Karl Steuck: Farm to Cocktail Connoisseur
Monday's are much more fun now that we have Karl in the house! A libation specialist and behind the bar inspiration, Karl Steuck's farm to table cocktails make us happy, giddy and relaxed. We have known Karl since the launch of The Vibrant Beet and are so excited to have him come on as our in-house cocktail connoisseur. A natural entertainer, his vibrant and genuine personality filters through every uniquely delicious drink he creates. When we are lucky enough to sip his spirits, I recommend drinking it as though you were drinking a fine vintage wine...drink it slowly, taste the delicious natural flavors and savor each sip. Get to know him and love him as much as we do with a couple of questions below:
1. If you were a cocktail, what kind of cocktail would you be and why?
I'd be a Mezcal Old Fashion. Not too complex, but takes a bit of finesse to properly balance.
2. What originally got you into mixology?
Moving to California. I was blown away with all the fresh seasonal ingredients at my finger tips. Also, was super fortunate to work at some amazing restaurants that guided the evolution of my palate.
3. Where do you get your ingredients?
Local Farmers Markets. The personal connection to interact with the farmers & vendors and fully understand the ingredients is very important to me.
4. Where do you get your cocktail inspirations?
It may sound weird, but a lot of them appear out of thin air ... I try not to overthink it. With that said, some of my creations are totally inspired by what's in season at the market.
5. Do you have a favorite drink. If so, what is it and why?
A balanced drink :). I tend to drink agave based spirits (tequila, mescal, bacanora) so I'm always creating & tasting others creations, but don't necessary have a favorite. Mezcal is my favorite spirit though ... its such a beautiful reflection of what a spirit can be when made with some TLC.
6. How do you like to celebrate? Where do you like to celebrate and with whom?
Definitely with a few cocktails. It depends, usually at a nice restaurant bar with some delicious food and/or in my kitchen. Always celebrate with friends ... I don't like drinking alone. At home is always fun, because I'm like a kid in candy store as I always have an array of spirits, citrus, herbs, syrups & shrubs at my disposal. I love engineering drinks specific to the likes of my friends ... its absolutely one of my favorite things to do.
7. Give us a cocktail for the season.
Blazed Saddle - Watermelon Juice, Lime, Serrano Syrup, Campari and works well with either Tequila, Mezcal or Vodka. Mint Garnish. Its Super balanced. The bitterness of the Campari cuts the heat of the Serrano, while not overpowering the natural sweetness of the watermelon. The lime provides just enough acid to balance it all out. The aroma of the mint gives a nice "nose" feel.
9. What is your favorite local spirit label/company?
I'm totally bias here ... Loft & Bear! Loft & Bear is the second distillery in LA since prohibition. I was introduced to the owner while I was curating a cocktail program in DTLA ... the Loft is literally 2 floors above, we formed a immediate friendship/bond that has grown to me being the VP of Business Development & Hospitality which encompasses a lot of work, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Having my hand in creating new products & growing this startup has me over the moon! Not too mention its hands down the best vodka I've ever tasted.
10. Any tips for avoiding a hangover?
Drink clean. Organic natural mixers. Avoid processed sugars as they do the most damage. Don't drink everything ... pick a vehicle (spirit, beer, wine) for the evening and stick with it. Also, drink a glass of water for every drink you have.
11. What is your favorite bar in los angeles and/or wherever you grew up.
Hmmm, in LA thats a tough question as I like so many. Back home is easy though, I lived in South Haven on Lake Michigan for a stint before heading this way 10 years ago. There is a old Louisiana Riverboat called "The Idler" that sits on the channel that heads out to Lake Michigan. The 3 story boat sits about 25 feet above the water with the open air bar on top ... all kinds of water vehicles pass throughout the day. The music & drinks are fitting to the atmosphere as locals & tourists alike take in the beautiful scenery. If I could be teleported to one bar this would be it.
Contact or learn more about Karl at http://spiritandspoon.com