This last weekend we headed out to my "still under contruction house" and got the bar all set up and filmed about 30 episodes of an upcoming "web show" that I am going to be hosting called "The Cocktail Spirit". This will be one of the first (of hopefully many) different shows being offered by "Small Screen Network".
You can see a segment from a "Pilot" episode we filmed a few months back on a beta version of their website here: http://www.SmallScreenNetwork.com, with our new episodes hopefully ready to be posted on a weekly basis starting the end of March. The original pilot was filmed with the notion that it would be a half-hour show with guests that I’d be serving drinks to and discussing the overall process and concepts of cocktails. We decided after the pilot to take a slightly different approach, and go for shorter episodes (about 7 minutes… although some still ended clocking in at 20 minutes or more!), and to just have it be me talking straight to the camera/audience.
My intent with this show is to try to raise the awareness of people to the culinary value that cocktails can play, and to see them as far more than just an alcohol delivery vehicle. I discuss history, methodology, construction, quality ingredients, proper recipes, and sometimes even creative enhancements. I try not to get overly fancy or fussy with how I make the drinks, but instead just focus on showing how just about anybody can make great drinks, using great ingredients.
The first few episodes that will air will cover "The History of the Cocktail", "Stocking Your Home Bar", "The Basic Tools of the Bartender", and "Your Cocktail Library", we’ll then run through episodes in which I breifly touch upon each of the six base spirits (Brandy, Gin, Rum, Tequila, Whiskey, Vodka), plus episodes on Bitters, and Champagne. Some of the drinks that I’ll be showcasing are the Last Word, Champagne Cocktail, Caipirinha, Champagne Flamingo, Old Fashioned, Manhattan, Bloody Mary, Opera, Sidecar, Jasmine, Martini, Daiquiri, Floridita, Margarita, Rosita, Whiskey Sour, Kir Royale, French 75, Harrington, Cosmopolitan, Mojito, Pegu Club, Black Feather, Frostebite, Irish Coffee, Moscow Mulse, and even an episode on Abisnthe.
Each episode was basically shot fairly "off the cuff" (ie. no scripting or rehearsal), and there were only a couple of times where we eneded up needing to stop camera to re-shoot. In one particular case, I ended up getting into a bit of pontification and forgot to add the last ingredient to the drink. When we finally stopped, one of the cameramen pointed out that I still had something in my jigger… Duhooo! So we did a quick pickup shot to show me pouring that into the mixing glass… but if you watch carefully you should be able to pick out the episode where this happens. I’ll leave it up to you to find it!
Once these episodes are posted, and we start getting some traffic, we’ll listen to the feedback we get from all of you and will use that to make any adjustments to the overall show when we film the next set of episodes sometime in the Fall.
Hopefully, you will enjoy the show, and perhaps I’ll have some things to say that you’ll find interesting, if not educational, about cocktails and mixology.
Here we’re getting the lighting all set up and checking the camera angles to make sure we can properly get all of the action:
I brought along a "mascot" to keep me company on the set. If you look closely, you should periodically be able to see him in some of the episodes:
I mixed up a LOT of drinks, and the crew seemed to always find enough time to at least take a sip of each one. They claimed it was quality control, but I think they were just glad I was doing a "Cocktail" show, and not one on vetrinary medicine.