In Search of the next big trend with Joy Daniel By Rashaun Hall | Photos Courtesy of Calle Dão
JOY DANIEL, THE WOMAN BEHIND CALLE DÃO’S STRIKING CUBAN-ASIAN FUSION COCKTAILS IN NEW YORK CITY FIRMLY PLANTS HERSELF ON ONE SIDE OF THE BARTENDER VERSUS MIXOLOGIST DEBATE. “I love to infuse,” says Daniel, whose first infusion was a jalapeno tequila. “You can turn a simple drink into a phenomenal one with an infusion.”
“I always try to figure out what I can do to improve drink lists,” says Daniel. “What can I do to take it to another level? I am always analyzing drinks. That’s how I became a mixologist.”
“Mint is in every drink right now, so I like to use other herbs instead like shiso, which is Japanese, or kinh gioi, a Vietnamese lemon mint,” she adds. “All of these herbs have their own distinct flavors that give you a great taste on your palate and bring the drinks to life.”
For the past 15 years, the Trinidadian native has worked at a host of New York City restaurants and clubs, including 60 Thompson Street, 230 Fifth Avenue, and Favela Cubana. At each location, Daniel drew inspiration from the venue. “First, I’ve got to figure out the restaurant and menu that the cocktail will be served in,” she says. “I like to use stuff from the kitchen because it has to complement the food.”
Whether you like your cocktails with infusions or not, Daniel is just looking for ways to be more creative in the industry.
She is taking that love of combining cocktails, food, and infusions one step further with the launch of her Joy Infusions Bar Events & Consulting, which will work with other restaurants, hotels, and private events to create infusionbased cocktails and syrups.
“Sometimes you go to a nice restaurant and the cocktail menu is so boring,” she laments. “I feel like some restaurants are years behind and need help. Foodie culture is everywhere, but people aren’t talking about cocktails as much as they should. Cocktails deserve to be the next big trend.”
CALLE DÃO MOJITO INGREDIENTS
2 oz. Plantation Rum 1 oz. Barrow’s Intense Ginger Liqueur 1 oz. lemongrass syrup 1 oz. fresh lime juice 2 shiso leaves Sparkling sake (to top) Sugar cane stick (for garnish)
In a mixing glass, muddle shiso leaves and lemongrass syrup. Add rum, ginger liqueur, lime juice and ice. Shake vigorously and pour into a highball glass. Top with sparkling sake and garnish with sugarcane stick.