Having more than 15 years of experience under his belt, it’s no surprise that world-renound mixologist, alchemist, & owner, Greg Seider is still a trendsetter inside the cocktail arena. Although his semi-latest creation, Summit Bar, is based in NYC, as well as his co-owned Manhattan Cricket Club, that hasn’t stopped Greg from traveling across the globe to perfect his craft. Not only has he created & tweaked cocktail programs for restaurants & bars around the country (one notably being Le Bernardin in NYC), he has also released his latest project: Alchemy in a Glass. Combining his experiences and knowledge of the beverage industry, he aims to educate young mixologists, beverage directors, or even the average Joe’s (like us) to construct cocktails “that don’t suck.”
While promoting his newest development at Rare Tea Cellars, I not only had the pleasure of learning to create a few balanced (non 90% alcohol based) and delicious cocktails, but I was also able to learn what really is “shaking” up in Greg’s world.
How did you get into the cocktail business?
GS: I started making cocktails around 9 or 10 years old. I was hooked on wine coolers, so one day I went into the garage, grabbed my Oma’s 5 gallon jug of Burgandy wine, poured some into my Sesame Street mug with some Ginger Ale and an orange slice. Voila!
What made you want to open Summit Bar in NYC?
GS: I was tired from getting fired from my other jobs, so I figured the best way to fix that problem was to open my own place. My partner Hamid new of a space in Alphabet city. We always wanted to create a great cocktail spot with the energy of a cool bar.
What do you think of mixology now than in the past?
GS: I think it has crossed over to using more culinary techniques and favors. Which has allowed for even more inventive flavor profiles for the consumer to experience.
What is your opinion on the Chicago drinking scene and what type of culture has been created?
GS: You definitely need to drink more to get through the Winters. I think the bartender community is really tight which is great because of the collaboration of the ideas they share. I really like the bar Ingredient challenge on Chicago Reader.
What has been your favorite idea/collaboration?
GS: That would be when I got to create the cocktail program for the relaunch of Le Bernardin. Getting to work with Chef Ripert and his team really challenged me to bring my balance of flavor to a new height. Really dialed me in to how crucial sourcing the best quality ingredients were to creating the best tasting cocktails. I also, really love the concept we created at Manhattan Cricket Club – my partner Jeremie Kittredge helped design. It as if you walked into a great Gatsby like apartment, but all the details are brand new – as if from that time period, antique mirrored ceilings, and fixtures instead of a typical fake aged speakeasy.
Where do you see the cocktail trend heading?
GS: It continues to utilize more kitchen techniques and more flavors, with more ingredients being discovered and used in cocktails.
Is there any ingredient that you use frequently?
GS: I love using custom blended teas from Roderick Marcus at Rare Tea Cellar.
What is your go-to drink when you’re at home or on a casual night on the town?
GS: Pour myself a glass of champagne or delicious glass of wine.
Do you have any ideas in the works?
GS: Working on an Oyster Parlor idea and a cool cocktail Bar concept in Cape Town SA
To keep up with his latest projects or to even reach for help on how to perfect your cocktail-making-skills, follow Greg at @Seiderhouse on Twitter