If you are looking for beautifully crafted cocktails in Chicago, Kite String Cantina is a must visit! The local Roscoe Village bar has one goal: to give patrons a little taste of comfort and transcendence through great beer, bubbler cocktails, and gourmet taquitos. It only makes sense that they would mix their crafted cocktails with the best high-quality juice, Twisted Alchemy! Kite String Cantina just celebrated their 2-year anniversary, and Twisted Alchemy is proud to have been with their crafted cocktail program since the beginning.
Talking Crafted Cocktails
We sat down with bartender Ashten Lind to learn more about what it’s like working at a local joint, what their most popular crafted cocktails are, and how Twisted Alchemy juices have given their bartenders a chance at a social life and much more.
Twisted Alchemy (TA): How did you get into bartending?
Ashten Lind (AL): I just kind of fell into it. I like working with my hands and I was sick of being in an office, so just sort of found things that were going to keep me on my feet.
TA: How long have you been bartending for?
AL: About two years.
TA: How long have you been at Kite String cantina?
AL: Just around a year.
TA: What would you say is your favorite part about being a bartender?
AL: I think it’s probably foraging connections with people I see on a regular basis. This bar especially is a big neighborhood bar. I’m not sure if that’s something we even anticipated but relationships that we develop with people who are here on a regular basis is the best part.
TA: Do you have a least favorite part about bartending?
AL: Hmmm…no. Or, well, I guess unruly drunk people can be the worst part. That’s probably everybody’s answer.
TA: Can you tell us about the hassles of squeezing citrus? Did you juice here at Kite String Cantina before using Twisted Alchemy?
AL: We probably juiced here for maybe the first couple of days before realizing that something had to change. And a lot of that goes into the owners and their experience, bartenders experience…it’s definitely a plus for everyone around here. It’s a lot of wear and tear on your hands; it’s extremely time-consuming. So people who use Twisted alchemy, us in particular, are really thankful for it.
TA: Can you say a little bit more about what a bartender’s hands go through on a daily basis?
AL: So, the benefit of not squeezing your own citrus it just goes back to the wear and tear you have on your own hands. You’re already using your hands so much, and washing your hands constantly, so they’re completely drying out, and when you’re throwing acid and astringent things on your hands, it just creates a really, really negative impact on your body overall. So not having to do that and having Twisted Alchemy to serve that purpose helps a lot just in terms of health.
TA: Since you don’t have to squeeze your own citrus anymore, do you see that gives you more free time in other aspects of your job and life? What has Twisted Alchemy allowed you to do with your time now that you don’t have to squeeze?
AL: A big part I think for a lot of bartenders is that many people have not one but a couple of jobs. Our shifts here are a little shorter and part of that is because we don’t have the same amount of prep. So not just from a work perspective but from a social perspective you can have a little bit more of a life outside of work because you don’t have to put so many hours into prepping. And at bars I’ve worked at in the past, juicing is a giant part of the actual time commitment. So that’s a huge plus.
TA: Do you have a favorite juice that you like to work with?
AL: I’d probably say the Persian Lime. That’s one that we use here the most. Well, I can’t say that I have a super favorite because they’re all very clean, they all come across very very true, it’s an honest juice. But yeah, I’d say lime because that’s what we use the most.
TA: Do you have any favorite crafted cocktails that you make with it?
AL: There’s a couple of favorites for sure. My favorite cocktail, in general, is the draft margarita. We use Twisted Alchemy lime in our draft margarita and it then gets kegged and runs through a nitro draft line so it has a little effervescence. We were curious to see how this juice, in particular, would react with that when we first started doing that and it’s awesome. It’s a really great drink.
TA: What’s one of the most popular crafted cocktails at Kite String?
AL: After the draft margarita would probably be the Paloma. The Paloma’s really popular.
TA: Can you talk to me more about the positive results you’ve seen in no waste and managed yields and extended shelf life that Twisted Alchemy gives your bar?
AL: Twisted Alchemy shelf life, in particular, is one of the biggest things that stands out to me. When you’re juicing fresh citrus, the negative of that is that you’re doing it every day. Or maybe you can sit on a juice for a day or two. And when we first brought this on, we were wondering if it was going to have a fresh quality because I think a lot of people in the industry are skeptical about juices that have been bottled or not juicing in-house, and what we have found is that the product stands up. Just as well if not better form the perspective of taste, and it actually does have a legitimate shelf life.
TA: Were you managing Brix levels for that one week you were juicing your own citrus?
AL: There wasn’t a lot of management. It was essentially if it had been a day or two then we don’t trust it and we have to move on. And us especially that’s a giant problem. We want to deliver a clean product, a very consistent product, so not having to worry about that Brix level thing is a huge plus.
TA: What do you think about the Brix levels in our juices? Would you say the sweetness is what you’re looking for?
AL: Yeah I think they’re really, really consistent. That’s the biggest thing. It’s not always about the sweetness or this or that to us because we can modify that as bartenders. It’s more about trusting what’s in the bottle is consistent every time and that’s the takeaway.
TA: Do you think your best seller is your margarita because people know you’re using fresh lime juice and not a sugary product?
AL: Yeah and I think that goes for not just the margarita but all of our cocktails that use citrus. They know that they’re getting something that isn’t completely sugar, that isn’t fake and is actual fruit juice that they can trust.
TA: Do customers ask if it’s fresh squeezed? Do they know what they’re drinking?
AL: Yeah, I feel like we did that more in the beginning and since we’re more of a neighborhood bar, everybody knows that. They would never expect at this point to have to ask if a new cocktail happened. If there is a cocktail that’s using a juice they haven’t seen before like orange or watermelon, typically that we introduce into our bubbler cocktails, people trust that they know what they’re getting and they know that we use Twisted Alchemy and that it’s an actual pressed juice that they can trust is a real fruit product and not something scary.
Twisted Alchemy Can Elevate Your Cocktails
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! And remember, as you’re planning your crafted cocktail program, do yourself a favor and elevate your spirits! Stop the squeeze with Twisted Alchemy 100% pure, cold-pressed juices!