John Holzinger : Bourbon and Branch (San Francisco)

John is bar manager at Bourbon and Branch, San Francisco. He makes two cocktails for us, one with Gin and Lillet, and the second with Calvados and Rye Whiskey.

John introduce yourself
My name is John Holzinger, I’m originally from Los Angeles and now I live in San Francisco where I am the Bar Manager of Bourbon and Branch. I was actually studying Political Science at Berkeley when I became interested in bartending. I was at a hip hop club I used to hang out at, when the barback called in sick and the guys that ran the place asked me if I could help out. That night I fell in love with the industry, quit my course and started working in bars.After working at a couple of places in Berkeley, I moved to San Francisco to work at Bourbon and Branch.I just love putting smiles on peoples faces and I can do that behind the bar.

The classic you want to show us
The chiefton’s daughter
1.5 oz of Farmer’s Gin
3/4 oz of Lillet
3/4 oz of lemon juice
0.5 oz of Camomile syrup
8 dashes of lemongrass tecture
0.5 oz of tonic

The bar or party you dream of
I’d want a really small and intimate whisky bar with no electricity that’s dimly lit by candles, so it’s romantic and mysterious. I’d like it to be central and maybe in a city in Europe because I like the vibe. It would feature a lot of metal with plush, relaxing furniture. The cocktail list would be short and rotate on a regular basis, I also like the idea of small bites to accompany the drinks. I love live music, so I would definitely have a space that could accommodate live jazz, hip hop or a mix of the two.

As my shifts are very long, I tend to just go home after my shift, but on my days off I like to go to neighbourhood bars that are easygoing and relaxed.

The spirit you like the most
Generally I’d say I like working with whisky. It provides depth as well as complexity to cocktails and I enjoy working with whiskies with wood undertones and flavours.

What makes a good cocktail and which product do you want to highlight at this moment
Preparation: all the ingredients are tried and tested. Thought: thinking about all the ratios, the balance and the glassware. Atmosphere: the ambiance created not only by the bar, but the barman as well.

I like vermouth, as it adds a subtle complexity to a cocktail. It adds nuances and flavour to a drink you would otherwise not have.

The signature cocktail you want to show us
Seige of boonesborough
1.5 oz of Mitcher’s Rye Whiskey
0,5 oz of Calvados
3/4 oz of Lemon juice
0.5 oz of Brown Sugar syrup
0.25 oz of Benedictine
4 dashes of Chocolate bitters

Where do you think we need to go to interview another bartender?
Definitely go to Canon in Seattle and Cienfuegos in New York

Thanks to Bespoke Paris to let us interview John during his guest bartending.

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