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David Shenaut

the genius: David Shenaut
Bartender
Beaker & Flask
Portland, OR
http://www.beakerandflask.com/

the inspiration: When I'm behind the bar with another bartender ... we're having a good time ... a customer comes in and wants to try something. I'm a dealer’s choice guy, so I'll make up something on the fly and make it work. Quite a few people will come in and name a spirit. My favorite thing to do is grab the other bartender and we agree that I grab a base spirit and he grabs a secondary spirit, any two, and then you end up with two random bottles that nine times out of ten, you’ve never seen those two spirits together in a drink. Then we have a dialogue about everything: long, citrus, stirred, soda, under three ingredients, five ingredients ... and you talk through it ... and then make it. We start by putting the two spirits together and tasting, then trying to balance it out. That ends up being pretty fun.

I spent two nights last Halloween at PDT guest-bartending and walked away with a tip from Jim Meehan, who told me to write down every drink you ever make, no matter how bad or how good it is. I also just spent some time with Eric Castro and he’s got a Google doc of every drink he’s had, it’s a database of thousands of drinks all at his fingertips. I’ve got a stack of little black moleskin books that I keep recipes in. I’ll flip through that and get inspired by what was put together.