Cocktail Week GR: Bartender Spotlight


Get into the holiday “spirits” during Grand Rapids’ fourth annual Cocktail Week, a citywide celebration of brightly colored alcoholic concoctions available from Nov. 7-18. Over 35 local bars and restaurants are participating over the course of 12 days, including Reserve Wine & Food.

GR|MAG had the opportunity to talk with Rob Hanks, bar manager at Reserve and president of the Grand Rapids chapter of the Bartending Guild. Hanks shared his suggestions for holiday cocktails and shared the cocktail Reserve will be highlighting during Cocktail Week.

A GR local, Hanks started in the hospitality industry and worked his way around several Grand Rapids establishments including Vitale’s and The Chop House before joining Reserve’s opening team.

With the holidays steadily approaching, Hanks recommends warming aged spirits like cognac, whiskey or rum. He admitted that he is also partial to gin for its piney flavor.

“Whenever I go to a holiday party I like to make punch,” he said. “It doesn’t have to be expensive, is made in bulk, and is easy to serve in larger groups. It always ends up being the communal area as well.”

Hanks, a 12-year veteran of the restaurant industry, has also noticed that drinks and the atmosphere of eighties bars are making a comeback.

“The trends that I have been noticing are the resurgence of the ‘Cheers’ bar; a place that is fun to go and relax at, great energy and tasty, not too complicated drinks. Think of a well thought out pairing of a beer and a shot or improving drinks that have long been thought of as ‘80s party drinks, like an amazing Midori Sour.”

For Cocktail Week, Reserve is mixing up its Fall Whiskey Collins. *Photo courtesy of Reserve
For Cocktail Week, Reserve is mixing up its Fall Whiskey Collins. *Photo courtesy of Reserve

For Cocktail Week, Reserve will be hosting a Happy Hour with Templeton Rye on Nov. 8 from 2 p.m. – 11 p.m. It will also be featuring one of its upcoming cocktails, the Fall Whiskey Collins, and pours of Templeton, making it a must-stop location on the cocktail trail around the city.

Cocktail Week wants people to “sip local!” taking advantage of the wonderful cocktail creations provided by local bartenders like Hanks. To see a list of menus, special offers and additional cocktail week events, click here.

*Photo courtesy of Cocktail Week GR

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