Tag: Hotel Bartenders

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Confessions of Hotel Bartender, Vol 7: A Cheeky Drink at Virgin Chicago

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  Site Where: 203 N. Wabash [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
March 26, 2015 at 3:45 PM | by | ()

A few weeks ago we stopped by Virgin Chicago to sample some food in their all-day dining outlet, Miss Ricky's and ended upstairs at the Commons Club to partake in an adult libation from the cheeky bar menu.

After bellying up to the bar, we had chance to bend the ear of the head bartender, Jon Harris about what the drinks we were sipping and his thoughts on the industry.

This Chicago native has spent some time mixing cocktails from DC to London and back to the Windy City. Shaking some of the hottest drinks in DC's first cocktail bar, The Gibson, Jon eventually landed the job at the Virgin and started putting together the back bar well before the hotel swung it's doors open to guests.

Keep reading for our Q&A with Jon Harris

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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol. 6: W Chicago - City Center

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  Site Where: 172 W Adams Street [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60603
February 4, 2015 at 2:24 PM | by | ()

While Chicago temps are going down and the streets are piling up with snow, we can always rely on the folks over the W Chicago City Center to keep us warm and toasty with delicious libations. We scored a chance to catch up with the hotel's head bartender and resident mixologist, Lauren Parton, to get her thoughts on industry trends and what we can see for the spring thaw when it comes to drinking.

(Coincidentally, Parton was tasked with creating the cocktail menu for the renovation relaunch party for their sister property, W Chicago Lakeshore, and whipped up some edible cocktails that were passed around like hors d'oeuvres. We can't argue with this concept.)

The genius mind behind a specialty cocktail menu in the W's Living Room, Parton has more than just cocktails in her repertoire. Her industry career began creating some culinary masterpieces in a few of Chicago's greatest eateries. When she made the move to hotel bartending--at Raffaello's Drumbar--Parton was shipped off to Bourbon Camp and the rest is libation history!

Keep reading for our Q&A with Lauren Parton

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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol. 5: Ritz Paris & Connaught London

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  Site Where: Carlos Place, London, United Kingdom, W1K 2AL
April 11, 2014 at 9:47 AM | by | ()

What happens when two famous hotel bartenders spend a week mixing cocktails in the same bar? In the case of Agostino Perrone, director of mixology at the Connaught London, and Colin Field, head bartender of the Ritz Paris, it’s a bringing together of styles, a list of delicious drinks as a result, and lucky for us, double the Confessions of a Hotel Bartender.

We stopped by the buzzing Connaught Bar to hear about Colin’s week-long residence in London and learned more about cocktails in an evening than we had in our entire lives, from molecular mixology being dead (in case you didn’t know already), to the story of an old Italian liqueur called ‘the Witch’, and of course, the perennial hangover-cure conundrum.

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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol. 4: The Langham London

March 28, 2014 at 2:06 PM | by | ()

We caught up with Alex Kratena, the award-winning bartender at the Artesian bar at The Langham London earlier this week on a visit to the Langham Pasadena where he unveiled some of the specialty cocktails drinks he's created for Langham's U.S. hotels.

But Kratena also showed off another one of his best drinks, The Langham Martini (£16.50), a gin martini made with Tanqueray No. TEN, vermouth and bitters and served in a custom-made, detachable silver vessel, that lets you sip the martini at the perfect, cold, temperature until the last drop. The olives, macerated with Tanqueray No. TEN botanicals are served on the side. Even if you don't like gin, you will like this drink. You will also probably never want anyone other than Kratena to make you a gin martini again.

(Cool fact: Some call the drink The James Bond Martini because you can drink the martini with one hand and whack somebody on the head with the heavy stem in your other hand.)

On a busy night, Kratena and his team can make over 500 cocktails. So we couldn't wait for him to spill his Confessions of a Hotel Bartender including his answer to the all-important question--how do you cure a hangover?

