The Cottonmouth Club Presents

Bartender Masterclass: On Mastery featuring Master Bartender Toby Maloney (Part 2)

May 12, 2020 Michael Neff Season 100 Episode 5
The Cottonmouth Club Presents
Bartender Masterclass: On Mastery featuring Master Bartender Toby Maloney (Part 2)
The Cottonmouth Club Presents
Bartender Masterclass: On Mastery featuring Master Bartender Toby Maloney (Part 2)
May 12, 2020 Season 100 Episode 5
Michael Neff

If you would like to leave a virtual tip for the bar staff who helped produce this podcast, you can go to Venmo and contribute to TheCottonmouthClub-Staff. All proceeds go to the staff for food & essentials until we all have some clarity as to how this will all play out.

Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. 

In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Heart with special guest Mr. Toby Maloney.

Mr. Maloney has worked in bars for many years, working behind the stick at dive bars and nightclubs around the country, as well as some of the most renowned cocktail bars in modern memory.

He was the very first bartender hired at the original Milk and Honey in New York, and has opened storied cocktail bars in Minneapolis, Nashville and Chicago, where he currently co-owns The Violet Hour and the soon-to-open Mother’s Ruin Chicago.

The Violet Hour received the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program in 2015.

Some highlights from Part 2 of our conversation:

“It comes down to the confidence you exude, and if you can nail those flair moves, people’s drinks taste better.”

“(Bartending) is kind of like acting and kind of like drugs...”

“People will go back to a bar that has great service and mediocre drinks, but if you have great drinks and mediocre service, people are like...meh.”

“The difference between cooking and bartending is cooking is a marathon and bartending is figure skating. Both are insanely hard, but no one cares what you look like after a marathon.”

Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: Tomcat Blues

Show Notes Transcript

If you would like to leave a virtual tip for the bar staff who helped produce this podcast, you can go to Venmo and contribute to TheCottonmouthClub-Staff. All proceeds go to the staff for food & essentials until we all have some clarity as to how this will all play out.

Training for Mastery takes years of work and dedication, and after a certain point there is no road map in any industry that helps the novice graduate to the journeyman, and the journeyman transform into the master. 

In our continuing Bartending Masterclass, host & Master Bartender Michael J. Neff, discussed the different phases of mastery. This time, we’re focusing on Mastery of the Heart with special guest Mr. Toby Maloney.

Mr. Maloney has worked in bars for many years, working behind the stick at dive bars and nightclubs around the country, as well as some of the most renowned cocktail bars in modern memory.

He was the very first bartender hired at the original Milk and Honey in New York, and has opened storied cocktail bars in Minneapolis, Nashville and Chicago, where he currently co-owns The Violet Hour and the soon-to-open Mother’s Ruin Chicago.

The Violet Hour received the James Beard Award for Best Bar Program in 2015.

Some highlights from Part 2 of our conversation:

“It comes down to the confidence you exude, and if you can nail those flair moves, people’s drinks taste better.”

“(Bartending) is kind of like acting and kind of like drugs...”

“People will go back to a bar that has great service and mediocre drinks, but if you have great drinks and mediocre service, people are like...meh.”

“The difference between cooking and bartending is cooking is a marathon and bartending is figure skating. Both are insanely hard, but no one cares what you look like after a marathon.”

Weird-tempo Banjo Tune: Tomcat Blues

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spk_0:   0:00
coming out to you almost live from the most boring apocalypse and human head story. Welcome back to our podcast that Cotton Mouth Club presents Got enough represents where we discuss bar culture, bartending cocktails and spirits alternate specific lines of hospitality that only exists in places like Way. I'm Michel Jnf, Mr Bartender and your host. For this Siri's own mastery, which we describe in terms of the head at the hands in the heart, we're continuing our conversation with Master Bartender and James Beard Award winner Mr Toby Maloney. For those of you just coming on now, Toby is an old school bartender who's worked anything from dive bars to nightclubs to very fancy cocktail bars all across the country. Currently he's in Chicago, where he is co owner of The Violet Hour and the soon to come mother's room in Part one. Our conversation touched on so many things, and Toby gave us all sorts of wisdom relating to a life not just in cocktails but a life in bars and why they are important for all of us. Here we have Part two. I won't give a lot of way, but we dive further into the practice and philosophy of what cocktails are what, therefore, in the craft of the bartenders who create them. Having listened to this, I have to tell you there's there's not a lot you can skip. There's so much in this as you'll learn a lot to unpack and even his last bits of wisdom at the end or worth sticking around for. So I hope you are is gratified to hear this conversation as I was to have it. Before we start, though, I want to remind you all that we are still bartenders, which means we do work for tips. So you guys, if you love us, find our virtual tip jar on Venmo at the Cotton Mouth Club Dash death. We want to thank everyone who's contributed. And for all of you who might do so in the future will thank you in advance. Every dollar goes to support the cardinal close staff until we figure out what's gonna happen next. So again you have our gratitude. So without further ado, I'm gonna pass myself off to myself and Toby Maloney, where we discussed mastery the Dunning Kruger effect and why, even for Toby drinking a cocktail outside of the bar just isn't good. Stay tuned. Drum roll, please. You had said earlier something about reinventing the old fashioned. You said we kind of like finding the end that we fuck it up and they find again that we fuck it up. There's some cocktails that I kind of contend don't really have recipes. So much is they have either ratios. And I say relationships because I'm me. I'm talking about the negroni, the Dockery, the old fashioned in Manhattan drinks. They have factors. Proportions change, depending on what you put in them, which bourbon? Which rye, which removed etcetera. I had read something that you had wrote about the Sazerac being kind of a bellwether cocktail for you. I think this as breakfast in that category, like does. Does the Sazerac have a recipe? If so, what is it? If not, how do we call that a cocktail?

