Chicago native, global bartending champion and founder of Crafthouse Cocktails Charles Joly, visited Lebanon as one of Diageo’s brand ambassadors. HN interviewed the man who some believe is one of the world’s best bartenders to get a better feel of this thriving industry.
Taking the high-end mixology concept to maturity, a concept, which has been gaining traction throughout the world, Joly explained that ten years ago, nobody really cared about bartenders. Today, that job has not only grown to become a career, but the bartender is now a star, similar to a chef after the emergence of culinary TV programs like the Food Network. I mean I have visited 40 countries in the past four years and have gotten to see the world along the way.
On that note, an important trend in this industry is people’s growing demand for freshly-prepared cocktails. As a result, companies began making their own drinks and peddling them to consumers. That did not work very well considering that the scientists concocting these flavors in a laboratory never worked behind a bar. That was when we conceived Crafthouse Cocktails. We currently offer four different cocktails made from natural high-quality freshly-bottled ingredients. This specific industry is significantly growing, especially since people expect to enjoy the different ingredients we use to fashion drinks behind the bar, in these off-the-shelf options. Seasonality, authenticity and freshness are elements the global drinks industry is focusing on and I see plenty of future growth opportunities there.
On the other hand, I have seen people frequenting the same bars for years that make terrible drinks, simply because the drink is only part of the going out experience. This too will continue to grow and in parallel, so will the role a bartender plays and the entire orchestration involved. In conclusion, I would like to say that people are treating their drinks with the same expectations chefs treat the food and that is a reality that should be lent serious consideration in moving forward. Furthermore, food and cocktail pairing is becoming very popular as chefs become more accepting of what mixologists have to offer in terms of added value to the F&B experience.