There are some bartenders who keep their secrets close to the vest, revealing very little about their recipes or techniques. Jeffrey Morgenthaler is not one of those bartenders.
Named American Bartender of the Year, and Best Cocktail and Spirits Writer at the 2016 Spirited Awards, Morgenthaler demystifies craft cocktail techniques and ingredients on his eponymous blog. He has been credited with launching such national trends as barrel-aged cocktails at his Portland, Oregon bars. He is also the co-author of “The Bar Book,” which walks readers through basic techniques to advanced methods, utilizing detailed how-to photography throughout.
When he’s not traveling or speaking at events, Morgenthaler is busy managing beverage programs in Portland. We caught up with him at Clyde Common, where he’s been the bar manager for the last 10 years, to find out his desert-island drink, as well as the cocktail he’ll never, ever order again.
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1. What’s your desert-island drink?
Champagne. Or any sparkling wine, really. It’s so great because you can drink it any time of day and nobody bats an eyelash.
2. What’s the first drink you bought when you turned 21?
I didn’t actually drink much back then. So I think I had a beer or a Boone’s Farm or something. It wasn’t even that big of a deal.
3. FMK three cocktails: Negroni, Margarita, Manhattan?
I’d have a four-way with all three of them and then settle down and marry them all in a weird love square. And then they would kill me.
4. You’re on death row. What’s your final drink?
An entire liter of 100-proof vodka. Let’s get this over with.
5. You can only drink at one bar for the rest of your life. What is it?
Robert’s Western World in Nashville, Tennessee. It has everything you need!
6. What’s the best and worst bottle on your shelf?
I try not to have any “worst” bottles. Usually when I notice I have something crappy on my shelf at home I just throw it away or give it away. I don’t have room for a bunch of garbage.
7. What cocktail will you never order again?
A gin and Coke. That was an accident and I’m sorry.