Our post comes a little later than usual this morning. Forgive us, we were at The Rose trying out its stellar new cocktail menu last night. Trust us, you’re probably going to want to make a stop there soon.
The new head bartender, Jeff Grdinich, a 37-year-old who has been slinging craft cocktails for a decade in New Hampshire and most recently Drink, in Boston, has taken over there. And with him, he brings a new menu of almost two dozen different new concoctions.
The menu, in the works for months, offers three new punch bowls, and a variety of cocktails to keep you warm on a cold night.
If you remember, The Rose is really focused on craft cocktails. And Grdinich is probably the MAN to keep things fresh and innovative there. He started in the craft cocktail movement 10 years ago, and has been working in the industry since. He organizes the annual Tales of the Cocktail conference in New Orleans (the largest cocktail conference in the world, he said). And the first thing that comes up if you Google him is a page of recipes he created for Food & Wine magazine. (We’re lucky that he likes to snowboard and decided to make the move here.)
Also joining him is bartender Mike Doyle, who comes to Jackson from the Vesper Bar at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Doyle had been looking to trade in the Vegas scene for a mountain town and had been searching for opportunities. “To do what I’ve been trained to do, you have to go to an elevated culinary scene,” he said.
With these two at the helm, expect to see some progressive changes in the coming months and a more streamlined approach to their fancy cocktails. Yes, The Rose’s drinks are probably the best around, but sometimes these complicated concoctions weren’t always the fastest to be made. By making a few changes behind the bar, expect to see service streamlined (Doyle’s former bar would serve about 20,000 drinks a day).
“There really are no changes in the style or philosophy of The Rose,” Grdinich said. “It’s more a continuation of the growth of the program and expanding on some of the flavors, the products and the techniques we are using.”
The new menu has a focus on seasonal flavors, with richer, warmer winter spices and full-bodied spirits, he said. There are hot drinks to warm your belly and warm spices to heat up your palate. There are also a handful of new mixers on the menu, some of which you may have never heard of. So The Rose added a handy little glossary on each page describing what those are.
Here’s some of the staff’s favorites:
Dom Gagliardi (owner): The Balderdash, with Flor de Cana 7-year rum and house-made sarsaparilla cordial ($9)
Jeff Grdinich (head bartender): The Jackson Factor, with Flor de Cana 4-year rum, Del Maguey mezcal, fresh pineapple, grapefruit and lime juices and angostura bitters
Mike Doyle (bartender): The 20th Century, with Beefeater gin, creme de cacao, lillet blanc and fresh lemon juice
Brittney (bartender): The Coronado Luau Special (named after a hotel in San Diego), with Cruzan Blackstrap rum, Flor de Cana 7-year rum, Henessey Vs cognac, curacao, house-made orgeat and fresh orange and lime juices.