The Tasting Panel magazine

November 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 82 of 152

MIXOLOGY The View from Behind the Bar MIXOLOGIST AND BAR OWNER PHILIP WARD DEFENDS THE PRINCIPLES OF THE CRAFT-COCKTAIL MOVEMENT I often refer to my backbar as my integrity (or a reflection thereof), meaning: I have tasted every spirit on those shelves and decided that each bottle is something I can sell with good conscience; that it is a well-made product, well-priced and a spirit I believe is in my guests' best interest to spend their money on. Why does this make me a snob?* Chefs are held in high esteem for seeking out the best ingredients to create their dishes, but if a bartender has similar ambition and does not want to serve the most commonly found, overpriced and underwhelming products in their bars, they are found guilty of the pride of sin and held in disdainful contempt. There are a hundred thousand diners in the United States where patrons can order the same things— omelets, hamburgers, etc.—all without even looking at a menu. Likewise, there are a myriad of bars serving the liquid equivalent. But do you walk into a three-star restaurant and demand a hot dog? It isn't that bartenders, who are dedicated to their craft, are against serving up vodka tonics—it's more about giving patrons the finest products, which personify our craft and create demand for our profession. Rest assured, however, that we are careful to keep a low profile about all this. We mind our own business, often keeping to small establishments, off-the- Philip Ward, Beverage Director at Ebanos Crossing in Los Angeles and co-owner of Mayahuel in New York City. beaten-path, where our visitors are those who have chosen to seek us out. Our bars are often seated only to cater to our patrons' overall experience—for their comfort and for our own efficiency in producing high-quality quaffs in a timely manner. Often our bars are full, and there's a perfectly rational explanation: Some things are worth the wait. *Philip is referring to Anthony Dias Blue's "From the Editor" column in our May 2013 issue, which can be found online at —Ed. Ebanos Crossing PHOTO COURTESY OF EBANOS CROSSING Add to Downtown L.A.'s thriving renaissance of hot new bars and restaurants: Ebanos Crossing—a modern, glitzed-up, boozy bordello of exposed brick, high ceilings and loud red leather furniture, all courtesy of Urban America LLC and Luminosity Entertainment. The beverage program consists of a rotating selection of handcrafted artisanal cocktails designed by notable mixologist Philip Ward (co-owner of Mayahuel in NYC). Think small-batch mezcals, tequilas, rums and whiskies. The bar takes its name from the border town of Los Ebanos, which a century ago served as a hub for trading goods and a crossing-point into the U.S. for spirits smugglers (it's apt to point out that Ward himself has traversed the U.S.–Mexico border for research more than two dozen times). Ebanos Crossing is on the north side of Downtown, an underserved market, positioning the bar as a hub for local residents and the commuter workforce to gather over craft spirits and locallysourced seasonal cuisine. 82  /  the tasting panel  /  november 2013 TP1113_066-107.indd 82 10/24/13 9:24 AM

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of The Tasting Panel magazine - November 2013