On the 26th floor of the Eurostar Hotel (formerly the Dana Hotel) sits Apogee Lounge: a hip cocktail bar with 360-degree views, delicious drinks and food items, and both outdoor and indoor seating options. Apogee is a celestial term that defines the largest distance between the moon and the earth during the moon’s orbit, and drinking cocktails at this lounge certainly feels out-of-this-world.
With fresh-cut flowers brought in daily, and custom hand-blown glassware evoking psychedelic twists of color, the magic of alchemy is present as Apogee Lounge refuses to skimp on presentation or flavor. To maintain a high flavor quality for all of their drinks, including group cocktails that serve up to 6 people, Apogee Lounge uses Twisted Alchemy cold-pressed juice for all of their citrus needs.
Pineapple, lemon, lime, and watermelon are just a few of the fruits that Apogee lounge declared they juice by hand no more. Nigal Vann, one of the top bartenders at Apogee Lounge, embraces the alchemy that happens behind the bar at Apogee Lounge. Twisted Alchemy sat down with Nigal to learn about his experience at Apogee and how Twisted Alchemy cold-pressed juices helped their entire staff improve their cocktail offerings.
Interview with Nigal Vann, Apogee Lounge Bartender
Twisted Alchemy (TA): How did you get into bartending?
Nigal Vann (NV): I started working in retail and I had a coworker who was working as a bartender marking more money in one weekend than I was making in two weeks so I ended up joining his team and I’ve been a bartender since I turned 21, so I’ve been bartending for 11 years.
TA: What is your favorite part about being a bartender?
NV: I’m a very social person so I love meeting new people every day and hearing their stories. Working at a hotel that’s great because I get to meet people from all over the country if not the world.
TA: What’s your least favorite part?
NV: It’s kind of hard to have a social life. That’s probably my least favorite part of bartending because a lot of events are on Fridays and Saturdays and this is where I am during that time.
TA: Can you tell me something you like about working at Apogee?
NV: I love working here because there’s a view of all angles of the city and our cocktails are great. Not only can we do some classic cocktails – we have prohibition cocktails – we have great knowledge and we can also do your vodka soda if you prefer.
TA: Talk to me about the hassles of squeezing your own citrus
NV: Before Twisted Alchemy we were actually squeezing our own juices. And we’re a very popular restaurant so we can do up to 20 liters of lemon juice alone, so it’s great to have that work done for us and it saves us a lot of time. We started using Twisted Alchemy back in January so it’s been about 6 months now. Using Twisted Alchemy products has expedited our execution of cocktails. Since it’s bartender friendly in terms of size and portions, it just speeds up our cocktail making so we can make more money and more revenue. I leave happy with more tips.
TA: What’s your favorite juice to work with?
NV: My favorite juice to work with is pineapple juice. I love tropical flavors in cocktails. I love making Pisco Sours with a little bit of pineapple.
TA: Can you tell me about your batching program?
NV: being that we are high volume and we need to make cocktails very fast, we do have a batching program here so it doesn’t take too long with ordering. Twisted Alchemy helps a lot because the juicing is already done and that takes hours upon hours every week. It saves us time and labor costs.
TA: What’s your most popular cocktail?
NV: The most popular cocktail here is called the Ephemeris which has lemon juice, a little bit of Ketel One vodka and blackberry.
TA: Can you talk to me about your experience as a bartender juicing fruit on-premise?
NV: Last year we had to juice our own juices. We can do 22 quarts of lemon and lime and pineapple and that does do some wear-and-tear on your body. It puts you at risk of cutting your fingers and what-not. Now that it’s done already, it just helps us spend more time focusing on other things like coming up with more cocktails. We’re always trying to be better than what we were yesterday.
TA: What do you think about the managed sweetness levels and pH levels noted on our bottles?
NV: I love that Twisted Alchemy has the pH and Brix levels on the actual product because it helps us know exactly what’s going into our cocktails and it keeps the products consistent.
TA: How do you see Twisted Alchemy elevating spirits in your bar program?
NV: Twisted Alchemy has the actual flavor of the fruit, there’s nothing artificial or a juice cocktail, and I think that stands out when we start to do a lot of stuff with mixology and we get to showcase the spirit and the flavor of the juice itself, not just the sugar and sweetness.
Get Twisted Alchemy Behind Your Bar
Apogee Lounge uses Twisted Alchemy cold-pressed juice because it’s the same consistent juice every time. Plus, it eliminates labor costs and waste. They no longer have to worry about navigating fluctuations in produce prices, yields, sweetness levels (Brix) or pH levels. They have more control and predictability to run their business with better quality and variety of juices for their cocktails.
Do you want to learn more about how Twisted Alchemy can elevate your crafted cocktails? See and shop our entire line of curated cold-pressed juices, request a sample, apply for industry pricing, or simply drop us a line, we would love to hear from you!