January 2013 Bartender of the Month: Jonathan Pogash

Name: Jonathan Pogash

Establishment: Director of Cocktail Development for New York’s Hospitality Holdings

Recent Gigs: Jonathan Pogash, also known as “The Cocktail Guru,” is one of the most premiere cocktail consultants and bartenders for restaurants and spirit companies. His signature cocktails can be seen and enjoyed in many of North America’s most upscale cocktail lounges and restaurants. 

Jonathan has worked his way up from being a barback at The Russian Tea Room in NYC, to Owner and President of “The Cocktail Guru,” a well-respected, full service beverage consulting firm.  Jonathan was trained by cocktail luminaries Steve Olson, Gary Regan, and Albert Trummer.  Throughout the years, a style emerged – that of a career bartender interested in studying technique, cocktail history, fresh ingredients, and seasonality. 

With nearly 15 years’ experience in the hospitality industry, Jonathan shares his insights with the most influential publications from around the world, and contributes his unique talents to morning television shows and national radio.  As the in-house mixologist for NBC’s “Weekend Today in New York,” Jonathan is able to “spread the good word…one cocktail at a time.”

His inspiration lies in unique ingredients and ensuring that every beverage program he creates remains consistent and thrives throughout the years. Most recently Jonathan has expanded his knowledge and services into the New England area, with clients in Newport, RI and Boston, MA. Aside from these new endeavors and his work with Hospitality Holdings, Jonathan’s most recent project was a bi-level cocktail lounge in the heart of Harlem. The lounge, called Cove Lounge, utilizes fresh juices, quality spirits and mixers.

Jonathan continues to teach classes at NYC’s Astor Center on a monthly basis as well as staff and organize private and corporate events.

What’s in the mixing glass or shaker:
Classic Manhattans and (Old) Old Fashioneds

What are you sipping and why:
Canadian Rye whiskey (yes, literally, in my glass right now) because it's oftentimes overlooked. More specifically, a new breed of whiskies - the one I'm drinking is Tap 357, a Maple Rye Whiskey - it's darn great.

What are you dancing to while mixing:
Probably my own drum rhythm in my mind - I'm also a drummer so it's ingrained in my head.

What are some quirks or quotes that you are known for:
"Spreading the good word…one cocktail at a time" - it's the quote on our t-shirts.

Final Thoughts:
Our beverage industry is so exciting and innovative - I'm thankful to be in this industry; surrounded by some of the brightest and most talented bartenders, ambassadors, PR, writers, and brand folk.  I'm learning new things on a daily basis from my peers, and that's one of the things I cherish about the biz.


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