“It was an accident.” He laughs, when asked how he chose the profession.
Palmer High School graduate Phil Taylor started as a barista and was loving the craft coffee scene when he was asked to work nights. Ready to take on the extra hours, this new role allowed him the opportunity to get behind the bar to expand his abilities and his palate.
After a while, he started taking on other bartending jobs in his spare time. One of those places was working at Brooklyn’s on Boulder Street for Lee Spirits Company. Pretty soon, the team at Lee Spirits saw his potential and brought him on full time at the local speakeasy. He was a student of his craft and moved up quickly.
“Everyone learns everything here, and you start at the bottom,” Taylor reminisced.
Taylor moved from server to bartender in six months and has been serving as head bartender now for three years. Most recently, he was promoted to head of research and development for Lee Spirits and has an impressive line of spirits and liqueurs on the shelf to show for it.
Brooklyn’s on Boulder Street is a tasting room, and as such, they are only allowed to serve what they make in house. When you walk into Brooklyn’s, everything behind the bar, liquors, mixers, tonics, it’s all made by them.
“We had to start playing with botanicals,” Taylor said. "It bolsters creativity."
Taylor goes on to explain how in creating a new drink they felt that Amer Picon, a French bitter orange liquor would be the perfect accent. A few problems, though. First, it is not distributed to the United States. And second, there is that small detail that everything has to be created in-house. So, the team set to work. They got their hands on a bottle of the Amer Picon, researched and recreated it.
In his spare time, if it can be called that, Taylor can be found reading vintage cocktail books or studying for his second Cicerone or Sommelier test. “I kinda like my job,” he says with a smirk, “I get to convert people to gin drinkers every day.”