Hannah Chamberlain, Writer/Photographer/Drinker, @spiritedLA
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT YOURSELF:
I started @spiritedLA three years ago when I was falling in love with the LA cocktail scene. I had zero formal bar training, but wanted to make drinks at home that resembled the drinks I had at great craft cocktail bars (and WOW, my early efforts were pretty cringe-worthy). But luckily, getting better at cocktail making is a fun process; you do your research at the best bars and liquor shops and you're rewarded by making yourself increasingly good drinks. My passion for home bartending grew not only because running a cocktail Instagram is a great way to cleverly justify drinking a lot of fun cocktails, but also because it combines my love of history with my love for California. Drawing inspiration from impressive drinkers throughout history like Charles Baker and Lucius Beebe and combining their historic know-how with local California produce and modern cultural influences is incredibly exciting for me. Recently, I was lucky enough to be able quit my job as a creative producer with a media company to concentrate on @spiritedLA full time.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR MOST RECENT PROJECTS?
The holidays were crazy busy with projects, so it's nice to take a breather and mix with some different flavors now that they're over. In addition to creating recipes for a number of spirit, travel, and fashion companies, I've been enjoying spending my time working on a humorous drinking etiquette book.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RECIPE YOU HAVE COME UP WITH USING AN AJC PRODUCT? WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT?
Man, there are a few! I think my favorite is this refreshing and floral twist on a G&T, the Peek-a-blue: 2 oz gin, 1 oz Blueberry Finn, .75 oz elderflower liqueur, .75 oz lime juice, and 3 oz tonic water.
WHEN YOU ARE COMING UP WITH NEW DISHES OR DRINKS, DO YOU HAVE A SOURCE(S) FOR INSPIRATION?
I get inspiration from a number of sources, like seasonal fruits, pop-cultural phenomena (Stranger Things, GOT, etc.), my favorite books, weird glassware, and historical recipes.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT OR BAR, WHAT DAY OF THE WEEK DO YOU RECOMMEND IT, AND WHAT KIND OF EXPERIENCE CAN A VISITOR EXPECT?
Ugh! This question isn't fair. There are too many. But right now, it's tough to beat Leo's Oyster Bar for me. The service is warm and attentive (also well dressed), the oysters and lobster rolls are unbeatable, the pink and green interior is pure Instagram porn, and the bartenders make a great gin martini. It's always crowded, but it's worth the lack of elbow room.
WHAT INFO ABOUT COCKTAILS DO MOST PEOPLE MAKING DRINKS AT HOME NOT KNOW THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL TO THEM?
Making syrups is CRAZY easy and it's a great way to capture flavors that might otherwise prove elusive. It took me about a year before I made my first one, and since then my fridge has never not been stocked to the brim with syrup-filled mason jars.
FAVORITE AJC FLAVOR?