This is Keith Waldbauer, Consulting Associate Mixologist for Kathy Casey Food Studios/Liquid Kitchen. If we’ve never met, hopefully we’ll be able to remedy that situation sometime very soon. In any case, I’m standing in for Kathy for a hot minute to give an update about our adventures in the beautiful Middle East, nearly halfway around the world from our lovely home base in Seattle.
So, why am I writing this blog post, and not Kathy? Well, at this moment, Kathy is perfecting an inspired cocktail menu for one of Fairmont Abu Dhabi’s many signature bars, and let me be the first to tell you that this is no small task.
Developing a cocktail menu in an unfamiliar culture has inherent obstacles we just don’t find back home (such as sourcing materials readily available at home but difficult to obtain here). Developing a world-class cocktail menu designed to represent the pinnacle of mixology available in Abu Dhabi adds an increased (but thoroughly welcome) challenge. Add to that the training of the bartenders and the staff on the artistry involved in making our cocktails and you have… well, you have me standing in for Kathy while she performs her magic here.
Some of our impressions on the first few days of our adventures in Abu Dhabi:
* It takes a long time to get here from Seattle. John and Kathy picked me up at my apartment at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday, October 13th. Kathy and I finally relaxed in our rooms at 1:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 14th. So…um…*whew*
* The staff at the Fairmont Abu Dhabi is among the friendliest, most accommodating collection of people we have ever encountered. Every single employee has gone out of their way to not only make us feel at home (no easy task) but to also acquiesce to our demands to help make the bars we’re consulting with rank among the very best. The commitment shown by the staff here to excellent service in all facets literally surprises us every single day…. I know of no higher compliment we can give than that.
* Our mixology classes have been enthusiastically attended and Kathy and I are having fun sharing the passion we have for the craft of bartending at the highest level. These are five hour classes, every day, and the last hour is just as high energy as the first hour.
* The hotel is absolutely stunning. Follow this link and scroll through. And know that the pictures can’t possibly do justice to the physical experience.
* Um… yeah… it’s hot outside.
* There is a perverse exhilaration in opening a bar (or five) in which 12-15 hour days is the minimum. What’s perverse is neither Kathy nor I even realize we put in those kind of workdays. That’s how fun this is.
* Finally, as much great work as we’re doing and as much fun as this is, we do miss our rainy NW home. I know Kathy misses her husband John and also her staff at KCFS. I miss Vessel and Liberty, the bars I work at, and all my regular guests and friends. We’re looking forward to getting back in time for the holidays.
The sparkle couch Kathy loves so much she swears
she’s taking home with her…
Fairmont Bab Al Bahr lobby
Outside the hotel