spk_1:   3:06
Well, I would agree that every cocktail stuffing, that ratio, we happen to use ounces because somebody decided many years ago that and out it was a thing. But it comes down to two part gin. One part removed a couple of doctors for martini or up two parts rum, 3/4 3 quarter line and simple. That's still a ratio, because you can take that to 3/4 to quarter and you can take out, out you can put in cup, and then you have decorate for two people. But a Sazerac with cognac is different than a Sazerac with rye, which is different than a split cognac. Right track. How much stem you're gonna use for that? And how much pay show you're going to use that depend on what you're leading with their in the spirit. I would even say that you're bitter is going to depend on if you're using actual ST or older ST or ah, White. Absent competitive green outfits like all of these things have to be coming for because they all are intertwined to make that been product. So you need to be aware of all of those things. Fashions, markings, Manhattan jacket, those kind of iconic three ingredient cocktails. Negroni's. I would even throw go crazy Max. The mastery of that is actually knowing what's going in there, You know, I tell my new market exactly is to third quarter to quarter. You must have that in your DNA. Eventually But you know what? That's if you're using a nice 80 proof white Rob, if you're making, uh, missing cross Factory might have to change that a little bit because of various things. Obviously, you know, you're almost doubling the amount of booze in it. So

spk_0:   4:53
that's that's exactly my point is not because of me or for you. You touched on a point that that is a massive problem for me because I have to hire bartenders and I love to go to bars and I love drinking cocktails. You have bartenders who walk out of the training programs saying the Dockery's to 3/4 3 quarter as if it's coming down from on high but not having the knowledge about cocktails enough to be able to understand so many variables in making a Dockery. Like you said, you know, white rum, not white rum. You know, darker, higher proof, whatever. Like all of that. To me, it changes those proportions. I think you need to understand the drink without having an idea of what the exact proportions they're supposed to be.

spk_1:   5:37
All right, so two quick things on that I would say that as a bar owner and at the violet hour. I'm the head mixologist. I'm the guy who decided to 3/4 to quarter is what? That's my favorite coppery. That's why it is the Dockery at the violet hour. You know, I want to train people so that they can taste that Zachary and they know that Decker and it's all of a sudden, like if they taste exactly, they're like, Oh, that's 2 3/4 to quarter.

spk_0:   6:06

spk_1:   6:06
thinking somewhere else and they're they're It's like 21 3/4. They're like, Oh, there's a little bit more line E and that's great. A couple few 1000 ways to make an amazing Zachary And there's a 1,000,000 ways to fuck it up, but that you have that to 3/4 quarter kind of hit where I want my balance of power to be like. That's where what I like in texture. That's what I like in sweetness versus acid booth, and that kind of informed every other drink that we do that what even if it to 3/4 half rich syrup and then it also has a party and tomorrow I still want bargains to be able to take trucking that, like that's right there in that ratio of the drink that we service.

spk_0:   6:54
Let me ask you this, though, because now everyone knows your secrets right to 3/4 recorder. You know, that's how you train everybody. And you do that enough times. I get it. The thing that fascinates me and the thing that I want to see what you think of is even if the entire world Now, let's say the entire planet now going here, this podcast and everyone knows like, Oh, shit. Now we know how to make a real Dockery. Why is you're still better. Why is it better? Because I spend so much time trying to find that interstitial like the interstitial space between making the correct proportion for the spirit that we're using and the ingredients were using and the experience of elevation that people get from the cocktail, like, What is that?

spk_1:   7:39
That's a little bit going back.

