Mixing It Up Ritz-Carlton Style
Ignite is known for many things — stunning desert views, live music, deck-side fire pits, an excellent menu featuring ingredients from the best local farms and growers and — talented mixologists who create superb classic to new cocktail experiences.
“I love what I do at Ignite,” Shannon said. “I meet amazing people from throughout the community and all over the world who come in to explore classic, new and interesting drink combinations that may incorporate sweet and savory spices, teas, honey, heritage fruits or hot peppers or ingredients that date back to ancient times.”
Shannon listens carefully to guests to discover their distinct flavor preferences and often creates “customized” cocktails for them that are not always on the bar menu.
When asked what inspired him to pursue a career in mixology, Shannon recalls going into the Ritz-Carlton, Berlin’s Fragrances bar and being drawn in by its adventurous and sensory drinks. One of Fragrances signature drinks artfully combines Earl Grey tea-infused gin with fresh lemon juice, rosemary and homemade lavender and vanilla syrups.
Shannon said, “I had my sights set on becoming a culinary chef, but from that time forward I knew I wanted to be a ‘drink’ chef.”
One of Shannon’s signature drinks, the Garden Gimlet, is beyond wonderful guests say. Starting with kaffir lime-infused gin and blending it with fresh lime juice and lemon grass syrup creates a light, aromatic and citrusy drink with a Southeast Asian flare.
The mixologists at The Ritz-Carlton use a variety of fresh herbs from their kitchen garden, fruit purees and special syrups to create amazing drinks. Particularly popular is Ignite’s margarita featuring pureed mango, chipotle spice and lime juice, which rivals the ever-popular prickly pear margarita using the resort’s handcrafted ruby-colored lightly sweet syrup.
Shannon tells us that every season of the year at the resort brings with it new specialty drinks. He is currently working on a recipe for a spiced pear martini. And during the holidays the resort hosts a variety of gourmet culinary events, which are complimented by a delightful array of new and beloved holiday cocktails like the gingerbread martini.
Want to try your hand at mixology?
Follow the recipe below to create your own Garden Gimlet masterpiece.
- 2 oz kaffir lime-infused gin
- 1 oz lemongrass syrup
- 1 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice
– Combine all ingredients in a shaker with ice. Gently shake until shaker is frosted on the outside. Strain into a rocks/short glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass stalk, lime wheel, or your own combination of the above.
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 four-inch pieces fresh lemongrass stalk
– Combine ingredients in a medium saucepan. Simmer on medium heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, let cool, and strain.
– Combine 750ml bottle of dry gin and 6-8 Kaffir lime leaves in a plastic or glass vessel. Store at room temperature for 3 days, then remove leaves.