Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Any Caraway You Cran

“I envision the future of hospitality as higher quality and thoughtfully curated experiences for smaller groups.” – Brent Foster

Nestled at the intersection of swagger and talent, one will find Brent Foster. He has studied every corner of food and beverage as a craft, exercising his talents most recognizably in Downtown Detroit’s “The Belt” alleyway. He has since moved on to working directly with spirit brand Watershed Distillery, and pursuing his own hospitality brand by way of pop-ups and a daily blog. Keep reading for more details on his layered cocktail, Any Caraway You Can, and his thoughts on where he’s been and where he’s headed in the hospitality industry.

DSC: What is the proudest moment from your hospitality career?

BF: The proudest moment in my hospitality career so far has likely been being a guest speaker at Eastern Michigan University. A professor in the Hotel/Restaurant Management Department asked me to be a speaker and discuss pop-up culture, menu planning and my greatest challenges and successes in the industry. It was an honor to share with the class and be looked at as an industry influencer.

DSC: How do you envision the future of the hospitality industry, and how do you feel you fit into it?

BF:  I envision the future of hospitality as higher quality and thoughtfully curated experiences for smaller groups. I’m finding a way for fitting in by starting a food and beverage blog called “Life in the Pass.” Life in the Pass is used mostly to share my inspirations for dishes and inspire home cooks with techniques I’ve learned behind the stick or on the line. My hope is to turn this concept into a fine touch, monthly carryout pop up called “Husky Boi.” Husky Boi would focus on 90s nostalgia food and zero beverages, with some menu input from its guests. In the long term, I’d like to collaborate with other industry leaders in a bed and breakfast style concept, pushing food and beverage with sustainable ingredients.

Any Caraway You Cran 

Flavor Profiles – Floral, Tart, Spiced

1 oz Watershed Four Peel Gin

1 oz Norden Aquavit

.75 oz Pickled Cranberry/Lemon Sherbet 

.5 oz Capaletti 

.5 oz Red Wine to Sink (approximately)

Soda Topper

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Through the Garden

“…this has been a good time to reflect on how we can make service more consistent and memorable while we keep people safe.” – Melanie Mack

Melanie Mack is one of the most recognizable names in Detroit’s food and beverage community. As an activist and hospitality professional with a career spanning over twenty years, she has seen it all and done work on every level to ensure a safer, more welcoming space for her peers. These days, Melanie can be found serving up the good vibes and even better cocktails at Menjos Entertainment complex, and dazzling her online fans with her homegrown cocktail show, “Melanie Macktails Presents.”

In addition to her delicate, dreamy cocktail, Through the Garden, Melanie also shared a few thoughts on the industry. Read below to see what she had to say.

DSC: What has been the proudest moment in your hospitality career?

MM: Very high on that list would be getting hired in at Menjos Entertainment Complex as the first black woman to be behind their bar two years ago.  Though top of charts for me would have to be coming up with the concept to begin filming a cocktail series a few times a week during the first mandated shutdown last spring.  On the days I would shoot, I would choose a song and then a cocktail that I felt corresponded with it, be it a classic or an original creation.  I wanted the series to be informative and digestible as well as entertaining.  That gave me a great sense of accomplishment.

DSC: How do you envision the future of the hospitality industry, and how do you feel you fit into it?

MM:  As we’ve never charted these waters before, I foresee that with patience, we will have to rebuild.  For many establishments, there were good foundations but things that could be improved upon.  I feel this has been a good time to reflect on how we can make service more consistent and memorable while we keep people safe.  I hope to continue to be inspired to share knowledge and creativity—I’m in it for the long [run].

Through the Garden

Five Dashes Orange Blossom Water

.5 oz Lemon Juice

.5 oz Lime Juice

1 oz Heavy Cream

1 oz Butterfly Pea Syrup

An Egg White

1.5 oz Norden Aquavit

-combine all ingredients into shaker tin and dry shake for sixty seconds

-add three cubes of ice and shake for two to three minutes

-pour an ounce of soda water into chilled collins glass and strain shaker contents into collins until they reach the lip of the glass

-put the cocktail into the refrigerator for two minutes to set the meringue 

-remove from refrigerator and pour remaining contents of shaker tin directly into the middle of the meringue

-garnish with baby’s breath

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Not Today, Karen

“…the excitement of watching your favorite culinary artist performing will never go out of style.” – Tangie Jones

Tangie Jones’s talent as a cocktail creator has taken her around the country. Her swagger and vision behind the rail, coupled with her innovation with projects like her Sweet Ann’s Mixers, have made her a popular name industry-wide. Taking a break from competition wins and a schedule that stays on overflow, Tangie presented her “Not Today, Karen” cocktail for the exhibition, and answered a few questions about her thoughts on the industry.

