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Drink Directors

Mike Georgiton of Senate, Abigail Street and Pontiac shares his favorite cocktails

Cocktail-mad scientist and adventurist Mike Georgiton is the bar manager/director of Senate, Abigail Street and forthcoming barbecue joint Pontiac (all owned by Daniel and Lana Wright). His unique creations make you want to rethink your regular cocktail order to try something that’s thoughtfully crafted to perfectly pair with your dish. CityBeat: When did you start getting into bar tending and creating craft cocktails? Mike Georgiton: I’ve been a bartender for about 11 years. I was working for a while in fast-paced club kind of environment, and it wasn't until later that I got another job in a lounge. It was actually the worst job I’ve ever had; I hated it there. Eventually, the club changed hands, and the new owners brought some guys from Louisville to train everyone. I went through like 90 hours of training of cocktail history and that’s when I started making craft cocktails and started to enjoy the process. It wasn't until I started here that I began researching and getting creative. I started reading and figuring out more techniques and developing my own from there. CB: What would you say is your technique/method in coming up with original cocktail recipes? MG: I don’t like to read too many cocktail books. Books do help in getting kind of basic idea of what people are doing, but I like to get more inspiration from food and the way people pair food together. I ask myself, ‘How can I pair this food ingredient with a liquor?’ and that way I’m coming up with more obscure ingredients that are my own. Flavor combinations that chefs use in a lot of their dishes will push me to think, ‘Well, how can I tie in pistachios?’ or ‘How can I tie in this or that?’ I want to do something that’s completely different and inspired from my own source — something that no one else is doing. CB: What’s your favorite ingredient to use in your cocktails? MG: My favorite ingredients are usually more food-type ingredients that chefs are also using in their dishes. My favorite liquor to use is Domaine de Canton, which is a cognac-based ginger liquor. I put it in a lot of drinks. It’s one of those that I love it because it goes good with everything, but I also kind of hate it because I want to put it in everything. CB: Do you notice any changes in cocktail culture within OTR? MG: I have noticed that, more than before, people are starting to get more creative in making original cocktails instead of just taking recipes from a book. People are using more modern techniques, and I think that’s great because that was always what I was more into than just traditional cocktails.  CB: What’s the strangest ingredient that you've ever put in a cocktail? MG: Foie gras, which is stuffed goose liver. Hands down the most bizarre that I've done.  It's fatty and it’s easy. You cook it and render it down in a pan and add some cognac to it. I know cognac has always been a classic pairing with foie gras, so I thought it would be really interesting to come full cycle and put foie gras in the cognac. It was one of the initial cocktails that I did more of a direct food style. In the cocktail I added a fig emulsion, some black pepper tincture and sprinkled some nutmeg, which are all ingredients you usually find being used with foie gras. It turned out really great and is on the menu here [at Senate], but to get one great original cocktail you have to go through five horrible ones. It takes a lot of experimenting. CB: What is one of your favorite cocktails served at the Senate? MG: The Fidel Castro. It goes great with the fall season, and we have it pre-mixed and ready to serve at Senate. Fidel Castro2 oz. oak-aged spiced rum1/2 oz. pure maple syrup3 dashes of Angostura bitters1 dash orange bitters1-inch piece of orange peel Shake all ingredients together (except for orange peel) over ice in a cocktail shaker. Stir and strain into glass. Heat up orange peel with a lighter. Squeeze the peel over the glass, running the rim with it before adding to the cocktail. Oak-Aged Spiced Rum 750 ml. bottle Bacardi Silver Rum1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise2 whole cinnamon sticks1 T. whole coriander, cracked10 allspice berries, cracked3 black peppercorns, cracked2 whole nutmegs, cracked1 1/2 tsp. whole cloves1 T. cardamom pods, cracked1 star anise1 T. sarsaparilla bark or root (optional)3 4-by-1-inch strips of orange peel, white pith removed5 slices ginger root1/4 cup French or American oak chips Combine ingredients in a large glass jar. Cover and allow to age, shaking every few days. It can be used after a few days.
 
 

Ice, Ice, Baby

0 Comments · Wednesday, June 19, 2013
I had an epiphany recently when I stopped to order my favorite iced coffee from BLOC Coffee Company in Price Hill and their ice machine was on the fritz. “Try it cold, without ice,” the barista suggested. “Some of our customers like it better that way.”  

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0 Comments · Wednesday, August 15, 2012
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0 Comments · Wednesday, July 18, 2012
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The Sobriety Diary

0 Comments · Tuesday, May 8, 2012
I once felt as if I had perfected the chemical alchemy needed for me to write with some success. I won’t disclose the exact contents of my proprietary blend, seeing as I may yet trademark it, but one might assume that my equivalent of liquid courage is not the healthiest of cocktails.   

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