by Paloma Ianes
15 days ago
at 09:26 AM | Permalink
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?
gras, which is stuffed goose liver. Hands down the most bizarre that I've
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?
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.
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.”
0 Comments · Wednesday, August 15, 2012
I just returned from my third annual
visit to Tales of the Cocktail, an almost week-long event that, for
mixologists and the media who cover them, is what the Cannes
International Film Festival is to movie critics: a little bit glamorous,
a lot of information to drink in and a lot of fun.
0 Comments · Wednesday, July 18, 2012
Hot days mean cold beer, right? That’s
what I used to think, too. Nowadays, I like summer cocktails that are lighter, more
creative and tastier than the old standby. Sure, they’re not as easy as
opening a frosty bottle, but they don’t have to be a major Tiki-type
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.