by: Amy Ciarametaro
If you’re in the River City during September #VaSpiritsMonth, make sure to stop by Heritage and ask Mattias Hagglund for the Demogorgan! The Demogorgan is being featured as part of Heritage’s Happy Hour special all month long for $6! Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, try your hand at preparing this cocktail at home.
The Demogorgan, featuring VA Distillery Companys‘ Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
1.5 oz Virginia Highland Malt Whiskey
.75 oz H & H rainwater madeira
1 tsp agave syrup
1/2 tsp Del Maguey Vida
Build all ingredients into a mixing glass, add ice and stir well. Strain onto fresh ice in a chilled rocks glass, and garnish with a lemon twist.
Heritage is a family affair. Chef Joe Sparatta runs the kitchen, his wife Emilia is in charge of the front of the house, and Emilia’s brother Mattias Hägglund (pronounced ‘Matt-tee-us’) is behind the bar. Don’t be misled by the family connections; these guys are all business and have brought next-level dining and precision to the Richmond culinary scene.
Before opening Heritage in 2012, they perfected their crafts under Chef Scott Anderson at Elements, as well as some of New Jersey and New York’s other renown chefs. Thankfully for us, resident Richmond Chef Jason Alley (Comfort, Pasture, and the soon-to-open Champion Brew Pub collaboration) and Restaurateur Paul Keevil (Lulu’s) persuaded the trio to come back to RVA to work before opening their very own restaurant on Main Street.
“We make virtually everything we serve from scratch in house, and do so by using as many locally sourced goods as we can. In the kitchen, that means meat and fish from nearby and so much amazing produce from places like Victory Farms or Haas Mushrooms,” says Mattias. (Sidebar: I start to get a little hungry just thinking about the house-made bucatini pasta and charcuterie.)
Mattias, being the beverage maestro that he is, blends modern day mixology with classic techniques and local flair. “In the bar we have Virginia vodkas, gins, rum and whiskeys from all across the state – and they are all actively used in our cocktail program. Not to mention the fact that Virginia’s beer and wine scenes are pretty impressive too, and well represented on our lists.”
Mattias is also modest and doesn’t like to brag, so I’ll do it for him. Richmond Magazine just voted him “Best Bartender” for their annual Best/Worst Edition, and Tasting Table Magazine recognized him as one of the “Best Mixologists in the South”. Oh, did I mention he’s been featured in CNN’s Eatocracy, Bon Appetite Magazine, Garden & Gun… shall I keep going, or will you stop by and sample his special September #VaSpiritsMonth cocktail the ‘Demogorgan’ for yourself?
Here’s a few of the cool #VaSpirits that you can find behind the bar at Heritage:
• James River Distillery Commonwealth Gin
• James River Distillery Continental Gin
• James River Distillery UA Navy Strength Gin
• James River Distillery Øster Vit
• Virginia Distillery Co. Virginia Highland Malt Whisky
• Vitae Spirits Rum
• Belmont Farms Chai-Infused Rum
• Belmont Farms Kopper Kettle Vodka
• Copper Fox Rye whiskey
• And more!
*Rapid Fire with Mattias Hagglund of Heritage Restaurant*
#VaSpirits: Where were you born?
Mattias: I was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, but claim Ashland, Virginia, as the place where I grew up.
#VaSpirits: What was it that first inspired you to get into the F&B business?
Mattias: It’s way more fun than anything else I’ve ever done!
#VaSpirits: Tell us some fun tidbits about your daily routine.
Mattias: I love my coffee from Rostov’s (they make our custom blend for Heritage), and my best days always start snuggling my six-month old son Emerson.
#VaSpirits: When you’re not behind the bar at Heritage, what do you enjoy doing?
Mattias: I love my garden, riding my bike, and playing with my golden retriever Julep. Any and all time spent with my wife Rachael and our son Emerson is always the best part of my day.
Photo credit: Jay Paul