If you have walked into Foode on Princess Anne Street, one of the first things that you notice is the amazing bar on the left hand side of the restaurant. The shelves on the wall are filled with ingredients that – when combined – are the start for a mighty fine cocktail. But there is much more to crafting a perfect cocktail than one would expect.
One of the most important pieces is the bartender.
and Fredericksburg Living teamed up to find out a bit more about the cocktails and what goes into making the perfect craft cocktail with Brandon – Foode’s bartender.
Crafting the Perfect Cocktail
We sat down and watched in awe as Brandon began creating two signature drinks – the Dead Beet and the Rye of the Taiger. The love for creating these concoctions was quite evident as he meticulously measured, poured, shook and designed the cocktails.
We asked Brandon to give us a few tips about cocktail making since many of us will be creating our own at home on this New Year’s Eve.
What is key to making a good cocktail?
Besides fresh ingredients, “its the shake.” The harder you shake the more you aerate the drink, which brings out the flavors.
“Everyone has a different way of shaking. It’s kind of like throwing a football without letting go.”
And measure everything.
How do you know when a cocktail is done?
“When you taste everything that goes into making it.”
A Bit About Brandon and His Passion
When the founders and business partners of Foode – Joy Crump, Beth Black and Jeremy Harrison – were looking to take their cocktail menu to a new level, they found Brandon on of all places – social media.
He was working for Peter Changs in Richmond, while learning all about creating amazing and different cocktails firsthand from Peter. Brandon has had “his hands in everything” when it comes to behind the scenes of the restaurant business and he has taken it all in throughout his time with Peter.
All of his experiences have taught him how to create the cocktails that he loves and enjoys. “If you want to be good at something, try everything.” From creating his own pickling liquid to experimenting with egg nog, Brandon sets the bar high when it comes to experimenting and fine tuning the cocktails that he makes.
The owners of Foode have given him “creative freedom” and it shows in his cocktails that are offered on the menu. A key requirement in craft cocktail making is “taste everything and know what it tastes like.”
The Foode Cocktail Menu has evolved since Brandon started fine tuning the menu and now features a mix of stirred and shaken cocktails. And of course there must be, according to Brandon, at least a minimum of one frothy egg white cocktail.
Tried and true Fredericksburg local’s favorites, such as a Manhattan and Old Fashioned, grace the menu, while seasonal drinks like his take on a Brandy Alexander add a bit of depth for cocktail lovers. Brandon looks to old cocktail books and vintage recipes to help create the menu which fits in well with the Southern historical vibe of the restaurant.
Brandon’s love for creating fine cocktails isn’t ending anytime soon. He is currently writing a cocktail cookbook that is in the “Old Boy Scout Handbook” style that will feature 50 different original drinks. Plenty of experimenting continues to ensure that Brandon can take common drinks and put his own spin on them.
Rye of the Taiger
It is truly apparent that Brandon has a strong passion for creating lively, enticing and sometimes thought provoking craft cocktails for all to enjoy. We asked him what his biggest pet peeve was about cocktail making. “The speed that drinks are created and not caring about what you are making. You can’t teach someone to care.”
Head into Foode in the New Year to have Brandon make one of his fine craft cocktails for you! You won’t be disappointed.
Have a safe and Happy New Years Eve! Cheers!!!
900 Princess Anne Street
Fredericksburg, VA 22401