The Tasting Panel magazine

JULY 2012

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 79 of 132

world" of Hendrick's. Through a series of events called Voyages into the Unusual, Jim and Mark work together to bring the Hendrick's vision to life, complete with a "Monster Box," a peculiar-looking unmarked bar-in-a- box, from which a disembodied hand would inexplicably emerge, serving a Hendrick's cocktail to unnerved guests. "This thing looks like it dropped from the sky," laughs Mark. "It's always great to show that we're unusual, peculiar and a lot of fun." Fittingly, Mark's roots in the realm of spirits are unique: Like many of today's 'tenders, he got his start behind the stick during his university years, when he was studying international affairs at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "I always envisioned myself working globally as a diplomat," he says of his academic aspirations. "In an ironic twist, as a Brand Ambassador I am sort of a diplomat, but not for a nation—for an unusual gin." As he simultaneously worked his way through textbooks and cocktail books, Mark found himself in one of those rare, special moments when two seem- ingly disparate worlds collide: "While I was studying international affairs, learning about the history of humans and globalization and imperialism— which all have a lot to do with spirits in general, really—my interest was piqued. It connected all the dots for me and intensified my focus, and I began to put more of my actual time and thought into bartending, incorporating fresh ingredients, working alongside the chefs in the kitchen, reading a lot, immersing myself in rare products. I stuck my head deeper down the rabbit hole." Like Alice, Mark would soon find himself in a strange land: From opening Boulder's beloved Bitter Bar in 2008, to obtaining his Sommelier cer- tification to competing in and winning the Cocktail World Cup for team USA, Mark's immersion into the bartending community was a fantastic journey that ultimately brought him to his peculiar position as Hendrick's Brand Ambassador in February of this year. "Hendrick's has this amazing, amazing world, and I'm lucky to be a part of it. It's very real, odd as that seems." Whether he's arriving via Boeing or hot air balloon, it's the city-to-city cocktail exploration that ignites Mark's interest most. "I love all of the travel, and visiting four cities in one week is A Unique Gin "Hendrick's represents the evolution of gin," explains Mark Stoddard; "it's the next iteration of gin." Distilled in Scotland and "miniscule batched," Hendrick's offers a flavor profile that's proving juniper isn't the only botanical in the game. With a special blend of flowers, fruit, roots and seeds combining with lovely rose petal and refreshing cucumber infusions, Hendrick's is, indeed, rather peculiar. Adding to the brand's unique charm? The gin is distilled using both a Bennett still and a Carter-Head still, leading to unprecedented smoothness and balance. absolutely okay with me, because every time I touch down in a new city, I get to meet new bartenders and new people who haven't experienced Hendrick's before. And then I get to see their eyes light up and I know that I've brought a little light to their day. And we can give them some very simple tools: punch recipes that they're then going to take with them and show their friends, and become ambassadors of their own." With Mark and Jim recruiting mini-ambassadors for the brand every day, this most unusual world created by Hendrick's is increasingly populated with whimsical devotees, consumers and trade alike who have awoken to the brand's unique charms. "This is not that abrasive experience I remember from gin when I was 21," jokes Jim, his passion for elevating the category out of the mires of juniper-dominant gin palpable. "This is delicious. This is different. This is magical." july 2012 / the tasting panel / 79

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - JULY 2012