IN THE SPIRIT FEATURING: Matthew Wyne, Founder, Letters & Liquor

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I'm a graphic designer who fell in love with cocktails. I have a design studio in San Francisco, Wyne Enterprises, that specializes in food and beverage. A few years back I read David Wondrich's article on how to make a Manhattan in Esquire and I became obsessed. Ever since I've been studying the art of craft cocktails.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECTS?

I have a blog called Letters and Liquor that illustrates the visual history of cocktails. I'm also developing "drink and draw" class where you learn a lettering style based on a specific cocktail. If you want updates on those just follow me on Instagram: @lettersandliquor

 

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

I don't think a lot of people realize this, but bourbon and tonic are incredible together. Something in the tonic water brings out this rich, nutty flavor in bourbon that I love. I combined that with the Spicy Ginger Mule to make a fresh, easy Summer sipper (September is our Summer here in San Francisco.) I especially love the pineapple in the Mule mix. It bridges the flavors of the ginger and lime and makes everything taste more exotic. Pineapples are a symbol of welcome, so I named the drink the Kentucky Welcoming Committee.

 

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

I find inspiration everywhere, but the question for me is always "how can I create an experience that surprises someone?" Cocktails are different from beer and wine in that there's a little bit of magic to them. The drinker gets to watch these various components come together into something new. I love finding ways to remind people that there is magic in the world.

 

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 Hideout is a bar inside a bar (Dalva) in San Francisco's Mission district. I get there right when they open, at 7:00, almost always on a weekday. That way I have a couple hours to talk to the bartender before it gets slammed. The bar itself has less than ten seats, it's small. And the decor isn't crazy. It's just blood-red walls and a poster of Farrah Fawcett, but I love being in there. And all their bartenders are great. I've befriended three of them by now and when we see each other around town it's always high fives and smiles.

 

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

Drinks can be broken down into formulas. The Margarita, Daiquiri and Sidecar are all built on the same structure for example: two parts spirit, one part each sweet ingredient and sour ingredient. Once you know that, all those drinks you've heard of but can't remember the recipe for start to make more sense.

 

FAVORITE ACC FLAVOR?

Spicy Ginger Mule

 

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

I live by the ocean in San Francisco, and I'm seeing seaweed pop up in drinks more and more. I used some dulse flakes in a bitters I made recently and they were great. They add salinity, but they also have that umami quality that's so helpful in rounding out a drink.

 

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? 

If you want a Margarita bandana to go with the Wawa cocktail that @raelpetit did for the August American Cocktail Co box, I collaborated with @gastronomista_ to make some. Click here to see them.  


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