JL: What’s the cocktail of the future?
ET: Get ready for a shameless plug…. Any dirty martini made with Dirty Sue premium olive juice. There I said it and now I’m moving on. I think it’s less of a single cocktail and more of a revolution of the industry. More and more bars are popping up where fresh and “house” made ingredients are being used. That’s really the future. It’s an incredible thing when you can walk into a bar and be impressed with a cocktail menu. When you belly up to a bar and basically see a Farmers Market displayed, you know you are in for some really great drinks.
JL: Describe one of your original cocktails. What’s it called and what was your approach?
ET: One of my favorite original recipes is called The Hendrix (all of our drinks at Jones have a rock ‘n’ roll name) It is a pear/basil margarita. When I’m working on a drink menu, I typically go out, buy a bunch of stuff, make a ton of bad drinks and pass out. When I come to, I hope a few of them are good.
1 1/2 oz Partida Blanco Tequila
1/2 oz Cointreau
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
1 1/2 oz fresh pear juice
1-3 fresh basil leaves (depending on size)
Add basil to a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice and the remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into and ice filled double old fashioned. Garnish with a basil leaf. (Use only fresh or fresh bottled pear juice. Organic pear juice from a specialty store is usually not just pear juice.)
JL: Do you have a cocktail mentor, and what did they teach you?
ET: Not really. The guys I barbacked for taught me a ton about how to bartend and how to do it really well. At the time however, and especially in LA, the culture of the bar was much different than it is now. A few years ago I started noticing trends in San Francisco and New York and realized there was a better way to do things. Armed with a few books, some stolen menus, and a variety of bad cocktails, I got to work on evolving with the times. I have been very fortunate to meet, work with and watch some of the best out there and over time have gained some invaluable lessons which have inspired me to keep getting better.
JL: Outside of your bar, what’s your favorite bar in town and why?
ET: This will go against the general point, but I am a huge fan of Tom Bergin’s on Fairfax. When you envision a “bar,” this is the place. A great place to go with some friends to have a few. The bar staff is perfect and they actually seem to enjoy their job. An added bonus is that the food is pretty damn good.
JL: Who’s another mixologist you respect and why?
ET: For obvious reasons there’s Dale DeGroff and Tony Abou-Ganim. I was fortunate enough to help them prep an event a while back and they are both everything you would expect. There are plenty of bartenders out there whom I respect, but the first guy that comes to mind is Jeffrey Morgenthaler. The funny part is, I’ve never had the pleasure of enjoying one of his cocktails. The reason I mention him, is his blog – JeffreyMorgenthaler.com. He gets it. He writes, reviews, answers question and posts recipes in a very funny and educational way. When I finally make my way to Portland, I’ll be very disappointed if he pours a bad cocktail.
JL: If you had a bar of your own, what would you call it?
ET: Since “Cocktails & Dreams” is taken, I’ll have to think about it… My grandfather, Joe Lang, was a guy worthy of a bar. He loved to drink, fought in WWII and loved my grandmother till the day he died. Langy’s would be my choice.
JL: What’s the best simple cocktail for people to make at home, and what’s the recipe?
ET: I think gimlets are a great home cocktail. Right now, I’m a huge fan of blackberry gimlets. Easy to make and deliciously refreshing.
2 oz. Plymouth Gin
3/4 oz fresh lime juice
3/4 oz simple syrup
Add everything but two blackberries into a mixing tin. Shake well over ice and double strain into an ice filled double old fashioned or chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with the remaining blackberries.
(You can substitute the blackberries with many fruits – raspberries, strawberries, etc.)