spk_0:   7:42
I mean, for me, that's that's where the bartender lives. Like that's what we're for, you know, because I spent a lot of time thinking, like, what are cocktails four and what are we for? And, you know, I've had a lot of people now, especially because everyone's in quarantine and people we do this lifetime with Epicurious. A lot of people were asking, I'm making all these drinks. Exactly how they say they're supposed to be made is just not as good. I'm like, of course, it's not as good because you're not here. The music's not right. I'm not here giving it to you like you don't have. You're not, you're not. You're not fooling your brain and doing all the shit,

spk_1:   8:12
all of that 1% true. But also, you and I have made tens of thousands of cocktails, if not hundreds, probably hundreds of thousands of cocktail

spk_0:   8:23

spk_1:   8:24
war, just better at it. You know, it's like you can get a cookbook and make something at home and follow that recipe to the grain of motherfucking salt. And it's not gonna taste as good as the person who came up with that recipe. It was probably their grandmother's recipe who they've been eating their whole life, and you know they'll be able to do a little spoon. Cases like that needs right into this a dash of bat, and then now it ain't their thing. Honestly, my drink at home John cases good drinks.

spk_0:   8:59
No personal

spk_1:   9:00
your part. But it's a twofold idea that partners make better drink because they make more drink.

spk_0:   9:08
That's also why I asked the question, because I think especially now people have a different idea of that because they this is the first time. I think, probably since Prohibition that as a generality in society, people have not had bartenders, cocktails, a mass group, a massive people for the first time since Prohibition have not been able to say, I can go somewhere and someone can make me a drink who's a professional at it.

spk_1:   9:34
That's a really interesting point that hopefully all of those people that were making their food created in their doctorates at home realize how hard it is. And, you know, if taken extrapolating, take one more step and be like, Wow I made by significant Other and I four. Dockery's combined tonight, and that was hard like watching these marketers who are literally pumping out 500 drink tonight like how amazing is that

spk_0:   10:04
right? And

spk_1:   10:04
hopefully there will be some sort of a Hoover appreciation of people behind the bark.

spk_0:   10:10
Yeah, and I think and and you said it before I mean there is something in saying I've made 10 15 21 100,000 cocktails. I just don't know what the hell it is, but that's also part of part of this kind of like evangelism. Things is looking at young bartenders in saying there's a benefit of just sitting and doing your job for years at a time. Make his many cocktails you can before you try before you try to remake them or reinvent them or something. Like I had a girl who worked for me and she wanted She wanted to show me her riff on the last word and I was like, Have you ever made a last word? And she's like, Well, I've had a couple I'm like, OK, no, I don't want to see a riff because yeah, right, because but also, But I mean, I felt for her because there's so much social pressure on her end. But especially in that young that the shallow end of the pool is where the brand's kind of just fish. And she was like, I want entered this contest. I want to do this thing and I was like, Hey, listen, it's not that your voice isn't important. But is your trying to speak a language that you don't You only know from a guidebook?

spk_1:   11:17
Yeah. You barely know the outset in this language, right? Yeah. So that is the Gunning Kruger effect

spk_0:   11:26
that yes, exclaimed that just for living. Everybody just explain that for people who don't know what it is. But I I do, but

spk_1:   11:34
okay, I'm gonna put this in the nicest way, because there given Kruger actually talked about a lot of different things. And what I specifically mean by saying the bartender Dunning Kruger effect is that you get a job bartending. You are doing all this studying. You're in training and you get better. Like those 1st 6 months of being a bartender. You've gone from where you knocked it over and you can barely poor two outs is to the point where you can put together drinks and you have all this knowledge, and all of a sudden you feel like you're fucking amazing And you are fucking amazing from where you were six months ago. And they So your head and your body are like, OK, I am the greatest thing since Betty White

spk_0:   12:21
and things

spk_1:   12:28
and then you're like, I know everything. And I'm going to, you know, make riffs on last words, even though I've made 2.5 before in my entire marketing career. And I'm gonna do this and I know everything that I'm gonna look down on people because I can quote Charles H. Baker and I can do this and that and that and you feel great because you know, all this stuff and I am not bashing people. This is just something that happens

spk_0:   12:57
to get

spk_1:   12:57
humans. And I fucking fell into it so hard I would not serve vodka drinks for a while. And I would demean people which mortified. Now, um and so then you get to a point where you know everything and then you start to learn more, and then you're like, Oh, wow, that's actually the lack words complicated when you start getting more knowledge and then thinking them less and less and less until you know a certain amount. And then once you get that, you know enough, you know, I don't know anything. All this other stuff that I don't even comprehend

spk_0:   13:34
a lot of kids don't know. But it is important. I mean, I say kids like, you know, I'm, like, 90 but, you know, I just have my 25th anniversary by the bar, so I know you're probably a little bit ahead of me, but either way, like good, long time. I remember when I was that young, cocky bartender to like I remember getting jobs. I remember getting jobs that were super fancy, that in retrospect, I'm like you did not deserve that job. But I was rocketed into the sphere of all these people who all of a sudden, Michael, you were here. I've been a bartender for, like, nine months, so I also am kind of embarrassed by how annoying and like obnoxious I was. So I get it. But I also didn't have someone like me who was older, saying like, OK, this is why you're of knowing and obnoxious. So knock it off. God knows I wish. God knows. I wish I did.

