Backstage

  • Brandon Josie, beverage director of seafood restaurant Riffle NW in Portland, OR<br />
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Photo credit: Dina Avila
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> Keen Tongue<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Brandon Josie<br />
<b>Bar:</b> Riffle NW<br />
<br />
<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
1 ½ oz Brandy de Jerez<br />
¾ oz Lime<br />
¾ oz Averna Amaro<br />
½ oz Simple Syrup (1 part evaporated cane sugar to 1 part water)<br />
1 bar spoon of Allspice Dram<br />
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<b>Directions:</b> Shake, then serve over crushed ice with an orange peel.<br />
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Photo credit: Dina Avila
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> Gold Rush<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Stephen Yorsz<br />
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<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
2 parts Alibi American Whiskey<br />
3/4 parts fresh lemon juice<br />
3/4 parts Honey Syrup (equal parts honey and water)<br />
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<b>Directions:</b> Shake all ingredients over ice and serve with a lemon wheel.<br />
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Photo credit: Stephen Yorsz
  • The Living Room at The W Hotel in South Beach
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> Cucumber Collins<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Tom Hiller<br />
<b>Bar:</b> The Living Room<br />
<br />
<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
2 oz Square One Organic Cucumber vodka<br />
1/2 oz simple syrup<br />
1/4 oz Yuzu juice<br />
3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice<br />
1 oz soda water<br />
1 spoonful pickled wild Maine blueberries<br />
3 house pickled cucumber slices<br />
3 fresh cucumber slices<br />
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<b>Directions:</b> Add first four ingredients to shaker with ice. Strain over fresh ice into a Collins glass, then top with soda and blueberries. Garnish with cucumber slices.<br />
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Photo credit: Felipe Cuevas<br />
  • The interior of 1500° bar<br />
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Photo credit: John Moe
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> El Habanero<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Rafaela Dulanto<br />
<b>Bar:</b> 1500°<br />
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<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
2 oz Don Julio Añejo<br />
1 oz of fresh squeeze lime juice (approx 1 lime)<br />
¾ oz Tamarind Habanero Sauce<br />
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<b>Directions:</b> Combine Don Julio Añejo, fresh squeezed lime juice, Tamarind Habanero Sauce (recipe below) in a shaker with ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a glass rimmed with salt. Garnish with a lime wedge. <br />
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<b>Tamarind Habanero Sauce Recipe:</b> Boil together equal parts of sugar and water to create simple syrup, along with a desired amount of Habanero and Tamarind concentrate (add accordingly to desired spice). Once everything has been boiled together, strain the mixture. <br />
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Photo credit: Troy Robertson
  • Jack Dusty – Coastal Cuisine & Crafted Cocktails at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, FL<br />
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Image courtesy of Jack Dusty
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> Tidewreck Martini<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Roy Roig<br />
<b>Bar:</b> Jack Dusty<br />
<br />
<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
1 ¼ oz rosemary and thyme infused vodka 	<br />
¾ oz Fino sherry (dry vermouth) <br />
2 bar spoons Cointreau<br />
1 bar spoon Kummel (coriander seed liqueur)<br />
<br />
<b>Directions:</b> In a small stainless shaker combine all of the ingredients above. Then fill shaker with ice. Shake 20 to 30 seconds. Double strain into cocktail glass. We serve the Tidewreck Martini in a chilled wide-mouth champagne flute.<br />
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<b>Garnish:</b> Oyster Shell filled with thyme sprigs, rosemary sprigs and 3 to 5 herb-vermouth-infused olives (recipe below).<br />
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We infuse Pimento Stuffed Green Queen Olives in a mixture of 3 parts dry vermouth, 1 part vodka with sprigs of fresh thyme and rosemary (1 sprig thyme and 1 sprig rosemary for every cup of olives). Let marinate 48 hours.<br />
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Image courtesy of Jack Dusty
  • Beer-and-bourbon based bar City Tavern in Culver City, California<br />
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Photo credit: Stan Lee
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> Summer Lovin’<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Ryan Hughes<br />
<b>Bar:</b> City Tavern<br />
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<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
2 oz organic berry tea infused bourbon<br />
1 oz Veev Acai Liquor<br />
½ oz lemon juice<br />
½ oz cinnamon simple syrup<br />
4 oz Hefeweizen<br />
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<b>Directions:</b> Pour the first four ingredients over ice, top with Hefeweizen.<br />
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Photo credit: Stan Lee
  • Gianni Cionchi, general manager at KEFI restaurant in New York City
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> Rye Manhattan<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Gianni Cionchi<br />
<b>Bar:</b> KEFI<br />
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<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
4 oz Old Overholt Rye Whiskey<br />
1 oz Carpano Formula Antica Sweet Vermouth<br />
2 Dashes of bitters<br />
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<b>Directions:</b> Fill cocktail shaker with ice completely. Add whiskey, vermouth, bitters. Stir for 20 seconds. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a maraschino cherry, brandy-soaked cherry or an orange twist depending on preference.
  • Interior of Hollywood bar The Woods
  • <b>Drink Name:</b> Cucumber Spa Cocktail<br />
<b>Mixologist:</b> Paul Diaz<br />
<b>Bar:</b> The Woods<br />
<br />
<b>Ingredients:</b><br />
1.5 oz Pearl Pomegranate Vodka<br />
2 cucumber slices, muddled<br />
2 lime wedges<br />
Splash of simple syrup<br />
Splash of pineapple juice<br />
Soda water<br />
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<b>Directions:</b> Pour the first five ingredients over ice, top with soda water and stir.<br />
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Photo credit: Justin Martin
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Mar 20, 2013

