Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Career Bartending Part 2; Make a Manga Resume Using the Instamag App

In my last article about resumes, I talked about how to develop skills, and show a level of professionalism that'll help you stand out in a sea of flashy smiles and rocket scientists (okay... maybe not that last one...) This time, I'm going to guide you to the realm of putting your resume out on Social Media, or how to use Social Media to make an attention grabbing resume. Specifically, I'll be looking at how to make a resume using the Instamag app for Android and iOS.

This is one of the icons for Instamag.
Am I the only one who sees a creepy
robot eye?
Instamag is a pretty cool app, designed for taking a series of photos and turning them into a magazine. You can use any number of the built in templates to create different styles of gimmicky magazine resumes, but I decided to start with the Manga template. Why did I go with this template? Because it conveys a number of things about me that I want to be communicated in my resume. First of all, I am a geek, and I love geek culture, which extends to both comic books, and Japanese pop culture. You may think that this sort of mind set clashes with all the hoopla I raised about professionalism in my last post, but that's a grave mistake. I'm communicating my creativity, and my ability to think outside of the box, and also setting a standard for what kind of person I am, and will continue to be in my career. It also continues on the train of thought of trying to get into your ideal working situation, hopefully, by surrounding yourself with like minded individuals.

If I could make this image my resume, I would.
This image contains I want you to know about me!
it also communicates nothing about me.
Once you select this particular template, you can continue by adding 3 to 7 photos, per page. For text portions, I took screen shots of stylized text in various documents, and took a screenshot of my personal website (, and set them up on two pages. I also added some photos of cocktails I've made, which shows some proof of my ability to bartender. It can sometimes be weird attaching a photo of you behind the wood, but in a picture heavy resume like this, it's perfectly normal. Well, as normal as normal gets in a manga resume, anyway.

I also included one screen cap from Archer, which may be a little bit risque; I decided to roll with it in this version of the resume, anyway, but beware of using humor like this. It can cause a lot of damage to your efforts. This particular image contains a scene in Archer, with a screen cap "Sour mix? In a Margarita? What is this, Auschwitz!" Hilarious to me. Perhaps hilarious to you. Not necessarily hilarious to Mr. Finkelstein. Heck, it would be downright offensive to a lot of people who either don't agree with, or care about the context. Use images like this with caution!

If the person reading your resume is a fan of Sterling Archer, this could go over very well.
Or not.
Another thing that makes Instamag's Manga templates great is that you can add stickers and speech bubbles. In this way, I can narrate certain images in my resume to portray my voice, and add yet another level of humor. You may be scratching your head and asking why to use so much humor when you're trying to look professional. Well, it's simple, really. If you can make someone laugh - not at your misery, but at your sense of humor and ability to make light of yourself - then you are speaking to their heart and soul in some ways. Taking yourself seriously is pretty important, but if you take yourself too seriously all the time, you'll just seem like a stuck-up douchebag. Who wants to hire that guy or gal?

This is one of the few still photos of
me bartending. It's not the greatest photo,
so I'm not shy to make a point of making
fun of myself.
When you come up with a template that you like, save it to your Google Drive (or whatever the hell cloud service you're using to back up your stuff) and circulate it to your personal computer. Make a long version of your manga by using an application like GIMP, and then upload it to Pinterest, with appropriate keywords. Take various screen caps from your resume and post them to your Instagram, completing the resume over time. Make sure that when you do this, you leave information for how to get in contact with you, such as your e-mail address, your personal website address, or your LinkedIn page. You can also add your resume to that blog I told you to make last time. Sort of like how I'm adding my resume here.

Lastly, don't forget to network with people on these various social networking services, or contact people from your existing network and ask them to take a look at your resume. Don't be afraid to get an opinion about the resume from your former bosses or references. Ask them if they'd hire you if they got a resume like that, and if not, ask them where you went wrong.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Yukon Shine Auragin Review

A few things about Yukon Shine Distillery

Yukon Shine Distillery was brought into existence as the brain child of Karlo Krauzig. In 2009 he started the distillery, and today it is represented by two spirits (a vodka and gin) containing a three grain spirit blend, with the premier ingredient being Yukon gold potatoes fom the Yukon. During the filtration process, the spirits are also filtered through Yukon gold nuggets, producing a product that truly is of the Yukon in as many areas as possible.

