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  • The Chopping Blog

Exploring the Art of Dealer's Choice Cocktails

Posted by Fonze on Apr 11, 2024


As a seasoned chef and bartender, I've had the pleasure of crafting and enjoying a myriad of cocktails, each with its own unique story and flavor profile. One of the most exciting aspects of mixology is the world of 'Dealer's Choice,' where the bartender takes the reins and surprises you with a personalized creation. This element of surprise adds an exhilarating dimension to your cocktail experience, offering a glimpse into the artistry and innovation behind the bar. 

Cheeseburger CocktailCheeseburger Cocktail

One of my recent memorable encounters with 'Dealer's Choice' occurred at the renowned Violet Hour in Chicago, where lead bartender Karli Sandos concocted a cheeseburger-inspired cocktail that was a true marvel. This inventive drink captured the essence of a charred burger, complete with a melted slice of Kraft Singles cheese. The flavors were remarkably accurate, showcasing the creativity and skill of the bartender. 

Cheeseburger Cocktail

Cheeseburger cocktail

Another unforgettable experience took place at Water Witch in Salt Lake City, where I once again opted for 'Dealer's Choice.' This time, the bartender ventured next door to a ramen shop and procured some of their spicy broth. The resulting cocktail, a blend of mezcal, vermouth, and a few other ingredients, was a bold and unexpected delight, highlighting the bartender's willingness to explore unconventional flavors. 

Ramen Broth CocktailRamen Broth Cocktail with Mezcal, Vermouth and Spicy Broth

In Salt Lake City again, I also had the pleasure of visiting The Rest, a speakeasy where I once again entrusted the bartender with creating a drink of their choosing. What I received was a unique concoction that could be described as a cross between eggnog and aguas frescas. Made with a full egg, nutmeg, maple syrup, whiskey, and some other ingredients, this drink was both filling and refreshing, showcasing the bartender's ability to present a new twist on a timeless classic. 

Kumiko CocktailKumiko Cocktail

These are just a few of the amazing experiences I’ve had while exploring the infinitely spectacular minds of bartenders across the country. Though this typically is my go to option when I go to a bar, there are a few things to keep in mind when requesting a 'Dealer’s Choice' beverage. Here are a few: 

1. Communicate your Preferences: While the beauty of 'Dealer's Choice' lies in the element of surprise, it's still important to communicate your likes and dislikes. Let the bartender know your preferred base spirits, flavor profiles, and any ingredients you'd like to avoid. This helps the bartender tailor the drink to your tastes while still surprising you. 

2. Trust the Bartender: One of the key components of 'Dealer's Choice' is trusting the bartender's expertise. Be open to trying new and unexpected flavors, even if they're outside your comfort zone. You may discover a new favorite cocktail in the process. 

3. Timing is Everything: Avoid ordering 'Dealer's Choice' during peak hours or when the bar is busy. Bartenders are often juggling multiple orders during these times and may not have the opportunity to dedicate the time and attention needed to create a truly unique drink. Instead, opt for a weekday or a time when the bar is less crowded and the bartender has the freedom to experiment. 

Ume Oh My CocktailUme Oh My Cocktail with Whiskey, Sake, Plum and Vinegar

Ultimately, ordering a 'Dealer's Choice' cocktail can be a delightful way to experience the artistry and creativity of a talented bartender. By following these best practices and choosing the right time to order, you can ensure that you have a memorable and enjoyable cocktail experience. 

Coffee Corn Cream CocktailCoffee Corn Cream Cocktail

For the home bartender looking to replicate these experiences, I recommend starting with a solid understanding of classic cocktail recipes and flavor profiles. This foundation will provide you with the confidence to experiment and create your own signature drinks. Check out some of our beverage/cocktails classes and happy hours to get a solid basis to begin experimenting. Try Cocktail Happy Hour with our Spirits Expert Christophe Bakunas or even classes like Flavor Dynamics for a deeper understanding of what taste is and how to manipulate it to get what you want. 

The world of cocktails is a vast and exciting playground, offering endless opportunities for exploration and discovery. Whether you're savoring a cheeseburger-flavored cocktail in Chicago, indulging in a spicy broth-infused creation in Salt Lake City, or experiencing a unique blend of flavors at a speakeasy, 'Dealer's Choice' invites you to embark on a flavorful journey of creativity and innovation. 

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Topics: cocktails, cocktail, dealers choice

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