By Tara Fougner
We were first introduced to Benjamin Wood in NYC when he was partner in Tribeca’s Distilled but we realized that he was one to pay attention to via the cosign of thirsty family and one of the industry’s modern classics, Tim Cooper. The two came together in the short-lived but stunning cocktail program for Mr. Jones alongside NYC nightlife heavy-hitters, Shaun Rose and Noah Weinstein. Benjamin is also part of the legendary
Goldbar family alongside Cooper and Remi Shobitan; side-note, how did they never get nominated for Best High Volume in their glory days?
Now, Benjamin Wood has taken his effortlessly cool talents Chicago where he has taken over the beverage programs for Bonhomme Group which operates Beatnik, Café Bonhomme and Beatnik on the River. Chi-Town seriously lucked out with getting Wood’s talents on their state’s bar roster, so without further ado, let’s go drinking with Benjamin Wood.
LET’S START BY TELLING US ABOUT THE OVERALL BEVERAGE PROGRAM AND COCKTAIL PHILOSOPHY AT BEATNIK?
I would say the idea behind the philosophy is built around the desire to create drinks that are fun, creative, beautiful and unstuffy while incorporating practices inspired by the anti-waste movement. To that end, the bar team constantly collaborates with the culinary team to cross-utilize and re-purpose all perishables, from the kitchen to the bar and vice versa. We offer over 100 wines from “of the moment” regions, winemakers, and varietals. I once used the phrase “intention without the pretension,” and it seems to have stuck. Without writing a thesis statement, I’d say our efforts are to pay homage to those that came before us, respecting the classics while striving to stay on, or ahead of the curve. Somewhere along the line of this modern craft cocktail renaissance, mixology usurped bartending. As others have said before me, your a bartender first. I want us to be great bartenders and I think this does not preclude the craft of mixology.
WHAT IS CURRENTLY YOUR MOST POPULAR COCKTAIL?
By far the Mámù Vida.
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