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Jul 25, 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘Ted Kilgore’

First Look: Intoxicology in The Grove

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

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A new cocktail supply and spirits shop is now open in The Grove. Intoxicology opened doors Friday, Nov. 18 at 4321 Manchester Ave. As The Scoop reported in August, co-owners Andy Foerstel and Melissa Pfeiffer aim to supply small batch spirits, bitters and barware to cocktail enthusiasts.

In addition to liquor and an extensive collection of bitters, Intoxicology sells tools of the trade, right down to Kold-Draft ice cubes by the bag. “We were sick of having to go around to multiple stores to find everything we needed to make a cocktail,” Pfeiffer said. “We wanted to create a place where you can find everything you need in one place.”

Foerstel and Pfeiffer credited Planter’s House co-owner Ted Kilgore with introducing them to a proper drink. “Ted really got us into cocktails about 12 or 13 years ago, back when he was at Monarch,” Foerstel said. “He’s been really encouraging and helpful during this whole process.”

Intoxicology is open Tuesday to Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 6 p.m. Here’s a first look at what to expect:

 

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Read more about The Grove
• The Scoop: Parlor to open in The Grove
• The Scoop:Rockwell Beer Co. announces location in The Grove
• The Scoop: Intoxicology spirits and bar supply store to open in The Grove
• The Scoop: Lemon Gem Kitchen Goods to open in The Grove
• The Scoop: Gezellig Tap House & Bottleshop to replace The Demo in The Grove

-photos by Michelle Volansky

Guide to Drinking 2016: 6 Best Bitter Bottles to Buy

Tuesday, September 20th, 2016

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Sweet-toothed Americans are increasingly embracing bitter flavors at the bar. Aperol spritzes are everywhere, and according to Randolfi’s head barman Jeffrey Moll, “No respectable home bar should be without Campari.” The pretty pink amaro and its compatriots are for more than your nightly Negroni. Bitter liqueurs and aromatized wines can be enjoyed simply poured over ice with a citrus twist or neat at room temp. We asked Moll, Planter’s House’s Ted Kilgore and Retreat Gastropub’s Tim Wiggins to tell us which bottles best bring out the bitter.

1. Amaro Sibilla is sweetened with honey but tastes boldly bitter and herbal – a siren song for the experienced amaro enthusiast. It’s great in complex cocktails. $54

2. Amaro Sibona boasts a sweet, baking spice-laced start with a smooth, slightly bitter, chocolate finish. Substitute it for Campari or sweet vermouth in your next Negroni. $30

3. Contratto Aperitif is easy to drink with prominent orange notes, like a more complex Aperol. Try mixing equal parts with a dry, sparkling white wine. $30

4. Amaro Nonino’s bittersweet caramel and baking spice notes are best on their own, rather than in a cocktail. Try as an aperitif over ice, or sip it neat after dinner. $50

5. Amaro di Angostura rolls around the palate with the spiced flavors of the classic Angostura bitters. Use in place of vermouth for an amped-up Manhattan. $22

6. Byrrh is a lightly bitter blend of young red wine and quinine. With an approachable flavor profile and price tag, it’s a safe start on your bitter journey. $18

All available at The Wine and Cheese Place in Clayton, wineandcheeseplace.com

Photo by Jonathan Gayman 

Readers’ Choice 2016: Favorite Bartender – Tim Wiggins

Friday, July 1st, 2016

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{From left, Tim Wiggins, Ben Bauer, Seth Wahlman and Ted Kilgore at Retreat Gastropub}

Your favorite bartenders of 2016 tell us: What’s the worst confession they’ve heard while tending bar?

Winner: Tim Wiggins, Retreat Gastropub
“I was talking to a boss of a company at the bar. I’m trying to remember the exact quote. It was basically, ‘I’m excited for our new hires because I’ve already slept with everyone in the office.’”

2nd: Ted Kilgore, Planter’s House
“All of the worst things people have confessed are unfit for print. I have worked at mostly classy places and have served Nebraska farmers, exotic dancers and movie stars. The one connection is people sometimes get really weird after a few drinks. … It’s like improv sometimes.”

3rd: Ben Bauer, The Libertine
“It’s mainly the things you see more than confessions. Most recently I had a couple sitting at the bar, and they seemed really happy when they came, but at some point during the meal they got super quiet. Then she just left, and he started slamming cocktails and talking to everyone about how she had just broken up with him.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Wahlman, Eclipse
“A robotics engineer once told me he felt bad about wiping out factory jobs and that his wife was a replacement for his first love. Other than that it’s mostly affairs.”

