The Man Behind the Bar

For World Bartenders Day, we spoke with Travis Matthews, our Food & Beverage Manager on his process of creating specialty cocktails for our productions.

Travis Matthews
Travis Matthews, Alley Theatre’s Food & Beverage Manager

What is your process to come up with a specialty cocktail?
When I first start the process of curating a cocktail, I refer directly to the script and try to research keywords or components that the characters may utilize throughout. I also have a really wonderful relationship with our literary department; they play a key role in helping me with the parameters of the ingredients as well as the name of the cocktail.

How did you come up with the specialty cocktail for
The Nerd?
Utilizing the parameters that I mentioned above, I honed in on the key elements of apples, sand, and whiskey. My extensive background as a liquid chef and service industry manager for over 20 years has given me abundant resources and a wealth of knowledge regarding the recipes I choose from.

What is your favorite specialty cocktail you have created at the Alley?
One of my favorite cocktails I have curated for the Alley is The Poirot. Previously in my career, I worked on a signature drink that consisted of lavender, chamomile, and honey mixed with a traditional martini. I curated this cocktail for Agatha Christie’s The Murder of Roger Ackroyd, and it truly allowed me to utilize hints of florals and botanicals within the recipe. Again, dramaturgy is incredibly important in this process, and knowing that Hercule Poirot had an affinity for botanical teas and tisanes during his mysteries is definitely something I thought applicable to this mélange of ingredients.

As a special treat, here’s the recipe for The Theatre Critic:
The Nerd’s Specialty Cocktail

My play on a traditional Blood and Sand cocktail.

The Theatre Critic
1oz Schladerer Kirschwasser Black Forest Cherry Brandy
1oz Proper No. Twelve Irish Apple Scotch Whiskey
1oz Dolin Vermouth De Chambery Rouge
1oz Freshly Squeezed Blood Orange Juice
Garnished with an in-house dehydrated apple slice