The Curious 11 with Westley Harris

The Curious 11 with Westley Harris

Meet Westley Harris, General Manager of Swizzle and on-site mixologist for the Galt House Hotel.

He mixes up cocktails on the 25th floor of the swanky Louisville Hotel which has two rotating dining rooms and an intoxicating 360-degree view of Downtown. Swizzle features trendy craft cocktails with a strong Bourbon and Wine focus. We sat down with Westley to get a behind the scenes look at the Louisville mixology scene.

When did that Eureka moment happen when you realized your mission is to be a mixologist?

I would say when I made that first old fashioned that someone told me was the best they'd ever had. I've been searching for that high ever since. I love making something that people just HAVE TO take pics of.

What are the TOP 5 skills every mixologist should have?

Consistency, the heart of an explorer, thick-skinned, bold, and open to criticism. I make 100 bad cocktails before making 1 good one and about 1000 before a legendary one.

Which cocktail is the biggest pain in the ass to make, pardon our French?

Omg a Ramos Gin fizz, my wrists are going numb just thinking about it haha.

And which cocktail is your version of heaven?

I could honestly drink French 75’s forever and be fine with that.

Which drink or cocktail would you say is way underrated? (And a tricky follow up: Which one is the most overrated?)

I think the Mint Julep is underrated because of the trash mint syrup people use, but if you use a peach Brandy and muddle fresh cut mint it’s heaven in a glass. Also being overrated goes to the mimosa... it’s such a bottom of the barrel dumpster cocktail.

You come home, slide into something comfortable, and throw yourself on the couch. What's in your glass?

Honestly... most likely white claw or Gin and tonic. The last thing I want to do after I get home from making a thousand cocktails is make another one lmao.

What are the five essential ingredients every booze lover should have in their home bar?

Falernum, chartreuse, Domaine de Canton, luxardo and allspice dram.

Which booze is the most versatile?

St. Germaine, seriously this fixes a lot of trash cocktails.

I make 100 bad cocktails before making 1 good one and about 1000 before a legendary one.

Is there a favorite life hack you learned at your job?

My favorite life hack is drinking Underberg after a big meal or a night of drinking. This is what is holding my intestines together.

What's the craziest anecdote you're willing to share with us?

Anecdote… I will always take a shot of fernet Branca with someone who orders one.

What are your passions outside the world of Spirits?

I enjoy working outside and being crafty with my son.

What would you be doing if you weren't a mixologist?

I would probably be doing nothing good with myself honestly.

Tell us what's your favorite tool of the trade and why.

I got used to using a swizzle stick at my new bar and it’s honestly the best tool ever. I love it.

Fast-forward five years. Where do you see yourself?

Hopefully a corporate mixologist or my consulting business has taken off!

A Genie tells you to pick someone to fix a drink for; dead or alive, real or fictional. Who would it be?

Thanos. I can make a cocktail so balanced even he could appreciate it.

Like what you read? Keep up with West on Instagram, and don't forget to follow Jig and Spoon.

Cover Image Source: Westley Henderson Instagram

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