The Old Sage's Juanarias Lopez, behind the bar.

After wandering the streets of Atlanta for a while, skateboarding and working in food service, Juanarias Lopez enacted a major scenery change moving to Seattle on Valentine’s Day in 2012. He got a job as a barback at the Backdoor, then at the Coterie Room where Seth Sempere gave him some invaluable cocktail mentorship. Then it was onward to Tavern Law and more education from the venerable bar staff there. The latest stop on Lopez's McCracken/Tough journey is The Old Sage

Here, five questions for Juan.

What's the most underrated spirit? It might sound biased, but I'll go with scotch. It's not necessarily underrated but people don't usually understand that there are many varieties of scotch that would suit most palates.

What is everyone ordering at the Old Sage these days? A lot of classic cocktails, like Old Fashioneds and Manhattans, but also cocktails we have on the menu like Frida's Brow (mezcal, thyme, genepy des alpes, and habanero, topped with a pale ale).  

What's your favorite cocktail recipe using a Pacific Northwest-distilled spirit? A Woodinville rye old fashioned is tasty.

How do you stay inspired? Sitting at the bar at Tavern Law is always inspiring—Amanda Reed has put together an amazing team behind that bar. Anyone showing pride in what they do inspires me.

If the bar and restaurant world suddenly disappeared, what would you do? Go back to wandering the streets of Atlanta.

For more on Seattle’s food and drink scene, sign up for Seattle Met’s weekly newsletter Nosh Pit News, subscribe to our RSS Feed, follow us on Twitter @SeattleMet, and visit our Seattle Restaurants page