Each week, we dive into the world of NYC bars and meet the drink-shaking players behind them. From the latest cocktailing trends to crazy stories on the job, these are the Bartender Tales of New York City.
Brian Averbuch, head bartender, Kobrick Coffee Co.
What’s your signature cocktail?
The Kyoto Negroni that I created with Tobin Ludwig, who collaborated on the menu. It’s like a classic Negroni with gin, Campari and sweet vermouth, but we infuse it with Kobrick’s single-origin Kenyan coffee using a Yama cold-brew dripper, which drips at one drop per second over the course of three to four hours. The coffee adds a lot of depth—the mocha notes shine through.
How did you get into bartending?
I just fell into it. I’ve been a busser, server and started bartending at the wine bar that used to be in our location, Ara Wine Bar. A friend put me in contact with the Kobrick family, and I just ran with it. I actually became a part owner, and I knew when I got involved that I really wanted to be hands on. We needed a head bartender, so I just grew into the role naturally.
What’s your biggest customer pet peeve?
When people come in and automatically ask for a [specific] brand. We don’t necessarily have all those brands, but we do hand-select everything we have behind the bar. I have to tell them we don’t have that, but we do have this. Sometimes they’re open to it; sometimes they leave or feel disappointed. That’s definitely a little frustrating because you want everyone to get what they want.
What’s your favorite part about bartending?
The level of craft that goes into it. I love the fresh ingredients and finding new ways to utilize them. What we’re doing at Kobrick hasn’t been done before. We’ve really started to raise the bar for what can be done with coffee.
Have any crazy bar stories?
Not really. I’m pretty relaxed behind the bar, and that definitely translates to the mood out there.
Photograph: Brittany Herbert