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I’m a big fan of hotel bars, both at home and abroad. There’s a certain romanticism to sipping a cocktail among wandering strangers. Some of my favourite bars in Vancouver are housed in local hotels. For the length of time it takes to sip an Old Fashioned, I’m transported outside of my city to a world of travelers sitting down for a business meeting or debriefing a full day of sightseeing. And when I’m on the road, I love being the traveler myself, sidling up to the lobby bar for happy hour while I pour over a long wish list of restaurants I want to hit up before my trip comes to an end.

So I thought I’d take you on a little tour of some of my favourite hotel bars locally. And to spice it up just a bit, I decided I’d take these cocktails to the next level (literally) and see what kind of views these hotels have to offer. This week we’re heading to Sidecut at The Four Seasons Resort Whistler to sample Spirit of the Mountains- a collection of cocktails created by DIAGEO Reserve & World Class Global Cocktailian and co-founder of Bittered Sling Bitters Lauren Mote. The collection pays tribute to peaks around the world and we had the opportunity try a few during a recent visit to BC’s own notorious peak.

The Matterhorn- Inspired by The French 75

1.00oz Tanqueray No. Ten Gin
0.50oz Dry White Port
1.00oz acidulated Clementine Skin and Cinnamon
2 dashes Bittered Sling Clingstone Peach Bitters
Top with Stellar’s Jay Brut

Shake first four ingredients over ice. Strain into a flute. Top with Stellar’s Jay Brut. Garnish with a giant orange twist and an absinthe spoon with a pickled clementine

The Third Pole- Inspired by The Whiskey Sour

1.5oz Bulleit Bourbon
0.75oz Cynar Amaro
0.75oz Lemon Juice
1.00oz Chaga Chai Tea (Sarsaparilla Bark) Namaste Tea Company Whistler
2 dashes Bittered Sling Kensington Aromatic Bitters

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into a highball glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated lemon wheel with skewer.

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I’m a big fan of hotel bars, both at home and abroad. There’s a certain romanticism to sipping a cocktail among wandering strangers. Some of my favourite bars in Vancouver are housed in local hotels. For the length of time it takes to sip an Old Fashioned, I’m transported outside of my city to a world of travelers sitting down for a business meeting or debriefing a full day of sightseeing. And when I’m on the road, I love being the traveler myself, sidling up to the lobby bar for happy hour while I pour over a long wish list of restaurants I want to hit up before my trip comes to an end.

So I thought I’d take you on a little tour of some of my favourite hotel bars locally. And to spice it up just a bit, I decided I’d take these cocktails to the next level (literally) and see what kind of views these hotels have to offer. This week we’re heading to Market by Jean Georges at The Shangri-La where we had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of Province-inspired cocktails on the 11th floor.

Matricaria Ingredients:

1 ½ oz O5 Rare Tea Chamomile-infused de Vine Genever Gin*
¾ oz Rose Syrup**
2 oz Grapefruit Juice
½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
Pink Grapefruit and Dill (Garnish)

Combine all ingredients into a shaker. Shake and double strain in an highball glass full of ice. Garnish with pink grapefruit zest and sprig of dill.

*Chamomile-Infused Genever Gin:  

7g O5 Rare Tea Chamomile
1 bottle de Vine Genever Gin

Method: In a jar, add Chamomile to the Genever and let it infuse for 24 hours. Strain and bottle.

**Rose Syrup Method:

400 ml Simple Syrup
100 ml Rose Hydrosol

Method: Mix and bottle

The Summerfield Buzz

½ oz de Vine Honey Shine
¾ oz Lavender and Rose Syrup*
½ oz Lemon Juice, Freshly Squeezed
¾ oz Pollen-Infused Water
Egg White
Lavender Stem (Garnish)

Dry shake, shake with ice and double strain into a coupe glass. Garnish with pollen and a lavender stem.

