TOMATOES GET SAUCY
If you are like us, then you’re still salivating over all the tomato creations that were brought out last week for Sacratomato. Well if you missed out on the celebrations, no worries because we caught up with Jose Carrasco, Principle Bartender at Paragary’s Midtown to explain his “Tomato Peach Shrub” creation as well as found out how life really is like behind the bar.
Jose has been curating hand-crafted cocktails with a twist since 2008, with his first Paragary’s Restaurant Group debut at Hock Farm. Chef Kurt Spataro also contributed in preparing him to become the Principle Bartender at Paragary’s Midtown. This year Jose took it among himself to recreate the tomato drink and present it in a way where you can enjoy the taste of the tomato but also get “saucy” with it.
Tomato Peach Shrub Recipe:
- 4 cups tomato, thinly sliced (Watanabe Carolina gold)
- 2 cups peaches, thinly sliced, or other stone fruit (twin peaks candy princess peaches)
- 3 cups sugar
- 3 cups vinegar (sparrow lane champagne vinegar)
- 1-2 cinnamon stick
- 4 lemons worth of peels
Combine all solid ingredients in a clean, sealable container. No need to mash or muddle, just occasionally softly turn/stir to incorporate into a paste. After about an hour, add vinegar. Fully stir to make sure sugars dissolve. Let sit about 24 hrs. Strain off solids. You now have a shrub syrup.
- 1 oz shrub syrup
- 3 oz sparkling water
- 1.5 oz spirit of your choice
Build in a high-ball glass. Add ice. Stir. Enjoy.
I knew I wanted to work behind a bar when:
I saw a bartender make a Bloody Mary from scratch. They poured the vodka, and proceeded to add a dash of this, a pinch of that, grab a straw and taste it… think to themselves, “it needs a bit more something…”. They talked to the guest, figured out exactly what they wanted, and made it happen.
Proudest accomplishment behind the bar:
Winning the 2015 Sacramento Cocktail Week Main Event Competition with my team and friends, Baron Stelling and Kristin Galvin.
Define the perfect cocktail:
Balanced and simple. All the ingredients making sense together, every ingredient contributing to the enjoyment of the drink. At the end of the day, we’re making “soup”. A 57 ingredient potato soup? No thanks. Gimme a simple, 3-4 ingredient soup.
Most unusual drink request:
I always laugh and shake my head at the contradicting requests. “I’d like a habanero basil margarita, but I don’t want it spicy…”
At the end of my shift, I pour myself:
Something simple like some whiskey and a beer.
Favorite thing about working behind a bar:
Everyday is something new. An opportunity to make a new guest a regular. A chance to discover a new combination of spirits that taste delicious. A chance to be better at my craft.
Least favorite thing about working behind a bar:
Getting citrus juice on that paper-cut on my hand that I didn’t know I had until I splashed the lemon juice.
I’d be happy never mixing another:
Another one of those social media “10 reasons why the bartender hates you.” We are there to serve the guest, not ourselves. “Mojito? Sure, no problem.” “A purple, fruity, vodka, not-too-sweet? You got it.” If you’re pissed off because a guest wants an egg white cocktail, or you gotta muddle some mint, that’s not cool.
The one thing I wish more people understood about bartending?
“No. I don’t know how to make that one drink that your one friend made for you that one time at that one party, but maybe you’ll enjoy a Daiquiri… so, let me make you one of those…”
If bartenders had superpowers, mine would be?
the uncanny ability to rearrange a bar and have my staff shake their heads. “Maybe if I move this bottle here, or maybe if we put this garnish here…”. I always think it makes sense to be faster and more efficient, but I usually always concede to them…
The best piece of bartending advice I’ve ever received?
“You don’t know everything. Keep learning, read a book. Talk to your peers. Talk to your guests. Onward, and upward!”
I’d most like to mix a drink for?
my friends and family. Sappy? Maybe. But, they’re the best!
For a complete listing of Sacratomato week activities, participating restaurants, the Sacratomato Festival, and other fun happenings visit the Midtown Business Association.