DSC: What has been the proudest moment of your hospitality career?

TJ: The moment that stands out the most for me would be entering my first cocktail competition. I just remember going in there thinking, “Create from the heart.” My goal was to mix a cocktail that reflected the calmness felt sitting on a porch, watching the sunset on a beautiful summer’s eve. I did that and I was crowned the winner. At that moment, I was reassured that my career choice was the right one. 

DSC: How do you envision the future of the hospitality industry and where do you see yourself in?

TJ: I believe the hospitality industry will become more personal. The at-home bartender and chef is on the rise and becoming a more trusted face. Subscription based services and products give everyone the tools needed to accomplish culinary goals in the comfort of our homes. The pandemic allowed people time to create, explore, and share various ways to indulge in fine-dining without the traditional setting of a restaurant. However, the excitement of watching your favorite culinary artist performing will never go out of style. 

Not today Karen

2 Dashes of Grapefruit Bitters 

.5 oz Lemon Juice 

1 oz Smoked Rosemary Syrup 

1.5 oz Norden Aquavit

Shake over ice 

Strain over Raspberry Infused Ice

Garnish with Rosemary Stem  

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: New Money

“The future of hospitality I envision will be focused on aggressive hospitality.” – Asher Miller

Over the last seven years, Asher Miller has gone from a barback to leading one of the most revered bar programs in Detroit. As the Grey Ghost lead bartender, Asher pushes the envelope, straddling the line between the exotic and the approachable, for a guest experience second to none. Taking a pause from the alchemy of his own bar rail, pop-ups, and branded projects, Asher presents us with his exhibition cocktail, “New Money.” Read on for the recipe and to see Asher’s thoughts on where the industry has taken him, and where he hopes to go from here.

DSC: What has been the proudest moment of your hospitality career?

AM: The proudest moment in my career was getting my first cocktail on a menu as a barback. It was a moment in which I felt validated for all of the work and studying I had done up to that point, as well as recognizing I have some talent in this field.

DSC: How do you envision the future of the industry, and where do you see yourself fitting in it?

AM: The future of hospitality, I envision, will be focused on aggressive hospitality. With the changes we’ve had to make in how we interact with others because of Covid, crafting a hospitable experience will require more energy and effort from this in our industry. I’m excited to pursue this style of hospitality while continuing to instruct the next generation of bartenders to navigate a post pandemic world.

New Money

1.5 oz Norden Aquavit

0.5 oz R&W Crème de Violetta

0.75 oz Blueberry syrup

0.75 oz Lemon juice

0.75 oz Calpico 

Shake. Collins glass with pebble ice. Garnish with sage, dill and juniper.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Kakia

“A career in the restaurant industry is not something I do to simply pay the bills and work, it truly is something I enjoy being a part of.” – Arius Seay

Arius Seay has experienced and mastered the hospitality industry from all angles. From country clubs, to trendy niche establishments, she has crafted a brand of hospitality all her own, fueled by a pure love of service and creation. Her vibrant “Kakia” cocktail, dazzling in a regal purple hue, isn’t her only contribution to the exhibition. She also gave us her thoughts on the hospitality industry where she sees herself in it.

DSC: What has been the proudest moment of your hospitality career?

AS: In the 15 years of working in the hospitality industry, the moment I was  hired in at Oakland Hills Country Club was the most profound moment in my career. Oakland Hills stands out amongst the rest, as it is a  platinum level country club, of which there are only 5 percent of the world. Everyone feels a sense of pride walking into the establishment, and I gained a newfound sense of pride being employed by such a prestigious establishment. Throughout my employment, I established a strong rapport with the members, as I aspire to achieve with all my customers. When considering the membership I found joy in serving, one family deeply touched my heart. I have always been passionate about surpassing customer expectations, and therefore was pleasantly surprised when this family invited me into their home to cook and care for their children. This opportunity meant so much to me, knowing they trusted me enough in their home and also to maintain strict dietary restrictions for their children with special needs. When asked to realize my proudest moment in this industry, it was challenging in having to pick one. A career in the restaurant industry is not something I do to simply pay the bills and work, it truly is something I enjoy being a part of. I will never forget the joy I brought into this family’s life or any smile worn by those I have had the pleasure of serving.

