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STYLE BLOG

A Chat With Hy's Steakhouse Bartender & Mixologist

By Allison Onyett, Nov 24


From Left: Hy's Steakhouse Bartenders
Travis & Rob

This past week we had the joy and pleasure of stealing some quality time with bartender and mixologist Rob at Hy’s Steakhouse in the CORE. While it may seem like a prestigious place to park yourself for their Happy Hour on a Friday, Hy’s Steakhouse is actually more like your friendly neighbourhood bar. There’s always lots of people, great deals on your favourites, strangers meeting strangers, and of course your friendly bar tender, and if you’re lucky, it’ll be Rob behind the counter.

Rob may be known for making one of the best Old Fashioneds in town, but it’s the Manhattan that he loves to make, and trust us, he’s pretty good at that too. We know this because we tried it. Actually to be honest, we tried a variation of the drink – the Christmas Style Manhattan.  As described by Rob “it still has that nice bourbon complexity, but it also has a nice Christmas warming to it with some cherries and nutmeg.”

The ingredients are: Eagle rare bourbon, Zaya rum, brandy or cognac, two types of vermouth, orange bitters, freshly shaved nutmeg, cracker pepper, brandy cherries and burnt orange.

And when Rob says “freshly shaved nutmeg” or “burnt orange” he’s not kidding. He shaves the nutmeg over your glass, and lights the orange right in front of you.

Christmas Style Manhattan

While the theatrics of the orange are impressive, it actually makes a difference in the taste and perception of the drink. We tried it first without, and then with. The orange makes the drink more desirable to smell, without altering the taste too much.

“When you burn an orange, what you’re doing is letting the effervescent of the peel out. You’re not getting a huge flavour of the orange; it’s just complimenting the alcohol.”

And, just like cooking, it’s all about choosing the right ingredients, and mixing them the right way. As Rob explained, “you can have all the right ingredients, but it’s about all the specific steps. For instance if you don’t stir it just the right amount, it doesn’t have the same flavour.”

But, while we truly enjoyed our Manhattan, the most requested drink on the menu continues to be the Old Fashioned. “Classic cocktails have really kicked it up here in Calgary. It made a huge name for itself when it came out in the early 20s’ then had mutations all the way through prohibition until the craft of making it properly became lost for years and years. Now that people understand what an old style format is – mixing spirits and making subtle touches – the old fashioned is kind of a thing. And people love that there are so many variant forms to get different textures and flavours without changing the structure of the drink.”

What guests also like about an Old Fashioned, is that it pairs well with almost anything on the menu. For some more specific pairings Rob shared his favourites off of the Happy Hour menu. “A Manhattan with Hy’s famous meatballs is one of my favourites. I also love prosecco and oysters; we’ve been encouraging people to try our oysters in a very European way with a little vodka dabbed on to the oyster. It’s amazing how it makes them a little more crisp and savoury. A slightly peppery pinot goes well with our black and blue crusted tuna which is borderline sushi but seared on the outside.  And of course, always a favourite, classic beer and chips.”

But at the end of the day what Rob really enjoys, is taking his guests on a taste bud journey, and getting them to try drinks they would maybe never choose off their menu of over 70 cocktails. If he has one thing to say it’s “don’t be afraid to try anything. Everything we have is delicious. If you trust your bartenders, we’ll make sure you have an absolutely incredible drink experience.”

On Black Friday, November 27, 2015, stop by Hy’s Steakhouse and enjoy two of their famous meatballs for $5.00. All proceeds go to the Making Changes Association

 

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A Chat With Hy's Steakhouse Bartender & Mixologist

From Left: Hy's Steakhouse Bartenders
Travis & Rob

This past week we had the joy and pleasure of stealing some quality time with bartender and mixologist Rob at Hy’s Steakhouse in the CORE. While it may seem like a prestigious place to park yourself for their Happy Hour on a Friday, Hy’s Steakhouse is actually more like your friendly neighbourhood bar. There’s always lots of people, great deals on your favourites, strangers meeting strangers, and of course your friendly bar tender, and if you’re lucky, it’ll be Rob behind the counter.

Rob may be known for making one of the best Old Fashioneds in town, but it’s the Manhattan that he loves to make, and trust us, he’s pretty good at that too. We know this because we tried it. Actually to be honest, we tried a variation of the drink – the Christmas Style Manhattan.  As described by Rob “it still has that nice bourbon complexity, but it also has a nice Christmas warming to it with some cherries and nutmeg.”

The ingredients are: Eagle rare bourbon, Zaya rum, brandy or cognac, two types of vermouth, orange bitters, freshly shaved nutmeg, cracker pepper, brandy cherries and burnt orange.

And when Rob says “freshly shaved nutmeg” or “burnt orange” he’s not kidding. He shaves the nutmeg over your glass, and lights the orange right in front of you.

Christmas Style Manhattan

While the theatrics of the orange are impressive, it actually makes a difference in the taste and perception of the drink. We tried it first without, and then with. The orange makes the drink more desirable to smell, without altering the taste too much.

“When you burn an orange, what you’re doing is letting the effervescent of the peel out. You’re not getting a huge flavour of the orange; it’s just complimenting the alcohol.”

And, just like cooking, it’s all about choosing the right ingredients, and mixing them the right way. As Rob explained, “you can have all the right ingredients, but it’s about all the specific steps. For instance if you don’t stir it just the right amount, it doesn’t have the same flavour.”

But, while we truly enjoyed our Manhattan, the most requested drink on the menu continues to be the Old Fashioned. “Classic cocktails have really kicked it up here in Calgary. It made a huge name for itself when it came out in the early 20s’ then had mutations all the way through prohibition until the craft of making it properly became lost for years and years. Now that people understand what an old style format is – mixing spirits and making subtle touches – the old fashioned is kind of a thing. And people love that there are so many variant forms to get different textures and flavours without changing the structure of the drink.”

What guests also like about an Old Fashioned, is that it pairs well with almost anything on the menu. For some more specific pairings Rob shared his favourites off of the Happy Hour menu. “A Manhattan with Hy’s famous meatballs is one of my favourites. I also love prosecco and oysters; we’ve been encouraging people to try our oysters in a very European way with a little vodka dabbed on to the oyster. It’s amazing how it makes them a little more crisp and savoury. A slightly peppery pinot goes well with our black and blue crusted tuna which is borderline sushi but seared on the outside.  And of course, always a favourite, classic beer and chips.”

But at the end of the day what Rob really enjoys, is taking his guests on a taste bud journey, and getting them to try drinks they would maybe never choose off their menu of over 70 cocktails. If he has one thing to say it’s “don’t be afraid to try anything. Everything we have is delicious. If you trust your bartenders, we’ll make sure you have an absolutely incredible drink experience.”

On Black Friday, November 27, 2015, stop by Hy’s Steakhouse and enjoy two of their famous meatballs for $5.00. All proceeds go to the Making Changes Association