Almost two years ago we touched base with Chris Chuy, proprietor of Lavish Liquid Bar Services, to ask him about some of his favourite cocktails, teachable moments, and his general thoughts on the service industry.
And since a lot can happen in two years, we’re checking in with him again to discuss changes in the bar biz, new trends and what to look forward to…
Twitter Time – who are you and what do you do (in under 140 characters):
Wannabe bartender, who talks like he knows shit but just googles things during conversations like everyone else does. I own a cocktail catering company and it’s rad.
What’s new with you?
I’m starting a couple new ventures with family and friends. It’s pretty hush hush for now…
How have you seen the industry change in the last few years?
It’s become more of a community and less about bars and restaurants competing against eachother. Also some places are focused a lot more about the experience and less about just banging out a million vodka sodas and Jager bombs.
Has anything changed about the way you run your business in the last few years?
I’ve approached clients in a different way. Being honest about expectations versus reality. Educating people about the ins and outs, the dos and don’ts, the culture and why we do what we do. It’s refreshing to see how open people are becoming about the bar industry.
Has your style of cocktail making changed with the times, or is it more classic?
At this time, I’m moving back towards the classic styles again. I love reconnecting with the simpler styles that were the root of what everyone is doing now. If you could compare it to music, I’m getting away from listening to progressive rock music and listening to the Beatles.
Do you have a definitive cocktail style?
Tom Cruise style…
Where do you look for inspiration when designing new drinks?
Mostly from life experiences, history & music.
Any local products you are particularly excited about?
I am actually stoked with what Christos is coming up with at Central City. Also my bartender Quinton Leary has some fun bitters which we’ll be doing more production of soon.
Worst drink you’ve ever created?
Grad year in high school, when we used to get booze by standing outside of a liquor store waiting for a kind enough stranger to get us something that was full of sugar and low ABV. One of my best friends and I mixed in rootbeer schnapps in with rootbeer… cause we were awesome and still are
What’s the best part of what you do? And what’s the most challenging part?
Best part – Getting invited to the parties, schmoozing with the cool people, hanging out with buds while working.
Challenging part – I NEED MORE STAFF!!! Want a job?
What is your favorite spirit to work with behind the bar?
Bourbon, but if I could work with some other form of spirit behind the bar, can I mix drinks with Frank Sinatra?
Do you have any notable “teachable moments” from behind the bar?
First time I was singled out at a “bar safety meeting”,the boys were welcoming me to the team. I thought they were going to tell me how slow and shitty I was at the age of 20 being it was my first real busy bar job. We all slammed a cheeky beer, gave each other high fives, and got ourselves pumped up for the night. They gave me a lot of support and let me know that they all started just like me, slow, nervous and clueless to a bunch of shit we served…Gotta have a solid bar TEAM, with cheeky beers. Keep the morale high and work environment fun.
What’s your go to drink to mix for someone who doesn’t typically drink cocktails?
A Tommy’s Margarita!
Favorite local bar? Favorite bar abroad?
Does my couch count for local bar? Grab a bottle from the shelf, a glass and put on a movie. Favourite bar abroad would have to be Multnomah Whiskey Library in Portland. #heaven
On a night off, what are you doing?
Trying to turn off my brain, doing some laundry, trying to eat something healthy and binge on some shows.
Your dream boilermaker? (Can be anything you like!)
Off The Rail Brewing – Raj Mahal India Ale & Woodford Reserve.
Check out our original interview with him here.