Behind the Bar with Dean Hurst: All About the SpiritsComments Off on Behind the Bar with Dean Hurst: All About the Spirits
Metro Shares a Bar Chat with Dean Hurst,
Director of Spirits for Bern’s Steak House & Haven
By Ronda M. Parag
Recently celebrating his 16 year anniversary with Bern’s, Dean Hurst, while never actually tending bar, is responsible for ordering all the spirits and training the bartenders. Hurst has a deep appreciation for the bartenders skill set, while creating a niche within the industry as a Spirits Specialist. Hurst served as the General Manager at SideBern’s, (now Haven) for over 10 years and developed an ability to create cocktails. “I got pretty good at developing craft cocktails,” said Hurst.
Now he spends lots of time talking with bartenders to improve the quality of cocktails. “Many bartenders are great at replicating recipes, but actually developing signature cocktails can be daunting,” adds Hurst. He uses the analogy of cook vs. chef. A cook can execute, but a chef drives the creativity of the menu and the kitchen.
In addition, Hurst is involved in spirits acquisition, helping new spirits gain access to the booming Florida market. Hurst’s spirit of choice is whiskey and Haven has one of the largest selections around with 570 whiskey selections available. “It’s not about the brand so much, I’m not a whiskey snob, I like a balance of flavors and the whiskey shouldn’t burn,” said Hurst. “A particular favorite is a locally made whiskey from Weeki Wachee – Wild Buck.”
Deeply committed to his craft, Hurst has been involved for four years with Tales of the Cocktail® and the Cocktail Apprentice Program, mentoring young talent. Tales of the Cocktail is an annual cocktail festival event that is held in New Orleans with seminars, tastings, competitions, networking and other events that bring out the industry’s best and brightest. Hurst bears a tattoo that signifies his involvement with a Kappa symbol in the center of a pineapple and stars for each year. The pineapple is the ultimate symbol of hospitality.
Hurst has also been heavily involved in Hukilau held in Ft. Lauderdale, June 8 – 12, 2016, to celebrate the “Tiki Culture.” This year, Hukilau celebrates the 15th Anniversary with many activities including hula lessons, craft cocktail presentations, Polynesian and fire knife dances and more, drawing over 1,500 attendees.
Hurst won’t be in attendance at Tales of the Cocktail or Hukilau this year, as he is about to embark on a new adventure, fatherhood, in May. To keep the spirit and fun of the Tiki culture, Hurst designed and built his own Tiki Bar last summer at his home. Using mainly re-purposed wood and materials, Hurst has created his own tropical paradise to relax and escape. M
In true “Tiki” fashion,
Hurst created a signature
cocktail, “Stolen Idol.”
It was a cool, rainy night at a retro spot on the beach, I was making drinks for a small group of Tiki fans with the ‘Bum.’ A mutual friend challenged me to create a drink named after his band, Stolen Idols. I said, “Only if you write a song called Jet Pilots in the rain.” I’m still waiting.
1½ oz Appleton’s Extra 12yr
¼ oz Smith & Cross
½ oz Pineapple Juice, unsweetened
¼ oz Fresh Lime Juice
¾ oz Coconut Milk
¾ oz Strong Coffee Syrup (1:1)
8 drops Bittermens ‘elemakule Tiki Bitters
1. Combine Ingredients and shake with ice
2. Strain into a Hurricane style glass and top with crushed ice (used shaker ice will do)
3. Garnish with an orange slice dusted with fresh grated nutmeg (cocoa nibs are nice too)
At home, strong brewed coffee works great and is easy to make. The pour over method gives you the most control with extraction, yielding the best results. Cold brew coffee has a cleaner profile with less bitter notes than hot brewed coffee. It is also much more stable and can last for weeks when properly stored.
© Tampa Bay Metro Magazine & Blog | A Metro Life Media, Inc. Publication