Friends With Benefits: Eric Hobbie
If you want to meet a guy that truly loves his craft, make your way to Camden Cocktail Lounge and Apex Social Club, both at Palms, and meet the man who helped open both venues: Eric Hobbie, corporate intoxicologist for Clique Hospitality. Hobbie has a deep passion for his career, and minutes after interacting with the guy you’ll see his vast knowledge and dedication to the craft of creating cocktails.
But it’s not just about concocting the recipes, Hobbie says: “You’re a maestro back behind the bar. You can single-handedly change a person’s trip. It’s not hard to make a cocktail taste good. To me, it’s that wow factor. When a cocktail goes out, I want necks to turn. I want people to take out their phone and take a picture of someone else’s cocktail. I want the showstoppers. I want cocktails to strike emotions in people.”
Hobbie’s philosophy developed over many years. After working at restaurants around New York City where he grew up, he moved to Las Vegas and worked behind the bar of celebrity chefs’ restaurants including Mario Batali, Charlie Trotter and Giada De Laurentiis, and really honed his craft. “One thing about being around chefs and sommeliers, I was taught you eat and drink with your eyes first,” he says. “I’m all about colors, presentations, textures. Over time, I really started mastering the craft.”
A year ago, he was invited to bring his talents to Palms, and created the cool cocktail menus for both the lounge and nightclub. “What I love the most is every guest that comes and sits at the bar, I love giving them an experience that they deserve and never had,” he says. “… If you can impact just one person a day, you’ve done your job.”
Lost in the Forest
This Camden Cocktail Lounge libation, like so many of Hobbie’s creations, is a perfect example of his use of color, texture and presentation. “I wanted to capture the essence of the forest, all the smells, the life in the air, the floral, foresty undertones.” Mixed with Oxley London dry gin, yellow chartreuse, Meyer lemon juice, maple syrup and rosemary air, the gin is made with botanicals that come from the forest floor, while the maple syrup and rosemary provide the outdoorsy touch. “The cocktail is served on fresh moss so you actually feel the forest,” he says.