What is your drink of choice? If I’m the one drinking it, then a whisky neat and a cold lager. I'm pretty simple and straight forward when it comes to being on the other side of the bar. If I’m behind the stick, I love making a nice fizz. There is something about emulsification that makes me feel like I’m doing God’s work.
What's your favorite bar tool? My favorite tool isn’t something I use to make drinks. It’s what I use in between. Tin rinsing scuppers. Best decision I've ever made for the well. Guests are always intrigued and they save massive amounts of time and energy. I don’t know that I could ever work without them again.
What trend would you like to see go away? Attitude. I hate to see bartenders scoff at a drink order or judge a guest's lack of cocktail knowledge. We’re here to help people figure out what they like and mainly just to provide a good time. Even the best bartenders work for a dollar at a time.
What's the most underrated cocktail or ingredient? Snips and snails and puppy dog tails. I'd love to see bartenders fall back from eight-ingredient drinks, half of which no one has heard of, and focus on quality ingredients and balance. Some of the best cocktails I've ever had in my life were three-step drinks that were perfectly balanced.
What's the drink to order at Sassafras? Sassafras Royale. This is a play on a Royal Fizz using Auchentoshan Scotch, malted milk, Art in the Age Root, housemade sassafras bitters, one whole egg and topped with house-brewed sarsaparilla and atomized cinnamon tincture. I really love this drink because it reads as a somewhat daunting list of ingredients, but it adds up to a grown-up root beer float. I loved malted milk when I was a kid and have always wanted to incorporate it in a drink.
What's the best pickup line you've ever heard at a bar? People still use pickup lines? I merely see moving lips and bad decisions.
What's the craziest thing you've seen go down at a bar? I can't tell you because it is honestly too offensive. But getting my bartending chops in Reno, I have seen more crazy antics than I can count. I've seen numerous beer bottles and pint glasses broken over heads (Roadhouse-style), seen guns pulled, people trying to have sex on the bar (literally) during busy business hours... Thank God I moved to LA.
What's on your playlist? Honestly, probably Rick Ross at any given time. I also find myself driving around in complete silence and talking to myself a lot.
What are your favorite bars? Everything depends on mood and what I'm into for the night. I love dive bars: Bar 107, Jumbo’s Clown Room, Drawing Room when I'm just out to drink. When I want a nice cocktail and to be around bartenders I miss talking to I'll head to Thirsty Crow or Harvard & Stone. I love going to One-Eyed Gypsy for Lil Death goth nights. I mostly love a quiet bar with very few people where I can have a drink and catch up with my wife after a long week. I always cook for myself after a long night. Going home and cooking is very grounding after serving other people all night. Oh, and I've been having a great time at Dirty Laundry since it opened.
Where was your first kiss? My first real kiss was in the back of my 1977 GMC truck when I was 16. Parked next to the river’s rope swing. I was a late bloomer, although I like to blame it on high standards.