In a city filled with friendly bartenders, Tom is one of the nicest of the bunch. Quiet and reserved with a great sense of humor, he personifies the general motto at the Waldorf-Astoria: treat every guest as if they are the most important guest in the room. It is tough to do, but Tom handles it with aplomb. I enjoyed my shoot there and could have spent the whole day in the warm, inviting bar.
Declaring that your bartender is a true “artist” is guaranteed to provoke eye rolling from your friends or make them consider cutting you off from further drinking. The reality is that a lot of the bartenders creating and mixing drinks use it as an another outlet for their creative energy. Many of them are actors, painters, writers, photographers, and in the case of today’s profile, sculptors. Actually, it isn’t too much of a stretch when you think that creativity always starts from the same point: a blank canvas, a blank page, or an empty mixing glass.
Tom Hogan from Bernard’s Bar in the Waldorf-Astoria (formerly Elysian) hotel approaches his cocktails in a similar manner as his approach to his sculptures. He begins the process by being inspired by an ingredient or a theme and then will build the cocktail from there. In today’s cocktail, he takes a peaty, blended Scotch called Pig’s Nose and pairs it with Tuaca (orange-vanilla liqueur), house made walnut liqueur, sweet vermouth and walnut bitters. The result is a cocktail that is complex, warming, and perfect for a winter night.
2oz Pig’s Nose Blended Scotch Whiskey
1oz Housemade Walnut liqueur
.50oz Carpano Antica Sweet Vermouth
.50oz Tuaca liqueur
.25oz Housemade walnut bitters
Add ingredients with ice into a mixing glass. Stir and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with flamed walnut bitters and candied walnut.