DSC: How do you envision the future of hospitality? Where do you see yourself in it?

AS: With regards to the future of the hospitality industry and reflective of the current pandemic, I realize that current restaurant functionality and practices in place for decades will cease to exist. Consumers are currently focused on convenience and reduced exposure in the fulfillment of personal dietary needs. I have observed and realized the new wave delivery systems and companies that have been implemented in bringing the restaurant experience home. The manner in which restaurants have operated for decades now limits productivity, not only through variable state regulations, however it requires physically traveling to these establishments. I am passionate in creating my own unique food and beverage concept by means of a traveling food truck.  I am extremely passionate about an organic, holistic approach in my own personal lifestyle and am eager to share this knowledge with others.  I aspire to create and implement handcrafted food and beverage practices that not only taste delicious and satisfy physical hunger, but aid in emotional fulfillment through specialized ingredients.  I enjoy helping others feel incredible, mind, body and soul daily. It would be the ultimate dream if granted the opportunity to exercise my vast knowledge, experience and love in the hospitality industry in providing happiness.

Kakia

2 oz Aquavit 

1.5 oz Hibiscus Tea

.75 oz Simple 

3 Dash of Scandinavian Bitters

2 Dashes of Lavender Bitters

.75 oz Citrus

1 Egg White

My cocktail has multiple components and is named “Kakia”, which is a Greek goddess and means the spirit of vice and moral badness! To start, I chose Scandinavian bitters to compliment the country where this spirit originates from, splashed with a lavender infusion. This lavender herb helps to reduce stress and anxiety, especially needed during these difficult times across the world. For the first mixer, I chose a loose leaf strained hibiscus tea with scratch simple syrup. Hibiscus tea awakens the clove hues detected from this unique liquor and is proven excellent for immune support. Delicious, floral and beneficial in delivering extremely high levels of ascorbic acid (vitamin C). I also added some citrus to give it that bite to breakthrough beautifully. I choose to use an egg white to give it that frothy and creamy texture, adding protein as well. Last but not least, I sugared the rim with a mix of cane sugar and finely minced lemon zest, and garnished with a loose leaf hibiscus and a lemon twist to tie this amazing cocktail all together!

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Faye Valentine

“No matter what happens with the hospitality industry or where it goes next, I just know I want to be there to soak it all up.” – Valor Miller

Valor Miller has followed a unique and exciting career path in the hospitality industry. Beginning in the back of house, exploring his culinary skills at the award-winning Selden Standard, he went on to use that same zeal for creation as an anchored member of the bar team at Detroit hot spot, Grey Ghost. In addition to his foam-crowned showpiece, Faye Valentine, Valor shared his thoughts on the industry and his place in it. Read on to see what he had to say.

DSC: What is the proudest moment from your hospitality career?

VM: What’s my proudest moment in the industry? I honestly can’t think of one. Anytime I could have someone I’ve only known for 45min say, “Valor it’s been a pleasure. We’ll make sure we come back just for you,” I’d say that was a proud moment. From making the perfect suggestions on what to eat, to making a dealer’s choice they absolutely love, to making them laugh so hard they forgot they had another course coming up. These are the moments I’m most proud of. Executing on a high level. 

DSC: How do you envision the future of hospitality, and how do you feel you fit into it?

VM: If 2020 taught us anything, it was that the hospitality industry has to be adaptable. It’s always changing. From private eating bubbles to online happy hours, there’s already so much potential in what the industry can become. And as someone who’s recently gone from full-time bartender to someone who experiments at home, I just know I want to be a part of it. Whatever that looks like. No matter what happens with the hospitality industry or where it goes next, I just know I want to be there to soak it all up.

Faye Valentine 

1.5 oz Norden Aquavit

.25 oz Cointreau

.625 oz Pomegranate Thyme Syrup

.50 oz Lemon Juice

2 Dashes Chocolate Bitters

1 Egg White

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Sailor Venus

“I would like for the art of craft cocktails to be accessible to your average blue-collar American.” – Mylikka Phelps

Mylikka Phelps brings an infectious, positive energy behind the rail on every shift. With a hospitality career that has taken her to some of Detroit’s most popular restaurants and brewhouses, she can currently be found enchanting guests at vegetarian eatery, Seva. Alongside her citrus-bursting cocktail, Sailor Venus, Mylikka shared her thoughts on the service industry and her place in it. Keep reading to so see what she had to say.