spk_1:   14:30
Yeah. I mean, that sign that parents put up on the refrigerator, You know, teenagers, you should leave home now. Well, you know everything

spk_0:   14:38

spk_1:   14:38
It's just a human characteristic that the less you know, the more you think You know, until you hit this plateau where you start to realize that you know, less and less. And at this point, I know fuck off, like the about that I don't know is so much greater than the stuff that I know that it it's wonderful because I'll never know it all. And so I can just happily clock along and keep reading and teeth discovering and know that there's no in. I will go to my deathbed, not knowing everything I could know about making drinks, let alone the hospitality industry. But it's also very comforting,

spk_0:   15:23
right, because it's a reason to stay in. No, I mean not not the slightest. I mean, at this point, my meant, like the people I learned from now. And this is now, like across cities. Like every time I go to a new place, every time, like the clientele teaches me so much. And I feel like after a certain point, the only people who can teach me anything I go do a tour of Violet hour and I could find some cool shit that you're doing. I'm like, Fuck you got You got such a good idea. Like I'm gonna steal that like that happens all the time, but like for substantial things for me to learn besides learning like, you know, I could learn about how they make my lord. There's something like I like I could learn things I don't know. But as far as being a bartender, it's the people who teach me because they're the ones who, like indicate what works, what doesn't. And they helped me to kind of progress and invent new things and, like, figure out like how to progress. But to what you are saying, like, I've kind of said it lately, Where I look at people is like, Look, I don't know a goddamn thing. The only thing I know is I know more than you because because after wow, great, right, because after a while I do get to a point where I, you know, my patients breaks a little, and I can only hear someone's origin story for the cosmopolitan so many times when I'm like, okay, you're just wrong. You heard it from somebody. It is just not fucking right. But you know, I mean, it doesn't really matter until I have to hire people, and then that's what it matters. to me Because it you know, you have to figure out how much you have to train out of people before you can dream up.

spk_1:   17:03
Yeah, we always we don't always. But overall, I would rather train a brief, a cook or, you know, a server hot bartender, then untrained, all of the bad stuff out of the bartenders to train them up. Right? And we're talking out both sides of our mouth right now because we both earlier were like, Yeah, everybody should be dive bartenders and that Trump Arcandor before they

spk_0:   17:30
I'm not, but I'm not talking about that. I know. I hear what you're saying, but I mean, much like you and kind of after you, like, you know, I was in. I was in your wake the whole time, you know, You left New York and went to go open bars. Another market. Chicago, Tennessee, like, like, you know, and made great bars there. I left New York and win made bars in. You know, l, a Houston, other places. But every time I go to a new market to either do a consulting projects or open a bar, I wasn't drawing from the mixology community for people to work in my places Because first of all, I didn't know enough about the place to say where they're at. And second of all, there's nothing worse than someone coming on saying, like, I know how to do it already and just like Okay. Fuck. No, you don't. Yeah. What is What is the U. S. B G crowd at this point is not great at having a learner's mind when it comes to working in a bar because they walk in because they've been trained to say, I know all this stuff and like you just said, I walk into place a I don't know a goddamn thing. I just know that as soon as you open that door, I'll make sure, like everything's good.

spk_1:   18:32
Um, yeah, I get back.

spk_0:   18:36
I know, I know. Yeah.

spk_1:   18:37
You know, I was lucky that every single bar that I open, I was kind of first to market. And so, between Chicago, Minneapolis, Nashville, there were no cock. Their work ocular. I mean, here in Chicago, Matchbox, a bunch of places we genes were going great cocktails, but nobody was doing what this craft cocktail movement, whatever was doing and So I was lucky enough that I didn't have to hire people who walk and be like, Yeah, I know what a last word Beckett and be like, Well, our last word spec specific. Because we using out half way luckily got people that walk in wanting to learn instead of I know it already the most.

spk_0:   19:26
Hey, folks, as we might say, that is a lot to unpack. That's way to take a quick break when we come back, Toby on mastery, angry mixologists and why it might just be true. Jack and Coke also has a ritual. Stay tuned. But I so appreciate you having this conversation with me. Can you summarize? Summarize the mastery thing in your own words when you first heard of the idea and you first, like heard, at least my kind of verbalization of it. Like, what were your thoughts? And how did that connect with how you actually think of yourself in that regard?

spk_1:   20:08
Total mastery. It's a lot of different things. It is that gunning Kruger, where you have to know enough to know, you know, fuck all. It also has become specifically in the hospitality world. We're talking about it has to come from a good place. I don't buy into a lot of metaphysical bullshit, but I would rather have a jack and Coke and a shot of Jaeger from a happy guy Bar tender than the most perfect named the drink in there from an angry fucking psychologist,

spk_0:   20:46

spk_1:   20:47
Your intention and how you feel about your job and about the general public affect what you dio.

spk_0:   20:56
Do you think that is trainable?

