05 Mar Meet Crafthouse Co-Founder & Head Bartender, Charles Joly
We wanted to take a minute to introduce you to our co-founder, curator, and all-around professional bartender/mixologist, Charles Joly. A co-founder of Crafthouse along with his long-time colleague, Matt Lindner, Joly oversees all beverage-related aspects of Crafthouse.
Our first three offerings (Moscow Mule, Paloma, Southside) are all classic cocktails with recipes painstakingly sculpted by Joly to work in the bottle, at your home, or wherever you choose to enjoy Crafthouse Cocktails. Lindner and Joly first worked together at The Drawing Room in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, where Joly was busy being a part of the vanguard of high-level cocktails made with attention to ingredients, process and panache. His unique takes on classic cocktails caught the eye of the media, other bartenders, and cocktail enthusiasts. Above all, he prizes dedication to his field of work and his clients above all else–and we think you’ll appreciate the end result.
Charles Joly, Early Years
Joly entered the hospitality industry in 2001, working part-time behind the bar in addition to holding down a day job. Then, in 2006, he went full-time, diving headfirst into his career. He was greatly aided in this endeavor by a woman who would eventually become his mentor, Bridgett Albert. “In America, at that point, we were transitioning to a time when you could be a professional bartender as a career again,” says Joly. “Largely speaking, that hasn’t been the case for many decades unless you worked in a hotel, a casino or something like that.
The Full Pour
The real trick for Joly was to jump with both feet into bar tending and the limitless creativity it offers while still maintaining his career in the service industry. “There’s this perfect balance of being able to do what I love as far as mixology and also working with people, opening venues, developing ideas and working day to day with guests and co-workers,” says Joly. “As a profession, mixology has filled a void for me creatively and I’ve reached this perfect balance of being able to succeed from a business standpoint and also with the creative side of my personality.”
Keeping that creative side has been crucial to Joly personally and professionally, who had fulfilled that side of himself by playing music, which he set to the side to make beverages his full-time career. “Whether you’re painting, playing the guitar or coming up with a new cocktail recipe, it takes creativity,” says Joly, who still plays music, just not for a living anymore.”
He did this to critical and popular acclaim during his multi-year stint at The Drawing Room in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, taking the high-end mixology concept to maturity there. It’s a concept which has since been echoed by many other establishments around the world. The success of his approach hinges on attention to detail, he says. “Just to find a natural mint taste for the South Side, I tasted through 40 different samples of mint flavorings and that’s where my training and palate came into play because I ended up having to create a blend to get a realistic flavor profile and it ended up being the best received of the bunch.
“When you get stuff from big corporate laboratories, they have food scientists coming up with this stuff and they don’t necessarily have great palates. The palate just like any other muscle, do a bunch of sit ups and you get good at it.”
These days, his versatile mind is being stretched in new directions. We highly suggest finding a spot at a bar with Joly on the other side. Before and after that experience, enjoy Crafthouse cocktails. Homework has NEVER been this much fun.