The Tasting Panel magazine

January / February 2017

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42  /  the tasting panel  /  january/february 2017 ON OUR PANEL "21st century bartenders have taken the cocktailian craft to levels I never dreamed of, and Scott Beattie is at the forefront of this movement." —Gary Regan, cocktailian and author A bartender's bartender, Scott Beattie inspires these kinds of compliments from his most noted peers. In a cocktailian world now dominated by big personalities and a myriad of potential cocktail components, it's a good time to take a look at where this craft movement is headed, by one of the people who helped create it. A University of California, Berkeley graduate in English studies, Scott's bartending career began in the Bay Area at restaurants like San Francisco's Postrio and St. Helena's Martini House. But it was the bar program he devel- oped at Healdsburg's acclaimed Cyrus restaurant, focusing on hyper-seasonal ingredients grown by local organic farmers, that gained him national atten- tion. Beattie's book, Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus, was among the first in the country to celebrate the craft cocktail. We recently caught up with Scott, who is now Beverage Director of Estate Events at Napa Valley's prestigious Meadowood resort. Bob Bath: Your book was ground- breaking for its concept and focus on seasonality. How would you change it now? Scott Beattie: I started writing Artisanal Cocktails in 2006, and it was released in 2008. It was the first cocktail book that Ten Speed Press had published at the time, though they had released many award-winning cookbooks. They wanted me to take people into my world and show them exactly what I was doing, how I was doing it and where I sourced my ingredients. The entire point of the book was, "I'm doing this thing here. It's delicious and fun. I hope that the place you live in inspires you as much as mine does." If I was to change one thing now, it would be to have a thorough resource guide in the back of the book and more suggested substitu- tions for the harder-to-get ingredients. Where is mixology going? More scientific? More artisanal? More creative? If you were to look at the cocktail world in 2007 and compare it to 2017, it would be fair to say that many of the rediscovered classic recipes are now ubiquitous. I like the fact that now I can get a proper Corpse Reviver #2 or Last Word in at least a hundred different places in San Francisco, whereas ten years ago this was definitely not the case. I believe that you will continue to see many classics become even more commonplace, sometimes with a slight variation. You are seeing some bigger establishments change their internal systems so they can produce complex, high-quality drinks in a faster manner. Pre-batching stable liquid ingredients ahead of time, serving cocktails on tap, bottling cocktails and other methods are much more commonplace nowadays. What is your favorite part about being behind the bar? One of the most satisfying aspects of being behind a bar is when you receive a genuine, sincere reaction of pleasure from someone you've just served. If you've ever seen Jiro Dreams of Sushi, you'll recall seeing Jiro make each piece of perfect sushi, passing it to his guest over the counter and then studying their face as they start to chew. I simply head to the other end of the bar and look out the corner of my eye. In this sense, any component of a drink—the balanced combination of liquid ingredients, a gorgeous piece of antique glassware, a unique garnish, a hand-cut piece of ice, perhaps a molecular trick, even a witty name or interesting story behind the drink, something new—any of these details can help to generate that look of pure joy after some takes their first sip. I think you will always see bartenders continue to innovate in any area that is conducive to getting this kind of a reaction. How do you differentiate a bartender versus a mixologist? A mixologist knows how to make you The Last Word. A bartender knows the last words he or she will say to you as you leave are, "Thank you for coming in this evening. We hope to see you again very soon." Bartender of the Month AN INTERVIEW WITH SCOTT BEATTIE by Bob Bath, MS PHOTO COURTESY OF MEADOWOOD NAPA VALLEY Scott Beattie (center) holds a cocktail- making class on the Croquet Glen at Meadowood Napa Valley.

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