January 2015

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 12 of 43 13 January/February 2015 • fathers or grandfathers," Brar says. "And now with the interest in trying new gins, people will say, 'Oh, we have to bring our grandfather in to try them.'" Gin Joint features a gin of the month that gets menu billing and is included in a cocktail. It also has an extensive list of house-made tonics which take a decidedly culinary approach. The tonics rotate constantly, with fl avors designed to meet seasonal attributes. Versions made in the fall might include blood orange, saffron and baking spices. Last December's tonic was a cranberry-jalapeño version. "When people come in, we always like to give them an element of surprise, whether it's gin of the month or the new tonics," Brar says. The bar also welcomes distillers and brand reps for monthly Happy Hour talks, and the seven-drink menu, which changes monthly as well, always includes two or three gin-based drinks. Gin accounts for about 65% of Gin Joint's spirit sales. Brar says many of Gin Joint's regular customers who are used to the broad variety of gins and mixers available will simply ask for something spicy or fruity or citrusy in their Gin and Tonics. What about those guests who have more resistance to gin? "Sometimes it takes a little convincing to get them to have faith in what you're going to make them, because they are so used to what they've always had," Brar says SPANISH- STYLE G&T SERVICE While America's love of an icy-cold Gin and Tonic has rarely wavered, the recently imported Spanish style of service has started to gather adherents. When Sable Kitchen & Bar head bartender Mike Ryan returned to Chicago from Spain last year, he took inspiration from the variety of Gin and Tonics, served in a large wine glass or goblet with unusual garnishes when developing his own. His take includes versions made with North Shore #6 gin, orange peel, Thai chili and Q tonic; Plymouth gin, Boker's Bitters, lime peel and Fentiman's tonic; Citadelle gin, grapefruit peel, mint, Fever Tree Mediterranean tonic; and The Botanist gin, celery bitters, rosemary and Fever Tree tonic. Gin and Tonic menus change depending on location at the various Jaleo restaurants overseen by chef José Andres. But the international favorite is elevated to high-end Spanish style it deserves, says beverage director Juan Coronado. Coronado himself prefers his in a large wine glass to allow the carbonation, dilution, chilling and fl avors added by the garnishes to evolve. "A big glass is very important to me as a way to create an ecosystem for the drink, and it defi nitely adds to the experience. People get it right away, they love [the glassware]—it captures their attention."—JR Flintridge Proper bartender Tobias Jelinek mixes drinks with the bar's house aged bitters.

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