I love all the freedom and creativity I can get with working with all the flavours.
—Greg Tiwari, bar manager, Lobby on York
Greg Tiwari scribbles notes down on a piece of scrap paper. He jots 'pear' in the middle and circles it in red ink.
Greg Tiwari demonstrates how he comes up with new ideas for cocktails, innovative concoctions using a variety of taste profiles. (Robin Summerfield)
To the list he quickly adds 'cardamom,' 'all-spice,'lychee' and 'blue cheese'--all flavours that complement pear.
This ingredient brainstorming and free-flowing flavour profiling is how Tiwari comes up with new cocktails for Lobby on York, where he works as bar manager.
"I call it flavour bouncing," says the 36-year-old. Forget mixologist, Tiwari is a cocktail chef.
Anyone can throw together a rye and coke, Tiwari's skills are much more refined.
Lobby on York's Greg Tiwari uses a martini shaker to mix his signature elderflower peartini. (Robin Summerfield)
"I'm cooking with liquids. That's basically what I'm doing," he says. Tiwari says a small group of Winnipeg bartenders are creating noteworthy concoctions and pushing the boundaries of the city's cocktail culture.
Tiwari's elderflower peartini is a case in point.
The spritely cocktail is a smart blend of pear-infused vodka, white cranberry juice and a liqueur made with elderflower, a flowering bud grown in the Alps and harvested by hand.
Where a Cosmopolitan (made famous by Sex and the City
) is brash and bold, Lobby's elderflower peartini is demure and well-mannered.
That said, it's so luscious and smooth going down, it would be easy to knock back a few without blinking. And that could lead to some decidedly non-demure behaviour. Creating imaginative cocktails is what drives Tiwari and makes his career fun, he says. "I love all the freedom and creativity I can get with working with all the flavours."
Lobby on York's elderflower peartini
2 oz. Grey Goose pear vodka
1 oz. St. Germain (elderflower liqueur)
3 oz. white cranberry juice
1" strip lemon rind
Place all ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
Strain cocktail into chilled martini glass, making sure rind remains in shaker.
Garnish with a pear slice.
Yield: 1 cocktail (4 oz.)