1800 Magazine St.
Max Messier has gained a popular reputation for being a master of cocktails, or, put more simply, for being a skilled mixologist. These days his talents are at New Orleans's restaurant, Square Root, where he expertly crafts and creates tempting and playful mixed drinks. His pop up, called "This Might Work…" at the restaurant's bar Root Squared has debuted with immediate success, treating NOLA residents to delicious $6 cocktails Tuesday evenings.
WYAT: Your pop up is an experiment of your crafted cocktails. What has been your favorite one to create so far?
Messier: One of the more adventurous cocktail builds involved Carpano Bianco, honey syrup, lemon juice and a sweet pee puree. I was attempting to pair a cocktail with the salad course for the chef's tasting menu and ended up making an odd and wonderful cocktail. I served it up in a wine glass with ice and soda water. A ridiculous take on a white wine spritzer.
WYAT: If you could incorporate any ingredient into a cocktail, what would it be?
Messier: I want to incorporate a variety of chilies from around world including Chocolate Habaneros, Aji Limo from Peru, Fatalii from central Africa, Thai chilies,Tien Tsin from China.
Starting this week at Root Squared, I have a new cocktail with an Aji Limo citrus syrup and Togarashi. It's a serious endeavor.
WYAT: You've mixed drinks in San Francisco and New York. Why New Orleans? How is New Orleans different?
Messier: Each city I have served behind the stick has been a wonderful and educational experience. My time in New Orleans has exposed me to a curious collective of a population that has the time and attention to talk about the odd collection of cocktails I have built for Root Squared. It has been a very engaging experience in under a year that I have called New Orleans as my new home.
WYAT: How did your career as a mixologist come about?
Messier: I grew up in the service industry with my father who owned nightclubs and cabarets in the 1980-90s. I didn't take up the mantle of bartender until my late twenties with the early 2000s dot-com bust in San Francisco. Since then, I have spent my time and energies focused on establishing craft cocktail bartending and consulting as a career in the service industry. I have taken a "DIY" approach to creating cocktails with an emphasis on interactions between the kitchen and the bar and incorporating all of the crazy ideas rattling around in my head with grand success.