Chris hails from Memphis and was in the Air Force before joining the restaurant scene. He has experience both managing as well as tending the bar. This was such a fun conversation, seeing the passion and wisdom Chris had with his craft was amazing (and made me want a cocktail). Here we go…
Q.What do you love about bartending?
Chris- It keeps me young, really learning the craft cocktail game has been so fun. (he turns to the extensive bar at Stir and says) This is my playground to experiment and make something truly great.
Q.What is your favorite drink on the Stir menu?
Chris- The aviation cocktail hands down, I was not a big gin drinker before diving into craft cocktails though. The Aviation originated in 1910 and it’s fabulous. We serve it in a Nick & Nora glass. It is light purple because of violet liquor & you carry it out to a table and everyone wants one. I also love using St. Germain, an elderflower liqueur from France.
Q.How big of a part does ice play in a Cocktail?
Chris- A huge part. With the right ice you can hold the integrity of a drink when you need it to stay frozen with no dilution (straight liquors). With something like a margarita with fresh squeezed juice, you can handle some dilution to the juice as it almost enhances it, so you go with a hand crushed ice. It is great to have that in your playbook to fit the ice to what the drink needs.
Q. What is the starting point of creating a drink? How much trial and error is there?
Chris– When you sit at the bar, everyone has different likes and dislikes. Taste palettes are different which means there is no right or wrong because it is all an experiment. The basis of crafting a new cocktail is going in with an open mind and creating something you love. It is all an experiment until you perfect it then it becomes a science.
You have to use the tools (jiggers, recipes) you have to make sure your established cocktails are constantly done really well. I was a huge fan of free pouring until I started really getting into craft cocktails, where the integrity of the drink matters.
Q. What is, in your opinion, the most iconic cocktail and why?
Chris– Almost everyone would say an Old Fashioned or a Manhattan. They embody everything that is a craft cocktail.
For me personally though, a Blood and Sand cocktail- a boozy forward cocktail that when done well, is absolutely to die for. I can turn a Scotch hater into a Scotch lover with it.
Q. If you were on a desert island and had to bring one drink, what is it?
Chris– This one is really tough, I’d have to say a well done Mojito with Bacardi Limon Rum. There is a lot that goes into making a truly great Mojito… 1st getting 3 really juicy lime wedges, 6 mint leaves (have to be torn to get the most flavor) a little simple syrup, the rum and a splash of soda water. It’s not a super heavy drink but I could sit on a beach and drink it forever without getting tired of it.
Q. Favorite craft cocktail somewhere else in town.
Chris– If I am going somewhere else it’s Robar, and I’m going to see Mignon (bartender) and get an Old Fashioned.
Thanks again to Chris Scott for sitting down with me. Don’t forget to check out The House for awesome specials and cocktails for every occasion.