1. There are a million places to practice Mixology in Las Vegas. Why did you choose the Barbershop?
The Barbershop has been one of my favorite venues to open with Clique to date. The room has history even before the doors opened several months ago. We purchased our bar and back bar from Tennessee. It’s over 100 years old.
2. There’s always a story brewing in a speakeasy. What has been your most memorable moment at the Barbershop?
We already have had some amazing moments here at the Barbershop. We offer rockstar Karaoke every Tuesday night. Where you the guests sings with a live band. It has made some peoples dreams come true. I had a guest a few weeks back eyes watered up as he explained how he always wanted to be in a band and perform on stage. He had a amazing voice and a presence that captivated the room.
3. The Barbershop has an impressive stock of aged whisky. What are your three all time favorites? Tell us about them.
We have built a extensive whiskey list at the Barbershop. Some all time favorites of mine include the Whistlepig line especially the Boss Hog (Vermont based rye driven whiskeys) this is a whiskey that people are crawling over each other to try. Another favorite of mine right now is the sherry cask from Westland. They finish there whiskey in sherry casks which gives the spirit notes of dried stone fruit. And I couldn’t leave this little guy out of my top 3 the Hibiki 12 year. Japanese whiskey is on the rise. It is my go to sipping whiskey. Affordable and found at most bars.
4. Can you give us a quick primer on the differences between whisky, bourbon and single malt?
So whiskey is a broad category which in it contains sub categories (Scotch, Bourbon, Irish, Rye, Japanese)
Bourbon has a few guidelines when making this whiskey. Mainly being made with at least 51% corn which gives the whiskey a added sweetness. It must be aged in new American oak charred barrels. And aged a minimum of 2 years.
Single malt mainly refers to Scotch and it references the whiskey all coming from the same distillery.
5. How do regional differences affect the characteristics of whiskey?
Where whiskey is made across the world widely affects the characteristics it will posses. From sweetness to smokiness. Spicy to sweeter. The water each distillery uses and the elements where the grains are sourced give each region distinct flavors and characteristics unique to there regions.
6. Should a gentleman drink his whisky on ice or straight?
A gentleman should drink his whiskey exactly how he enjoys it most. Its my belief they are spending their hard earned money and if they like it mixed with Kool-Aid then they should enjoy that way. I prefer it neat with a few drops of water on top. Its called releasing the serpent. It breaks apart some of the oils that lye on top of the whiskey and opens some of the aromas.
7. Which prohibition era cocktail do you feel best symbolizes the Barbershop in 2019?
Our biggest selling Classic cocktail on the menu is certainly the Old Fashioned. We make them how they were made over 100 years ago to not only pay homage to the classic but also our bar was built around the same time this classic was invented. So this bar has been making this cocktail for over 100 years.
8. How would you define “gentleman culture” and how does the atmosphere of the Barbershop contribute to it?
“Gentleman Culture” is widely enjoyed at the Barbershop is several aspects. This is in no way a club environment. Its not a venue that crams in 4-5k people a night. This venue is much more intimate than any other lounge I have ever been in. We have some of the most comfortable couches I have ever sat in. We have live entertainment, not DJs. This is a concept I haven’t experienced yet in Vegas.
9. In your professional opinion, what’s the most underrated drink? Why?
I feel the most underrated cocktail is the Whiskey Sour. When made correct with the egg white and fresh squeezed lemon and lime juice it is the most refreshing whiskey cocktail with its simplicity and refreshing qualities it is a hard cocktail to put down.
10. Do you have any mixologist mentors that have helped you develop your craft?
My mentors include people who are not mixologists: Pascl Balduc, who was the head sommelier for a restaurant group I worked for; 6 years side by side this gentleman I learned more about flavor profiles and building layers of flavors. He developed my palate to where it is today. And my owners today who I get great inspiration from every day: Ryan and J-Rock. When we sit down for tastings these 2 have great feed back and amazing palates. They have been to some of the best bars in the world. They own and operate some the best venues in the world. So their opinion and and palates to me are incredible.
11. As a mixologist, what is your most indispensible tool?
My most indispensable tool is my palate. Its my money maker. I don’t even drink coffee on days I know I’m gonna be tasting new cocktails or doing R&D for a new menu. I train my palate everyday by smelling and tasting things all around me.
12. If you could invite anyone, dead or alive, to the Barbershop and share a drink with them, who would it be and what drink would you recommend to them?
This room is a new age Rat Pack room. If there were still alive this where they would end up every night after their show. I would love to serve Frankie Blue Eyes his go-to Jack Daniels on a stamped Barbershop block.