@MixologyGuide: Instagram Influencer Interview
Steven Minor from @MixologyGuide graces us with his thoughts on the future of mixology. He's the mixology director behind the breakout Instagram account @mixologyguide, boasting over 90,000 followers. After speaking with him on a number of occasions it's obvious how his passion for great drinks transcends into his posts, which are adored by his raving followers.
Below is an edited interview with him. We're going to run the gamut from trending up and and down spirits and brands, and trends in the industry.
Ok, About Steven.
Years mixing drinks: 15+
Started making craft cocktails: 2010, 4 Seasons, Chicago
What makes a craft cocktail...a craft cocktail?
Quality ice, fresh juice, and proper technique to make a quality drink.
Fun note: Steven adds salt to his cocktails! Accentuates the citrus and flavor and depth to a cocktail -- just like for food! Mind. blown.
What's proper customer form when at one of your bars?
"Know your establishment". If you're at a sports bar or high-volume club, don't ask for a crazy cool cocktail. The bartender won't appreciate it.
What's Trending, What's Not
Trending up spirits: Mezcal, Italian aperitivos including amaro. And in Miami...rum!
Trending up brands: Giffard's Liqueurs, particularly banana and coconut.
Trending down spirits: Vodka, people are realizing how lame it is.
Cheap liqueurs. Customers are interested to try new things, and millennials are not satisfied with cheap and low quality sugars and mixers.
Trending down brands: Absolut Vodka, especially given their past stranglehold on the market.
Craft Cocktails: What's Next?
Are craft cocktail on draft here to stay? Yes, in cities like Chicago and New York where it's trending, but not nation-wide. Great for consistency, and it looks cool!
Do you consider "craft" or "small batch" to be a positive or negative aspect to a spirit when considering to put in a bar cocktail program?
It's great to supply local, but it's important to find the "sweet spot". Meaning craft spirits that won't make your bar lose thousands of dollars, but is affordable enough to bring that local and craft aspect to your bar. It's important to support local.
Is tiki here to stay!? Yes, in markets like Chicago, New York, San Francisco, BUT tiki drinks have a ton of sugar. You can only drink two to three so it's TBD whether millennials will take to it. It'll continue to grow but won't be huge.
Do "craft" cocktail programs with larger chains (which are better than cocktail of the 90's but not quite craft) good or bad or neutral for the drink-making craft?
Yes, good for exposure, assuming there's a quality bartender behind the bar that uses that one opportunity to convert a non-believer to the right side.
What's your favorite Fall cocktail?
Definitely the Boulevardier. He loves it for a few reasons. Firstly, it's just a cool name to say. Second, it reminds him of "walking in the snow in Chicago with velvet gloves on, walking into a nice bar and asking for a drink".
1.5 oz bourbon
1 oz Carpano Antica (or other sweet vermouth)
1 oz Campari
lemon twist (for garnish)