Earliest bartending experience:
In Kyoto, Japan at a Turkish restaurant where I mastered glass washing and polishing.
Favorite bar in the world (besides your own)?
Ever since I first visited Chicago, Billy Sunday has been an oasis and place of inspiration for me. I crave the bar food, the cocktails are unique and beautifully balanced, the spirits are carefully selected and curated and the staff members are down to earth, talented, good people.
Secret weapon behind the bar?
Chopsticks. There is a single metal chopstick at each bar station for etching rosettes, swirls and hearts into the canvas of the egg white cocktail. I keep a bamboo chopstick in my hair to keep my hair out of my face so that I can focus on more important things. Then there are my Moribashi—Japanese plating chopsticks—for precise garnishing.
A drink that everyone should learn how to make:
Consider this: the old-fashioned. It is an exquisite balance of sugar, bitters, water and spirit. Bourbon, rye, mezcal, rum, shochu and other strong potions we call spirits can be the base of this drink. It is as much a style of cocktail as it is a classic beverage. To master the balance of a particular spirit with certain sugar, specific bitters and just the right amount of ice is one of the first steps towards learning to make better drinks.