Thursday, August 29, 2013
Bartender Eddie “Lucky” Campbell has landed at Abacus
But you can still sample his cocktails at Union Bear, Frankie's, and even at a bar in London.
DALLAS Walk into a handful of bars in Dallas right now, and you're bound to find a cocktail, or the whole list, influenced by bartender Eddie "Lucky" Campbell. The fast-talking, fedora-wearing bartender has created cocktails at Bolsa, the Mansion, Bailey's Prime Plus, the Chesterfield and the Standard Pour, to name a few. His most recent full-time gig is at Abacus in Uptown Dallas.
"There's never been so much attention on the integrity of the cocktail in Dallas as there is right now," Campbell says.
In his short three weeks at Abacus, he's created an 18-drink cocktail list that will be available for thirsty patrons in September. It includes martinis, house specialty cocktails, classics and champagne cocktails -- the last of which won't be fading in Dallas anytime soon, Campbell says.
"There's no question, champagne is delicious," he says, "and adding flavor to it is not a fad. That's a movement."
While the new cocktail menu will not coincide with a new food menu at Abacus, as Abacus changes its menu nearly every day, spokesperson Ariana Hajibashi says it matches the style of chef Kent Rathbun's global cuisine.
Campbell describes a few of the cocktails that made the final cut, though he says the names are, for now, "nicknames" until the final drafts are printed:
The 'Nesha, named for Ga'nesha, the Hindu god of success: chai spice-infused applejack; Kaffir lime, lemongrass and honey syrup made in-house; with lemon; ginger; and syrah wine
The Shinsei, named for the Asian restaurant part-owned by Rathbun's wife, Tracy Rathbun: citrus vodka paired with a mix of yuzu, five-spice tincture, almond syrup and white pear nectar
The Ninja Rita: a spicy margarita with serrano, jalapeno and Thai chiles, topped with togarashi foam
A criticism of the cocktail movement has been that bartenders sometimes spend 10 minutes or more on a single cocktail, making for a long wait. Campbell has an answer to that: "We do an incredible amount of work creating these ingredients during time periods that bartenders aren't usually awake," Campbell says.
Ice: "People are taking more time, using the right ice."
Glassware: "People are being way more particular about the fine details in a great cocktail."
Even though Campbell is full-time at Abacus, expect to see his cocktails elsewhere, too. Right now, he has a new cocktail menu at Union Bear; created two cocktails on tap for Frankie's in Lewisville; is hatching ideas for opening-in-October Resto in Trinity Groves; and plans to work with Mico Rodriguez on an upcoming restaurant. Across the pond, Campbell created the cocktail menu for a Texas-inspired bar called the Lockhart near Hyde Park in London.
It's a good time to be a bartender, Campbell says. "Before this cocktail movement, people just drank what was popular regionally," he says. "Now, people drink what is popular globally. And they are way more aware."
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