A: Depending on the day, it would be a tie between the Piña Colada and the Negroni, so I’ll say a Piña Colada with a Campari Float.
S: The Bitter Guiseppe. My grandfather’s name was Guiseppe, and one of my favorite bars in the world is Prizefighter, and I started drinking this drink there. It’s bitter, it’s a little herbal. I love that it’s a stirred cocktail that you pop a little bit of lemon juice in, and I can have two or three because it’s not too boozy.
If You Were a Cocktail Ingredient, What Would You Be?
S: Falernum. If you’ve ever worked in a program with me, you’ll know I put falernum in a lot of things. I love it because you can’t really taste it, but it brings out other flavors, and that’s what’s made me happy in the past couple years: I like to get good people around me and be a part of this “bigger drink.”
A: Salt. It’s underrated. People are just starting to find out about it, but once it’s in there, you can’t go back to the other thing. I prefer the salt pinch over the solution. Getting a little bit of that grittiness in there is a little fun for me.
Cocktail with Anyone, Past or Present?
A: My dad, Robert Maynard. To date, he is the only black person to own a major city newspaper in the U.S., having run the Oakland Tribune for the entirety of the 1980s. I grew up in a newspaper family, and bars used to be Twitter; reporters would go there to get scoops.
He was first generation (I’m second generation) from Barbados, and he was a big Scotch guy. Now, with my love of Mezcal, it’d be really cool for me to introduce him to that spirit. It would also be cool to go back to Barbados and do the rum tour as a group.
S: Growing up, I was with my mom a lot, and also with my (maternal) grandparents a lot, so I liked what they liked, and I didn’t really know what was popular culture for kids. So, Dean Martin, Las Vegas, The Sands, Late ‘60s. He would do this bit where he’d push a bar cart on stage, and say, “anybody want to mix up a sandwich”?” One of my favorite drinks I’ve ever made I named “The Lunch Cart” in tribute to the “Rat Pack” as a tribute to that golden age of going out to a cocktail bar and dressing up and having it be so special.
What Common or Traditional Cocktail Ingredient Have You Never Tasted?
S: Parfait Amour (Marie Brizzard) – I’m much more in the citrusy/savory world, so for me floral notes are very intense.
A: I have never had a Gibson because of the pearl onion. I worked at a place in NYC and I never saw a single person have a Gibson, and I would just transfer those onions back and forth, day after day…
What’s an Unusual or Controversial View You Hold (Spirits & Cocktails)?
S: I don’t know if it’s controversial anymore, but intentionality in the cocktail space. (In the interview, we termed this “Top-Down” bartending)