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Jan 21, 2018
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Posts Tagged ‘Seth Wahlman’

Readers’ Choice 2016: Favorite Bartender – Tim Wiggins

Friday, July 1st, 2016



{From left, Tim Wiggins, Ben Bauer, Seth Wahlman and Ted Kilgore at Retreat Gastropub}

Your favorite bartenders of 2016 tell us: What’s the worst confession they’ve heard while tending bar?

Winner: Tim Wiggins, Retreat Gastropub
“I was talking to a boss of a company at the bar. I’m trying to remember the exact quote. It was basically, ‘I’m excited for our new hires because I’ve already slept with everyone in the office.’”

2nd: Ted Kilgore, Planter’s House
“All of the worst things people have confessed are unfit for print. I have worked at mostly classy places and have served Nebraska farmers, exotic dancers and movie stars. The one connection is people sometimes get really weird after a few drinks. … It’s like improv sometimes.”

3rd: Ben Bauer, The Libertine
“It’s mainly the things you see more than confessions. Most recently I had a couple sitting at the bar, and they seemed really happy when they came, but at some point during the meal they got super quiet. Then she just left, and he started slamming cocktails and talking to everyone about how she had just broken up with him.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Wahlman, Eclipse
“A robotics engineer once told me he felt bad about wiping out factory jobs and that his wife was a replacement for his first love. Other than that it’s mostly affairs.”


-photo by Jonathan Gayman

Readers’ Choice 2015: Bartender of the Year – Ted Kilgore

Thursday, July 23rd, 2015



{From left, Kyle Mathis, Seth Wahlman and Bess Kretsinger with Bartender of the Year Ted Kilgore}

Whether it’s serving up seasonal cocktails, perfecting the classics or putting new twists on old favorites, this year’s top bartenders won you over with their creativity and craftsmanship. Here’s what they want to mix most when you see them behind the stick this summer.

Bartender of the Year: Ted Kilgore at Planter’s House
The Drink: Gin Soaked Boy
What’s in it: Citadelle gin, Ransom Old Tom gin, Nolet’s gin, sloe gin, fino sherry, cinnamon syrup and lemon juice
Why it’s great: “It’s super refreshing, beautiful and quite boozy. Our bartender Mandi Kowalski actually came up with it, and I love the whole package. The name is also the name of a Tom Waits song, and I love Tom Waits. It also includes my favorite gins and looks phenomenal when you’re drinking it. It’s aromatic, beautiful and nostalgic.”

Second Place: Kyle Mathis at Taste
The Drink: Walla Walla Bing Bang
What’s in it: El Dorado spiced rum, North Shore Mighty gin, Smith & Cross Jamaica rum, passion fruit, cinnamon syrup, grapefruit and lime juices
Why it’s great: “It’s sweet and fruit-forward from passion fruit and house-made cinnamon syrup. I loved the challenge of putting gin and rum together – the botanical nature of gin and sweetness of rum are polar opposites.”

Third Place: Bess Kretsinger at Olio 
The Drink: Ramos Gin Fizz
What’s in it: Boodles gin, fresh squeezed lemon and lime juices, orange blossom water, egg whites, cream and sugar
Why it’s great: “This drink is in honor of Tennessee Williams. He was fond of the (Ramos) Gin Fizz. It’s not a super esoteric drink, but it’s based on his roots. It’s a simple but obscure cocktail.”

Honorable Mention: Seth Wahlman at Eclipse Restaurant
The Drink: Year Old Manhattan
What’s in it: Rittenhouse rye, Cocchi vermouth di Torino, Pierre Ferrand Dry curaçao and Angostura bitters
Why it’s great: “I started this project about four years ago. I batch a full glass bottle of Manhattans and rest them in our storage cellar for at least a year. The cocktail begins to take on sherry- and Madeira-like qualities. … I’m always surprised by flavors I hadn’t picked up in previous tastings.”

-photo by Emily Suzanne

Drink This Weekend Edition: Co-pilot

Friday, October 3rd, 2014

Co-pilot at Eclipse Restaurant

Sitting next to him in a stool at Eclipse Restaurant’s bar, it wasn’t hard to get bar manager Seth Wahlman to chat about drink-making, especially the delicate strokes involved in making seasonal cocktails. For one thing, the ingredient list is constantly evolving: in vogue this fall are sage, rosemary, dark rum and anything that can be mulled. Wahlman and his team suffer no shortage of ideas on this stuff, and you can trace their thinking by perusing Eclipse’s fall cocktail menu.

If every good bartender has a theory (see the Kilgore method), Wahlman’s is a three-tiered rubric for a balanced beverage: At the bottom are dark, robust flavors – baking spices, honey and the like; those in the middle are bright and fruit-forward; floral and citrus flavors pop at the top.

“If you can fill in all three of these, you’ve got an interesting drink,” Wahlman explained. I strained to imagine what it looks like when the three flavor profiles work together. The rungs of a ladder, perhaps? A pyramid? A symphony?

