Vinology is happy to introduce a new lead bartender on our team, Ian Youngs. Ian is a Michigan native who’s returning home after working in Aspen, Colo. for the last several years. In addition to a wealth of experience, he brings to us a healthy reverence for classic cocktails. We’re excited for what he’ll be serving up to our guests.
We took the time for a little Q&A with Ian, so you can get to know him!
Ian, you’re a classic come back story – moved away from Michigan before returning “home”. Tell us about your experience.
I grew up in the Irish Hills and attended Adrian High School. Then, I went to The University of Michigan and studied MCDB (Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology). In my senior year, I began my studies with The Master Court of Sommeliers, where I continue to learn more in the Wine World. As far as cocktail knowledge, I have learned all of my skills, cocktails, and style from working in various bars with various awesome bartenders, managers, and sommeliers. I helped run a bar program for the Hotel Jerome in Aspen Colorado, from which I was recruited to open, design, pick my team, and manage/bartend for Hooch, a craft cocktail bar in Aspen, Colorado. I continue to grow my knowledge through the Guild of Sommeliers and BarSmarts as well as various other classes, seminars, and books on the respective subjects.
What do you recommend to people unsure of what to order at the bar?
My views on choosing a cocktail are the same I have for choosing a wine: Go with what you like, but talk to your bartender/server/sommelier and have them guide you to the beverage that you will most enjoy. Cocktails on the house list are lovely, but know that we want to concoct the perfect drink to match your evening. We are professionals in this and have TONS of stuff to talk about and show our guests. If it’s specific to cocktails and you are feeling adventurous just sit at my bar and ask me to run with it. The world of cocktails has so much to offer and (like wine) has many wonderful ways of being expressed.
What’s your favorite food and drink pairing?
During my interview there, the food and beverage manager of the Hotel Jerome skyped me and asked, “If tomorrow was the last day on earth, tell me a classic cocktail – food pairing and a wine – food pairing.” Being that we were getting to know each other I relaxed a bit and joked around with him by answering, “For the wine I would have to go with a bottle of 1982 Chateau Lafite Rothschild and a lovely Roasted Duck. For the cocktail pairing, I’d have to choose a Boulevardier using Buffalo Trace with a rather large plate of nachos.”
What’s your favorite thing about being in Ann Arbor?
Well Ann Arbor has so much to offer that its hard to pin point a best part… but with regards to F&B I guess I would have to say the culture created in this city and how there is forever growing diversity of people and their peculiar pallets.