Five Questions for the Bartender: The Gerald's Sean Doyle
"He introduced us to his wife and we chatted about how bad prison food is."
The Gerald's Sean Doyle is new to the game. He's been behind the bar for about 10 months at the 1960s-esque Ballard cocktail joint, his first bartending gig. Born in Edmonds, Doyle moved to Seattle after finishing college in 2010, worked at the front desk of a hotel downtown, and started serving at The Gerald. A couple months later the bar's manager and owners gave him the opportunity to show off his cocktail mixing mettle.
Here, five questions for Sean.
What is everyone ordering at the Gerald these days? Recently, our Emerald Weapon has been super popular. Every time I make that drink someone sitting at the bar asks me what I’m making. It looks a little odd when you muddle the ginger, lemon grass, and mint together. But when you add gin, St. Germain, lemon and lime juice, and give it a good shake, it creates a drink that’s not only aesthetically pleasing but also tastes so damn good.
What's the most underrated spirit? Rum. Everyone has been on this big whiskey kick the last few years and, because of that, I feel like I’ve been missing out on some really awesome rum. I think rum is slowly making its comeback. Don’t believe me? Ask your favorite bartender to make a rum old fashion and tell me it isn’t just as good as (or probably better than) a bourbon old fashion.
What's the best drink you make? The Violet Beauregarde. It was inspired by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Violet Beauregarde and also a misorder on some blueberry liquor we had acquired. I only get to make it when someone wants something that’s not on our menu and is in the mood to try a new cocktail. It has gin, Sidetrack blueberry liquor, cassis, lemon juice, falernum bitters, and is topped with prosecco.
What current cocktail trend is completely overrated? People who want their drinks “light” or “skinny.” You know, the person who orders their drink without sugar or simple syrup. Bartenders use that for an intended purpose, to sweeten the drink. You think you’re doing yourself a favor by ordering something with less calories when really you’re asking me to make the drink you just ordered worse. If having a low calorie drink is your priority, let your bartender know that. We can make something that tastes great and doesn’t have as many calories.
What is the craziest thing you've ever seen happen in a bar? I met Danny Bonaduce outside our bar once—that guy is pretty crazy. No but really, he was super nice and really, really funny. He introduced us to his wife and we chatted about how bad prison food is. Pretty funny.