The best illustration of Wahlman’s philosophy might be the Co-pilot, a variation of the sidecar. Shake together Aperol-flavored falernum, Calvados (apple brandy) and lemon juice, then garnish with a St. Germain-infused apple slice, which floats on top like a kind of capstone.

While Wahlman mixed one up he recited the lore surrounding the Calvados sidecar, an easy variant of the classic cocktail that is often “discovered” by novice bartenders taking their first steps with creative mixing.

“With newer bartenders, they always add Calvados and say, ‘Look what I made!’” Wahlman said. He wasn’t being condescending – another barkeep next to him even nodded knowingly. But it’s become a bit of an old saw in the industry, the bartender’s equivalent to, say, a guitarist’s learning to play “Stairway to Heaven” – not exactly a stroke of genius anymore, but a personal milestone, a leap forward.

The Co-pilot, then, is a stylized homage to the sidecar and the journeyman’s apple-brandied rendering of it. Take a taste, and here’s what happens: the moody notes of anise and molasses clash, then harmonize with the bright apple flavors of Calvados. The shrill taste of lemon arrives last, at the back of the tongue, to provide a bracing wave of tartness that refreshes the palate for the next sip. If it isn’t quite music, it’s certainly a pageant of unalike flavors that have reordered themselves, shrugged off their differences and linked elbows. Plus, the combination of apple and rum is a dead ringer for autumn.

Elsewhere on the menu, similarly odd couplings abound – like gin and coffee, which are deftly united in The Ironic Tonic. The cocktail combines local Pinckney Bend gin with house-made coffee syrup, infused lemon juice and tonic water. The truly adventurous should observe the interplay between Amaro Nonino and a rolled slice of coppa (a meat garnish!) in the Chaz.

Can we call this fine lineup of reinvented drinks a symphony? Maybe. You’ll have to face the music and decide.

Drink This Weekend Edition: Savoring the spirit of Oaxaca

Friday, September 21st, 2012

It was a happy moment when Chris Stevens of Craft Distillers sent word that Alipús mezcal was headed to St. Louis. Craft Distillers represents brands like Germain Robin, Maison Surrenne and Los Nahuales whose spirits are made through time-honored, hand-crafted, small-batch distillation methods. So I was anxious to try the newest import.

The trio of Alipús mezcals – San Andres, San Baltazar and San Juan del Rio – hail from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, which is the heart of mezcal country. Production is similar for all three mezcals: Agave is wood-roasted in palenques; juice is extracted via stone-milling; and fermentation occurs with native yeasts in open wooden vats. In addition, all three Alipús spirits are double-distilled in wood-fired, copper pot stills. But each mezcal shows marks of distinction, too, from the villages where the distillers work to the types of vats they use and the terroir of their agave.

San Andres (pink label), my favorite of the three, is fermented in cypress vats. It has an appealing floral aroma and fruity flavor that, to my palate, tones down the mezcal’s smoky character. San Juan del Rio (black label), fermented in oak, is the smokiest of the bunch. Those who enjoy peaty, smoky scotch may find the San Juan del Rio to be a kindred spirit. The pine-fermented San Baltazar (purple label) offers a round mouth feel with notes of sugar cane, smoke and an earthy spice. All three mezcals are sold at The Wine & Cheese Place (Clayton and Ballwin locations) and Parker’s Table for $39 a bottle.

An excellent mezcal can be savored on its own, but if you’re of the mindset to mix with it, try making an Oaxacan drink called Donají. The cocktail is simply a shaken combination of mezcal, citrus juices and agave nectar served over ice in a salt-rimmed glass, but the drink can get funky with rimmings (salt mixed with crushed, dried grasshopper) and garnishes (fresh pomegranate seeds, lime wheels and lemon leaf). Here, we created a minimalist recipe for the basic bar, without losing the sweet and tangy citrus notes and the funk of smoky mezcal. If pomegranates were in season, we’d toss in a few seeds, but we won’t leave out the fiery chile-salt rim regardless of the time of year. (Tequila drinkers will notice that the Donají Pronto calls for the same trio of liquids as a Tequila Sunrise. The difference: This version calls for mezcal, it isn’t built in the glass and it has a salt rim.)

Donají Pronto
1 Serving

Chile powder, for rimming
Coarse salt, for rimming
2 orange slices
1½ oz. Alipús San Andres mezcal
1½ oz. fresh orange juice
¼ oz. grenadine

• Combine a few pinches of chile powder and coarse salt in a shallow bowl.
• Wipe the rim of an Old-Fashioned glass with one of the orange slices, then dip the glass in the bowl to rim it with the chile powder-salt mixture.
• Combine the mezcal, orange juice and grenadine in a shaker filled with ice. Shake and transfer to the glass.
• Garnish with an orange slice.

— Cocktail made by Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman

Drink This Weekend Edition: Drinking blueberries

Friday, June 1st, 2012

This month, we gave you eight great reasons to pick up a pint of blueberries. This superfruit packs loads of flavor into prepared dishes, but don’t miss out on its drink possibilities. Start with the recipe for blueberry syrup then work that sweet elixir into these cocktails we developed with the assistance of Eclipse bar manager Seth Wahlman. Below, you’ll find recipes using gin, tequila and vodka. (We prefer blueberries with white spirits.) Take your pick.

