I don’t love cocktails because of the alcohol. I love cocktails for what they truly symbolize.
A cocktail is a marriage of liquids and flavors that are perfectly balanced and suspended at a specific temperature in thin air by a simple cocktail glass so that you my friend, can drink and enjoy.
We drink because we want the walls we create around us to break down a little. We want to escape, not just the world, but ourselves and our very own day-to-day personality — just for a little bit. A bar is like a church where everyone is sinning and pretending they are not sinning, all at the same time.
A good bar can be like a can opener of people’s minds. When people come in to a bar they subconsciously enter a place that they associate with celebration and connection. Everyone stops their busy lives to enjoy a good cocktail that in most successful case leads to a new great friend, and in some cases, a great new lover. Even the ones that go alone go there to be drink alone in company.
When I make cocktails I always add two secret ingredients. The first is love. I put ample doses of it. Love for this craft, love for the art of celebration, love for the person that is allowing me to pursue this profession by ordering this drink, love for the day, love for the history of the actual drink I’m making, love for love’s sake, and love for the many ingredients that traveled from all parts of the world just so I could shake them up and metamorphose them into liquid happiness. Love is a real ingredient, a bartender that doesn’t put love into his craft will create a drink is always inferior. It just won’t taste the same. I think love can even make a shitty drink taste amazing.
The second ingredient is intention. When a patron asks me for a drink, I like to try to sense and feel what their motive is. Are there here to drink to forget? To remember? To pick up? To converse? To connect? To numb? To celebrate? When I pass the drink to them across the bar I subconsciously take my pick of these in the little time I’ve talked to them and tell the drink to help them out in a positive way. I’d like to think it really works and that because I added intention to their drink, that something switches on the person’s mind when they consume it, which then leads to a positive change in their life. I’ve got absolutely no proof that this magic potion stuff actually works, but perhaps in 200 years they find out that intention is real energy, and so I’ll continue to do this.
When I shake my drinks I like to shake loud so that the entire room can hear it. I'm tall and I like to shake pretty high which I think ads energy to the room and the beat of the shake is something I love putting against whatever music is playing. It's pretty cool! The sound of the ice is the sound of celebration, and the shaker is my magic hat with a bunny inside. It's beautiful theatre and a very simple elegant piece of theatre that each bartender does in their very own way.
Once the cocktail is poured, garnished and delivered I judge its success on one merit. I need the drinker to think " I want another one" as soon as he drinks the first sip. I want it to taste so good that your brain immediately needs to make sure the end of this glass will not mean the end of this experience. If the taste is so good, the mind of the drinker goes blank for a second or two. That moment where people say hmmmmmmmmm is in a way a meditation because for a few seconds their minds are off and they are simply experiencing the very present moment of the taste in their mouths.
I don’t really enjoy people that get dirty drunk and so when I make drinks I prefer if people take their time enjoying each sip, milking the flavor of the concoction. I like making all my cocktails from scratch. Having my patron see me take the time to cut, squeeze, and dispose each and every lime half I need for their margarita will in turn make them slow down and enjoy their drink. It’s an art in a piece of glass, and it doesn’t come cheap, so make it work hard for you!
Beautiful people need beautiful cocktails, and garnishing a drink is extremely important! Small details like putting a slice of lime that’s been pre-cut an hour ago makes the presentation weak. Cutting it there and then on the spot releases the fresh natural fragrance on the drink and you can still see the moisture of the lime juice sweat on the actual side of the lime that was just cut. I know it sounds excessive, but it’s important to me because I’m doing drinks because I love making drinks and I want to enjoy making them right. Beauty inspires happiness and I want to be surrounded by both.
There’s a lot I don’t know, and a hell of a lot more I must learn. I’m excited to open up my mind to new techniques, recipes, and knowledge. I know I’m not saving whales or sending people into outer space but my job is to help all kinds of people around me by making them feel and taste something delicious and inspiring, and in order for me to do that a cocktail can only be done right. I've committed to the world of cocktails as this new phase of my life, and I'm honored to join the incredible group of bartenders around the world that are pushing the craft of mixology to what very well could be, the golden age of cocktails. I look forward to meeting and learning from all of them. I can't wait for winter to end, so I can take the Troubardour out again!