The past few years have seen a proliferation in handcrafted cocktails, from the number of bespoke cocktail bars to the recipes we see in food magazines. For mixologist Greg Seider, his passion for creating handcrafted cocktails started early in life. As a child Seider has terrible allergies, so he used to have to use his palate to make up for his lost sense of smell in his congested nose. Seider also had the luck of growing up in a family that filled their Rhode Island garden with herbs, fresh berries, grapes, peaches and a bounty of vegetables. Living so close to the water also granted him easy access to clams, mussels and fish. The access of fresh flavors gave him what he calls, “the cornerstone of gustatory greatness.”
When he was young his father would let him have a sip of Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers. One day, Seider snuck past his parents, and filled a glass with ice, poured some wine into it, topped it with a splash of ginger ale and garnished it with an orange slice. That became the beginning of what would be an accomplished career in the art of turning ordinary ingredients into a wonderful cocktail. Seider went on to become a bartender and some of New York’s finest establishments, including the Mercer Kitchen, Asia de Cuba, The Box, Minetta Tavern, and The Standard Hotel in Miami. Finally Seider opened his own bar, The Summit Bar in New York. Lucky for the rest of us, Seider put all his knowledge into a new book, Alchemy in a Glass: The Essential Guide to Handcrafted Cocktails, where he shares with us how to craft the ideal cocktail with four essential layers: the foundation, dimension, finish and the X-factor. If you want to learn more, pick up a copy of his new book!
Alchemy in a Glass: The Essential Guide to Handcrafted Cocktails, $24.95 at rizzoliusa.com.
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