Blueberry Syrup
Makes 2 cups

1 cup water
2 cups Demerara sugar
2 tsp. lemon juice
2 cups fresh blueberries

Combine the water and Demerara sugar in a medium-sized pot. Stir well. Over medium heat, dissolve the sugar, then the add lemon juice and blueberries. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 10 minutes, or until the fruit has broken down. Double strain into a clean jar, gently pushing the back of a spoon against the blueberries to release any additional juices.

Big Blue Aftermath
Courtesy of Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman
1 serving

2 Tbsp. Demerara sugar, for rimming
Freshly ground cinnamon, for rimming
Freshly ground nutmeg, for rimming
1½ oz. Milagro silver tequila
½ oz. The Big O ginger liqueur
½ oz. Cointreau
½ oz. blueberry syrup (recipe above)
Juice of half a lemon

For rimming, combine 2 tablespoons of the Demerara sugar in a shallow bowl with a pinch each of cinnamon and nutmeg. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Dip half the rim of a Collins glass into the sugar mixture and set aside. Next, pour the tequila, ginger liqueur, Cointreau, blueberry syrup and lemon juice into a shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into the Collins glass filled with fresh ice.

Sage Advice
Courtesy of Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman
1 serving

1½ oz. St. George Botanivore gin
6 fresh blueberries
¾ oz. blueberry syrup (recipe above)
¼ oz. lime juice
1 fresh sage leaf, for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper, for garnish

Muddle the gin and blueberries in a shaker. Add the blueberry syrup and lime juice. Shake with ice and strain into a rocks glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a sage leaf and a quarter turn of freshly ground black pepper.

Red, White & Blueberry
Courtesy of Eclipse’s Seth Wahlman
1 serving

¼ Red Delicious apple
¼ oz. honey
1½ oz. Mastermind vodka
½ oz. blueberry syrup (recipe above)
¼ oz. lemon juice
3 fresh blueberries, for garnish

Muddle the apple and honey in a shaker. Add the vodka, blueberry syrup and lemon juice. Shake with ice and strain into a Collins glass filled with fresh ice. Garnish with a skewer threaded with fresh blueberries.

The Scoop: Blood & Sand bolsters bar staff

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

090711_lucasBlood & Sand owners TJ Vytlacil and Adam Frager continue to bolster their staff in preparation for next week’s launch of their members-only bar and restaurant downtown. In July, the duo hired chef Chris Bork, who was at The Mud House at the time, to man the kitchen. Today comes news of the latest hire: bartender Lucas Ramsey, who has been behind the bar for the last few years at Eclipse at the Moonrise Hotel in The Loop. Sauce readers named Ramsey their favorite bartender in this year’s Readers’ Choice poll.

Vytlacil expressed his enthusiasm for bringing Ramsey aboard, noting that he and Ramsey had worked together at The Flamingo Bowl downtown. At that time, Vytlacil was bartending and Ramsey was a door man. Both Vytlacil and Ramsey recalled the evening when Vytlacil prepared a Blood & Sand for Ramsey. “It was my first introduction to actual cocktails,” said Ramsey, who has since gone on to become a prominent player in the area’s craft cocktail scene and worked his way up the ranks at Eclipse to his current position as bar manager. Replacing Ramsey at Eclipse will be the restaurant’s lead bartender, Seth Wahlman. For more on the unique concept behind Blood & Sand, click here.

— Photo by Carmen Troesser

Drink This Weekend Edition: Imbibe between raindrops on Eclipse’s rooftop patio

Friday, April 1st, 2011

040111_dtweSnow claimed the headline last weekend and showers are in the forecast for Sunday, which means patio-lovers in The Lou have just a couple days to get their outdoor fix. Make the most of it and head to Eclipse’s rooftop terrace bar atop The Moonrise Hotel, which opens today at 4 p.m., and you can spend tonight and tomorrow afternoon sipping your way through the restaurant’s newest cocktail menu.

The menu, a collaboration between Eclipse’s bar manager Lucas Ramsey and lead bartender Seth Wahlman, includes familiar drinks such as a Hemingway Daiquiri and lesser-known recipes like the Plantation, a combo of dry gin, mouth-puckering white grapefruit, lime, orange-y Cointreau and muddled basil.

Among the original creations, our favorite is the optimistic Golden Summer (pictured). It’s a cheery mix of gin, Galliano liqueur, lemon juice and simple syrup, but that quarter ounce of allspice dram – full of winter pantry spices like clove, cinnamon and nutmeg – is enough to remind you that the heat-filled days of spring haven’t arrived just yet.

Bourbon-lovers can rejoice as well. Eclipse is offering five well-rounded cocktails on its new menu that include this poteen: Andrew Jackson, Americano 43, Black Magic, Kentucky Mix-up and a gangster play on the vintage ‘tail Ward 8, designated as District 7 per Eclipse’s location in this precinct of the city.

Note: Eclipse offers a limited specialty cocktail menu on the patio. However, all of the above-stated cocktails are available at the first floor bar and can be brought to the rooftop.

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