The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2017

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56  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2017 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 CHRIS YOUNG Beverage Director at El Che Bar in Chicago You graduated from Johnson & Wales University and started working in the industry in the back of house before joining the front of house. How has your background in the kitchen helped you now as a beverage director? I think my culinary background has helped me immensely, and I recommend anyone who wants to work in this industry to have at least some experience with kitchen work. Things like organization, cleanliness, and attention to detail are things that were drilled into me as a cook. Like a chef testing out a new dish, you taste and think and try to make sure each flavor is working together—is there enough acid, does it need more texture, etc. What technique, aesthetic, and/or cocktail has been on your radar as of late? There are so many amazing things coming out of Central and South America lately. As far as spirits go, this is a great time to be a bartender. Things like Aguardiente from Colombia and Ecuador, beautiful artisanal Piscos from Peru, Singani from Bolivia, funky Rhum Agricole–style spirits from Mexico— most of these things have been around forever, but we're finally getting them imported into the States! JESS LAMBERT Head Bartender at Boleo and Vol. 39 in Chicago You have apprenticed under acclaimed bartenders like Tyson Buhler of Death & Co. and Shel Bourdon of The Dead Rabbit. What was your biggest takeaway? Before I had the pleasure of working for Tyson and Shel, my bartending experi- ence was rooted in wine, fine dining, craft beer, and Martinis that spanned the colors of the rainbow (and not in a good way). Shel imparted her eye for detail and meticulous methods which I still use today. Tyson passed down his impec- cable cocktail technique, and really taught me how to give a genuine hospitality experience from start to finish. Biggest pet peeve when it comes to getting a drink at a bar? All I really want is just a smile and eye contact from the bartender. I'll wait 20 minutes for something I know is going to be amazing, as long as someone acknowledges me. I often see tunnel vision happening behind the bar and guests not getting acknowledged. It's all about making people feel welcome from the moment they step through the door. JULIETA CAMPOS Head Bartender at The Whistler in Chicago The Whistler is known for its ever-changing cocktail menu. What's one cocktail that's been consistently on the list for a while now? We try not to keep anything on the list for too long. However, one drink that guests can usually look out for is the Old Faithful. The drink is always a stirred, whiskey- based cocktail similar to an Old Fashioned and is in its third iteration at The Whistler. There are many unique techniques to developing a cocktail. What are some of your favorite techniques at the moment? I really like to experiment with layering cocktails. I start by finding two ingredients that work well together and then split that into five different shot glasses as a base. Then I layer different elements into each shot glass in the hopes that at least one of those will turn into an amazing cocktail. The second technique that I really enjoy is switching ingredients and the cultures that they are often known to be a part of. I will look to other cultures for ingredients and recipes to find something similar in each that I like and work to see how I can combine the two to make something new. PHOTO: COLIN BECKETT PHOTO COURTESY OF THE WHISTLER PHOTO: FOTIO

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