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It's 5 o' Clock at a Langham Hotel Somewhere With These New Specialty Drinks

March 27, 2014 at 6:18 PM | by | ()

Meet Alex Kratena, the award-winning bartender at the Artesian bar at The Langham London. Some of his accolades include winner of “The World’s Best Cocktail Menu” at Tales of the Cocktail (2011), and “International Bartender of the Year” (2012). Artesian, under Kratena's helm has also won "Best European Bar” at the Cocktails & Spirits Awards in Paris, and has been deemed “The World’s Best Bar" by Drinks International Magazine.

Kratena is also the bartender who made us a gin martini that we actually enjoyed enough to finish to the last drop. No small feat there.

We caught up with Kratena at the Langham Pasadena where he unveiled his latest concoction, The Social Club, a limited edition drink, inspired by the hotel and made with vodka, lilt, vetiver, citrus and rose water, a nod to the city's famous Rose Parade.

It's an absolutely refreshing drink, perfect for a hot day in Pasadena. We were a little skeptical of the rose water (which we've only ever used on our skin) but it's not overpowering at all. It's quite perfect, actually. The chocolate lips on the stem were an added treat too.

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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol 3: Park Hyatt Chicago

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  Site Where: 800 N. Michigan Avenue [map], Chicago, Illinois, United States, 60611
October 11, 2013 at 12:16 PM | by | ()

Keeping with our series of bending the ear of our favorite barkeeps, we recently had the opportunity to find out what NoMI Lounge Manager and bartender, Kevin Beary, at the Park Hyatt Chicago thinks about the industry's preferred poisons.

HotelChatter: So, what's your bar-tending journey?

Kevin Beary: I started my hotel bar career at the historic Bellevue in Philadelphia and moved to the iconic Clover Club.

HC: NoMI is quite the destination in Chicago, with an ideal location and great reputation, what is your thought process when designing a new cocktail menu?

KB: A new cocktail list is like the first day of school. It's a little nerve racking but exciting at the same time. It allows me to be creative yet still stay true to the NoMI experience.

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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol 2: QT Gold Coast

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  Site Where: 7 Staghorn Avenue, Surfers Paradise, Queensland, Australia, 4217
March 29, 2013 at 3:44 PM | by | ()

Keeping with our series of bending the ear of our favorite barkeeps, we recently had the opportunity to find out what bartender, Nicholas James, from Stingray Lounge at QT Gold Coast in Surfers Paradise thinks about the industry's preferred poisons.

HotelChatter: How many years have you been in the industry and time at Stingray?

Nicholas James: 5 years in the industry, and coming up to nearly one year at Stingray.

HC: What type of formal training do you have?

NJ: I have studied and worked alongside some of Australia’s most recognized and award winning industry professionals in and around Sydney’s small bars, pubs and restaurants.

HC: With such an extensive list of creative cocktails, what is your least favorite to make; the one you go 'really? I have to make that?' but still do it with a smile?

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Confessions of a Hotel Bartender, Vol 1: Trump Panama

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  Site Where: Calle Punta Colón, Panama, Panama, 0833-00321
March 12, 2013 at 9:32 AM | by | ()


We recently saddled up to Cava 15 at the Trump Ocean Club in Panama. While sipping on a (what else?) Panama beer, we struck up a conversation with the bartender, who went by Jack the Ripper. Out chat went something like this…

HotelChatter: So, being a hotel bartender and all, we're guessing you like to drink?

Jack the Ripper: Yes, but I don't like to overdo it. I only drink to enjoy.

HC: That's very wise. When did you decide that?

JTR: Well, I used to work on cruise ships, quite far from Panama, far from my country. I'd be gone eight months at a time, and when I came home, I discovered that after two or three drinks, I didn't want anymore. My body rejected it, you know? So I said, 'No more. I feel disgusting, I feel heavy.' Two or three drinks, and that's it.

HC: Which cruise line did you work for?

JTR: Costa. It's an Italian cruise line

HC: Isn't that the one that capsized near Tuscany last year?

JTR: Yes.

Continue reading after the jump!

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