*Lavender & Rose Syrup:

1 ½ Tbsp Premium Lavender
3g Chamomile
1 ½ Tbsp Rosebuds
500g Sugar
500g Water
1 Pinch Salt

Combine ingredients in a pot. Heat on low and stir to dissolve sugar. Once dissolved, turn off heat and leave to cool for about 2 hours. Double strain and bottle.

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I’m a big fan of hotel bars, both at home and abroad. There’s a certain romanticism to sipping a cocktail among wandering strangers. Some of my favourite bars in Vancouver are housed in local hotels. For the length of time it takes to sip an Old Fashioned, I’m transported outside of my city to a world of travelers sitting down for a business meeting or debriefing a full day of sightseeing. And when I’m on the road, I love being the traveler myself, sidling up to the lobby bar for happy hour while I pour over a long wish list of restaurants I want to hit up before my trip comes to an end.

So I thought I’d take you on a little tour of some of my favourite hotel bars locally. And to spice it up just a bit, I decided I’d take these cocktails to the next level (literally) and see what kind of views these hotels have to offer. This week we’re heading to H Tasting Lounge at The Westin Bayshore where we had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of cocktails while taking in a gorgeous view of the North Shore mountains.

Redemption Sour

2oz Gin
1oz Lemon Juice
1oz Sea Buckthorn Syrup
5 drops of vegan foamer*

Shake all ingredients over ice. Double strain into a large coupe. Garnish with an orange twist.

Alaska Cocktail

2oz Tanqueray 10
3/4oz Luxardo St. Antonio
1/4oz Orange Elderflower Syrup
1 dropper of Orange Tree Bitters

Stir all ingredients over ice. Strain into a large rocks glass over a large ice cube. Garnish with gold flakes.

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I’m a big fan of hotel bars, both at home and abroad. There’s a certain romanticism to sipping a cocktail among wandering strangers. Some of my favourite bars in Vancouver are housed in local hotels. For the length of time it takes to sip an Old Fashioned, I’m transported outside of my city to a world of travelers sitting down for a business meeting or debriefing a full day of sightseeing. And when I’m on the road, I love being the traveler myself, sidling up to the lobby bar for happy hour while I pour over a long wish list of restaurants I want to hit up before my trip comes to an end.

So I thought I’d take you on a little tour of some of my favourite hotel bars locally. And to spice it up just a bit, I decided I’d take these cocktails to the next level (literally) and see what kind of views these hotels have to offer. This week we’re heading to Yew at The Four Seasons where we had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of cocktails in the Prime Minister Suite.

Beets by YEW

1oz Beet Cazadores Blanco Tequila
0.5oz Mezcal
0.5oz Yellow Chartreuse
1oz Lime Juice
0.75oz Jalapeño Agave Syrup
Tajin Spice Rim

Combine all ingredients except Tajin in a shaker and shake vigorously. Fine strain into an old fashioned glass rimmed with Tajin spice over fresh ice. Garnish with fresh basil & dehydrated fruit.

Dead Or Alive

Absinthe Rinse
0.75oz Aquavit
0.75oz Dry Curaçao
0.75oz Lillet Blanc
0.75oz Lemon
0.25oz Simple Syrup
1oz Passionfruit Kombucha

Combine all ingredients except absinthe and kombucha in a shaker and shake vigorously. Fine strain into an absinthe-rinsed chilled coupe. Add Kombucha and garnish with 1 brandied cherry.

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I’m a big fan of hotel bars, both at home and abroad. There’s a certain romanticism to sipping a cocktail among wandering strangers. Some of my favourite bars in Vancouver are housed in local hotels. For the length of time it takes to sip an Old Fashioned, I’m transported outside of my city to a world of travelers sitting down for a business meeting or debriefing a full day of sightseeing. And when I’m on the road, I love being the traveler myself, sidling up to the lobby bar for happy hour while I pour over a long wish list of restaurants I want to hit up before my trip comes to an end.

