Ryan Magarian Expands Phoenix's Cocktail Horizons with Jade Bar's New Menu
|Courtesy of Jade Bar.|
|Gin and sage married together in the Lady Sage cocktail at Jade Bar.|
"I'm always super-impressed with what Micah [Olson] is doing at Crudo-- he understands deliciousness trumps innovation," he says.
As an ex-Jade Bar mixologist, Olson, like many other cocktail hotshots in town, was trained by a Magarian cocktail menu when he began. Magarian and Olson are both known for respecting where cocktails came from and expanding that base with a chef-like attention to flavor.
His culinary perspective in mixology lends itself to many interesting combinations that can be found on Jade Bar's new cocktail menu. Sage and gin, shiso and chartreuse, tequila and vermouth and a whole host of extracted juices, such as bell pepper juice, can be found on the menu, which he feels has something for everyone.
"The menu is 50% straightforward, fun and accessible and 50% focused on depth and creativity," he says. "If you're a hardcore cocktail enthusiast, you're going to find something that's going to blow your mind... If you're just looking for a yummy drink, you're going to find that too."
In general, Magarian finds inspiration in anything from a funny name or concept to a well-balanced salad for his drinks, but he always starts with a classic base.
Courtesy of Jade Bar.
"I usually start with a classic template and play mister potato head with different flavors,"
he says, but it's the focus on developing balance, rather than extreme flavors, that he finds most important. While the cocktail world can sometimes be saturated with odd drinks with complicated combinations and executions, Magarian doesn't see that as a permanent feature in the craft cocktail game.
"In order to establish yourself, you have to get weird first because the media rewards weird," he explains. "Eventually, the large group of bartenders focused on making a name for themselves through extreme innovation will begin to dial it back and make their focus just general delciousness."
This transformation happened to Magarian when he first started and he feels it will likely happen throughout the cocktail industry resulting in a golden age of cocktails.
"The next ten years will be the most delicious period of mixed drinks in the history of the world," he says. With cocktails like his on the scene, whether they're off the signature, secret or even non-alcoholic menu, we can't help but agree with him there.