Arizona Cocktail Week Outtakes

By February 19, 2013In The Spirit, The Dish

If you pick up a copy of this week’s Phoenix New Times, you might notice that there’s a little something extra inside. It’s a mini-magazine dedicated to this upcoming Arizona Cocktail Week. We had the honor of writing a bunch of stories for the mini mag. One of which asked a bunch of bartenders and related industry folk two questions: What’s the most popular cocktail trend right now? And, What’s coming up next?

Well, bar-folk being what they are, not everyone got us info before the thing went to press. So, here are a couple great unedited outtakes we thought you might enjoy.

Tony Abou-Ganim
www.themodernmixologist.com

What’s the most popular cocktail trend right now?
We have experienced a resurgence in craft of bartending unlike anything I have witnessed in my 32 years behind bars. It has been amazing journey with young, passionate, committed individuals pursuing the art of mixology as a profession and not just as a part-time gig while they wait for their acting careers to take off. In turn, we have seen newfound creativity in our craft that parallels what took place a decade ago in America’s finest kitchens. So what’s the hot trend? Today, we are looking back at crafting those lost and forgotten classics that eluded bartenders for decades. Those simple creations, consisting of three or four ingredients, combined skillfully so the whole is much more than the sum of the parts, all the while letting the base spirit shine. It is the choice and quality of those ingredients, combined with the skillful hand of the bartender, as well as the simple details like great ice, a crystal glass, proper technique, and a well-prepared garnish. This is what separates perfection from mediocrity.

So, what’s next?
A newfound appreciation for vodka … straight, classic, pure vodka enjoyed for vodka’s sake. Sure we will still mix it, but my hope and vision is that we will start to enjoy and celebrate it more on its own, neat, straight from the freezer, with nothing for it to hide under. Also, as they do in Eastern Europe, to enjoy straight vodka with food, smoked meats, pickled vegetables, foie gras, fondue, pickled and smoked fish, and of course caviar! There may be no greater food and drink pleasure than that of vodka and caviar. So instead of being quick to discredit this country’s number-one consumed spirit, I encourage people to explore it, better understand and appreciate it, and hopefully, as I have, come to once again celebrate it.

Tyson Buhler
formerly of Jade Bar, now at Death & Co., New York

What’s the most popular cocktail trend right now?
The use of fortified wines is a trend that is going to continue to grow. Sherry in particular, but the use of ports, Pineau des Charentes, Floc de Gascogne … these will continue to grow because of their complexity and depth of flavor. They also allow you to create lower-alcohol cocktails which allows guests to consume more deliciousness!

What’s next?
The next trend in cocktails will be to go more global. We now have access to ingredients and liquors from all over the world, so it’s just a matter of time before we see more international influence on cocktails. There’s so many untapped areas of the world when it comes to spirits, wines, and food that we’ve really just skimmed the surface. 

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