SHAUN TRAXLER, SIDEWAYS, GM / BARCHEF
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:
My entire work history is in Food and Beverage. I've been working behind a bar or in a kitchen since 2001. My biggest passions are food and flavor and my biggest inspiration for cocktails generally comes from kitchen related experiences or techniques.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECTS?
I've been managing and tending bar at Sideways for about four and a half years. I've been encouraged to blossom creatively under my current proprietors and because of that, have been able to accomplish some really exciting things. Most recently I was flown into San Antonio Cocktail Conference to bartend in a small competition for Fernet Branca on Opening Night. I am proud to say I was able to come away with the victory!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE YOU HAVE COME UP WITH USING AN AJC PRODUCT? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
I am really happy with the way my Lady Lychee cocktail is coming along for the American Cocktail Box. I was inspired by the incredible complexity of the syrup itself. It has so many wonderful flavors to utilize in cocktails and can truly be taken in many different directions. I chose to take it down a floral path to capitalize on the Rose Water in the syrup.
WHEN YOU ARE COMING UP WITH NEW DRINKS, DO YOU HAVE A SOURCE(S) FOR INSPIRATION?
As I mentioned earlier, food, food and food! I love being able to translate flavors and techniques from the kitchen!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BAR, WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK DO YOU RECOMMEND IT, AND WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE CAN A VISITOR EXPECT?
I love a lot of bars. I've been fortunate enough to be able to travel this country extensively. I'd say I choose bars like I choose my beverages: according to my mood. I love every bar. From the dingiest of dives to the suit and tie $18 cocktail bar. It all depends!
WHAT INFO ABOUT COCKTAILS DO MOST PEOPLE MAKING DRINKS AT HOME NOT KNOW THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO THEM?
Proper tools and products are everything! Also, K.I.S.S! Don't overcomplicate it! Simple flavors work. Just balance them!
FAVORITE AJC FLAVOR?
ANYTHING ELSE WE SHOULD KNOW?