People often ask me, “What’s it like to work here?”
I am a bartender at Jack Rose Dining Saloon in Washington DC and this bar houses over 1,500 bottles of whiskey. Yes you are reading this correctly, over 1,500 bottles of American bourbon, rye, single malt scotch, Irish whiskey, Canadian whisky, Japanese whisky and many more international whiskeys. Name a bottle of whiskey you love and odds are we have it, plus many more options you probably have never heard of. To give you an idea of the vastness of the collection I work with, we have over fifteen different types of Macallans to offer.
It’s incredible! So, have I always loved whiskey? Where did my knowledge come from? How did I “stumble” upon this job which is geared around recommending this fabulous libation?
The truth is I did not always love whisky. It all began as I delved deeper into learning how to be more creative with all types of spirits, liqueurs, spices, juices, syrups, etc. What differentiates a good bartender from a great one is their ability to create a cocktail on demand that is a reflection of whatever the customer‘s whim or wish may be. My journey to falling in love with whiskey began with making cocktails for customers, including a great deal of whiskey. The more cocktails I made, the more my taste palate developed. I began to understand the small and large nuances between whiskies in terms of the entire tasting experience. This includes starting and lingering tasting notes, smells, textures, and overall mouth feel.
I quickly became obsessed with trying as many whiskies as possible, as I wanted to understand how each one could affect an entire cocktail’s flavor profile. What better place than to expand my knowledge than at Jack Rose Dining Saloon. As every bartender’s dream with so many options available to create with, this place became my playground. I fell in love with whiskey pretty quickly and there is no turning back.
For only being 26 years old, my taste palate is that of an old man or a middle-aged man, but I do not despair. I want to share my passion for whiskey with you. If you don’t understand, it’s time to sit down and have a flight of whisky. Item number one: TASTE.
I often use music as a metaphor to whiskey. I try to entice new beginners who are apprehensive about trying whiskey by pointing out that one cannot say they hate all music. There must be one song out there you love? The same goes for exploring the world of whiskey. What people too often fail to realize is that the world of whiskey is so vast and has so many options for you to try. Many people do not realize what is available to them. What are you waiting for?
My tip for enjoying whiskey:: Keep tasting as many as possible because the options are endless.