Charlotte Voisey: On Molecular Mixology and Being a Bartender

Punch and Judy.jpg
Courtesy of Tales of the Cocktail
The Punch and Judy
Talk about garden-to-glass versus molecular mixology. Are they fads or here to stay?: Using fresh ingredients at their peak in cocktails isn't a trend, it's a movement. We've seen it happen with food. People are exposed to great ingredients, and once they've had that experience, there's no going back. But you can also see why molecular mixology is happening. Bartenders use whatever they have access to, and right now, they have exposure to many things, including technology. It's very exciting, but I don't know enough about science to do that. I won't freeze a cocktail or set it on fire to impress someone; I just want to make it taste good.

Is there a difference between a bartender and a mixologist?: I will always be a bartender. I love to tend bar, watch people having a good time and work in a sometimes-crazy environment. And I think most bartenders feel this way. Bartending is more emotive and represents a deep connection to people, whereas mixology sometimes comes off as cold and clinical.

You created the Punch and Judy cocktail, which won the competition and became the official drink for Tales of the Cocktail in 2008. Tell us about it:
90% of the cocktails I create are variations on classics. Classic cocktails are stepping stones that have stood the test of time. The proportions are good, and people like them. That's what makes them classics. When I made the Punch & Judy, using classic ingredients such as rum and Cognac seemed like the obvious way to go. It was July in New Orleans, so I wanted something fresh and bright, flavors that stood up. I put rum, Cognac, gin, orange curacao, pineapple, orange and lime juices, agave nectar, a dash of bitters and fresh mint in a tall glass with lots and lots of ice.

Enjoy this Chef Salad? Check out Nikki's previous interviews with:
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Steve Olson of Valley Ho
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Edward Farrow of The Cafe at MIM
Greg LaPrad of Quiessence & Morning Glory Cafe
Joshua Johnson of Kai
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Todd Sicolo of T.Cooks
Josh Riesner of Pig & Pickle
Lester Gonzalez of Cowboy Ciao
M.J. Coe of Federal Pizza
Steven "Chops" Smith of Searsucker
Aaron Chamberlin of St. Francis
Michael Rusconi of Rusconi's American Kitchen
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Charlotte is wrong on a couple things. She says that our cocktail culture is only 200 years old, which is true. Cocktails were invented here just over 200 years ago. But she says Britain's cocktail history is over 400 years old because they were drinking punch. First of all, punch is not a cocktail and secondly, Americans were drinking punch just as much as Britain was before the invention of the cocktail. As long as America has been around, whether as a colony or a nation, we have been drinking--and much the same was as our motherland. We have been drinking since our birth as a nation and that's a lot longer than 200 years. I know she is proud of her country, but that doesn't mean that she should spread misinformation. 


Hello.  I apologize for the confusion and reading back can see that it might be interpreted as misinformation.  What I meant to allude to was the nice, neat defined cocktail history we are afforded from the USA thanks to the 1806 definition and how that kicked off the individual, iced, cocktail that America gave to the world, thank goodness.  Before then lots of folk were drinking punch on both sides of the Atlantic, ceratinly.  Often Briain is thought of as not having any kind of cocktail drinking culture until modern day so it is just nice to include the punch story, but I certainly didn't mean to exclude America from historic punch culture.

Hope you all enjoy Arizona Cocktail Week!


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