Chicago Comes to Miami—and Vice Versa | Partner Tip

Liquor.com’s Bar Shift Program sponsored by BACARDÍ® plays the bar-swap game, putting bartenders from one city behind the stick in a new place.

Most bartenders only get to experience other cities’ bars as a customer. Pulling up a stool at a peer’s bar while traveling is a great way to see what your bartending brethren are up to: what bottles they’re excited about; what techniques they’re playing with; what the vibe and crowd are like.

Imagine a world, though, where you could hop behind the stick at a notable bar in a city far from the one where you ply your trade. Well, that’s exactly what Bar Shift does.

The year-long bar-swapping program just launched in early November 2014, with an all-out kick-off. For the first swap, Alex Renshaw of Chicago’s Drumbar flew south to warmer climes to work at Miami’s The Broken Shaker. Then, a week later, Gui Jaroschy, bar manager of the Broken Shaker, threw on his outerwear and headed up to Chicago to step behind Drumbar.

Here’s how the two swaps went down, play by play.

Bar Shift #1: Chicago Miami, Monday, November 3

Alex Renshaw of Drumbar hit the ground running when he arrived in Miami—ready to work alongside Gui Jaroschy at the Magic City’s beloved bar The Broken Shaker.

Early in the day, Renshaw got a crash course in The Broken Shaker set-up. Come 8pm, it was go time. Renshaw brought three signature drinks with him to serve at the one-night only event:

  • Local Option: BACARDÍ® 8, Luxardo Amaro Abano, fresh pressed apple juice, Demerara, lemon
  • Junk Mail: BACARDÍ® 8, Kahlua, pineapple, banana, lime, angostura bitters
  • Back to Basics: BACARDÍ® 8, Lairds Bonded Apple Brandy, mulled apple cider reduction, bitters

The logic behind Renshaw’s choice of cocktails: “ I wanted to represent the cold Chicago November and also showcase a couple different drink styles that are popular in Chicago right now.”

During the three hours Renshaw and Jaroschy cranked out drinks, the bar was often three-deep, with a lively mix of trade and consumers. Some of Miami’s best bartenders lent their support and the consumers on-hand were thrilled to try cocktails with a whole new point of view. The evening was a raucous one, with a sizable crowd that came through to watch the Magic City meet the Windy City.

The next day, Renshaw attended a special rum educational and tasting event hosted by BACARDÍ®, and also spent some time with his bartendering peers in the Miami USBG.

Then back Renwhaw returned to brisker weather in Chicago.

Click here to check out photos from this event.

Bar Shift #2: Miami Chicago, Monday, November 10

But the pair weren’t separated for long. One week later, Jaroschy and Renshaw were reunited, when Jaroschy made his way to Chicago to work a shift at Drumbar.

So much of The Broken Shaker’s ethos revolves around local ingredients. Because you can take the bartender out of the city but you can’t take the bar out of the bartender, Jaroschy wandered Chicago before his impending shift. Winter was on its way, and, as he explored Millennium Park, Jaroschy scored lemongrass and marigolds that were handed to him by park workers in the middle of a flora transition for the park’s grounds.

Night landed, and Jaroschy and Renshaw went at it again. This time, Jaroschy brought three of his own recipes north:

  • Fungus Among Us: BACARDÍ® Gold, mushroom-infused Drambuie, ancho chile liqueur
  • Smoked Fig Rum Old Fashioned: BACARDÍ® 8yr., smoked-fig reduction, Angostura, pork bitters
  • Southernmost State of Mind: BACARDÍ® Heritage, Sunshine Mix (kaffir and citrus cordial mixed with rosemary and St. Germain and incorporating local lemongrass marigold garnish), lime juice, soda to top

The evening was a raucous one, with guests coming through to watch the Magic City meet the Windy City. As in the pair’s Miami stint, some of Chicago’s best bartenders turned up to watch their cocktail-slinging brothers do their thing. A little Florida-style cocktail sunshine was welcome on a chilly autumn evening in Chicago.

Click here to check out photos from this event.

That’s a Wrap

It took only seven days and two bartenders from wildly different cities to establish an instant friendship. Jaroschy and Renshaw bonded and their experiences at each other’s bars will hopefully inform their craft over the course of their careers. Plus, each was able to create new relationships and establish fresh industry contacts.

Liquor.com’s Bar Shift Program sponsored by BACARDÍ®.

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