Mix master and Chicago native Charles Joly will bring his award winning skills to this year’s Governors Ball with some very special whisky drinks.
A James Beard Award, Global Bartending Champion at 2014’s World Class Competition and two time Top American Bartender are just a few of the accolades that Charles Joly has earned in a career that has taken mixology to new heights. At this year’s Governors Ball, Joly will be working with Hilhaven Lodge whisky to create some special taste treats for a room full of award winners on Oscar night.
Are you excited to be mixing at this year’s Governors Ball? Charles Joly: This is actually my second year at the Governor’s Ball and, yes, I am very excited. This is the biggest party of the year and presents an opportunity for me to make cocktails for some very special people.
When did you first start mixing with Hilhaven Lodge? CJ: I’ve been working with the luxe spirits in the Diageo portfolio for a number of years, and when Hilhaven Lodge joined it was a natural fit. American whisky is in the midst of an amazing time and Hilhaven Lodge is a wonderful example of the best of these native spirits.
Can you give us a sneak peek at some of the cocktails you’ll be making? CJ: I have tried to create an array of recipes, so that there will be something for everyone to enjoy. The first is an Old Fashion, which I love because it is such a simple cocktail that consists of a mere three ingredients and a twist. This allows the whisky to shine. The second is called the Road Less Traveled. It is less spirit forward and offers the crisp, refreshing flavors of citrus, bourbon vanilla chai tea syrup, and dandelion and burdock soda. The third is a stirred cocktail called The Lodge that includes sweet vermouth, sherry, and chocolate bitters, and is run through a flash infusion machine that is used to create cold brew coffee and then garnished with a sprig of fresh rosemary. The earthy tones of the liquid and the green of the garnish work beautifully in the glass.
What is trending with your clientele this spring? CJ: It is a cool time for spirits and cocktails. My guests are more adventurous than ever when they come to the bar. Again, American whisky is the spirit of the moment that everyone seems to want to explore. When it comes to ingredients, its less about a specific taste and more about quality and variety. The expectation is that the liquid in the glass has the same integrity as what’s on the plate.