Mixing it up: A conversation with mixologist Casey Carney of the Capiz Lounge at the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel

I know many a person who has uttered the following song title, be it leading up to a vacation or after a very long work week: It’s 5 o’clock somewhere.

Truer words have not been spoken. It is 5 o’clock somewhere, and with that comes what every hard working person longs for. A little rest and relaxation. Something to snack on. A little something to sip.

Everyone has a favorite drink. My wife, despite loving to try new concoctions, is a sucker for a good Manhattan. For me, it’s a dry Hendrick’s Martini with a twist. Not unlike food, there is something exciting about taking a variety of ingredients, mixing it all in a highball, and sharing with friends!

That led me to think about the work done by those behind the bar at some of my favorite restaurants. It’s not just about a glass of wine, or a pint of beer any more. Mind you, there are nights when either of those options will be the drink of choice. But, with so many possibilities out there, it’s nice to be dazzled not only by what comes on your plate, but what comes in your glass.

I had a chance to check in with Casey Carney, a mixologist from the Capiz Lounge located inside the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel. We talked a bit about how he got around to becoming a mixologist, what inspires him, and a favorite food memory.

Casey Carney

Foodie Journal: So, what made you decide that you wanted to become a mixologist and what was the path you had to take to get there?
Casey Carney: I’ve always enjoyed a good cocktail and the creativity behind it. I used to work the front desk and bell stand back in the day, so working in the industry gave me opportunities to sneak behind the bar and watch the bartenders go to work. I loved the stuff they would come up with and wanted to be a part of the action.

FJ: A lot of folks I know focus on mixed drinks or cocktails as something you’d have prior to a meal. Do you think they have a place during the meal as well, maybe serving as a pairing in place of wine or beer?
CC: You can drink anytime of the day. There are many inspired cocktails these days that can be paired with any dish. For instance, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and you could throw back a Spiced Pumpkin Martini with a turkey dinner. BOOM.

FJ: You’ve garnered a bit of attention in Boston for your creativity in mixing drinks and coming up with news riffs and twists. Does it take a lot of trial and error for you to come up with these new drinks?
CC: Oh, yes! I have created and tasted some pretty nasty concoctions. The best feedback comes from my co-workers – It’s all in the face!

FJ: Where do you get your inspiration from?
CC: Creativity has always been in my blood. I like making people feel excited, and a special or unique cocktail is just the thing!

FJ: Do you have a favorite cocktail? It can be one you’ve made or one someone has made for you.
CC: When I lived in St. Kitts, in the West Indies, there was a bar that made frozen mojitos with fresh sugar cane. They were ridiculously good!

FJ: Drinks and food go hand in hand, so I’m sure you have had your share of food related memories or experiences. Do you have in particular that stands out that you would like to share?
CC: There are too many to share! One in particular? Drinking a bottle of wine in the south of France, paired with the best mussels and pizza I’ve ever had. But, let’s not forget about dessert. Grand Marnier and handmade crepes from the street vendors – A French staple, and the biggest bottle of “help yourself” Grand Ma.

The Capiz Lounge is located inside the Renaissance Boston Waterfront Hotel, 606 Congress Street, in Boston. 

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