 

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The Scoop: Chef Bradley Hoffman leaves Planter’s House

Monday, September 28th, 2015

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Planter’s House chef Bradley Hoffman worked his final shift on Friday, Sept. 25 after heading the kitchen since its inception and opening in 2013. Hoffman is currently keeping mum on his new endeavor, but he said his departure from the Lafayette Square bar was an amicable split.

“I had a blast,” Hoffman said. “I learned so much from working with Ted (Kilgore), Jamie (Kilgore) and Ted (Charak). It was like family in the kitchen and in the restaurant. I’ll have nothing but great memories forever from working in that kitchen.”

Co-owner Jamie Kilgore said the Planter’s House team was sorry to see Hoffman go but wished him well. “Bradley was a real asset to Planter’s House,” she said. “He’s going to do great things. We are happy for his continued success and the continued success of Planter’s House.”

Planter’s House has not yet announced Hoffman’s replacement.

 

Editor’s note: This article was updated at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 29 to clarify information about a replacement chef at the time of publication.

-photo by Carmen Troesser 

 

Readers’ Choice 2015: Bartender of the Year – Ted Kilgore

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015

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{From left, Kyle Mathis, Seth Wahlman and Bess Kretsinger with Bartender of the Year Ted Kilgore}

Whether it’s serving up seasonal cocktails, perfecting the classics or putting new twists on old favorites, this year’s top bartenders won you over with their creativity and craftsmanship. Here’s what they want to mix most when you see them behind the stick this summer.

Bartender of the Year: Ted Kilgore at Planter’s House
The Drink: Gin Soaked Boy
What’s in it: Citadelle gin, Ransom Old Tom gin, Nolet’s gin, sloe gin, fino sherry, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice
Why it’s great: “It’s super refreshing, beautiful and quite boozy. Our bartender Mandi Kowalski actually came up with it, and I love the whole package. The name is also the name of a Tom Waits song, and I love Tom Waits. It also includes my favorite gins and looks phenomenal when you’re drinking it. It’s aromatic, beautiful and nostalgic.”

Second Place: Kyle Mathis at Taste
The Drink: Walla Walla Bing Bang
What’s in it: El Dorado spiced rum, North Shore Mighty gin, Smith & Cross Jamaica rum, passion fruit, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit and lime juices
Why it’s great: “It’s sweet and fruit-forward from passion fruit and house-made cinnamon syrup. I loved the challenge of putting gin and rum together – the botanical nature of gin and sweetness of rum are polar opposites.”

Third Place: Bess Kretsinger at Olio 
The Drink: Ramos Gin Fizz
What’s in it: Boodles gin, fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, orange blossom water, egg whites, cream and sugar
Why it’s great: “This drink is in honor of Tennessee Williams. He was fond of the (Ramos) Gin Fizz. It’s not a super esoteric drink, but it’s based on his roots. It’s a simple but obscure cocktail.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Wahlman at Eclipse Restaurant
The Drink: Year Old Manhattan
What’s in it: Rittenhouse rye, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Pierre Ferrand Dry curaçao and Angostura bitters
Why it’s great: “I started this project about four years ago. I batch a full glass bottle of Manhattans and rest them in our storage cellar for at least a year. The cocktail begins to take on sherry- and Madeira-like qualities. … I’m always surprised by flavors I hadn’t picked up in previous tastings.”

-photo by Emily Suzanne

Drink This Weekend Edition: Malt-tease-Fashioned

Thursday, March 26th, 2015

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Combine your love for beer and the harder stuff by using homemade beer syrup in a cocktail recipe. Use a big-flavored, hoppy beer, such as an ESB or IPA, to maximize flavor. The syrup complements a galaxy of cocktails, like the Tom Collins, Sazerac, pisco sour and Old-Fashioned, including the reimagined one here.

 
Beer Syrup
6 ounces

12 oz. hoppy beer, such as an ESB or IPA
6 oz. sugar

• In a small saucepan over medium heat, simmer the beer until reduced by half.
• Add the sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool. Syrup will keep, refrigerated, up to 1 month.

 

Malt-Tease-Fashioned
1 serving

2 oz. Spirits of St. Louis Regatta Bay hopped gin
½ oz. beer syrup
4 dashes Bittermens Hopped Grapefruit Bitters
2 grapefruit twists

• Combine the gin, beer syrup and bitters in a stirring glass with ice. Squeeze 1 grapefruit twist over the glass to release the oils, then drop it into the glass. Stir and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Garnish with the remaining grapefruit twist.

 

-photo by Carmen Troesser

Drink This Weekend Edition: Co-pilot

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Co-pilot at Eclipse Restaurant

Sitting next to him in a stool at Eclipse Restaurant’s bar, it wasn’t hard to get bar manager Seth Wahlman to chat about drink-making, especially the delicate strokes involved in making seasonal cocktails. For one thing, the ingredient list is constantly evolving: in vogue this fall are sage, rosemary, dark rum and anything that can be mulled. Wahlman and his team suffer no shortage of ideas on this stuff, and you can trace their thinking by perusing Eclipse’s fall cocktail menu.

