The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2018

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Page 98 of 100

98  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2018 As the Head Bartender for The Nest in Seattle's posh Thompson Hotel, Josh Haddock expresses a style behind the bar that draws from the clas- sics while incorporating flavors from the Pacific Northwest and paying homage to the area's rich Asian heritage. "I want to create drinks that have broad appeal but also approach that bound- ary where people might not feel comfortable," Haddock says. With a shared focus on seasonality—bolstered by frequent trips to nearby Pike Place Market and Vietnamese grocery stores in the International District—Haddock and his team craft cocktails that are inventive but not unrecognizable. Haddock recounts a visit to a Vietnamese market that inspired him to use pandan leaves in a drink for the coconut-like flavor they exhibit, resulting in a Tom Collins with a twist: The Panda Cooler with rum, pandan syrup, lime juice, and toasted coconut water (the drink was featured on The Nest's sum- mer menu). Haddock first started bartending after working several jobs in food service, a fitting trajectory given his claim that he was always "sort of fascinated with cocktails." After spending time at several smaller bars like Suite 410 and Bathtub Gin & Co., Haddock soon sought his next challenge at The Nest, where he was hired as Head Bartender earlier this year after hitting it off with the staff and Chef Derek Simcik. "We found that we all had a general vision for what to do with the space," Haddock says. "It was exciting to take my personal skills and put them into a much larger setting." Haddock says Simcik's sense of playfulness in curating ingredients can prove an asset when drawing inspiration for new cocktails, while the aforementioned focus on seasonality prompts the bar menu to undergo a complete overhaul twice a year. "I think that's the big thing that we've worked really hard at: delivering cocktails that are com- plicated and challenging while utilizing fresh and seasonal ingredients at a pace that is just insane," Haddock says. Drinking Vinho Verde, prefer- ably outside. Bananas and whiskey. It just works. Motorcycle rides through the Cascades when I just gotta get away. The old coffee and amaro combo. Averna with nitro cold brew reigns supreme. Doing prep and R&D for new drinks. I love looking at a blank slate of possibility. Men refusing to drink out of a coupe/ cocktail glass. I cannot roll my eyes hard enough. People not using their turn signals. It's an epidemic in Seattle. Two-ounce shots—I prefer my spirits in 1-ounce doses. IPAs. Blowing out your taste buds with hops doesn't make you tough. Nonsensical cocktail menus. Why is there a "Painkiller" at your French bistro? THE "5" LIST JOSH HADDOCK'S TOP FIVE FAVES: JOSH HADDOCK'S TOP FIVE PET PEEVES: JOSH HADDOCK HEAD BARTENDER AT THE NEST AT THE THOMPSON HOTEL IN SEATTLE, WA by Madelyn Gagnon TAKING INVENTORY WITH . . . PHOTO: RACHEL COWARD

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