Take 10 laps with the best bartender Tonia Guffey

Thanks to the House of Suntory for its partnership with Half Full and for sponsoring this special edition of 10 Rounds

What inspired you to create this cocktail? “I was inspired by the modern classic of penicillin. But I wanted to do something brighter and use vodka as a base. I removed the smoke and spices from the chipotle chili drink instead of using the traditional Islay Scotch peat smoke.

When would you be drinking this? “I would serve this drink all day because it is bright, light and very refreshing.”

What music would you associate it with? “I would probably associate it with Haim’s album titled The days have passed. “

What food would you associate it with? “Something to complement the smoke and spice of the drink, but it would still need to be light and cool. A shrimp ceviche would be ideal.

Name the person (dead or alive) for whom you want to prepare this cocktail. “I would make this cocktail for all of my friends who I miss so much, just for the chance to kiss them and say hello!”

What advice would you give to someone who makes this drink? “You can control the spice in this recipe to your liking. The ginger beer will add some heat on its own, so if you want you can reduce the chipotle or increase as needed. This is also super adaptable and works great with your favorite herb or any berry in season. You can add the fruit to the shaker or add it to the jar when you prepare your syrup. “

Why do you think Haku® Vodka works so well in this recipe? “Haku is elegant and delicately floral. It is able to maintain flavor integrity when paired with intense ingredients such as chipotle and ginger. The taste is neither lost nor hidden, but goes well with the other ingredients. Also, I love Haku because when I want to take a break from my cocktail it makes amazing and premium vodka soda.

How do you explain the recent rise in popularity of Japanese spirits in America? “With the resurgence of American and Old-Fashioned whiskey, we saw a spike in the popularity of brown spirits and the craftsmanship behind whiskey-making as a whole exploded in the early 2000s. The Japanese have always had a great respect for the art of whiskey making and a deep fondness for Scotch single malt. I think that with the new enthusiasm for American whiskey and the admiration of classic Scotch making, the Japanese are able to use these influences, coupled with centuries of tradition in distillation and precision, and create a whole new practice of creating phenomenal spirits.

Which book on cocktails or spirits is your favorite resource? “I read every book on spirits I could find at the start of my career (early 2000s) because at that time there were so few. David Wondrich To drink! is a given and should be owned by anyone who even considers craft cocktails from a distance. The book by Jeffrey Morgenthaler I use for tips and tricks. Honestly, the book I use more than any other is The Bible of flavors. I give it to everyone I recommend. I use it every time I return a menu. A great is very similar to baking in many ways. It’s about finding those awesome combinations, then accurately recreating them over and over again.

What is your favorite piece of barware? “I love my angular OXO steel jigger. OXO if you’re reading this and need a brand ambassador, I’m in the market right now. “

By Tonia Guffey


  • 2 parts of Haku® vodka (to order on Drizly)
  • 1 part chipotle spicy syrup *
  • 1 part fresh lemon juice
  • 1 part of ginger beer
  • Glass: Rocks
  • Garnish: chipotle lemon slice or piece of honeycomb


Add all the ingredients, except the ginger beer, to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake and strain into a highball glass and fill with fresh ice. Top with ginger beer and stir. Garnish the drink with a slice of lemon dipped in Chipotle spicy syrup or a piece of honeycomb.


  • 1 dried chipotle pepper (cut the seam and remove the seeds)
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon table salt
  • 1 cup of sugar


Add water and pepper to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and add the rest of the ingredients except the sugar. Simmer for about 20 minutes or until the pepper is fragrant. Add the sugar and stir until completely dissolved. Remove from heat and strain into a clean container.

The interview has been condensed and edited.

Vodka Haku®, 40% Alc./Vol. © 2020 Beam Suntory Import Co., Chicago, IL. Drink responsibly.

#laps # #Tonia #Guffey

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