Interview with Liquid Chef Kim Haasarud

Kim Haasarud is the author of 101 Margaritas, 101 Martinis, 101 Sangrias & Pitcher Drinks, and 101 Champagne Cocktails.

In 2002, she founded Liquid Architecture, a beverage consulting firm that creates signature drinks and bar concepts for a wide variety of clients, including The Atlantic magazine, Mont Blanc, Fox Searchlight, Warner Brothers, HBO, Comedy Central, and the Tribeca Film Festival.

You won’t find the standard neon green Appletini on her ever-changing bar card. Instead, this Alice Waters of bartending might shake up an Appletini using fresh-pressed apple juice with a dash of clove or cinnamon.


Gina: What is your creative process for concocting signature cocktails for events? On your website, I see that you designed drinks for Maxim’s party with the Pussy Cat Dolls. Please describe the drinks and why and how your chose them. Did the event planner give any direction beyond “make sexy cocktails”?

Kim: I easily get inspired by taking trips to my local farmer’s market. A lot of the inspiration from my 101 books came from those trips. I would see some fresh, seasonal ingredients–like cherries, watermelon, cantaloupe, etc. and build a cocktail around it. For events, I can get inspired by a particular theme. For example, at the Maxim Pussy Cat Dolls party, I wanted to use some “sexy” fruits and aphrodisiacs –chocolate, cherries, martinis, and tequila. (Yes, tequila can be very sexy.) Sometimes I will incorporate a sponsor into a cocktail. For example, one party I did, Garnier Fructis (the shampoo) was a major sponsor. I created a “Fructini” made with various citrus fruits used in the shampoo–grapefruit, lemon, and lime.

Gina: How many cocktail resource books do you own? What are a few of your favorites?

Kim: I own a ton. A few of my favorites include:
Dale DeGroff’s Craft of the Cocktail
Ted Haigh’s Vintage Cocktails
How to Mix Drinks by Jerry Thomas (the Godfather of Bartenders)
Savoy Cocktail Book by Harry Craddock
Drinks by Vincent Gasnier (he has a lot of great recipes for various syrups and punches)
Joy of Mixology by Gary Regan
Mr. Boston’s Official Bartender’s Guide by Anthony Giglio

Gina: My father-in-law passed away this week. Are there traditional drinks associated with funerals, wakes, or grieving?

Kim: Good question. I think the best tribute to someone who passed away would be to toast with a drink that was their favorite. Savor those flavors that he/she really loved. (And that doesn’t necessarily mean it has to have alcohol.) I know at my funeral, I want people to be toasting with Margaritas made with a good silver tequila and fresh limes! (No salt.)

Gina: If you were a cocktail, what cocktail would you be?

Kim: I think I answered it above–a Margarita of course! It’s a casual, non-pretentious drink that can be enjoyed year-round.

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