01 July 2008
Dave Wondrich/NY/ Interview/ July 2008
1. What is the first cocktail you ever made? I believe it was a Tequila Sunrise, made in an old Army canteen with tequila, OJ and grenadine and drunk out in the woods with my little teenage friends. I learned how to make it from my Friend Jon, who was from Texas.
2. What are your 3 favourite drinks plus recipes; old, new and your own? This varies from week to week, but there are the ones that are at the top of the stack right now; the last one is my own:
a. Prescription Julep In a highball glass, dissolve 2 teaspoons superfine sugar in a pony (1oz) of water. Lightly press a sprig of mint in the resulting syrup and discard. Using a carpenter's maul and a coin sack, pulverize a goodly quantity of cold, hard ice. Pack the glass with the pulverized ice. Add a jigger (2 oz) XO-grade cognac (I like Martell Cordon Bleu)and 1/2 pony straight rye whiskey. Stir briefly and top the glass off with more fine ice. Float 1/2 oz dark, pot-stilled rum on top. Insert 3 sprigs of mint and a straw. Then smile.
b. Daiquiri (Original Style) Squeeze 1/2 lime into a cocktail shaker. Stir in 1/2 teaspoon superfine sugar. Add 2 oz Havana Club Anejo Blanco rum (or equivalent) Shake vigorously with plenty of ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
c. Jakewalk Shake well with plenty of ice: 3/4 oz Reposado tequila 3/4 oz rhum agricole 3/4 oz St. Germain 3/4 oz fresh-squeezed lime juice Strain into chilled cocktail glass and garnish with piece of candied ginger.
3.Tell us about a new flavour you have discovered recently? The delicate, lightly floral taste of well-distilled toddy-palm sap. Delightful.
4. If you could pass just one thing, on to an apprentice bartender what would it be? Know everything but never act like you do.
5. What does the future hold for yourself and what do you see happening in the future in the industry? God, I wish I knew. I'm working on a book on Punch, that much I know. As for the industry, it's like any other game of musical chairs.
6. What has been your biggest satisfaction from working behind the bar? As a non-bartender, I'm thrilled any time I get to step behind the bar and make drinks for people.
7. If you were to have a conversation with a cocktail, (and presuming it could talk back to you and tell you its past). Which cocktail would it be and why? I would very much like to have a few words with the Manhattan. All too often I find Mr. Whiskey bullying his wife, Ms. Vermouth, and whoring around instead with that rouged slut Cherry Juice, while totally neglecting the little Dashes. I will not put up with it.
8. What influences your drinks from outside the industry (i.e. art, fashion)? Well, history, I guess. Is tat outside the industry?
9. If you were to break a bartending golden rule what would it be? I would like to be able to wear a hat behind the bar. I like hats.
10. Outside of flavour and the craft of the cocktail what in your opinion effects the appreciation of cocktails the most? The backstory.
11. If you were to champion a cocktail which would it be? The Holland Gin Cocktail. Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Another, please, just like that.
Dave Wondrich of NY fame is the author of the fantastic Imbibe book...