If every good bartender has a theory (see the Kilgore method), Wahlman’s is a three-tiered rubric for a balanced beverage: At the bottom are dark, robust flavors – baking spices, honey and the like; those in the middle are bright and fruit-forward; floral and citrus flavors pop at the top.

“If you can fill in all three of these, you’ve got an interesting drink,” Wahlman explained. I strained to imagine what it looks like when the three flavor profiles work together. The rungs of a ladder, perhaps? A pyramid? A symphony?

The best illustration of Wahlman’s philosophy might be the Co-pilot, a variation of the sidecar. Shake together Aperol-flavored falernum, Calvados (apple brandy) and lemon juice, then garnish with a St. Germain-infused apple slice, which floats on top like a kind of capstone.

While Wahlman mixed one up he recited the lore surrounding the Calvados sidecar, an easy variant of the classic cocktail that is often “discovered” by novice bartenders taking their first steps with creative mixing.

“With newer bartenders, they always add Calvados and say, ‘Look what I made!’” Wahlman said. He wasn’t being condescending – another barkeep next to him even nodded knowingly. But it’s become a bit of an old saw in the industry, the bartender’s equivalent to, say, a guitarist’s learning to play “Stairway to Heaven” – not exactly a stroke of genius anymore, but a personal milestone, a leap forward.

The Co-pilot, then, is a stylized homage to the sidecar and the journeyman’s apple-brandied rendering of it. Take a taste, and here’s what happens: the moody notes of anise and molasses clash, then harmonize with the bright apple flavors of Calvados. The shrill taste of lemon arrives last, at the back of the tongue, to provide a bracing wave of tartness that refreshes the palate for the next sip. If it isn’t quite music, it’s certainly a pageant of unalike flavors that have reordered themselves, shrugged off their differences and linked elbows. Plus, the combination of apple and rum is a dead ringer for autumn.

Elsewhere on the menu, similarly odd couplings abound – like gin and coffee, which are deftly united in The Ironic Tonic. The cocktail combines local Pinckney Bend gin with house-made coffee syrup, infused lemon juice and tonic water. The truly adventurous should observe the interplay between Amaro Nonino and a rolled slice of coppa (a meat garnish!) in the Chaz.

Can we call this fine lineup of reinvented drinks a symphony? Maybe. You’ll have to face the music and decide.

Guide to Drinking 2014: The Kilgore Method

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

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Planter’s House co-owner and crack barkeep Ted Kilgore spills his drink-mixing secrets.

In my 16 years as a bartender, I have accumulated hundreds of books on cocktails, spirits and bartending in pursuit of making the best cocktail possible. While I’d found lots of differing opinions, none seemed to offer a definitive answer.

Then one day, I found myself mixing five different Sidecar recipes trying to determine the “correct” one. By the end, I realized I had developed my own set of formulas and rules. These formulas offered consistent balance and structure, and placed the drink in a flavor profile range that the majority of my customers enjoyed. I’ve found that the most popular cocktails follow the “sour” formula. If you learn this formula, you can make and create a host of fabulous drinks.

Basic sour recipe
2 oz. base spirit (gin, whiskey, vodka, etc.)
1 oz. sweet (simple syrup, liqueur, agave, etc.)
¾ oz. sour (lemon, lime, etc.)

Now that you have the basic formula, apply it to other classic cocktails:

Margarita
2 oz. tequila
1 oz. triple sec
¾ oz. fresh lime juice

Tom Collins
2 oz. gin or vodka
1 oz. simple syrup
¾ oz. fresh lemon juice
Club soda

Starting to see the connection? Now that we have the formula, let’s apply my rules and method.

Start with high-quality ingredients, or at least the best you can get your hands on. The idea is to make the best possible drink you can, whatever the circumstances.

Measure ingredients (except anything carbonated or bubbly) into your shaking vessel without ice. (I like to use Oxo angled measuring cups.) Next, you’ll want a shaker big enough to hold plenty of ice and that has a clean seal. (I use two-piece metal Boston shakers.) Add cold, fresh, hard ice, as much as you can fit into the smaller half of the shaker. If using a cobbler shaker (the three-piece variety with a small top that looks like a cap), fill it all the way up.

Now shake. The most important thing to remember is to shake a minimum of 17 seconds. At 17 seconds, you will have reached the point at which the ice and the ingredients (now diluted about 30 percent) are around the same temperature (28 to 33 degrees). The harder the shake, the more air that enters the drink, providing a lighter mouth feel.

