The Bar Napkin, featuring The Naked Martini

May 1, 2010 (Day 91) — The Naked Martini

Therapist. Friend. Psychologist. Theologian. Entertainer. Scientist. Artist. Mixologist.

The bartender.

It’s a unique job. Few other occupations pit you with the elite of society and the downtrodden off the street. In one night you may handle someone who’s riding the high of their life, followed by the man whose never known a lower low. Bartenders run the gambit of jobs. But, in the end, they’re integral to the perfect night out. And while it’s true that you always remember your bad bartenders, I tend to remember those that went out of their way to make the night memorable.

Last week’s featured bartender interview proved to be somewhat of a hit, so I’ve decided to try and interview a new bartender every Saturday and then feature one of their signature drinks.

While this is still a normal “Cocktails, 365” post, it’s also something a bit unique. So what to name it? Let’s call it… “The Bar Napkin.” At almost any bar you ever go to, the guy or gal behind the counter whips up your poison, they’ll pull that napkin out, slap it against the bar and place your drink on it. It’s that moment when the contract between drinker and bartender is officially fulfilled.

So, welcome to The Bar Napkin!

This week’s guest bartender is Chicago-based bartender Josh Davis, also known as Mr. Mixologist — find him on Twitter @MrMixologist or on Facebook through his entertainment company, Drinks On Me, Inc. You can also find his blog along the righthand side of my Web site under the “Blogroll” header. I talk to Josh on a regular basis via Twitter, and he’s helped me gather some inspiration for some of the cocktails you’ve seen here in the past. And, I’m hoping some in the future as well. If you’re on Twitter, make sure you’re following him.

Tonight's Guest: Josh Davis

Cocktails, 365: What’s your background?

Josh: I’ve been a professional mixologist since March of 2007. I graduated from professional bartending school here in Chicago. I used to be the amateur bartender at all my friends’ parties before that. So, in 2007 I decided to take a break from working in retail management and focus on making a career out of the cocktail industry. With a background in customer service, it was a great fit. It’s something I’ve always had a passion for. I always tell people this story: I remember watching “Cheers” with my grandmother as a child and watching Ted Danson playing Sam Malone, thinking that that had to be the coolest job in the world. So I’ve taken the moniker “The Black Sam Malone” when I work at different bars.

Cocktails, 365: What are you doing bar-wise these days?

Josh: These days you can find me at the Oasis Lounge here in Chicago as well as at a brand new club, Club Kamoira, in the suburbs on the city starting May 14. I am also the CEO and founder of my own private mobile bartending service — aptly named ‘Drinks On Me, Inc”. We service the great city of Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. My motto is that you should enjoy your party, not have to worry about what everyone is drinking. Let me make your party one like no other. “I don’t just make drinks, I make experiences.” I also am working on getting into consulting and creating custom drink menus for a few bars/clubs/restaurants here in the city.

Double-Hand Pour

Cocktails, 365: Tell us about tonight’s featured drink, “The Naked Martini.”

Josh: This was a custom creation I made while working at the Players Club Sports Bar and Lounge here in the city. That was my very first bar job upon graduating bartending school. So, one night I was working and it was a pretty slow night. Now, I always like creating my signature cocktails. So one of my regulars, Nate, comes in the bar with about 10 girls. Nate was quite the ladies man, and I always appreciated when he brought his “friends” in the bar! But that’s another story. One of the ladies asked if I could make her a drink. Of course, she didn’t know what she wanted. So I engaged her in some conversation. Came to find out she was an exotic dancer. So since she spends most of her time naked, here’s the “Naked Martini”

• 1 1/2 oz of X-Rated

• 1 oz of Hennessey

• Top with OJ

Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Josh’s Take: Needless to say, it was enjoyed by the ladies and became a staple at the bar afterward. You can use any type of Cognac in the drink. The X-Rated is the only brand specific ingredient in the drink. But if you do change the cognac, make sure to stay on the higher end (i.e. Hennessy, Hennessy Black, Remy Martin VSOP, etc).

Josh’s Review: My first thought when I tasted it was this drink is still fruity enough for the ladies, but had enough of a kick that if a gentleman was to order he wouldn’t feel like it was a “girly drink.” The X-Rated has traces of a fruit blended cognac in it as well, so it was a perfect match for the Hennessy. Me being an avid cognac drinker,  this was right up my alley. Normally I tend to prefer my drink straight,  with a water back. But if I ever had to mix, this would be my cocktail of choice.

Clients at the Players Club loved this drink along with a few of my other concoctions. They labeled me a mad scientist behind the bar. This was one of the first custom cocktails I created and I make it a habit to always creating or coming up with something new and exciting at the bar. I’ve pretty much become known for the custom in bar circles around the city.

Cocktails, 365 Review: This being my first cognac-based cocktail, I can’t offers as much scope as Josh does. However, I can tell you that the taste is dead-on delicious. The fruity/floral sweetness that defines X-Rated definitely comes through, as does the citrus of the orange juice. But, that darker, richer taste of the cognac helps keep the sweetness in check. I polished this drink off in short order and then had to make another. I’ll be eager to try this one out on guests.

I’m inclined to agree with Josh: this is a drink that has enough foof for the ladies, but still has enough bite that it can’t really be categorized as simply a girly drink. Not only does it have the taste going for it, the color helps out on that front too. With it’s sunset-like hue from the cognac and OJ, you could easily get away with sipping a Naked Martini during a guys night out. Try doing that with an X-Rated Flirtini. Kudos to Josh. This is one hell of a drink. And, I think, it’s got me hooked on cognac.

• • • • •

Again, a very sincere thanks to Josh — aka Mr. Mixologist — for taking time out of his day to answer some of my questions/offer up one of his signature cocktails for the blog. If you’re ever in Chi-Town, be sure and stop by the Oasis Lounge or Club Kamoira and see Josh. Or, if you’re having a party, give Drinks On Me a ring. Mr. Mixologist can be found on Twitter, Facebook and through his blog.


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