Talking Airport Cocktails With Tiffanie Barriere of One Flew South

Originally published via: Trends on Trends

Folks are putting on their Sunday best and heading to the airport as a unique culinary dining destination- without even stepping aboard a plane. Elevated airport dining establishments are popping up all over the country from lauded chefs like Wolfgang Puck, Alex Raij and, Mike Isabella. These new restaurants (with full food and beverage service teams) are changing the way we think about airport dining — from overpriced packaged sandwiches to full scale seated gastronomic experiences. 
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport is the world’s busiest airport and home to One Flew South, one of the first upscale dining establishments in the country. Part psychic, part drink mixologist, OFS’ Tiffanie Barriere is a modern day “drink whisperer.” We sat down with Tiffanie (for a drink of course) to chat about the evolution of airport dining, traveling, and the drinking tool she always keeps in her purse for emergencies.

What is your morning routine?

Coffee is really important. I make it every morning in a French press. I take it black with no sugar or cream. I am not sure if coffee works for me, I just like the way it tastes. My grandma used to drink coffee and I loved the way it smelled when she made it.

Weary travelers are demanding more from concourse dining. How is One Flew South changing the way we perceive airport food?

We are not a restaurant bar in an airport. We are a restaurant AND a bar AND outside of an airport. Our guests make a special point to see us — we’re not a place you fall into by accident. Someone even told us “We planned to visit you a year ago for our honeymoon.” In terms of our food, our chef, Duane Nutter, is a genius. He has no fear and challenges what is meant to be on a plate. You’re going to get salty, sweet crunchy in one bite. It’s an experience.

One Flew South is the number one airport-affiliated bar/restaurant in the world, and I like to think that it’s because we are consistent [in our quality].

Cocktails and bar culture seem to be an ubiquitous part of airport dining. What is it exactly about drinks and traveling that go hand-in-hand?

People drink for one of two reasons: Because they are really happy or really pissed. You would be surprised how many people hate to travel. But when you do want a drink when you travel, why does it have to be crappy booze, or overly sugary? Why not be upgraded? You deserve to be upgraded, especially if are spending a lot of money, then it should be a badass drink.

We have added personality and some comfort to our service and drinks at OFS. We give hugs and high fives. We know how you’re feeling and respond to that.

Where does One Flew South stand amongst other upscale, elevated airport dining establishments cropping up like The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck at Dulles Airport or Alex Raij’s Txikito at JFK?

We’re trendsetters — we started the concept of upscale dining at an airport. OFS opened the door for someone actually wanting to be in the airport.Instead of airport employees working at our restaurants, we have trained professionals as well as a full food and beverage program. In fact, we were twice nominated by James Beard for our bourbon.

One Flew South serves ‘Southernational’ cuisine. What exactly is that and what is the inspiration/source behind it?

A Southern menu that has a kiss of international flair here and there. Chef Nutter is a Southern boy from Louisiana. Louisiana cuisine is straight to the point: comfort, butter, cream and bacon. He is very traveled and well educated and will throw you an ingredient from Okinawa or something from the Mediterranean, like putting together a common jambalaya, but made with farro or mussels sitting in collard greens and bacon.

What is your favorite type of drink to make for travelers and why?

I look at people that walk in and I’ll ask a couple questions like “What are you having for dinner?” and pick up on their look, their eyes, how parched they seemed, and then I give them the drink that they need. Trust your bartender. Look us in the eye and ask “What do you think I should have?” This is how I am going to get to heaven, drinking and chatting with people. Being in tune with people.

For most travelers, I like to make classic, speakeasy cocktails that people have long forgotten. I am weak for slow-gin fizz and a diamond back. I’ll make a Pimms cup in a heartbeat. I like to provide a full cocktail experience, while educating them and keeping it simple. I want to make them a drink that they could potentially make at home.

At Music To Your Mouth you always had the right tools to make the perfect cocktail on hand, including your homemade bitters. What are you always carrying on with you just in case an alcoholic opportunity strikes.

For every day alcoholic emergencies, bitters are always in my purse. Like Beyonce has hot sauce in her bag, I have bitters in my bag. I also have a flask on me (under 3 oz so I can travel with it). 90% of the time their is bourbon in there or high proof rum. And a wine key or some kind of opener — just in case.

Lovely words by: Marisel Salazar

Gorgeous illustration by: Cara Mullinary

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