The bar + lounge at The Savoy is the perfect place to quench your thirst, entertain important clients, or grab a casual bite with friends. The Savoy at 21c is a creative effort to honor our rich history while looking to the future. As we focus on a progressive style of Midwest hospitality we aim to use classic techniques with contemporary touches, we are so excited to have, Van Zarr as our Bar Manager.
We sat down to pick his brain about all things cocktails from his favorite ingredients to his go-to drink after a hard day.
What’s your favorite drink to make at home?
I like to keep it simple when I’m at home. Some decent tequila, soda, and lime for a Ranch Water is a must. Refreshing, quick, and easy.
What’s your favorite drink at a local restaurant?
If I’m dining out I prefer a nice glass of wine with a meal. If I’m on a patio, I’m a sucker for a spiced rum and Sprite (tastes just like cream soda) I’m easy to please.
Favorite type of spirit?
Anything aged. Whether it’s agave, cane or whiskey I love the complexity and character that wood brings to a spirit.
Ingredients you can’t live without?
Nice ice. For proper dilution and general aesthetic, quality ice is a must.
I’m also a big fan of fortified wines. There are so many different ways to use Madeira or sherry as a cocktail component that can really enhance the texture or flavor.
What 3 things are always stocked in your bar at home?
I always have a good, cheap domestic beer (Miller Lite), Bourbon (Blanton’s currently), and a decent red wine. I like to have my bases covered.
What inspires you when creating a new cocktail?
I typically try to align with what the kitchen is working on seasonally. We source a lot from local farmers at the market and it is a lot of fun to work in those parameters. I also take a lot of inspiration from classic cocktails and like to invigorate them with something out of the ordinary like a funky Rhum Agricole or smoky mezcal.
What is an example of a Kansas City cocktail?
Definitely the KC Ice Water. Typically Gin, Vodka, lemon-lime soda, and fresh lime. There have been countless riffs on this one but it has become synonymous with our city. Simple and refreshing.
What is your favorite food/ drink city (to visit) and why?
Downtown KC, Kansas. There are so many authentic, family-owned Mexican restaurants and some great BBQ joints.
What 3 words would you use to describe the current dining scene in Kansas City?
Historical, Diverse, Sincere.
Favorite thing to do in Kansas City on your day off?
My dogs have endless energy so a lot of my days off are spent trying to wear them out as much as I can. We like to visit Bar K (local dog park/outdoor bar-restaurant) or run the trails at Shawnee Mission or Swope Park here in town.
What drink starts your day? Ends your night?
I start my day usually with a lot of beverages. Juice, coffee, water and a big glass of milk with breakfast. To end my day, nothing hits like a Wild Basin seltzer from Oskar Blues.