The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2018

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30  /  the tasting panel  /  june 2018 We've partnered with Chef's Roll & Somm's List, the global culinary and wine professional networks, to learn more about beverage experts from across the country. If you are a mixologist or wine professional interested in being featured here or want more information on Chef's Roll and Somm's List, please email MEGHAN BALSER Cocktail Curator at Herb and Wood in San Diego, CA How are you incorporat- ing more local spirits and products into your cocktails? I want our program to reflect our connection with the San Diego bar com- munity. Our Herb & Diego cocktail is made with Old Harbor Distilling Co. gin, crafted downtown in the East Village. My variation on a Vesper incorporates You & Yours Distilling Co. vodka, also distilled in the East Village. The Bourbon & Thyme is made with Domaine Santé, a local grape- nectar sweetener, while the Mezcal & Coco ingredi- ents include a local shrub company called Nostrum. What are some ways you work with the kitchen when creating cocktails? Some of the new cocktails include an extended edible garnish, so I have been working with our talented pastry team. The Coco & Mezcal has a dark chocolate "disk" topper and our Rye & Rye, my take on a classic Manhattan, has a mini rye pretzel. What advice would you give an inspiring bartender about being successful in the industry? My advice would be to always seek out knowledge and to get involved in the local bartending community. There is always an opportunity to learn something new and to make new connections. What excites you most about the direction the industry is headed and the creativity you're seeing? Where are you hoping to take the bar program over the next year? I'm most excited about bartenders breaking the "rules," coming up with unique and inspiring drinks, and pairing spirits that you normally wouldn't think would work together in a cocktail. I'm hoping to highlight more of what San Diego has to offer in the bar program over the next year, including spirits and produce. With the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in California, are you incorporating it into any cocktails? I am using CBD (cannabidiol) oil in one of our drinks, Herb & Diego. We are working with a local dispensary to create our own private-label oil for the bar. STANLEY WORRELL Lead Bartender at Bar Tulia in Naples, FL Bar Tulia is the first bar in the area to show a deep appreciation for creat- ing an immersive experience through its cocktails. What was the process of introducing this concept to Naples? It has been an ongoing process with the main challenge being, in my opinion, having the guests build trust with our skills and knowledge of the craft to step outside their com- fort zone. They were so accustomed to drinking spirits and soda, which we can obviously do, but we would rather educate them by drawing out their likes and dislikes—ultimately turning them on to something great that they can continue to order on the regular. Now that we have built up trust with our guests, we get the pleasure of seeing the evolution. Bar Tulia hosts a series that brings guest bartenders from throughout the East Coast to work for the evening. What has been a highlight for you? Learning new techniques I may have never seen before, or even learning what not to do from others. I may even learn a new cocktail—for example, [Regent Cocktail Club Managing Partner] Julio Cabrera, one of America's best bartenders, taught us how to make classic cocktails from his homeland of Cuba. The most important thing about the series is that we're all building relationships with other bartenders within a cocktail culture that the general public may not even know about. It's been truly amazing hosting some of these talented individuals in Naples. What is your process like when creating a new cocktail? After choosing a location where I've traveled or have lived in in the past, I focus on the indigenous ingredients of that particular area or town. For example, the Las Conchas is a cocktail that uses green chiles, which I found a lot of in Santa Fe, New Mexico, while traveling there. My mom also used to cook with them. When making The Fallen Monk, a tiki cocktail, I was first inspired by the rum before I pulled fruits and spirits from other countries. I also try to focus on the "nose" of the drink instead of the palate, which usually results in a cohesive cocktail that people love. What is your ideal cocktail, food/snack, music, and atmosphere mashup? I'm a tiki guy all the way, so my ideal cocktail would be a rum- driven cocktail made with island spice, tropical fruit, and herbs. I grew up on the beach and love the sun and water, so I think rum and the tiki lifestyle represent my beachy soul well. My music choices reflect the same type of lifestyle—I listen to Peter Tosh, Bob Marley, and Gregory Isaacs. When it comes to my food preference, I love a good taco! PHOTO: MICHAEL CARONCHI PHOTO COURTESY OF HERB AND WOOD

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