Episode #099 – Interview with Blair Reynolds

When you meet Blair Reynolds, it becomes clear he is not only a devoted drink aficionado and an innovative bartender and a well-loved bar owner based in Portland, Oregon. His dedication to sharing his passion for tropical libations and tiki culture is unmatched, and he’s most excited when helping others celebrate the idea of paradise revived (whether that involves making a delicious cocktail, creating new products, or supporting others in the hospitality and food service industries).

What’s the first cocktail you remember really enjoying?

Fogcutter, as served at Trader Vic’s in Emeryville. It was the first tart, bracing, strong, and totally different drink that I’d tried, particularly in the tiki/tropical realm.

What do you like to make most at home?

I make quick and simple tropical drinks using my mixers, mostly for guests (I went dry a few years back for health reasons).

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

For a new bartender, Bar Smarts was a pretty great program for general knowledge and abilities. But the best thing to do, IMHO, is to go watch an awesome bar in action! Being able to recite 15 different Manhattan variations through the ages is great, but learn how to memorize, make, and ring them up while smiling and chatting is the best way to move forward in your career.

What’s your favorite/least favorite cocktail(s)?

Favorite cocktail, old-fashioned with any spirit, because I’m lazy. Least favorite cocktail, anything gimmicky AND in bad taste. Gimmicky with good taste is awesome.

What cocktail trend(s) do you love/hate?

Insider bartender handshakes. Fernet has seen a lot of sales, but I’ve seen a lot of squinty faces drinking it, trying to keep up with the cool kids.

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

I have a deep love and affection for the Nui Nui, even naming my first company after it. Anything with Cinnamon, because I fucking love Cinnamon and will put it in anything.

Can you share with us one of your favorite toasts?

 Suck ’em up!

More about Blair Reynolds