a chat with Buffalo Zine contributor and 2013 Battle of the Bartenders winner Kyle Landry
What type of drink recipes are you trying out right now?
Citrus-based. Winter drinks are usually bold so that they’ll warm you up, but for summer you’re looking for something refreshing – and citrus is the best approach for that. I may also try some beer cocktails. You can get refreshing drinks using shandys.
Is there a particular alcohol that you see coming for to the forefront in mixed drinks?
Though whiskey never went anywhere, good whiskey is coming back into play. If you like Jack Daniels, try Dickel, another Tennessee whiskey that I feel is a much better product at a comparable price. Gin has been on the rise for a while now and has finally come back into the mainstream, but I really think Tequila is going to be the next thing to pop out. People will start breaking away from their “silver” tequilas and trying smoother options like reposado and añejo (oak barrel aged 2-12 months & 12-36 months respectively).
If someone’s going to stock an at-home bar, what would you suggest they carry?
Start with the five basic spirits: whiskey, vodka, rum, tequila and gin. For whiskey, go with a rye, like Bulleit or Buffalo Trace. For vodka, try Tito’s. With rum you can go light or dark, but I’d opt for Myer’s or Gosling’s dark. And a good across-the-board gin is Plymouth.
Lately, what drink are you asked to make the most?
The drink of the day is the Moscow Mule (vodka, lime juice & ginger beer), but we still get a lot of requests for the classic Old Fashioned. Many believe that our bar (Shady’s, in Phoenix) serves the best in town.
What do you think of the emerging practice of batch-producing a particular cocktail and kegging it for quick dispensing?
It works for large events where you know the demand will be there, but in a bar setting you just can’t beat the personal charm of a hand-crafted drink made with care.