A good cocktail may seem like a dime a dozen nowadays.  So, at Second Best Detroit, how a drink is served is just as important as what’s inside. Today, we’re taking a look behind the bar with Second Best Beverage Director Will Lee:

Second Best’s beverage program is largely influenced by my early bar experiences. By combining those experiences with my passion for the craft of bartending and the addition of a little humor, we end up with Second Best: a casual spot created for the every-man and -woman to hang out and relax their inhibitions with good food and drink.

The idea is to create a drink list that pays homage to the classics of yesteryear. Choices range from simple, yet elevated cocktail classics, batch cocktails from a soda gun, a fleet of local beers, and inspired shots from when Jager Bombs and Kamikazes were still cool. The drinks all offer a craft component to them, whether it be a housemade syrup or smoked ingredients. On the back end, our team preps just like Grey Ghost, our craft cocktail bar and restaurant, located just across the street. The day begins at 11:00am with our team juicing fresh produce every morning, cutting fresh garnishes, and prepping cocktail ingredients, like Applewood Smoked Lime Cordial, Apple Bitters, Housemade Tonic, etc. The idea is to take familiar cocktails and shots that typically use artificial, cheap ingredients and supplement them with ingredients that are fresh and thoughtfully created.

On a sweet note, our Gummi Bear is inspired by the dive bar-era shot and is updated as a cocktail with Housemade Raspberry Vodka, Peach Schnapps, House-made Sour Mix, 7 Up, and Pebble Ice.  It tastes and smells like gummy bears, so why not serve it in a honey bear jar?

Photo: Michelle Gerard

For those looking for something festive, Miller High Life is served tableside with an ice bucket, bottle, and flutes; this service has become more popular than I could have imagined. Like most of the items on the menu, we chose unexpected items that we thought people could have fun with. Miller High Life is the ‘Champagne of Beers,’ so to us, it was only natural to serve it bottle service style. With everything we do, we want to consider the guest experience and make sure that we are providing an elevated, unique experience. I think that if we can give that feeling to every guest that walks through that door, then we have something special.

Photo: Michelle Gerard