Most 21-year-olds are still learning how to order (and, perhaps, drink) cocktails. Not Rob Roy's Greg Jago, who already has two years of experience tending bar under his belt. "You can start bartending in the Midwest at eighteen," he says, "so when I moved to Seattle at 20, I was surprised to learn that I had to wait until I was 21 to actually pour drinks."
Here, five questions for Greg.
What's the most underrated spirit? The one you're convinced you hate. The cocktail was born because people wanted their low-grade booze to taste better. Nowadays, quality spirits are more affordable and much easier to find. As a result, cocktails have been elevated to a new level. The next time you're feeling adventurous, walk into your favorite cocktail bar, tell the bartender that you hate [fill in the blank], and ask them to change that. This city is overflowing with passionate, talented bartenders who would love to shed a new light on that loathed spirit of yours.
What's everyone ordering at Rob Roy these days? The king cocktail at Rob Roy has been—and probably always will be—the Old Fashioned. There's something about the simplicity of spirit, sugar, and bitters producing such an amazing final product. It sticks with people. While house infusions, tinctures, and syrups all have a place behind the bar, you can't forget the classics. People also get a kick out of the hand-carved ice blocks. I'm still fresh enough that it's fun for me as well.
What's the best drink you make? I would like to think that all of my drinks are done as well as they can be. Consistency is key. But, if you ask any of my regulars, I pour a mean shot of tequila.
What current cocktail trend is completely overrated? Bartending schools. Just don't. Get a barback job, work your ass off, and treat your guests like they belong at the bar more than you do. When it's all said and done, if everybody left happy, you did your job.
Where do you hang out when you're off duty? I try to visit as many places and people as possible. Zig Zag and Le Pichet are starting to feel like second homes, though. They are always warm and welcoming, the food is good, and the company is unmatched. Plus, the cocktail and wine knowledge that gets thrown my way is always appreciated.