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Louisville Bartenders Dish on Difficult Cocktails

Louisville continues to ride the wave of creative cocktailing with its seemingly endless variations and innovations. After a post-"Here and Now" conversation with WFPL producer/host Jonathan Bastian (Tuesdays at 1:35), Eater became interested in this question: What drink might be the most difficult for bartenders to make? We asked several area bartenders and restaurateurs including Doug Petry of Rye/Atlantic No. 5, Ryan Rogers of Feast BBQ, Jeremy Johnson of Meta and more about what they thought made drink construction difficult. Their depictions of difficult cocktails can be found after the jump.

Ryan Rogers, Feast BBQ: For us in the quick service business the hardest cocktails are the ones with the most ingredients. If it takes more than a few minutes to construct then we are instantly behind on running food, taking orders, or clearing off tables. Time is of the essence for us.

Doug Petry, Rye/Atlantic No. 5: The most difficult drink for me to construct is the one that is the easiest for us to serve, which is our bottled vodka lemonade. The entire process takes about days for us to make, and the most difficult part is clarifying the lemon juice using agar, which takes about 6 hours from start to finish.

Stacie Stewart, Milkwood: The Ramos Gin Fizz is probably the most difficult drink I've ever made, but I've only been asked for it three, maybe four times. In practical life, I find difficulty in being satisfied with the construction of Bloody Marys. There's a fine balance between not enough flavors and too many, and, unless you're working with the creme de la creme of Bloody Mary mix, finding that balance is hard to do. Also, your mixing glass smells like tomato juice all day, which makes the rest of your drinks smell like tomato juice all day as well.

Jacquelyn Zykan, Doc Crow's/La Coop: Bistro a Vins: On a busy night, mojitos are a nightmare. So are juleps.

Alvin Lin, The Joy Luck: Egg white drinks tend to be tough, such as the classic way of making a Bourbon Sour. It becomes a challenge not to get egg shells in the drink as well as not breaking the yolk. Also, any drink that has a bottle pick up of 5 or more, such a punch drink.

Jeremy Johnson, Meta: In my opinion, the hardest drink to make right is a Sazerac. It has to be well balanced, and EXTREMELY cold. Very time consuming to do properly. It's a classic people are really familiar with, but not as forgiving as an Old Fashioned so people know when it's not right.

Feast BBQ

116 W Main Street, New Albany, IN 47150 812-920-0454

Atlantic No. 5

605 W. Main St., Louisville, KY 40202 502-883-3398 Visit Website


316 W Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-584-6455 Visit Website

Rye On Market

900 E Market Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-749-6200 Visit Website

Doc Crow's Southern Smokehouse & Raw Bar

127 W Main Street, Louisville, KY 40202 502-587-1626