With Tales of the Cocktail officially kicking off in less than two days, I have time to sneak in just one more preemptive strike before the madness gets in gear. This time I had the opportunity to chat briefly with Jonathan Pogash. In addition to being a top-notch bartender, Jonathan also consults on cocktail matters with bars and restaurants worldwide as well as several spirits brands. As if that didn’t keep him busy enough, he’s also swinging by Tales of the Cocktail this year to moderate the panel discussion “The European Bartending Perspective.”
I didn’t want Jonathan to give away the store, so I asked him to just tease us a bit with some of the topics that will no doubt be discussed…
~What are one or two of the biggest differences between bartending styles in Europe and the US?
There are more similarities than there are differences, really. When developing this seminar we had a ball debating the topic. One difference is cocktail menu style and layout.
~ Guest bartending (where bars encourage members of their staff to visit other bars and work a shift or two) is a popular phenomenon in the US. Does this sort of thing happen in Europe as well?
I know several American bartenders who have been welcomed with open arms behind bars across the pond.
~ Do the drinking habits of the average European bar patron differ from that of their American counterparts? If so, how do those differences affect how bartenders approach their technique?
The main difference is that of US cocktail lounge vs. UK pub and cocktail bar.
~ Are there any specific drink ingredients that tend to be staples of the cocktail scene in Europe that may be unfamiliar to most American drinkers?
With the way our world is now, most ingredients are available on both continents. Except for the fact that sodas are made differently in Europe than in the US (i.e. Coca-Cola).
~ Do bartending techniques and philosophies in Europe differ from country to country? (For example, are there subtle differences between the way bartenders practice their craft in Italy vs. France?)
Let’s see what Simon Difford has to say about this one!
“The European Bartending Perspective” happens from 3:30 to 5:00 pm July 21 in the Grand Ballroom North at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. It is currently sold out, but check with event organizers in case there are any cancellations.