spk_1:   20:58
I think it is hirable. I think that if you hire somebody who's angry and already hate their job as a bartender, no, you can't train that out of somebody. You have to hire somebody that happy and knows fuck all and then train them out to make a goddamn Dockery,

spk_0:   21:13
which isn't that hard, right? I think it's it's not that hard to make. A doctor was so so hard to make an amazing Decorate

spk_1:   21:21
100. There's dozens of ways to make a great Dockery. There's a 1,000,000 ways to fuck it up and having the person that's making your Zachary be picked off that you're only ordered Zachary and not some 17 touch cocktail on their cocktail menu is easy. If you just people who don't want 17 touch cocktails in the cocktail menu.

spk_0:   21:43
Yeah, and there's touches. But I mean, if you pretend right now, let's say Jerry Thomas was resurrected and walked in my bar and he wanted to have an amazing Dockery. The first thing I would do is change the music. What's the first thing you would do? Um uh, I already said changed music. So sorry, pal. No lock. Or what's the second thing I should do? You know that.

spk_1:   22:10
Get out of a platoon and an ashtray

spk_0:   22:13
because, you know, coming

spk_1:   22:15
back from the dead, they should probably be a home. Um, I would honestly not know what his idea of a doctor iwas actually even around with.

spk_0:   22:27
I mean, I pride picked a bad example. Like, I'm not trying to I'm just saying someone who's Let's say you're a six month old mixologists who works in Minneapolis. And Dale DeGroff walks into your bar, and you're like, Oh, my God, like I really want him to have a good X.

spk_1:   22:42
Okay. I think they have that happen. Can tell a quick story,

spk_0:   22:46

spk_1:   22:47
So we're getting looking, honey. Kelly drop walked in, and I knew exactly who he was. I was either just finished or was reading his book for the third time. Craft cocktail. I was so nervous. I started shaking like I was star struck beyond belief, and he ordered mojito. And he's talking to his friend. And, like, my mind went blank. And like I made the mojito, and I I swear to God, I don't remember doing it because it was so traumatising. But I made the amid mojito I put in front of them and put whatever drink his friend was drinking in front of him. They are drinking and drinking, drinking, chatting. And by the time that I got off of the outside of the glass of his mo hell, I realized I could see right through it. And I had forgotten the lime

spk_0:   23:40
in mojito. Lundy. Yeah, and he probably didn't say a thing.

spk_1:   23:49
00 I was so mortified. And I'm like, So where can I get you another drink? And he looked me dead in the eye. Like, how about killing? Need?

spk_0:   23:59
Yeah. Yeah,

spk_1:   24:03
I was so But he of course, didn't say anything. He drink the drink. I would been better in the 2nd 1 But I would say if Jerry Common walked into bar, what I would do is I would pour him the largest glass of champagne I possibly could. And, God, I take you fucking breath and calm the fuck down. That would be what I would do because I would want to give better service than the shaky start Lucky thing.

spk_0:   24:29
Yeah, I mean, but that's, you know, I talk a lot about mindset because mindset matters so so much to me because if I'm not the one in charge, then who's in charge? So there have been a couple of times and I've had, say, celebrities I really admired Or, you know, people that I've really admired come into the bar and like you said, this is the perfect thing to do is like, Go chill out. Because if I'm not, I have to be the one leading this conversation and having to remember It's like, No, no, no. This is my joint and not not as an owner, but is a bartender like No, this is my bar. So I'm not here to impress you. I'm here to make his good a drink as I can, and I hope you like it, but I'm not trying to do that any more than I would be for anyone else who was here.

spk_1:   25:09
Yep. You know, the other thing would probably be not exactly cannot impress them or two. I've been thinking back to that Dunning Kruger thing where I would walk into a bar and somebody would recognize me when a young tender and it come up would be like, I just came up with this drink. Can I make it for you? And

spk_0:   25:35
how do you How do you respond to that

spk_1:   25:37
feeling right? Oh,

spk_0:   25:38
no. Yeah, I need to

spk_1:   25:39
go, then. They're like, so called the purple Rain. I know there's gonna be an hour out of criminal via in it, And I know it's just going to be like an old woman. Any drawers nightmare of a cocktail that has no balance, and it's nothing but plurality. But what do you do? You say yes. And in the back of turns, you just fucking neck the whole thing and order a glass with the meat. Now

spk_0:   26:15
you make it, Bill,

spk_1:   26:16
that picking up a little margarita, get don't, um, got I see the exact same thing like especially with a little more off season bargains. The newbie, I say you really want me to tell you exactly what I think,

spk_0:   26:35

spk_1:   26:36
And you can always kind of tell if they actually do, or if they don't, They don't. You're like, this is an interesting start. Maybe go back and look about something just big enough. That is constructive criticism. Otherwise, if somebody is we further in their career actually wants to know, then I'll be like, Okay, this this message and look at that and think about changing format and look at the ice in two different situations.

