We love a bartender that is serious about cocktails and the craft but doesn’t take “it” all too seriously. After all, bar life should be about fun. Enter Anthony Bohlinger, the super talented fellow behind the bar at thirsty favorites Maison Premiere and Mulberry Project, who also is credited for the menu at new buzzed-about spot Boucherie.
Anthony first caught our eye when he was running the bar show at Chef’s Club by Food & Wine and we quickly realized his talent for not only tending bar but also working a crowd. So we recently pulled up a barstool with this Bushwick resident.
Drinking With Anthony Bohlinger
What was your first gig in the industry?
I’ve hung out in bars in I was about 18 years old. When I was 15, I worked at Manhattan Bagel making bomb pork roll egg and cheeses, but my first bartending job was in Hoboken, NJ, at The Turtle Club, this was around 2009 I think. I. Was. Terrible. My first customer’s drink order was a Ketel and 7, so I poured Ketel One and a bottle of Seagrams 7 in a collins glass. The guy almost died. I knew nothing. Big ups to Cory for hiring bartenders and not training them.
What was your gateway drink that made you take bar life serious?
I was catapulted into opening a restaurant in South Beach after only a few months of bartending. I had no clue what I was doing. I thought I could make a decent old fashioned until I had one made by an actual bartender, then I realized I had to get my shit together.
What is your current go-to drink order?
Whiskey and a beer.
Guilty pleasure drink?
Daisy de Santiago, if that is considered a guilty pleasure, or maybe a frozen daiquiri.
First experience boozing?
My friends and I were little shitheads growing up. We would have sleepovers at my best friend, Rob’s house. He was Italian and his parents had a massive surplus of Galliano in their basement. I’m pretty sure that’s what first did me in.
Coffee or Tea?
Sorry, folks, I don’t drink either. When I wanna get some choice buds for cocktails, I go to Sun’s Organic Garden Tea Shop in Chinatown or Palais de Thés; they have truly wonderful tea.
Death row drink – what would be your last sip?
It would be cool to say something like a ’02 Screaming Eagle (Cabernet Sauvignon) or-or a Yamazaki 50yr, but if I’m going out, I’d probably take some Old Grand-Dad.
Who is the best drinking buddy for a night on the town?
Thomas Waugh, shout out to him, but I honestly have no clue where he is working right now.
Let’s hear some of your favorite NYC spots for a drink or three:
Post-Shift Drink – usually a Catskill pilsner while I close up at Maison Premiere. If I get out early enough, I’ll swing by Mo Money at the bodega and have a beer with him. I really don’t go out too often, plus everywhere I work I close, so it’s hard to get a post-shift drink at 5 am. So most post-shift drinks are bodega friendly.
One day in October, I looked up at our beer selection in the taproom and realized that half of our draft lines were lagers. A fairly exceptional array at that. Left to right: Ball Lightning Pilsner, Baby Pilsner, Oktoberfest and Nightshine Black Lager. A nice contrast of traditional styles to fairly imaginative versions. Lovely contrast in colors, too! #latergram #catskillbrewery #craftbeer #lager #pilsner #oktoberfest #schwartzbier #blacklager #beautiful
Where do you take out-of-towners for cocktails for an “Only in New York” experience?
Dear Irving, Nomad, Maison Premiere or Karasu.
What is your favorite spot for a romantic “let’s get it on” date night drink?
I had a date at ZZ’s Clam Bar once. It didn’t last.
Most under the radar impressive bar in NYC that deserves more attention?
Check out the homie Maxwell Britten at The Django at The Roxy Hotel. He’s putting together an amazing champagne menu.
Any drinks on your new Mulberry Project menu that you are really excited about?
I’m very happy with all the drinks there, it’s a pretty nutty place so I had an opportunity to be really playful. We have a fun cocktail with Absolut Elyx that utilizes Unicum Plum, a Hungarian plum Amaro, called “I’ll Run Away with You.” We make a tasty foam out of the Unicum with caramelized Asian pears. The cocktail has Elyx, Gran Classico, cardamom, apple juice, and the housemade foam. We serve it in a big ‘ole copper coupe which makes the presentation special.
What is your hangover remedy?
Probably a Newport Light and an Orange Crush. If I’m in Jersey, a Pork roll (Taylor ham) and egg on an everything bagel, no cheese.
A few favorite cocktails bars around the country that are a MUST to Big Up?
So many places! If you’re ever lucky enough to visit Aspen, Colorado, go to Jimmy’s. Trust me, that’s all you need there.
Any advice for aspiring young guns wanting to break into the industry?
Go to a bar where they make shitty drinks then go to one that makes great drinks … find out the difference.
Listen, ask questions, be humble, and take your time. My chef taught me two great lessons that help me survive in this industry. 1) have the skin of a duck, just let shit slide right off you, and 2) and don’t put both feet in one shoe. ( Always have a contingency plan.)
Spill it – shameless plug time!
Maison Premiere and Mulberry Project are my main focus. Then I’ll be in Aspen soon for the Après Ski Cocktail Classic, and I have a dope super secret project that will be unveiled next September, but for that, you’ll have to stay tuned.
Follow his thirsty adventures – @Anthony_Bohlinger
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