Christian Raphael Gaal

Credit: Drew Lazor

Owner, Spirit Animal Beverage Solutions

Maker: Beverage Professional

When his college friends introduced Christian to books on craft bartending, he found that the love of history his father had encouraged could intersect with the palate he had inherited from his mother; that very nose that dogged his teenage years; that inspector’s, that schoolmarm’s nose whose wrinkled, questing inquisitions so unfailingly thwarted futile efforts to conceal telltale illicit odors.

Heredity’s alchemy had corrupted this discriminating weapon of rectitude from an all-too-easily scandalized forensic chaperone into a licentious accomplice with which to explore sublime, sensual information, to float with the mind’s nose through the internal void in kaleidoscopic waltzes of recombination. Once he’d eaten and drank for satiety, perhaps for comfort. Now the prism of analysis, placed in his path by an atavistic thirst for dusty recipes and techniques, had exposed a hidden spectrum of reality.
Such accidents of experience excavate predispositions from our genetic bedrock to be utilized as skills. It is often our privilege in hospitality to help reveal new experiences and unearth new skills in those around us. Christian was doubly fortunate when his partner in life, Phoebe Esmon, was revealed to share the skill to manipulate flavor, and the drive to serve others. They are best pleased when working together on beverage and hospitality-related projects, and when cooking together at home. In an ultimate irony, Christian once again lives with a woman from whom, for better or worse, no aroma may be concealed.

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