So I thought I’d take you on a little tour of some of my favourite hotel bars locally. And to spice it up just a bit, I decided I’d take these cocktails to the next level (literally) and see what kind of views these hotels have to offer. We begin at the recently opened D/6 Lounge housed in The Douglas where we had the opportunity to enjoy a couple of cocktails in The Den.

The Douglas Fir

1.5 oz Gin
0.5 oz Cointreau
0.5 Blanc Vermouth
0.5 oz Sweet Vermouth
3 Drops of Bittered Sling Orange Juniper Bitters

Stir ingredients over ice. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Garnish with a dehydrated orange and a douglas fir tip.

First To The Post

1 oz Star of Bombay
0.5oz Lemon Juice
0.5oz Hibiscus Tea Syrup
2 dashes Black Lemon Bitters
2 dashes Lavender Bitters
Prosecco

Shake all ingredients (except Prosecco) over ice. Fine strain into a sugar/lavender-rimmed coupe. Top with Prosecco. Garnish with a lemon twist. 

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Two for the Bar by Two For The Bar - 2M ago

Next Monday, many folks from the bartending community will descend on the Windy City for the inaugural Chicago Style Cocktail Conference. Founded by Shelby Allison (co-owner, Lost Lake), Sharon Bronstein (VP Marketing, The 86 Company), and Caitlin Laman (Beverage Director, Ace Hotel in Chicago), the organizers have created a four day event that is truly unique in it’s focus and structure. 

From left to right: Sharon Bronstein, Shelby Allison, Caitlin Laman

With the tagline “equal parts drink and think,” the conference seminars and panels will focus on topics of inclusivity, sustainability and equity within the bar community. I had the chance to chat with co-founders Sharon and Caitlin to find out a little bit more about Chicago Style’s origin story. 

Tell people a little bit about yourselves and how you got your start in the cocktail and bartending world.

Caitlin: I started bartending in college and as I continued to move around the country I continued to bartender because it’s a really easy way to get a job in a new city. I have lived and worked in bars all over the country when I was much younger but really got into the cocktail bar scene in San Francisco. I first studied wine when I got there and then got thrown into this bar where I found a mentor. I found a great home in the industry in San Francisco. Once I left, I traveled for a about a year. I worked in Mexico for a little bit and then moved to Chicago about a year and a half ago.

Sharon: I fell into this industry in somewhat of a roundabout way. When I graduated college, I was looking for jobs at event marketing firms or experiential agencies and I landed at Legacy Marketing Partners in Chicago. Out of pure coincidence, the client I was working with was Pernod Ricard. So through that I started meeting some really wonderful individuals like Shawn Kelly and Simon Ford. Eventually Simon left Pernod Ricard to launch The 86 Co. and a couple years after that I was able to join him for the wild adventure. In my day job, so to speak, I run marketing for The 86 Co. and Ford’s Gin and the rest of our brands. I’m from Chicago originally and through my industry friendships here, I actually met Caitlin when Trick Dog from San Francisco participated in Bar Fight Club which my company was co-presenting down in New Orlean’s at Tales of the Cocktail in 2014 [Caitlin was bartending at Trick Dog at the time]. We just kinda stayed friends since then. I met Shelby- our fellow partner and co-founder of Chicago Style- shortly after that and that’s what eventually led us together to create Chicago Style.

Tell us a little bit about Chicago Style.

Sharon: Chicago Style really started as us trying to create the conference that we all wanted to attend. We’ve been fortunate to see so many wonderful conferences in the drinks community over the last two years especially. There have been so many added to the landscape but we felt there was a gap when it came to Chicago and almost that Chicago was being underrepresented and the bar scene here wasn’t getting enough visibility. So we started to think about what we would want to do if we could come up with our own conference. This was around the same time that Speed Rack was contemplating moving their national finals from New York- where it’s been for the past six years- to Chicago. So it was kind of serendipitous for us to say ok! If we can come together and make this a reality then now’s the time to do it.

