Food & Drink

Chef who ‘brought the cocktail revolution to Hilton Head’ featured by New York Times

Secrets of the milk punch cocktail revealed

Paul Rabe, bartender at The Lucky Rooster Kitchen and Bar shows how milk is used to clarify a citrus cocktail for a draft cocktail on May 10, 2017.
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Paul Rabe, bartender at The Lucky Rooster Kitchen and Bar shows how milk is used to clarify a citrus cocktail for a draft cocktail on May 10, 2017.

It’s been a big week for Hilton Head’s Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar.

The chef and owner of the restaurant, Clayton Rollison, was featured in a New York Times Cooking article that sang the praises of Amari — the liqueur that food and wine writer Florence Fabricant likened to “putting away the flip-flops and taking out the boots” of your “cocktail wardrobe.”

Rollison gave his take on Amari to The Times, where he said “Amari add structure and backbone to cocktails.” His featured concoction includes “bourbon, amaro, maraschino liqueur, dry vermouth, blood orange liqueur and bitters.”

This isn’t the first time Rollison and Lucky Rooster have been in the national spotlight.

He was credited for “bringing the craft cocktail revolution to Hilton Head” by Vice in 2016, represented South Carolina on Food Network’s “50 States of Cheesy Dishes” list this year and revealed the secret ingredient in pimento cheese in Garden and Gun.

On Wednesday, the restaurant celebrated five years of serving southern fare and surprising cocktails.

Rollison shared a video of himself blowing out candles for the anniversary, surrounded by Lucky Rooster staff.

But the five years the restaurant has been in business have come with tough decisions, including cutting down to six days a week after a staffing shortage swept through the Hilton Head hospitality industry a few years ago.

Rollison told The Island Packet on Monday he was excited to celebrate five years in the business, and that he will help tackle workforce housing and labor shortages to stay open for many more.

“As ownership and management we have to be better at guiding, teaching and motivating our staff on a daily basis so when this labor (shortage) thing shifts we will come out of this as a better hospitality industry,” he said of his own role in improving the industry.

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