Nick Crutchfield Bar Manager, Commonwealth Restaurant & SkyBar Charlottesville, Virginia
Nick Crutchfield has been bartending for the past 15 years. To him, it's a job making people smile; one that imparts great satisfaction and sparks creativity. He's spent most of his career in Virginia: from Norfolk to Charlottesville, where he is now at Commonwealth Restaurant & SkyBar. His past experience includes BARDO Edibles + Elixirs, Backstage Cafe, Empire, and NorVa. Some of this experience is in live concert venues so Nick is no stranger to catering to large crowds.
It wasn't until his stint at Backstage Cafe did Nick turn his job into his career. His colleague and mentor saw the creative potential in him and asked Nick to decide what kind of bartender he wanted to be. To make creative craft cocktails, you have to know all the details, he told Nick. At Commonwealth Restaurant & SkyBar, Nick takes his decade and a half of experience and concocts creative beverages on a daily basis.
Nick became a dedicated fan of The Perfect Purée of Napa Valley at the 2012 Tales of the Cocktail competition in New Orleans. He had been using the products for a few months and had a competition recipe that required blood oranges. The citrus was nowhere to be found and a friend put Nick in touch with a Perfect Purée representative who shipped the Blood Orange Concentrate to arrive the next day, just in time for his competition. He says Perfect Purée is the only fruit puree and concentrate he'll ever use in his bar.
At Commonwealth Restaurant & SkyBar, Nick makes his syrups and syrup infusions with the purees. In the summer months, he makes batch frozen cocktails in 5-gallon hoppers. He'll flavor the cold drinks with Blueberry Puree, Blackberry Puree, Prickly Pear Puree and several other flavors. His London Town Fizz is a combination of gin, Thyme & Citrus blend, lemon juice, soda and bitters. At his bar, it's all about volume and The Perfect Purée products allow him to save time and offer consistently flavored and affordable products to his customers. He says fresh fruit can taste different from one cocktail to the next, but with The Perfect Purée, he's always going to get the same flavor profile time and time again.