Jason Asher is the founding partner of hospitality and cocktail entertainment company Barter & Shake, which operates Century Grand, a building with three cocktail lounges in Phoenix, each of which Asher calls “immersive concepts” with elaborate fictional back-stories that are told in their 50-60-page cocktail menus.
The Grey Hen RX is decked out as an apothecary, and is also the building’s transportation hub, from which guests can take a train to another cocktail bar, Platform 18, or they can take a boat to the third bar, Undertow, which Asher opened in 2016 at a different location and then brought it to Century Grand in 2019.
The cocktails are elaborate, to say the least. Asher and his team develop them using two encyclopedic food books as source material: The Flavor Bible by Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg and Taste Buds and Molecules: The Art and Science of Food, Wine and Flavor by François Chartier.
To make it all more complex, Asher changes the themes of each cocktail bar each year, selecting three destinations on which to base them, traveling to them, adding to the venues’ interwoven story lines and developing 40 cocktails each for Undertow and Platform 18 and 30 for The Grey Hen RX.
Asher recently shared his perspective on flavor combinations and shared his process for cocktail development.
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