Bartender's Notebook

Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Campground's Christopher Ciesiel talks crowdsourcing ahead of Saturday's pop-up fundraiser

Posted By on Thu, Jul 23, 2015 at 1:11 PM

KICKSTARTER / CHRISTOPHER CIESIEL
  • Kickstarter / Christopher Ciesiel

Christopher Ciesiel and Cristin Llewellyn have been entertaining guests in their backyard since 2011, when the husband-and-wife team built a bar in their shed and started stocking the booze. In the years since, Ciesiel has slowly built a reputation around his craft cocktails — thanks, in part, to a few off-site gigs and guest-bartending spots at local bars. 

By the spring of 2016, Ciesiel and Llewellyn hope to make the Campground more of an official space. They've got their eyes set on a storefront at 6 Westport Road, on the corner of Westport and Main. To help raise funds for the brick-and-mortar business, the couple has turned to the popular crowdsourcing platform, Kickstarter. They set a goal of $20,000; with 10 days left on the campaign, the Campground is more than halfway funded.

Ahead of the pop-up fundraiser for the Campground on Saturday, July 25, at Morton Ballroom, I chatted with Ciesiel about the ups and downs of crowdsourcing and his plans for the bar. 

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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bartender's Notebook: At the W bar, Mike Strohm's cocktails are the best kinds of show and tell

Posted By on Wed, Jul 22, 2015 at 2:09 PM

ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

Mike Strohm raises the butcher’s knife over his head. When he brings it down in front of him, there’s a sickening crack. He raises his arm and slams the blade down again, then again, and again.

The ice block in front of him doesn’t stand a chance.

Finally, Strohm — having bashed an impressive cube from the block, then shaved it down to fit the Burgundy glass that he has selected — sets down his tool. His work as a gleeful executioner over for now, he returns to the project at hand: assembling one of his signature cocktails, called Giggle Water.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Drink This Now: the Pre-Shift at Blvd Tavern

Posted By on Wed, Jul 15, 2015 at 12:36 PM

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I have always equated the boilermaker — or the shot-and-a-beer serving — with a cheap pour of whiskey and an even cheaper draft. (In my experience, Jameson and PBR usually do the trick.) There is always a time and a place for this classic combination. For me, it was usually after a long shift of schlepping plates at a restaurant. For some people, it's simply an everyday bar order. For a few, it's breakfast. Hey, I'm not judging. 

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Bartender's Notebook: At Rye, Julie Ohno masterminds more than just drinks

Posted By on Thu, Jul 2, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Ohno adds her bitters. - ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman
  • Ohno adds her bitters.

Some people call Julie Ohno “the bitters girl,” but that has nothing to do with her disposition. When I meet her at Rye, the Leawood restaurant where she works, she greets me from behind the bar with a bright smile. She’s eager to talk about what’s really behind that nickname: the seemingly endless recipe book she’s assembling for her burgeoning company, No. 22 Bitters.  

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Andrew Olsen takes over the bar program at Bluestem

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2015 at 2:19 PM

WWW.BLUESTEMKC.COM
  • www.bluestemkc.com

After a brief stint opening up Cleaver & Cork, the Power & Light District's sprawling meat lover's restaurant, in the former Maker's Mark space, bartender Andrew Olsen is departing for new turf.

Olsen left the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange in February and has spent just four months at Cleaver & Cork, where he quickly rose from bar manager to assistant general manager.

Tonight, Olsen begins his first shift at chefs Colby and Megan Garreltses' prestigious Bluestem restaurant. If it seems like he's hopping around, Olsen insists that hasn't been his goal. 

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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bartender's Notebook: Peeking into the Bristol's Porthole cocktails

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2015 at 7:58 AM

ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman

The bar at Bristol Seafood Grill is all but empty when I arrive for happy hour on a Monday — a welcome lull for bartender Austin Jacobs. He has only just arrived, and the task I’ve given him — whipping up one of the restaurant’s brand-new Porthole cocktails – requires some concentration.

The Porthole is, for starters, the vessel itself: designed by Martin Kastner for Chicago’s famed cocktail lounge the Aviary, it’s fashioned out of two thick glass plates. Filled with delicious drink ingredients — in the Bristol’s case, vodka, fresh fruit and herbs in three different combinations — it resembles a high-concept pinwheel. Beyond its aesthetics, though, the Porthole is also a demonstration of fast infusion, which means each sip of the cocktail is meant to give the drinker a new flavor.

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Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Drink This Now: Fatboy Sling at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange

Posted By on Tue, Jun 16, 2015 at 12:36 PM

Bartender Branham pours out a Fatboy Sling
  • Bartender Branham pours out a Fatboy Sling

Just because the weather lately hasn't been all that patio-friendly doesn't mean my interest in patio-pounders has diminished. I know I'm not alone in this. A recent stop at the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange found several tempting, summer-inspired drinks on the seasonal cocktail menu. One drink — the Fatboy Sling — combines two of my favorite things, rosé wine and Aperol, and something else I couldn't pronounce: Combier Pamplemousse. 

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Monday, June 1, 2015

Negroni Week kicks off today, in case you needed another reason to drink on a Monday

Through Sunday, participating restaurants in Kansas City and Lawrence serve their versions of the Negroni.

Posted By on Mon, Jun 1, 2015 at 8:16 AM

Negroni Week: Plan your drinking accordingly. - ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman
  • Negroni Week: Plan your drinking accordingly.

Who doesn’t like a Negroni? Only people who have never had one, that’s who. If you’re already a fan of the classic cocktail — traditionally equal parts gin, vermouth rosso and Campari — then Imbibe Magazine’s third annual Negroni Week needs no introduction.

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  • Through Sunday, participating restaurants in Kansas City and Lawrence serve their versions of the Negroni.

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Drink This Now: Blood Orange Ginger Fizz at Thou Mayest

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 10:23 AM

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Thou Mayest can pour an excellent cup of coffee, but there's no reason your beverage experience has to end there. The Crossroads roastery has just as many depressants as stimulants: On the handsome shelves lining the wall behind the bar sit dozens of spirits, waiting for their chance.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Drink This Now: Pirate's Booty at Local Pig in Westport

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 3:35 PM

A shot from our Bartender's Notebook with Mariscal back in January. - ZACH BAUMAN
  • Zach Bauman
  • A shot from our Bartender's Notebook with Mariscal back in January.

Erik Mariscal's cocktail menus have always been very garden-inspired, so it should surprise no one that his new spring cocktail offerings at the Local Pig in Westport is his most flavorful yet. As part of our ongoing "Drink This Now" blog series, we decided to stop in for a quick taste of the California transplant's newest drinks. 

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