How did the three of you decide to come together to create this conference? What was the impetus and how did you conceive of it?

Caitlin: As Sharon said, we just knew each other from the industry and same with Shelby and I. The three of us were friends and I had recently moved here. We were spending some time together and talking. We had kind of thrown it against the wall and thought it would be cool if Chicago had something. Then Lynnette Marrero- who is the co-founder of Speed Rack- came out for a visit. The three of us had dinner with her and she mentioned that they were going to do Speed Rack National Finals outside of New York for the first time and were planning to bring it to Chicago. Literally at that moment we all looked at each other and we were like ok, we’ve gotta do it then! So that was really the moment where we decided we were going to actually make it into something.

With its tagline, “Equal parts think and drink,” this conference is taking on a bit of a different format than a lot of other cocktail and bartending conferences before it. Why this conference and why now?

Caitlin: It really came about naturally for us. Shelby always says that we’ve created the cocktail conference that we want to attend. The really simple fact is that we know so many amazing people in this industry that are doing awesome things and we feel like their voices are overlooked at a lot of the other cocktail conferences just based on how they have been for years. So we wanted to give space for people that we know are doing an awesome job and we’ve admired for so long to stand up and talk about their experiences.

Sharon: I would just add that we feel like now more than ever our industry is ready to have conversations about how we can change and be better as a bar and hospitality community. I think that was also a big part of what drove the content of the seminars and panels that will be a part of the inaugural Chicago Style. We want to create a jumping off point for those conversations to be had and live on outside of the conference.

Why is the industry more ready now than ever? What has laid the groundwork for these discussions to be uniquely possible at this time?

Caitlin: I think there’s been a few watershed moments, not just in our industry but in our country when you consider things like MeToo and Times up. There’s a lot more conversation around intersectionality and sustainability. I think people are having those moments of realizing that things need to change but not necessarily knowing how to start making change. Our hope is to offer some takeaways from the seminars and panels that help them with that while also having a really good time. We certainly recognize that there’s a lot to celebrate in our industry as well.

Why is it important for these discussions to happen within the hospitality industry, specifically?

Caitlin: Honestly, these discussions are important to happen anywhere right now. I think it’s important to me that it’s known that we all talk about these things as women and queer women that have worked in this industry and lived in this world- this is our experience. Part of this whole thing is sharing our experiences and making space for people to share their experiences. For us and our friends who we hang out with on a day to day basis, we have these conversations. This is our life so putting it on a bigger stage and getting more people to listen to it is really the goal here and the most important thing.

Sharon, Shelby and I always talk about how we’re really fortunate because we work in big, progressive markets where it’s not ok to ask for a photo when you receive an application from someone and you’re not forced to wear a low-cut shirt anymore as a woman. But those things still do exist in other markets so we’re trying to put this out there on a platform, as big as we can for the first year especially, so that these conversations are heard in other places that aren’t as fortunate to be as progressive as cities like Chicago.

I’ve been seeing Instagram Posts on the Chicago Style Dinner Party Series. Can you tell folks a little bit about that, how it ties into the conference and the themes you are working around?

Sharon: The premise of the Chicago Style Dinner Parties is really to create an intimate setting for meaningful conversation. All of the dinner parties will be, at most, 20 people in attendance and we’re pairing up each of the partners with a venue where either the food or beverage program is helmed by a woman, a person of colour, a queer person. And also bringing in a guest of honour to help focus the conversation on an important issue whether it be sustainability, inclusion, equity and so on. The reason why we really looked at this format for the dinner parties this year is because we feel that so often great change can start from small, meaningful conversations like these and if we can help create an environment conducive to those conversations, then hopefully people will walk away from those dinners with motivation to want to continue those conversations and create change from them.

Caitlin: The dinners have been really cool to watch take shape because the brands are essentially choosing one or two guests of honour, pairing them with the restaurant or bar and watching them develop something that they’re personally passionate about and getting really excited about it. It’s been really cool for us to see. There are 12 dinners in total.