spk_0:   27:05
No. And I love those moments because I would like, I would love your opinion on stuff like that. And when you give it, I love being able to accept it and say I get what you're saying. I made a different choice. It was like half of what you're saying is going to make me change shit in half of It's like, Yeah, I get it. But, you know, I had to go this direction so cool, but and I'm gonna get I'm gonna ask you to get old man with me for just one second. Like on this one thing because I was gonna ask you earlier like, but you kind of answered on your own. Like what? Something young bartenders kind of obsess over that you want to tell them? Stop obsessing over it. You know, I've worked in a dive bar with shitty ice. I still make great old fashioned on shitty ice like it's fine. We're kind of getting back to, ah, level where people are making 15 ingredient cocktails or 1200 super complicated cocktails because of some social media stuff and a lot of contest stuff, like a lot of brand activation stuff. Bartenders air kind of. Now it's like that story I told about the woman who works for maize. She's trying to reinvent something she'd never understood. They're trying to go so far and also reinforcing each other, that you have people who a lot of people who are are new to it all telling each other how great they are. And then when you come into judge competition or something, you're like, Well, nobody gets a medal because all of these things and that doesn't mean that you're bad. It's just it just means that you don't Ignorance is not idiocy. If you don't know something Theun, that doesn't mean you're dumb. It just means you don't know it. And I think that applies the cocktails as well. And it's hard in a degree, in an area when there's so much marketing and so much like people trying to bring people in. To be able to say to people, You're not bad, it's just this drink is bad And here's why.

spk_1:   28:46

spk_0:   28:48
Do you experience that with people that you run across? Or I mean, I might be alone in it?

spk_1:   28:55
No, Let me just see if I'm understanding you right. If it's this thing where in the time in place we are, people skip. Knowing the classic and knowing the classic is like a cook should know what holidays, mayonnaise sauce, espanol, These basic things. What makes a good stock? What makes you know that your service without the basic you can't go on to create something interesting?

spk_0:   29:23

spk_1:   29:24
If you can't make a good sidecar, you're not going to make a 15 ingredient cocktail. That's good.

spk_0:   29:33
Or I would argue a lot, and I see if you can make a long honesty than you can't make anything with a lot of spirits in it. I mean, so do I. 99

spk_1:   29:44
while somebody somebody like waving 100 going young. Tough that up. My favorite, you can tell Top is actually spelled T u f f.

spk_0:   29:54
I made a long Island for one of my bartenders the other day who's worked in clubs, and he saw me making it cause he'd ask for one kind of as a joke, and he saw me making you saw how much booze is in it. And I saw his eyes kind of like change. And I'm like, Oh, I was like, You've never had an actual Long Island before. I'm about to blow your mind because, I mean, I was like, This is why they're $18 and they're amazing and

spk_1:   30:18
were amazing. Could it just It's just a fucking our If you have fresh lemon and some simple looking great

spk_0:   30:25
right and the cookies just for coal

spk_1:   30:27
and coke, it's the color.

spk_0:   30:28
The point I was making about the kind of 15 ingredient cocktails is that sometimes what happens is in, especially and let's just say the same mixologist communities, and I don't want to focus on the word, but let's just say what it is. There's a feedback loop where people are kind of incentivized because they're friends with each other to taste what their friends make and just say you're amazing, and then you're amazing and you're amazing and that you're making amazing drinks. And all of a sudden, out of that feedback loop comes not amazing drinks because no one's willing to say, Well, this drink really sucks.

spk_1:   31:00
Yes, that happens. Also, it comes down to an uninformed civilian population who will drink whatever is put in front of them. I'm not fasting any of these people because I've actually done every single one of these things that I'm that we're talking about that air bad.

spk_0:   31:20
Oh, me too. And wait worse like I was terrible.

spk_1:   31:23
Yeah, yeah. And wayward. Literally. I've told people I don't make vodka drinks at 90 bars, and I was, but

spk_0:   31:30
I remember you

spk_1:   31:34
together definitely feedback loop and also tramping where things need to look prettier and prettier. And so all of a sudden you have these insane garnishes. The little the little clothes pin garnish makes me want to jump off a fucking bridge. I'm not gonna lie like you can't eat that. It's already on somebody's drink. Are you throwing each one out and using a fresh one for everyone or you watching them like I don't know. It drives me looking.

spk_0:   32:01
Well, keep in mind, Toby, I was the holiday cocktail and regardless, with dinosaurs,

spk_1:   32:07
and that's fucking cool. Um, at cool

spk_0:   32:12
and ninjas. I mean, the idea was they took him home, but yeah, I get I get what you're saying.

spk_1:   32:17
Yeah, the point when they got to take them home and that was part of the drink and it was whimsy. And also, people knew not to drink them

spk_0:   32:27

spk_1:   32:27
their mouth.

spk_0:   32:27
Don't need him.

