Interview | Mixologist

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Written by Hailey Palmer | Photo courtesy of The Triple Door

Adriane Lee of Triple Door shares her experiences and passion for mixology.

Adriane Lee, 38, didn’t get her start in mixology. She worked in the mental health profession, she says, as a counselor in a residential facility for seven years. An incident that caused her to lose some peripheral vision in one eye prompted her to make a switch. She lives in the lower Queen Anne neighborhood of Seattle, but is originally from Springfield, Massachusetts. She is currently the bar manager for The Triple Door in downtown Seattle. See thetripledoor.net.

What got you interested in mixology?
As somebody who enjoys a beverage here and there, I also like to go outside of my comfort zone. For a long time, I was only drinking vodka and tequila and I wanted to broaden that. I did like things like bourbon, scotch, and rum. So, for me, I just mixed around with flavors until I found flavor combinations that would make those particular base liquors more enjoyable for me.

Favorite part about mixology?
I definitely love the guests’ reaction, especially when they don’t know what they want. I’m like, “Just tell me what you normally drink,” and from there I can just make them something. Seeing them [say] “Oh, this is delicious, this is great. Thank you.’ I enjoy that they came in not knowing what they wanted and they’re super happy about it.

What’s it like working at The Triple Door?
The Triple Door is amazing. As a live music venue, every night is something different. It could be a jazz musician, to a DJ, to Brazilian singers, or French singers, and anywhere from duos to five-piece bands. There’s always something different. Music brings a lot of people together.

What kind of experimentation do you do in your drinks?
I’ve had maybe 11 of my cocktails featured on the menu. For a while, if we had too much of a product on the shelf, I would take it upon myself to mess around with that product and put them into a cocktail and get that off of our shelves. That was always fun for me, taking something that most people wouldn’t think to put in a drink and trying to figure out a way to use it.

What’s your favorite drink you’ve created yourself?
That’s a tough one. There’s so many. I think, as somebody who has grown to love bourbon, I was just kind of experimenting and made a drink that was Buffalo Trace [bourbon], apricot liqueur, lemon juice, and simple syrup. It sounds a little bit weird and maybe too sweet, but it was perfectly balanced. You got the heat from the bourbon and the little bit of sweet from the apricot liqueur, and you just got a little bit of tartness from the lemon juice. It all just ended up blending so well together, and it’s just one of those drinks I could sip on like a soda. So it’s actually just a little dangerous, too.

Is mixology what you thought it would be?
It’s actually a lot more. As somebody who grew up and did a lot of cooking and baking with my mom, with cooking being a lot more do-whatever-you-want, and baking being more of an exact science, I find that mixology is a little bit in between the two. You start off saying these are the things I want to start with, but then you have to get
proper measurements. Otherwise the drink isn’t going to be a balanced drink.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve had to deal with during your career?
Unfortunately, I’ve had to ask a lot of people to remove themselves from the premises. One woman was… undressing in a booth, for whatever reason. It’s really trying to help them remove themselves from the premises without it getting too crazy. I did have someone swing [at] one of my bartenders once, so that’s probably the craziest experience that I’ve had.

What are your career goals?
Right now, I’m kind of settling in as a bar manager. I don’t know if that’s something I want to continue to do because it takes me away from the people, and that’s part of what I love about the job. I like being able to experiment and make cocktails, but I also do enjoy the training aspect of management. I would kind of want a dual role where I could still have that interaction with guests and also take care of making sure the bar runs smoothly.

What’s your guilty pleasure drink and why?
My guilty pleasure drink would probably be margaritas. They’re kind of my weakness. I tend to sometimes overindulge in those, which is why I try to avoid them. Something about margaritas, I don’t know. It’s the combination of the tequila with the sour. I start sipping on one, I start feeling really good, and then I want to sip on another. It could lead down a very dangerous road. I usually have to limit myself on those.

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