Rock & Rye

A Drink On The Rocks…..


October 2008

Star Princess, San Francisco 2008

So this September, I went on a 3 week work trip to San Francisco to work on the Star Princess cruise ship while it was in dry dock at BAE Systems.  Our company did a remodel in the buffet restaurant on the 14th deck.  We removed Corian, laminate, and wood counters and replaced them with Silestone.

It took about three 10 hour days to complete the demolition, and the rest was spent doing installation, caulking, and reinstalling hardware and mechanicals. This was our first experience working on a cruise ship and we had a few issues due to not knowing exactly how marine construction differed from a typical restaurant situation.

Some interesting info about the project and the Star Princess:

BAE Systems at Pier 70 is now the largest dry dock on the west coast of North or South America
BAE did a 5 million dollar renovation to accomodate megaliners, the first being the Star Princess
BAE employed over 1000 workers for the duration of the project.
Princess Cruises contracted over 500 workers for the interior retrofit.
Our company (Spectrum Surfaces) installed 15,000 lbs of stone.
The Star Princess:
– 981 feet long
– 118 feet wide
– 1134 crew members
– 3100 passenger capacity
– 15 full decks and 2 partial for a total of 17
– Travels at 22 knots
– Weighs 109000 tons
– Holds 814000 gallons of fuel and burns 165 gal per hour

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Starbucks Clover and Small Batch Coffees

Starbucks Introduces Customers to Exquisite Flavors of a New Coffee Collection

Starbucks Introduces Customers to Exquisite Flavors of a New Coffee Collection Clover® Crafted Small Batch Coffees debut in three select U.S. cities, offering customers the chance to savor rare and unique coffees brewed to perfection

Coffee lovers, Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX) will ignite your passion for coffee and flavor with the arrival of Clover® Crafted Small Batch Coffees. Starbucks today unveiled a new in-store coffee experience in 10 Seattle locations that will soon expand to include Boston and San Francisco markets in the coming months. The Clover® brewing system is one of the most significant innovations in coffee brewing since the introduction of the espresso machine. This experience brings together Clover’s® revolutionary brewing method with Starbucks ability to source small batch coffees from all over the world and is a key initiative in transforming the company.

“After acquiring the Coffee Equipment Company in April 2008, we asked a small team of coffee buyers to find unique, small lot coffees whose flavors are best highlighted using the Clover® brewing system,” said Scott McMartin, director, Coffee and Tea Education. “Drawing on our many years of experience and our deep relationships, we had access to some remarkable coffees. What we came up with is just the beginning of what is to come.”

Through these small lot coffees, customers will be able to truly detect how geography influences flavor. Using the Clover® each cup of coffee is ground and brewed to order, maximizing the various layers and flavor nuances. Though the menu will rotate monthly, this September customers can experience:

* Distinctive citrus juiciness of Costa Rica Agrivid
* Herbal overtones of El Salvador Pacamara
* Subtle cherry and currant notes of Tanzania Blackburn Estate
* A soft finish of Zambia Kasama

“We committed to our customers that we would reinvent coffee and once they taste coffee brewed from the Clover® we know they will want to come back for more,” said Aimee Johnson, vice president, Starbucks Strategic Coffee Initiatives. “We hope everyone will be inspired to learn about where these coffees come from and the rich story behind each selection. Tasting flavors from rare and exquisite high-quality coffees is an experience that will continue to make Starbucks a destination in the neighborhood for coffee lovers.”

The Clover® Crafted Small Batch Coffee menu rotates monthly and is only offered at Starbucks locations equipped with a Clover®. These coffees will be available hot or iced in Tall (12 oz) and Grande (16 oz) sizes. Hand-scooped, whole beans are also available for customers to purchase to enjoy at home in a coffee press. Because the Starbucks® Small Batch Coffees have limited availability they will only be in-store while supplies last.

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New Starbucks Thanksgiving Blend

Coffee Talks Turkey as Starbucks Introduces New Bean Blend for Thanksgiving

Coffee Talks Turkey as Starbucks Introduces New Bean Blend for Thanksgiving Starbucks partners with Chef Tom Douglas to create Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend, a new coffee that pairs perfectly with the biggest dinner of the year

Move over, turkey. It’s time to make room for a new addition to the traditional Thanksgiving feast.

Two Seattle culinary giants came together recently in the coffee test kitchen at Starbucks. The end result is Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend, a new, limited edition coffee created by Starbucks® coffee experts in collaboration with Tom Douglas, renowned Pacific Northwest chef and culinary entrepreneur and the 2008 Bon Appétit Restaurateur of the Year.

Arriving November 4, at Starbucks stores across the country and just in time for the biggest meal of the year, Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend is a flavorful combination of full-bodied beans from Sumatra, with hints of fine herbs, and beans from Guatemala, which add subtle spice, notes of cocoa and a pleasant sparkle. This new coffee blend is the perfect complement to the cornucopia of savory and sweet foods shared around the Thanksgiving table – from sage-rubbed turkey to pumpkin pie.

