Logan Hunter: The Bloomington Drink Slinger
Bloomington-born master bartender Logan Hunter has only begun to elevate the growing craft cocktail scene in his hometown. When Hunter isn’t managing the bar for local artisan distillery Cardinal Spirits, he is planning the opening of his own craft cocktail bar. Hunter’s passion for creating craft cocktails stems all the way back to his humble Indiana upbringing.
“My father and my mother met while my father was managing Nick’s English Hut, which is one of the oldest bars in Bloomington. So I was kind of born in a bar. I guess it’s just kind of in my blood,” says Hunter.
As he got older, Hunter experimented with different ingredients. He found himself mixing drinks for friends and constantly experimenting with different flavor combinations at house parties in college.
In 2001, Hunter moved to New York City to pursue a career in acting. Like most struggling actors, he began working in restaurants and bars to supplement his income. After working his way up from server to bartender, Hunter became inspired to truly pursue craft cocktailing as a profession instead of a necessity.
“Death & Co. was the bar that really changed my view on bartending and made me think I could make a career out of this. Seeing those bartenders taking so much care in what they were doing and seeing so much passion inspired me,” Hunter says.
That initial hit of inspiration motivated Hunter to dedicate himself to learning everything he could about making craft cocktails. After several years of drinking in as much knowledge as possible and gaining experience in New York City, Hunter returned to Bloomington to be closer to his family. He quickly began consulting for local bars such as The Irish Lion and Michael’s Uptown Café, helping to build up bar programs and sparking a new movement in the way people thought about cocktails in the area.
While working at Uptown Café, Hunter met two of the Cardinal Spirits founders, Adam Quirk and Jeff Wuslich. After getting to know each other, Jeff and Adam offered Hunter an opportunity to help them with their bar program and quality control.
“The demand for well-crafted, classic cocktails is higher than ever, but the supply is a bit thin. I feel people aren’t drinking these days as much for the buzz, and more for the enjoyment of well paired flavors,” he says.
After approximately 15 years of working as a bartender and manager for other people, Hunter is undertaking his own venture, Alchemy.
“Every detail from cocktail to countertop will be executed with true craftsmanship,” says Hunter.
Alchemy will have a very rustic European atmosphere with a heavy focus on craft cocktails and a food menu to complement it. Giving Bloomington a classy, elegant craft cocktail bar complete with a knowledgeable staff sans the pretentiousness is Hunter’s goal. His avoidance of titles such as “mixologist” fits his passionate, no fluff style of delivering down-to-earth, yet irresistible, cocktails to his guests.
“Nobody that is really a cocktelier refers to themselves as a mixologist. I’m a glorified drink slinger.”