IN THE SPIRIT FEATURING: SHANNON STURGIS, @shannonshootscocktails, Photographer

 


 

TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:

I'm not a bartender! I'm a photographer (@shannonshootscocktails) who specializes in shooting cocktails. I like to refer to myself as bartender adjacent because I spend a lot of time around them and the bar/ liquor industry. I am fortunate to have a lot of travel opportunities to meet bartenders from around the country and occasionally internationally where I get to observe the technique, style and palate of many a bartender. Personally I have a very bitter palate so give me stirred and boozy any day and you'll make me happy.

CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECTS?

Other than shooting for liquor brands and cocktail competitions, I like to create projects for myself. I'm most proud of some work I created with a New York based floral designer, tendril. The series is called Imbibe with Flourish. I was inspired by a trip to Spain where I spent a lot of time in museums, drawn to Dutch Masters-esque still-lifes. After my trip, I created my own still-lifes with classic cocktails, florals, and props. tendril and I are working on our next collaboration soon so stay tuned.

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

I created the cocktail "Get me by a Campfire" in collaboration with my boyfriend and talented bartender, Jesse Harris. He and I relish summertime in New York because warmer weather means camping! We make sure to carve out time to get outta Brooklyn and into the woods near a campfire as often as we feasibly can. It's been a long winter this year so it seemed that summer would never arrive. In order to quench our camping thirst we thought, let's make a cocktail that evokes the feeling of sitting in a fold-able chair under a dark sky, surrounded by trees, next to a flickering, fragrant campfire. Ugh, just saying it makes me want to hop in my jeep and go right now!

"Get me by a Campfire"
1.5 oz Johnnie Walker Black Label
0.5 oz Gaz Regan's Salted Espresso Mixer
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
2 sprays Ardbeg from atomizer over top
1-2 roasted marshmallows for garnish

Combine Johnnie Walker Black, Gaz Regan's Salted Espresso, and Angostura in a mixing glass. Stir with ice then strain over large ice cube in an enamel "camp cup." Spritz top of cocktail with Ardbeg. Garnish with roasted marshmallows.

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

When thinking of a new cocktail photography project I am constantly inspired by glassware, be it vintage or new. I purchased a set of glasses that I specifically want to create a cocktail for inspired by the character Dick Hallorann in The Shining. Come to think of it, I also bought a glass with balloons all over it to create an It inspired cocktail. So I suppose the answer is glassware and Stephen King novels. Someone send help.

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?

It is too hard to pick an absolute favorite but let me suggest one of my favorite places, Long Island Bar. Think old timey diner atmosphere but with dim lighting and a subtle smattering of Wisconsin paraphernalia, an ode to owner Toby Cecchini's roots. I'd recommend going on a Thursday because that's when Jesse Harris is behind the stick. You can order off the cocktail menu (the Boulevardier is my jam) or just mine Jesse's brain for a bartender's choice. As a Milk and Honey alum, the amount of recipes in this man's brain is bonkers. Please do yourself a favor and make sure you sit at the bar and don't forget to order cheese curds.

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

As mentioned before, I love glassware so if you're at home an easy way to elevate a cocktail is to drink it from a beautiful glass. Doing so makes the experience more fun and guests love the presentation of it. You don't have to have a matched set in order to serve people. I always give out a hodge podge selection because 1. I usually only buy a particular style as a one-off or in pairs anyway and 2. It will make it easier for guests to remember which cocktail is theirs if they set it down somewhere.

FAVORITE AJC FLAVOR?

Gaz Regan's Salted Espresso Martini

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