Hooch

Andrew Calisterio and Micah Olson of Crudo in Arcadia: Spring Cocktail Guide, Continued

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When you're brainstorming a cocktail, do you start with a flavor in mind and try to work towards it, or are you more likely to take a classic and tinker with it?

MO: It definitely works both ways. Sometimes there's a classic that I know I've been wanting to do a riff on for a while, and other times I start with a flavor and I'm like, alright, this is in season, I want to use it, and I balance it off of the other components in the drink, and definitely use 'The Flavor Bible' -- it's basically always open in front of me. That's so often how I write my menu.

How important is it for you to be innovative? Is that even the goal -- or just to be creative?

MO: Innovative isn't as important to me as being creative. Innovation is doing something that's never been done before, but creative is taking common things and using them in different ways. Innovation is great -- it's really hard to be innovative, especially these days with everybody else out there doing stuff and documenting it, so if you think you've done it first in your head, you probably haven't done it first. But that creative side is definitely what I lean for. Just making great new cocktails.

Which spirits or modifiers are you really into right now? Are there any you have here that you're really proud of, or any others you wish you had on your shelf?

MO: I'm always get excited about whiskey. Whiskey is one of my favorite things. We have a great selection. This time of year gin and rum get me in the right place. Rum is the perfect transfer from the winter and the spring -- it has the vanilla notes that go really well with the spring flavors, full of aromatics. Those always keep me happy.

If I were to ask another bartender, what would they say is your signature style?

MO: Hopefully balanced and bold.

So, if you weren't to busy holding down the fort here and at C.I., where would you be pulling up a barstool?

MO: Joshua James at The Clever Koi. His drinks are never too complicated, but definitely over-complicated with how he thought them out and arrived at the final product. I was just there on Monday and I'm always amazed at how stellar the drinks are, and why I haven't thought of some of his drink combinations.

Yeah, he's a lot of fun.

MO: Definitely a lot of fun, and always really different. Like I look at his menu and never think it's similar to a drink from somewhere else. It's Joshua James.

And nothing is too sweet, either.

MO: Yeah, nothing ever plays too much on the sweet side at all. You know, I think he writes a menu for himself, but that works for the public too. I think a lot of bartenders get stuck writing a menu for themselves that doesn't work as well publicly. He's a master of his craft right now. He's doing really well.

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Shelby Moore