spk_1:   32:29
I did some sort of gun ish and I put it in front of, you know, like a careful, that choking hazard. And he goes, What is it in this bar? I

spk_0:   32:39
know, and I actually had four answers in my head that I cannot say in this environment. But honestly, I got to tell you, you like talking to you about this kind of stuff. Means a lot to me. I really appreciate it. And, uh, we're also separated in our things so much, and I sometimes forget that there's other people that are trying to the same shit I'm doing that I don't like you said before. I don't have to reinvent fucking wheel. I could just call you and be, like, what? Only fucking chat every once in a while, we're all doing the same stuff.

spk_1:   33:19
Yeah, that's things that because I was in it in New York, which was kind of one of the first places it happened in the United States, and there was really no internet you

spk_0:   33:31

spk_1:   33:31
didn't have phone where you could text that if you wanted to know somebody's technique or recipe or anything, you into their bargain, sat in front of them and you ordered the drink, and then you ask him about it and they would give you the MIDI gritty. No secret

spk_0:   33:46
Because nobody want ask No, no one would ask, except like the rare person who saw you and imbibe like and then traveled to New York just to see you.

spk_1:   33:55
Right? And you were so excited because you realize that if you cracked two ice cubes in the bottom of your mixing glass and that you could make a martini colder and faster. What things were like, Oh my God, do that so cool. And then I feel I feel a little bad for the true sherry markets who who didn't have that same thing where people were like, I'm holding on to my specs for a cigar. 00 honey, Any any bartender with there Cell can walk in, watch you make one side car and walk out and millions sex that that's not the interesting part. If you've figured out that you like orange bitters in the sidecar and then you could explain to me why that's cool but giving each other the tips and tricks and part of the we're all in this together and tied rice is all boats

spk_0:   34:46
right? And in the early days, it was all about sharing because there was not a lot of people to share with. I think now it's not that different, honestly, because now there's such a It's a much bigger market and way more people will pay attention. And you know, I'm not. I'm not gonna shit on any brand man because I work with brands all the time. But the reason this is an unbranded thing is because I want to talk about stuff that actually is instead of having someone look at it through a marketing lens, saying like What should be? And that's so much information and education happens through the lens of some brand saying This is what should be or this is what's allowed. And it still touches on that thing where, like, you know, you know, stuff for you that you think you know, stuff that very well you know me. You know, holy forking shirt balls. Hey, folks, a lot of stuff in there assume anything to take away so much wisdom. But if you gotta take one thing away No, your classics. We're talking with Toby Maloney, co owner of Violent Our in Chicago and Mother's Ruin, coming soon to Chicago when we come back. The conclusion of our epic conversation, some word association and Toby's final words on mastery statement. Hey guys, if you love us, find our virtual tip jar on Venmo at the Cotton Mouth Club. Dash death. So super sidebar and super just random is like I'm gonna drop the shit on you. I'm gonna ask a question that I think about a lot. But like you said before a lot to unpack. What do you think that cocktail is for? What's his purpose? This is a very interesting question to me, and I would love to hear your answer.

spk_1:   36:34
A cocktail, yeah, is about the ritual. All good drugs have a ritual from heroin Catholicism's. There are multiple things coming together with a way of doing things that's always the same. And it's not about the end result. It's about the journey and the step to get to that last tip of the cocktail. Like the soundtrack of the Martini, the Manhattan. It's not about necessarily the drink itself. It's about the glug of the booth coming out of the bottle across the ice in one of them snaps. And then the sound of the the drink being stirred. You know, watching the crushed ice melt in the glass with cataracts going to be made in a jack and Coke has been a ritual. A cocktail has a ritual and without understanding the importance of the organ electric nature of that cocktail that it should hit all five senses, and it's not too busy that's in the glass. It's the way that it makes you feel emotionally, intellectually. If that will make you think that cocktail makes you feel that's the most important part of the cocktail.

spk_0:   37:57
You put that so well, I'm glad asked the question, though I will say I know at least one person who would love to talk to you about how the Jack and Coke doesn't have that ritual, but the ritual ization of not just spirits but liquids in general. And this is across cultures, you know, this is every Japanese tea ceremony. This is every Catholic mass, you know. That's that's the part of the world we live in that I think that we need to spend more time talking about, because to me, that's the power of what we do. But we never trained that. We never talk about it. And the reason I started doing what I'm doing right now and talking to you honestly is because that's the stuff that if we lose it, it will be gone, and we will miss so much, you know. And you. I know you know it because I know you've done it. But there's a lot of people now sitting at home who can drink all they want. They taken by all the booze they want, but they're still just waiting. To come back to the bar is not because they want a drink because they want to be there. And I think that a lot of that is because of us and the role we serve. And so the more I can talk to people like you about that role, the happier I'll be because that's to me. That's what training should be moving into the future.

