I'm in St. Helena for an excellent conference at the CIA. I spent my morning listening to powerful talks from sustainability pioneers Fedele Bauccio of Bon Appetit Management Company and farmer Lee Jones of The Chefs Garden. What an inspiration those men are. But that's another story for another day.
So, I ended up for lunch at the restaurant formerly known as Taylor's Refresher (now Gott's Roadside) and ran into Scott Beattie—the former bartender of Cyrus and author of Artisanal Cocktails. After I ordered my kim chee burger made with hoisin sauce and a pork patty (delicious!), he updated me on the latest which is a new beverage catering company called H.M.S. that he just launched with two other star bartenders, H. Ehrmann and Marco Dionysos.
The concept is pretty cool: Imagine a party where the drinks are served liked hors d'oeuvres. You don't order them, they just float out on a tray and are passed around for you to sample. "For instance," said Beattie, "You'd have like eight or nine beautiful cocktails for a party." One cocktail that Beattie said they've already tested on a recent party is the "Sazerac Tea Service," wherein a tea kettle comes out on a tray with dry ice to simulate the steam. Guests can pour themselves a Sazerac from the kettle and take a little personalized fortune cookie that's also on the tray to go with it.
The threesome will also select all of the wine and beer the party thrower needs, as well as non-alcoholic drinks.
I see gorgeous weddings. I see hip art openings. All enhanced by beautiful cocktails. It's exciting to see that the future of cocktails isn't beginning and ending behind the bar.