Lorne Caborn: On Mixology, Captain Morgan, Tall Ships, and You

If this sentence doesn’t make any sense to you, then you’re in the right place! Despite this highly popularized idea, Bond’s understanding of the classic Martini was really quite elementary. Apparently, shaking a Martini bruises – i.e, breaks apart – the ice and leaves remnants of it throughout your drink. How uncivilized! A Martini should only be stirred, my friends.

As you’ve probably guessed, I have something a little different for you today. I recently went down to the Halifax waterfront, where I had the vast pleasure of meeting local mixologist, Lorne Caborn, and learning a thing or two about the signature cocktails he created with Captain Morgan to celebrate Tall Ships 2012. The Tall Ships festival is happening in Halifax for 10 days, from July 19-29. You can read more about the festival here. While you’re at it, be sure to check out Taste of Nova Scotia’s Food Fare by the Sea, too.

Lorne: My personal transition between the two isn’t clear, and I still consider myself a bartender. 18 years ago, I was slinging drinks in pubs, and all I knew was that I had to get drinks out fast. I think I made the trasition when I started working in hiring establishments and had more time to play around with garnishes, aesthetics, and flavours. While cooking and making drinks at Café Chianti, for example, I learned how food flavours translated into making cocktails and pairings, and learned to appreciate the undertones of the drinks I was making there. I worked my way through the line, starting as a dishwasher. I did end up taking a bartending course, eventually, but I find those courses are a mixed bag. Most places want to train you in their own way and style. I learned a lot from the course – it was incredibly useful – but I recommend taking a course after you’ve already worked as a bartender, not as a means to getting a job.

Lorne Caborn: On Mixology, Captain Morgan, Tall Ships, and You
Photo by Megan Chandler. Used with permission.

A: So how did you get involved with Captain Morgan and Tall Ships?
L: I was approached by their ad agency to see if I was interested in creating a cocktail for the Tall Ships Festival this year, and I was completely honoured, considering what a big deal the festival is in Halifax. I’m one of these people who does this for a career, but genuinely loves (and geeks out about) what they do. It’s all a labour of love. And truthfully, Captain Morgan Private Stock is incredible. It’s a great product, so I was happy to work with it. It’s a very smooth and mellow rum, with vanilla undertones. I drink it on the rocks. Can’t say that for many products!

Lorne Caborn: On Mixology, Captain Morgan, Tall Ships, and You
Photo by Megan Chandler. Used with permission.

A: Walk me through the cocktails you made for Captain Morgan:
L: The first one is called “Morgan Takes Manhattan” [Recipes Below]. With the history behind the Tall Ships and this being the bicentennial of the War of 1812, I wanted one drink to reflect that history, and the Manhattan is a really old cocktail. This is my version of the classic. This is more of a formal drink you could have with dinner.
The second cocktail is called “Morgan’s Martimer.” It has less to do with the festival and more to do with representing Nova Scotia in a summer drink. I used seasonal, local strawberries to make this drink nice, light, and breezy; perfect for an afternoon on a patio or a backyard BBQ.
I wanted to strike a balance with a formal drink and a light drink, so that these recipes could appeal and be accessible to everyone.

A: What do you do with people like me? Enlighten me! Turn me into a backyard bar maven!
L: You know, it all starts in the same place as when you need a new recipe for dinner: on Google!  Also, the My NSLC website has loads of bartenders and mixologists on there offering tips and recipes. There are drink ideas, centerpiece ideas, food recipes, glassware, pairing ideas… it’s really a one stop shop. It’s user friendly and direct.
I find the biggest mistake some people make when they begin their home bartending mission is picking up a bartending book. They can be daunting if you don’t know some of the lingo or ingredients already. Some cocktails use complicated ingredients, but if you know their flavours, you know what to substitute it with from your own cupboards. Personally, I prefer to use online resources and videos, which are more visual. The books aren’t meant to be intimidating, but really can be if you’re just starting out.
For example, a book might tell you that Martinis shouldn’t be shaken, they should be stirred, because it bruises the ice. (Sorry, Bond!) Or a book will tell you to use soda water to chill your glasses first, but not tap water. Why? There are really good reason for why we do these things, and I find an instructional video tends to go into those explanations, whereas a book might assume you know and then move on. Book, video, website… just find something that explains the reasons why they are doing what they’re doing.

A: At dinner parties, are you the default bartender? Do you have to mix drinks even when it’s not your party?
L: I’m definitely a default bartender, but usually parties are a collective effort with chef friends. I do get phone calls for advice – from the deck, from the bar, from the liquor store – and I am a go-to guy for some friends. I don’t mind, though, it’s an honour and I absolutely love it. Behind 3 feet of bar, I’m happiest. The coolest thing about what we bartenders and mixologists do is that everyone wants to be around you, because it looks like such a fun job. Not all jobs are like that! I don’t walk into a lawyer’s office and feel that way. Just saying.

Lorne Caborn: On Mixology, Captain Morgan, Tall Ships, and You
Photo by Megan Chandler. Used with permission.

A: Is mixology more an art or science, then?
L: The passionate person in me, the romantic in me, and my mom (an artist) in me thinks of it as an art. The science is knowing what flavours compliment each other, the proper mixing proportions, and how to balance acidity with sweet, etc. The science is more from a designer, executive, or management standpoint. The person at the top knows and teaches the science, while the bartenders on the floor are the art. And sometimes people bridge both.

A: What’s distinctive about your drinks, then?
L: It’s a little more intangible. I put my heart and soul in everything I make. The coolest thing about what I do is that I can change a person’s night, with my mood, my service, my drink. It’s a powerful thing.

A: If you had to choose just one, what’s your favourite backyard/patio/BBQ drink?
L: A classic Mojito – no variations – it’s my baby.

A: Ok, so you’re on your deathbed: what drink do you request?L:. A nice, full bodied red wine. It would take longer to drink than a cocktail 😉

A: Any final words?
L: Visit the My NSLC website. It’s an awesome resource. I don’t think it’s being used to its potential because people just aren’t aware it’s there.

Given it was 10:30 in the morning, that I had to be at work by 1, and that, to my knowledge, public intoxication is still illegal, conditions weren’t ideal for – erm – taste testing. Thankfully, Lorne had recently had a fancy-pants photo shoot, so he allowed me to share these lovely shots by photographer Megan Chandler with you.

Lorne Caborn: On Mixology, Captain Morgan, Tall Ships, and You
Photo by Megan Chandler. Used with permission.

Morgan Takes Manhattan
by Lorne Caborn

1 oz. of Captain Morgan Private Stock
.5 oz. sweet vermouth
Garnish with a cherry

Mix all ingredients in a shaker, strain into a martini glass. Another twist on a classic cocktail.

Lorne Caborn: On Mixology, Captain Morgan, Tall Ships, and You
Photo by Megan Chandler. Used with permission.

Morgan’s Maritimer

by Lorne Caborn
1.5 oz. Captain Morgan Private Stock
3-4 strawberries
orange juice
lemon/lime soda

Muddle strawberries in a rocks glass, add Captain Morgan Private Stock and top with ice. Fill 3/4 with orange juice and finish with lemon lime soda (try 7UP or Sprite).


Give these summery cocktails a try and let me know what you think! I know I’ll be unearthing my inner mixologist this weekend and giving these inspired cocktails a try. Stay tuned!

Source: http://foodjetaimee.blogspot.com/2012/07/lorne-caborn-on-mixology-captain-morgan.html

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