If you’ve never drunk Brockmans Gin in a casino, David Burke Prime is the bar for you…
We’ve drunk Brockmans in an arcade, a (former) jail, a bakery, a treehouse, and now we’re in a casino. Inside the sprawling, glitzy compound that is Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, is David Burke Prime, a high-end restaurant known for its wine list, but whose cocktail list is starting to rival wine in popularity. We have an idea of why that might be (hint: Brockmans is on the menu…)
We’re chatting with Ryan Robinson, the soft-spoken yet rather chatty Wine Director, whose love of wine brought him to the East Coast from Idaho.
“Suffice it to say, there isn’t a big wine culture out in Boise, Idaho,” he says, chuckling. “I did as much as I could out there, but then I needed to be near all the action.”
Although Mashantucket, Connecticut is itself not a big city, he is relatively close to both Boston and New York City, two cities he’s commuted to weekly to run wine programs. At the moment, Ryan runs the programs at three of the restaurants in the casino, as well as in a hotel restaurant in New York City (a two-hour commute he does a few times a week). On top of that, he’s studying to take his Masters Theory Sommelier test, which if he passes, would give him the title of Master Sommelier (of which there are only a few hundred in the world). At the moment, he has passed the “Advanced” tier, which is prestigious in and of itself. For those in the know, a pin on his lapel signifies his status as having passed Advanced.
“I have completed an entire Iron Man triathlon, and I thought that was the most difficult thing I’ve ever done. No, getting this pin is the most difficult and tiring thing I have ever done.”
And if working in both Connecticut and New York City and studying to become a Master Sommelier did not make him busy enough, Ryan regularly teaches spin and TRX classes in the morning. This is after he’s studied wine for at least two hours, and before he has to come in for his shift at the casino.
“I realised that if I get to get on a bicycle each morning, and put on a microphone, and yell at people to loud music, I can come to work calm, so that I can get yelled at by grandma, or whomever else might be having a hard day.”
As Ryan continues to awe us with his achievements (and stamina), one of his bartenders, Chad, makes us the London Mule, featuring Brockmans, muddled blueberries, and ginger beer. Believe it or not, Ryan created this drink, too. His passions are not reserved solely for wine.
He also explains to us how the bar staff at David Burke recently reworked the spirits menu, incorporating a lot more education into the list so that customers reading through it don’t have to feel so intimidated by the many options. Under gin, for example, the menu lists its selections, and the customer is invited to select a cocktail from a list of classics, and pick which gin they’d like (as if the choice weren’t already clear…). However, the menu also has a list of original cocktails to choose from, like the London Mule—which, by the way, is a seamless marriage of dark berries and ginger.
We could sit here all night long but other bars are calling our name. If you find yourself at the Foxwoods Casino, do not miss the chance to drink a London Mule, have a chat with Ryan, and perhaps even pull a slot machine or two…
by Ryan Robinson
- 2 oz/60 ml Brockmans Gin
- .5 oz/ 15 ml lime juice
- ginger beer
- Muddle blueberries at the bottom of a shaker.
- Add Brockmans Gin and lime juice.
- Shake vigourously, and strain over fresh rocks in a copper mug (or rocks glass).
- Top with premium ginger beer, and garnish with some blueberries and a lime wedge.