If you’re a fan of Snake River Grill’s steak tartare pizza and elk chop, chances are you’re also a fan of Liz Rasnick’s creative takes on classic cocktails. She’s been behind the bar at Snake River Grill since 2012, and the signature cocktail menu features many “Liz” originals such as the The Succulent Martini, Jamaican Push Cart, and her newest creation, the Friendly Skies. We sat down with Rasnick to talk shop and find out that she likes it stirred, not shaken.
Liz’s Quick Six
Years Behind the Bar: 8
Spirit Animal: gin
Snake River Grill Classic: Trout Saddle
Best Bars Abroad: Tokyo
Fave Wacky Duo: mezcal and matcha tea
Mixologist Mantra: less is more
Tell us more about your favorite bars abroad. What did you love about Tokyo?
I just got back from a month in Japan this past March. The attention to detail is so over the top and out of this world. Bars are just bars, and you go because you’re having a drink, or four drinks. Everything that they do is so delicate and intricate, and they specialize in one thing and do it really well.
What are your tips for making a drink look interesting or intricate?
I try to play off of the shape of the glass and incorporate a garnish that’s both visually appealing and has something to offer the drink.
How can home bartenders up their cocktail party game?
You need to be open to experimentation, and like to drink. You have to test what you’re making. Also, less is more. You can get crazy with nine ingredients, but most of the time you just need three or four. Many liquors are just so unique and delicious on their own, and maybe they just need a little splash of something else.
What was your inspiration for your newest take on a classic martini, the Friendly Skies?
I wanted to to incorporate Aviation gin, a delicious gin from Oregon that has a very specific taste. It’s more saline than piney. I’m an airline brat, both of my parents work for United, hence the Friendly Skies.
What are your tips and tricks for making a good martini at home?
Stir it. The only reason people started shaking martinis is because of James Bond, but martinis are actually supposed to be stirred. When you shake them, you break up the ice which actually waters it down. So, if you want the true essence of the liquor, just put it in a shaker, stick it on ice and stir it so it cools from the inside and outside.
How do you come up with the creative cocktails you’re known for?
It’s a team effort. We take three days, all come up with an idea, and then try to make those ideas better. I love to reinvent classic cocktails and go back to the old school basics. There are so many good things that people have just forgotten about over the decades.