These interviews are part of a series that highlights new hires within the industry. Have you recently started a new role or do you know someone who has? Submit your ideas to email@example.com.
Melissa Carroll was recently hired as head bartender at South Water Kitchen.
1. What are you looking forward to the most in your new role as head bartender?
Kimpton has a portfolio of esteemed bartenders and beverage programs. I’m excited to collaborate and meet with those who are equally as passionate about this industry as I am.
2. How do you think past experiences have prepared you for this role?
Working as head bartender at Spiaggia under beverage director Rachel Lowe had such a positive impact on my life. It changed the way I thought about service, food, wine, cocktails and hospitality. It led me to take a position under bartender Damian Arms at JW Marriott because I’d wanted to get into the hotel industry for a long time. We focused on classics, preparation and above all, true hospitality. It really prepared me for my current role at South Water Kitchen, which is adjacent to the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in the Loop.
3. How did you get into the industry?
I’ve been in the industry since I was about 15. I needed a job and walked into my local Dairy Queen. I left five minutes later with my first job in the industry and haven’t looked back!
4. What do you enjoy most about the industry?
I am very passionate about creating memories with my guests. I like to hear their stories and make them a part of mine. This sets bartending apart from any other job I’ve had in the industry. You get to have those personal, one-on-one moments and make connections with people in ways that aren’t readily available in other positions.
5. What are you hoping to achieve in your new role?
I want to continue the momentum our cocktail and beer program has and help us continue to flourish and be recognized as unique amongst other brands.
6. Can you give us a sneak peek of what you’re most excited about in your new cocktail menu?
In our current menu rollout, I think I’m most excited about the Son of a Peach comprised of Wyoming Small Batch Whiskey, lemon juice, house-made ginger shrub, Orchard Peach Liqueur, demerara syrup and a dried peach. It was originally an idea that I was just playing around with for myself, but ended up being an easy, slow-sipper punch that packs a real bite. I couldn’t resist putting it on my menu. I love whiskey, and pairing it with a house-made ginger shrub seemed like such a no-brainer to me. It needed something to prop it up, and peach was just the right amount of sweet fruit it needed. You can find the other cocktails on our menu.