Bartender Chat: Kimberly Paul of Osteria Mazzantini gets Witchy
Do you have a favorite ingredient to use?
Paul's creation, the Sun of a Witch.
I go through phases. But the preserved meyer lemon...I like the brininess of that. And I'm liking shrubs a whole lot. I've made a grapefruit shrub, and that's on our menu right now. And I just made a raspberry shrub a couple of days ago. It's awesome. The first time I had a shrub, I bought it. And I tasted it, and I was like, I could make this. So I went online and found some recipes. I'm just experimenting with the vinegars. There are a lot to choose from here. I'm really big on the champagne vinegar now. I'm still working on getting the spring menu out, so those shrubs will both be on there.
Is there a certain ingredient that you hate to use or a drink that you hate making?
No, not really. When someone orders some type of oldschool drink...like a Smith & Wesson...it's always a challenge to make sure that you're making it how they're going to like it. Because ultimately, that's what counts. There's not anything that I really hate making, though. I'm a little over cucumber, I guess.
A person walks into a bar and orders ________. He or she has just earned your undying admiration.
You'll get a wave of people who aren't savvy at all, and then you'll get four or five savvy people right in a row. They're like, "I'll have a Manhattan, neat. What kind of bourbons do you have? What kind of bitters are you using?" That means that either they're in the industry or they put a lot of time and effort into learning what they like. And you have to respect that.
What's one of the coolest things you've seen since working here? Or at one of the places you used to work?
You know, after doing this so long--I've worked in clubs, I've worked in restaurants--I'm never surprised anymore. Nothing has happened here yet. I'm anticipating it, but not yet. At other places, there was a lot of gross stuff. Like people throwing up on the floor, then slipping in it and falling and hitting their head.
If you could have a drink with anyone, living, dead or fictional, who would it be, and why?
Edgar Allan Poe. Definitely. At the time he was alive, he was considered such a loser. And now, he's a genius. I think to get inside his head would be cool...to have a drink with somebody like that and see where he was coming from at the time. Or maybe Jane Austen...
You could turn this into a cocktail party! Who else would you invite?
Totally! Yeah! Jimi Hendrix, I would love to invite. Janis Joplin. We'd drink whiskey. Or maybe with Poe, absinthe.
Here's Paul's recipe for a Sun of a Witch, now available on the Spring menu at Osteria Mazzantini.