Using a mesh strainer, pour into a chilled glass. You can fine-strain through a tea strainer if you wish to eliminate tiny ice shards – useful when serving the drink “up,” but less necessary when it’s served over ice anyway. Garnish with something fresh and pretty. Drink and (of course) repeat.

What I Do: Jacqui Segura

Thursday, June 19th, 2014

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No cocktail connoisseur is more dedicated to promoting the culture of the artisan beverage than Jacqui Segura, aka The Cocktail Ambassador. She took a breather from her frenzied schedule – holding down a day job in e-commerce and raising four kids – to talk about her favorite cocktail, hosting events for imbibers and what she misses seeing behind the bar.

When did you become The Cocktail Ambassador?
September 2012. About two years earlier, I’d met (bartender) Matt Seiter. The only thing I drank at that time was Ketel One and tonic. (I) jumped whole hog into this cocktail list he had. They used to joke that I was their ambassador because I would go around to the tables at Sanctuaria and try to understand why every person there was not trying to finish this list and drink these amazing cocktails.

What’s your favorite cocktail?
Negroni. I love the simplicity and its tolerance for mistakes.

What’s the stupidest cocktail you’ve ever had?
We went to New Orleans. I had a hurricane. I remember getting headaches. It was so syrupy and sugary and powdery and red.

What are your favorite haunts in St. Louis for a cocktail?
It’s so hard for me to separate bartenders from the haunts. I’ll follow Ted (Kilgore) anywhere. Kyle (Mathis) has done an outstanding job keeping the bar program at Taste going. I like Tony (Saputo) and Seth (Wahlmann) at Eclipse a lot. I think they’re always doing creative things.

Are you going for the bartenders or the cocktails?
I go for the cocktails, but I’ve had enough cocktails that I know who I can rely on to provide consistency. There has to be (enough) trust with the bartender that I can say, “I’d like to do a cognac drink tonight.” And that they know me well enough to help me push forward in a new area.

How does Boozy Book Club work?
I choose a book that’s cocktail- or spirits-related. I recommend people read it ahead of time – that’s just a recommendation, not a requirement. I find a bar to host us. The book club meetings are all about “tasting” the book. I don’t want them to know that they’re actually learning something. I don’t want to make it a lecture.

Why did you organize the Drink Like a Lady event series in March?
This craft cocktail community is heavily male-dominated. I wanted to involve the women bartenders in St. Louis. And then I extended it even further: Can I challenge these women bartenders to use women-produced spirits in the cocktails they’re creating? That was the extent of the instructions that I gave bartenders. From there, they could do anything they wanted.

Would you call the event a success?
My expectation going into that was I was going to give out 30 passports. To hear that Mandi (Kowalski at Planter’s House) sold over 300 of her Fujiyama Mama (cocktail) – I’m like, “Wow!” Next year, there’s no reason to limit it to St. Louis. I’m going to do a passport for Kansas City, Chicago and St. Louis.

What cocktail trends excite you?
A return to simple, core ingredients – three to four (of them). You really have to think about the quality of the ingredients. There’s one (trend) that’s gone away and I’m like, “Come back!” – the theater of preparing a cocktail. I love that. Part of my concern with places going to bottled cocktails and cocktails on tap and quick-dispensing things is that you lose the theater. I’m paying anywhere from $10 to $15 for a cocktail. I want a floor show with it.

What do your kids say about your hobby?
I had to fight less with them and more my image of what parents did. The idea of taking one evening a week and saying, “At 8 o’clock on Wednesdays, I am going to be someplace doing what I want to do” was a big step for (my husband and me). We were like, “Now, if you say you want to go to the gym and do yoga, that’s OK. Going to the bar to drink, that’s not OK.” I worried about that for about two weeks, then I was so over it.

-photo by Jonathan Gayman

The List: A Staff of Superstars at Planter’s House

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

Welcome to The List, our annual homage to the people, places, dishes and drinks we love in St. Louis. Don’t miss a single pick; click here to read the whole List and share your thoughts on Twitter with #thesaucelist.

 

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Yes, the cocktails are top-tier. Yes, the food is great. Yes, the décor makes you feel like a million bucks. But the real reason we love to take a seat at the hottest bar in town is the staff: a lineup of seasoned professionals who always keep their cool. From left to right: Kate Kinsey, Matt Sorrell, Ted Charak, Mandi Kowalski, Jamie Kilgore, Ted Kilgore, Leslie Gillette, Bradley Hoffmann, Matt Obermark and Travis Garner.

1000 Mississippi Ave., St. Louis, 314.696.2603, plantershousestl.com

-photo by Carmen Troesser

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