spk_1:   39:12
And you're right. I should have bashed the Jack and Coke because ah, highball could be an amazing thing, you know. Charles Baker in his book, Ginger Baker and Glass had a recipe for the coup believe, which is, but it is analyzing, improved in the way he looks at it and adds how he adds a lime and then he has bidders to it. He's taken something that is normally kind of flock together, and I thought about it and improved it and made it into a ritual, getting the right amount of lime oil into the glass, adding those letters which nobody ever said goes in that but makes all the sense in the world. So yes, you could make a ritual out of anything from the great rituals of Japanese T too. Sure, a doctrine soda can have a great ritual. So I didn't mean to get a drink. Specifically, I just meant to say that a drink flop together with no thought of a ritual is definitely worse than a drink that is put together with thought.

spk_0:   40:20
Yeah, And in this, the high ball thing has been kind of informative for me because, you know, you know what it feels like to decide to, like, poor on the show. But that's that ritual. And that's what I love. Toby is much as I would love to talk to you, and I would love to talk to you again about any number of things. We do have to pull this to a close because I know you got shit to do. And I probably you know, God knows I What do I have to do? I just have to sit here and talk to you. We tend to end on a five question thing. So it's not like a lightning around so much, but there's I'm gonna hope that I'm asking you questions that not everybody asked you. Um, so if you could make a drink for anyone in history, like alive or dead. Who would it be? What did you make him?

spk_1:   41:07
Uh, Burl Markham, who is the first human being to fly from Europe to North America. Um, she's one of the coolest human beings to ever exist. And I would make her a sidecar because I think that you totally get how cool that drink is.

spk_0:   41:27
What would What would you How would you make that cycle?

spk_1:   41:30
I would use ah, younger cognac than most. You know, I'm not gonna make it with movie trailer or anything. I want something that is dry and like knife like. And then Levin shoes a really good drug. Cares how I always add orange bitters, my guards. And then I would do just for just for sheer swank, I would probably do a flame toe orange and an orange pigtail cliff. Don't up with confectioner's sugar on half of it.

spk_0:   42:02
You you are so much more fascinating. But one day we have done a guest shit together. I remember we did our old man some of the holiday one day. I hope to do it again so quickly. So word association first thought best thought mixology Seyward.

spk_1:   42:20
It's unfortunate word that came about because of something that hadn't been seen in a very long time.

spk_0:   42:27
Okay, full moon,

spk_1:   42:28
full moon. Yeah. Um, cold sing Oz and bottles of way to warm saying tip on. Copan gang

spk_0:   42:40
Cinco demayo

spk_1:   42:42
get that one because I was going to say anything city about the froth. French people I very much like.

spk_0:   42:52
Okay, bar, mop, farm up the tell you put on your ass. Yeah,

spk_1:   42:57
yeah, yeah. I, um I've told many people that I can tell Maura about how good a drink is going to be by how the bar mock is folded on the bar and the conditions of your bathrooms than by tasting a drink in the establishment

spk_0:   43:19
wisdom. So much wisdom. And last one is dive.

spk_1:   43:24
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

spk_0:   43:28
and things

spk_1:   43:28
like that that beer slide down to Norm like is so cool like that. That's what you want to be. You dive is a place where you're part of the community and you don't have to order. And you're not judge.

spk_0:   43:46
And they just know, man, they just know. Listen, Toby, No, I appreciate this conversation so much because usually I'm trying to beat on every door to say like, Hey, let's talk about shit. But I'm busy. You're busy like everyone is busy. Now is the time that we can all sit there and say, like, What do we actually fucking do? So the fact you took this time with may I really appreciate it? It

spk_1:   44:06
was a pleasure. It's always great to talk to like minded folk and talk to people who are completely on the other side.

spk_0:   44:15
Do you wanna have a last message?

spk_1:   44:17
Yeah, I'll have a last message. I'm gonna say that there's a point mastery where you've realized that you're never going to know everything about what you were doing in your very small, specific thing. And the best way to get better is by looking outside of it. It's that old, you know. Football players do yoga. I get I get a lot of buy stock. Whole inspiration from cookbooks and from part and from other things and mastery is to be able to recognize the things that are relevant in other disciplines

spk_0:   44:52
to what you were doing and should be able to incorporate those in I have to tell you all listen to this conversation blew my mind in so many ways. I hope you all have been gratified to listen as I was to have it in the These conversations are important because bars and I think in this time when we're separate from them, that's becoming a lot more people. So I appreciate you. If you like this master class Toby money, check out our conversation with Julian Cox what you'll find in our masterclass series because that really highlights the purpose of the whole thing. They're very different conversations with very different philosophies, but under undercurrent of sameness, which means we can have a conversation and so much respect. I want to thank Toby money for amazing master class and all of you for listening would come for sure. In the meantime, stay safe. Stay separate. Wash your hands, don't touch your face. Just push through and get this thing so until next time again, gratitude and we'll see you again. What's up, folks? If you've been titillated or tickled pink by anything, you here today, you can find us on Venmo at the Cotton Club Dash staff drop us a buck two bucks. Three bucks a 1,000,000 bucks at your leisure