CPBA Bartender of the Month: Keith Hoffman

CPBA Bartender of the Month: Keith Hoffman
February 1, 2016 Amber Bruce

Twitter time – describe your job in under 140 characters:

Making drinks, having fun, host of the party.

 How did you get into bartending? What was the inspiration for your career route?

I’ve always had a passion for food and when I was younger I wanted to be a chef. It wasn’t until I fell on some hard times and was laid off that I dove right in with my first job being a food ruuner at the YEW in the Four Seasons. Watching the bartenders making these elaborate drinks with ease sparked my interest and you couldn’t pull me away from the bar. That was 7 years ago.

Is it barrels, carbonation or cocktails on tap? What’s the latest trend you see in bartending?

Canadian whiskey! I feel it’s our time to shine on the world stage. With a Canadian whiskey being named “the best” it undoubtedly has people talking about and wanting to try more Canadian whiskey. It’s being requested more and more, it’s nice to see.

What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?

It’s cliché I know… The best part of what I do is knocking it out of the park with a cocktail, a suggestion on food, a wine pairing. Giving someone something other then the ordinary or the expected. It creates a memorable experience for the guest and hopefully it makes them want to come back.

What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?

Madeira, it’s a reminder of home and not often seen on cocktail menus.

Do you have a definitive cocktail style?

Minimalist.. I believe as in food if you start with quality and treat ingredients with respect you create something without the need of elaborate garnishes and 37 ingredient cocktails. 

What’s the most memorable moment you’ve ever had working behind a bar?

It was maybe the 3rd day of the season at Reflection in the Hotel Georgia when a gentleman had sold a patent for some type of machine that “ Revolutionized” the dairy industry or something like that… it truly doesn’t matter, it made him a billion dollars. He celebrated by sabering 55+ bottles of Dom Perignon setting a world record.

What’s the next step for you when it comes to tending bar?

Pretty hard to say, management would be the next logical step.