Hudson, N.Y., has experienced a food and beverage renaissance in recent years with city dwellers moving there in droves over the course of the pandemic. In addition to lots of buzzworthy restaurant and bar openings catering to the influx of visitors, there are now plenty of hotels, inns, and luxury lodging options to compete with local rentals. And for anyone headed upstate looking to treat themselves, there’s a good chance they’re headed to The Maker.
Founded by entrepreneurs Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg in August 2020, The Maker has played host to many visitors and diners over the past few years. The 11-room property, which spans three historic buildings, also boasts a cafe, restaurant, gymnasium, and a moody, velvet-swathed lounge where guests and locals can drink fireside.
A few months after the hotel’s official launch, mixologist and industry veteran Pia Bazzani joined the team to curate the hotel bar’s beverage program — and to create a special menu of cocktails that captured the essence of the perfumes from The Maker’s fragrance line, which Glazman and Roytberg launched in 2021. To spotlight these creations, Bazzani and Glazman host the hotel’s Fragrance Cocktail Tastings — held periodically in the lounge — where they guide attendees through all six fragrance and cocktail pairings with snacks that complement each sniff and sip. If you can’t make a formal tasting, the venue serves these drinks all year round, and visitors can sample their accompanying perfumes right there at happy hour. And while the space’s marble bar may feel like a far cry from a department store perfume counter, patrons have swiftly taken to shopping for their new personal scents on nights out: More people purchase the brand’s perfumes in the lounge than they do in their rooms, at the cafe, or at check-out.
Here, Bazzani shares how she turned a nose-specific experience into a boozy sensory journey.
1. How did you first approach translating these fragrances for the palate?
When Lev brought the idea to me, he was very passionate about it. At first, I was a little taken aback: How is that really gonna work? With perfume [not containing] fully fresh ingredients, I wasn’t really sure how those would relate, and I was completely wrong. They actually do relate quite well. I just loved the idea of taking something that’s already in its own form that takes over you in one sensory way, and then trying to replicate that into something that provides a different sensory experience. I thought it was just a really fun idea.
2. These builds are more complex than what could have just been a thematic riff on a Margarita. How did you decide what direction to take each fragrance without being too on-the-nose?
In the beginning, I thought that with such lush notes in the top, bottom, and heart of the fragrances, I could probably mimic or replicate the key ingredients in them. But we realized later that it wasn’t exactly about replicating it, but more about the personality of the fragrances, or if the person that wears that scent would also drink this cocktail. We did something different for each of them. Take the Paradiso, for example: It’s about transporting yourself into your own paradise, and we actually didn’t hit any of the key notes in the cocktail. Instead, we asked: When you take your first sip of it, do you feel like you’ve been transported to a tropical island or lush pool? That’s what we were going for.
But with Fire, it was the complete opposite. The fragrance’s key notes are juniper berry, tobacco, and Tahitian vanilla, and we incorporate all three of those notes. We do a split-base of rum and gin, a spritz of Laphroaig for smoky peatiness to hit the tobacco, and for the Tahitian vanilla note, we rinse the glass with a touch of Madagascar vanilla liqueur. It’s inspired by the fireplace in our lounge and the sparks and embers flying between two people sitting and talking in front of it. The build is booze-forward so it warms your whole body, but is still palatable and delicious. It’s an after-dinner drink, for sure.
3. How does the bar program complement the atmosphere of the hotel and its bar?
The whole essence of The Maker is that it has this bohemian sensibility. But when you look at the lounge, it’s sexy. It has this speakeasy feeling, like you can sink into the furniture and be transported to some crazy place in Europe and something fun is always about to happen. So we wanted to make our cocktails fresh and creative, but nothing that’s gimmicky or not approachable. We sell the lounge’s glassware in our shop, and it’s a similar idea: ribbed glasses and etched coupes that have that pre-Prohibition-era style, and that lends itself to the way we create our cocktails. When we make our menu, we [can] go by what we want in our glassware first, and then build from there. The glassware is almost an extension of the drink itself and how it’s presented.
4. What other factors helped inform the fragrance cocktails and the group-tasting experience?
The Naked cocktail is an example using technique for storytelling. It’s [meant to invoke] a love story and two people falling into each other. So how do we show that kind of journey? I made it like three different drinks in one: It starts off fun, fresh, and almost Martini-style, and as the triple-layer ice cube melts, the drink becomes completely different and it takes you on the journey with it, like the changing chemistry between two people.
5. Do you have a favorite cocktail of the bunch?
If we were going with what I would probably drink the most, it would be the Wild cocktail, which is like a fun play on a French 75. It’s supposed to invoke the unbridled possibility of a fun night, and when I think of that, I always think of Champagne and bubbles. We take a very delicious vodka that we infuse with fresh peaches and jasmine flowers. We give it a little lemon cordial and an absinthe spritz to give it some body and a hint of fennel, and then top it with Champagne that has those nice brioche notes. It’s pretty in a coupe glass, and you can hold it all night with your pinky up if you want to. It’s just bubbly and fun.