My experience with Yukon Shine

I exhibited three cocktails for Yukon Shine
at the Art of the Cocktail in Victoria.
In 2014 I decided that I wanted to take a more active role in the craft spirits scene in Vancouver. This started when I tried out for a cocktail competition in July 2014. The competition was put on by the Gin Society and the Canadian Professional Bartending Association at Grain Bar in the Hyatt Regency of downtown Vancouver. I submitted a cocktail recipe using Yukon Shine's Auragin and I was chosen to represent them at the event. I went on to win the third place prize at that event.

I went on to represent Yukon Shine twice more. In the first instance, I went to Victoria to exhibit three craft cocktails using the Yukon Shine products at the Art of the Cocktail event in August. My last opportunity to represent Yukon Shine was in November, at the BC Connect trade show, in Vancouver.

Over this time period, I've gotten to know the products quite well.

Yukon Shine Auragin

Auragin is Canada's own award winning microdistilled gin. Quite frankly, I believe that it is the best Canadian gin, and ranks fairly high against other top rated gins out there.

The first thing you'll notice about the nose is that the recognizable juniper odor is much less prominent than your standard London Dry Gins. With this one, there is the familiar essence of coriander, but the most relevant aroma is that of citrus peels. While most of the botanicals are sourced directly from the Yukon, obviously the addition of grapefruit peel is one of the few ingredients that come from another place. Nevertheless, the grapefruit, and lemon zest are a welcomed scent among the more earthier spice tones.

The citrus comes off even stronger in the body, and lingers throughout the finish. Watering the spirit down tones the juniper even more, and notes of anise, licorice, vanilla, and pepper appear in the mid body. The finish is somewhat short, though, pleasant. One would wish the finish to be somewhat longer, as it is such a smooth experience throughout the tasting.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

Forgetfully, Fernet: an unforgettably instant classic

That subtitle is a little cheesy, right? Regardless of that, we're just gonna say "forget about it" as we move on to the history of this gingery lemon menthol cocktail.

The Who/What/Where/When/Why of Forgetfully, Fernet?

Unlike the previous Fernet cocktails that have graced the page of The Bottle Opener, Forgetfully, Fernet is a recent creation. First mixed by Gina Chersavani of the Eddy Bar, Washington, D.C. Forgetfully, Fernet was recognized by Tasting Table as one of the best new cocktails of 2012. The cocktail boasts the claim of being a hangover treatment, which is absolutely appealing for obvious reasons. It possesses the potent additions of ginger and lemon juice, along with the hair of the dog in the form of Irish Whiskey and Fernet Branca. Fernet itself is titled as a purported hangover cure, containing many botanicals, herbs, and spices which have been shown to have recuperative applications.


  • 1 1/2 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1 oz of ground ginger
  • 1 oz of lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz of simple syrup
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 1 oz of Fernet Branca
  • 1 sprig of mint

How to Prepare Forgetfully, Fernet

  1. Start by adding Irish Whiskey, ground ginger, lemon juice, and simple syrup to a mixing glass. (Note: If making simple syrup from scratch, add two sugar cubes or two teaspoons of sugar, and stir vigorously with 2 teaspoons of water. Use a combination of white and brown sugar for a desirable taste and sweetness.)
  2. Add ice to mixing glass, and pour contents into blender. Start pureeing the mixture to desired consistency. Add a few more ice cubes if not thick enough to create a pile of slush.
  3.  Add to your favorite medium to tall cocktail glass, and pour Fernet Branca around the rim of the glass.
  4. Garnish with a mint sprig, and sprinkle with fine sugar if cocktail is too tart.
As always, have fun, and enjoy!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Taboo Absinthe

A few things about Absinthe

After nearly a century of prohibition throughout the developed world, absinthe is the source of much mystery, urban legend, and well, what I would call pseudo-science. Absinthe has gotten a bad wrap for being a hallucinogenic substance, and cause for reprehensible behavior. So what's true, and what's false? Well, it can be difficult to look back through the lens of history and posit what was untrue, and why it was thought to be untrue, but modern scientific and historical investigation has cleared much of the mist surrounding absinthe's cloudy past.

Absinthe rose to popularity in France during the late 1800s and early 1900s, before being banned throughout much of Europe and the United States from 1900-1916. It's popularity was credited partially to the Bohemian counter-culture movement that produced artistic minds such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Oscar Wilde, and Ernest Hemingway, among others, who also indulged in The Green Fairy. It's popularity continued to grow throughout France and Europe, to the point that it became a part of mainstream culture (as opposed to the secret drink of the Bohemians).

