New Jersey based Colin Deitz was working in the hospitality industry for 3 years before he got thrown behind the bar for the first time.
But once he got a taste of life behind the stick, he never went back. Today he has 17 years behind the bar, and is happily continuing to pursue his creative drive by mixing up fabulous cocktails.
Where do you tend bar now? What makes it unique? Distinctive drinks, décor, a certain vibe?
My current home is behind the bar at Tapastre in Somerville NJ. We are a small local community craft beer and cocktail bar. In the past couple years we have been making a mark in the central NJ area. Guests love to come check out our basement/speakeasy vibe for a nice date night out or to enjoy good beer and cocktails for a night on the town. Our cocktail menu changes seasonally so we are always coming up with new ideas and recipes. We also like to think outside the box at times such as garnishing a cocktail with a mini peanut butter & jelly sandwich or a candied piece of bacon for a bacon fat washed old fashioned.
Who has been most influential in your development as a bartender? A mentor, a parent, a fellow bartender, and why?
For me, all the different palates of the guests influence me to keep creating new ideas. New spirits are always coming out and that allows us as bartenders to introduce new flavor profiles to guests and have them explore combinations they haven’t before. It is an experience that I love being a bartender. Also my fellow bartenders are always inspiring me to create, everyone has their own take and twist on how they make their cocktails and it is inspiring.
Do you have any advice for novice/at home bartenders?
Ask questions. Ask your bartender how they came up with the cocktail you love. Learn about the spirits they use. Take the time to use fresh ingredients at home and splurge on having good cocktail equipment for your home bar. In this day and age, a lot of bartenders have an Instagram page where they post their cocktails and ingredients and its a nice way to explore new recipes.
What is your favorite ingredient right now and why?
Right now I think passionfruit is my favorite ingredient. For me it is an all year round fruit. It works well with most spirits and it can be used in every thing from Tiki style cocktails to matching well with winter ingredients.
How do you go about creating a new cocktail? Is there a specific process or simply a moment of inspiration?
Although a simple moment of inspiration does occur often, I do have a process for creating new cocktails. First and foremost it depends on the season that it is. Next I like to think of the flavor profile id like to work with basing it off a classic cocktail build. I think of what cocktail would be the best vessel and take that classic and put my own twist on it. Another process I like to do is take a hard ingredient to work with and try and make it work or even using a spirit not familiar with and challenging myself to work with it.
Do you have a special technique you use or a tip for making a particular drink?
Balance. I believe a good cocktail should be balanced. I also have a technique while making a cocktail that I like to call the “story”. If I can achieve a beginning, middle, and an end in the taste profile then I have made a successful cocktail.
Where do you see the bartending/cocktail culture headed?
I think the cocktail culture will stay strong. There are new spirits being released all the time and a lot of them breaking the norm. I also believe there is more of a determination to bring cocktails and bartending back to its glory since the pandemic happened. It changed the industry forever. Also from that I think more accessible forms of cocktails will keep emerging, from canned cocktails to cocktails to go.
“Feel the Passion”
- 1 1/2 oz. Xicaru Mexcal
- 1/2 oz. Ancho reyes liquor
- 1 oz. Passionfuirt nectar
- 1/2 oz. Pink peppercorn infused agave*
- 1/2 oz. lime juice
Preparation: Add ingredients to a tin and shake until cold. Strain into a coupe glass and garnish with dehydrated citrus.
- 1 cup of pink peppercorns
- 1 cup agave nectar
- 1 cup water
Preparation: Bring ingredients to a boil turn of heat, stir to dilute agave and let it sit.