Imagine the first time you tried your favorite food or drink. The tingle, the joy, the lasting memory.
The first time was during my bartender training while opening CBD Provisions in Downtown Dallas. Two of the 'first wave' craft cocktail bartenders from New York City were giving me quite a show as we learned the reality of being a craft bartender. They created the most basic of drinks as the foundation of everything else would come after it. But one of those drinks struck a deep connection with me that has never left. It was the Old Fashioned that gave me that moment.
The drink in itself is extremely simple, rye whiskey, simple syrup, angostura bitters garnished with a fresh lemon peel. The technique to craft it was simple as well, stir until the mixture loses the harshness and reaches the right temperature, served on a large cube of ice to keep it at that perfect dilution and temperature. Easy to learn, forever to perfect. It is my ‘go to’ drink, my first recommendation when asked, and my inclusion on every beverage menu in some form or fashion.
Forming a beverage menu of skillfully crafted cocktails has been a major part of my career for the past four years. After working behind the bar, I moved into a different role where my goal every day is to create lasting transformative experiences through food and beverage. My career in hospitality food and beverage requires me to take in observance all the senses that a guest might encounter.
Every week I’m tasked with creating custom beverages for events, and they are required to fit a criteria, whether it is look, feel, taste, smell, and even what sounds it may make. Beyond those criteria, each of these drinks have to be different and unique from any other drink I’ve ever created. As such, inspiration doesn’t come easily. Much time is spent trying drinks from other establishments and experimenting with new flavor combinations. It’s a rough job drinking so much.
Now, I’ve taken that knowledge and I am channelling that into the Game Theory beverage menu with a goal of creating fun, memorable, and flavorful drinks. What makes a drink fun? Something that reminds you of childhood? Something that feels like magic? Something that looks dangerous? Something that feels destructive even?
That’s a deep rabbit hole I’ve jumped into for the past couple of months and you’ll see what I have come up with when we debut early next year.