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A Few Rounds with Yvonne Saville

The ADR attorney talks craft cocktails

Published in 2021 Pennsylvania Super Lawyers magazine

Up until March 2020, I had never made a craft cocktail in my life. But I was scrolling through social media after the pandemic hit and decided to have some fun. I came across a few sites where people were tapping into their creativity and finding ways to support some industries taking an especially hard hit, like hospitality and bartending. So I joined a few group websites (Shaker & Spoon is my favorite), subscribed to a few magazines (Imbibe is fantastic) and watched a lot of videos (the Tipsy Bartender is my top recommendation). In 10 months, this is what I’ve learned:

  1. The right glass makes all the difference. When a drink calls for a particular glass—Collins, martini, coupe, Nick & Nora, highball, margarita, copper mug, tiki mug—follow the advice. 
  2. There are hundreds of varieties of bitters that can completely change the complexion of a cocktail. Read up and explore. Who knew there is such a huge difference between a “drop” and a “dash”?
  3. Use fresh fruits whenever possible. Cocktails with fresh juices and muddled bits are some of the best-tasting drinks. A juicer or handheld citrus squeezer is a must for any home bar.
  4. Egg whites in a cocktail? Yes. Some of the prettiest cocktails have a top layer of foam created with egg whites and just the right amount of shaking. (It takes a few tries to get it right.) 
  5. If you want to layer ingredients, you can if you possess two things: the back side of a bar spoon and patience. It’s so much fun creating some of the most picture-worthy cocktails.
  6. Garnish is everything in craft cocktails—everything! And I don’t mean your average olive or lime wheel. Use flowers and edible petals, fruits and creatively cut peels, colorful sugared or salted rims, grated chocolate or nuts and fun picks and coasters. 

Half the fun I have had is learning to appreciate the what, why and how of barware and cocktails. Things like recognizing the difference between the five types of tequila, finding the right use for green or yellow chartreuse or understanding how a copper mug enhances the flavors in a mule—it’s been a surprisingly fun adventure.

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