“For a while I was apprehensive about getting too creative with the cocktail list,” says Wyatt Lowrey, director of the beverage program at Vessel in New Orleans’ mid-city neighborhood. As the leader of the beverage team, he and his bartenders are responsible for creating cocktails that complement the seasonally-inspired food menu. “Eventually I was like, I have to be myself and make what I like.”
The cocktail list at Vessel is a mix of classics, like the Sazerac, and a “Signature” section, comprised of original drinks that Lowrey and his team created with seasonality in mind. Drinks like “Devil’s Nightcap,” blending bourbon with walnut liqueur and bitters, invoke the dark spices and flavors that are associated with the winter season.
Bartenders, mixologists, and beverage managers are responsible for conceptualizing and creating beverage programs to pair with a food menu, and they play a pivotal role in designing part of the guest experience. But how creative can you lists get without confusing guests? Here, Lowrey shares what he’s learned so far about balancing a cocktail list with creative options and standards, plus how to gets staff and customers on board. [Read more…]