Long Island Pulse: Why are you a bartender?
Christopher Barry: I moved to New York from Atlanta about five years ago, originally for journalism. I was working as a barista while I freelanced, you know, something to get me out of bed in the morning a few days a week. I also loved coffee: Making espresso every morning was my ritual. [Le] Parker Meridian Hotel was hiring bartenders who also knew coffee and I had bartended in college so I did it for some extra money. [LPM] was a crazy Midtown hotel bar and I loved it. Then I moved on to Vandaag in the East Village, which was a Scandinavian bar and restaurant on the same block of cocktail bars like Death + Company, and immersed myself in the culture. I decided to quit freelancing from there.
Pulse: Did your background in coffee help with cocktails?
CB: In a way. But your creativity is limited with coffee. The goal as a barista is to highlight the work by the people before you—farmers, roasters and blenders. Cocktails allow you to use your creativity. Coffee helped develop my palate, but I needed more of a challenge.
Pulse: Talk to us about Station’s cocktail menu.
CB:Sure. We call our libations “jollifications.” We’ll have anywhere between 8 and 12 drinks
plus house-made sodas for brunch. I wanted inventive, summery drinks that people want to have more than one of.
Pulse: Which is the most popular?
CB: Another One, a vodka-based drink with fresh cantaloupe juice, lemon juice and a lavender syrup. I’m also experimenting with a tiki cocktail with a base of banana- infused rum, pineapple juice, half-and-half and a very nutty Amontillado sherry, which is topped with Myers’s rum and Angostura bitters. It provides the notes of a piña colada, but also incorporates sherry, which is one of my favorite ingredients to use.
Pulse: What do you like about sherry?
CB:I love its versatility. Also, due to the oxidation, you get lingering flavors that appear after 20 or 30 seconds. I like drinks that are very layered. I try to make sure there’s a beginning, middle and end to every cocktail I create. Sherry is perfect for that.
Pulse: Any other jollifications we should keep an eye out for?
CB:Our cuisine is South American-influenced—our chefs are from Argentina and Uruguay—so I try to incorporate that. I’m experimenting with yerba mate syrup. But I use Brazilian Avuá Cachaça in the Thirsty Rooster, a nod to our logo, a rooster sipping from a straw. The Glitzy Splash is another. It incorporates pisco, a Peruvian brandy, with fresh dill, fresh raspberry syrup, a quinine liqueur called Maurin Quina and Aperol. You get a little raspberry punch up front, then a nice long lingering finish. It’s a very bright, summery cocktail.