In reviewing the panel discussions planned for the conference, a lot of them are bringing focus to intersectionality, accountability and hospitality. How do you think about accountability in the cocktail community? What does that look like?

Sharon: I think accountability in hospitality manifests itself in a lot of different ways. For one, I think amongst bartenders, it’s about calling each other out on behaviour that’s unacceptable and maybe in the past has been overlooked or let go and it’s no longer tolerable to do so. It’s also accountability when you look at the dynamic between guests and bartenders or any staff working in a venue- what’s acceptable on both sides of that equation but especially in the sense of how guests treat the employees of an establishment and the message that management sends by how they reinforce and support their teams.  Creating safe spaces is something that we want to ultimately encourage both for guests as well as for staff.

Caitlin: And also acknowledging for a lot of people that this is a learning experience and that we all would like to try as best we can but it’s ok when we make mistakes and to see those and correct them and be open about them. Understanding that all of us have incredibly different experiences in this world and so the owner may not naturally empathize with the bartender or the server or the busser or the cook. Making space to hear those experiences and to try to understand them in a way that isn’t natural to you is really important.

Sharon: It’s almost like challenging the notion that the customer is always right.

Can you expand on that a bit? How can that notion of “the customer is always right” reinforce some of the problems that exist in the community?

Caitlin: Well it takes power away from staff. There are extremely grotesque examples of that and then there are just basic disrespect examples of that. This goes back again, to these markets that we’ve worked in. Great cocktail bars that have had a lot of press around them tend to have more well-behaved guests because they respect the establishment but the sports bar on the corner in a smaller town doesn’t necessarily have that so the guests may feel more entitled to treat people how they want to.  

Sharon: I think the only way that we’re going to show that a career in hospitality is sustainable and has longevity to it is if we can show that it’s a safe space for people to work and that signing up to be a server does not come with an acceptance of any behaviour from the guest.

What goes into building a conference that specifically focuses on issues of inclusivity, intersectionality and accountability.

Caitlin: This year we worked really hard to create the list of panelists long before the conference was announced and we really chose people who we know and have worked with or who’s work we have admired. The moderators are really intended to shape the conference with the panelists and so we’ve given them an outline of what we have thought the seminar would be but also given them the freedom to make it what they want to and trusting that it’s going to be good because we have chosen these people because we want to hear what they have to say.

How do you go about reaching out to communities that haven’t necessarily found a space at other conferences?

Caitlin: Again, choosing the panelists that we did and encouraging them to reach out to their communities as well and make sure people know this is for everyone. We’ve made a point to work with a lot of local artists as well which is a good draw to things. We’re really excited to see everyone that comes out.

What are your goals for the conference? What would you like to see come out of it?

Caitlin: A bit of action for sure. We want to see people taking note and talking about it and trying to implement some of the things that they learn in their home bars. I know looking at the people that have bought tickets and are coming, we have a lot of bar managers and a handful of bar owners as well so we’re really hoping that people are going to be there excited to listen and learn and come away with some tools to make spaces more inclusive and learn some fun stuff about booze along the way.

How do you hope the goals will be followed up on? Will there be an opportunity for ongoing work outside of the conference?

Sharon: Probably! We’re going to get through the conference first. We’re all about baby steps right now.

In some of the interviews I’ve read, there’s already talk about next year’s conference and where you see this going in the future.

Sharon: Yeah, I think one of the more fun parts of the process for us has been seeing all the ideas that have come up even as we’ve finalized plans for this year and we’ve already have a long list going of things we’d like to do in year two if all goes well with the first round. And even if all doesn’t go well with the first round, there’s opportunity for growth. It is, at least at this point in time, very much our intention to make this an annual event.

As organizers, is there something you’re most excited about for the conference?

Caitlin: I’m most excited for the seminar days. I think we’ve put a lot into designing the space and making sure everything is set up really well so I can’t wait to see it full and listen to what people have to say during their seminars.

