Food & Wine: Will Thompson

© Rachel Leah Blumenthal

Will Thompson

Best New Mixologist 2016

Where He Won: Yvonne’s; Boston, MA. From the ashes of the venerable Locke-Ober, this supper club honors its memory by preserving the beautiful, original mahogany bar, carved in 1886 while serving modern interpretations of classics, like the King Louie, with vodka, coconut, roasted pineapple, banana and nutmeg.

First real bartending job?

I lied my way into my first bartending job in a Moroccan restaurant in Charlestown, MA. I was about 22 and for some reason had found a relatively niche cocktail book, so while I didn't really know how you were supposed to pour beer or make a Long Island, I had a little jigger and a hand juicer that the other bartenders would throw away every time I tried to leave them over night. That's a really insufferable way to start bartending, but I was lucky enough to work with this complete bulldog of a human being who made sure I understood that being good at your job had pretty much nothing to do with cocktails.

On how he got to Yvonne's:

The draw to Yvonne’s had a lot to do with the opportunity to breathe a little life into this once-great Boston restaurant that had lost its way, which felt like a parallel for what is going on with the city as a whole.

The most unusual drink request you’ve gotten?

I got to bartend a weeklong event targeted at bartenders in Puerto Rico with some really good friends. We decided to start adding peanut butter to daiquiris to see how far we could take things, and they turned out to be a really weird hit. We had one guy get really into them. I would say a sixth peanut butter daiquiri is the most unusual request I've ever had.

Favorite food and cocktail pairing?

I had a mezcal Mamie Taylor with sesame oil in it with some insanely good Szechuan chicken wings at The Baldwin Bar in Woburn a couple years ago that really made an impression.

The next "big thing" in the cocktail world:

Hopefully we'll see more people break out of the pure cocktail bar and apply that skill set to some more interesting venues and elevating the middle of the road rather than focusing on making bars for ourselves over and over again. It's definitely happening to a degree; there are music venues that double as great bars, etc…But it would be pretty dope to get to a place where you could have a good Negroni on an airplane.

Recipes by Will Thompson

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