Westin New Orleans Announces Oliver Sovol As New Lead Bartender
Visitors and locals can imbibe on traditional flavors and ethically-sourced ingredients
New Orleans, July 2022- Oliver Sovol, the new Lead Bartender at craft cocktail bar Observatory 11, infuses careful thought and a respect for high-quality spirits into each of his drinks. With deep regard for sustainability and the origins of his ingredients, Sovol is looking forward to revamping the bar program at Observatory 11.
A proud transplant to New Orleans from Cleveland, Ohio, Sovol says that New Orlenas earned a place in his heart because of its laissez-faire attitude, something most natives would no doubt agree with and take pride in. “I love the good-natured people here,” he says. “Not to mention, the rich history that cocktails have in the bayou is something a bartender can get used to.”
When it comes to bartending, Sovol, who formerly led the bar program at New Orleans’ James Beard Award-winning restaurant Saba, values the integrity of the ingredients he uses more than anything. “The 360-round open bar here is great,” he says, “The liquors I use are front and center to guests, and logistically, there’s only room for the best quality products.” With this in mind, Sovol hand selects each liquor at Observatory 11. “Widow Jane is fantastic,” says Sovol of his preferred whiskey, which is sustainably distilled in Brooklyn with pure mineral water from Rosendale Mines in Upstate New York. To keep it local, Sovol gets his favorite gin from New Orleans-owned and operated distillery Atelier Vie, saying, “Their Euphrosine #9 Gin is top notch, and it’s always great to have a local business in my arsenal.”
Sovol’s style of bartending also honors authenticity; he crafts each mixer himself, aiming only to bring out the flavors of the liquor, rather than mask it with an overflow of additions. Those who would not typically choose a whiskey drink are in for a surprise when they try an Old Fashioned by Sovol, who has a knack for bringing out the telltale notes of smoke and spice that someone with a more seasoned whiskey palate would appreciate instantly.
“I can make a drink for anyone,” says Sovol. “I love the look of pleasant surprise when one of my guests tries something new, like our Clear and Present Danger made with whiskey, rum and pineapple, and it becomes their new favorite order.”