Hallie Arnold loves flowers, and listing off her favorites, its clear she’s not just talking about the kind you receive in bouquets. “I love rose water, orange blossom water, elder flower—it’s very feminine—honeysuckle,” she sighs, “I love anything flowery.”
She’s talking about her favorite cocktail ingredients. As bartender at The Grocery it’s Arnold’s job to keep up with drink trends, test new ingredients and keep the creative cocktails coming. And she’s good at it. Just this past month she was a finalist in Bombay Sapphire’s Search for the Most Imaginative Bartender, where her sweet concoction ‘By Any Other Name’ took her out to Las Vegas to compete with 51 other top mixologists from across the U.S.
“I’ll show you the secret ingredient to cocktail competition… and you’re going to laugh,” says Arnold, picking up a pair of gigantic tweezers. The competition isn’t necessarily just about the drink, but about being technically perfect, and that includes following the International Bartending Associations rules that you can’t touch anything with your hands. The bartenders also only had seven minutes to create the drink, and were required to use Bombay Sapphire as the main ingredient. Arnold says the delicate infusion of Bombay made it perfect for use in ‘By Any Other Name.’
“Our joke was that ‘by any other name the cocktail would taste as sweet,” says Arnold. What makes the drink even sweeter is its inspiration: a lychee rose raspberry macaroon Arnold’s father picked up for her while in San Francisco for her parents 35th wedding anniversary. A fruity balance of lemon, lychee water and gin, with raspberry and rosewater, ‘By Any Other Name’ is a beverage that’s memorable, and perhaps a little dangerous. “It’s very deceiving. You could get people in trouble fast.”
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