Uplifting spirits: York City mixologist shares insight on liquid culture
Mandy Schriver is shaking things up in the cocktail world in York City.
Referred to as the “David Blaine of cocktails” by area bar and restaurant owners, Schriver’s enchanting cocktail concoctions are featured at a number of venues throughout downtown York. After hearing her name buzz around town, we decided to see check into the liquid culture from the mixologist’s perspective.
CPBJ: You've been called "the" mixologist locally. Where are your drinks featured? What venues are you offering your skillset at?
Schriver: I have created menus at a few different places in the York area, but my most proud ones are still featured at Tutoni’s; and currently at #CBBCity - Crystal Ball Brewing’s spin off where we serve all Pennsylvania-made products, beer, wine, and spirits.
It’s been exciting experiencing all the spirits that Pennsylvania makes and also pairing Crystal Ball Beer with our cocktails. One of our staple cocktails is our Weinbrom Old Fashioned, where we use Crystal Ball’s Coconut Porter and reduce it down with marshmallows to create a delicious syrup to go with our bourbon and then top with our house made chocolate bitters! And on the lighter side, a play on the popular crush drink with our Crystal Crush that we infuse with blood orange and hibiscus vodka and top with our Crystal Ball Jamaican Wheat and serve in a light bulb!!
CPBJ: In addition to mixology, what other work do you do?
Schriver: I do occasionally step behind the bar at #CBBCity and private parties, but my fulltime gig is as a finance manager at Apple Subaru.
CPBJ: Are there drinks that will work for some venues and not others?
Schriver: I think yes and no. It’s always good to go with what you think your customers/audience will like, but I always think that you can’t box them in, as well. People don’t know, what they don’t know - so if you give them the opportunity and the knowledge behind a classic cocktail they will be more open to giving it a try. I always tell customers to give it a try and if you don’t like it - I’ll drink it! You have to take the pressure off people thinking it’s too fancy or pretentious, but that it’s just a damn good drink!
CPBJ: Where did you get your mixing game?
Schriver: Well, I’ve been in the hospitality business for 17 years, and 15 of those were mostly bartending. A majority of “my game” came from the places I worked at while living in Tampa, Florida for eight years. I learned a lot of “flairtending” - throwing bottles and pouring waterfall shots - and almost every shot you can think of while working in nightclubs. A few years into that, my husband landed a job at Ciro’s Speakeasy, and that’s really where my love of a true cocktail came from.
Our mentor Ro Patel, who’s had a hand in much of the Tampa craft cocktail scene, really gave us the true art form of creating a drink from start to finish - almost a performance, if you will. The finale, of course, is enjoying the product of your labor and also watching and listening to others enjoy them as well!
CPBJ: What makes a drink a "good" drink?
Schriver: A good drink, like food, is subjective - but in my opinion it just has to have a balance. You want the drink to enhance and compliment the spirit that you put in it.
CPBJ: How do you come up with these unique concoctions? Does anything inspire you?
Schriver: Honestly I don’t even know sometimes! I also do a lot of cooking, so a lot of the concepts come from food and really just trying to pair ingredients that people would never have given any thought to as being in a cocktail - like beets, tomatillos, or “corn milk” (a syrup that I made from pureed corn).
CPBJ: What's your personal drink of choice?
Schriver: That is a tough choice! If there’s a place with an interesting cocktail menu, I’ll try them all, but I tend to go with wine, but don’t count me out of a well-made vodka-Red Bull!
CPBJ: What's one of your favorite drinks?
Schriver: I don’t really have a favorite, but a few that I am really proud of. One that sticks out was my Watermelon Margarita that I featured and won in a cocktail competition.
Here's the recipe:
- honey syrup
- lime juice
- watermelon juice
- Herradura Reposado Tequila
- jalapeno cilantro foam
- garnished with a pickled watermelon rind