DSC: What is the proudest moment from your hospitality career?

MP: One of my proudest moments in my bar career was when I had this one bar guest RAVE over one of our signature cocktails that I made for her. She was so complimentary with me! She was telling me, “OH MY GOD! This is the best drink I have ever had!” and “You are such an amazing bartender!” For someone who has only bartended for a little over a year and to have been doing this during a pandemic, it was so heartwarming and refreshing to have someone praise me for my work! It was something I needed during a really hard time.

DSC: What do you envision as the future of the industry, and how do you feel you fit into it?

MP: I would like for the art of craft cocktails to be accessible to your average blue-collar American. I want people to feel like specialty cocktails are accessible to them and to not be intimidated by them! In a city like Detroit, I feel like residents aren’t given the chance to be educated in the art of making cocktails and in knowing about different ingredients, liqueurs and spirits. I just want people to feel comfortable and excited about craft cocktails! 

I think what I bring into this industry is a friendly presence and a fun atmosphere that I do feel is missing a little bit in our industry at times. I want people to have fun when they sit at my bar! I want people to be excited about the cocktails and the whole bar experience! I feel that a lot of restaurants are focused on the décor and ambiance of the restaurant, but I feel like they don’t focus on the actual experience of enjoying an amazing meal or drink. I just love making people smile and creating a product that makes people happy!

Sailor Venus

– .5 oz Lime Juice

– 2 oz Grapefruit Juice

– 1 oz Orange Juice

– .5 oz Basil Simple Syrup

– 2 oz Norden Aquavit

– Soda Water

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Avena’s Grace

“…hospitality at its best is a brew of generosity, creativity, nourishment, curiosity, and discovery.” – Alexis Akridge

Alexis Akridge aptly refers to her craft as ‘potion making.’ In her two years behind the rail, she has developed a signature etched in herbalism and an approach to hospitality threaded by the ties of community. Alongside her rich, layered masterpiece, Avena’s Grace, Alexis offered her thoughts on the changing nature of the industry, and her experience in it thus far.

DSC: What has been your proudest moment in your hospitality career?

AA: My deepest enjoyment as a potion maker is sharing a drink that ignites joy, pleasure, and delight in my friends. Their gratification is immensely satisfying and validating. I hope to share more drinks that are as healing as they are delicious.

DSC: How do you envision the future of hospitality, and how do you feel you fit into it?

AA: I honestly have no idea what the hospitality industry is likely to look like in the next few years, but I envision something much grander and wholesome for the future: something communal and community-led, local on every level—something operating beyond the boundaries of capital, something truly nourishing and sustainable and generative to our everyday lives. Everyone cooks, but chefs and farmers and potion makers can lead us to mastering our relationship to the earth’s abundance, and also enchant us with their creativity. To me, hospitality at its best is a brew of generosity, creativity, nourishment, curiosity, and discovery. All that still being true, how do we create spaces to make and share food without destruction, instability, or lack? To be quite direct, my vision is one part food kitchen, two parts farm to table dining, and three parts community garden-workshop center, and all the parts of looking out for one another. 

I think one of the roles I will play in this long-term strategy of transformation is teaching people about the plants and the “weeds” that grow all around us—how they can be seen, understood, and incorporated into our lives. They have much to teach us about perseverance, adaptability, harmony, and nourishment.

Avena’s Grace

Creamy – Complex – Herbal – Luscious – Rich – Layered

1.5 OZ Norden Aquavit

1.25 oz Oatstraw decoction (made using a 14 hr infusion that was then reduced)

.75 oz Apple shrub (fuji apples, acv, cane sugar, 3 days

2 Droppers Milky Oat Seed tincture (made with sugar cane alcohol)

3 Sage leaves

1 Egg white

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Hearts Along the Shoreline

“…there are many creative and innovative people in the hospitality industry helping to push the culture forward.” – Kyle DuPree

Kyle DuPree’s cocktail craft is an exciting, lyrical presence in Detroit’s hospitality community. Combining a love of visual art and an affinity for bold, eclectic flavor combinations, Kyle has most recently put those skills to use bartending at Detroit’s cocktail perfumery, Castalia. In addition to his rich, decadent, exhibition offering, Hearts Along the Shoreline, Kyle also took the time to answer a few questions about the state of the industry he loves.

