Demian Carpenter, food and beverage director at Cusp Dining & Drinks located inside Hotel La Jolla, is putting his own spin on cocktails. He sat down with Behind the Stick to discuss his refreshing, gin-based cocktail, The Resolution.
1.5 oz. Nolet's Gin .5 oz. Aloe Vera liqueur .5 oz. agave .5 oz. fresh lemon juice 8 mint leaves Chopped cucumber
What’s the origin of The Resolution?
The thought process behind the creation of “The Resolution” was to make a cocktail that tasted amazing, yet appealed to those who wanted to watch their sugar and caloric intake.The only sugar in the drink is the natural sugars derived from the Agave. The result is a wonderfully refreshing and light gin-based cocktail that is extremely easy to drink without any guilt!
How would you describe the taste to someone who hasn’t had this before?
The Resolution boast notes of Aloe Vera, fresh lemon, cucumber and mint! It is very light,and extremely drinkable.
What would be the key component in this drink?
I believe the key component to this cocktail is the muddled fruit and citrus accentuating the same ingredients used to produce the liquors in the recipe. The Chareau Aloe Vera Liqueur is made with aloe, cucumber, lemon peel, spearmint, and muskmelon. The muddled cucumber, agave and mint bring out the flavors distilled into the liqueur. Nolet's is a gin where the juniper is very muted and the floral notes explode! A good cocktail boasts ingredients that accentuate each other, and that is what I strived to create here.
What reactions do you get from customers when they try this cocktail for the first time?
Guests are usually shocked that this cocktail doesn’t taste like a typical gin cocktail.Although, The Resolution maintains its integrity, and will still appeal to Gin fans, it is much easier to drink than a martini.
What are some good dishes to pair this drink with?
It's balanced flavor profile makes it perfect for the complex flavors found in Spanish food. Our Three Chile Adobo Chicken or our Cioppino (available on Tuesday Nights), pair very well with this cocktail. The Resolution is light on juniper, but is a clever blend of refreshing and sweet. Again, its fruity sweetness works well with salty foods. I love it when served with the brininess of fresh oysters, salmon or the plethora of cheeses offered on our cheese plate.
Watch as top bartender Demian Carpenter makes this refreshing, gin-based cocktail, The Resolution.
What kind of experience can diners have at Cusp Dining and Drinks?
Our goal remains to make a guest’s dining experience just that, an “experience!" At Cusp Dining & Drinks, expect fresh coastal cuisine set to stunning ocean views. Our menu features locally sourced, seasonal ingredients presented in inventive dishes that take the most sophisticated palates on a taste-filled journey. Our shareable menu consists of flavorful dishes with beautiful presentations, including fresh grilled fish, house made pastas, local meats and rustic flatbreads from our pizza oven. It’s all paired with an extensive wine list and artful craft cocktails from our celebrated bar.
About Demian Carpenter
Are you from San Diego?
I was born and raised in San Diego, with Mission Bay being my childhood stomping ground. Food and beverage opportunities have taken me to Los Angeles, Utah and a nine-year tour of Las Vegas, NV. I have been back in San Diego for almost three years.
What's your thought process when creating a new cocktail?
When creating a new cocktail, I attempt to make something that is new, fresh, inventive and delicious. It also needs to have somewhat of a mass appeal. You can create the greatest cocktail in the world, but if nobody wants to try it you are just wasting menu ink!
What's the most complicated drink you had to make?
Anytime that I hear a guest ask for a layered shot....it is a lot of extra unnecessary work, for a less than extraordinary tasting result! But if that’s what you like…I’ll make it with a smile!
Define the perfect cocktail?
I believe that the “Perfect Cocktail” is relative to who is drinking it! I love a good anejo tequila, with fresh lime juice, a bit of agave, and fresh basil. However, if you just throw a shot of a respectable Irish whiskey in front of me…you will never hear me complain.
Are you planning on creating any new cocktails in the future?
I think that is important to constantly grow and evolve. Therefore, I change our craftcocktail menu on a quarterly basis. I keep the crowd favorites on the list, and then adddrinks that cater to the season.
What is one thing you wish people understood about bartending?
I wish that people understood that bartending is really an art. It is a profession thatrequires a skill set, creativity, and dedication. It is very similar to a Chef in the kitchen,creating and delivering a fresh, tasty product to a guest with an eye on taste andpresentation. The best bartenders are those who take the most pride in their work!
What do you do in your spare time when you're not creating cocktails?
I love being home in San Diego. If I am not at work, I love the beach. I am also a huge fan of music.