Bartender, There’s a Logo in My Drink

The goal of bars these days is to make sure that guests recall the name of the place, no matter how strong the drink.  Cocktail napkins, matchbooks and cardboard coasters have been replaced by new, glittery branding techniques.

At Dante, a bar in Greenwich Village, the name of the place is stamped into the ice cubes.  The owners had a copper ice stamp custom made in Hong Kong.  The guests take pictures of the cubes, and one of the owners is quoted “In an age of Instagram, it’s hard to ignore free publicity.”

A bar in Seattle named Canon makes it easy to remember its name by branding citrus peels.  One of the owners says that his team is trying to provide guests with a “Wow” moment, or a sensory experience that takes them out of their day.

The Aviary in Chicago sears its name onto wooden coasters.  When the guests order a rum drink called “Brand New to the Game”, a pine coaster will be branded at their table with the name of the bar.  The fire created by the brand will be used to fill the inside of the glass with smoke before it is filled.  And the guest may take the coaster home.

Bar Leather Apron in Honolulu revived the bar token (special coins that can be exchanged for drinks).  A complimentary cocktail coin was created as a way to promote events or give away to visitors.

The San Francisco gin bar Whitechapel uses picks (perfect for spearing olives) to remind drinkers where they are.

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For the Forager or Francophile, a Dandelion Salad

Dandelions’ sawtooth leaves bring a pleasant bitterness to the table, and make for a great salad. They’re best picked when tender, before the plant blooms, and they can be served raw or cooked.  Larger leaves may be sautéed, stir-fried or stewed with olive oil.  However, the dandelion is usually overshadowed by spring foods such as green garlic, asparagus, sorrel and rhubarb.

Dandelions grow everywhere so that foragers (searchers for wild food resources) are in luck.  The dandelions should be picked before they begin to flower.  Also, the forager should make sure that the leaves have not been treated with toxic chemicals.

Cultivated and wild, fresh-picked dandelion greens are being sold at farmers’ markets.  A long-leaved variety is also sold at supermarkets; these need to be trimmed as the top eight inches are best for salad.

A dandelion salad takes only 20 minutes to prepare and may include ingredients such as garlic cloves, grated ginger, lime juice, sherry vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, black pepper, olive oil, beets, baguette slices, goat cheese, dandelion greens and eggs (the beets can be cooked and peeled up to two days ahead).  One version of the salad is modeled after a classic French recipe.

Nutritionists and science have shown that the dandelion is a green that’s good for you, and high in vitamins A and C.  Interestingly, the leaf was well known as a folk medicine cure-all, in the past.  Maybe dandelions could become the new kale?

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