‘Works of art’ can be discovered in many different forms around Langdon Hall, including in the gardens, cuisine, and hanging on the walls. However, through the creativity of Head Bartender Aaron Hatchell, art can also be enjoyed by sipping one of his beautiful cocktails. For Aaron, he not only enjoys the design process but having the opportunity to create his art right in front of his guests, resulting in a uniquely inspiring cocktail experience.
Aaron grew up in Woodstock, Ontario as the second oldest of four siblings and looking back he now recognizes how hospitality played an influential role in his family life. Large family dinners were always a necessity, but it was the perfectionism of his grandmother that ensured the table was always properly set with linen, cutlery, and beautiful florals.
Aaron’s natural desire to express his creativity was discovered at a young age – one outlet was through cooking. “I never watched cartoons growing up,” Aaron recalls. “I was obsessed with cooking shows and would make notes while watching TV in order to try to recreate the dish with my mom and grandma in the kitchen.”
Although, what the kitchen lacked was being in front of an audience and Aaron’s desire to perform on stage deserved an audience. So at four years old, Aaron became a figure skater and for the next 12 years he performed at national and international competitions alongside famous names such as Patrick Chan. At the age of 18, Aaron was called to the stage by Disney on Ice.
“My mom wasn’t thrilled with the idea of me taking off to Taiwan at only 18, but joining Disney on Ice was an incredible two year experience,” says Aaron. “I travelled the world while skating to Finding Nemo and High School Musical.”
After a two year whirlwind, Aaron returned home and enrolled at the University of Toronto for a double major in criminology and environmental geography. Perhaps an unusual choice but after a closer look, it’s apparent how his studies have significantly complimented his career.
“My first job in high school was at a restaurant where I worked my way up to server and bartender,” explains Aaron. “This is where my interest in alcohol and creating cocktails started. Studying criminology allowed me to better understand the complex laws and history around alcohol and has definitely expanded my ability to create.”
Aaron continued bartending for eight years and after graduating university he met the love of his life, Ty. Together they searched for their dream jobs. The stars aligned in 2015 after Ty accepted a position at Cambridge Mill as special events coordinator and Aaron was called for an interview just down the road at Langdon Hall’s Wilks’ Bar.
“Leading the cocktail program at Langdon Hall has been an incredible learning experience,” explains Aaron. “Not only do I get to use the property and gardens to create my cocktails but I get to work with an extremely passionate team that loves to share their knowledge.”
Langdon Hall’s cocktail program has developed dramatically since Aaron joined the team. Due to his initiatives the bar now makes their own syrups from garden ingredients, they cut their own monogrammed ice, and he has attracted a new team who is eager to learn the art of cocktails. What’s more, Aaron’s knowledge of environmental geography has helped expand the sustainability program at the bar. He has formed relationships with new suppliers who also focus on producing sustainably and he works with the kitchen to reuse items, such as infusing vodka with their house-made croissants.
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Butter Me Up Tito’s vodka infused with house made croissants, chambord and walnut liqueur! Breakfast drinks are the best! On the current list @langdonhall #breakfast##ahcocktails#imbibegram#liqpic#artofdrinks#cocktailart#cocktail#craftedmixology#liquor#homebarawards#happyhour#instalove#cocktailporn#photooftheday#drinkstagram#bar#firstwedrink#cocktailsforyou#drinkingnola#drinking#alcohol#yum#thirsty#liquor#chilledweekends#drinkoftheday#feedfeed#craftedmixology#instalike#instadaily#myfavoritecocktail
“I love learning new techniques from the chefs and now they’re coming to me with questions about new ways to incorporate alcohol into dishes,” says Aaron. “But what I truly enjoy about my position is being on stage for each and every guest while creating a work of art in front of their eyes.”
Aaron’s talents have also not gone unnoticed in the cocktail industry. Last spring, he was chosen as one of 26 Canadians to join the World Class competition where his product knowledge and hospitality skills were put to the test. Even more exciting, Aaron was selected as one of four Canadians to attend one of the world’s largest cocktail events Tales of the Cocktail this July in New Orleans. He will represent Canada as he joins the worldwide cocktail community. His Landon Hall family couldn’t be more proud.
“I’m truly fortunate to work for such a supportive team at Langdon Hall,” says Aaron. “I have the freedom to experiment with my creations and I’m challenged every day to reach the next level.”
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Cocktails of the past “Peak my interest” by @allieyoungstudios Belvedere Cherry liqueur Pear juice Lychee Egg white #peakmyinterest#langdonhall #ahcocktails#imbibegram#liqpic#artofdrinks#cocktailart#cocktail#craftedmixology#liquor#homebarawards#happyhour#drinkin#barlovers#mixologyguide#bartenderstyle#customdrinks#cocktailstime#cocktailmenu#cocktailhouse#drinkmix#drinkies#canadianbar#barcanada# artofdrinks#cincin#liqpiq#instalove#cocktailporn#photooftheday
Aaron is truly transforming the cocktail culture both artistically and sustainably. With fiancé Ty by his side, they travel to new experiences always looking for the newest cocktail and food trends.
With all the creative options at his fingertips, what’s Aaron’s cocktail of choice? “To be honest, my favourite cocktails to enjoy are a traditional Old Fashion and Negroni,” Aaron says with a smile.