Episode #041: Interview with LaShawn Blake, cocktail instragrammer at sip.ponder.repeat

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This episode we talk with LaShawn Blake, cocktail instagrammer and blogger at sip.ponder.repeat. We’ve been digital friends with LaShawn for a while, but we’ve finally met up and shared drinks in person. Cheers!

What’s the first cocktail you remember really enjoying?

The first cocktail I really remember enjoying is a Cadillac margarita – back then I had no concept of 100% agave tequila vs mixto – or Cointreau/Grand Marnier vs generic triple sec… I just knew it tasted good!

What do you like to make most at home?

I love whiskey cocktails, so Manhattan and Old Fashioned variations always do it for me!

What would you suggest reading or watching to a new home bartender? What skills should they pick up?

I would suggest getting a recipe book from your favorite bar or master bartender – e.g. Death and Co

Book or Dale Degroff’s The art of the Cocktail. Resources such as this are coming from the horse’s mouth – experts in taste and cocktail history. Regarding skills – I highly suggest they be prepared to juice lots of lemons and limes – and make their own simple. That’s the start of fresh cocktail creation!

What’s your favorite cocktail?

This is hard. I love so many flavor profiles and combinations – but I’ll have to say any Manhattan based whiskey cocktail. I also love rusty nails and blood and sands.

What cocktail do you just not understand why people drink it??

I’m an adventurous drinker – I like fernet – egg white cocktails – flips – there’s not much that scares me. I will say though – vodka as a base spirit in a drink is boring to my palate now – UNLESS it’s infused! If you infuse it / now we’re talkin’!

What cocktail trend(s) do you love?

I love syrups!!! Being able to use fruit, herbs, sugar and water to create a sweetener really adds depth and flavor to the aforementioned cocktails. It makes me feel like the possibilities are endless for putting a cool spin on things.

What cocktail trend(s) do you hate?

I’m not a fan of the word “mixology” … I cringe a little every time I hear it. While I understand the desire to have a term that evokes depth – I still prefer bartender to mixologist. Craft bartender is even better. Bartender is not a step down or lower form at all!!!

If you have one (or a few), what would say is your ‘signature drink’?

Wow. I’ve made so many drinks over this paste year – they weren’t all good, but some actually were!!! I particularly enjoyed one where I infused vodka with red pears for several days. The color was completely leached out of the pears, and the vodka was a gorgeous peach color. I paired it with dry vermouth and

Can you share with us one of your favorite toasts?

To friendship and good times