- interview by Sara Gorelick
Bounce Sporting Club, located in the Flatiron District of NYC, has recently implemented a new cocktail program under the direction of head bartender Spencer Elliott, formerly of Vero Restaurant and Wine Bar. Spencer's cocktails are inspired by athletes and include signature drinks with a special twist such as The Sammy Sosa Swizzle and The Ricky Bobby, in addition to classics like Negronis and Moscow Mules. Read on to find out about Spencer's team pride and his work at a very fun space.
SG: How would you describe Bounce and who are the patrons?
SE: Bounce is a mix between an upscale sports bar and an exclusive nightclub. Our patrons vary from athletes, artists, and socialites to locals looking to watch their favorite sports team.
SG: What was the initiative behind the efforts to revamp Bounce's drink menu?
SE: I saw a need to show our customers that Bounce can not only offer excellent food, but also that we can produce some top quality cocktails. The menu reflects some of my favorite drinks as well as some great classics to show that even a fast-paced sporting lounge can offer quality taste and fresh ingredients.
SG: Where did you come up with recipes? What is the theme there?
SE: I like to take original recipes and make small twists to make them exclusive to Bounce. The Lion of the Culiacan was a twist on a classic Paloma, the Ricky Bobby a twist on the classic sidecar and so on. As this is my first menu, I wanted to make a crowd-pleasing menu while still adding some interesting elements to show our patrons something a little different than they're used to.
SG: Why should someone come to drink at Bounce?
SE: Why shouldn't they!? The creative signature drinks combined with award-winning food served by some of the best bartenders in New York, all while they can watch their favorite sports team.
SG: What did you do before Bounce? What is your history behind the bar?
SE: I worked at several "party bars." There weren't too many complex ingredients or cocktails but I did learn how to be fast. I started learning about mixology and specialty cocktails at Vero Wine Bar. Known for its wide selection of wine but also over 20 signature cocktails, this is where I started honing my skills and learning as much as I could about the craft as an art.
SG: Walk me through a typical day.
SE: My office days consist of a variety of projects including inventory reports, PR projects, bar training, tastings and helping the management team with countless events and projects that Bounce has weekly. Behind the bar is where all the preparation pays off. On an average Thursday-Sunday night, my bar team is perfectly able to handle a complicated specialty cocktail-heavy event to a late night club atmosphere with ease.
SG: What's the best part about what you do?
SE: The best part of my job is being in a consistently fun atmosphere surrounded by an amazing bar team with some of the most energetic and enthusiastic servers in New York.
SG: The worst?
SE: Every night has its complications, from unruly customers to the accidental cuts and scrapes throughout the night.
SG: What are you most proud of?
SE: My bar team are some of the finest bartenders in the city; not only can they make amazing drinks but they are known for their energy and charisma.
SG: Do you consider yourself a mixologist or a bartender? Why?
SE: I am a bartender. As a bartender, you must have the ability to make excellent drinks, be a friend to anyone who walks in, and create a fun and party-like atmosphere.
SG: What's your favorite cocktail?
SE: I love a Mezcal Paloma. Fresh grapefruit with Mezcal and a splash of lime is perfect.
SG: What's next for you?
SE: I'm working on a summer menu right now and hope to be able to share some light and fresh hot weather drinks with my customers!
PHOTO COURTESY OF BOUNCE SPORTING CLUB