Long Island Pulse: Tell us about yourself.
Evan Bucholz: I grew up in Jamesport and I’ve bounced between the North Fork and New York City ever since. I went to City College in Harlem for English literature. I realized with that, you either write books or you teach. But the more I bartended, the one constant job I’ve held, the more I realized I could make it a career.
Pulse: How did you reach that point?
EB:I was a “beer and shot” bartender who got really interested in classic cocktails. I learned to make falernum and orgeat; read all the books from Jerry Thomas, Dale DeGroff, David Wondrich; drank at places like Milk & Honey and Angel’s Share. I’ve been fortunate to learn from some really influential people. I was with Tom Schaudel when he opened Jedediah Hawkins and Fort Defiance in Red Hook with St. John Frizell. The Fort is a neighborhood bar, but you can also get an esoteric drink from the 1800s like a Hanky Panky. That’s the atmosphere I wanted to create here.
Pulse: Why did you choose the North Fork and not Brooklyn?
EB: I love it here unconditionally. And it’s an interesting time in Greenport. I have a five-month-old too. The idea of raising a child in Brooklyn just didn’t work for us. My wife was the one who knew the right time to go to Brooklyn when we first did, and she knew when to come back in 2013.
Pulse: Brix & Rye opened last August, so you haven’t experienced a summer on the North Fork…
EB:Right. My initial fear was, customers would say, “Backsliding Presbyterian? These names are weird!” or “Yamazaki? I’ve never heard of that whiskey, so it must suck.” But people have been amazingly open. Greenport seems transient and seasonal when in fact it has a wonderful year-round population. You need to be part of the neighborhood to survive.
Pulse: What can you make us this month?
EB: There were two drinks that were really successful last summer that have returned: the Northside Collins, a straightforward hybrid of a South Side and a Tom Collins, and an iced Irish coffee that uses cold brew from Aldo’s up the street. He’s a coffee roaster and a one-of-a-kind character here in Greenport. That one has Irish whiskey, brown sugar syrup and a dollop of whipped cream thick enough to sit on top of the drink, but thin enough to be able to drink. Sometimes whipped cream can be too dense.
Pulse: What about the integration of local produce you mentioned earlier?
EB: Glad you asked. I have a few new ones. One’s the Cold Snap which has Rhum Agricole Blanc, Manzanilla—similar to Fino sherry—and snap peas. I muddle three of ’em with lime juice and house-made lime cordial and add that to the rest, shake hard and finely strain into a chilled, absinthe-rinsed coupe. It’s a refreshing cocktail, as bright-tasting as its bright-green color. The rum is assertive and pleasantly vegetal. The sherry offers a dry and crisp accent. And the peas meld well with the citrus flavors.
Pulse: Greenport in June. What does that mean to you?
EB: So much. The beach, the boats, the nightcaps… And the rum, definitely. I think people here in the summer want to cut loose all day. Bright, light and low-alcohol cocktails can make that happen. And I love to integrate the awesome produce we have here during the summer: strawberries, cucumbers, snap peas. Speaking of, I have a new cocktail called the cold snap. It has Rhum Agricole Blanc, Manzanilla—similar to fino sherry—and snap peas. I muddle three of them with lime juice and house-made lime cordial, add that to the rest, shake and finely strain into an absinthe- rinsed coupe. It’s a refreshing cocktail, as bright-tasting as it is bright-green in color and the peas meld well with the citrus.