Hash Kitchen, one of the restaurant concepts owned by The Maggiore Group, is known for its impressive cocktail list, including its build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar.
With two bustling locations in Scottsdale, the a.m. eatery was looking for an expert who could take its craft cocktail game to the next level. Enter Arizona native Sheldon Wiley, who holds the Guinness World Record for “The Fastest Bartender in the World.” While his official title is director of beverage/corporate mixologist, Wiley is responsible for the Maggiore Group’s drink program. Other eateries include The Sicilian Butcher, Tomaso’s and Tomaso’s When in Rome.
A graduate of Buckeye Union High School, Wiley wanted to be “so many things” growing up. His interests changed with the wind, but while “broke,” in college and single, he became a bartender and “made money, left college and I eventually met a spectacular young lady.”
When he isn’t dreaming up impressive drinks, Wiley likes to DJ and spend time with his wife and son. So, take a seat and see what makes this drink slinger tick.
Tell us about the oddest drink request you’ve received.
I always find it odd when guests order a high-dollar Scotch, cognac, etc., and mix it with soda pop or an energy drink. Ultimately, people are free to drink what they’d like, and I reserve any judgment. Though, given the proper setting, I’ll make an effort to educate people in a manner that’s respectful to the guest as well as the craft/spirit. No snobbery though. Ever!
What is your No. 1 pet peeve when working?
It’s not even close—poor preparation! One thing you’ll likely never hear me say (to staff) is you’ve over prepped. We should always make the strongest effort to give people what they want. This pertains to operations. I’m not one for faulting guests. More often than not, if I’m having a poor experience with a guest it has to do with my own mental state. Guests can definitely be difficult too sometimes. That’ll never change. A rewarding thing to practice is not taking it personal.
What is your go-to drink when you’re at a bar other than your own?
Rosé. I love rosé! I’ve spent many summers in the Hamptons and it’s grown on me! Many people don’t fully understand that it’s a vast category in the wine world, and most of them are not sweet. It’s a major misconception.
What does ordering a vodka tonic say about a person?
To me this says they know what they want. I don’t overthink somebody’s drink choice. Remember, I’m the world-record-holding mixologist who orders rosé almost every single time. Ha!
Tell us about the cocktail program at Hash Kitchen?
This cocktail program is a lot of fun. Not only is it playful, the price points are a bargain. From flights of mimosas and the colossal build-your-own-Bloody Mary bar, to the Craft Caffeine section that takes your espresso, matcha and cold brews to new heights. It screams fun.
What is one cocktail you would love for us to feature in the magazine this month?
The drink I’ve chosen is the Brooklyn Brew from Hash Kitchen. It’s off our new Craft Caffeine menu. It’s important for readers, as well as industry professionals, to see where we draw our inspirations from in addition to the proper execution of these timeless libations. I’m thrilled that we’re moving forward as an educated culture. However, I’m a bit underwhelmed at how much further we need to go in some markets. There’s far too many savvy consumers out there these days for bartenders to fake the funk. Time to step it up!
What do you like about this drink?
Vodka, duh! I love that this drink has it all. The amaro (herbal Italian spirit) blends beautifully with our housemade amaretto cordial. Adding saline solution blocks the bitterness while enhancing the sweetness of the espresso without losing its captivating aroma. Then, it’s topped with our housemade cinnamon cream rum for texture and garnished with a high five.
Hash Kitchen, 8777 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale, 480.947.3214; and 14838 N. Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, Scottsdale, 480.361.5228, hashkitchen.com.
Chosen Cocktail recipe:
1.5 ounce vodka
1 ounce espresso
.5 ounce Amaro
.5 ounce amaretto syrup
Top cinnamon rum cream