Sam Skydell, general manager of New Orleans' Whiskey Blue bar, has crafted a bottled cocktail program that could be a template for Whiskey Blue sites in six other cities. For now, the list (launched Aug. 9) is only available here.
Inspired by the New Orleans bartenders who put on the Pop Shop parties, Sam pitched the idea to the Gerber Group's corporate execs.
While bottled cocktails are trendy, they're also practical for this high-speed bar pouring as many as 400 drinks a night, and the recipes are easy to export across other Whiskey Blue properties - one reason why Sam uses only big-brand labels (Bacardi products, to be specific).
Sam's six-ounce bottles are $12, and each based on different base spirits: The Tea Off uses equal parts vodka and sweet tea, and pairs it with St. Germain; the complex Basil Aviation grounds gin's florals with fresh basil; and ginger beer adds the sparkle to rum and cucumber juice in the Cucumber Mule.
Rock the Caz Bar is a margarita finished with jalapeño slices, which Sam muddles with agave nectar and fine-strains (he'll use triple sec to stand in for orange juice, to give the bottled cocktails a longer shelf life).
Finally, the Mint Dew-Lep's honey syrup sweetener effectively binds Dewars White and eight muddled mint leaves, for a well-balanced sipper that will draw in the enthusiast as well as novice Scotch drinker. As a best-selling bottle, "it's a great way to introduce people to the spirit," Sam says.
Whiskey Blue at the W Hotel, 333 Poydras, 525.9444
Sam credits Gary Hayward, Bombay Sapphire's US Ambassador, with helping develop the bottled cocktail recipes. You'll find the same cocktails and spirits at the W Hotel's Living Room bar, located in the main lobby.
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