As a self-proclaimed whisk(e)y enthusiast I spend most of my time in front of the bar trying different variants, sipping on new concoctions and probing bar masters for insight into their extraordinary world. It is rare that I find actually myself mixing up a tasty beverage. That is…until a few weeks ago.
One wintery afternoon a Whiskey Dame walked into a bar, specifically The Tippler – with 48 of her fellow marketers. Immediately the group, stripped of all laptops and PowerPoint decks, was divided into six separate teams and placed behind six separate bars. Sitting some twenty-five steps below Chelsea Market the scent of a challenge lingered in the air. The task? Each team was to create their own bar establishment complete with an original name, five signature cocktails, and a social media campaign to lure in consumers. In true Iron Chef fashion, there was a centrally located table covered with beautiful bottles of liquor , bowls of fresh fruits, vegetables, and herbs. After a few hasty minutes of collecting ingredients we were allotted one hour to devise our plan and create our cocktails. One last bit, at 4PM sharp the bar was to be opened and customers were to flow in.
Somehow during the chaos of concocting drinks and tweeting our friends I was assigned to be the bartender for the whiskey portion of our menu. Having never made a proper cocktail, I looked to our assigned bartender guru for his cocktail creating wisdom. Glen taught me how to measure (with a jigger), what a bar spoon is for (citrus equals shake otherwise a bar spoon it is!), and how to present each drink.
We chose two totally different drinks to show our versatility, and to hopefully earn some extra points! What we did not expect was how fantastic our drinks would actually turn out.
Root ‘N Toot ‘N Manhattan
A twist on the classic Manhattan cocktail. We combined Hudson Manhattan Rye, Lillet Rouge, Root and bitters over ice. Stirred with a bar spoon; it was strained into a cocktail glass and garnished with two cherries.
The Honey Dew
For a quick and tasty fix we created a shooter combining Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, fresh lemon juice, and honey. This cocktail was garnished with freshly grated cinnamon.
While I have always respected those who tend bars, it was an eye opening experience trying to dish out just two drinks to a crowd of thirsty, impatient patrons. I think I will stick to my usual side of the bar for the time being as I prefer to watch a professional at work while I sip a dram of my favorite whisky!