DSC: What is your proudest moment from your hospitality career?

KD: If I had to pick my proudest moment in my hospitality career, it would have to be the very first time I made a freestyle cocktail for a first-time bar customer. The customer wasn`t very familiar with classic cocktails, so we just chopped it up for a bit. While we talked about cocktails and other stuff, I just freestyled him something and he loved it. After that, he asked me to make my favorite cocktail (the last word) and once he drank it, I knew I had made a cocktail lover for life. He stayed for a while after that to talk about cocktails and spirits. We even looked up some really old recipes to make and just had a really fun time. I always want to make sure everyone is comfortable and having a good time, so being able to do that for a person on their first time at a bar really meant a lot to me.

DSC: How do you envision the future of hospitality, and how do you feel you fit into it?

KD: The future of hospitality is pretty bright. Even with the current struggles, many bars and restaurants are making the appropriate steps to provide their customers with the best service they can. Before the shutdown, many restaurants/bars were surpassing the boundaries of what would be considered conventional service, be it with cool presentations, rare ingredients, or astounding service. I predict this trend will continue once the shutdown is lifted, and with many of the experiences and tactics picked up, the establishments will only strengthen that. To add to that, there are many creative and innovative people in the hospitality industry helping to push the culture forward. As far as where I see myself in this, well, I like to think of myself as one of the creatives that push the culture forward. I like seeing what weird and different ingredients I can use, or even finding well known ingredients and finding new uses for them with creative, original cocktails, all while providing service that aims to make people feel at home. I plan to continue doing so and hopefully make it so customers feel more comfortable learning about cocktails and spirits in a laid back and chill manner.

Hearts Along the Shoreline 

1.5 oz Cinnamon Infused Norden Aquavit

.75 oz Homemade Strawberry Liqueur 

1.25 oz Strawberry Simple Syrup

.5 oz Half and Half

1 Whole Egg

KD on his cocktail:

For the garnish, I finely crushed a mixture of honey graham crackers and vanilla wafers and placed them atop the foam in the shape of a crescent shoreline. I then used bitters to create the hearts on the foam of the cocktail.  The cocktail is meant to be as rich and smooth as a calm wave washing against the shore, but sweet like young love.

Shake, Rattle, and Roll: Snaps and Claps

“I feel like things can bounce back and maybe even be better than what they were before. While this may take time, we’ve made it this far.” – Corey Clavet

Cocktail cool kid Corey Clavet has spent just over a decade weaving in and out of the food and beverage industry, finding her latest residence at darling Grey Ghost sister-site, Second Best. Along with her verdant zinger of a cocktail, Corey took the time to shed some light on where she’s been, and where she, and the hospitality industry, may go from here. Read on to see her thoughts.

DSC: What is the proudest moment from your hospitality career?

CC: I don’t think that I’ve had one moment in my bartending career that has stuck out to me as being my crowning achievement. I go into work (hoping to be able to do that again soon, fingers crossed), I do everything that I can to keep my coworkers and guests happy and laughing. I make them drinks and give them a place to come to, to celebrate, to be alone, to contemplate life, to catch up, whatever floats their boat. But I do really enjoy doing what I do, and I think that is an achievement within itself. Not many people can say that. Obviously, some days are better than others, but being able to do what I love and still have the time to see the people that I love is just the cherry on top.

DSC: How do you envision the future of hospitality, and how do you feel that you fit into it?

CC: While the future of our industry seems like it’s very unclear right now, I have hope that the bars and restaurants in our city will be able to bounce back. Knowing the people that I know who work in these bars and the friends that I have that really are just looking forward to going out again and following the proper guidelines, I feel that things can bounce back and maybe even be better than what they were before. While this may take time, we’ve made it this far. 

Where I fit in? I’m still trying to hammer out the details. I have taken the time during quarantine to figure out my place here. What’s the next move? Still figuring that out, but whatever that may be, it will be exciting.

Snaps and Claps

1.5 oz Norden Aquavit

.25 oz Green Chartreuse 

.75 oz Juiced Sugar Snap Peas 

.75 oz Maté Tea Syrup 

.5 oz Lemon 

Pinch of salt

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