April 2012 Bartender of the Month: Josh Harris
Name: Josh Harris
Establishment Name: The Bon Vivants and Trick Dog, San Francisco, Calif.
Recent Gigs: Josh Harris is a born-and-raised San Francisco native who graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of San Francisco in 2005. Harris passed on his family’s traditional leanings toward law school and a career as an attorney to pursue his innate talent and passion for hospitality, bars and restaurants — and he’s never looked back. His experience runs the gamut from neighborhood bars and fine-dining restaurants to fast-paced clubs and cocktail bars.
In 2009, Harris and close friend Scott Baird co-founded The Bon Vivants, a nationally recognized cocktail and spirit consulting company specializing in the creation of on-premise beverage programs, staff education and inspiration, concept and flavor innovation consulting for spirits brands, branding and guerilla marketing strategies for liquor companies, audience identification, ambassadorship and the composition and execution of creative curated events. The Bon Vivants is also a branded umbrella for a growing brick and mortar component. The Bon Vivants strive to create value in their work by operating under a philosophy of inclusion; a principle tenet of this philosophy includes finding new and creative ways to bridge the gap between the beverage industry and the average consumer while building community through the act of enjoying a delicious drink.
Harris also is a partner in Trick Dog, a bar slated to open in the fall of 2012 in the Mission District of San Francisco. It will be a '30s- to '50s-inspired, solidly constructed, good-time, non-pretentious cocktail bar that serves food until late in the evening. Trick Dog will also be a gallery for Harris' immense collection of “bar-curio” glassware and highly collectible bottles reflecting a very personal design sensibility.
Aside from Trick Dog, Harris has garnered much acclaim through his work with The Bon Vivants for, most notably, bar programs at the Michelin-starred, fine-dining restaurant Quince in San Francisco and Food Network star Tyler Florence's restaurant Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco. In addition to these cocktail programs, the reoccurring philanthropic event Pig & Punch, Portland's Triple Buck, Concannon's Fightin' Irish and VIVA SANGRITA!! programming for Tequila Ocho all have received national attention and praise.
A member of the United States Bartenders' Guild and named in the 2010 San Francisco Chronicle class of "Bar Stars," Harris has won numerous competitions — most recently the 2012 Shake It Up! creative cocktail competition presented by Nightclub & Bar Media Group and Southern Wine & Spirits of America — and has been featured in numerous publications, most notably, Wine & Spirits, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, as well as many TV and radio spots.
Want to bring a little bit of Harris to your estabilshment? Check out his winning Shake It Up! recipe:
I Left My Heart in San Fran-Pisco
1.5 oz Barsol Italia
0.5 oz St. Germain
1 oz Mionetto Il Moscato
1 oz fresh lime
0.75 oz egg white
0.75 oz Monin Cane Sugar
*Carbonated grapes, for garnish
In a mixing tin, combine all ingredients except the Moscato D'Asti and cane sugar. Dry shake using a Hawthorne spring or a blender ball to emulsify the mixture. Open the tins and add the cane syrup. Add ice and shake again vigorously. Double strain through a mesh tea strainer into the chilled small bucket glass. Fizz the top of the cocktail with the Moscato D'Asti, bringing the cocktail level with the top of the glass. Using a potato peeler, peel a wide strip of lemon, zest the top of the cocktail, rub the peel around the rim and gently place atop the egg-white foam. Garnish with skewered carbonated grapes.
*Carbonated grapes: Fill a whip-cream canister (because the opening is bigger than that of a soda canister and therefore one can get the grapes in and out) halfway with grapes and a liquid (lime juice works fine). Screw on the cap and charge twice with soda canisters (not creamer). The best results occur when the liquid, cannister and grapes are chilled cold. To remove the grapes, expel the liquid into a sink to release the pressure, then unscrew the top and dump the grapes into a bowl.
What's in the Shaker: "...beaker? Tequila Ocho, amaro, sherry. Dry, earthy, savory, bitter things."
What You're Sipping & Why: "San Bitter and non-alcohol beer... You do the math."
What You're Dancing to While Mixing: "Hall & Oates. Have some fun."
Quirks & Quotables: "Things should be 'delicious, not precious.'"