Ian Collis is a known around town as the king of crafting cocktails. This craft has wowed many taste buds around the country and we got the inside scoop on Ian's best tips and favorite recipes.
Ian spends his days creating tasty libations and experimenting with his over 100 different bottles of liquors & liqueurs. He has collected his bolstered bar from cross country journeys, alcohol inspired adventures, and local vendors in his neighborhood, always adding to his never ending queue of what to make next. Hello, most delicious science experiment, ever! What better way to comemmorate a weekend in the desert then rolling up to Stargazing Desert Retreat and it's fully loaded, on-site saloon that's private to the property? Stay tuned for a how-to video, recipe, and the best kept secrets for any mix master. Happy drinking!
What got you into crafting cocktails?
Up until a year ago, my girlfriend and I lived in Buffalo, NY which has a huge renaissance downtown. Buffalo's comeback in the last 3-4 years coincided with the resurgence of the craft cocktail, so there were new places popping up monthly. I became obsessed with trying new flavors & combinations but the process & creativity interested me more than anything.
What was your first mind blowing drink?
I've had a lot of inventive cocktails so I can't think of the FIRST drink that blew my mind but the drink that really opened my eyes was the Lemonworld Punch from WM Mulherin's in Philly. That drink changed what I thought could be accomplished with a cocktail & has challenged me to create more originality within my own drinks.
What is your favorite drink to create? Can you share the recipe with us?
My favorite drink to make changes depending on the season but I'm always in the mood for a Penicillin.
My recipe for that is:
2 parts blended scotch (I use Dewars Scratched Cask)
3/4 parts lemon juice
3/4 parts honey syrup
3 large slices of ginger root
Muddle the ginger in a shaker, add ice & the rest of the ingredients. Shake, pour & strain over an ice block.
I add a thyme sprig for garnish and if you want to get really fancy you can add a single malt whiskey float on the top by slowly pouring (1/2 oz or so) over the back end of a spoon placed at the top of the glass.
My love for this drink is what helped me create my own original drink called The Ginger Kid.
The Ginger Kid - Give us the deets! What was your inspiration? What's the recipe?
The Ginger Kid was a spontaneous drink that was made on our recent trip to Joshua Tree & Pioneertown, CA. I've been watching a ton of old westerns lately and that setting was really inspiring. Especially because we had our own saloon to use. There's a couple reasons for the name; the obvious reasons are that the drink has ginger in it & the drink is orange colored. The other reason the name works is because of famous Wild West outlaws like The Sundance Kid & Billy the Kid. So the drink is named as if it would be an infamous fiery outlaw known as "The Ginger Kid".
My recipe for this drink is:
2 parts dry gin (I used The Botanist)
1.5 parts Aperol
1 part lemon juice
1/2 part honey syrup
2 dashes Peychaud's bitters
3 large slices of ginger root
Muddle the ginger root into the bitters in a shaker, add ice & the remaining ingredients, shake, strain over an ice block. I garnish it with a swath of lemon peel.
Anything special you do to make your cocktails stand out?
One thing I've been trying to implement in my cocktails is a more personal touch such as growing my own herbs. I have a serious love for herbs & tending to my plants so it was only natural I pair the 2 together. I also enjoy making ingredients from scratch like a falernum & oleo saccharum. Things like that add so much love to the cocktail, that you just can't easily replicate.
What's on the docket for this up-and-coming cocktail master? Next step, own a bar one day and specialize each cocktail on the menu.
"I love being a go to person for knowledge & I'd be elated to share my passion with other people." You heard it here first, folks.
Take a look below at our Ginger Kid Cocktail How To!
Photography: The Venue Report