Mixing things together has always been an interest of mine. It began with my cousin and me making “potions” with whatever we could find in my mother’s pantry, usually tested on my little brother. It continued through high school and college with my chemistry studies. My first bartending job was at a Mexican restaurant. Margaritas were made with the worst kind of rock gut and pumped from fifty-gallon stainless steel drums through forty feet of plastic tubing to an unsuspecting public. All I had to do was pull the tap handle. Or, maybe toss some in a blender with some ice. I, like most people, thought this was what bartending was. It was fun, but nothing too cerebral: nothing more than a way to pay my mortgage when my research stipend was vastly deficient.
It wasn’t until a friend showed me a copy of Dale DeGroff’s cocktail book, The Craft of the Cocktail, that my eyes were truly opened. I caught a glimpse of the heritage and art of cocktail making. I was hooked. Luckily, that was nine years ago, giving me almost a decade to absorb everything I could find. I’ve been on a self-guided path of bartending enlightenment, many times enhanced by my involvement as an “apprentice” at Tales of the Cocktail (Google it. It’s pretty cool) for the last few years.
I’m an unabashed geek who never really left the lab. Many restaurants and bars later, I’m ready to share my knowledge. I love the history of cocktails, but am not chained to the past. Using the techniques and knowledge of the past, along with the superior quality of the local Hudson Valley ingredients, allows for cocktails never dreamed of by our bartending forefathers. With a firm foundation in classic cocktail and spirit theory, I’m ready to build a better cocktail.