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OFF DUTY: Dartmouth bartender Coady LeBlanc passionate about fine food and drink

Time:2018-09-03 20:31wine - Red wine life health Click:

Halifax Regional Municipality Media Bedford Chronicle Halifax

Coady LeBlanc is the social media and marketing manager for The Watch That Ends The Night and also tends bar at the Dartmouth restaurant. He says he wishes alcohol could be approached more from a perspective of tastes and flavours used to elevate culinary experiences rather than a utilitarian means of intoxication. (ANDREW DONOVAN)

Coady LeBlanc is the social media and marketing manager for The Watch That Ends The Night and also tends bar at the Dartmouth restaurant. He says he wishes alcohol could be approached more from a perspective of tastes and flavours used to elevate culinary experiences rather than a utilitarian means of intoxication. (ANDREW DONOVAN)

“I’ve been in the industry for 10 years now, always as a side gig, but when I was approached about working at The Watch That Ends The Night it felt like more of a career move,” says Coady LeBlanc.

LeBlanc is the social media and marketing manager for The Watch and also tends bar at the Dartmouth restaurant. What started as a means to pay the bills in university has blossomed into a full-fledged career based around food, craft beer and cocktails. Currently, LeBlanc is in the process of studying for his cicerone certification exam, the beer equivalent of a wine sommelier.

“Craft beer is one of my passions and I was fortunate enough to be part of a collaboration between The Watch and 2 Crows Brewing,” LeBlanc says. “We brewed a beer inspired by a classic cocktail called The Last Word. We tried to mimic all of the characteristics and flavours of the cocktail ingredients in the beer.”

The Last Word cocktail is made with equal parts gin, maraschino liqueur, Chartreuse, and lime. LeBlanc and 2 Crows co-owner and brewer Jeremy Taylor zested and juiced fresh limes, added bay leaf, lemon verbena tea, Turkish mahleb spice, plus other ingredients then mixed everything together with wild ale. After, they blended it with gin-barrel-aged sour beer then conditioned it in kegs with Champagne yeast.

“With the sheer amount of ingredients and complexity of flavours in The Last Word beer it’s going to be tough to beat moving forward,” says LeBlanc. “But it was so much fun to make.”

LeBlanc also tends bar at The Watch That Ends The Night, along with bar manager Griffin Cox, and Anne-Marie Bungay-LaRose of Noble and Middle Spoon fame. LeBlanc says the small bar team is granted complete autonomy by owner Mark Gray and each of the three brings different strengths and levels of knowledge to the table.

“Beer is something I’ve always loved, and my history has been in craft beer, but through this work I’m doing now at The Watch I’ve moved more into the actual craft of bartending, cocktails, and spirits,” LeBlanc says.

According to LeBlanc, the thorn in the side of the bar industry is the utilitarian notion that the purpose of alcohol is purely a mean towards intoxication.

He says he wishes alcohol could be approached more from a perspective of tastes and flavours used to elevate culinary experiences.

“I work a lot and I have a two-year-old daughter so I don’t get much free time, but when I do have a few moments to myself I love to eat and drink well,” says LeBlanc. “When I say I love to drink well I mean I want to appreciate alcohol in a way that’s culinary, as something that adds to my overall experience, not in a way that’s irresponsible.”

Craft cocktails are often inspired by singular, or unusual, flavours in food and drinks and LeBlanc often uses desserts as a starting point to dream up an original cocktail recipe. He says popular culture can be another gold mine of inspiration. One of the most popular cocktails currently sold at The Watch was inspired by a meme.

“I can’t take credit it for it but we took the (Vine) of Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal, worked backwards to build a drink, and it turned out great,” says LeBlanc with a laugh.

With The Watch That Ends The Night still in its first year of business LeBlanc says he doesn’t have much down time, however, he does enjoy reading, especially biographies, and tries to make time to play music.

“I used to play in bands but I definitely don’t play as much as I used to. I’m also an avid baseball fan so if I get off work at a decent time I’ll try to catch a game,” LeBlanc says. “That being said, I’m very fortunate that my job doesn’t feel like work. I love what I do.”

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