Are the drinks you’re pouring making artistic statements? We’re putting a modern twist on classic cocktails. Less is more. I find myself looking at drinks on cocktail lists where ingredients are being used that don’t need to be. I like to be able to taste all the ingredients.
How important is it to have your drinks and décor pay tribute to the Prohibition era? The term “Prohibition era” is a bit overused and trite now, but that seems to be the last documented time when our industry was held in high regard, and it shouldn’t be ignored. Regarding the drink recipes from that age, anything that’s been around for 80 or 90 years is bound to be good.
Do your food and drink offerings sometimes reflect a common theme? Yes. Our chef and I definitely get our creative juices flowing. For example, our in-house butcher creates a pork hazelnut sausage with a fair amount of Nocino [black walnut liqueur] involved, and there’s a cocktail that consequently finds its way onto our menu every autumn that uses Nocino as well.
Bartenders tend to be skeptical about things like bartending school, and that skepticism could extend to something like the Bartenders’ Guild. What benefit do you derive from your membership in it? I’m 10 times better as a bartender than I used to be. The guild promotes the art and craft of bartending with educational and charity events. It’s quite a tight-knit community of bartenders who really take it seriously. Out here, it seems the area as a whole has embraced bartending as a viable career path, as opposed to something you do to pay your bills while you’re pursuing some other career.
It sounds like in the beginning, bartending was something you did while pursuing other types of training and work experience. Yes, I realized I’d been searching for something I had already found. It finally dawned on me that I was doing something I loved.
IF YOU GO:
Honor Kitchen & Cocktails
1411 Powell St.
Emeryville, CA 94608