Bar managers are getting creative with their cocktail concoctions, and it’s giving hotel bars a good name, says Dave Kelleher, Washington, D.C., area general manager for Kimpton Hotels. He oversees Bar Rouge, the Helix Lounge, and the Topaz Bar in Washington, D.C., each named for their Kimpton host hotels.
With Kimpton chefs painstakingly creating menus for the dining room, Kelleher says bar managers are looking to complement the food instead of overpower it. “Bar managers are bringing ingredients from the kitchen into the bars to make the drinks more palatable,” he says. “They’re trying to get away from sugared down drinks. They are pushing the envelope to find things in the kitchen that will enhance the flavor of the drinks.”
Many of his bar managers are mixing their own syrups to create natural flavors to add to their cocktails. “I see a lot of the bar guys actually making syrups with mint or ginger clove. They are using coconut milk, which will be big this year,” Kelleher says. “They are infusing tequila with jalapeños, things like that.”