Sharon: On a slightly selfish note, I’m really excited for the opening party. It’s an event that I’ve loved working on in the past and I’m so happy we have an occasion to bring it back to life and breath new life into it by putting out an open call for bars interested in participating. We had over 50 bars express interest and really share incredible stories of the ways in which they are making efforts to be sustainable and actively engaged in their community. It was those entries that helped us determine the final six bars that are going to participate this year. It’s just such a fun and raucous event that I’m really excited to kick things off with it.

Those are all of my formal questions. Is there anything that you would like to add about the conference? Any questions I didn’t ask that you wish I would have?

Caitlin: Just about our two charity partners. We’re working with the James Beard Foundation’s Women in Leadership Program and then The Chicago Period Project which is a local organization here started by a Chicagoan that provides menstruation products to people in need around the city. It’s a really young and cool organization that’s doing something unique and very important so we’re really excited to support them.

Sharon: We also have plans in place this year to capture all of the panels and seminars and we’ll be sharing them post-conference on our website and elsewhere so that people that don’t have chance to be here in person can still benefit from those conversations.  

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Cocktail Of The Day- because it’s always cocktail hour somewhere in the world. Remember last week when I said we had three days in a row of sunshine? Well we’re breaking records here folks because it’s been an entire week and I’m a better person for it. The cherry blossoms are in full bloom so it’s only fitting that we partake in a cocktail of the same name! This one comes to you from UVA Wine and Cocktail Bar, home to VanMag’s 2017 Bartender of the Year Sabrine Dhaliwal (not to mention one stellar cocktail program). The Cherry Blossom is a new addition to their spring cocktail list and is rather fitting for our recent change in weather. Enjoy friends!

Recipe:

1.5 oz Havana Club 3yr
0.50oz Amaro Lucano
0.25 Campari
0.75 mango cordial*
1 oz fresh lime juice
2 dashes cherry bitters

Shake all ingredients over ice. Strain into a double old fashioned glass over fresh ice. Garnish with an orange twist.

*Mango Cordial
0.25kg mango purée
1 liter simple syrup (2:1)
1 cup vodka
3 teaspoons Citric Acid

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Cocktail Of The Day- because it’s always cocktail hour somewhere in the world. Folks, we have officially had three days of sunshine here in Vancouver so this little spring cocktail tour feels less like a hopeful sham and more like reality. So let’s continue, shall we? I give you the Birds and the Bees from the fine folks at Keefer Bar. A long-time local favourite of Vancouverites and roaming cocktail-lovers alike, Keefer was just named one of the best bars in Canada and this bevy right here is a great example of why. They are consistently innovating and bringing a sense of creativity to everything they do behind the bar. This one just one of an amazing selection of seasonal cocktails from their recently updated spring menu.

Birds and the Bees

1 oz wild turkey bourbon
0.5 oz pisco
0.5 oz yellow chartreuse infused with shiso
1 oz lemon juice 0.25 oz chrysanthemum honey syrup (2:1)

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain over fresh ice into a rocks glass. Garnish with a shiso leaf

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In many of the interviews I’ve done with bartenders over the years, I often ask about the one cocktail book that should be behind every bar. Jeffrey Morgenthaler’s The Bar Book has been named more times than I can count. It has spoken to a generation of bartenders that have put stock in Morgenthaler’s accessible, technique-driven approach to the craft.

It has been three and a half years since I last sat down with Jeffrey Morgenthaler to talk about The Bar Book. And now with the release of Drinking Distilled, we decided to catch up again at Clyde Common to chat about his new book, his future plans and the new rules of drinking. 

In ten words or less, describe Drinking Distilled.

“How to drink good.” As opposed to “how to drink well”. It’s not about how to drink elegant cocktails or anything. It’s how to be good at drinking.

Why this book and why now?