We’ll Have What They’re Having

Ahh spring. We love the flirty fashion, colorful beauty trends, warmer weather and fresh, fun, new cocktails to look forward to.

To learn what’s happening in the world of alcoholic beverages, we spoke to bartenders, mixologists and industry experts from around the country and asked what they’re excited to pour, shake and stir in the coming months. Some trends to watch? The steady demand for Prohibition-era drinks continues, ice is getting fancy, the “farm to glass” movement is growing steadily and customers want more customization. Here, we’ll dig a little deeper into cocktail culture.

The Hard Stuff


As Blend Master for Alibi American Whiskey and sales rep for Panache Spirits, New Yorker Stephen Yorsz is constantly studying—and tasting—spirit trends.

“Prohibition-era handcrafted cocktails are exploding across the country, and there’s a huge trend in whiskey bars,” says Yorsz. “There’s a ton of growth in the brown spirit category, and that notion of getting away from thousands of flavored vodkas is apparent. But, we’re still seeing an explosion of flavored vodkas like the whipped cream versions and even the launch of Absolut city flavors.”

Yorsz has also noticed the increasing popularity of Amaro, an Italian herbal liqueur, and bitter Italian liqueurs Fernet Branca and Branca Menta on cocktail menus. Another trend? “Every bar is making their own stuff, whether it’s their own syrups, infused vodkas, or an overall emphasis on house-made cordials,” he says.

At “catch-inspired” seafood restaurant Riffle NW in Portland, OR, beverage director Brandon Josie says he’s seen an increase in orders for gin-based drinks recently: “I’m getting more requests for gin and tonics and gin martinis and my gin cocktails on the menu tend to sell quickly. I think a lot of people have been trying higher-quality spirits and are becoming more educated.”

Natural Selection


“In South Beach people often come in looking for slightly ‘lighter’ cocktails…especially at the end of a spa day,” says Tom Hiller of The Living Room at The W Hotel in South Beach, who includes his own essential oils in many of his drinks. “We do very visually forward cocktails with local ingredients and edible flowers.”