The relationship between Starbucks and Chef Tom Douglas spans across three decades with Starbucks as the exclusive coffee in all of Douglas’ restaurants, but Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend marks their first coffee blend collaboration. To create the perfect addition to the Thanksgiving table, the coffee quality and blending team of Starbucks collaborated with Chef Douglas and his team of culinary experts to explore a variety of coffees from around the world.

After weeks of sampling different blends of Starbucks® coffees and a final series of blind taste tests, the culinary and coffee masters narrowed down their top choices. The team put the final contenders to the ultimate test: pairing the coffees with a classic Thanksgiving feast prepared by Douglas and hosted at his signature Seattle restaurant Palace Kitchen. The clear winner was the special Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend that customers can savor with friends and family at their own Thanksgiving celebrations.

“This new blend offers an opportunity to experience coffee’s culinary attributes in new ways and see firsthand how it can enhance an entire meal and also provide a perfect finish to a fine feast,” said Anthony Carroll, manager of green coffee quality at Starbucks. “Pairing coffee with dessert is easy, but creating a blend that also goes well with savory foods was more challenging. We went through the process of layering different coffees, in much the same way a chef would with food, to create the taste we were looking for. Working with Tom on this new blend was a pleasure.”

“I have been drinking Starbucks® coffee for about 30 years and serving it in my restaurants for nearly 20 and was excited to collaborate with their team of coffee experts to develop a new blend specifically for Thanksgiving,” said Chef Tom Douglas. “I learned that, much like creating a delicious new recipe, developing an extraordinary blend of coffee takes passion, talent, and a keen understanding of flavor.”

The introduction of Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend marks the first time that Starbucks has ever offered a special coffee to celebrate Thanksgiving. Similar to other Starbucks seasonal offerings, Starbucks® Thanksgiving Blend is available as brewed coffee for a limited time beginning November 4. Thanksgiving Blend will be available hot, or even iced, in Tall (12 oz), Grande (16 oz), and Venti (20 oz) sizes. It will also be sold in 1 lb. bags ($10.95) at Starbucks locations throughout the U.S. that sell whole bean coffee.

About Starbucks
Since 1971, Starbucks Coffee Company has been committed to ethically sourcing and roasting the highest quality arabica coffee in the world. Today, with stores around the globe, the company is the premier roaster and retailer of specialty coffee in the world. Through our unwavering commitment to excellence and our guiding principles, we bring the unique Starbucks Experience to life for every customer through every cup. To share in the experience, please visit us in our stores or online at

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Distilling School Anyone?

Dry Fly Distilling School

Starting In January 2009, Dry Fly Distilling will begin offering Hand Crafted, grain to bottle, distilling classes. Two options exist, a two day or a six day course. Details are included in the above file.

When I happen to have some spare change around, I would definitely love to go to distilling school. Not really because I want to open my own distillery, but more to gain a better understanding and appreciation for the craft of distilling.

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iPhone Drinking Apps Roundup

There seem to be a plethora of posting on the interwebs lately about the iPhone and drink database integration, so I thought that I would give a quick rundown on the apps, as well as some of the pros and cons for each one. I have 5 apps that we will look at. iBartender, PLBartender, Drinks, Cocktails, and PocketCocktails.

First up, lets look at the rather boring iBartender. This drink app is rather plain. It features recipes for many of the (most popular) mixed drinks, the ability to email drink recipes, search by name, or ingredient. You can also shake for a random drink.

Pros: Searching and emailing recipes.
Cons: Lackluster interface, poor measurements, no bookmarking or editing features.
Result: Probably would not recommend this particular app.

Next we have the PLBartender app. Like iBartender, I would probably look elsewhere for a good drink app. It does feature editing, but the overall recipe content is fairly small, and it lacks email capabilities.

Pros: Favorites and Editing
Cons: Mostly everything else
Result: Not worth the effort of installing on my phone.

The third app we will look at is the Drinks app. With this well put together app, you have access to more than 4500 high quality cocktail recipes. It includes a variety of old classics, as well as modern creations. It features favorites, and editing capabilities to edit any recipe in every possible way, as well as inputting your own. You can also add notes to recipies, search drinks by combinations of ingredients, and has email capabilities.

Pros: Large database, Editing, Emailing, Favorites, Notes, Search by single or multiple ingredients
Cons: Interface design is basic
Result: Definitely a winner. One of my go-to apps for cocktails, and other drinks since I can add my own recipes.

Next is the Cocktails App. Cocktails is the brainchild of the fine folks at Cocktaildb. With over 1400 recipes, Cocktails focus is mostly on classic or classically styled cocktails. You won’t find many college drinks in this baby. That can be a plus or minus depending who you are. Drinks are sorted by ingredients, flavors, base ingredient, more. A nice feature is multiple recipes. Cocktails features some cocktails evolution through time, including the date of the recipe as well as the book in which it was published. It also has a really nice look to it. One of my favorite features of this app, is the contemporary masters category of drinks. This feature includes recipes from todays preeminent mixologists, the first being 78 recipes from Jamie Boudreau.

