Marie-Alexe St-Cyr – Le Sam, Bistro Évolutif
Quebec – Judges’ Choice Winner
– Fun facts about MADE WITH LOVE National Finalists –
1. How long have you been a bartender and how did you get into bartending?
I started to bartend when I was completing my Bachelor in Education at Sherbrooke’s University in 2005. I finally realized after my studies, when I started to work at the Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac, that the hotel and the bartending industry were a real passion to me.
2. What turns you on about bartending, what are the new trends that are exciting you?
What turns me on the most about my job is creating memorable moments for my guest, through my cocktail creations. I love when I emotionally touch people, and make them live a great experience with anything connected to the world of mixology. The actual trends that captivate me are culinary technics, such as flash infusion, and revisiting formulas of classic cocktails, such as adding sherry to several of my favorite classics. I shall always remember: mixology is an exquisite combination of Art & Science, and I just keep learning every day.
3. What are some of your favorite ingredients to work with?
I enjoy working with ingredients revealing ”odorous scents”, such as essential oils and flowers. I always do researches to create multi-sensorial cocktails, and most of all, I do make sure that the aroma is as tempting as the taste for my customer.
4. Which bartenders have been inspirations for you?
In my four years at the Chateau Frontenac, I had the chance to meet and work with exceptional mixologists. My former director of mixology, Nader Chabaane, is the one who initiated the creative spark and helped me believe in my potential. My friend Jonathan Ross, who is a great influence, pushed me to participate to my first competition. My colleague Jean-Félix Desfossé, a true bible of knowledge with an overflowing imagination, also contributes considerably to my development… as well as all the people I had the pleasure to collaborate with through multiple bartending events: Patrice Plante, Fanny Gauthier, André Duncan, Louis West, Max Coubès, and many more!!!
5. What is the most ridiculous cocktail request you ever had?
A Virgin Caesar: One day, a gentleman ordered the drink, but a moment later…returned the glass because it did not taste alcohol enough for him!!!
6. If you had to describe your bartending style using a style of music in comparison, what would it be?
The French music between the 20s and 60s: I love classic music that, despite the ages, never goes out of style, just like classic cocktails. Sometimes, I add ”un brin de folie” to those classics, but make sure to respect the original spirit of the formula, while adding a little touch of modernity.
7. We ask you to create a cocktail called MADE WITH LOVE, what’s in it?
MWL is expressing ourselves. Consequently, my MWL cocktail would look just like me: a recipe made of doubts and love, but surely authentic.
Doubts: because I always challenge myself when creating something new, never knowing for sure how my creation will be interpreted…
Love: because we put our heart, our soul and our personality in every creation.
8. You have the choice to invite anybody you wish to sit at your bar, (fictional, dead or alive) who would it be?
This is a very difficult question, but I think I would invite my maternal and paternal grandmothers that I never knew…I would make sure to ask them as many questions as possible, to learn and understand how they use to live ”in their times”, with of course a great classic cocktail in hand!
9. Which cocktail would you serve to your lover? And which one would you serve to your ex?
To my lover: his favorite cocktail, a sophisticated whisky sour!
To my ex: his favorite cocktail too, a fresh gin & tonic!
Because in my life, when I love or loved, I cannot hate!
10. What got you into MADE WITH LOVE and how do you feel about the National Finals?
Participating to MWL was an opportunity to spur myself on to outstanding performance, and make sure that I do get out of my comfort zone. I do sometimes feel like an intruder at the National Finals, because I know so many talented bartenders who deserve so much to be here. However, I have to admit that I am extremely proud & happy to meet & compete against Canada’s best of the best, and share my, our, passion: mixology.