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Oral Histories

The SFA oral history program documents life stories from the American South. Collecting these stories, we honor the people whose labor defines the region. If you would like to contribute to SFA’s oral history collections, please send your ideas for oral history along with your CV or Resume and a portfolio of prior oral history work to annemarie@southernfoodways.org.

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ORAL HISTORY

Jerry Slater


Opened in 1905, the legendary Seelbach Hilton has hosted gangsters, politicians, and celebrities for generations. Stories of Al Capone evading the law during Prohibition and F. Scott Fitzgerald drinking cocktails from the hotel’s luxurious bar have contributed to the place’s mystique. It’s the perfect environment in which to enjoy a classic cocktail and a taste of the past. But the Seelbach is also looking into the future. Director of Restaurants Jerry Slater is breathing new life into the drink offerings at this historic Louisville hotel. Jerry arrived at the Seelbach in 2001, bringing with him a passion for the history of cocktails, as well as a desire to break new ground. Working with the chefs of the hotel’s Oak Room restaurant, Jerry created new drinks. He made savory cocktails, using ingredients like basil and balsamic vinegar. He took advantage of the subtle differences in different bourbons, highlighting their individual characteristics; and he prioritized using fresh ingredients. The Seelbach Hilton may be a historic landmark, but it’s the place to go for contemporary cocktails.

Note: Jerry Slater is now the proprietor of The Expat in Atlanta, Georgia.

Date of interview:
2008-01-16 00:00

Interviewer:
Amy Evans

Photographer:
Amy Evans

Download Transcript

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