Tonight we share a Nightcap with architect and avid imbiber – Emily Arden Wells. We were intrigued to learn about her blog, Gastronomista.com, a website focused on the culture of cocktails where Emily shares her take on delicious treasures, tipples, and trips around the world. The Gastronomista has been featured in many publications including The New York Times, Elle Magazine, Glamour, Company, Saveur, Gilt Taste, Eater, Coolhunting, Food Republic, Forbes, and much more. She was even featured in a national Blackberry Commercial with the food lovers app, UrbanSpoon and in Ms. Lesley M.M. Blume’s ode to the cocktail, Let’s Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition – Emily was named an “Epic Imbiber and Bon Vivant.” Kudos to you, Emily!
NightOwl:As an architect by day and avid drinker by night, tell us about Gastronomista – how and why you started the blog, how long you’ve been writing about cocktail culture, and what a typical day looks like for you?
“Pinger/Ponger” nights, black-light pong and majorly creative cocktails: That’s what you’ll find at the home of this week’s NightOwl Nightcap interviewees: brothers Michael and Eugene Jung, proprietors ofPips & Bounce in Portland, OR.
NightOwl: What’s your background, and how did Pips & Bounce get its start?
Michael & Eugene: We grew up in Ashland, KY, which didn’t have much going on, as you can imagine. The biggest form of entertainment was in our basement, playing ping pong with our family and beating up on each other. I’d beat my brother, he’d beat up on my dad – it was a never-ending circle. It was 2012 and we met up at SPIN in NYC. Where else would two brothers who love ping pong go? Michael said to me, “Why don’t we have this in Portland?” Many hours were spent on FaceTime, and we were off. What we enjoyed as kids, we still enjoy as adults.
For this week’s Nightcap, NightOwl met up with Luis Antonio (“LA”) Thompson. He’s the director of beverage innovation for Great Performances, which operates the food and beverage for Dizzy’s Club Coca-Cola and the Apollo Theater, to name a few. Read on to find out where this master of mixology gets his behind-the-bar inspiration and watch him craft two of Dizzy’s specialty cocktails.
NightOwl: How did you get your start as a mixologist?
LA: It started when I was a kid. I was 10 years old mixing smoothies and making juices – it was always my passion. My devotion to cocktails and crafting the perfect drink came full circle when I started running Dizzy’s. Through that work, you get an understanding of what people like. It allowed me to get a firm grasp on the culture of drinking. I went from mixing carrot and apple juice when I was 10, and really understanding the balance of flavors, which helped in my transition. Thankfully I wasn’t drinking at 10!
This week’s Nightcap Interview features Patrick Donagher, a 4th generation bar veteran and owner of Alewife,Fool’s Gold, The Jeffrey, Alewife Brewery & Zymurgy – all in NYC. His bars have won many awards for excellence in service & are nationally recognized. Pull up a seat at the bar, and see what the owner of some of the best beer spots in the city has to share.
NightOwl: How did you get your start in the bar business?
The history of ’21’ can seem both intriguing and intimidating. After all, Humphrey Bogart and Ernest Hemingway drank here. “This is a place where patrons tend to hang out all day because they’re having so much fun,” says Edward Kennelly, the bartender at the historic 21 Club on West 52nd Street in NYC. So, if you’re looking forward to some New York history and very funny Irish humor, head over to the ’21’ Club and ask for Eddie Kennelly. He serves up one of the meanest Manhattans in NYC.
NightOwl: Eddie, tell us a little about Bar ‘21’?
Eddie: Since the opening of Bar ’21’ in the lobby of ’21’ in 2011, I’ve been the opening bartender. Service starts at 12pm with a great regular lunch crowd, but come 4:30pm the “the rest is history”. ‘21’ boasts an intimate bar and lounge perfect for regulars, clients and colleagues to meet and gather around the fireplaces.
For this week’s NightOwl Nightcap we share a spirited conversation with Colin Spoelman, one of the founders of Kings County Distillery to talk about America’s age-old love affair with whiskey, urban moonshining and the art and craft of distilling whiskey. The Kings County Distillery is New York City’s oldest operating whiskey distillery (the first since prohibition!), producing handmade moonshine, bourbon, and other whiskeys out of the 117-year-old Paymaster Building in the Brooklyn Navy Yard. So without further ado…
Each week, the NightOwl Nightcap will celebrate the movers and shakers in the nightlife space with exclusive one-on-one conversations, and we’re excited to launch this series with nightlife veteran John Romard, who’s slung his share of drinks at some of Boston’s most celebrated watering holes. He now runs The Boston Attitude, a website and blog highlighting the best of Boston’s nightlife, lifestyle and events.
NightOwl: Tell us a little about your history in the Boston nightlife scene.
John: I started off like a lot of people, bartending and working the door at multiple places around town, mostly in Kenmore Square. Early on in my career I was waiting tables for a family whose son was opening a bar, and got involved with them to open my first restaurant. Next, I moved on to run the alcohol program for Boston University, along with their events and bar. After that, I managed a few now-defunct spots like The Avalon and Tavern on the Water in Charlestown, where I got the inspiration to start The Boston Attitude.