The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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we are doing things most around here are not. I'm not one to keep secrets, and I give out drink recipes quite often. I love trying new concoctions on people, and that makes them feel involved. People like to come to the bar because they know it is a bit livelier and to have more interaction. It's a family of sorts, and it's our job to create that comfort level. BA: How do you create a happy environment at your bar? Jason: We are always upbeat. I live by the old saying, "Leave your problems at the door." Regardless of whether you are a restaurant or a bar, people come out to get away from problems, home and everyday redundancy. I want to be that escape, and I want the experience to be positive the minute they sit down. Overall we commit ourselves to show that not only are we excited to have them in, but we are just as excited to be there. You have to assess your customers, but I love open- ing people up. We try to keep the atmosphere casual. I don't feel people necessar- ily want the robotic and stuffy service that you often find at nicer establishments. BA: What are some things you avoid as a bartender to ensure a memorable experience for your guests? Jason: I try not to show favoritism towards certain guests. We have a lot of regular customers, and although they are a big reason we stay busy, I try to keep everyone in the conversation. I don't want to be just the guy who served someone, but create an experience without being overbearing. I try not to seem too busy for anyone. Although it gets stressful, I slow myself down and maintain a posi- tive demeanor when talking with guests. I feel like it creates uneasiness when I act rushed or stressed, and there is a balance you can convey. The Late Harvest Kitchen team helps with that by always stepping up to help when it's needed. We are doing great craft cocktails, but I feel there is still a learning curve in Indy with balancing a well-made (fresh ingredients) cocktail against speed. BA: Who is your mentor? And why? Jason: My father. He taught me to take pride and responsibility in anything I do, as he always took time to praise a good job, even it was just for cutting the lawn. I have to give equal credit to my mother, who was in restaurant management when I was a child. There is that connection to her and my childhood that makes me feel at home in this industry. My parents always worked hard, and it rubbed off. I find more and more that those who grow up in this industry find their way back to it! BA: Is there a different approach you take to serving an industry guest vs. a regular customer? Jason: Not really, because I feel they are equally important. Although industry guests are talking to more people, regular customers are our lifeblood. I do feel more at ease with industry people because they really get me, and understand the "struggle" (you know what I mean!). In all honesty, there is camaraderie both with regulars and industry folk, and I try not to show favoritism. I want the same consideration when I go out. BA: How can a bartender make more tips through being hospitable? Jason: That's just it, hospitality! Communication and teamwork is a big part of how we stand out at Late Harvest Kitchen. We are all veterans, and we all look out for each other. People see that which creates a comfortable experience. Being local and independent, we all recognize the need to work together. Making a good impression is even more important. I relate our service to a struggling rock star; whether you are providing for one person or 100, the service/performance is always upbeat, positive, and consistent! BA: If you were a superhero what would your name be? Jason: That is a tough question for a super hero nerd like me. I'm gonna get really deep right now and go with "Dad." I have two beautiful girls, and the way they light me up makes me feel like a super hero. They remind me of why I stay positive and work hard. I see my dad as one, and I am sure others can relate. I guess I am creating my own League of Extraordinary Gentleman, but my movie would be League of Extraordinary Gentleman Who Can Make Great Cocktails! The Drink LHK LEMONADE ◗ 1½ oz. Nolet's Gin ◗ ¾ oz. fresh lemon juice ◗ ¾ oz. cardamom syrup* ◗ ¼ oz. Green Chartreuse ◗ 2 dashes Fees Peach Bitters ◗ Splash club soda ◗ 1 sprig rosemary ◗ In mixing tin with ice, shake gin, lemon juice, cardamom syrup and bitters. In a separate Mason jar, place the sprig of rosemary in jar and coat with Green Chartreuse. Flame the rosemary for about 5–6 seconds (don't let the jar get too hot!) and pour contents of shaker into jar over rosemary. Top with club soda (or Sprite for added sweetness) and stir. Leave rosemary in jar for fragrance and stirring. *Cardamom Syrup ◗ ◗ 1 cup water ◗ ¼ cup cardamom pods ◗ 1½ cups sugar Bring water and cardamom pods to boil over med-high heat. Add sugar and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat and set aside to infuse for 30 min. Put in sealed container and refrigerate. september 2012 / the tasting panel / 89

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