The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2017

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december 2017  /  the tasting panel  /  35 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 SUZIE WHITACRE Beverage Director at Salero in Chicago, IL Salero takes the Gin & Tonic seriously by offering guests four different specialty cocktails, each showcasing different varia- tions from floral to savory. What inspired these different variations and aromatics? When I'm developing a new Gin & Tonic, I draw inspiration from two places: the guests and the gins them- selves. There are all these amazing gins, with distillers doing so many different variations of classic gin styles. For me, it's all about letting them speak for themselves and deciding whether or not they lend themselves to ingredients like fresh garden lavender or a housemade citrus quinine. What are some ingredients you've been excited to work with recently? My fall program is definitely Sherry and vermouth heavy. It's a great way to add a sweet or dry element to a cocktail and easily adds more complexity. Sometimes ingredients from the kitchen make their way into a cocktail in the form of a syrup or concentrate, like my infused agave syrup with roasted figs, thyme, and orange peel. DANNY SHAPIRO Partner/Beverage Director at Scofflaw Group in Chicago, IL All Scofflaw Group con- cepts are different, yet they have a similar retro feel from the cocktails to the atmosphere. What's important for you when you create a new concept? As long as we create a space that we ourselves love to hang out in, we feel successful. Things like nostalgia play into our concepts simply because we're interested in re-introducing things from the past to people's lives. Also, I think it helps a concept's staying power if it contains established elements. The concept of The Moonlighter seems far more relaxed and casual than Scofflaw Group's other bars. Where did the inspiration for this most recent concept come from? We had been talking about doing a beer bar with a focus on sours for a long time and those discussions evolved into The Moonlighter. The burg- ers, the relaxed vibe, and the refreshing cocktail program seemed like great complements to that original idea. At the end of the day, though, I think it was just our own desire to add something we felt was missing. LU BROW Lead Bartender at Brennan's in New Orleans, LA How has your cocktail style changed or stayed consistent throughout your career? I definitely use less sugar in my drinks now than when I first began creating cocktails. At present, I really enjoy bitter flavors and am more inclined to allow the spirits to shine rather than softening them for the cocktail. I never tire of using Louisiana-based flavors in my drinks, and I have learned so much from chef Slade Rushing about incorporating all of the flavors of Louisiana, including French, Creole, African, and Vietnamese. There are many unique techniques used in developing a cocktail. What are some of your favorites at the moment? I enjoy working with spices and various infusions to bring out different flavors. I want to continue to work with food sustainability, and have also been experimenting with different milk-washing techniques for future cocktails. PHOTO: NICK MURWAY PHOTO: SIMONEINK PHOTO COURTESY OF SALERO

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