Jerry Thomas’ Old Fashioned twist, The Improved Whiskey Cocktail.
Seasoned, Toasted and Charred
Seasoned, Toasted and Charred examined the art of the cooper, and reinforced the importance of barrels in the production of whiskey (and indeed whisky).
The low-tech nature of this practice is fascinating. Craig Harper explained that oak staves are left to dry outside before they are used to make barrels. This takes around 9 months, and in the past the coopers experimented with kiln drying them to speed up the process.
The resulting whiskey was considered inferior, so they reverted to ‘al fresco’ drying. They have come to realise that microscopic fungi and bacteria impregnate the staves when they dry outside, and these enhance the maturation process.
This coupled with stone-walled barrel warehouses and a distinct lack of computers anywhere in the process gives a real feeling that the whiskey is alive, and needs to breathe naturally in order to become great. In a time of increasing artificial processing of food and drink, this can only be a good thing.
If you missed the Training Team at Imbibe Live!, you can find and book your place on one of their upcoming roadshows throughout the country on their website.
We recommend that you get stuck in if you can, because you will without doubt learn something, and enjoy the experience at the same time.