It's Five O'Clock Somewhere with Josh Lemay
Many people don’t realize how spices can elevate a cocktail, but we are here to fix that problem! Our It's Five O'Clock Somewhere SKORDO Set is filled with 9 ingredients that do just that. A great addition to any mixologist’s kitchen, this set contains ¼ cup jars of Chile Lime Sea Salt, Posy Sugar, Wild Blueberry Sugar, French Lavender, Hibiscus Petals, Rosebuds + Petals, Green Cardamom Pods, Makrut Lime Leaves, and Star Anise.
We’ve enlisted the assistance of local mixologist Josh Lemay, current bar manager of Baharat in East Bayside to provide inspiration on how to utilize this set. Baharat is a fast-casual restaurant with inspired Middle Eastern street food offerings, a cocktail-focused full bar, and cozy welcoming interior. Josh's bar philosophy is flavor forward and sustainability focused. He believes that "the biggest challenge a bartender faces these days is waste and carbon footprint." As such, his bar is anti-waste focused. He attempts to use and reuse ingredients, shop local, and take scraps and potential waste from the kitchen whenever possible. I met Josh when we worked together at a local restaurant; where I quickly grew an appreciation for drinks finer than my standard post-shift beer, thanks to Josh’s encouragement and creative confidence. I was always curious to see what he would create, especially after I spent my shift bringing my kitchen scraps to the bar. Anything from wilted herbs and lemons hulls, to squash skins and garlic peels would be graciously accepted and turned into something both satisfying and sustainable.
Lucky for us, bartenders are great multi-taskers, especially when it comes to making small talk while mixing drinks. Below you’ll find tidbits from my conversation with Josh, taken from our evening experimenting with SKORDO’s It's Five O'Clock Somewhere SKORDO Set.
When & How did you get started?
About 10 years ago now, when I was 28, after years of working mental health services. I was always working part time in restaurants, mostly back of house, bussing tables, dish pit, and prep. Eventually I was trained as a host, then manager. As a manager, I had to fill in as needed, and when our bartender left, I assumed the role of bartender full time.
What is your favorite cocktail?
Daquiri : 2oz Rum, 1oz Lime Juice, 0.5oz Simple Syrup
Swafford : Rye, Applejak, Luxardo, Green Chartreuse, Orange Bitters
Would you say that you had a signature style as a bartender?
I don’t find that to be the case. I’d like to think I’m adaptable, historically I’ve created cocktails what match the vibe of the space, without being too niche. Drinks shouldn’t be dependent on a food pairing to be enjoyable. Some bartenders are surgeons, they have a particular specialty. I like to think I'm a generalist, a family doctor who is knowledgeable about most things though perhaps not the absolute best at any one kind of cocktail.
What is your process for developing new recipes?
Typically, I start with a selection of flavors that I know I enjoy on their own and try them all in different ratios to see if they pair well together as a group. I also see what product I can utilize in a low waste way and build components from there.
Speaking of low waste, can you talk through the process of the Bitter Lime Cordial?
I take lime hulls (what’s left after juicing), combine them with sugar and cover with overproof rum. After this sits at room temperature for some time, I blend them into a pulp and slowly strain them using a strainer bag. The piths from the lime bring a bitterness that I balance with some fresh lime juice and more sugar, as needed.
Which ingredients from SKORDO’s It’s Five O’clock Somewhere set did you use in your two recipes?
Josh went on to create two different cocktails using SKORDO’s It’s Five O’clock Somewhere set; a Spiced Pineapple Daiquiri and 'Farewell Transmission', a hibiscus infused Aquavit cocktail. Both available now in our recipe box.