Because there haven’t really been any great primers on how to drink. I think it’s time to re-address the rules of drinking because – with this whole cocktail renaissance – you see all these things like “Real men drink Old Fashioneds but they don’t take rocks in their whiskey,” or “A gin martini should never be shaken,” or “A vodka martini is not a real martini.” All these kind of bullshit articles you read by grumpy old men who think bars used to be so much better before cell phones were invented, and they fucking weren’t. So, maybe it’s time for some updated rules. As you would expect coming from me, they aren’t the same old hashed out drinking rules you see time and time again.

Did you feel like you were the person to write the book or that the book needed to be written and so you did it?

I felt like I was the person to write the book. I guess I have the authority to talk about a lot of these things having done it for so long. Armchair commentators with an overly romanticized idea of what a bar should be kinda bore me.

What lessons did you take from writing your first book that you took into writing your second?

I just learned how to write a book. That’s why I brought Martha (Holmberg) in for the first book because I didn’t know how to write a book. She really taught me how to structure it, organize it, how to put together a pitch, everything from top to bottom. That really helped. Now I feel like I know how to write a book. It made it so much easier to learn that process so I’m thankful for that time we had to work together.

Was there anything that you wanted in the book that didn’t make the cut?

No actually! Well there was one thing. I wrote a whole long thing about absinthe that didn’t make it in because we decided that absinthe was a little bit passe, it’s a little bit specific. Absinthe doesn’t really fit into normal drinking. Nobody really drinks absinthe anymore.

Are there any albums or specific music you listen to while writing?

I usually write in the morning and mornings are always spent listening to Nick Drake.

Bartending and the craft cocktail scene has changed significantly since you first started in the industry. What do you see as the most positive change? What change would you still like to see?

The most positive change is obviously that you can get better drinks most places. When people come into Clyde and ask “Do you have fresh lime juice or is it sour mix?” I’m like, “Are you kidding me!?” I had this guest the other night ask me if we make our margaritas fresh or with margarita mix. It’s 2018! Applebees makes their drinks with fresh juice. You can get fresh drinks at the airport. I think that’s the biggest thing that’s pretty cool.

The downside ties back to the book. I think that people have forgotten how to drink. When we were doing brunch at Clyde I would get guys coming in drinking Manhattans because they were “cocktail snobs.” Drinking Manhattans with their brunch. That’s not what a Manhattan is for. That’s not what brunch is for. You’re like crawling out of a restaurant at 2 o’clock in the afternoon because you had four Manhattan’s. It’s a stupid way to drink but they were so young and they started with craft cocktails. Nobody told them that there’s a right and a wrong way to drink cocktails, a right and a wrong time to drink cocktails.

Was there a book or an inspiration you drew upon for Drinking Distilled?

I looked through a bunch of my favourites. One of them was Trader Vic’s Bartender’s Guide. If you’ve never read the first third of Trader Vic’s before he gets to the recipes, I highly recommend it. It’s amazing. Also William Grimes’ Straight Up or On The Rocks.

How do you see the role of the bar and the bartender changing in more intense political times? Or do you?

I don’t. I think that people lean on the bar and the bartender a little more during challenging times but that’s what we always say in the business. When times are really good or when times are really bad that’s when we do the best. It’s when times are just mediocre that bartenders are poor.

What’s your favourite word?

Dipshit.

What’s your least favourite word?

Kumquat.

What turns you on?

I’m not telling you that.

What turns you off?

People that don’t even try to be intelligent. They don’t even have to be intelligent, but when they don’t even try, it’s such a major turnoff in every sense. Not just in the sexy sense but, you know, as a human, that makes me want to turn away from you.

What’s your favourite curse word?

Dipshit

A sound or noise that you love?

Probably the sound of a fan in a bedroom. I need it to fall asleep.

A sound or noise that you hate?

Babies crying.

A profession other than your own that you’d like to attempt?

Writer.

A profession that you’d hate?

Architect.

If heaven exists, what would you like God to say when you arrive?

We’ve saved you a seat at the bar.

