Located steps away from Central Park with Carnegie Hall across the street, New York City’s Park Hyatt is one of the top luxury hotels in a city full of them.
But aside from the expansive rooms with spectacular views, a pool and spa that towers high above the city, and an uncanny attention to detail, the crown jewel of the luxury hotel is its bar dubbed The Living Room.
Inside the watering hole, its star attraction is Steven González who has been slinging drinks behind its dark marble bar for the past eight years. “We are a group of like-minded individuals that truly believe in the hotel’s motto, ‘luxury is personal,’” says González. “We strive to deliver this experience to every guest.”
For González, his bartending journey radically shifted three years ago when he decided, while out with his wife for his birthday, to quit drinking cold turkey. “I wanted to make some positive changes in my life,” remembers González. “I had goals I wanted to achieve, and I could see that alcohol was standing in the way of me reaching them. The decision was easy for me: it was a matter of having a strong will, a desire to be better, and the conviction to embrace a healthier lifestyle.”
As a result, aside from The Living Room’s expansive menu (which ranges from a cocktail menu modeled on flavors from basil to unami to an array of top-shelf wine, liquor, and champagne), the bar also offers its signature, inventive takes on non-alcoholic beverages.
“We take inclusivity very seriously and strive to carry a well-balanced ingredient list,” says González. “We have developed a few creative non-alcoholic offerings to cater to our guests who want to enjoy a beverage without alcohol.” That includes the Sparkle (with Seedlip Grove 42, Pomegranate, Lemon, and Sparkling Grapefruit) and the Invigorate.
As for how González has successfully stayed sober, he has a few tips.
- “Don’t let other people or situations influence you to drink if you have decided to follow a sober lifestyle.”
- “Oftentimes being sober is about inclusivity—holding a non-alcoholic cocktail or a sparkling water with lime will make you feel like you are just as much part of the event or situation as the person imbibing in an alcoholic cocktail.”
- “It’s important to remember that what you are doing is intended to improve yourself.
- “Even if it failed the first time, which is normal, you can always try again.”
Another key for González is to offer top-quality cocktails as good as the boozy versions. Here, he shares his recipe for The Living Room’s non-alcoholic cocktail, Invigorate. “It’s inspired by a soy matcha tea latte and it is bright, grassy, with a fantastic mouthfeel, and just a whisper of fresh herbs.”
- 11/2 oz Seedlip Garden 108
- 1 oz Green Juice Blend (1 part kale juice, 1/2 part apple juice, 1/2 part cucumber juice)
- 3/4 oz Orgeat
- 3/4 oz Soy Milk
- 1/2 oz Lemon Juice
Preparation: Jigger all ingredients into a shaker and add ice. Shake until the desired dilution has been reached (close to 6 seconds). Double strain liquid from the shaker into a teacup. Add one ice cube and garnish with freshly grated nutmeg.