It’s five o’clock on a Wednesday, and Raudz in Kelowna is starting to fill. Those arriving at the bar know they’re in wine country; local wines line the wall. However, what catches the eye is the hustle behind the counter and the mix drinks appearing from the hands of the bartender. It’s Micah at work, creating visually satisfying glasses that hold their own beside the back end’s renowned plates. It’s not just looks either, the drinks are an accomplishment in the culinary sense, where the creator has balanced flavour, texture, and temperature. It’s a story that The Field Guide wanted to learn more about, so we contacted Mixologist Micah.
Q. What’s the best way to describe the drink philosophy at Raudz?
A. Our drink philosophy is the same as our restaurant philosophy; Support local, Buy local, Eat and Drink local.
We have pioneered "field to glass", all of our drinks have an element of local products, this philosophy grows as we move forward.
On our menu you will find more fruit used than most other craft cocktail lists, simply because of our location in the Okanagan. We are blessed with some of the best produce and we're proud to be able to use it in Bar and Kitchen.
Q. Is it a cocktail or a mixed drink?
A.Originally the Term "cocktail" was a drink containing spirit, sugar, water and bitters, also referred to as a "Bittered Sling" (think "old fashioned). In today’s terms, a cocktail is a mixed drink. I think the bigger misuse of a term is "Martini" , just 'cause it's in a martini glass doesn't qualify it as a martini…
Q. Where did you learn the craft of mixing drinks?
A. The School of hard knox. I have been very lucky to have wonderful mentors along the way (Gerry Jobe, Simon Ogden) and to have learned my craft in a city full of talent and competition (Vancouver). I study a lot and have always pushed myself to constantly get better.
Q. What’s the drink of the summer?
A. Our Raspberry Gin Mule is a hit!
Q. What’s the biggest misperception of mixed drinks?
A. Well, in a craft bar setting, many people believe all of our drinks are going to be sweet. I hear, "I don't like sweet" all the time. In reality, mixed drinks should range from tart, savoury, spicy and yes some sweet, depending on the style of the cocktail. I always try to achieve balance within my drinks.
Q. What’s your favourite ingredient to use?
A. I love Honey! Sugar to the bar is like salt to the kitchen, it brings out flavor. Honey does this and is also found locally, I love the mouth feel and depth it can add to cocktail.
Q. How do you convert a wine drinker to a featured cocktail?
A. Most of the time it's just a matter of watching us at work. You'll sit at the bar and feel guilty you've ordered wine because you can't believe the time, precision, effort and artistry that’s happening . Entertainment is a huge part of Bartending, people get caught up in the show and feel compelled to order a cocktail.