In addition to using local ingredients, Hiller says he’s seeing more organic spirits coming through the bar, like organic flavored vodka and organic tequilas. “It feels like a solid 30 percent of the new products—especially craft-made products—tend to be organic. It’s become more of a selling point to me than it used to be.”

Head mixologist at Miami Beach’s 1500° bar Rafaela Dulanto says she’s excited to bring the juicing trend into the bar by incorporating some of the juicing recipes she’s been making at home in cocktails for spring and summer drinks.

At Jack Dusty – Coastal Cuisine & Crafted Cocktails at The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, FL, they try to use produce within 25 miles of the hotel as often as possible. Some flavors they’re adding to drinks right now are apples, kiwi, kumquats, passion fruit, and bitters. “We no longer carry flavored vodkas behind the bar,” says head mixologist, Roy Roig. “If you want a raspberry-flavored vodka drink, we’ll pour Ketel One vodka and muddle fresh raspberries. At our bar we have 18 to 20 jars with different types of produce, coffee beans, nutmeg, and other ingredients.”

Feeling Brew


“Beer cocktails are always popular at our bar, especially amongst the women who come in,” says Ryan Hughes, assistant general manager at City Tavern in Culver City, Calif., which she says is a very beer-and-bourbon-based bar. They often call the beer cocktails “patio pounders” because they’re fun and go down easy on warm days. “As long as they look pretty people will order them, and with summer coming, the bright-colored drinks and punches are coming back.”

Ice Ice Baby


Forget using plain tap water to make ice cubes. Josie says one of their current trends at Riffle is making ice with purified water. “The focus is on providing less surface ice for a cocktail so it’s not diluting the drink as quickly, like making a Manhattan with one large cube,” he explains. “Some bars are buying blocks and cutting them up or making their own ice.”

At Jack Dusty, they’re using four different kinds of ice, according to Roig. “We’re even infusing our own ice now. We’ll add mint and simple syrup inside the ice so it’ll add extra notes to your cocktail as it melts. You lose 30 percent of your cocktail from ice alone.”

Something Old, Something New


Gianni Cionchi, general manager at KEFI restaurant in New York City, agrees that cocktail culture has evolved to be an experience and is not just about having a drink to “get drunk.”

“When you’re eating a bite of food you’re engaging different senses and the evolution of a very in-depth cocktail is the same as food,” he says. “For example, in a pomegranate margarita with a smoked almond salt and mezcal, you’d get the citrus and tequila right up front, then smoky flavors, then salt resonating in your mouth. And the customer just had an experience. Then you want the customer to think, ‘I need another sip of that drink,’ and that’s going to lead to the bar making money. Especially if the drink’s end notes are spicy or salty flavors.”

Cionchi notes that while “you’re seeing an uprising or respect for the classics, the whole hipster-mixology culture in New York is also asking, ‘What can be done differently here?’”

At Hollywood neighborhood bar, The Woods, bartender Paul Diaz says that Old Fashioneds are as popular as mojitos were six years ago.

He’s also mixing a lot of hot and sour drinks, like Stoli Hot jalapeño vodka paired with citrus flavors. “It’s delicious! I’m also seeing a spike in margaritas where they’ll put add fresh jalapeños. It cuts the sweetness so you can drink more of them.”

You probably always associate cucumber water with a relaxing spa day, and Diaz says cucumbers are big in cocktails in California as well. Bartenders are adding muddled cucumbers to vodkas and sodas for various mixed drinks. Diaz says the cucumber cuts the bite of the alcohol and tastes refreshing.

“Our particular bar doesn’t do this but there’s the mixology trend I’m seeing in LA where they’re playing around with liquid nitrogen cocktails and there’s a focus on the whole ‘showing’ of a drink,” says Diaz.

Whatever your cocktail preference, there’s something out there for you to imbibe this spring. Want to impress friends and clients with drinks that are on-trend? Scroll through the slideshow above for recipes created especially for you by the bartenders above.

- DIANA KELLY
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