The fundamental strength of a restaurant is not that different from any other business. There are many working components that help make a restaurant successful and endure change through the course of time. Several of these components consist of quality of food, location, level of service, drink presentation and staff. In this blog, I would like to focus on the latter two, drink presentation and staff. A great staff is imperative in bringing a memorable experience to all our guests at Kres, and every team member plays an intricate part in that role. As in most fine dining restaurants, a guest experience usually begins at the bar. Either while waiting for a table, or simply enjoying a cocktail and tasty meal after a long day’s work. It is here at the bar, where you will find Anna and her enticing list of creative cocktails and discover her passion for spirits, food, and wine.
Her story is one that inspires determination, passion, and a desire to merge the worlds of food and spirits. I had the distinct pleasure of having an impromptu interview with Anna, and would like to share this with our readers.
How long have you been bartending?
Anna has been a professional bartender for 10 years now, and began her journey in 2006 while working in a restaurant where she was promoted to bartender. Anna quickly learned how to make cocktails with the help of some of her regular guests, who happened to also be in the Industry. After about two years, she decided that she wanted to expand on her knowledge of craft cocktails and combine those with culinary food, to provide an even better experience for her guests.
What do you get most out of your job as a bartender?
Creating a connection with the guest is a very important part of what makes Anna a sought-after bartender at Kres, commonly known as the best fine dining restaurant in Orlando. Pairing wine with food is something standard that we all do at this level of dining. However, suggesting a cocktail that pairs with food can often be a tad trickier. Dubbing herself as a “bar chef”, Anna strives on helping achieve a balance between food and drink, inspired by the chef’s menu, various foods and tastes. Her creations are derived from her own personal favorites, as well as the classics, and incorporates base rate knowledge, sour to sweet, and modern cocktails with a twist play a big part as well.
What are your highest accolades during your bartending career thus far?
Anna has been featured in several publications including Four Seasons Magazine, Travel & Leisure Magazine, Imbibe, and in Drink. She has also attended Bar Smarts Advanced in Seattle, Washington where she got to work alongside some amazing icons in the Industry. Furthermore, one of the greatest recognitions one can achieve, particularly a chef, is being nominated for a James Beard Award. A nomination alone represents a chef’s creativeness, ingenuity and contributions made inside and outside of a kitchen. Anna has stated that one of the most prestigious times of her career came when she was invited to make drinks for James Beard Award winning chefs.
Anna exemplifies what it means to beautifully blend crafted cocktails with that of a carefully sculpted menu, and having the passion to provide our guests at Kres with warm, welcoming service time and time again. Please feel free to drop by anytime and taste for yourself some of her own creations that are featured both at the bar and in our open dining room.
I have included a small list of cocktails that have been recently added to our Kres drink menu, each one of them created by Anna and perfectly executed by our entire Kres bartending team.
Oloroso Old Fashion - a wonderful blend of Buffalo Trace bourbon and Oloroso Sherry. Oloroso has subtle smoky, caramel hints that take a traditional old fashion to the next level entirely! Your palate will thank you for trying this one!
Pacific Pearl – Entice your taste buds with a symphony of flavors that include Gin, Key Lime juice, coconut milk and Macha Powder. This drink is sure to measure up with those guests looking for a unique and satisfying pre-dinner cocktail.
For those of you who prefer to drink your calories instead of indulging in our tasty White Chocolate Bread Pudding, Anna has also come up with some splendid concoctions for you to enjoy after your dinner.
Sweet Talker – This drink is perfect for the season, featuring our house made butter washed brandy, with hints of cinnamon, cardamom and honey. Freshly squeezed lemon juice compliment this perfect cocktail and it is finally garnished with an aromatic handmade violet sugar.
Velveteen Toddy – Another drink to highlight Anna’s take on a classic, this finale of a cocktail will leave your senses warmed and relaxed. Flor de Cana five-year aged rum, Velvet Falernum Liqueur, Carpano Antica Vermouth and house-made ginger syrup with an apple juice mixture bring a joyous and harmonious end to a beautiful night spent at Kres with friends and family.
Please come experience what it means to dine with us at Kres Chophouse, the best restaurant in Orlando, and allow us to provide you with an escape for a day, or possibly even a night. We sincerely appreciate any feedback you may have regarding our blog as well, and welcome any questions or suggestions regarding future blogs and or events.
Ciao for now, JFK!