James Shoemaker, Bartender at Dazoo in Paia Maui
We recently had the privilege of running into Jimmy at the 4th Anniversary of Whole Foods Market being on Maui. We were both there demoing. A brief conversation turned into a few worthwhile trips out to Dazoo to meet up with Jimmy and really see what he’s been up to.
He started us out with some very creative and tasty cocktails of his own that he had been playing with by incorporating Adoboloco Hot Sauces into them. A special cocktail for each flavor. Wow they tasted so good and fresh. Over the next few months we’ll be releasing those recipes on our blog so that everyone can enjoy them at home or ultimately visit Jimmy in person at Dazoo and request one of these special BACAKtails.
We asked him a few questions and were able to take a peek into his creative thought process.
Q: Do you consider yourself a bartender or mixologist?
Q: What’s the difference to you?
Mixologist is an odd, sort of made-up word –Bartenders are a noble lot who make it their business to please and take care of their guests
Q: Why did you become interested in cocktails?
It’s fun to take spirits, sugar, bitters & water and twist ’em around
Q: How did that come about?
I used to work in sports bars and dance clubs, then I got a job behind the stick in an old-school steakhouse with old-school Bar Men who liked me and showed me the way
Q: What was your first job behind the bar?
TGIFridays –all Bartenders should work at a crappy, corporate restaurant at some time in their career
Q: How did you become so interested in cocktails?
I was living in Seattle and had access to one of the greatest Bartenders of all time, I watched him like a hawk and tried to glean as many of his techniques as I could 7. Do you feel like you have a pivotal cocktail memory? Yea, the first time I had a Corpse Reviver
Q: Who made that cocktail?
Murray Stenson, Zig Zag Café in Seattle
Q: What was it about that drink?
It was everything I didn’t know about cocktails all wrapped-up like a gift from God
Q: Do you still make it?
I can make it –it’s a classic
Q: Where did you go to school?
Southwest High School, Fort Worth Texas
Q: How did you end up at DAZOO in Paia Maui?
I was working as a Distillers Apprentice at Haleakala Distillers and we saw their liquor permit come across our fax machine, so I contacted the owner and got an interview …that’s all I need, is an interview
Q: What inspires you here on Maui?
Fresh fruit, herbs & rum
Q: What awards or honors have you received?
I won the Maui Mai Tai Mix-Off in 2011 and was named Maui Time Most Essential Bartender
Q: What is your favorite style?
Post Prohibition w/a twist of neo-on-the-present
Q: What was your most recent cocktail, and what was your thinking behind it?
My most recent cocktail is the ADOBOLOkole en Fuego, I created this cocktail for my friends at Adoboloco to showcase a local cane-based spirit called Okolehao and to incorporate a very nice local hot sauce to show that cocktails can be fun, creative, colorful and have a pleasant sting –kinda like a smack on the ass –Hamajang!
Q: Would you say that you have any cocktail mentors?
Yes indeed, Richie & Johnny from Durants in Phoenix showed me all the classic cocktails and my friend Murray “The Blur” Stenson in Seattle is my Obi-wan Kenobi
Q: What tips did you come away with?
Hospitality & Craft of the Cocktail
Q: Where do you enjoy a cocktail when you’re not working?
Yea, that’s a challenge on Maui but I like what they’re doin at Monkeypod
Q: What’s a great simple cocktail recipe for people to make at home?
- Margarita: 2 oz Cazadores blanco tequila
- 1 oz Cointreau
- 0.75 oz Fresh Lime juice
- 0.75 oz Agave nectar
- chunks of fresh lime & orange Muddle, shake and serve on the rocks with a salt-rim, and if you’re feelin a little freaky –add a couple dashes Adoboloco Hawaiian hot sauce
Q: If you could only drink one more cocktail, what would be in the glass?Sazerac
Q: What other creative endeavors do you have going on?
Workin on a new Cocktail List for Dazoo
Q: Anything else?
You know, Bartending requires considerable study to become an expert. The really great Bartenders are people who have the ability of suiting and pleasing their customers, who recognize that there are several grades of cocktails.
A good Barman can always be told by the way his bench looks …