Caitlin Laman, Consulting Beverage Director, Ace Hotel, Chicago, Illinois
Caitlin’s bartending career began when she started mixing drinks to make money on the side while playing for the top women’s rugby club in New York. While athletic, her tattooed forearms stop at cracking open coconuts to make her own purée.
“Coconut is a really difficult product to work with,” says Caitlin. “Using The Perfect Purée Coconut Puree allows us to have a consistent product through and through (for a reasonable price!) without having to break down the natural fruit ourselves.”
Caitlin excels at mixing creative sherry cocktails and uses The Perfect Purée Coconut Puree in a coconut syrup for a classic piña colada whose tropical notes are tempered by La Garrocha Amontillado 9-year sherry.
“The dryness of the coconut purée allows us to control the sweetness levels as much as we want to,” she says.
Caitlin oversees the beverage programs for Ace establishments City Mouse and Waydown, as well as the hotel’s food and beverage service. Her star-studded bar career includes leading and consulting roles at the much-lauded San Francisco Mission District bar Trick Dog and Mexico City’s Limantour Roma, named #11 on Drinks International “World’s 50 Best Bars” in 2018.
In San Francisco, Caitlin led Trick Dog to an incredible list of accolades including Tales of the Cocktail’s Best Bar Team (2014) and Bar Fight Champion (2014), a James Beard finalist nomination for Outstanding Bar Program (2015) and two consecutive years on Drinks International “World’s 50 Best Bars” list. She was named Food & Wine’s Best New Mixologist (2014) and National Speed Rack Champion (2014) — making her the only person to have won Bar Fight and Speed Rack in the same year.
Caitlin is also a co-founder of Chicago Style, a new forward-thinking drinks industry conference that’s billed as “Equal parts drink and think, celebration and critique, party and platform.”
Besides helping her save time and effort behind the bar, The Perfect Purée’s process appeals to Caitlin’s strong social conscience.
“It’s also better for the environment,” she says. “These kinds of processes happening in larger batches is more efficient.”