This was only my second time with
the Green Fairy.
When French grape yields became prey to phylloxera, damaging wine production, the shortage of wine obviously drove other forms of libation into the mainstream, one of these being Absinthe. It is believed that part of the taboo that was attached to Absinthe was encouraged by competing wine producers. The addition of the active ingredient thujone, in wormwood, created an image of wormwood being an illicit substance to be abused by the masses. Thujone was believed to be toxic, and a hallucinogen, although, recent studies have shown that it is neither of those, nor there is enough thujone in wormwood to create any sort of high that may have once been believed. In fact, common sage, has higher level of thujone than wormwood, yet, it is consumed freely.

The above factors in part led to absinthe being pegged as a scapegoat for rising crime rates, and deplorable behavior. In truth, any effects of Absinthe on the mind can be safely attributed to the effects of the hard drug know as alcohol. In modern times, myths have been dispelled and Absinthe culture has seen a revival. New Absinthes have arisen, and old Absinthes have been reproduced through historical record. There are now dozens of Absinthe brands available to the public.

Taboo Absinthe

In Canada, the Okanagan Spirits Distillery has produced a fine green Absinthe which they call Taboo, named with respect to wormwood as the taboo ingredient of Absinthe. The contents are bottled at 60% in a 500 mL bottle, putting it at around the same alcohol content as a standard 80 proof bottling at 750 mL. The bottle also contains a list of ingredients and an explanation of the traditional method to indulge in Absinthe, adding droplets of cold water to dilute the spirit, and create the cloudy  that reveals a quality Absinthe.

Louche refers to the cloudiness that appears once you add cold water to the spirit. Its comparable to the cloudiness of nigori Sake, milky in consistency. The high alcohol content of Absinthe has the effect of trapping molecules in the liquid, until it is diluted with a fair amount of water, which is known to be a good solution for chemical reactions. The watering down of Taboo releases essential oils, and flavor molecules of the herbs used in the maceration process during distillation, and the later steeping of herbs that comes after distillation.

The nose is typically licorice before louche, and after reveals somewhat of a nuanced sweetness, suggesting a candy-like taste. On the palette it is a soft expression of bitter-sweet, and heavily anised experience. The anise notes are not to the extremity of liqueurs such as Jagermeister, however.

Not having much experience with Absinthe, I will be foregoing the rating of this product, and thus the rating is:


Monday, March 16, 2015

Molecular Gastronomy and Mixology

The culinary arts world has been colliding with the art of bartending since before those two terms have existed. It's all been culminating in the past decade with the expansion of Internet connectivity and thus access to information. Much like the growth of the craft beer and spirits scene, due in part to Internet, the craft cocktail scene has been expanding as well.
Awe yeah. Look at those platters! Chocolate fondue time!
Professional bartenders are like jacks of all trades in their industry. They need a little bit of everything and a wide breadth of knowledge in order to stay relevant. Enter molecular gastronomy; essentially the science of cooking.

This is what Spanish Coffee looks like if you turn
it into spaghetti.
The use of the word mixology has some implicit level of sciencey built into it. The culture itself is steeped in different scientific aspects of cooking, but combining it with molecular gastronomy is another step in the direction of both obscurity and artistry.

A few tactics of molecular gastronomy can provide more novelty to the experience of the cocktail drinker. Through gelification you can turn sweet cocktails into dessert hors d'oeuvres to pass around while guests sip on appertifs. By adding agar agar to your Spanish coffees, for example, you can shoot them through tubes and solidify them into spaghetti.

Reverse spherification is awesome for shots
while spherification makes little Roe like pearls
Possibly much more interesting are the processes of spherification and reverse spherification. By adding the brown algae extract known as sodium alginate to your liquids and dunking small drops of it into a calcium lactate glutonate (perhaps through a squeeze bottle) you can create small roe like spheres in a process called spherification. The process has obvious uses for the bartender, as garnish. 
The reverse method, mixing liquids with calcium lactate and dunking into a bath of sodium alginate can produce larger spheres containing alcohol. A perfect gimmick for creating new shots.

The downside to these methods is preparation time and precision. Much like the baker, the molecular gastronomist will have to measure out ingredients by the gram, or risk ruining the whole batch. Mixtures must also be purified of air bubbles,  which means either using expensive vacuum equipment or letting liquids sit overnight. Demineralized water must also be used, for obvious reasons.
Shots shots shots!
If the photos and suggestions in this article are too tempting, stay tuned for my next update on molecular gastronomy where I show you how to do it. Wait for my instructional videos and articles in the coming weeks and months folks!
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