Bartender Q&A: Julian Miller

by admin on March 3, 2011

Sharab LoungeFor our next bartender feature we went down to Florida – specifically Gainesville, home of the Florida Gators and the largest university in the USA.  Known as one of the “best places to live and play,” we checked in with Julian Miller (AKA Jules), co-founder of the premier cocktail lounge – Sharab – to get the local scoop.

How long have you been bartending?

I’ve been Bartending almost seven years now.  I started during my undergrad at the University of Florida, and really got hooked on crafting great cocktails. 

How is the bar scene in your city different from anywhere else?

Gainesville’s bar scene is primarily fueled by UF students so there is an overabundance of dive bars and pubs, so we created Sharab as a bit of a backlash to this drinking culture.  

What are your thoughts on SHOT cocktails as an up and coming trend?

Bartending in a college town there is already an abundance of shots consumed, but I do see patrons looking for better shots than your everyday Washington Apple or Kamikaze.  I feel that as crafted cocktails make a resurgence as the drink of choice the trend will carry over to patrons demanding unique shot cocktails.

What are the most innovative ingredients you’ve used in a cocktail?

I’d say more obscure than innovative, but in a quest for the ultimate “Man-tini” we dabbled with meatballs and buffalo chicken at one point.  I love playing with anything I can get my hands on, but a couple of my favorite ingredients I’ve used were wasabi paste in that I rocked in a wasabi passion-fruit margarita and gummy bears to infuse scotch for an Archer shot. 

  • What new drink trends do you see on the horizon?

I think there is going to be a continued resurgence of the prohibition-era cocktail culture.  More and more I see people wanting something more than just a fruity mixed drink.  Drinkers are transitioning to wanting a true cocktail that plays off of its liquor ingredients and showcases them, rather than masks them behind a veil of mixers.  The spirit market is constantly bringing better products like Harlem to the market, and as a result people are going to want to taste these product instead of your played out mixers.

  • Have you ever made a drink for a celebrity? Who?

Bartending in Gainesville, I have served at one point or another every Gator athlete to go pro in the last seven years, except for Tim Tebow who didn’t drink.  I did get to squeeze him a glass of orange juice though.   

  • What do you like most about HARLEM? How does it differ from other spirits you’ve tried?

I think Harlem is next to perfect, it’s a perfect balance between sweetness and body and it goes down a little too easy sometimes.  I prefer it Chilled straight, but it really is a versatile spirit that plays well with just about anything you throw at it, and maintains its unique flavor.

  • What is your signature HARLEM Shot Cocktail?

Duchess, Which is 1.25oz Harlem, .5oz Fragoli, .25oz St. Germaine, and a couple swipes of lime zest.  It shaken and twice strained into a chilled shot glass.  The shot is distinctively Harlem, but it showcases the softer floral notes in the spirit.

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HARLEM Q&A: Mike Mallory

by Julie on February 18, 2011

Since our bartender and blogger Q&As have been so popular on the blog, we’ve decided to expand them to the HARLEM family, as well! Our Midwest Regional Sales Manager, Mike Mallory, was kind enough to step up and be the first to chat with us from the Nolet Spirits sales team. Mike is based in Chicago, but covers 11 states across the Midwest.

How did you get into the spirits industry?

I started in the beer industry when I worked for Coors after college. After a few years, I gravitated to the spirits industry and I’ve been doing that for almost 18 years. Over the last 10 years, I have worked for Nolet Spirits, in both New York and Chicago.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

I love how the industry and marketplace are constantly changing and evolving. It sometimes makes the job challenging, but it is always interesting. I am fortunate to work in what I think is the greatest industry in the world. We work hard and we play hard!

How is the bar scene in your city different from anywhere else?

Chicago is a huge sports town. Between the Blackhawks, Cubs, White Sox and “Da Bears,” there is always a game on and loyal fans are constantly out in the bars enjoying their favorite drinks and rooting for their teams. Chicago fans are extremely loyal and fiercely competitive, which makes it a lot of fun to visit different bars and restaurants to watch the games.

What do you like most about HARLEM?

I like that HARLEM is so mixable, yet it still has a very complex profile. It is extremely versatile because of the citrus notes. HARLEM works great in countless shot creations as well as cocktails.

What is your favorite HARLEM shot cocktail?

I am a purist, so I like a shot of HARLEM, straight-up – the colder, the better! I also really like the HARLEM Bull Run. The citrus notes in all the ingredients work really well together and it’s not too sweet.

What is the most interesting experience that you’ve had on the job?

Let’s just say that doing this for 18 years and being out and about a few nights a week for work, I’ve seen some “interesting” things.

If you could create a new HARLEM shot cocktail, what would it be?

I am always trying to come up with new ideas for HARLEM shots. Right now, I am working on one that has HARLEM, limoncello and some lemon zest. It’s a work in progress. I will let you know how it turns out!

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Although it may be cold and snowy in many parts of the country, it’s prime citrus season in warmer locales like California and Florida. HARLEM® has a hint of mandarin orange, so the liqueur pairs perfectly with citrusy beverages or dishes that bring out that sweet, tangy flavor.

We recently came across this blood orange liqueur, which would be a great mixer with HARLEM. Some other drink recipes that play up the fruity flavor include the HARLEM Orange Offense, HARLEM Marmalade and HARLEM Punch of Fruit.

Perhaps the reason HARLEM is so popular in California and Florida is because of its citrus connection. HARLEM is served in the Sunshine State at Burger & Beer Joint, Blue Martini or The Lodge, among many others. In Southern California, you can find HARLEM at Auld Dubliner, Bourbon Street and Woody’s Wharf and more.

If you get hungry and want a delicious dish to pair with HARLEM, boost your Vitamin C even more with an orange-infused salad, main dish or dessert. This tangy taste is a delightful way to warm up the mid-winter blues.

What’s your favorite citrus drink or dish? Let us know in the comments!

Proost!

Julie

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