June 02, 2023

Q: What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry?

A: barista — early mornings and unlimited access to caffeine was a risky move as a teen.

Q: What is your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?

A: I’ve put a lot of love into developing our Tennessee whiskey offerings (I think it is a fascinating category that doesn’t get nearly enough respect), but our current menu shows a lot of love to cocktails featuring brandies from across the Americas.

Q: You like to incorporate hyper-local sourcing and fresh ingredients into drinks; what are some of your recent creations?

A: Our next menu features mezcal with late-winter persimmon, a fruit native to Middle Tennessee and different from Japanese persimmon, which didn’t arrive widely in the U.S. until the 1960s.

Foraging can be a great way to stay hyper-local with some rules. Be extremely confident and informed of what you’re harvesting, make sure to harvest ethically, leaving enough to re-seed the area for next year’s crop, and ask permission if you’re anywhere near private property.

Q: You created some interesting spirit-free drinks for the Fox Bar; what is the key to making them taste good or seem more like the spirited cocktails?

A: I think the key is to not aim for them to taste like alcohol. It’s not alcohol so aim to create a delicious and surprising beverage that satisfies on its own without being a poor imitation of something else.