IN THE SPIRIT FEATURING: KEVIN CHEN, HOME BARTENDER

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I am a self-taught mixologist and home bartender from the Bay Area in California. By day, I make content for a mobile game company in the heart of San Francisco. When I’m not working, I run a blog on Instagram where I share new recipes that I’ve created as well as new techniques and methodologies that I’ve learned. I love experimenting and discovering unique flavor combinations, and even more so, I love sharing these discoveries with my friends and family. It gives me great joy to be able to bring people along on my cocktail making adventures!

 

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECTS?

I recently just finished a few bar consulting projects on the side where I helped design the drink menus for various bars around California. It’s been a great opportunity to work with them and to challenge myself to cater my recipes to their themes.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE YOU HAVE COME UP WITH USING AN ACC PRODUCT? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT? 

I love my Strawberry Blonde recipe. It’s a tasty riff off a Kentucky mule with some extra fruitiness. I wanted to come up with a refreshing summer mule that’s perfect at any social gathering. The warmth of the ginger and coolness of the mint balance beautifully together. And the addition of strawberry jam gives it just enough sweetness that will leave you wanting more with every sip.

 

WHEN YOU ARE COMING UP WITH NEW DISHES OR DRINKS, DO YOU HAVE A SOURCE(S) FOR INSPIRATION?

I’m constantly inspired by the countless creative drinks that get posted on Instagram every day! When creating a new drink, I usually like to start with one flavor such as a fruit or common ingredient and then play around with combinations that would pair well with it. Sometimes if I am planning a drink for an occasion or theme, I will try to use certain ingredients and colors that pay tribute to it.

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT OR BAR, WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK DO YOU RECOMMEND IT, AND WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE CAN A VISITOR EXPECT?

The bar scene around the San Francisco Bay Area is just incredible and there are so many great ones to choose from! One that comes to mind is Local Edition, a San Francisco journalism-themed cocktail bar. This place is perfect for a classy night in the city. When you walk downstairs to the main area you’re greeted with displays of old San Francisco newspaper clippings and photographs that show so much of SF’s history. The best times to go are Mondays through Thursdays around 8pm when they have live bands performing vintage jazz and blues.

 

WHAT INFO ABOUT COCKTAILS DO MOST PEOPLE MAKING DRINKS AT HOME NOT KNOW THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO THEM?

Always use fresh ingredients. Instead of buying flavored syrups that have chemicals, dyes, and preservatives, try making your own by infusing simple syrup with fresh berries or fruits. And always use real lemons and limes, never the bottles of concentrate. Not only will fresh ingredients taste significantly better, the result of your hard work feels so much more worth it.

 

FAVORITE ACC FLAVOR?

Spicy Ginger Mule

 

WHAT TRENDS (EITHER LOCAL OR INDUSTRYWIDE) ARE YOU NOTICING TAKING SHAPE AND HOW? 

I’ve noticed that people are getting more and more creative with their garnishes. From extravagant apple fans to boats made out of citrus, garnishing has become an art form in the cocktail community.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? 

Get crafty with me on my Instagram @chenaholic where I share original recipes, fun garnish ideas, and useful tips and techniques for the every day home bartender!


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