In our sixth installment of Bar None – our monthly highlight of bartenders, mixologists, and creators from the bar top to the home kitchen – we met up with the lovely and prolific Hannah Chamberlain aka @spiritedla who has brought her boundless home bartending creativity to Instagram for the past year.
Read her full story below.
1. Tell us who you are, where you’re from, etc.
I’m originally from Madison, Wisconsin but have been in LA for over 10 years now and am 100% converted. After an obligatory stint as a model/actress, I went to UCLA where I studied Cold War Eastern European Dissident History and then tried out a semester at UCLA Law (it wasn’t for me). This background logically led to my current career as a creative producer at a digital media company where I spend my time trying to tailor dank memes for top brands (and I write about drinking too). This inspires my excessive alcohol consumption which I’ve cleverly positioned as a cocktail Instagram.
2. What’s your background in mixology? How did you get into bartending at home? How does it benefit you?
I have zero formal bar training. For A few years, I was much more of a wine and straight bourbon drinker– I’d have the occasional cocktail while I was out, but the thought of making one at home seemed completely daunting. I’m not proud of the cocktail that converted me to home bar experimentation– a sugar-rimmed, vodka, and pomegranate concoction made by a girlfriend of mine. I was stunned that she’d been able to pull off something like that in her own kitchen and shortly after I began picking up liqueurs and tools and interrogating every bartender and liquor shop owner I could find.
Drinking and making cocktails allows me to tap into my love of history by letting me share experiences with some of my favorite historical figures. While I can’t write like Dorothy Parker, go sailing with Hemingway like Charles Baker, or help defeat Hitler like Churchill, I can at least drink like them. I also love making cocktails because it’s one of the least annoying ways to share my creative expression– if I tried sitting my friends down on a Saturday night to get their thoughts on my new interpretive dance I’d probably lose them, but getting volunteers to endure my cocktail experiments? No problem.
3. What’s your favorite cocktail to drink or serve and why? How do you usually match a cocktail to a mood, atmosphere or setting?
I’m very seasonally inspired about my drinks. I’m less deductive and more inductive in my approach– I don’t get an idea for a cocktail and try to find ingredients, I see ingredients and come up with a cocktail. This means I usually come up with what to serve based on what produce I find at the Farmers Market, what the weather is like, or where I’m planning on drinking (something fruit forward and cool for bocce in the park, dark and boozy for a quiet night in when it’s cold outside, and spicy or sparkling for a summer night adventure). When I’m mixing for others, I start the night out with a more work intensive cocktail when we’re sober enough to appreciate it, and then I follow it up with something classic and simpler to assemble.
4. Why do you use Scrappy’s in your cocktails? Has Scrappy’s improved the drinks you make? Favorite Scrappy’s Flavor?
Scrappy’s bitters are both intense and nuanced and are perfect for adding new layers of complexity to my cocktails. My two favorite flavors are grapefruit and chocolate– I love grapefruit with light, citrus-y, and spicy drinks, but chocolate is such a star player in quite of my favorite cold weather bourbon cocktails (like the Valentine’s Day Massacre).
5. What’s your idea of the perfect drink (location, circumstance etc)? (or what’s the best drink you’ve ever had?)
While I want to say my idea of the perfect drink would be something like a Sidecar with Lucius Beebe or a bathtub gin martini with the Vicious Circle, truthfully I know I’d be too nervous to enjoy anything I was drinking in such intimidating company. Realistically, I think it’s hard to beat a well-made Manhattan with your best friends.
12 oz London Dry Gin
24 oz fresh pear juice
6 oz ginger liqueur
3.5 oz lemon juice
3.5 oz rosemary syrup
Scrappy’s Cardamom Bitters to taste (approx. 24 dashes)
A bottle of Brut sparkling wine
Garnish with slices of pear, rosemary, and white rose petals
Posted: Wednesday, October 10th, 2018 at 7:41 pm