In this episode of Mixology Spirit, we drove down to Danbury, CT to meet Jordan Kenney of JLaw. Jordan is fairly new to the craft, but already has a great feel for what it takes to create her own unique, delicious recipes. She built us a fantastic drink called, “1963,” that she created in honor of her father’s recent birthday. Speaking of family, our conversation with Jordan unveiled a small world story: her grandfather worked at Crystal Rock Water with Henry Baker, who is the father of Litchfield Distillery owners, David, Jack and Peter Baker. Read on to learn more and be sure to check out Jordan’s recipe for “1963” — it’s great cocktail to enjoy this holiday season (and beyond)!
Batchers: Welcome to Mixology Spirit! Please introduce yourself to our audience.
Jordan: Thank you for inviting me to be a part of this series! I am one of the main bartenders at JLaw, but whenever there is a need for help, I am always willing to step in and help serve or host.
Batchers: We understand you are fairly new to the bartending world. What attracted you to pursue the craft and what do you enjoy about it so far?
Jordan: I have only been bartending for about 4 months. The craft has always been something I’ve wanted to learn about and pursue. The thing I enjoy the most is getting to expand my skills and share new drink creations with my team and customers. Creating a sense of connection with my community has been something that I really love.
Batchers: Please tell our audience a little about JLaw and the kind of experience the restaurant offers patrons?
Jordan: JLaw is a family run business, kitchen and craft bar. We provide an array of dishes and craft cocktails, with specials running every week. We offer patrons a friendly, neighborhood restaurant experience where they can enjoy great food and cocktails, and escape from the real world for a bit.
Batchers: Tell us a little about the cocktail you are building for us. How did you come up with the recipe?
Jordan: The cocktail I am building is called 1963. My father recently celebrated his birthday, and I created the drink to honor him and the year he was born. The first drink I ever had with my dad was a bourbon cocktail, so I wanted the foundation for this drink to be a flavorful bourbon. With the weather cooling down, I needed the right amount of spice to make it feel like a seasonal fall cocktail. The Litchfield Cinnamon Bourbon, Aperol, and cinnamon honey syrup all work together to create the perfect balance of sweet and spice. After talking with my father about this drink, I learned that my grandfather was old school friends with Henry Baker, who is the late father of David, Jack and Peter Baker — the owners of Litchfield Distillery. The Baker family used to own and operate Crystal Rock Water, and my grandfather worked there with Henry for several years. Learning about this connection makes the drink even more special to me!
Batchers: What advice do you have for folks just starting out in the business?
Jordan: Don’t be afraid to ask questions! The more questions I ask, the more I am able to improve my skills. Being curious not only helps me when it comes to creating my own drinks, but accelerates my learning of the history of cocktails as well. In this industry, learning is constant, so make sure to take your time to read, experiment, and discover what works best for you.
Batchers: Got an interesting story about a hard night behind the bar?
Jordan: Friday and Saturday nights are usually incredibly busy for us. Since I am still pretty new to the craft, busy nights are a challenge for me. Whether it’s getting the drinks out in time or not knowing a certain cocktail a customer asks for, it can get pretty stressful pretty quickly. As I mentioned earlier, asking questions helps me get through these nights. I have great coworkers who are always willing to help and demonstrate how a particular cocktail is built. As hard as hectic service nights can be, I know the challenge only helps me get better.
Batchers: What is your favorite Litchfield Distillery spirit to build cocktails with?
Jordan: I enjoy working with Litchfield’s Bourbon line when building my cocktails. They are very versatile. They can be enjoyed on their own or mixed into craft drinks. Their flavored bourbons make it fun to experiment and discover which flavor profiles work well together with the fresh ingredients of the season.
Batchers: What does The Spirit of Hard Work® mean to you?
Jordan: To me, The Spirit of Hard Work® means being willing to roll up your sleeves and get the work done. Whether that means jumping in and helping to make drinks from the tickets coming in, or running to the back and getting the large ice cubes we need for Old Fashioneds, or helping others on the team with service — it’s about doing whatever it takes to deliver a great experience no matter how busy the shifts are.
Jordan’s featured cocktail is called “1963.” As she noted above, the drink was created in honor of her father, who was born in that year. This is fantastic fall/winter cocktail that features our Cinnamon Bourbon along with Aperol, cinnamon honey syrup, lemon juice, and a couple dashes of orange bitters. It is well balanced with a perfect amount of cinnamon and sweetness to put you in the holiday spirit.
- 1.5 oz. Litchfield Distillery Cinnamon Bourbon
- 1.0 oz. Aperol
- 0.5 oz. Cinnamon Honey Syrup
- 0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice
- 2 Dashes Orange Bitters
- Splash of Club Soda
Method: Place ice into a coupe glass before building the cocktail. Add all ingredients except club soda into a shaker with ice. Shake well, then add the club soda and give one or two more shakes. Dump the ice out of the coupe glass and double strain into coupe glass. Garnish with a lemon twist and enjoy!
To learn more about JLaw, visit their website and be sure to connect with them on Facebook and Instagram. The restaurant is located at 30 Germantown Road in Danbury, CT. To contact or make a reservation, please call 203-826-9786.
About Mixology Spirit:
Mixology Spirit is a Litchfield Distillery blog series dedicated to sharing the stories of creative and passionate mixologists who embody The Spirit Of Hard Work®. Think you got what it takes to be featured? Drop us a line at email@example.com.
©2023 Litchfield Distillery. Photography & Editing Credits: Tony Vengrove