Eat in Atlanta People — 26 March 2013
Beverage Manager and Head “Mixtress” at Seven Lamps

By Hope S. Philbrick

At Seven Lamps, Arianne Fielder is designing a beverage program that includes craft cocktails made with innovative ingredients and techniques, house-made sodas, artisan coffees, craft beers and eclectic wines.

Fielder gained experience at several notable Atlanta restaurants, most recently as head mixologist of Southern Art and Bourbon Bar. Previously, she served as head bartender at Ormsby’s, where she created the first ever beer cocktail menu in the South. Before that she spent more than six years at Atlanta’s oldest bar, the Five Paces Inn.

Fielder enjoys participating in competitive bartending and cocktail competitions and was named runner-up to “Atlanta’s Best Bartender” in the 2011 Barcraft Competition at Taste of Atlanta. In 2012, she won first place in the Berentzen competition.

A recent phone chat with Fielder revealed more.

What sparked your interest in becoming a bartender?
I actually grew up in the restaurant business: My grandfather owned diners in Florida. I’d go visit in the summertime and work behind the soda fountain. I worked in restaurants all through high school and started bartending in college and got hooked from there.

What do you most enjoy about being a bartender?
I think probably the interaction with people is my favorite part of the hospitality business—taking care of people, getting to meet people from different walks of life, conversing and getting to know so many different kinds of people.

When creating a cocktail, what inspires you?
It can be a few different things. The biggest thing is the classics—they’re cocktails that have been around hundreds of years and are still being enjoyed because those classic combinations work. Even if I’m using new techniques or technologies, I go back to the classics. Other than that, it’s the same kinds of things that inspire chefs: When a farmer comes in with local produce, that can always be the start of a cocktail, opportunity struck.

What are your goals for the bar menu at Seven Lamps?
No. 1 is to be approachable. Great service. To give a nod to classic cocktails but at the same time be constantly inventing new techniques and flavor combinations. To stay fresh, local and seasonal as much as possible. I try to keep small batch, craft spirits and brews; I have personal relationships with distillers and brewers.

What sorts of new techniques?
The Perlini carbonated cocktail shaker hooks up to a carbon dioxide injection. As you’re shaking the cocktail you’re carbonating it into a fizzy drink.

Like the SodaStream?
It’s similar. You build the cocktail and then are carbonating it while you shake it.

Another thing is the immersion circulator. Chefs use it to cook meat slowly. I’ll put a batch of cocktails [of the same recipe] in a bag, airtight seal it, and cook it for two days at 120 degrees. Flavors intensify, sugars caramelize and since it’s vacuum sealed no alcohol vapors escape so it’s further concentrating flavors.

What’s your favorite ingredient?
Shrubs by Shrub & Co. I have them in two cocktails on my menu. In the 1800s shrubs were a way of preserving fresh produce that would go bad so quickly without refrigeration. It’s a syrup with a pickling method. They have some really cool ones, including spicy ginger, tart apple and grapefruit.

Does Seven Lamps have a signature drink?
There’s a beer cocktail on my menu, “Going back to Cali.” It uses jalapeno infused tequila, Shrub & Co. grapefruit shrub, fresh lime juice topped off with a West Coast style IPA by Sweetwater. It’s served in champagne flute with a salt rim, it’s a fun take on a Paloma.

How do you encourage customers to try something new?
There’s always something you can relate to. A lot of mixologists tend to shy away from vodka cocktails bu tit’s the No. 1 spirit in the U.S. It’s approachable and as a neutral spirit can take on other flavors so you can push some boundaries. I have four vodka cocktails on my menu. It’s about being approachable. Taking someone’s ‘normal’ drink and trying to find something a little different. Once you engage trust, you can move into something more adventurous but you’ve got to make the initial connection without taking people too far outside their comfort zone. Starting with the base spirit is a good way to gauge someone. If they typically drink Jack Daniels you can suggest an approachable whiskey cocktail on the menu and go from there.

What’s the vibe at Seven Lamps?
We’re pretty new; we’ve been open three months now. The bar and restaurant has communal seating, which really pushes the boundaries in certain ways in Atlanta. In New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco it’s more common. In Atlanta, we not passing each other on the subway all the time and are not used to that. Our bar serves craft drinks and has a neighborhood feel. It’s a little cozy and we encourage everybody to sit together.

More Information…

Seven Lamps
3400 Around Lenox Rd.
404-467-8950
Seven Lamps on Urbanspoon

HopeP_144Hope S. Philbrick is founder and editor-in-chief of Getaways for Grownups. She became a freelance writer and editor because she believes that work and fun should not be mutually exclusive. Her work has appeared in dozens of publications nationwide. When not writing, she can usually be found on the road or savoring something tasty.

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