Pros: Great interface, multiple recipes, email or twitter, contemporary masters, multiple searches.
Cons: No Editing, lack of some modern recipes.
Result: I like this app for sure. If editing or a super large database are important to you, it could be a deal breaker, but the contemporary masters program is a huge plus.

Last up is PocketCocktails. Unlike all the other apps, this one focuses on pictures. The database is relatively small (300+), but every recipe includes a full size, beautiful picture. You can scroll through the drinks alphabetically with thumbnail images, or search by name or ingredient. One beef I have is that even though it includes ingredients and instructions, they aren’t on the same page, so if I have never made the drink before (which is presumably why I need this app), I have to keep switching between pages.

Pros: Great pictures, good instructions
Cons: No email, editing, or favorites, small database
Result: Pictures are really great, and it probably took a lot of time, but there are too few recipes to make this a serious cocktail app. Also, having the ingredients and instructions on the same page would be a huge plus.

So there you have it. 5 Cocktail apps that may or may not be worth picking up. For myself I use the Cocktails and the Drinks. When and or if PocketCocktails gets a larger database and editing features I may consider adding it to the phone as well.

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Irish Mist

An alcoholic variation of a drink popular at the Starbucks in the Vancouver BC area.

Irish Mist
2oz Irish Cream
1/2oz Vanilla syrup
6oz Earl Grey Tea

Brew 6oz strong Earl Grey, add Vanilla and Irish Cream.
Stir briefly and enjoy.

iPhone Drinks app

I have come across a new app for the iPhone that I absolutely love (so far).

It is the Drinks app. Before I begin I should also say that I am a big fan of the cocktail app as well. However what the Drinks app brings to the table is some features that are noticeably missing in the Cocktail app.

First is the volume of drinks. The Drinks app has around 4500 cocktail recipes. Some of these are indeed recipes that should never have been published or consumed, but if you have some friends who are into that sort of thing, or you are unfortunate enough to bartend at a place where these drinks are the norm, it could be helpful to you.

The second thing that I love is editing capabilities. This app gives you the power to change the recipes that it ships with, enabling you to tweak them to your own personal tastes. It also allows you to add in your own recipes, which is a great function for me, as I often will make a drink and then forget exactly how I made it that one time when it tasted so good.

And for those poor souls who just can’t decide what to drink, you can search by any ingredient and then add additional ingredients as you go. This is also helpful when your liquor cabinet gets low and you are unsure of what drinks you can still make.

Favorites is also included so you don’t have to wade through 4500 recipes to find the one you want, as is a random drink generator.

Irish Cream Redone

After posting about Baileys the other day, I got a real hankering for some irish cream.  I go to the cabinet to grab be a sip, and realize that I am out.  This is no good I think to myself as I search for an alternate beverage.  Since it was a rather chilly night, and I couldn’t get anything to catch my eye, I settled for a hot toddy instead, vowing that I would remedy this lack of irish cream promptly.

Enter Jeffrey Morgenthaler.  Figuratively of course.  I had been passing the time at work by reading up on old MxMo articles, and I came across a recipe from Mr Morgenthaler on making your own irish cream.  His recipe was excellent, but I decided to tweak it a little bit for my own tastes.

14 oz Irish whiskey (I used half Jamesons and half Redbreast simply because that’s what I had)
12 oz half and half
14 oz sweetened condensed milk
1 oz espresso
1 oz chocolate syrup
3/4 oz caramel syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

I feel that the recipe turned out pretty good. I think it could possibly use just a tad more espresso, and maybe some mint extract or creme de menthe.

One thing I will remedy for the next batch is the amount. This recipe produces about 38 oz of irish cream, and since I was reusing my whiskey bottle to be helpful to the environment, I was left with about a beer bottle left over.

MxMo: Guilty Pleasures

Having just arrived home from a 3 week work trip to San Francisco, I realized that Mxmo was upon me again.  Having not posted in a while I feel that I should at least make a little effort.

My biggest guilty pleasure is Bailey’s Irish Cream.  I absolutely love it.  Nevermind that when I have a glass I am probably drinking about 15grams of fat, not to mention all the sugar.   But it doesn’t matter because it makes my day happy, soothes me, and my cares disappear into the night.

My favorite cocktail that includes Baileys would be my varitation of a mudslide.  Sadly no picture, as I do not have my camera handy at the moment, but recipe shall follow.

Dennis’s Mudslide:
1 1/2 oz Bailey’s Irish Cream
1 oz Kahlua
1 oz Godiva Chocolate Liqueur
Shake vigorously with ice and strain into a cocktail glass drizzled with chocolate syrup.

This could possibly be the sweetest most un-manly cocktail I have ever consumed. But I love it. And that’s what it’s all about.

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