Industry Insiders: Jonathan Pogash @ Campbell Apartment
Over on our Mixology site in the Pros section, we asked the hottest bartenders in New York and Los Angeles to whip up a specialty cocktail while describing their perfect New Year’s Eve. Check out Jonathan Pogash crafting a Mistletoe Martini at NYC’s Campbell Apartment. But that’s not the end of Jonathan’s game; he’s also “director of cocktail development” at the World Bar, the Carnegie Club, Bookmarks Lounge at the Library Hotel, and Madison & Vine.
What do you do? What do you drink? I develop new cocktail recipes for our menus, I train the bar staff and I’m also actively bartending as well. I drink Manhattans and Margaritas How did you get your start? I started out as a bar-back, and then I just became a bartender after that at the Russian Tea Room. From there I moved on to a place called Town, was trained by various people along the way, and just went off to various bars and started getting creative. Then they started putting my cocktail recipes on their menus.
Name three restaurants/bars/clubs you frequent when you’re not working. There are a couple of places I like. There’s this place Death & Co. I like the Pegu Club and then just local pubs. The first two have really great classic cocktails, so if I’m in the mood for that I’ll go there. If I’m in the mood for just hanging out with my friends and watching football and having a beer, than I’ll just go to a local pub.
What is your guiltiest pleasure? Watching the Food and Travel channels alone by myself in the middle of the day What is the worst (most disgusting, worst request, etc.) cocktail you’ve ever had to make? I guess those cheesy shots — like buttery nipples and B52s and all that. My places are not the kind of places that serve shots like those. What’s the worst pickup line you’ve ever heard while tending bar? Ever witness any amazing hookups? I think I’m kind of a dork — people don’t try to pick me up at bars. I’m not really good at figuring that out I guess. Well, one time a customer came up to me and said hey there’s a woman over there. She’s with a man, but would you be able to give her this napkin with my phone number on it after I leave? I said absolutely not.
What celebrity (dead or alive) would you like to share a drink with at your bar? Jack Nicholson, because I admire his work, and I think he would be a fun guy to get a drink with. I like when he talks. What’s your ideal barhopping night in New York? Going to a few places where I might know the people who are working. Like the classic cocktail lounges Pegu Club, Death & Co … there’s a place called PDT. I like going around the East Village and Lower East Side as well, maybe grab a bite. What are you doing tonight? I’m working at Bookmarks Lounge. Using 3 out of 5 of the following ingredients, make me a dream cocktail: grenadine, pepper, tequila, avocado, lemongrass. Go! For the grenadine, I would use homemade grenadine rather than already packaged grenadine. And that’s going to be just pomegranate juice and sugar. I would muddle the avocado with the homemade grenadine, and then I would add the tequila with ice, and then I would add also about half an ounce of lemon juice, and then just shake it really hard. Strain it in a martini glass and call it “Avocado Mayhem.”