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Going 10 Rounds with Top Bartender Ryan Welliver

·2-min read
Eric Medsker
Eric Medsker

What do you like to drink after a shift? “If life was perfect, I’d have an ice-cold Daiquiri waiting for me. Those are not always an option, so I generally go with a lager and a bourbon, neat.”

What is the all-time best dive bar jukebox song? “‘You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth’ by Meatloaf.”

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After all these years bartending and creating drinks, do you still enjoy going out to bars? “I do! I think it is a must for anyone in the business. Seeing other places’ approach to service helps realign my thoughts on how our service should be done. Always great to see different perspectives.”

Name the first good drink you ever drank and where you had it. “A honey-jalapeño Gin Gimlet at the Belmont in Charleston, South Carolina. It felt like a discovery.”

What book on cocktails or spirits is your go-to resource?The Fine Art of Mixing Drinks by David Embury. It’s an easy read and full of classics to build from.”

What’s your favorite cocktail and food pairing? “A Mezcal Negroni and tacos.”

What drink are you most proud of creating? “Hard to say one drink in particular, but I am proud anytime I see a face light up after taking the first sip of one of mine. That is all the feedback I need.”

Is there one person (dead or alive) you’d like to make a cocktail for? “A Vesper Martini for Sean Connery, as James Bond. I’d like his feedback on the stirred version.”

What’s your favorite shot-and-a-beer combination? “A Modelo with a Tobala Mezcal.”

What is the one tool that you always make sure to pack when you’re traveling for business? “Definitely a good paring knife. That is the one tool you will never be given or able to find in a pinch.”

Ryan Welliver is the bar director of New York’s The Tavern

Interview has been condensed and edited.

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