Which talent would you most like to have?

I wish I could play piano.

The strangest talent that you already have?

I’m actually a former diver. In highschool I was on the swim team and I became the one-man diving team. California. It’s that kind of place.

Your favourite fictional hero?

I really like the Fletch books. You know Fletch the movie with Chevy Chase? Classic 80’s. That’s actually a terrible movie taken from a series of books that are fantastic. He’s kind of a flawed hero. That’s one of my favourite fictional heros. He’s a reporter.

What is your most treasured possession?

Probably my house.

What keeps you up a night?

I worry about how to make my bartenders’ lives better.

What is your biggest character flaw?

I’m pretty bad at letting other people help me.

The character flaw that bugs you most in other people?

People that drink and drive.

What do you want to be remembered for?

Just all the stuff that I’ve shared over the years for bartending and cocktails. That’s why I do it – just to help. So I’d like to be remembered for that. And the book and the blog and all the things I’ve done to try to help.

Thus concludes the formal questions. Anything else you’d like to add about the book?

So there’s a neat thing about the book that a lot of people don’t know. The illustrator is one of my former bartenders and she left us to become an illustrator. I had always wanted to have my first book illustrated and they didn’t let me. The pictures turned out great but I always wanted to have an illustrated book. So when we were putting together the deal and the proposal, without her knowing, I was fighting to try to get her the job. She didn’t have a huge portfolio so it was like going back and forth with the publisher . They finally said yes. I hadn’t even asked her if she wanted to illustrate my book. I got to call her up one day and say “I don’t know if you want it but I got you a job illustrating my next book.” And she was really excited about that.

I knew she wasn’t going to say “No, fuck you,” but if she had, we would have just gone back to the drawing board. I really wanted to work with her again.

So what was the process like between you two to come up with the illustrations?

My editor and I knew that there were going to be 30 illustrations so we singled out 30 things that we wanted illustrated in the book. It was a big process. I had to write the book first. So I wrote it and then we edited it and then we started going through it. There was a back and forth between my editor and I trying to narrow it down and then we went to Sami with the 30 things we wanted illustrated. And then she got to suggest changes as well. She had a very concrete list with notes. She and I talked it out and she did sketches and that was kind of the process. It was fun. She’s awesome.

What’s next for you? Are you just going to keep chilling behind the bar?

Yeah! I still work full-time. I’m just going to keep bartending. I have another book idea that I can’t tell you about.  My plan is to do serious book and then fun book and then serious book and then fun book. My next book will be more applicable to professionals. This one’s for home people, mostly. Bartenders will get a kick out of it too because it’s written by a bartender and I speak bartender.

Anything else about your career? The Portland bartending scene?

I don’t really go out. I probably know more about the Berlin bartending scene, I spend more time in Berlin bars than Portland bars. I mean, everyone is doing great here. It’s a thriving community.

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Cocktail Of The Day- because it’s always cocktail hour somewhere in the world. Continuing out tour of spring cocktails being served up around the city- say hello to The Rainmaker. Rangoli Head Bartender Andrew Schneider gives vodka cocktails a great name with this light and beautiful sipper. The only possible problem- they go down a little too easily; however, this cocktail pairs perfectly with warm, sunny days and a gentle spring breeze.

The Rainmaker

2 oz Vodka
0.75 oz Rose Bud Tea/ Cardamom Syrup*
1 oz lime Juice
6 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
3 cucumber wheels, muddled
Muddle cucumber in shaker, then add remaining ingredients.

Shake with ice, and strain into a collins glass with crushed ice. Decorate with cucumber and mint as desired.

Rose Bud Tea/Cardamom Syrup

500ml sugar
500ml hot water
1 teaspoon crushed green cardamom pods
1 tablespoon crushed dried rose buds

Steep the rose buds and cardamom in the hot water for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain the tea and then add the sugar. Stir until incorporated. Bottle and refrigerate. Keeps for up to three weeks in the fridge.

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