Q&A: Patrick McKain, lead bartender, Hotel Ketchum

Patrick McKain
Patrick McKain

Better Bartending: What was your first bartending job?

​Patrick McKain: Cornerstone Bar and Grill in Ketchum, ID [closed in 2017].

BB: What is your favorite spirit at the moment?


PM: Gin

BB: What’s your go-to cocktail at the end of a shift or long day?

PM: Negroni

BB:What’s the cocktail scene like in Sun Valley?

PM: Storied, robust and diverse.

BB: The Hangout lounge just did a special Happy Hour menu of cocktails that reflect the adventurous summer mood of Sun Valley. What are some of the drinks and what specifically inspired them?​

Patrick McKain and MargaritaPM: The Happy Hour was designed to cast a wide—and approachable—net. From the Sofia sparkling rosé, to a fresh Margarita, to a basic recovery beer (such as Olympia or Montucky), we offer an abundance of refreshing post-activity beverages.

Moreover, we have added a low-alcohol-by-volume portion to our cocktail menu in case you need a mellow beverage before you go adventuring. In summation, lifestyle is an overarching inspiration for our offerings.

BB: The cocktails showcase regional small-batch distilleries and mix in elements from the outdoors, including sage, celery shrub, wheatgrass and local mixed berries. Any advice for working with some of these more unconventional ingredients with cocktails?

PM: Don’t have a God complex. Plenty of cocktails that look good on paper turn out to be unbalanced when you mix them up. Be open minded to changing proportions or base spirits.

BB: What’s been the most popular cocktail so far, and would you share the recipe?

PM: A spicy Margarita called Summer Time Heat, recipe below.

Summer Time Heat
1 ½ oz. Hornitos Reposado
½ oz. Watermelon shrub
½ oz. Jalapeno/serrano syrup
½ oz. Fresh lime juice

Combine ingredients in mixing tin and shake. Strain into glass over fresh ice and garnish with a mint sprig and watermelon ball.