Interview with Chef Adam Seger of Nacional 47 - Chicago

December, 2005

Antoinette Bruno: Were you trained in bartending or mixology?
Adam Seger: Francesco Lafranino is my mentor. He’s the Director of Southern Wine & Spirits in Nevada.

AB: What’s your cocktail philosophy?
AS: I like to think about creating drinks like a chef. You need a balance of acid, fruit and bitterness. Layers of flavor are important. The use of syrups is a way to layer flavors. Take for example my mojito. We start with a mint simple syrup. Then we add the muddled mint leaves. I also do a habanero ginger syrup that’s hot and sweet at the same time.

AB: What are some current trends you’ve seen in the cocktail market? How have trends changed?
AS: Rum and tequila are the two very hot liquors right now. We’re seeing more creativity, more mixology. Muddling is coming back. More whole fruit is being used for texture. Dale Degroff is bringing back great cocktails with his involvement in the Museum of the American Cocktail. He makes his own blend of liquors for each place he works for, so they have a signature liquor. He also uses a bigger muddler, to get the juice out without getting bitter.

AB: What inspires you when creating a new drink?
AS: Ingredients are key. I’ll use 10% syrup and 90% fruit. I get these “Funkin Professional” purees that are fruit purees cooked sous vide. It allows me to do high quality drinks with exotic ingredients that I can’t get at certain times of the year.

AB: Where do you see yourself in five years?
AS: Getting my Master Sommelier. I’m a CCP – Certified Culinary Professional. It’s rare to have food, wine and cocktail knowledge. I want to write 3 books on cooking with spirits. It would be organized by spirit.