Jennifer Seiler is director of food and beverage at the Hewing Hotel in Minneapolis.
What was your first job in the beverage or hospitality industry?
At Dona Le’s Café, which was a restaurant in Forest Lake, MN.
What is your favorite spirit to work with at the moment?
Mezcal. I like the intricacy of the spirit and supporting indigenous cultures.
What is the focus or specialties of the beverage program at The Hewing?
We focus on education and continuing to grow. The beverage industry is always changing, and that is what makes it so fun. We continue to push ourselves and the team to create change and think outside of the box.
You became a licensed herbalist and aromatherapist during the pandemic; how are you applying that to the beverages?
I love blending notes. Learning how different scents complement each other allows me to try new things in cocktails and use different spirits to create the profile I am looking for when blending house-made syrups, shrubs, liqueurs, etc.
I also like thinking about the health benefits and incorporating certain elements to achieve that. For example, lavender, lemongrass and chamomile can have a calming, chill effect.
What drinks do you see guests enjoying or asking for these days?
Tequila! Anything tequila-based, Espresso Martinis and also a lot more spiritless cocktails. Nonalcoholic drinks are still very popular.
What’s your current go-to cocktail or beverage?
A mezcal Old Fashioned
Would you share a recipe for one of the most popular cocktails at The Hewing, or one of your favorite drinks?
Here’s one for the Smoke Show, which uses tequila and sotol.